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A musical parodist in the broad, juvenile yet clever tradition of Mad magazine, “Weird Al” Yankovic is known for adding his own gently satirical lyrics to current hit songs. His shaggy, hangdog appearance, affection for slapstick, and amiable willingness to do seemingly anything for a laugh made him a natural for videos. His burlesques of the form and its artistes — especially of Michael Jackson in “Eat It” (from “Beat It”) (#12, 1983) and “Fat” (from “Bad”) (#99, 1988) — became MTV staples. His medleys of rock tunes given the polka treatment inspired rumors —untrue — that Yankovic was a member of the singing Yankovic family, who made polka and Western swing records in the 1940s. Regardless of his heritage, Yankovic is undoubtedly the most successful comedy recording artist, with more than 11 million albums sold.
Yankovic, a high school valedictorian and architecture student, got his start I 1979, when he sent his “My Bologna” — a parody of the Knack’s “My Sharona” — to Dr. Demento, a syndicated radio host specializing in novelty songs and curiosities. Recorded in a bathroom across the hall from his college radio station with only his accordion and vocal, the song was popular enough with Demento’s audience for Capitol (the Knack’s label) to release it as a single. His next parody, “Another One Rides the Bus” (based on Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”), became the most requested song in the first decade of the Dr. Demento show.
Yankovic signed with Rock ‘n’ Roll Records (a CBS subsidiary), which not only gave him access to better recording facilities and the production expertise of Rick Derringer but the financial backing for the video of “Ricky” (#63, 1983). A combination parody of Toni Basil’s hit single and video “Mickey” and homage to TV’s I Love Lucy, “Ricky” was the first of a string of videos that skewered the music, its creators, and its audience, not to mention pop culture in general. While often hilariously hamfisted, Yankovic’s takeoffs — such as “I Lost on Jeopardy” (#81, 1984) from “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D (#81, 1984), which rewrote Greg Kihn’s “Jeopardy”; “Like a Surgeon” (#47, 1985), which tackled Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” from Dare to Be Stupid (#50, 1985) — made their creator and star as much a rock celebrity as his targets. In fact, the longevity of Yankovic’s career has surpassed several of the artists’ whose songs he has parodied. Nearly half the songs on any of his albums were comedic originals, although only his biggest fans seemed to be aware of “Weird Al” the songwriter. But his lyric rewriting earned him eight Grammy nominations, including two wins.
In 1985 Yankovic released a video collection of his parodies, The Compleat Al. That same year MTV produced an occasional series starring Yankovic as the host of Al TV, wherein he spoofed current videos. In 1989 he wrote and starred in the movie UHF; costarring a pre-Seinfeld Michael Richards, UHF did poorly in the theater but later found new life as a cultish video hit.
Polka Party! (#177, 1986), which relied more on music than on videos, stiffed. Even Worse (#27, 1988) marked Al’s return to rock video, and Michael Jackson. For “Fat,” a grossly, literally overinflated Yankovic donned a leather outfit that copied Jackson’s on the cover and video of Bad down to the last buckle. Jackson not only gave his approval for Yankovic’s versions, he lent the subway set used in “Bad” for the “Fat” video.
In 1988 Yankovic collaborated with avant-garde synthesizer artist Wendy Carlos on recorded versions of the classical pieces Peter and the Wolf and Carnival of the Animals Part II. In 1992 Yankovic turned his eye to another musical trend, grunge, specifically Nirvana. “Smells Like Nirvana” (#35, 1992) took on the Seattle band’s image and garbled lyrics, with the accompanying video again using the original set, this time adding cows and Dick Van Patten, wile the cover of Off the Deep End (#17, 1992) had Yankovic replacing the swimming baby picture on Nevermind, his gaze focused not on a dollar bill but a donut. He also mocked the traveling summer tour Lollapalooza with his 1993 album, Alapalooza (#46), which featured “Bedrock Anthem,” a combination takeoff of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge” and “Give it Away” as well as the classical cartoon series The Flintstones. In 1996 he wrote the theme song for the movie satire Spy Hard, as well as designed the opening credits and appeared as himself in the film.
The same year, Yankovic released Bad Hair Day, which rose to #14 thanks to the success of its first single and video, “Amish Paradise,” a takeoff on rapper Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise” (itself a rewrite of Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise”). The album cover even mimicked the rapper’s hairstyle. While Yankovic always prided himself on getting permission to parody, this time there was a miscommunication between the artists’ record companies’ Yankovic was told Coolio was fine with the idea, but when the album was released, Coolio claimed he never consented. Yankovic sent a letter of apology and vowed not to accept agreement from anyone but the artists themselves.
After being the subject of the Disney Channel mockumentary special “Weird Al” Yankovic: There’s No Going Home in 1996, the entertainer hosted the Pee-wee’s Playhouse-esque Weird Al Show on CBS’ Saturday-morning lineup in 1997 and 1998. He was frustrated by the network’s lack of support for his tongue-in-cheek humor, and the show was canceled after one season. Yankovic seemingly disappeared for a time in 1998; when he re-emerged without his trademark mustache and glasses — besides shaving, he’d gotten laser eye surgery — he was unrecognizable. His 1999 release, Running with Scissors, peaked at #16, due to the well-timed single “The Saga Begins,” a rundown of the current Star Wars movie The Phantom Menace sung to the tune of Don McLean’s “American Pie.” Even the official Star Wars Web site plugged Yankovic’s album, whose release was also timed to the premiere of his Behind the Music episode on VH1. In 2000 Yankovic contributed the original “Polkamon” to the soundtrack of the kids’ flick Pokémon 2000: The Movie.
While Yankovic and his band (bassist Steve Jay, drummer Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz, guitarist Jim West, and keyboardist Ruben Valtierra) are often not taken seriously, they are able to play the original songs they parody note-for-note, both in the studio and on tour, making them a great cover band, Yankovic has also tried his hand at directing music videos, both his own and for other artists, including country comedian Jeff Foxworthy, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Hanson, and the Black Crowes.
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I myth you
As a poet, prophet and purveyor of Jamaican culture, he shattered musical boundaries around the world.
Bob Marley was born in a small village called Nine Miles in Jamaica. The son of British Naval Officer and Jamaican woman called Cedella, Marley rarely saw his father due to his mother’s family and their disapproval of his parents relationship.
By the time he had turned 16, Marley had recorded his first single ‘Judge Not’, and in 1963, he formed The Wailers with Peter Tosh, Bunny Livingstone, Junior Braithwaite, and Beverly Kelso. The band then scored their first number one in Jamaica with ‘Simmer Down’ on the Coxsone label.
When Braithwaite and Kelso left the group around 1965, the Wailers continued as a trio, Marley, Tosh, and Livingstone trading leads. In spite of the popularity of singles like ‘Rude Boy’, the artists received few or no royalties, and in 1966 they disbanded.
After marrying his girlfriend Rita Anderson, Marley spent most of the following year working in a factory in Newark in the United States, where his mother had moved in 1963. Upon his return to Jamaica, the Wailers reunited and recorded for Coxsone with little success. During this period, the Wailers devoted themselves to the religious sect of Rastafari.
In 1969, they began a three-year association with Lee “Scratch” Perry, who directed them to play their own instruments and expanded their line-up to include Aston and Carlton Barrett, formerly the rhythm section of Perry’s studio band, the Upsetters. Some of the records they made with Perry – like ‘Trenchtown Rock’ – were locally very popular, but so precarious was the Jamaican record industry that the group seemed no closer than before to establishing steady careers. It formed an independent record company, Tuff Gong, in 1971, but the venture foundered when Livingstone was jailed and Marley got caught in a contract commitment to American pop singer Johnny Nash, who took him to Sweden to write a film score.
Their breakthrough came in 1972 when Chris Blackwell – who had released ‘Judge Not’ in England in 1963 – signed the Wailers to Island Records and advanced them the money to record themselves in Jamaica. The first result of this new contract was 1973’s ‘Catch A Fire’, the breakthrough album that saw the band reach an international audience for the first time. It was followed a year later by Burnin’, which included the songs “Get Up, Stand Up” and “I Shot The Sheriff”.
The band toured heavily during this period, and Marley expanded the instrumental section of the group and bringing in a female vocal trio, the I-Threes, which included his wife, Rita. Now called Bob Marley and the Wailers, they toured Europe, Africa, and the Americas, building especially strong followings in the U.K., Scandinavia, and Africa. They had U.K. Top 40 hits with ‘No Woman No Cry’ (1975), ‘Exodus’ (1977), ‘Waiting in Vain’ (1977), and ‘Satisfy My Soul’ (1978).
In 1976, Marley was shot by gunmen during the Jamaican election campaign, but survived and continued to soar in popularity until his 1981 death due to brain, lung and stomach cancer. In 1987, both Peter Tosh and longtime Marley drummer Carlton Barrett were murdered in Jamaica during separate incidents. Rita Marley continues to tour, record, and run the Tuff Gong studios and record company.
Hot Chocolate formed in Brixton, London, England in 1968. Members of the group included Errol Brown, Tony Connor, Larry Ferguson, Harvey Hinsley, Patrick Olive and Tony Wilson.
In 1969 the band started working on a reggae version of the John Lennon song “Give Peace A Chance”. Errol Brown had changed the lyrics for their version but was informed that he could not do this without John Lennon’s permission, so a copy of the demo was sent to the Beatles Apple record label to see what they thought of it. Fortunately, John loved the version and it was released on the Apple label.
The group was given the named ‘The Hot Chocolate Band’ by a secretary at the company, Mavis Smith, the band later changed it to just ‘Hot Chocolate’.
Towards the end of 1969 Mickie Most signed Errol and the cofounder of the group Tony Wilson as writers and recorded their songs with Mary Hopkins, Julie Felix and Herman’s Hermits before encouraging them to come up with a song for themselves. In 1970 Hot Chocolate, with Errol Brown as lead singer, released their first record entitled “Love Is Life” which reached number 6 in the charts. This was the start of a fifteen year career for the group who amassed a total of over 30 hits and also became the only group in the UK to have a hit for fifteen consecutive years.
In 1981 Hot Chocolate had the honour of being invited by Prince Charles and Lady Diana at their pre-wedding reception at Buckingham Palace which was attended by heads of Government and many members of European Royalty.
In 1986 Errol left the band and took time out to spend more time with his wife and then young children. The rest of the members of Hot Chocolate also took some time off to consider their future and in 1992 Patrick Olive, Harvey Hinsley and Tony Connor joined up with agent Richard Martin and decided to start touring again.
The band found a new singer Greg Bannis and keyboard players Andy Smith & Steve Ansell. Since 1992, the band has enjoyed years of continued success touring all around the world performing to many thousands of fans who love the music of Hot Chocolate. In 1997 the classic single “You Sexy Thing” reached number one in the charts after it was featured in the movie ‘The Full Monty’ and a new Hot Chocolate ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation released in October 1997 reached number 10 in the album charts.
In 2010 singer Kennie Simon replaced Greg Bannis on vocals creating what many are saying is the best sound ever.
Lana Del Ray was born by the name Elizabeth Woolridge Grant on June 21, 1986 in New York City but grew up in Lake Placid, New York. She would hit bars in Lake Placid to showcase her talent in singing but always felt that she had to go bigger. So she moved back to NYC and got signed by an indie label at the age of 19. Unfortunately, the recording house went out of business.
“The way I experienced New York, for a long time after I moved, was alone and at night, walking the streets. I mean, there are thousands of streets in New York and I know them all. I’d go down to the tip of Manhattan, or even down to Coney Island, then travel all the way back up. Because I come from a place that, geographically, isn’t that stimulating. But New York’s architecture alone is enough to inspire a whole album. In fact, that’s what happened at first – my early stuff was mostly just interpretations of landscapes,” she said in an interview how the big city inspired her.
Del Rey was so determined that she went to record labels in London to show them a piece of her music but none of them were interested in her style. She released an EP called “Kill Kill” in 2008 under the name Lizzy Grant and then a full-length studio album in January 2010 as Lana Del Ray a.k.a. Lizzy Grant. It was with her father Robert Grant’s help that the album reached the market.
Del Rey wrote “Video Games” with a composer called Justin Parker and uploaded her performance of the song on YouTube in July 2011. “To be honest, it wasn’t going to be the single but people have really responded to it. I get very sad when I play that song. I still cry sometimes when I sing it,” she said.
The response was indeed amazing and she signed a deal with Interscope in October 2011 to release the song for wider market. “Video Games” won a Q Award that month and was featured in a TV series called “Ringer“. She began the promotional period with appearances and performances in several TV shows. She also started mulling over the idea of making another full-length album, which would be her first wide release.
“Born to Die” was released in January 2012 although a few days before that, she was scrutinized for her first live performance on television. Del Rey was the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” and she was criticized for being amateur. In her defense, Del Rey said, “I’m a good musician …I have been singing for a long time, and I think that Lorne Michaels knows that …it’s not a fluke decision.”
With the newfound fame, Del Rey bought the rights to her 2010 album and planned to re-release it in summer 2012 under Interscope Records and Polydor.
Bio and picture source….. www.aceshowbiz.com
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Striking fear into cat burglars everywhere
If Monday’s had a face this is what it would look like
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