Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 29: Dinah Shore - "See the USA..." was born on this date in 1916…

... she died on February 24, 1994 at the age of 77. Frances Rose Shore was born in Winchester, Tennessee on February 29, 1916. When she was two years old, she was stricken with polio, a disease that was not preventable at the time, and for which treatment was limited to bed rest. She recovered but had a deformed foot and limp, which did not physically impede her.

At 14, Shore debuted as a torch singer at a Nashville night club only to find her parents sitting ringside, having been tipped off to their daughter's performance ahead of time. They allowed her to finish, but put her professional career on hold.

She graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1938 with a degree in sociology. She also visited the Grand Ole Opry and made her radio debut on Nashville's WSM (AM) radio station in these years. Shore decided to return to pursuing her career in singing, so she went to New York City to audition for orchestras and radio stations, first on a summer break from Vanderbilt, and after graduation, for good.

In many of her auditions, she sang the popular song "Dinah." When disc jockey Martin Block could not remember her name, he called her the "Dinah girl," and soon after the name stuck, becoming her stage name.

Shore eventually was hired as a vocalist at radio station WNEW, where she sang with Frank Sinatra. She recorded and performed with the Xavier Cugat orchestra, and signed a recording contract with RCA Victor Records in 1940.

She reached the height of her popularity as a recording artist during the Big Band era of the 1940s and 1950s, but achieved even greater success a decade later, in television, mainly as hostess of a series of variety programs for Chevrolet.

After failing singing auditions for the bands of Benny Goodman and both Jimmy Dorsey and his brother Tommy Dorsey, Shore struck out on her own to become the first singer of her era to achieve huge solo success. She had a string of 80 charted popular hits, lasting from 1940 into the late 1950s.

After appearing in a handful of films went on to a four-decade career in American television, starring in her own music and variety shows in the 1950s/60s and hosting two talk shows in the 1970s. From 1970 through 1980, Shore hosted Dinah's Place (1970–1974) on NBC and Dinah! (later Dinah and Friends) in syndication from 1974 through 1980 and a third cable program from 1989–1992.

TV Guide magazine ranked her at #16 on their list of the top fifty television stars of all time.

In the early 1970s, Shore had a long and happy public romance with actor Burt Reynolds, who was 20 years her junior.

She died from ovarian cancer on February 24, 1994, in her home in Beverly Hills, California, five days before her 78th birthday.

For more about Dinah, visit her fan club Website at -


February 28: Rolling Stones Founding Member, Brian Jones, was born on this date in 1942...

... he died July 3, 1969, when he was 27 years-old.

Born Lewis Brian Hopkins Jones in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Brian was a versatile musician who in addition to guitar and the harmonica, played a wide variety of other instruments. His innovative use of traditional or folk instruments, such as the sitar and marimba, was integral to the changing sound of the Rolling Stones.

Both Jones's parents were interested in music: his mother Louisa was a piano teacher, and in addition to his job as an aeronautical engineer, Lewis Jones played piano and organ and led the choir at the local church.

In 1957 Jones first heard Cannonball Adderley's music, which inspired his interest in jazz. Jones persuaded his parents to buy him a saxophone, and two years later his parents gave him his first acoustic guitar as a 17th birthday present. (He also played first clarinet in the school orchestra.)  Despite well above average academic ability, his hostility to authority figures he was suspended from school on twice.

After his 14-year old girlfriend became pregnant, Jones quit school and left home, travelling through northern Europe and Scandinavia for a summer. During this period, he busked with his guitar on the streets for money. Jones grew up listening to classical music, but he preferred blues. and began playing at local blues and jazz clubs. (Jones also fathered three other children before he turned 23.)

Jones moved to London where he became friends with musicians in the small London rhythm and blues and jazz scene. For a brief time, Jones called himself "Elmo Lewis," and playing slide guitar. Jones also started a band with Paul Jones called The Roosters.

Jones placed an advertisement in Jazz News in May 1962 inviting musicians to audition for a new R&B group at the Bricklayers Arms pub; pianist Ian "Stu" Stewart was the first to respond. Later singer and his childhood friend Keith Richards and Mick Jagger joined the band.

Jones came up with the name "The Rollin' Stones" (later with the 'g') while on the phone with a venue owner. The Best of Muddy Waters album was lying on the floor—and track one was 'Rollin' Stone Blues'."

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The Rollin' Stones played their first gig on July 12, 1962 at the Marquee Club in London with Mick Jagger, Richards, Jones, Stewart, bass player Dick Taylor (later of The Pretty Things) and drummer Tony Chapman.

From September 1962 to September 1963 Jones, Jagger and Richards shared an apartment in Chelsea, London.  Jones and Richards spent every day playing guitar while listening to blues records. During this time, Jones also taught Jagger how to play harmonica.

The four Rollin' Stones went searching for a bassist and drummer, finally settling on Bill Wyman on bass because he had a spare VOX AC30 guitar amplifier ( and always had cigarettes,) and a bass guitar that he had built himself. In January 1963 they persuaded jazz-influenced Charlie Watts to join them.

The group played at local blues and jazz clubs, garnering fans in spite of resistance from traditional jazz musicians who felt threatened by their popularity. While Jagger was lead singer, Jones, in the group's embryonic period, was the leader—promoting the band, landing gigs, and negotiating with venue owners.

From 1966 onwards Jones's contributions in the recording studio were more as a multi-instrumentalist than as a guitarist. His aptitude for playing a wide variety of instruments is particularly evident on the albums Aftermath, Between the Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request.

Examples of Jones's contributions on slide guitar include "I Wanna Be Your Man," "I'm a King Bee," "Little Red Rooster," "I Can't Be Satisfied," "I'm Movin' On," "Doncha Bother Me," and "No Expectations."

Jones played Bo Diddley-style rhythm guitar on "I Need You Baby (Mona)," the guitar riff in "The Last Time"; sitar on "Street Fighting Man" and "Paint It, Black"; organ on "Let's Spend the Night Together," "Complicated," and "2000 Man"; marimba on "Under My Thumb," "Out Of Time" and "Yesterday's Papers"; recorder on "Ruby Tuesday" and "All Sold Out"; trumpet on "Child of the Moon"; Appalachian dulcimer on "I Am Waiting" and "Lady Jane" and harpsichord on "Lady Jane"; accordion on "Backstreet Girl"; saxophone and oboe on "Dandelion"; mellotron on "She's a Rainbow," "We Love You," "Stray Cat Blues" and "2000 Light Years from Home"; and - on his final recording as a Rolling Stone - the autoharp on "You Got the Silver."

Jones also played harmonica on many of the Rolling Stones' early songs including "Stoned," "Not Fade Away," "I Just Want to Make Love to You," "Now I've Got A Witness," "Good Times, Bad Times," and "Dear Doctor" and "Prodigal Son" among many other songs.

(Press album cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website):
The Rolling Stones 1964-1969 - Limited Edition Remastered Vinyl Box Set

In the early years, Jones also sometimes served as a backing vocalist. Notable examples are "Come On," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "I Just Wanna Make Love to You," "Walking the Dog," "Money (That's What I Want)," "I'm Alright," "You Better Move On" and "It's All Over Now." He is also responsible for the amazing whistling on "Walking the Dog."

Jones's and Richards's guitars became a signature of the sound of the Rolling Stones, with both guitarists playing rhythm and lead without clear boundaries between the two roles.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February 27: Actress and "Singer" Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born on this date in 1932...

... she died on March 23, 2011.

Beginning as a child star then throughout her adulthood, Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor became known for her acting talent, glamour and beauty; as well as a much publicized private life, which included eight marriages, several near-death experiences, and decades spent as a social activist, championing the cause of AIDS awareness, research and cure.

Taylor, a two-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress, is considered one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age. The American Film Institute named Taylor seventh on its Female Legends list.

Taylor was not known as a singer, but she was credited for "singing " in at least two movies, A Little Night Music and "A Date With Judy,"although it's possible her voice was dubbed.
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in Hampstead Garden Suburb, a northwestern suburb of London. Her parents were Americans residing in England. Her parents were originally from Arkansas City, Kansas.

Francis Taylor was an art dealer, and Sara was a former actress whose stage name was "Sara Sothern." Sothern retired from the stage when she and Francis married in 1926 in New York City. Taylor's two first names are in honor of her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Mary (Rosemond) Taylor.

A dual citizen of the United Kingdom and the United States, she was born a British subject through her birth on British soil and an American citizen through her parents.
At the age of three, Taylor began taking ballet lessons.

Shortly before World War II, her parents decided to return to the United States, settling in Los Angeles, California, where her father established a new art gallery including many paintings from England. The gallery attracted Hollywood celebrities.

Some of her mother's friends urged her to have Elizabeth screen tested for the role of Bonnie Blue, Scarlett's child in Gone with the Wind, then being filmed. Her mother refused, but soon, both Universal and MGM pursued her, with Universal giving her a seven-year contract.

Taylor appeared in her first motion picture at the age of nine in There's One Born Every Minute in 1942, her only film for Universal. After less than a year, the studio fired Taylor for unknown reasons. Some speculate that there was something slightly odd about Elizabeth's looks, even at this age - an expression that sometimes made people think she was older than she was.

Then MGM offered her a long-term contract at the beginning of 1943 and quickly casted her in Lassie Come Home. After her performance received favorable reviews MGM signed Taylor to a  seven-year contract at $100 a week but increasing at regular intervals until it reached $750 during the seventh year.

Her first assignment under her new contract at MGM was a loan-out to 20th Century Fox for the character of Helen Burns in a film version of the Charlotte Brontë novel Jane Eyre. Elizabeth then returned to MGM to film The White Cliffs of Dover in England.

It was Taylor's persistence in seeking the role of Velvet Brown in MGM's National Velvet, however, that made her a star at the age of 12. Taylor's character is a young girl who trains her beloved horse to win the Grand National. National Velvet, costarring fellow child actor Mickey Rooney and English newcomer Angela Lansbury, became a big success upon its release in December 1944. However, the film caused many of her later back problems due to her falling off a horse during filming.

(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

(Press any DVD cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website):

National VelvetA Place in the SunBUtterfield 8

After the success of Velvet, Taylor was cast in another animal film, Courage of Lassie, which led to another contract for Taylor paying her $750 per week. Her roles as Mary Skinner in a loan-out to Warner Brothers' Life With Father, Cynthia Bishop in Cynthia, Carol Pringle in A Date with Judy, and Susan Prackett in Julia Misbehaves were all successful.

Taylor received a reputation as a consistently successful adolescent star, with a nickname of "One-Shot Liz" (referring to her ability to shoot a scene in one take) and a promising career.

Her portrayal as Amy, in the American classic Little Women was her last adolescent role. In October 1948, Taylor appeared in Conspirator, her first adult role. Her first box office success in an adult came as Kay Banks in the romantic comedy Father of the Bride. She soon followed with A Place In The Sun which became the pivotal performance of Taylor's career according to many film critics.

Taylor would go on to win two Academy Awards for Best Actress for her performance in Butterfield 8 in 1960, and for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1966. She was also awarded the Jean Herscholt Humanitarian Academy Award in 1992 for her work fighting AIDS.

On May 16, 2000, in a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace, Taylor was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. On December 5, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger inducted Taylor into the California Hall of Fame.

In February 2011, symptoms related to congestive heart failure caused her to be admitted into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for treatment, where she remained until her death at age 79 on March 23, 2011. She died surrounded by her four children.


Rest in Peace


February 27: Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson of Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Coil and The Threshold HouseBoy's Choir was born on this date in 1955 ...



... he was 55 years old, when he died in his sleep on November 25, 2010.

Peter Martin Christopherson, a.k.a. "Sleazy" was a musician, video director and designer, and former member of the influential British design agency Hipgnosis.

Throbbing Gristle

Born in Leeds, Christopherson was a founding member of Throbbing Gristle who are credited with creating the industrial music genre before disbanding in 1981. Throbbing Gristle members Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti formed their own group while Peter Christopherson and TG's other member Genesis P-Orridge formed Psychic TV along with other musicians.

John Balance (Geoffrey Rushton) met Christopherson as a Throbbing Gristle fan and the two became partners. Christopherson worked on the first two Psychic TV albums, Force The Hand Of Chance and Dreams Less Sweet, joined by Balance on the second one. The two performed live several times with Psychic TV then formed their own project, Coil.


Prior to his musical career, Peter Christopherson was a commercial artist, designer, and photographer. Notably, he was one of the three partners of the album cover design group Hipgnosis, which was responsible for many notable album covers of the 1970s. Christopherson remained involved with commercial art through his later musical career as a director of music videos and television commercials.

Despite Christopherson's long and extensive history as a musical artist, he has only released two tracks under the name Peter Christopherson. The first, "In My Head A Crystal Sphere Of Heavy Fluid," appeared on the compilation Foxtrot, a benefit album for former partner John Balance's rehabilitation from alcohol addiction while the second, "All Possible Numbers," appeared eleven years later on Autumn Blood (Constructions.)

In 2005, Christopherson relocated from England to Krung Thep, Thailand to manage The Threshold HouseBoy's Choir. Since Christopherson's relocation he released the final Coil CDs; The Ape Of Naples, The Remote Viewer, Black Antlers, The New Backwards, and reissued Musick To Play In The Dark Vol. 1 and Musick To Play In The Dark Vol. 2.

Also in 2005 Throbbing Gristle reunited for a series of concerts. Soon after, Throbbing Gristle announced a new album Part Two. In 2007, the group toured to promote the album.

The Threshold HouseBoy's Choir
In 2007 Christopherson released the debut album of his solo effort The Threshold HouseBoys Choir. The album, Form Grows Rampant, is broken down into five "parts" or songs, and includes a DVD of the album set to video of Thai rituals in Krabi.

In 2008 Christopherson and Ivan Pavlov (aka COH) started a new project called Soisong.

In 2007 Christopherson released the debut album of his solo effort The Threshold HouseBoys Choir. The album, Form Grows Rampant, is broken down into five "parts" or songs, and includes a DVD of the album set to video of Thai rituals in Krabi.

In 2008 Christopherson and Ivan Pavlov (aka COH) started a new project called Soisong.

Recommended (Links to Amazon):
20 Jazz Funk GreatsMr Alien Brain Vs the Skinwalkers (W/Dvd)Musick To Play In The Dark 2

February 27: Josh Groban is 32-years-old today.


Born Joshua Winslow "Josh" Groban was born in Los Angeles. His four solo albums have been certified at least multi-platinum, and in 2007, he was charted as the number one best selling artist in the U.S. with over 21 million records sold. To date, he has sold over 24 million albums worldwide.

Groban first sang in public in the seventh grade when his music teacher asked him to sing a solo of "S'wonderful" at the school's Cabaret Night. At this time, he was more focused on theatrical arts.

In the summers of 1997 and 1998, he also attended the Interlochen Center for the Arts Camp in Michigan, majoring in music theatre, and began taking vocal lessons. Groban went on to attend the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts as a theatre major and graduated in 1999. He was admitted to the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, intending to study drama, but he left four months into his first semester.

The event that propelled him into singing happened when his vocal coach, Seth Riggs, submitted a tape of Josh singing, "All I Ask of You," from The Phantom of the Opera, to producer, composer and arranger David Foster. Foster called him to stand in for an ailing Andrea Bocelli to rehearse a duet, "The Prayer," with Celine Dion at the rehearsal for the Grammy Awards in 1998. Groban reluctantly agreed.

Rosie O'Donnell was so impressed that she immediately invited him to appear on her daytime talk show. He got another big break when Foster asked him to sing at the California Governor's Gray Davis' 1999 inauguration.

His name and career soared with the public recognition he received, after being cast on Ally McBeal by the show's creator David E. Kelley, who asked him to perform "You're Still You" for the show's 2001 season finale.

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Groban's character, Malcolm Wyatt, was so popular, he generated 8,000 emails from viewers. Groban was asked to return the next season to reprise his role and perform "To Where You Are."

Groban was offered a recording contract at Warner Bros. Records through Foster's 143 Records imprint. Under Foster's influence, Groban's first album focused more on classics such as "Gira Con Me Questa Notte" and "Alla Luce Del Sole."

Groban performed "There For Me" with Sarah Brightman on her 2000–01 La Luna World Tour, and was featured on her "La Luna" concert DVD. He recorded "For Always" with Lara Fabian on the movie soundtrack to A.I.: Artificial Intelligence in 2001.

The singer's self-titled debut album Josh Groban was released on November 20, 2001. Over the next year, it went from gold to double-platinum.

On February 24, 2002, Groban performed "The Prayer" with Charlotte Church at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, and by November, he had his own PBS special, "Josh Groban In Concert."

Groban's second album Closer, produced and written by Foster, was released on November 11, 2003. Groban said that he believed that this second album was a better reflection of him, and that his audience would be able to get a better idea of his personality from listening to it.

Two months after Closer was released, it rose on the Billboard charts from number 11 to number one. His cover of "You Raise Me Up" became very popular on the adult contemporary charts. Groban also performed the song "Remember" with Tanja Tzarovska on the Troy soundtrack, "Believe" on the soundtrack to the 2004 animated film The Polar Express, and a cover of Linkin Park's "My December."

In 2004 , Groban performed "Remember When It Rained," backed by a full orchestra, at the American Music Awards, where he was nominated for Favorite Male Artist in the pop category. Groban and his recordings were nominated for more than a dozen awards in 2004, including the American Music Award, a World Music Award, an Academy Award, and a Grammy.

Groban's third studio album Awake was officially released on November 7, 2006. His latest studio album, entitled Illuminations and the album was released on November 15, 2010. Most of the songs on the album are about "specific situations that I've had where love has existed and ultimately failed," Groban told The New York Times. Groban wrote 11 of the 13 songs on the album.

In a comedy called Crazy, Stupid, Love, an upcoming film starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, scheduled for released in July 2011, Groban plays a character named Richard, a caddish lawyer.


For more about Josh, visit his Website at -