Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 31: Kate Micucci- Garfunkel and Oates & Raj’s Love Interest on “The Big Bang Theory” is 33-years-old today.

Born in New Jersey, Kate Micucci was raised in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where she learned to play classical piano from her mother. Kate is one half of the musical comedy duo Garfunkel (Riki Lindhom) and Oates.

Her TV credits include numerous television commercials, as well as Toni the barista on NBC's Four Kings, and guest roles on Malcolm in the Middle, 'Til Death, How I Met Your Mother, Cory in the House, Campus Ladies, and recurring roles on Scrubs and Raising Hope.

Her film credits include The Last Hurrah, Bart Got a Room and When in Rome. She plays "Lily the IT girl" on Elevator Show.

In 2009, she released a five-track EP entitled Songs. Micucci appeared in five episodes of Scrubs as Stephanie Gooch, a ukulele player with whom Ted Buckland begins a relationship. She performs her song "Mr. Moon" as well as an adapted version of "Fuck You" (retitled "Screw You" for ABC), a song she typically performs as part of the musical duo Garfunkel and Oates.

In 2009, she starred in the short film Imaginary Larry, co-written and co-directed by Riki Lindhome, her partner in Garfunkel and Oates. In August 2009, Micucci appeared in an advertising campaign for Hillshire Farms, and for H & R Block in January 2010.

Micucci performs "Playin' with Micucci" on third Mondays at the Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. In the act, she presents "songs and stories in [a] musical variety show." She says the title is the only dirty aspect of the show. She can also frequently be seen performing with Lindhome in "An Evening with Garfunkel and Oates" at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles.

She performed with William H. Macy on the ukulele to promote the DVD release of the film Bart Got a Room.

In 2010, she appeared in the Kristen Bell film When in Rome and also in an episode in the 6th season of the TV show Weeds as a slightly sedated waitress. She appeared in some episodes of the HBO series, Bored to Death, and appeared as the babysitter/dogsitter/eldersitter Shelly in the series Raising Hope.

In February 2011, Kate appeared briefly in a Progressive Insurance ad as a waitress. She has also voiced a character on Pendleton Ward's animated series Adventure Time, as well as the character of Julie Kane on the Disney XD animated series Motorcity. In July 2012, Kate appeared in Written by a Kid's production Scary Smash, a Geek and Sundry creation that was executive produced by Kim Evey, Felicia Day, and Sheri Byrant.

In 2013, Micucci's began a recurring role on The Big Bang Theory as "a potential love interest for the confirmed bachelor Raj." Her character debuted on February 14, 2013.


For more about Kate, visit her Website at -

For more about Garfunkel and Oates, visit THEIR website at -


Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 30: Today, singer Norah Jones is 34-years-old today.


Born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar, in 2002 Norah Jones launched her solo music career with the release of the commercially successful and critically acclaimed album Come Away With Me, which was certified a diamond album in 2002, selling over 20 million copies. The record earned Jones five Grammy Awards, including the Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist.

Her subsequent studio albums, Feels like Home, released in 2004, Not Too Late, released in 2007 and her 2009 release The Fall, all gained Platinum status after selling over a million copies and were generally well received by critics.

Jones has won nine Grammy Awards and was Billboard magazine's 60th best-selling music artist of the 2000–2009 decade.
Born in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, Jones is the daughter of Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, and concert producer Sue Jones. She began singing in church choirs and took piano lessons as a child.

She spent her childhood with her mother in the Fort Worth suburb of Grapevine, Texas, where she attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. While in high school, Jones sang in the school choir, participated in band and played the alto saxophone.

She attended Interlochen Center for the Arts during the summers. While at high school, she won the DownBeat Student Music Awards for Best Jazz Vocalist twice, and Best Original Composition.

At the age of sixteen, with the blessings of her parents, she officially changed her name to "Norah Jones."

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...Featuring Norah Jones

Jones attended the University of North Texas where she majored in jazz piano and sang with the UNT Jazz Singers. During this time she had a chance meeting with future collaborator Jesse Harris. After meeting Jones, Harris started sending her lead sheets of his songs. In 1999, she left for New York City. Less than a year later she started a band with Harris, which would lead to her musical success and fame.

Jones was a lounge singer before becoming a recording artist. After moving to New York City, Norah Jones signed with Blue Note Records, a EMI Group owned label, and released a demo, First Sessions in 2001.

Jones' February 2002 debut album, Come Away with Me, was celebrated for its blending of mellow, acoustic pop with soul and jazz. Debuting at #139, it reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200. The single "Don't Know Why" hit #1 on the Top 40 Adult Recurrents in 2003 and #30 in the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart.

Jones released her second album, Feels like Home, in February 2004. The album has a country music feel. Within a week of its release, Feels like Home had sold over a million copies. It sold 4 million copies in the U.S. and reached quadruple Platinum status, selling ten million copies worldwide.

That year, Time magazine included Jones on the Time 100, a list of the most influential people of 2004. The album debuted at number one in at least 16 countries around the world.

In 2005, at the 47th Grammy Awards, Feels like Home was nominated for three Grammys. It won for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Sunrise", and had nominations for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for her duet with Dolly Parton, "Creepin 'In."

She won two more Grammy Awards that year, for Record of the Year and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for her collaboration with Ray Charles, "Here We Go Again," which was the first track on Charles' last album, Genius Loves Company. Genius Loves Company won the Album of the Year award.

Norah's fifth studio album …Little Broken Hearts was released on May 1, 2012. The record was co-written by Jones and Danger Mouse, with the pair handling the majority of the instrumentals. Jones teamed up with the producer after she contributed vocals to his Rome project with Daniele Luppi.

For more about Norah, visit her Website at -


March 30: Céline Dion - "My Heart Will Go On" - is 45-years-old today.

Céline Marie Claudette Dion, CC, OQ from Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada, is the youngest of fourteen children. Music had always been a part of the family.

She was named after the song Céline, recorded by French singer Hugues Aufray two years before her birth. She grew up singing with her siblings in her parents' small piano bar called Le Vieux Baril. From an early age Dion had dreamed of being a performer.

At age twelve, Dion collaborated with her mother and her brother Jacques to compose her first song, "Ce n'était qu'un rêve" ("It Was Only a Dream"). Her brother Michel Dondalinger Dion sent the recording to music manager René Angélil. Angélil was so impressed, he became her manager and later her husband. Angélil mortgaged his home to finance her first record.

In 1990, she released the English-language album Unison, establishing herself as a viable pop artist.  Dion had first gained international recognition in the 1980s by winning both the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival and the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest. Following a series of French albums in the early 1980s, she signed on to CBS Records Canada in 1986.

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Celine Dion: A New Day - Live in Las Vegas

During the 1990s, with the help of Angélil, she achieved worldwide fame after signing with Epic Records and releasing several English albums along with additional French albums, becoming one of the most successful artists in pop music history.

However, in 1999 at the height of her success, Dion announced a hiatus from entertainment in order to start a family and spend time with her husband, who had been diagnosed with cancer. She returned to the top of pop music in 2002 and signed a three-year (later extended to almost five years) contract to perform nightly in a five-star theatrical show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

Dion's music has been influenced by genres ranging from rock and R&B to gospel and classical. She is recognized for her technically skilled and powerful vocals.

Dion is the best-selling Canadian artist of all time, is the second best-selling female artist in the U.S., and is the only female artist to have two singles that have sold more than a million copies in the U.K. Her 1995 album D'eux, is the best-selling French-language album of all time.

In the U.S. her 1997 album Let's Talk About Love, topped the chart in its seventh week of release, and was later certified 10x Platinum in the U.S. for over 10 million copies shipped. In Canada, the album sold 230,212 copies in its first week of release, which became, and still is, a record. It was eventually certified diamond in Canada for over 1 million copies shipped.

The most successful single from the album was the ballad "My Heart Will Go On," which was written and composed by James Horner and Will Jennings. Serving as the love theme for the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, the song topped the charts across the world, and became Dion's signature song. 

"My Heart Will Go On" won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song. The song also gave Dion two Grammy Awards for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance" and the most coveted "Record of the Year." "My Heart Will Go On" and "Think Twice" made her the only female artist in the U.K. to have two singles to sell more than a million copies.

In 2004, after surpassing 175 million in album sales worldwide, she was presented with the Chopard Diamond Award at the World Music Awards for becoming the best-selling female artist of all time. According to Sony Music Entertainment, Dion has sold over 200 million albums worldwide.

In 1999, Dion received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame and also a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2004. She also received France's highest award, the Légion d'honneur, in May 2008. In August 2008, she received an honorary doctorate in music from the Université Laval in Quebec City.

An article in Le journal Montréal announced that her upcoming English album would be released in October 2012 and would be titled Water and a Flame. In the article Dion said the album would contain cover songs performed in her Las Vegas show as well as new songs. Notable producers announced for the album are Babyface, Ne-Yo, and Eg White.

It was also confirmed that the album will contain a duet with Stevie Wonder on a cover of his hit song "Overjoyed."


For more about Céline, visit her Website at -


March 30: John "Jay" Traynor, original lead singer with The Mystics & Jay and the Americans is 70-years-old today.

John "Jay" Traynor, who was born in Albany, New York,  was lead vocalist of The Mystics, replacing Paul Simon who left to "pursue other projects," (such as Simon and Garfunkle.)

On May 11, 1960, The Mystics with Jay Traynor on lead recorded "White Cliffs Of Dover," "Blue Star" and "Over The Rainbow" at RCA Studios. Jay left to form Jay and the Americans. Other original members were Howard Kane (né Kirschenbaum), Kenny Vance (né Rosenberg) and Sandy Deanne (né Yaguda).

Jay and the Americans were discovered while performing in student venues at New York University in the late 1950s. They auditioned for Leiber and Stoller, who gave the group its name. In the manner of the time, Leiber and Stoller wanted to extend this to "Binky Jones and the Americans," but Traynor declined to be known as Binky Jones his whole career. He instead offered up "Jay," a family nickname, and it suited everyone.

With Jay Traynor singing lead, they first hit the Billboard charts in 1962 with the tune "She Cried," which reached #5 and was later covered by The Shangri-Las, Aerosmith, and others. The next two singles didn't fare nearly as well, and Traynor left the group.

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Jay & The Americans - Greatest Hits

Jay with Howie Kane, Tony Butala (The Letterman), Sandy Deanne
Jay's solo singles made little impression, and name on the label was denoted as "JAY ... formerly of Jay & the Americans." One of his records, "Up And Over" issued on ABC in 1966 since became Northern Soul classic. (Northern Soul was a music and dance movement that emerged from the British mod scene, initially in northern England in the late 1960s.)

Jay and the Americans greatest success on the charts came after Traynor had been replaced as lead singer by Jay Black (David Blatt.) The group split in 1973 and was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.

From Jay Siegel's Website

Traynor now tours with Jay Siegel's Tokens ("The Lion Sleeps Tonight.") Jay Siegel was one of the early members of the Tokens along with Neil Sedaka. Jay Traynor sings "She Cried" at every show.


March 30: Legendary guitarist, singer and songwriter Eric Clapton is 68-years-old today.

Did you know?

Eric Clapton Robert Johnson has had the greatest influence on his guitar playing. In 2004, Clapton released a CD and DVD entitled Sessions for Robert Johnson, featuring Clapton recording Robert Johnson covers with electric and acoustic guitars.

In his book, Discovering Robert Johnson (which he co-authored with several other writers), Clapton said of Johnson, that he was "..the most important blues musician who ever lived. He was true, absolutely, to his own vision, and as deep as I have gotten into the music over the last 30 years, I have never found anything more deeply soulful than Robert Johnson. His music remains the most powerful cry that I think you can find in the human voice..."

Besides Johnson, Clapton  has credited Freddie King, B.B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, and Hubert Sumlin both in musical influence and on his guitar playing style. He is one of the three noted guitarists to have played with The Yardbirds (the other two being Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page).


Eric Patrick Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time.

Clapton ranked fourth in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and fourth in Gibson's Top 50 Guitarists of All Time.
In the mid sixties, Clapton left the Yardbirds to play blues with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. In his one-year stay with Mayall, Clapton gained the nickname "Slowhand," and graffiti in London declared "Clapton is God."
Immediately after leaving Mayall, Clapton formed with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce, the power trio, Cream, in which Clapton played sustained blues improvisations and "arty, blues-based psychedelic pop." For most of the seventies, Clapton's output bore the influence of the mellow style of J.J. Cale and the reggae of Bob Marley.

His version of Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" helped gain reggae a mass market. Two of his most popular recordings were "Layla," recorded by Derek and the Dominos, and Robert Johnson's "Crossroads," recorded by Cream.

A recipient of seventeen Grammy Awards, in 2004 Clapton was awarded a "Commander of the Order of the British Empire," (CBE) for services to music. In 1998 Clapton, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, founded the Crossroads Centre on Antigua, a medical facility for recovering substance abusers.

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Eric Clapton - Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010 (2BD)[Blu-ray]

Eric Patrick Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, England. Clapton grew up with his grandmother, Rose, believing she was his mother and that his mother was his older sister. Clapton received an acoustic Hoyer guitar, made in Germany, for his 13th birthday, and became serious about playing it when he was 15.

Clapton was influenced by the blues from an early age and practiced long hours to learn chords of blues music he listened to, playing along to the records. He preserved his practice sessions using a portable reel-to-reel tape recorder.

After leaving school in 1961, Clapton studied at the Kingston College of Art but was dismissed at the end of the academic year because his focus remained on music rather than art. His guitar playing had advanced so far that by the age of sixteen people were starting to notice him.

Around this time Clapton began busking around Kingston, Richmond and the West End of London. In 1962, Clapton started performing as a duo with fellow blues enthusiast David Brock in the pubs around Surrey. When he was 17 years old Clapton joined his first band, an early British R&B group, The Roosters, and played briefly with Casey Jones & The Engineers.
In October 1963, Clapton joined The Yardbirds, a blues-influenced rock and roll band, and stayed with them until March 1965.

The Yardbirds
Clapton developed a distinctive style and rapidly became one of the most talked-about guitarists in the British music scene. The band attracted a large cult following when they took over after the Rolling Stones' departed the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. In March 1965, just before Clapton left the band, he played guitar on The Yardbirds first major hit, "For Your Love."

Still musically devoted to the blues, Clapton was opposed to the Yardbirds' move toward a pop-oriented sound. Clapton joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, in April 1965, only to quit a few months later. In the summer of 1965, he left for Greece with a band called The Glands, then in late 1995, rejoined John Mayall. It was during his second Bluesbreakers stint that his passionate playing established Clapton's name as the best blues guitarist on the club circuit.
Although Clapton gained world fame for his playing on the influential album, Blues Breakers, the album was not released until Clapton had left the Bluesbreakers for good.

In July 1966 Clapton and formed Cream, one of the earliest supergroups, with Jack Bruce on bass and Ginger Baker on drums. During his time with Cream, Clapton began to develop as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, though Bruce took most of the lead vocals and wrote the majority of the material.

 In March 1967, Cream performed a nine show stand at the RKO Theater in New York. In just over two years, Cream became a commercial success, selling millions of records and playing throughout the U.S. and Europe. Their U.S. hit singles include "Sunshine of Your Love," "White Room," and "Crossroads." Drug and alcohol use escalated tension between the three members and the conflicts between Bruce and Baker eventually led to Cream's demise.
Cream's farewell album, Goodbye, featured live performances recorded at The Forum, Los Angeles, 19 October 1968, and was released shortly after Cream disbanded in 1968. It also featured the studio single "Badge," co-written by Clapton and George Harrison. Clapton had met Harrison and become friends with him after the Beatles shared a bill with the Yardbirds at the London Palladium.

The close friendship between Clapton and Harrison resulted in Clapton's playing on Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" from the Beatles' White Album. That same year, Harrison released his solo debut Wonderwall Music, becoming the first of many Harrison solo records to feature Clapton on guitar.
Cream briefly reunited in 1993 to perform at the ceremony inducting them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; however, a full reunion took place in May 2005, with Clapton, Bruce, and Baker playing four sold-out concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall, and three more at New York's Madison Square Garden that October.
Blind Faith
Clapton's next group Blind Faith, formed in 1969, included Cream drummer Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood of Traffic and Ric Grech of Family. The LP Blind Faith consisted of just six songs, one of them a 15-minute jam entitled "Do What You Like."  Blind Faith dissolved after less than seven months.
Clapton subsequently toured as a sideman for an act that had opened for Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. He also played two dates that fall as a member of John Lennon's The Plastic Ono Band.

Other media appearances include the Toots & the Maytals album True Love where he played guitar on the track "Pressure Drop." He can also be heard at the beginning of Frank Zappa's album, We're Only in It for the Money.

Clapton frequently appears as a guest on the albums of other musicians. For example, he is credited on Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms album, since he lent Mark Knopfler one of his guitars for the album. He also played lead guitar and synthesiser on The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Roger Waters' debut solo album.


For more about Eric, visit his Website at -


Friday, March 29, 2013

March 29: Actress and singer, Lucy Lawless ("Xena: Warrior Princess") is 45-years-old today.

Born Lucille Frances Ryan in the Mount Albert suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, Lawless is best known for playing the title character of the internationally successful television series Xena: Warrior Princess which ran from 1995 to 2001.

She is also known for the role of D'anna Biers (Number Three) on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. Most recently she appeared on the television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena as Lucretia, Quintus Lentulus Batiatus' wife.

Lawless has a background in musical theater and appeared on Broadway in a production of Grease, as the character of Betty Rizzo, in 1997.

She has continued to pursue a career in singing after being a contestant on Celebrity Duets. She made her onstage debut at the Roxy in Hollywood on 13 January 2007. Lawless had a sold-out crowd for back-to-back concerts.

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Xena Warrior Princess: Season 2

In 1994, Lawless appeared in Hercules and the Amazon Women, a Pacific Renaissance Pictures made-for-television film that became the television pilot for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In that episode, she played a man-hating Amazon named Lysia.

She went on to play another character, Lyla, in the first season episode "As Darkness Falls." But her key role was given to her when she was asked to play a villainous warrior woman named Xena in the episode "The Warrior Princess," which aired in March 1995.

To differentiate between Xena and the similar Lysia, Lawless' hair, naturally ash blond, was coloured black. Xena subsequently returned in two more episodes of the first season of Hercules, which portrayed her turn from villainess to good character.

The character was popular enough that a spin-off series was created for her. Xena: Warrior Princess debuted on 4 September 4,1995. Xena: Warrior Princess, like its parent program, was a hit, lasting six seasons, and Lawless became an international celebrity.

In mid February 2012, Lucy sang at New Zealander Of The Year donating her appearance fee to the Starship foundation.Friday 21 September is "Lucy Lawless Feel the Love Day."

In February 2012, Lawless and five other Greenpeace activists boarded an oil drilling ship at Port Taranaki, New Zealand, and remained on it for 77 hours to stop it leaving for the arctic where it was going to take part in oil exploration. She was subsequently arrested and charged with burglary, which carries an imprisonment term of up to 10 years if convicted.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 28: "The Queen of Country," Reba McEntire is 58-years-old today.

Reba Nell McEntire was born near Kiowa, Oklahoma. Her father and grandfather were champion steer ropers and her mother originally had plans to become a country music artist but became a schoolteacher instead.

Her mother did teach her children how to sing. On car rides home from her father's rodeo trips, the McEntire siblings were taught songs and learned their own harmonies, eventually forming a vocal group called the "Singing McEntires." Reba, along with brother Pake and sister Susie performed on local radio shows and at rodeos.

As a solo act, she was invited to perform at a rodeo in Oklahoma City, which caught the attention of country artist Red Steagall. He brought her to Nashville, Tennessee, where she eventually signed a contract with Mercury Records in 1975. She released her first solo album in 1977 and released five additional studio albums under the label until 1983.

Signing with MCA Nashville Records, McEntire took creative control over her second MCA album, My Kind of Country in 1984, which had a more traditional country sound and produced two number one singles: "How Blue" and "Somebody Should Leave." The album brought her breakthrough success, bringing her a series of successful albums and number one singles in the 1980s and 1990s.

McEntire has since released 26 studio albums, acquired 35 #1 singles, and 28 albums have been certified Gold, Platinum or Multi-Platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA.)

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50 Greatest Hits

In the early 1990s, McEntire branched into film starting with 1990's Tremors. She has since starred in the Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun and starred in her television sitcom, Reba (2001–2007) for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series–Musical or Comedy.

Reba has been called "The Queen of Country," having sold 41 million records in the United States and more than 56 million worldwide. In the United States, she ranks as both the seventh best-selling female artist in all genres and the seventh best-selling country artist, and the second best-selling female country artist of all time, behind Shania Twain.

McEntire holds the record for the most Academy of Country Music Top Female Vocalist Awards (seven), and American Music Awards for Favorite Country Female Artist (twelve), and is tied with Martina McBride for most Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year Awards (four) - though Reba does have the distinction of winning the award four times consecutively.

Reba also is one of only two women in country music history to have attained a number one hit in four different decades, and the only female to achieve solo number ones across four decades.


For more about Reba, visit her Website at -