Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 31: Actress & singer Alexis Knapp, "Project X" & "Pitch Perfect," is 24-years-old today.

Alexis Knapp was born July 31, 1989 in Avonmore, Pennsylvania. At age 18, Knapp moved to LA and there she worked as a model before breaking into acting.

At first, Alexis landed small roles in films such as Couples Retreat  and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief as Aphrodite Girl. In 2012, she starred in Project X as Alexis and Pitch Perfect (along with Anna Kendrick) as Stacie Conrad, the highly sex crazed Barden Bella.

Alexis has appeared on a few TV shows, and is set to star in ABC's Super Fun Night, written by and starring her Pitch Perfect co-star Rebel Wilson and alongside another one of her Pitch Perfect co-stars, Anna Camp.

Knapp also starred in the Tom Vaughan directed movie So Undercover, as Taylor Jaffe. Alexis also has roles in TBS Television Pilot, Ground Floor, portraying Tori, a party obsessed girl, who caught up on her sleep at work the next morning.

Alexis was also cast in the Lifetime pilot, Cinnamon Girl, before it got passed on. Alexis also stars in short film drama, Wracked, as Melissa.

Knapp dated actor Ryan Phillippe in the summer of 2010,before splitting in September 2010. After the break-up, Knapp discovered that she was pregnant, and gave birth to a daughter, Kailani Merizalde Phillippe Knapp, on July 1, 2011. She was pregnant with her daughter while filming So Undercover.


July 31: Gary Lewis of Gary Lewis & the Playboys & son of Jerry Lewis is 67-years-old today.

  Gary Lee Levitch was born July 31, 1946 in in Los Angeles, California. Gary is the son of comedian and actor Jerry Lewis and Patti Lewis (née Esther Calonico), a singer with the Ted Fio Rito Orchestra. Reportedly, his mother intended to name him after her favorite actor, Cary Grant, but a clerical error led to his naming as "Gary."

Gary received a set of drums as a gift for his 14th birthday in 1960. When he was 18, Lewis formed what would become Gary Lewis & the Playboys (then known as "Gary And The Playboys") with four other friends.

Producer Snuff Garrett wasn't aware of Gary's band until a mutual friend, conductor Les Brown, informed him that the band was playing at Disneyland. Seizing an opportunity to capitalize on the Lewis name, Garrett put Lewis' band into the studio to practice.

Garrett pushed Lewis to improve his drumming skill, even getting Buddy Rich to tutor him, and, made Lewis the singer, and therefore the focal point of the group. By Lewis' own admission, his natural singing voice was not one of his strengths, and this led Garrett to employ vocal overdubbing tricks in the studio, to enhance it. He later played the guitar.

In February 1965, "This Diamond Ring,” hit number one on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 chart making Lewis an instant star; and was named as Cash Box magazine's 1965 "Male Vocalist of the Year."

Besides the Lovin' Spoonful, the group was the only artist during the 1960s to have its first seven Hot 100 releases each reach that chart's Top 10.

In addition to "This Diamond Ring" his hits include "Count Me In" (the only non-British Commonwealth record in the Hot 100's Top 10 on 8 May 1965, "Save Your Heart for Me," "Everybody Loves A Clown," "She's Just My Style," "Sure Gonna Miss Her," and "Green Grass." By 1966, Lewis had stopped drumming altogether. 

His career was put on hold when he entered the U.S. Army as a draftee in January 1967, and he served in the Vietnam War to 1968.

After his discharge, he returned to performing and recording but did not recapture his earlier success; five releases by the band that year peaked from 13th to 39th.

Lewis retired from music, operating a music shop in San Fernando Valley in 1971, and giving drumming lessons. A brief attempt at starting a new band called "Medecine,” with Billy Cowsill of The Cowsills in 1974 did not go anywhere.

It was not until the 1980s when Lewis began touring again, with various incarnations of The Playboys, generally featuring no original members. He also appeared on his father's Labor Day Telethons for the Muscular Dystrophy Association up until 2010. 

In January 2012, Gary released a new single, "You Can't Go Back."
For more about Gary visit his Website at –


July 31: country & folk musician Zac Brown – of the Zac Brown Band- is 35-years-old today.

Zac Brown was born July 31, 1978 in Cumming, Georgia; the 11th of 12 children. He learned to play classical guitar at the age of 7. As a teenager, he played solo gigs in local venues, performing country and pop cover songs.

In 2002, the Zac Brown Band was formed and they began traveling with a heavy tour schedule of approximately 200 dates a year. The initial Zac Brown Band lineup consisted of Brown, on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, backed by a drummer and a bass guitarist.

In 2003, Brown started his own label, called Home Grown (today, it is called Southern Ground for legal reasons). In 2004, Brown opened a music club and restaurant with his father in the Lake Oconee area of Georgia, called "Zac's Place" where they served southern-style cooking. A developer bought the restaurant and, in turn, the Zac Brown Band bought a tour bus and began touring full-time, playing rock and country clubs as well as folk and jam band festivals.

In 2004 the Zac Brown Band's first independent album, Far from Einstyne was released. In 2008, the Zac Brown Band signed to Live Nation Artists Records, in association with Brown's own Home Grown label. The Zac Brown Band's debut single, "Chicken Fried,” was originally recorded in 2003 and included on the Home Grown album, but later re-recorded and released to country radio in 2008. This song was also recorded by The Lost Trailers. Brown also co-wrote "Simple Life,” a song recorded by The Lost Trailers on their 2006 self-titled album.

In October 2008, Atlantic Records acquired distribution of "Chicken Fried" after Live Nation Artists closed. The band's album The Foundation was released under Atlantic Records' newly re-established country division in association with the Home Grown/Big Picture label on November 18 of that year.

"Chicken Fried" reached No. 1 on the country charts that same month, making them the first country band to reach No. 1 with a debut single since Heartland did so in 2006 with "I Loved Her First."

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the present lineup of the Zac Brown Band is Zac on lead vocals and guitar, Jimmy De Martini (fiddle, vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass guitar, vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar, keyboards), Chris Fryar (drums), Clay Cook (guitar, keyboards, mandolin, steel guitar, vocals), and Daniel de los Reyes (percussion).

They have recorded five studio albums, and charted nine Number One singles on the Billboard country charts: "Chicken Fried,” "Toes,” "Highway 20 Ride,” "Free,” "As She's Walking Away,” "Colder Weather,” "Knee Deep,” "Keep Me In Mind,” and "Goodbye in Her Eyes" in addition to the singles "Whatever It Is,” "No Hurry,” and "Jump Right In,” which peaked at number 2 on the same chart.

In July 2012, Zac Brown Band debuted their new CD, Uncaged. Billboard called the album the best country album of 2012 as of its release.

For more about the Zac Brown band, visit their Website at –


July 31: Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Krystal Meyers is 24-years-old today.


Krystal Meyers was born in Orange County, California. Her family later moved to Eugene, Oregon, and when she was six, moved to Franklin, Tennessee, near Nashville.

Krystal started singing at home when she was two. She sang her first solo in church at the age of five, started writing songs by age ten and was playing the acoustic guitar by age 13.

While at Barefoot Republic youth camp, when she was 14, she wrote "Anticonformity" with a friend, Hannah Dwinell. When she entered the ninth grade she says she saw her peers falling into drugs and sex and then anticonformity" became "really real" to her.  In 1995 she released her self-titled first album Krystal Meyers when she was 16-years-old.

Krystal has stated that she knew she would be doing music ministry ever since she could talk: “A lady in our church told my mom ‘Your daughter is going to travel the world and be a missionary.’ That’s what this is—a mission field and music is the outlet... My faith means everything to me,” she says....I want God to be speaking through my music. So I stepped back and prayed about it. I surrendered the whole writing process to God.”

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Krystal MeyersFall to PiecesThe Way To Begin

In Japan, where Krystal's first record went gold, she has been on the cover of Nylon Japan, AERA English magazine, twice and Tower Records' Bounce magazine. Krystal has also been on the cover of In Rock which is Japan's version of Rolling Stone magazine.

In the U.S. she has appeared on the cover of Vision magazine and ONCOURSE magazine. She has also modeled for UNIQLO.

Krystal signed with Essential Records for her self-titled album, Krystal Meyers, which produced four top ten singles on the U.S. Christian charts. Working with CCM artist and producer Ian Eskelin and the Wizardz of Oz production team, her song, "Anticonformity" became the number one pop single in Japan.

The album's lead single "The Way to Begin" charted at #1 on the Christian CHR Charts. Other singles "My Savior" and "Anticonformity" peaked at #8 and "Fire" peaked at #9. The album peaked at #48 on Top Heatseekers and went Gold in Japan. The album was released on June 7, 2005 in the US and on May 30, 2006 worldwide.
Krystal's second album, Dying For A Heart, was released on September 19, 2006 in the U.S. and on October 24, 2006 worldwide. "One cut on the album is "The Situation," a song about temptation and having the strength to make the right choice when a relationship begins to take a more physical turn. She says she crafted with her guitarist Brian Hitt. "With 'The Situation' being about premarital sex, we wanted to make it more challenging and in-your-face..."

The album peaked at #19 on Top Heatseekers. Its first single "Collide" hit #6 on the Christian Rock Charts. The second single "The Beauty Of Grace" hit #4 on the Christian CHR Charts and #2 in Japan. The third single, "Hallelujah," peaked at #28 on the Christian Rock Charts.

Make Some Noise became Meyers' third studio album released September 9, 2008 in the US and July 9, 2008 in Japan; making its world-wide Internet video premier on Yahoo Music on July 10, 2008. The album is more in the pop vein than her first two albums.

Krystal's lead single is called "Shine" and it charted well in the Christian CHR charts, as well as charting at #13 on the iTunes top Christian/Gospel songs chart. Other songs released from the album are "Make Some Noise," the title track, "Love It Away," and "My Freedom."

The Make Some Noise album is also available in an iTunes Worldwide Deluxe Edition with eleven individual and three additional versions of "Make Some Noise" with choruses in Indonesian, Mandarin and Thai.

Krystal Meyers' song "Make Some Noise" was selected to be included in the Official 2008 Olympics Album: Olympics 2008 - One World, One Dream. It was also used by NBC in promoting its fall 2008 line-up. and a sampling of her music was used on ABC's Sunday-Night Lineup.

Krystal has received four Dove Award nominations: two at the 37th GMA Dove Awards (New Artist of the Year and Special Event Album), one for the 38th GMA Dove Awards (Female Vocalist of the Year) and one for the 39th GMA Dove Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year."


For more about Krystal, visit her Website at-


July 31: Bob Welch - "Sentimental Lady," Fleetwood Mac - was born on this date in 1946...

... he died on June 6, 2012 after committing suicide.

Robert Lawrence "Bob" Welch, Jr. was born in Los Angeles, California, into a show business family. Raised in Beverly Hills, his father was movie producer and screenwriter Robert L. Welch, who worked at Paramount Pictures in the 1940s and 1950s, producing films starring Paramount's top box office stars, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Bob's mother, Templeton Fox, had been a singer and actress who worked with Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre in Chicago, Illinois and appeared on TV and in movies from 1962 to 1979.

As a youngster, Welch learned clarinet, switching to guitar in his early teens. He had received his first guitar at the age of eight. The young Welch developed an interest in jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock music. After graduating from high school, Welch declined attending Georgetown University, where he had been accepted, to move to Paris, professedly to attend the Sorbonne. He spent time "sitting in the Deux Magots café" rather than attending to his studies. 

Eventually, Bob returned to Southern California, where he studied French at U.C.L.A.. Dropping out of U.C.L.A. before graduation, Welch joined the Los Angeles-based vocal group The Seven Souls as a guitarist in 1964. Welch moved back to Paris and started a trio, Head West, which was not a success.

Bob Welch struggled with a variety of marginal bands until 1971, when he was invited to join Fleetwood Mac, along with fellow newcomer keyboardist/singer-songwriter Christine McVie. Judy Wong, a friend of the band who served at times as their secretary, recommended her high school friend Bob Welch to the band. Welch was living in Paris at the time. The band had a few meetings with Welch and decided to hire him without actually playing with him or listening to any of his recordings.

Welch  played rhythm guitar, backing up lead guitarist Danny Kirwan. It was felt that having an American in the band might extend Fleetwood Mac's appeal in the States. Bob helped to steer the band in a more melodic direction, particularly after lead guitarist/singer-songwriter Kirwan left the band in 1972.

Welch eventually went to live in the band's communal home, a mansion called Benifold, which was located in Hampshire. In September 1971, the band released the first Fleetwood Mac album featuring Bob Welch, Future Games, with the title song written by Welch. This album was radically different from anything the band had done up to that point.

In 1972, six months after the release of Future Games, the band released the well-received album Bare Trees, which featured Welch's song "Sentimental Lady." The song would become a much bigger hit for him five years later when he re-recorded it for his solo album French Kiss. (He was backed on the album by Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, and Lindsey Buckingham, who had replaced Welch as the band's guitarist.)

Welch released solo albums into the early 1980s (The Other One, Man Overboard, Bob Welch, and Eye Contact) with decreasing success, during which time he also developed a heroin addiction. After cleaning himself up in 1986, Welch turned away from performing and recording and focused his attention on songwriting for others.

In the early 1990s, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where he put together a short-lived group called Avenue M, which backed him on tour and recorded one song for a greatest hits compilation. He later moved to Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1999, Welch released an experimental jazz/loop based album, Bob Welch Looks at Bop. He followed this up in 2003, with His Fleetwood Mac Years and Beyond, which contained new recordings of songs he originally recorded with Fleetwood Mac, as well as some solo hits. In 2006, he released His Fleetwood Mac Years and Beyond 2, which mixed a half-dozen new compositions, along with a similar number of his Mac/solo remakes.

Welch had been married since 1985 to Wendy Armistead Welch. The couple resided in Nashville. On June 7, 2012, Welch committed suicide in his Nashville home at around 12:15 p.m. He was found by his wife with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest; a suicide note had been left behind. Welch suffered from undisclosed health issues prior to his death.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 30: Canadian-born singer, songwriter and actor Paul Anka – “Diana,” "Lonely Boy,” and "Put Your Head on My Shoulder"- is 72-years-old today.

Paul Albert Anka, OC was born July 30, 1941 in Ottawa, Ontario. Anka recorded his first single, "I Confess,” when he was 14.

In 1957 he went to New York City where he auditioned for Don Costa at ABC, singing what was widely believed to be a lovestruck verse he had written to a former babysitter. In an interview with NPR's Terry Gross in 2005, he stated that it was to a girl at his church who he hardly knew. The song, "Diana,” brought Anka stardom as it rocketed to number one on the Canadian and U.S. music charts.

Anka followed up with four songs that made it into the Top 20 in 1958, including "It's Time to Cry,” and "(All Of a Sudden) My Heart Sings,” making him, at 17-years-old, one a huge "teen idol."

Anka toured Britain, then Australia with Buddy Holly. Anka  wrote "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" for Buddy Holly which Holly recorded just before he died in 1959.

He went on to write such well-known music as the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and one of Tom Jones' biggest hits, "She's a Lady,” and the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra's signature song, "My Way" (originally French song "Comme d'habitude").

In 1960 Anka signed with RCA Victor, but saw his career stalled by the British Invasion. By the late 1960s, Anka's career centred around performing in Las Vegas. After more than ten years without a top 25 hit record, Anka signed with United Artists and in 1974 teamed up with Odia Coates to record the number one hit, "(You're) Having My Baby.”

They would record two more duets that made it into the Top 10, "One Man Woman/One Woman Man" and "I Don't Like to Sleep Alone." In 1975 he recorded a jingle for Kodak called "Times of Your Life.”

In 1983, he co-wrote with Michael Jackson the song "I Never Heard,” which was retitled and released in 2009 under the name "This Is It.” An additional song that Jackson co-wrote with Anka from this 1983 session, "Love Never Felt So Good,” has since been discovered, and will be released in the future. The song was also released by Johnny Mathis in 1984.

Sometime in the mid-1980s, Anka was secretly recorded while launching a tirade against his crew and band members, berating them for unprofessional behavior in the show they had just played. (Asked about it on the interview program Fresh Air, he referred to the person who did the recording as a "snake we later fired.")

The recording became widely known after being uploaded to the Internet, and a number of quotes from it have since become famous, including "The guys get shirts," "Don't make a maniac out of me," and "Slice like a fucking hammer."

For more about Paul, visit his Website at –


July 30: English singer-songwriter Kate Bush (CBE) is 55-years-old today.

Kate Bush's eclectic musical and idiosyncratic vocal style have made her one of the U.K.'s most successful solo female performers of the past 30 years.
Born Catherine Bush in Bexleyheath, Kent, she was raised in a farmhouse in East Wickham, Kent. Her mother was a former Irish folk dancer, her father was an accomplished pianist. Her brothers Paddy was a musical-instrument maker and John was a poet and photographer. Both brothers were involved in the local folk music scene.

Her family's musical influence inspired the young Kate to teach herself to play the piano at age 11. She also played the organ in a barn behind her parents' house and studied the violin. She soon began writing her own tunes and lyrics.

While Bush attended St Joseph's Convent Grammar School in the mid-1970s, her family produced a demo tape with over 50 of her compositions, which was turned down by record labels. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd received the demo from Ricky Hopper, a mutual friend of Gilmour and the Bush family.

Impressed with what he heard, Gilmour helped Bush get a more professional-sounding demo tape recorded. The tape was produced by Gilmour's friend Andrew Powell, who would go on to produce Bush's first two albums. The tape was sent to EMI executive Terry Slater, who was impressed by the tape and signed her.

For the first two years of her contract, Bush spent more time on school work than making an album. EMI forwarded her a sizable advance which she used to enroll in interpretive dance classes taught by Lindsay Kemp, a former teacher of David Bowie, and mime training with Adam Darius.
Bush also wrote and made demos of close to 200 songs, a few of which today can be found on bootleg recordings and are known as the Phoenix Recordings.

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Director's Cut
The Kick InsideWuthering Heights

From March to August 1977, she fronted the KT Bush Band at public houses around London – specifically at the Rose of Lee public house (now Dirty South) in Lewisham. She began recording her first album in August 1977, including two tracks recorded during the summer of 1975.

At age 19, she topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks with her debut single "Wuthering Heights," becoming the first woman to have a UK number-one with a self-written song. She was also the most photographed woman in the United Kingdom the following year.

After her 1979 tour—the only concert tour of her career—Bush released the 1980 album Never for Ever, which made her the first British solo female artist to top the UK album charts and the first female artist ever to enter the album chart at No. 1. In 1987, she won a BRIT Award for Best British Female Solo Artist.

Kate Bush has released ten albums, three of which topped the UK Albums Chart, and has had twenty-five UK Top 40 hit singles including "Wuthering Heights," "Running Up that Hill," "King of the Mountain," "Babooshka," "The Man with the Child in His Eyes," and "Don't Give Up" (a duet with Peter Gabriel)—all of which reached the Top 10.

In 2002, Bush's songwriting ability was recognized with an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.

In 2005, she released Aerial, her first album in 12 years. The album earned her a BRIT Award nomination for Best Album and another for Best Solo Female Artist. During the course of her career, she has also been nominated for three Grammy Awards.

In early 2011, EMI Records also announced an upcoming re-issue of four of Bush's albums (The Dreaming, Hounds of Love, The Sensual World and The Red Shoes) under the name of her own label, Fish People, now that Bush has regained full control over these records.

Bush released Director's Cut on May 16, 2011, which contains reworked material from her albums The Sensual World from 1989, and The Red Shoes from 1993.

In May 2011, Bush said she was working on an album of new material.

Bush was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to music.

For more about Kate, visit her Website at -