Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dec. 31- Jan. 1: To all our friends in Europe

Vive l´Europe New Years-Music Te Deum

From Music Lover,
Atlanta, Georgia USA

December 31: Burton Cummings of The Guess Who - "American Woman," "No Time," "These Eyes" - is 66-years-old today.

Burton Cummings was the lead singer and keyboardist for the Canadian rock band The Guess Who. From 1965 to 1975 he sang and wrote or co-wrote many of the Guess Who's songs including "American Woman," "No Time," "Share the Land," "Hand Me Down World," "Undun," "Laughing," "Star Baby," "New Mother Nature," and "These Eyes."

Burton also recorded many successful single records during his solo career, post-Guess Who.

Cummings was born and raised in the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, as were all of the other original members of The Guess Who. His first band was a local Winnipeg R&B group The Deverons. He joined The Guess Who in 1965 to replace keyboardist Bob Ashley. Shortly after, the group's lead singer, Chad Allan, left the band.

In 1969, The Guess Who scored an international hit with "These Eyes," co-written by Cummings and guitarist Randy Bachman. It was followed up by hit "Laughing," again written by Cummings and Bachman. Another Guess Who song "Undun" featured Cummings on a jazzy flute solo. In 1970, the band hit no. 1 in Canada with "American Woman."

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Bachman-Cummings Songbook

Ultimately, personal issues between Cummings and bandmate Randy Bachman – partially ignited by Bachman's deepening religious beliefs—caused a rift in the band. Bachman left and went on to form the band Brave Belt with former Guess Who mate Chad Allan, and later Bachman–Turner Overdrive.

Cummings became the band's leader and recorded songs that included: "Share the Land," "Hand Me Down World," "Albert Flasher," "Rain Dance," "Sour Suite," "Glamour Boy," "Star Baby" and "Clap for the Wolfman."

In 1975, Cummings left The Guess Who to become a solo artist and the group disbanded. One of his first projects included providing back-up vocals on Eric Carmen's second solo LP, Boats Against the Current, including "She Did It."

Cummings' subsequent solo hits in Canada included "Stand Tall," his biggest American solo hit, peaking at #10, "I'm Scared," "Break it to Them Gently," and "Fine State of Affairs." Cummings charted outside Canada with "Stand Tall" and "You Saved My Soul." His Dream of a Child album released in 1978 was the best selling Canadian album in history at that time.

Cummings released a total of eight solo albums and collections from 1976 to 1990. In 1997 he released a live compilation album of his solo performances entitled Up Close and Alone.

Ironing out - or maybe papering over - their differences, in 2000, Cummings, Bachman and original drummer Garry Peterson toured as The Guess Who. Bassist Jim Kale played one show and former Guess Who sidemen Donnie McDougall and Bill Wallace re-joined the line-up through the remainder of the tour in Canada and later in the U.S. The reformed The Guess Who toured with Cummings from 2000 through to the summer of 2003.

In 2001, Cummings and the rest of The Guess Who received honorary doctorates at Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba. Cummings was also made a member of the Order of Manitoba.

Cummings plays occasional shows with Randy Bachman as The Bachman-Cummings Band, featuring The Carpet Frogs, a band from Toronto and makes occasional appearances at various Canadian casinos as a solo performer.

The Bachman-Cummings Band have released a compilation album titled the Bachman-Cummings Song Book featuring songs from The Guess Who, Bachman–Turner Overdrive and Cummings' solo career. They have also released an album titled The Thunderbird Trax, which is an album that Cummings and Bachman recorded in Bachman's tool shed in British Columbia in 1987.


December 31: "The Queen of Disco," Donna Summer was born on this date in 1948...

... she died on May 17, 2012 from cancer. She was 63 years-old.

Donna Summer was very popular in the 1970s earning the title "The Queen of Disco." She is a 5 time Grammy winner and has sold over 130 million records to date.

Summer was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the US Billboard chart and she had four number-one singles within a thirteen-month period.

Born on New Year's Eve 1948 in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, LaDonna Adrian Gaines biggest influence was Mahalia Jackson. Singing in church at a young age, in her teens, she formed several musical groups including one with her sister and a cousin, imitating Motown girl groups such as The Supremes and Martha and the Vandellas.

In the late 1960s, Summer was influenced by Janis Joplin and joined the psychedelic rock group the Crow as lead singer. She had dropped out of school convinced that music was her way out of Boston, where she felt she was not accepted. The group didn't last long.

In 1968, Summer auditioned for a role in the Broadway musical, Hair. (She lost the part of Sheila to Melba Moore.) When the musical moved to Europe, Summer was offered the role. She took it and moved to Germany for several years. While in Germany, she also appeared in the musicals Godspell and Show Boat.

After settling in Munich, she began performing in several ensembles including the Viennese Folk Opera and even sang as a member of the pop group FamilyTree. She came to the group in 1973 and toured with the 11-people pop group throughout Europe. She also sang backup in studio sessions.

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The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer

In 1971, while still using her birth name Donna Gaines, she released her first single, a cover of "Sally Go 'Round the Roses," which did not sell well. In 1972, she married Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer and gave birth to their daughter Mimi Sommer in 1973. Citing marital problems caused by Sommer's frequent absences, she divorced him but kept his last name, changing the "o" to a "u."

While singing background for the 1970s trio Three Dog Night that Summer met producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. She eventually made a deal with the European label Groovy Records and in 1984, released her first album, Lady of the Night. Though not a hit in the U.S., the album was successful in Europe, particularly the song "The Hostage," which reached number one in France and Belgium and number two in the Netherlands.

In 1975, Summer approached Moroder with an idea for a song he and Bellotte were working on for another singer. She had come up with the lyric "love to love you, baby" as the possible title. Moroder was interested in developing the new sound that was becoming popular and used Summer's lyric to develop the song.

Moroder persuaded Summer to record what she thought would be a demo track for another performer. To make herself feel comfortable recording the song, she requested the producers turn off the lights while she sat on the sofa inducing fake moans and groans. The original track was only three minutes. Moroder heard the playback of the song and felt Summer's version should be released. Released as "Love to Love You" in Europe, the song found modest chart success.

The song was sent to Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart, who asked Moroder to produce a longer version of the song. Summer, Moroder, and Bellotte returned with a 17 minute version, including a soulful chorus and an instrumental break while Summer invoked more moans. Casablanca signed Summer in 1975 and the label released the song, now titled "Love to Love You Baby," in November. By early 1976, the song had reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100. The parent album of the same name sold over a million copies.  

The song generated some controversy for its graphic nature of Summer's moans and was even banned from some radio stations. Several news magazines, including Time reported that 22 orgasms were simulated in the making of the song. After several more modest singles and subsequent albums, including the concept albums Love Trilogy and Four Seasons of Love, which also went gold, Summer was deemed in the press as "The First Lady of Love," a title with which Summer was not totally comfortable. Her single "Love's Unkind" reached number 3 in the UK during 1977.

In 1977, Summer released her album, I Remember Yesterday. It included her second top ten single, "I Feel Love," which reached number six in America and number one in the UK. Another concept album, also released in 1977, was the double album, Once Upon a Time, which told of a modern-day Cinderella "rags to riches" story through the elements of orchestral disco and ballads.

In 1978, Summer released a disco version of the Richard Harris ballad, "MacArthur Park," which became her first number one US hit. The song was featured on Summer's first live album, Live and More, which also became her first album to hit number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, and went platinum selling over a million copies. Other studio tracks included the top ten hit, "Heaven Knows," which featured the group Brooklyn Dreams accompanying her on background and Joe "Bean" Esposito singing alongside her on the verses.

Also in 1978, Summer acted in the film, Thank God It's Friday, playing a singer determined to perform at a hot disco club. The song, "Last Dance," written by Paul Jabara, reached the top three in the U.S. and resulted in Donna winning her first Grammy Award.  Despite this success, Summer was struggling with anxiety and depression and became enthralled in a prescription drug addiction, which nearly consumed her in early 1979.

Following her recovery, Summer, Moroder and Bellotte worked on their next disco project. The result was Bad Girls, an album that had been in production for nearly two years.

Summer based the concept of the album on a prostitute, as was made clear in the lyrics. The album became a success, spawning the number one hits "Hot Stuff" and Bad Girls. The ballad "Dim All the Lights" reached number two. With the Barbra Streisand duet "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)," Summer achieved four number one hits in a single year. "Hot Stuff" later won her a second Grammy in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance,

In 1989, Summer released the album Another Place and Time on Atlantic Records. Summer had a top 10 pop hit with "This Time I Know It's For Real," which became her fourteenth and final gold hit to register on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also a number 3 chart hit in the U.K., her highest placed single there since "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)" ten years earlier.


December 31: John Denver was born on this date in 1943...

... he died on October 12, 1997. Denver was killed when his Experimental Rutan Long-EZ plane, aircraft  crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Pacific Grove, California.
Born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., in Roswell, New Mexico, Denver recorded around 300 songs, about 200 of which he composed himself. His best known songs include Songs such as "Leaving on a Jet Plane," "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Rocky Mountain High," "Sunshine on My Shoulders," "Thank God I'm a Country Boy," "Annie's Song" and "Calypso."

Because Denver's father was in the military, the family moved often, making it difficult for young John to make friends and fit in with people of his own age. When he was 12, John received a 1910 Gibson acoustic jazz guitar from his grandmother. He learned to play well enough to perform at local clubs by the time he was in college. He adopted the surname "Denver" after the capital of his favorite state, Colorado, when it was  suggested that "Deutschendorf" wouldn't fit well on a theater marquee.


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Wildlife Concert

Denver attended Texas Technological College in Lubbock and sang in a folk-music group called "The Alpine Trio" while studying architecture. He  dropped out of college in 1963 and moved to Los Angeles, where he sang in underground folk clubs. In 1965, Denver joined the Chad Mitchell Trio, a folk group that had been renamed "The Mitchell Trio" prior to Chad Mitchell's departure, and later "Denver, Boise, and Johnson" (with David Boise, and Michael Johnson.)

In 1969, Denver pursued a solo career and released his first album Rhymes and Reasons.
Denver was also a guest star on The Muppet Show, the beginning of a lifelong friendship between Denver and Jim Henson that spawned two television specials with The Muppets. He also tried his hand at acting, starring in the 1977 film Oh, God! opposite George Burns. Denver hosted the Grammy Awards five times in the 1970s and 1980s, and guest-hosted The Tonight Show on multiple occasions.

John Denver has received many awards including:
Academy of Country Music
1974 Album of the Year for "Back Home Again"
American Music Awards
1975 Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist
1976 Favorite Country Album for "Back Home Again"
1976 Favorite Country Male Artist
Country Music Association
1975 Entertainer of the Year
1975 Song of the Year for "Back Home Again"
Emmy Awards
1975 Emmy for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special for "An Evening With John Denver"
Grammy Awards
1997 Best Musical Album For Children for "All Aboard!"
1998 Grammy Hall of Fame Award for "Take Me Home, Country Roads"
Songwriters Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1996
Other Honors
Poet Laureate of Colorado, 1977
People's Choice Awards, 1977
Ten Outstanding Young Men of America, 1979
Carl Sandburg’s People’s Poet Award, 1982
NASA Public Service Medal, 1985
Albert Schweitzer Music Award, 1993
"Rocky Mountain High" declared state song of Colorado, 2007.

Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30: English singer-songwriter and actress, Ellie Goulding is 27-years-old today.

 Elena Jane "Ellie" Goulding was born in the small village of Lyonshall, Herefordshire, in the U.K. She began playing the clarinet at the age of nine, and at 14 began learning guitar. She started songwriting at the age of 15 and while in college she entered a singing competition and won.

Her career began when she met record producer Starsmith and Frankmusik, and she was later spotted by Jamie Lillywhite, who later became her manager and A&R. After signing to Polydor Records in July 2009, Goulding released her debut extended play, An Introduction to Ellie Goulding, later that year.

  In 2010, she became the second artist to both top the BBC's annual Sound of... poll and win the Critics' Choice Award at the Brit Awards in the same year, following Adele's win of both in 2008.

Goulding released her debut studio album, Lights, in 2010. The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and has sold over 850,000 copies in the UK. Her cover of Elton John's "Your Song" reached number two in the UK in December 2010 and on 29 April 2011 she performed the song at the wedding reception of Prince William and Catherine Middleton at Buckingham Palace.

The album's title track, "Lights,” was released in the US in March 2011, and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 nearly a year and a half later during its thirty-third week charting, completing one of the longest ever climbs into the top two positions on the chart. The single, which lasted over a year on the Billboard Hot 100, was also certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Goulding's second album Halcyon was released in October 2012 to generally positive reviews from critics. "Anything Could Happen" preceded the album as the lead single, reaching the top five in the UK as well as the top twenty in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. Halcyon debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, and number nine on the Billboard 200 Chart, her first top ten debut in the United States. The album also reached the top five in New Zealand, top ten in Ireland and Canada, and top twenty in Australia.

Halcyon Days, a repackaged edition of Halcyon, was released on 23 August 2013, it included new singles including "Burn,” which became her first UK number-one single in the same month, as well as "I Need Your Love" with Calvin Harris and How Long Will I Love You?

Goulding is recognized for her high piercing vibrato, breathy tone and emotive delivery. As of June 2013, she has sold an estimated three million albums and ten million singles worldwide.
For more about Ellie, visit her Website at –



December 30: Del Shannon “Runaway,” “Hats off To Larry,” was born on this date in 1934…

… he died on February 8, 1990 when he was 55 years-old.

Born in Grand Rapids, MI, Del Shannon was one of the most original rockers of the early '60s. Although considered a teen idol, he favored brooding themes of abandonment, loss, and rejection. Del wrote most of his own songs, and was able to keep going strong for a year or two into the British Invasion. However, his commercial appeal for the most part, withered after the mid-'60s.

Born Charles Weedon Westover, Shannon happened upon a gripping series of minor chords while playing with his band in Battle Creek, MI. The chords would form the basis for his 1961 debut single, "Runaway," one of the greatest hits of the early '60s, with its unforgettable riffs, Shannon's amazing vocal range – including a trademark falsetto - and an unusual organ solo in the middle of the tune. It made number one, and the similar follow-up, "Hats Off to Larry," also made the Top Ten.

Shannon had intermittent minor hits over the next couple of years ("Little Town Flirt," and “Searching” were the biggest. Ironically, in light of the British Invasion on the shores of the U.S., Del continued to be very popular in England. On one of his European tours in 1963, he played some shows with the Beatles, who had just scored their first big British hits.

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Runaway / Very Best of Del Shannon

Shannon, impressed by what he heard, would become the first American artist to cover a Beatles song when he recorded "From Me to You" as a single in 1963 – though it was only a minor hit for Del.

Shannon's songs shared some similarities with the British Invasion, and in 1965 Peter & Gordon would cover a Shannon composition, "I Go to Pieces," for a Top Ten hit.

Del himself, returned to the Top Ten with a late-1964 single, "Keep Searchin'." But after his single "Stranger in Town" released in 1965, he did not enter the Top 40 again for nearly 20 years. By the late '60s, Shannon was devoting much of his time to producing other artists.

Shannon was a perennially popular artist on the oldies circuit. An early '80s album produced by Tom Petty got him into the Top 40 again with a cover of "Sea of Love."

He was working on another comeback album with Jeff Lynne, and sometimes rumored as a replacement for Roy Orbison in the Traveling Wilburys, when he unexpectedly killed himself on February 8, 1990, while on anti-depressant drugs.


December 30: singer, actor, and jockey, Davy Jones Of The Monkees was born on this date in 1945...

... he died on February 29, 2012 after suffering a heart attack.

David Thomas Jones was born in Manchester, England in 1945. After his mother died, his father sent him to live with jockey Basil Foster  as an apprentice. Foster recognized Jones' acting and singing ability, and encouraged him to pursue his acting career. When Foster  was approached by a friend who was a casting director, for a theatre on the West End of London, Basil told him, "I've got the kid."

As a teenager he appeared on British TV soap operas, including Coronation Street as Ena Sharples's grandson, Colin Lomax. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of the Artful Dodger in the musical Oliver! He played the role in London and on Broadway.

Somewhat ironically - maybe prophetically is a better word - he appeared with the Broadway cast of Oliver! on the Ed Sullivan Show, on the same night The Beatles made their first appearance. Jones says of that night, "I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage, I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that."

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The Monkees - Greatest HitsThe Monkees - Our Favorite Episodes

Following his Ed Sullivan appearance, Ward Sylvester of Screen Gems, at the time, the television division of Columbia Pictures, signed Jones to a contract. A pair of American television appearances followed in episodes of Ben Casey and The Farmer's Daughter. He also recorded a single and album for Colpix Records, which charted but weren't huge hits.

From 1965 to 1971, Jones was a member of The Monkees, a pop-rock group formed expressly for a TV show of the same name. He was the only Monkee who had signed a deal with Screen Gems, the studio that produced the series. As a Monkee, Jones sang lead vocals on many of the group's songs, including "I Wanna Be Free" and "Daydream Believer."

After the show went off the air and the group disbanded, he continued to perform solo, while later joining with fellow-Monkee Micky Dolenz and songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart as a short-lived group called Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. He has also toured throughout the years with other members as various incarnations of the Monkees.

In 1978 he appeared with Micky Dolenz in Harry Nilsson's play The Point at the Mermaid Theatre in London. Jones continued acting and appeared in one episode of The Brady Bunch, two episodes of My Two Dads, and two episodes of Love, American Style.

He also appeared, in animated form, on an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies. Also, Jones made a cameo appearance as himself in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "SpongeBob vs. The Big One," and Boy Meets World.

In 1997 he guest-starred as himself on the TV Show Sabrina The Teenage Witch and sang "Daydream Believer" to Sabrina, played by Melissa Joan Hart.

In recent years, Jones performed with his former bandmates in reunion tours and appeared in several productions of Oliver!, this time as Fagin.

He continued to race horses with some success in his native England, while residing in Beavertown, Pennsylvania in the U.S.

In April 2006, Jones recorded the single "Your Personal Penguin," written by children's author Sandra Boynton, as a companion piece to her new board book of the same title.