Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31: Marvin Junior, baritone with The Dells for 58 years - “Oh What a Night” – was born on this date in 1936….

(Marvin Junior, with microphone)

Marvin Junior, the robust baritone for the Dells, a Chicago doo-wop and rhythm-and-blues group that was formed when he and most of its other members were in high school in the early 1950s, died on June 5, 2013 at his home in Harvey, Ill from kidney and heart problems. He was 77-years-old when he passed away.

Marvin Junior was born on Jan. 31, 1936, in Harold, Ark. His family moved to Illinois when he was a boy. He grew up hoping to be the next Ray Charles. Instead, in 1952 he teamed up with friends from Thornton Township High School in Harvey to sing under an overpass in the Chicago suburb because "It had good acoustics." Then known as The El-Rays they released their first recording in 1954.

In 1955, the group renamed themselves the Dells and signed with Vee-Jay Records. Soon after, they had their first R&B hit with "Oh What a Night." The Dells performed together for 57 years, and recorded 27 albums. The group had minimal personnel changes. The group had five members: a trio of harmony singers (Verne Allison, Mickey McGill and Chuck Barksdale for a vast majority of the group's existence) and the baritone-falsetto counterpoint of Junior and Johnny Carter, a former member of the Flamingos, who replaced Funches in 1960.

Junior co- wrote the Dells' first hit, "Oh What a Nite." Originally released in 1956, it was rerecorded with a new arrangement in 1969 and released as "Oh, What a Night." Other hits follow; including "Stay in My Corner," which was originally released in 1965 and also rerecorded and released again in 1969. The reworked versions of both songs went to No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart and reached the Top 10 on the pop chart.

Among the group’s other hits were "I Touched a Dream," "Give Your Baby a Standing Ovation" and "The Love We Had (Stays on My Mind)." The Dells served as consultants, and an inspiration, for The Five Heartbeats, Robert Townsend's 1991 film about a fictitious singing group. Townsend spent time touring with the Dells while doing research for the film.
"A Heart Is a House for Love,'' which the Dells recorded for the film's soundtrack, reached the Top 100.

The Dells were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Carter died in 2009, and the Dells have not performed since then.
For more about The Dells, visit their Website at –


January 31: Lead singer of Mumford & Sons, Marcus Mumford, is 27-years-old today.

Marcus Oliver Johnstone Mumford was born on January 31, 1987 in Anaheim, California, to British parents. In 1987, his family moved back to England when Marcus was six months old. He holds both British and American citizenship.

While attending King's College School in Wimbledon, he met future fellow band member Ben Lovett. He returned to London to focus on his music career after his first year of study at the University of Edinburgh. It was in Edinburgh that he penned most of Mumford & Sons' debut album, Sigh No More.

He began his musical career playing drums for Laura Marling on tour, along with the other current members of Mumford & Sons. It was through touring with Marling and gaining experience playing important gigs, as well as experimenting with his early writing that they decided to set up the band in 2007. Besides lead vocals, Marcus also plays guitar, drums, and mandolin in the group.

Mumford & Sons recorded an EP, Love Your Ground, and performed in small to moderate venues in the UK and the United States to build support for an eventual album. Their debut album, Sigh No More, was released in the UK and Ireland in October 2009, and February 2010 in the US.
The album reached number one in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and eventually peaked at number two on the UK Albums Chart and the Billboard 200 in the US.

The band grew in popularity throughout 2010, performing for larger audiences and making their first network television appearances in the US. in December 2010. That year, the band received two Grammy Award nominations, one for Best New Artist and the other for Best Rock Song ("Little Lion Man.") The ensuing live performance at the Grammy ceremony in February 2011 led to increased airplay and popularity for singles from Sigh No More.

The band won the ARIA Music Award for Most Popular International Artist in 2010, and the Brit Award in 2011 for Best British Album.

The band's second studio album Babel was released in September 2012. The album debuted at number one in the UK and US, becoming the fastest selling album of 2012 in the UK, and the second-biggest selling debut in 2012 in the US.

At the 2013 Grammy Awards, they sang "I Will Wait" and Babel won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. In 2013 the band won a Brit Award for Best British Group.

For more about Mumford and Sons, visit their Website at –


January 31: Singer and actor Justin Timberlake is 33-years-old today.


Did you know?

Justin Timberlake has won six Grammy Awards as well as two Emmy Awards. He achieved early fame when he appeared as a contestant on Star Search, and went on to star in the Disney Channel television series The New Mickey Mouse Club, where he met future 'N Sync bandmate JC Chasez.

Did you know?

Justin Timberlake has won six Grammy Awards as well as two Emmy Awards. He achieved early fame when he appeared as a contestant on Star Search, and went on to star in the Disney Channel television series The New Mickey Mouse Club, where he met future 'N Sync bandmate JC Chasez.

Timberlake's first two solo albums made him one of the most commercially successful singers in the world, each selling in excess of 7 million copies.

Aside from music, he has also begun an acting career, while his other ventures include record label Tennman Records, fashion label William Rast, and the restaurants Destino and Southern Hospitality.

Justin Randall Timberlake was born in Memphis, Tennessee. His mother runs an entertainment company called Just-in Time Entertainment. His first attempts at a singing career were country music songs on Star Search as "Justin Randall."

In 1993, Timberlake joined the cast of The Mickey Mouse Club. His cast-mates included future girlfriend and pop superstar Britney Spears, future tour-mate Christina Aguilera, and future bandmate JC Chasez. The show ended in 1994, but late in 1995 Timberlake recruited Chasez to be in an all-male singing group that eventually became 'N Sync.

Timberlake and JC Chasez were the two lead singers of the popular 1990s boy band. The group formed in 1995, started its career 1996 in Europe, and hit it big in the United States in 1998 with the U.S. release of its debut album *NSYNC, which sold 11 million copies. The album included a number of hit singles, including "Tearin' Up My Heart."

The group signed with Jive Records. and in March 2000, 'N Sync released a long-awaited album, No Strings Attached, which became the fastest-selling album of all time with 2.4 million copies sold in its first week and produced a #1 single, "It's Gonna Be Me."

This was followed by the band's third album, Celebrity, which was the second-fastest selling album of all time. In 2002, after the completion of a "Celebrity Tour" and the release of "Girlfriend," the third single from Celebrity, the group decided to take time off, at which point Timberlake began work on his first solo album and the group went into a hiatus. The group sold more than 50 million copies worldwide, becoming the third-best selling boy band in history.

As a member of 'N Sync, Timberlake developed into a major celebrity in his own right in addition to achieving respect as a musician, since he was the writer or co-writer of all three singles from Celebrity. The rise of his own stardom and the general decline in the popularity of boy bands led to the dissolution of 'N Sync.

In late 1999, Timberlake made his acting debut in the Disney Channel movie Model Behavior.
Timberlake's first "single" single, "Like I Love You," reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. he then released the album Justified in November 2002. The album sold fewer copies than previous 'N Sync efforts but debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart and eventually went on to sell more than three million copies in the U.S. and more than seven million copies worldwide.

The album also received critical acclaim, thanks to its heavy R&B influence provided by hip-hop producers The Neptunes and Timbaland. It spun off hits throughout late 2002 and 2003, including the top ten singles "Cry Me a River" and "Rock Your Body."

After the Super Bowl controversy, where he exposed Janet Jackson's breast (in case you were living on another planet when it happened), Timberlake put his recording career on hold to act in several films, having starred in a few feature films earlier in his music career.

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Futuresex/Lovesounds (Deluxe Edition)


The first was as a journalist in the thriller Edison Force, which received a direct-to-video release in July 2006. He also appeared in the films Alpha Dog, Black Snake Moan, Richard Kelly's Southland Tales, and voiced Prince Artie Pendragon in the animated film Shrek the Third in 2007. He also appeared as a young Elton John, in the video for John's song "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore."

He continued to record with other artists. After "Where Is the Love?" he collaborated with the Black Eyed Peas for a second time on the 2005 track "My Style" from their album Monkey Business. When recording the 2005 single "Signs" with Snoop Dogg, Timberlake discovered a throat condition. Nodules were subsequently removed from his throat.

In the summer of 2005, Timberlake started his own record company, JayTee Records. In May 2006, imberlake made a cameo in the video for Nelly Furtado and Timbaland's single "Promiscuous." 

Nite Runner" and "Falling Down" for Duran Duran's album Red Carpet Massacre. Also in 2007, Timberlake made an appearance on 50 Cent's third album, Curtis.

Timberlake continues to collaborate with other artists, and act in films. He recently starred in the film Social Network.

In 2011, he starred alongside Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher and then alongside Mila Kunis in Friends with Benefits, and played Will Salas, the protagonist of In Time, a science fiction film by Andrew Niccol. He directed and made a cameo in the Free Sol music video "Hoodies On, Hats Low" which was released in August 2011.

On October 7, RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding Jive Records along with Arista Records and J Records. With the shutdown, Timberlake will release his future material on the RCA Records brand.


For more about Justin, visit his Website at -


January 31: Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd. is 57-years-old today.

Did you know?

The origin of John Lydon's stage name, Johnny Rotten, has had two longstanding explanations. One, given in a Daily Telegraph feature interview with Lydon in 2007, was that he was given the name in the mid 1970s, when his lack of oral hygiene led to his teeth turning green. Another story says the name was given to him by Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, who saw Lydon's teeth and exclaimed, "You're rotten, you are!"

It was Lydon who came up with the nickname of "Sid Vicious" for his bandmate John Simon Ritchie, naming him after his parents' pet hamster.


Born John Joseph Lydon - but better known by the former stage name Johnny Rotten - is a singer-songwriter and television presenter, best known as the lead singer of punk band the Sex Pistols from 1975 until 1978, and again for various revivals during the 1990s and 2000s.

He is also well known as the lead singer of the post-punk band Public Image Ltd., which he founded and fronted from 1978 until 1993, and again in 2009–2010. A highly controversial figure, Q Magazine remarked that "somehow he's assumed the status of national treasure."


In the beginning...

Growing up as the son of Irish immigrants in an impoverished area of London, he listened mostly to rock bands like Hawkwind, Captain Beefheart, Alice Cooper and Iggy and the Stooges — bands his mother also used to like, a fact which somewhat embarrassed him — as well as more mainstream groups like T. Rex and Gary Glitter.

At 15 years old, he was kicked out of the school after a run in with a teacher, and went to a state school, Hackney and Kingsway Princeton College, where he befriended John Simon Ritchie AKA Sid Vicious.

Lydon's personally crafted image and fashion style led to him being asked to become the singer of the Sex Pistols. With the Pistols, he penned singles including "Anarchy in the U.K.," "God Save the Queen" and "Holidays in the Sun," the content of which precipitated the "last and greatest outbreak of pop-based moral pandemonium" in Britain.

The band caused an uproar by many who objected to the content of Lydon’s lyrics, and their antics, which included cursing and swearing on live television. Lydon was largely seen as the figurehead of the punk movement although this idea was not widely supported amongst the punk movement itself. Despite the negative reaction that they provoked, they are now regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music.

Lydon left the Pistols in 1978 to found his own band, Public Image Ltd, that was far more experimental in nature, and which has been described as "arguably the first post-rock group." Although never as commercially successful as the Pistols, the band produced eight albums and a string of singles, including "Death Disco," "Rise" and "Disappointed," before they went on indefinite hiatus in 1993.

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Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (U.K. Version)


In subsequent years, Lydon hosted a number of television shows in the UK, USA and Belgium, as well as writing an autobiography, Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs  in 1993, and producing some solo musical work, such as the album Psycho's Path in 1997.

In the 2000s, Lydon once more took up being the vocalist for both the Sex Pistols and subsequently also Public Image Ltd as well for a number of reunion tours.

Since leaving the Sex Pistols he has made his private fortune through property development. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California. Oh, and he's gotten his teeth fixed.


Jan. 31: Carol Channing - "Hello, Dolly! " is 93-years-old today.

Singer, actress, and comedienne Carol Channing has received three Tony Awards (including one for lifetime achievement), a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.

Channing is best remembered for originating, on Broadway, the musical-comedy roles of bombshell Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and matchmaking widow Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello, Dolly!

Carol Elaine Channing was born in Seattle, Washington, and her family moved to San Francisco shortly after she was born. Carol attended Lowell High School in San Francisco, where she was a member of its famed Lowell Forensic Society, the nation's oldest high-school debate team.

Channing first became interested in acting while distributing Christian Science Monitors backstage at the live theatres in San Francisco with her mother. "This is for people who have gotten a glimpse of creation and all they do is recreate it," Channing said during a 2005 interview with the Austin Chronicle. "I stood there and wanted to kiss the floorboards."

Channing's first job on stage in New York was in Marc Blitzstein's No For an Answer in 1941 when was 19 years old. Channing then moved to Broadway for Let's Face It!

Five years later, Channing had a featured role in a revue, Lend an Ear. She was spotted by author Anita Loos and cast in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes as Lorelei Lee, the role that brought her to prominence. Her signature song from the production was "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."

In 1961, Channing became one of a very few Tony Award nominees to gain a nomination for work in a revue rather than a traditional musical, when she was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical, for the short-lived revue Show Girl.

Channing came to national prominence as the star of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly! She never missed a performance during her run. Her performance won her the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, in a year when her chief competition was Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl, who coincidentally, played Dolly Levi in the film version.

Channing reprised the role of Lorelei Lee in the musical Lorelei. She also appeared in two New York revivals of Hello, Dolly!, and toured with it extensively throughout the United States.

She also appeared in a number of movies, The First Traveling Sales Lady in 1956, the cult film Skidoo and Thoroughly Modern Millie, opposite Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore. For Millie she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and was awarded a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture.

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Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of SortsCarol Channing & Pearl Bailey on Broadway


During her film career she also made guest appearances on television sitcoms and talk shows, including  What's My Line?, on which she appeared in eleven episodes from 1962 to 1966. Channing also did a fair amount of voice over work in cartoons, most notably as Grandmama Addams in an animated version of The Addams Family which ran from 1992 to 1995.

Channing was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981. She was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1995, and an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts by California State University, Stanislaus in 2004. That same year, she received the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre.

She and husband Harry Kullijian are active in promoting arts education in California schools with the Dr. Carol Channing and Harry Kullijian Foundation.


January 31: Greek-American singer Kalomira is 29-years-old today.

Kalomira's full name is Maria Kalomira Sarantis. Known simply as Carol by her family, she was born in West Hempstead, New York, and her parents are Greek restaurant owners.

Since childhood, Kalomira's dream was to become a pop star. She took part drama productions and musicals while in school. Her favorite instrument was the viola, which she studied for nine years and played in the school orchestra. She was also Miss West Hempstead at her high school in 2003 and class president for two consecutive years.

On a tip from her cousin Eleni, she entered and won second place at a music contest organized by WBLI Radio. Following her appearance, she opened up several live shows for Jessica Simpson, LL Cool J, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Michelle Branch and Nick Lachey.

Kalomira entered the New York City auditions for Antenna's reality singing competition Fame Story 2, which was a subsidiary of Star Academy. She was one of two selected from over 200 auditions in New York.

Despite speaking primarily English, Kalomira went to Greece after having completed one semester of college at Adelphi University where she was a music major with a scholarship. Her difficulties with Greek songs were not significant enough to hold her back. Kalomira placed first and her professional singing career began.

Following the success of her first performance, she performed the popular song "Stand by Me." The following weeks, the challenges became more difficult.  Kalomira was one of the final six participants left with only two performances left.

Her rendition of "Εϊ Καζανόβα" ("Hey Cazanova") equalled her success with Madonna’s "Express Yourself" in the final show. Kalomira won the contest, earned 200,000 Euros and a recording contract with Heaven Music.

Kalomira performed in Thessaloniki’s FOCUS from July 8 to August 14. While entertaining audiences by night, she was recording her first album by day. Outside of Greece, Kalomira appeared on NBC’s "Today Show" and "Access Hollywood" during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, and sang live and was interviewed on numerous media outlets including appearing on Oprah.

Kalomira's 15 track first album Kalomira which went gold. She then toured Greece. She was awarded "Woman of the Year - Best Newcomer" by Life and Style magazine. Also in 2004, she had a minor credited role in the Greek TV drama series I Lampsi.

In 2005, Kalomira released her second album titled Paizeis? (You Playing?). She wrote two of the 12 songs.

In the fall of 2006, Kalomira became the female co-hostess on the hit Sunday night show Pio Poli Tin Kiriaki alongside Grigoris Arnaoutoglou on Mega Channel. In December, she released her third CD I Kalomira Paei Cinema (Kalomira Goes to the Cinema). It features songs from classic Greek movies.

In 2007, Heaven Music chose Kalomira to be their contestant in the 2008 National Final to represent Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. On February 27, 2008, Kalomira won the National Final with "Secret Combination" and represented Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. In the Eurovision final, he came in third behind Russia and Ukraine.

Kalomira announced online that she recorded her new album during September and October 2007 in Greece. The album, named Secret Combination the Album, was released in May 2008 and contained songs in both Greek and English, including her Eurovision entry "Secret Combination."

In January 2010 Kalomira announced that she was in the studio recording new music. Her single, "Please Don't Break My Heart," features American rapper, Fatman Scoop. The video was filmed in Turkey. In mid 2010, Kalomira was planning to release her fifth full-length studio album.


For more about Kalomira, visit her Website at -


January 31: Eddie Cantor - "Makin' Whoopie," "If You Knew Susie"- was born on this date in 1892...

He was 72 when he died from a heart attack on October 10, 1964.

Born Edward Israel Iskowitz in New York City, Eddie Cantor was a vaudeville performer, dancer, comedian, singer, actor, and songwriter. His charity and humanitarian work  was extensive. He is credited with coining the phrase and helping to develop The March of Dimes.

His mother died in childbirth one year after his birth, and his father died when he  was two, leaving him to be raised by his grandmother, Esther Kantrowitz.  A misunderstanding when signing her grandson for school gave him her last name of Kantrowitz (shortened by the clerk to Kanter). Esther died on January 29, 1917, two days before he signed a long-term contract with to appear in the Ziegfeld  Follies.

HIGHLY Recommended (Links to Amazon):
Eddie Cantor Story Eddie Cantor: Lost Performances, Vol. 2Show Business

He had adopted the first name "Eddie" when he met his future wife Ida Tobias in 1903, because she felt that "Izzy" wasn't a good name for an actor. (They  married in 1914.) They had five daughters: Marjorie, Natalie, Edna, Marilyn and Janet - who provided comic fodder for Cantor's longtime running gag, especially on radio, about his five "un-marriable" daughters. A gag several radio historians including Gerald Nachman (Raised on Radio) have said did not always sit well with the girls.
Broadway, radio and early TV audiences were familiar with Cantor and was regarded almost as "a family member" by millions. His eye-rolling song-and-dance routines eventually led to his nickname, Banjo Eyes. His eyes became his trademark, often exaggerated in illustrations, and leading to his appearance on Broadway in the musical Banjo Eyes in 1941.