Monday, April 30, 2012

Cheap Trick - One on One

Today (April 30th) marks the 30th anniversary release of Cheap Trick's sixth studio album. One on One from 1982 went to number 39 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 77 in Japan and number 25 in Australia. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker, it was the first album by the group to feature new bassist Jon Brant (Pete Comita who joined the group in 1980 left during the initial recording sessions for this record).

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 20)

Things got hotter last week on Once Upon A Time with Mr. Gold pointing all the evidence of Kathryn's disappearance to Regina, August attempting to control Gold through deception, and Emma making a stand against Regina.

This week the episode is entitled "The Stranger". In the land of Fairytales, we learn details about Geppetto and how he wants to save his son Pinocchio along with Snow White's daughter.

In Storybrooke, August promises to help Emma defeat Regina and gain custody of Henry while Regina schemes to seduce David.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Steely Dan - Aja

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Sunday.

In September of 1977, the American rock band Steely Dan released their sixth studio album entitled Aja. Considered by many as one of their best releases, the record went multi-Platinum in sales and scored them some of their highest chart ratings world-wide; it went to number 35 in Sweden, number 10 in Norway, number 9 in Australia and the Netherlands, number 5 in the UK, and number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 200 chart.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Marshall Crenshaw - Marshall Crenshaw

Today (April 28th) is the 30th anniversary of the release date of the 1982 self-titled debut album from Detroit singer, songwriter and guitarist Marshall Crenshaw. He played lead guitar and provided the vocals on the record, while his brother Robert Crenshaw played drums and Chris Donato played bass.

Marshall Crenshaw spent over six months on the US Billboard Hot 200, peaking at number 50. It went on to reach multi-Platinum sales status in the US and has continued to be available in print over the decades. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 72 on its list of the 100 Top Albums of the 1980's.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sheena Easton - Sheena Easton

Happy fifty-third birthday today (April 27th) to Scottish singer and actress Sheena Easton.

She started out her public career being filmed for a year on a BBC show called “The Big Time”. Cameras followed her quest for stardom. As the documentary was airing in 1980, her first singles rocketed up the UK charts. This would soon lead to International fame as well.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Paul McCartney - Tug of War

Today (April 26th) marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Paul McCartney’s fourth solo studio album, the first solo album since the end of the band Wings in April of the previous year.

Tug of War was a chart topping album in a number of countries. It went to number 1 in the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Japan and in the US. It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and earned McCartney an American Music Award nomination for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist.

TV: Survivor - One World (ep. 11)

And another guy bites the dust on Survivor: One World. Last week, the alliance of six women and their unlikely ally Tarzan took out unsuspecting Leif, leaving Troyzan without anyone to turn to in the game.

The title of the episode this week is "Never Say Die". The previews suggest that things get wet and wild for the one of the challenges. The winners of reward get a picnic while the sore losers have a chance to conspire back at camp. Also, the feelings of alienation drive leery tribe members to seek out all of their elimination options.

Let's look at the episode...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Erasure - Wonderland

Happy forty-ninth birthday today (April 25th) to English singer Andy Bell.

Along with songwriter and keyboardist Vince Clarke who had been part of Depeche Mode and Yazoo, Bell found success as the synth-pop band Erasure. The duo released their debut album Wonderland in the spring of 1986. Though the album only went to number 71 in their native UK, it charted well in Germany (at number 20) and Sweden (number 13). A number of the singles were popular on the US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Karla DeVito - Is This a Cool World or What?

Born and raised in Mokena, Illinois, Karla DeVito got her start in acting and singing while in high school. She then attended Loyola University in Chicago where she majored in theatre. One of her earliest professional gigs was as a backup singer for Meat Loaf's tour for his Bat Out of Hell album in 1978.

In 1981, DeVito released her debut solo album Is This a Cool World or What?.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl

Today (April 23rd) was the day that American singer and songwriter Roy Orbison was born. He died of a heart attack at age fifty-two on December 6, 1988.

On February 7th, 1989, the posthumous album Mystery Girl was released; Orbison had recorded the tracks in the months prior to his passing. The record turned out to be his best selling album ever, going Platinum in both the US and Canada. On the charts, it went to number 4 on the Canadian charts, number 17 on the US Country charts, number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 2 on the UK charts and number 1 in Australia, Norway and Sweden.

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 19)

It has been three weeks but Once Upon A Time was back this weekend with an all-new episode. Last time, we learned why Regina was so bitter and how she came to hate Snow White. Also, the episode ended with the surpise revelation that the thought-murdered Kathryn was indeed very much alive.

This week the episode is entitled "The Return". In the land of Fairytales, we learn more of Rumpelstiltskin's back story and how his son Baelfire tries to make his father human once more..

In Storybrooke, Mr. Gold attempts to uncover August's true identity, David tries to reconcile with Mary Margaret, and Emma contronts Regina about her involvement in the disappearance of Kathryn.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Main Event (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

This coming Tuesday (April 24th) marks the seventieth birthday of American singer, actress, producer, director and writer Barbra Streisand.

In the June of 1979, Streisand starred along with Ryan O'Neal in a film that divided the movie-going audiences. Critics hated it yet the audiences made it a box-office blockbuster by putting it in the Top 20 grossing movies of 1979. It is the story of a perfume manufacturer (Streisand) who finds out her accountant has left her penniless. One of the few assets she has left is a boxer (O'Neal) who she devotes all of her time, attention and business savvy to turn into a success. Along the way, feelings develop and complicate matters. The film was, of course, The Main Event.

Men At Work - Business As Usual (30th anniversary)

Today (April 22nd) marks the 30th anniversary of the US release of Business As Usual, the 1982 debut album from the Australian band Men At Work. The album debuted in their native Australia on November 9th of 1981.

Sadly, this week Greg Ham (who played flute, keyboards and saxophone on the album) was found dead in his Melbourne home on April 19th, 2012.

For my review of this album, please click here.

In celebration, I'm setting my iPod to give this 80's classic a play today. But I think I'll pass on the vegemite sandwich (I hear it is an acquired taste).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Paul Davis - Cool Night

Today (April 21st) would have been the sixty-fourth birthday of American singer and songwriter Paul Davis. He passed away four years ago tomorrow, on April 22nd 2008.

His solo recording career spanned from 1970 to 1982. His final studio album was his seventh, 1981’s Cool Night which climbed up to number 52 on the US Billboard Hot 200. Besides being his highest ranking on the pop album chart, it also generated a trio of Top 40 singles.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Luther Vandross - Never Too Much

Today (April 20th) would have been the sixty-first birthday of American R&B singer, songwriter and producer Luther Vandross. The multi-Grammy award winning artist passed away on July 1st, 2005, from a heart attack. In 2008, he was ranked at number 54 on Rolling Stone magazine’s List of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

After nearly a decade of singing back-up on records of such performers like Roberta Flack, Diana Ross, Carly Simon, Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, Bette Midler and more, Vandross finally was able to cut an album of his own. In August 12th, 1981, his debut album Never Too Much was released on the Epic Records label. It went all the way to number 19 on the US Billboard Album chart and number 1 on the US Billboard R&B charts. It also earned him his first two Grammy Award nominations in the categories of Best New Artist and Best R&B Vocal Performance Male.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TV: Survivor - One World (ep. 10)

For three weeks in a row on Survivor: One World we have had three blindsides. First, Jonas. Then Mike. And last week, Jay. The alliance of women are picking off the guys one by one and the guys are letting them do it to them.

The title of the episode this week is "I'm No Dummy". The previews say that the group goes on the attack when one tribe member forces a confrontation (from the commercials, I think this could be Troyzan). Also, it is time for messages from home.

Let's look at the episode...

Laurie Anderson - Big Science

Laurie Anderson has been a performance artist since her college days in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. While she has a master’s degree in sculpture, she is also an accomplished musician and composer; she plays the violin, keyboards and percussion as well as sings. She is also a pioneer in electronic music, having invented a number of devices that she has used in her recordings and live performances.

Anderson’s first studio album was 1982’s Big Science which happens to be celebrating its 30th anniversary this month. The album went to number 29 on the UK charts and number 124 on the US Billboard Hot 200 chart. The music here, very minimalist in sound and featuring mostly spoken word, is a subset of her eight-hour performance production United States Live.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rest In Peace, Dick Clark

After spending an entire day in a company meeting, I flipped through my Twitter feed to learn of the passing of an American icon. This morning in Los Angeles, California, Dick Clark (age 82) passed away after a heart attack.

As a kid of the 70's, I grew up watching Dick Clark all the time.

A Flock of Seagulls - A Flock of Seagulls (30th anniversary)

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the April 1982 self-titled debut album A Flock of Seagulls.

For my review of this album, please click here.

So, break out that hair gel, swoosh your 'do to one side, and get ready for some celebrating with these new-wave classics.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Michael Sembello - Bossa Nova Hotel

Happy fifty-eighth birthday today (April 17th) to American singer and songwriter Michael Sembello.

By age 17, Sembello was already an accomplished musician on guitar and keyboards. In the 1970’s he worked as a studio musician with the likes of Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer and more.

On September 25th, 1983, Sembello released his debut album Bossa Nova Hotel. The record peaked at number 80 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and included his only hits as a singer in the Top 40 to date.

Monday, April 16, 2012

DVD review: Get A Real Job, Numbnuts

Get a Real Job, Numbnuts is the four-disk box set featuring a decade's worth of stand up comedy from Christopher Titus. It is available through his website for the low price of $75 plus shipping. When you consider you are getting all four of his specials (over six hours of comedy) and each set comes signed by the comedian himself, that's a pretty sweet deal. You can also purchase each of the shows individually.

Now, long-time readers of my blog know I am a huge fan of Titus' comedy (just click here to read my 2007 post - go ahead, I'll wait...). Given that, it is no surprise then that I was very eager to pick up this collection. I've already watched the set through one time since I got it at the end of next week and will no doubt be viewing these shows again and again.

Gerry Rafferty - City to City

Today (April 16th) would have been the sixty-fifth birthday of Scottish singer and songwriter Gerry Rafferty. He passed away on January 4th, 2011, due to liver failure.

On January 20th, 1978, he released his second and most popular studio album City to City. The record went to number 6 on the UK charts and number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 200. It also generated a trio of Top 40 hit singles.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dolly Parton - Heartbreak Express

Coming off a big motion picture and the accompanying album (click here for my review of 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs), Dolly Parton was ready to tackle her twenty-fourth solo studio album.

On April 15th, 1982, exactly thirty years ago today, she released Heartbreak Express and returned to her more traditional country music roots. The album went to number 106 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 5 on the US Country Album charts. It generated two Top 10 country hit singles as well.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Van Halen - Diver Down

Today (April 14th) marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Van Halen’s fifth studio album from 1982.

Diver Down sold over four million copies in the US and spent sixty five weeks total on the US Billboard Hot 200 album charts. It reached the number 3 spot on that chart; it also went to number 5 in Canada, number 19 in Norway, number 28 in Sweden and number 36 in the UK. Many of the tracks also charted on the US Mainstream Rock singles charts.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Destri

Happy fifty-eighth birthday today (April 13th) to keyboardist and songwriter Jimmy Destri.

Destri came from a musical background. His uncle was the drummer in the 1950's band Joey Dee and the Starlighters. Destri's first group was Milk and Cookies. When the band relocated to the UK, he joined Blondie in 1975.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

TV: Survivor - One World (ep. 9)

The blindsides contined with last week's episode Survivor: One World. Mike did not have a clue that he was the next to be voted off the island. Now he and Jonas are the first two members of the jury.

The guys are now down to four versus the six women. It would appear that they are holding all of the cards and appear to be a strong block. Leif, Jay, Troyzan and Tarzan should be plenty worried at this point.

The title of the episode this week is "Go Out With a Bang". The previews say that the individual immunity is in high gear, and the Tikiano tribe goes into panic mode as the rumors of a hidden immunity idol begin to surface.

Let's look at the episode...

The Partridge Family - Up To Date

Happy sixty-second birthday today (April 12th) to American actor, singer, songwriter, guitarist and celebrated 70's teen idol David Cassidy.

With the successful launch of the Partridge Family TV show on ABC in the Fall of 1970 and the accompanying first album (click here for my review of the Partridge Family Album), it made sense to follow it up with a second album of music from the show in February of 1971.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Katrina and the Waves - Walking on Sunshine

Happy fifty-second birthday yesterday (April 10th) to American-born singer and musician Katrina Leskanich.

After moving around most of her childhood thanks to a father in the Air Force, Katrina’s family settled in Norfolk, England. It was there she and then-boyfriend Vince de la Cruz formed their first band “Mama’s Cooking”. A few years later, they changed their name to the Waves and started to play more original music. Guitarist Kimberley Rew joined the group; he previously was a member of Robyn Hitchcock’s Soft Boys until 1981. Eventually the band changed its name to Katrina and the Waves as Ms. Leskanich was the lead vocalist.

It is fitting that the first album by the group I talk about on my blog is their debut record. Walking On Sunshine was released in January of 1983 but only on vinyl and in Canada. Rew wrote all the songs for this record.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stray Cats - Stray Cats

Happy fifty-third birthday today (April 10th) to American guitarist, singer and songwriter Brian Setzer.

Hailing from Massapequa, NY, Setzer formed a band in 1979 along with Lee Rocker (playing the upright bass) and Slim Jim Phantom (on drums). As the Stray Cats, the trio played in a rockabilly style based upon artists from the 1950’s including Carl Perkins and Bill Haley & His Comets. While performing their act around the New York City area, they attracted attention of both studios and other recording artists. Dave Edmunds worked with the group and got them signed to Arista Records.

Book Review: Catching Fire

So, a couple weeks back I did my book review of the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (click here for that review). As I noted in that review, I had a few problems with how the book differed with the film which I had seen a few weeks prior. Nonetheless, based on the thoughts of my wife and son, I decided to continue reading the trilogy as the books were easily accessible to me.

My mixed thoughts continue with Catching Fire, first published in 2009.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Elton John - Jump Up!

Two weeks ago, Elton John celebrated his sixty-fifth birthday. Today (April 9th) marks the 30th anniversary of the release of his sixteenth studio album.

1982’s Jump Up! did its best down under with a number 3 charting in Australia and number 1 in New Zealand. In Elton’s native UK, the record reached number 13 and on this side of the pond it went to number 19 in Canada and number 17 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Toto - Toto IV

Today (April 8th) marks the 30th anniversary of the fourth studio album from the California rock band Toto.

After a cooled reception to 1981’s Turn Back, 1982’s Toto IV put the group back on the charts. The album easily broke the top twenty in all markets; it was number 17 in Sweden, number 16 in France, number 12 in Germany and Finland, number 9 in New Zealand, number 4 in the UK and the US Billboard Hot 200, number 3 in Japan, number 2 in Norway and number 1 in the Netherlands. The record also scored the group their first number 1 single.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hall & Oates - Bigger Than Both of Us

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday. It is a special one as we wish a happy sixty-third birthday today (April 7th) to American guitarist, musician, songwriter and producer John Oates.

In August of 1976, Daryl Hall and John Oates released their fifth studio album Bigger Than Both of Us. This Gold selling record was the highest charting of the eight albums the duo released during the 1970’s decade; it went to number 25 on the UK charts and number 13 on the US Billboard Album chart. It also generated a trio of singles including their first number 1 hit.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Monroes - The Monroes

The Monroes were a new wave band that originated in San Diego, California, in the early 1980’s. The band included keyboardist Eric Denton, bassist Bob Davis, guitarist Rusty Jones, drummer Jonnie Gilstrap, and lead singer Jesus Ortiz.

They released their self-titled debut five song EP The Monroes in April 1982, thirty years ago this month. They supported the record by touring with artists like Greg Kihn, Rick Springfield and Toto.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

TV: Survivor - One World (ep. 8)

Last week's episode Survivor: One World proved interesting as Tarzan proved to be the undoing of Jonas.

The title of the episode this week is "Just Annihilate Them". The previews say that the game gets personal when one of the tribe members is confronted about her physical appearance. And a shocking blindside eradicates any sense of security in the Tikiano tribe.

Let's look at the episode...

The Motels - All Four One

Today (April 5th) marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the third studio album from the Motels, the California based new-wave band of the 80’s fronted by lead singer and guitarist Martha Davis.

All Four One was the highest charting release from the group, reaching number 16 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and being certified Gold in sales. Most of the songs were re-recordings of tracks from an unreleased third album entitled Apocalypso; lead guitarist Tim McGovern left the band at the end of 1981. On this album, Guy Perry stepped into that position in the group.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Split Enz - Time and Tide

Hailing from down under in New Zealand, the band Split Enz combined a number of musical genres to create their sound. The group was together for about a decade (1975 to 1984) and released ten studio albums and a number of compilations.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of their seventh studio album. Time and Tide was released in April of 1982 and was their third album in a row to go to number 1 in both New Zealand and Australia. The album also reached number 71 in the UK, number 58 on the US Billboard Hot 200 chart and number 4 in Canada.

Toni Basil - Word of Mouth (30th anniversary)

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Word of Mouth, the debut album for singer, coreographer and actress Toni Basil. This April 1982 record included the number one smash hit single "Mickey".

For my review of this album, please click here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Melissa Manchester - Hey Ricky

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the April 1982 release Hey Ricky, the tenth studio album from singer/songwriter Melissa Manchester. The record went to number 19 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and generated a trio of singles including one Top 10 hit.

Monday, April 2, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 18)

Once Upon A Time threw us some twists and turns at the end of last week's episode. Why did Mr. Gold leave Mary Margaret the key to get out of the cell? Why is he working with Mayor Regina? Is Emma starting to believe in Henry's book after meeting Jefferson, the mad hatter? This week's episode is entitled "Stable Boy".

In the land of Fairytales, we finally get to find out why Regina hates Snow White so, and how that factors into Regina's relationship with her mother Cora.

In Storybrooke, Mary Margaret's must face District Attorney Albert Spencer while Emma looks at the investigation from another angle.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Aldo Nova - Aldo Nova

This month marks the 30th anniversary release of the self-titled debut album from the Canadian rock musician Aldo Nova. This Quebec native produced the release as well as sang, and played guitars, keyboards and synthesizers.

Aldo Nova went to number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 200; it was certified Gold within a month of its release. It took a number of years after that for it to achieve Platinum sales though.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March 2012 Survey Results

Well, the month of March has ended and the little survey I had set up on my blog is over. The question of the month was: what do you think of this year's theme of 30th Anniversary albums from 1982?

Ray Parker Jr. - The Other Woman

From 1977 to 1981, Ray Parker Jr. was a part of the Detroit R&B band Raydio where he played both guitar and piano along with handling the lead vocals. The group broke up after putting out four albums, leading Parker to go solo. Seeing that he also could play drums, bass and synthesizers, he was more than well-equipped to be a one-man-band.

Thirty years ago this month, in April of 1982, he released The Other Woman which went all the way to number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 200 charts. The record generated a trio of singles.