Friday, August 31, 2012

Debbie Gibson - Out of the Blue

Happy forty-second birthday today (August 31st) to American singer, songwriter, producer and actress Deborah Ann Gibson.

On August 18th of 1987, at age 16 when she was still going by Debbie, she released her first studio album Out of the Blue. Not only did she write all ten tracks (for which she holds the title of the youngest female to write, record and produce a number 1 single), but she was also one of the record's producers. This multi-Platinum album went to number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 200. Around the world, it went to number 75 in Japan, number 66 in Australia, number 34 in Sweden, number 29 in the Netherlands, number 26 in the UK and number 16 in Canada.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kim Carnes - Voyeur

Following her smash hit album Mistaken Identity from the year prior (click here for my review of that one), Kim Carnes was ready to come back for more with Voyeur. As her seventh studio album, this August 1982 release did not live up to its predecessor’s reputation. In the US, it stopped its climb on the Billboard Hot 200 at number 49. It went to number 68 in the UK, number 26 in Canada and number 21 in Australia.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Remembering Michael Jackson

Today (August 29th) would have been the 54th birthday of the late Michael Jackson. His considered by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful entertainer of all time. He got his start as a performer in the late 1960's as part of a singing group with his older brothers in Gary, Indiana. Once the brothers were signed to the Motown Record label, their careers skyrocketed.

Whether you are a devout fan or thought his personal life was a bit on the crazy side, there is no denying the music he made over the years will be remembered for decades to come.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shania Twain - Come On Over

Happy forty-seventh birthday today (August 28th) to Eilleen Regina Edwards, known better to music fans as the Canadian country pop singer Shania Twain.

On November 4, 1997, she released Come On Over, her third studio album. This album, co-produced by her husband at the time "Mutt" Lange, went multi-Platinum the world over and has sold more than 40 million copies to date.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Gang of Four - Songs of the Free

Earlier in 1982, the Gang of Four put out an EP called Another Day, Another Dollar (click here for my review). Months later, they followed it with Songs of the Free, their third full length studio album. This record only got as high as number 175 on the US Billboard Hot 200. In the band’s native UK, it faired a bit better by reaching number 61.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

R.E.M. - Chronic Town

The Athens, Georgia, alternative band R.E.M. had some minor success in 1981 with their debut single “Radio Free Europe”. Their manager, however, did not feel they were quite ready for a full album release. Instead, he advised them to put out an EP. So, Michael Stipe, Bill Berry, Peter Buck and Mike Mills went to producer Mitch Easter’s Drive-In Studios in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to record.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Time - What Time Is It?

Today (August 25) marks the thirtieth anniversary of What Time Is It?, the second studio album by the Minneapolis R&B and funk group known at the Time.

Building off the momentum from their self-titled debut a year prior, the group’s 1982 effort climbed up to number 26 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 2 on the Billboard R&B Album chart. This release too followed the format laid down by their debut, placing six songs total across two sides with a mix of dance jams and ballads. Prince once more had his hand in writing all of the tracks and performing on most of the instruments.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Steel Breeze - Steel Breeze

Hailing from Sacramento, California, the rock group Steel Breeze took their name from a line in the Pink Floyd song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". The six member band consisted of Ric Jacobs (vocals), Waylin Carpenter (lead guitar), Ken Goorabian (guitar, vocals), Barry Lowenthal (drums), Vinnie Pantaleoni (bass, vocals) and Rod Toner (keyboards).

Today (August 24th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of their self-titled debut album. Steel Breeze entered the charts in 1982 and rose to number 50 on the US Billboard Hot 200 thanks to a hit single and memorable music video in the early days of MTV. Goorabian wrote all of the tracks, with an assist from Carpenter on the eighth track.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Yazoo/Yaz - Upstair's at Eric's (30th anniversary)

Today (August 23rd) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Upstairs at Eric's, the debut album from the duo of Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet who were known as Yazoo (Yaz here in the US).

For my full review of this 80's classic album, click here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Michael Stanley Band - MSB

Hailing from Cleveland, OH, Michael Stanley Gee formed a group in 1974 to play heartland rock that was popular in the American Midwest.

In August of 1982, the Michael Stanley Band released MSB, their seventh studio album. The title came from the abbreviation of the group’s name that their fans often used. The album climbed to number 136 on the US Billboard Hot 200. Today we will look at that album to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Remembering Joe Strummer

On this day (August 21st) in 1952, John Graham Mellor was born in Ankara, Turkey. His father was a British foreign service diplomat. The music world would know him as Joe Strummer, the stage name he would use as singer/guitarist/co-founder for the Clash.

He began performing while attending Newport College of Art in the early 70's; his first group was Flaming Youth who then renamed themselves the Vultures. From there, he and his roommates started a blues and R&B group called the 101'ers. It was at this point he took the name of Joe Strummer.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review: Twelve Months

Twelve Months is a novel by Steven Manchester, published in August 2012 by the Story Plant.

Don DiMarco has a great life going for him. He is happily married, working hard to support his lifestyle. Then, one day, he is thrown a complete curve ball when he learns he has terminal cancer and is given the prognosis of only twelve months to live.

Happy Birthday, Robert Plant

Happy sixty-fourth birthday today (August 20th) to English singer and songwriter Robert Plant.

From magazines like Hit Parader to Rolling Stone, Plant is considered one of the greatest singers in rock and roll. Over his four decades in music, he has inspired the likes of Freey Mercury, Axl Rose, Geddy Lee, Ann Wilson, Sammy Hagar and more.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Beat / English Beat - Special Beat Service

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Special Beat Service, the third and final studio album from the British Ska band the Beat. The August of 1982 release went to number 21 in the group’s native UK; in the US where the group was known as the English Beat it went to number 39 on the Billboard Hot 200.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Translator - Heartbeats and Triggers

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Heartbeats and Triggers, the debut album from the San Francisco based rock band Translator.

The four piece band includes Steve Barton (vocals, guitar), Bob Darlington (vocals, guitar), Larry Dekker (bass) and Dave Scheff (drums). After four albums in the 80’s, the group stopped recording even though they still continued to play together. In April 2012, they released their fifth album Big Green Lawn.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dexys Midnight Runners - Too-Rye-Ay

Happy fifty-ninth birthday today (August 17th) to Kevin Rowland, the English singer-songwriter and front man for the pop-soul band Dexys Midnight Runners.

This month also marks the thirtieth anniversary of Too-Rye-Ay, the group’s second studio album. This August 1982 release went to number 22 in Norway and Sweden, number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 200, and number 2 in New Zealand and the UK. It produced a number of hit singles in the UK as well as the international smash hit for which the group is probably most known among 80’s music lovers.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Golden Earring - Cut

Happy sixty-fourth birthday today (August 16th) to Barry Hay, the Dutch born singer and front man for Golden Earring.

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Cut, the group's sixteenth studio album. This summer of 1982 release climbed all the way to number 24 on the US Billboard Hot 200; in the Netherlands it became their fifth studio album to reach the number 1 spot on the charts.

Happy Birthday, Madonna

Happy fifty-fourth birthday today (August 16th) to American singer, songwriter, and actress Madonna Louise Ciccone.

The Michigan born woman's road to becoming one the world's top-selling female recording artists of all time (with over 300 million records sold) began with her move to New York City in 1977 to become a modern dance professional. She also began performing with the group Breakfast Club, which led to her getting her own recording contract. The rest has been musical history.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Skyrim (or "Where Did the Hours Go?")

Confession: I am very much into Bethesda Games’ The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim video game.

Okay, that’s not really such a shocking statement. Anyone who has played this video game, where you are dropped into a fantasy realm and play a character of your own creation (from their race to their looks to how you decide to build up their many skills and choice of combat techniques), will likely say the same thing to you.

I am, however, very late to the party.

The The - Infected

Happy fifty-first birthday today (August 15th) to Matt Johnson, English musician and founder of The The.

After a marginally successful debut album Soul Mining in 1983 (click here for my review), it took a few years before The The would release its next album. The 1986 release Infected went Gold in the UK. Its chart performance showed improvements over the debut; it made it to number 89 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 46 in the Netherlands, number 20 in Sweden, number 14 in Norway and the UK, and number 12 in New Zealand.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flash and the Pan - Headlines

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Headlines, the third studio album from the Australian band Flash and the Pan. The group consisted of Harry Vanda (lead guitars, vocals) and George Young (lead vocals and keyboards) who were part of the Easybeats in the 1960’s, Les Karski (bass) and Ray Arnott (drums). Stevie Wright, the vocalist of the Easybeats, guests on two of the tracks.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Don Henley - I Can't Stand Still

From 1972 to 1980, Don Henley served as the drummer and lead singer for the Eagles. When the band broke up, Henley embarked on a career as a solo artist.

Today (August 13th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of I Can’t Stand Still, his debut solo album from 1982. The Gold selling record went to number 34 in Sweden, number 24 in the UK, number 22 in Norway, number 14 in New Zealand and number 5 in Canada. In the US, it topped out at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart.

How Do Rumors Get Started: The True Story of Timex Social Club

If you were a dance club fanatic like I was during the summer of 1986, one of the songs that you heard everywhere was "Rumors" by the Timex Social Club. So, do you think you know the story behind the song and the start of the group? Well, I thought I did.

Turns out I was totally in the dark.

Marcus A. Thompson, with the help of Zaria Garrison, penned How Do Rumors Get Started: The True Story of Timex Social Club. It was published in late 2011.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Against All Odds (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

On March 2nd of 1984, director Taylor Hackford released a neo-noir remake of the 1947 film Out of the Past. This new film, entitled Against All Odds starred Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward and James Woods. Jane Greer, who had appeared in the original film, also had a supporting role in this new movie.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Go-Go's - Vacation (30th anniversary)

Today, August 11th, also marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the Go-Go's second studio album Vacation.

For my review of this album, please click here.

To celebrate, I am going to cue up this album too and celebrate some 80's rocking girl power.

Vanity 6 - Vanity 6 (30th anniversary)

Today, August 11th, marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the self-titled debut album Vanity 6.

For my review of this album, please click here.

It's time to jam. This one is going on my list to listen to again today.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Cars - Shake It Up

Benjamin Orr became friends and musical partners with Ric Ocasek in 1970 in Columbus, Ohio. After being part of a folk band called Milkwood, the two ended up in Boston. It was there they met guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson. Thus the Cars were formed.

On November 6th, 1981, the Cars released their fourth studio album. Shake It Up went to number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and achieved multi-Platinum sales in the US. The record also reached number 40 in the Netherlands, number 20 in Australia and number 12 in New Zealand.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Michael McDonald - If That's What It Takes

Today (August 9th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of If That’s What It Takes, the solo debut album of Michael McDonald. The American singer and songwriter had been a member of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers in the 1970’s. After the later group’s first farewell tour, McDonald started working on the tracks that would eventually be part of his August 1982 release.

The album went Gold in sales, reaching number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 10 on the US Billboard R&B charts. It generated two charting singles, including one Top 10 smash. McDonald wrote two of the ten tracks solo and collaborated on seven others.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kool Moe Dee - How Ya Like Me Now

Happy fiftieth birthday today (August 8th) to Mohandas Dewese, better known as American rap MC Kool Moe Dee. The Manhattan native was on the scene in the early days of rap’s formation, working first on the Enjoy Records label and then moving over to Sugar Hill Records.

On December 8th of 1987, he released his second solo album How Ya Like Me Now on the Jive label. The Platinum selling album went to number 35 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 4 on the R&B charts.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Paul Carrack - Suburban Voodoo

English musician, singer and songwriter Paul Carrack has worked along side numerous bands: Ace, Squeeze, Mike + the Mechanics, and Roxy Music to name but a few. In the early 1980’s, he embarked on a solo career.

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Suburban Voodoo, his second solo studio release. The album went to number 78 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Romeo Void - Benefactor

The year of 1982 started out with an EP release from Romeo Void (click here for my review of Never Say Never). The band followed it on August 6th with Benefactor, their second studio album and another thirtieth anniversary release. The record reached number 119 on the US Billboard Hot 200 charts.

An Officer and a Gentleman (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Matinee Monday.

It was the middle of the summer of 1982 when Richard Gere and Debra Winger were heating up the movie screens in An Officer and a Gentleman, an American drama about a Navy aviation officer candidate (Gere) and a Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant (played by Louis Gossett, Jr.). Winger played the love interest for Gere’s character.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dead Or Alive - Sophisticated Boom Boom

Today (August 5th) marks the fifty-third birthday of English singer-songwriter and television personality Pete Burns.

Burns was one of the founders of the UK dance band Dead Or Alive; he was the group's vocalist. The rest of the lineup at the time included Mike Percy on bass, Tim Lever on keyboards, Steve Coy on drums, and Wayne Hussey on guitar. After releasing a number of non-album tracks from 1980 to 1982, they signed to the Epic Records label. On April 27th of 1984, they released their first studio album Sophisticated Boom Boom. Co-produced by Zeus B. Held, it rose to number 29 on the UK charts.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Samantha Sang - Emotion

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday. And today we wish a very happy sixty-first birthday to Australian singer Samantha Sang who will be celebrating tomorrow (August 5th).

Beginning her career at age eight on Australian radio, Sang was signed by Robert Stigwood in 1969 at the behest of the Bee Gees. Barry and Maurice even co-wrote her song “The Love of a Woman”.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fashion - Fabrique

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Fabrique, the second studio album from the British new wave band Fashion. For this album, the group had left behind their punk roots and moved to a more new romantic dance sound. At this point, the group consisted of De Harriss (vocals, guitar), John Mulligan (synthesizer, vocals), Marlon Recchi (bass guitar, vocals) and Dik Davis (drums, percussion). Producer Zeus B. Held also provided additional keyboards.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Steve Winwood - Talking Back to the Night

Today (August 2nd) celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Talking Back to the Night, the third solo studio album from Steve Winwood. This record continued his chart momentum in the UK started with his self-titled debut and its follow up Arc of a Diver (click here and here for my reviews of those two albums respectively); it went to number 6 on the UK charts. In the US, the album stopped its climb at number 28 on the Billboard Hot 200.

Winwood played all instruments on the album and co-wrote the tracks with Will Jennings; Winwood did the music and Jennings did the lyrics. His first wife Nicole, who he was married to from 1978 to 1986, provided backing vocals.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Aerosmith - Rock in a Hard Place

Today (August 1st) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Rock in a Hard Place, the seventh studio album from the Boston rockers Aerosmith. Although it climbed to number 32 on the US Billboard Hot 200, it was the first of the group's albums to not achieve Platinum sales status. Guitarist Joe Perry did not play on this album. Brad Whitford, the group's rhythm guitarist, left the band during the making of the album as well (he only appears on one track). Could these two factors have had any influence on the sales figures? Perhaps.