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UNADULTERATED, MIDDLE OF THE ROAD PURE POP MUSIC

Posted by Billyjam, June 25, 2009 03:30pm | Post a Comment
Middle Of The Road
The term AOR, as in Album Oriented Rock, was first used in the seventies to describe the then new format of FM rock radio stations that specialized in playing album cuts, digging deeper into a record than merely spinning the singles heard on more pop oriented radio. The AOR format idea, which over the years disintegrated into boring predictable programming by "suits" whose bottom line was profit, not good music, began its days as a somewhat noble idea; one that borrowed the progressive and freeform radio pioneered in the years just before its launch by such adventurous  programmers as the late great Tom Donahue at KMPX and KSAN in San Francisco.

But before there was AOR, there was MOR, a format that never pretended to be hip or alternative or adventurous in any way. Most popular in the sixties and seventies, MOR, as in Middle Of the Road, was, as its name implied, a most mainstream radio format whose playlist offered a mix of non-offensive popular music. Middle Of The Road was not the type of music that a self-respecting "artist" would claim to be but it was also the name that a successful 70's Scottish pop band chose. Although technically more bubble gum pop, Middle of The Road sure managed to appeal to a middle of the road audience and also scored a string of pop hits in the early 70's, including their 1971 debut single, "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep," which shot to #1 on the UK pop charts that year and went on to sell over 10 million copies. The hit captured Middle Of The Road's pure, unadulterated sugary pop, and their singalong sound. To me, their infectious Europop Abbastyle and the fact that Middle of the Road included male and female pop vocals harmonizing made the group sound similar to Abba's style, whom they predated by a couple of years. Sweden's Abba formed in 1972 and scored their first pop hit ("Ring RIng") in 1973.

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REGIS, KELLY, & DJ JS-1 WRECK SHOP

Posted by Billyjam, June 23, 2009 09:36am | Post a Comment

The above video clip of turntablist DJ JS-1 on Live With Regis And Kelly (originally aired two years ago, but resurfaced today in an updated edit to tie in with the turntable artist's new release) is one of the most entertaining turntablist clips I have seen. I love both JS-1's sharp turntable set, and also when his hosts join him, with Regis cutting up Perry Como and Kelly wrecking the mic in a spot-on rendition of Mims' "This Is Why I'm Hot." The appearance on the show, which was, as Regis said, the first time that they had just a DJ /turntablist on to perform, was re-edited and mixed in HD condtion by the Queens DJ/producer to promote his brand new album, Ground Original 2: No Sell Out (Fat Beats), which arrives in Amoeba Music today, Tuesday June 23rd. Note that DJ JS-1 also appeared on the Amoeba Music Compilation Vol V with the track "Audio Technician" featuring Immortal Technique and Lifelong.

REMEMBERING ED MCMAHON, WHO DIED TODAY AT 86

Posted by Billyjam, June 23, 2009 09:02am | Post a Comment
Ed McMahon + Johnny Carson
Veteran American TV personality Ed McMahon, best known as Johnny Carson's sidekick for almost 30 years on The Tonight Show (1962-1992), died earlier today in Los Angeles, reported NBC. He was 86 years of age. While exact reasons for death were not announced, McMahon had been in extremely poor health since he was admitted to the hospital back in late February -- reportedly with pneumonia.

Best known for his second banana role to Carson, including his trademark "Heeeeeeeeere's Johnny!" intro to the show, McMahon was an all around television personality. A regular on countless TV shows over the decades, he was a game show host, announcer, comedian, and endorser of numerous products. Long before American Idol existed, McMahon hosted the popular talent search TV show Star Search. As an NBC personality regular, he would often be one of the presenters at the annual  Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. For a time he also co-hosted with Jerry Lewis at his fund-raising telethons for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

Over the years he appeared in many TV ads, including for Budweiser beer, and most recently he was in an ad during this year's Super Bowl along with MC Hammer for Cash4Gold following his well publicized tragic fall into tough financial woes -- his house was foreclosed on in recent times. McMahon also did a series of short parts and walk-on parts in movies and TV shows over the years. And of course, Ed McMahon will also always be remembered as the presenter of American Family Publishers Sweepstakes, which would arrive in TV vans at the homes of winners. Below are a series of video clips from the life of Ed McMahon, including a recent era one for FreeCreditReports.com in which he parodied his old American Family Publishers Sweepstakes days.

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THE STATE OF HEAVY METAL '09? "HEALTHIER THAN EVER" - STEVIL

Posted by Billyjam, June 22, 2009 07:22pm | Post a Comment
Five Popular Audio & Video Metal Releases  @ Amoeba Music SF
Nyktalgia Peisithanatos
1) Iron Maiden Flight 666 DVD

2) Metallica Death Magnetic CD/LP

3) Mastodon Crack The Skye CD/LP

4) Metal: A Headbangers Journey DVD

5) Nyktalgia Peisithanatos CD/LP

If, like me, you suspected that heavy metal music had been going through a bit of a renaissance in recent years and that the decades old genre born out of hard rock in the late 60's/early 70's seems more popular than ever these days, you would be correct, according to longtime metal fan and Amoeba employee Stevil. "The state of metal is healthier than ever. Plus it is more diversified than it has ever been," confirmed Stevil, who works at the San Francisco Amoeba Music, and who has been a dedicated metal fan since the early 80's -- a time when the genre, while popular with certain crossover bands, was generally not nearly as widely accepted as today. "It's cool and acceptable to like metal these days. That's good," said Stevil. He recalled the bygone era when he first got into the genre, when it had a certain "excitement and camaraderie" due to being a relatively smaller and more insular scene. "It was like a huge worldwide gang," reminisced Stevil, noting that, "Nowadays there's a lot of bands, a lot more bands, but with more and more fractured sub-genres" beyond the once standard classic, thrash, and black metal musical divisions which remain his personal favorite types of metal. "A lot of bands have come over from the hardcore punk scene, so there is a whole new fanbase to it, a wider fanbase than ever."

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USTAD ALI AKBAR KHAN REST IN PEACE

Posted by Billyjam, June 20, 2009 10:48pm | Post a Comment

Sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, who was instrumental in popularizing Indian classical music in the West as both an artist and a teacher, passed away Thursday night/Friday morning after a prolonged kidney ailment, it has been reported.

The Indian born Khan, who lived in San Anselmo in the Bay Area, was 88 years of age. To read the news report on his passing, click here. Look for releases from his rich catalog at Amoeba Music, and enjoy his beautiful music in the videos above/below. Rest in peace Ali Akbar Khan. Your soulful music will keep you alive forever!

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