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Drac-factor: Ten Recording Artists with Definitive Dracula Appeal

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, October 19, 2014 11:30pm | Post a Comment
Dracula vampire elvis halloween costume
Halloween approach-eth and the pumpkin-spiced hype is unrelenting. What's more, a new vampire movie hit theaters this Fall -- Dracula Untold, a dark, Marvel-esque origin story starring Welsh hottie Luke Evans as Prince Vlad (the Impaler). While time will only tell if this particular incarnation of the Dracula legend is truly franchisable immortal, it got me thinking about recording artists who could suitably don Dracula's cloak. Stars that possess a kind of timeless magnetism, like Elvis Presley, pictured above -- you just know he'd be down to drink some blood. Or, similarly, stars who naturally exude a kind of Draculaic vibe, sharp-dressed with cheekbones to match. With this in mind, I've come up with a short list of ten living recording artists who possess a definitive undeadliness, or Drac-factor, as I reckon it. So cover your necks or succumb willingly, here come some Drac-tacular candidates for your consideration:
 
David Vanian the damned dracula vampire halloween young ones spooky goth punk rock band
Dave Vanian, lead singer and ever-present member of The Damned, has been serving that undead-and-loving it look since the band began in London in 1976. Vanian, a stage name that stems from a play on the word "Transylvanian", took his patent gothic chic looks to new heights when The Damned appeared as the spooky musical guest on an episode of The Young Ones to perform a song that may or may not be called "Nasty". It is worth noting that The Damned are distinguished as the first British punk band to release a single, an album, have an album hit the UK charts, and tour the United States. That said, if you don't have The Damned's 1977 debut LP Damned Damned Damned in your collection, surely some kind of vinyl vampire is coming for you i.e. I don't know how you can sleep at night. That's a buy or die record, folks.

Music History Monday: August 18

Posted by Jeff Harris, August 18, 2014 10:42am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: August 18, 1956 - "Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for 11 weeks. It is third chart-topping single for Presley. Penned by songwriter Otis Blackwell ("Great Balls Of Fire," "All Shook Up," "Return To Sender"), the track is recorded at RCA Studios in New York on July 2, 1956, with the master version being the 28th take. The single is released 11 days later on July 13th and is an immediate smash. Technically the B-side of the single, it will be listed along with "Hound Dog" beginning the week of August 11,1956 when it reaches #2, then topping the chart the following week. The double A-sided single's run at the top of the charts is unprecedented in the era. The record will remain unbroken until 1992 when "End Of The Road" by Boyz II Men holds the number one spot for 13 weeks. "Don't Be Cruel" is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2002.
 


On this day in music history: August 18, 1978Who Are You, the eighth studio album by The Who is released. Produced by The Who, Jon Astley, and Glyn Johns, it is recorded at Rampart Studios in Battersea, London; Olympic Studios and RAK Studios in St. John's Wood, London; and Pete Townshend's home studio in Going-on-Thames, London from October 1977 - April 1978. Issued three years after their last studio album The Who By Numbers, it will be the final album to feature original drummer Keith Moon, who will die of an accidental drug overdose just three weeks after its release. It will spin off two singles including "Trick Of The Light" and the title track (#14 Pop). In 1996, the album will be remixed and remastered (by Jon Astley), with the reissue containing five bonus tracks. Who Are You will peak at number two on the Billboard Top 200, number six on the UK album chart, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
 

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Music History Monday: February 24

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 24, 2014 09:00am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: February 24, 1973 - "Killing Me Softly With His Song" by Roberta Flack hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, it is the second number one pop single for the North Carolina-born singer, songwriter, and musician. Originally recorded by singer Lori Leiberman, the song is inspired by a poem she writes after seeing singer Don McLean ("American Pie") perform at The Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood. She'll show the poem to her friend, lyricist Norman Gimbel, who will craft them into finished lyrics. Flack will see a picture of Leiberman in a magazine article about her and the song while flying from LA to New York. After hearing Leiberman's version, Flack will decide that she wants to record it herself. Her belief in the song's hit potential will be confirmed when she performs it live for the first time. In September of 1972 while appearing as Marvin Gaye's opening act at the Greek Theater, she'll perform "Killing Me Softly" during her encore and the crowd's reaction will be wildly enthusiastic. After her set, Gaye will tell her not to perform the song again live until she records it. Once in the studio, she'll spend nearly three months fine tuning the song before feeling that it's ready for release. Released as a single in January of 1973, it is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #54 on January 27, 1973, it will rocket to the top of the chart four weeks later. "Killing Me Softly With His Song" will win three Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and her second consecutive win for Record Of The Year. Gimbel And Fox will also win the award for Song Of The Year. In 1996, The Fugees will revive "Killing Me Softly," reaching #2 (for three weeks) on the Billboard Airplay Chart on June 22, 1996, and winning two Grammy Awards for their album The Score. Flack's version of "Killing Me Softly With His Song" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

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Music History Monday: January 6

Posted by Jeff Harris, January 6, 2014 09:50am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: January 6, 1957 - Elvis Presley will make his third and final appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Due to the previous controversy generated by his movement on stage, Presley will only be shot from the waist up. The singer will perform "Hound Dog," "Love Me Tender," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Don't Be Cruel," "Too Much," and "(There'll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)." The appearance is a huge success and will be seen by over sixty million people, generating the single largest viewing audience in television history at that time. Only two days after this show airs, Presley will receive notice from the Memphis draft board that he is to be drafted into the United States Army.
 


On this day in music history: January 6, 1958 - The Gibson Guitar Company registers its design for flying vthe Flying V guitar with the US Patent Office. The unique instrument is designed by Gibson president Ted McCarty with the intention of adding a futuristic aspect to the companies image. During their original manufacturing run, the guitar's body and neck are constructed from African Korina wood and mahogany with either ebony or rosewood fretboards. Guitarists such as Albert King and Lonnie Mack will adapt to them immediately and will become closely associated with both artists. However, initial sales will be slow and they will be discontinued in 1959. When guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Dave Davies of The Kinks begin playing them, it will renew interest in the Flying V and Gibson will reintroduce the guitar in 1967. The instrument will become a favorite of hard rock and heavy metal musicians during the 1970s and '80s. Original Flying V's made in 1958 and 1959 today are valued at between $200,000 and $250,000. To this day, the Flying V remains one of Gibson's most popular guitars.

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Music History Monday: October 21

Posted by Jeff Harris, October 21, 2013 11:05am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: October 21, 1957 - "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for seven weeks, also topping the Country singles chart for one week on December 2, 1957 and peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, it is the eighth chart topper for Presley in under a year and a half. Recorded as the title song from his third film, the track recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood on April 30, 1957. The song name checks a number of real people including musician Shifty Henry and the 1920's mobsters The Purple Gang. "Jailhouse Rock" is backed with the song "Treat Me Nice," which is also included in the film. It will peak at #18 on pop singles chart on October 28, 1957. The film will also open on the same date and top the box office charts simultaneously. Presley will also make history as being the only artist to ever dominate the top of the singles chart for 25 weeks during one calendar year. He will do it in both 1956 and 1957.
 


On this day in music history: October 21, 1967 - "To Sir With Love" by Lulu hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks. Written by Don Black and Mark London, it is the biggest hit for the Scottish-born singer and actress (born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie in Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire, Scotland). It is the theme song to the Sidney Poiter film about a teacher dealing with social and racial issues in a tough Secondary school in East London. Also co-starring in the film, Lulu will introduce her friend Mark London to the film's producers after they cannot find a suitable song for the main theme. London will write the music in just five minutes, with lyricist Don Black penning the lyrics the next day. When the single is released in the US, Epic Records will place "To Sir With Love" on B-side of "The Boat That I Row" (written by Neil Diamond). American radio DJ's will prefer the flipside and "Sir" will take off quickly. Entering the Hot 100 at #74 on September 9, 1967 it will race up the chart, hitting #1 six weeks later. Certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, "To Sir With Love" will be ranked the top single of 1967 as determined by Billboard Magazine.
 

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