Amoeblog

Crispian St. Peters 1939 - 2010

Posted by Whitmore, June 15, 2010 11:38am | Post a Comment
cripian st. peters, pop music, the beatles, the pied piper, we five, decca records, england swings, the 1960's, british invasion, you were on my mind, youtube, obituary
I’ve always had a soft spot for Crispian St. Peters, the 1960’s English pop star with a lilting, lyrical, tenor voice who passed away last week at the age of 71.
 
Born Robin Peter Smith in Swanley, Kent, England, on April 5th, 1939, as a youngster he performed in a variety of local bands such as The Hard Travellers, The Two Tones and The Country Gentlemen. In 1965 after being discovered by David Nicolson, an EMI publicist, he was signed to Decca as a solo recording act. At first his new stage name was to be Crispin Blacke, but after a bit of a tussle, the name Crispian St. Peters was settled upon and simultaneously, five years was deducted from Robin Peter Smith’s age.
 
His first couple of releases however, though good, went nowhere and nowhere fast. But it was his oddly england swings, crispian st. peters, the neatles, john  lennon, the 1960's, british invasion, you were on my mind, youtube, obituarysoulful cover of “You Were On My Mind,” a song which had been a million seller in the United States for the We Five, that broke him into the big time and the top ten in England and Europe. But the follow up single in 1966, “The Pied Piper,” became his biggest international hit, soaring into the top five or hitting the number one spot though out Europe, North America and Asia.
 
Originally recorded by The Changin' Times, “The Pied Piper” was written by Steve Duboff and Artie Kornfeld, though the St. Peters’ version modified the lyrics slightly, perhaps helping the groovy, England swings quotient. The line "I'll show you where life's at" was changed to the much hipper "I'll show you where it's at." A slight side note, Artie Kornfeld also wrote the song "Deadman's Curve"(with Brian Wilson & Jan Berry) for Jan & Dean and the 1967 hit by the Cowsills “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things.” Kornfeld, in his early twenties, also became the vice president of Capitol Records, the youngest to hold such a position. But in 1969, Kornfeld left Capitol Records for what he is most known for, creating the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival.
 
crispian st. peters, ngland swings, the 1960's, british invasion, you were on my mind, youtube, obituaryIn the late sixties John Lennon was quoted as saying that Crispian St. Peters’ “The Pied Piper” was one of his favorite songs.
 
Unfortunately one of the lasting images of Crispian St. Peters, while under the slippery guidance of David Nicolson, will always be his brief transformation into an arrogant arse. The only problem was, really, Crispian St. Peters was just twenty years ahead of his time. He literally scared the hell out of the era’s conservative British music press when he suggested that he’d written some 80 songs better than anything The Beatles could write and that he was greater than Elvis Presley. He even called himself the Cassius Clay of pop, but god forbid, St. Peters probably went too far when he said he was sexier than Dave Berry. Later he said it was all just flippantly done tongue-in-cheek, just some good old rawkin’ fun.
 
After the success of "The Pied Piper” St. Peters only had a couple of other charting singles, mostly skimming the bottom of the charts. Briefly in the early seventies he reinvented himself as a country-and-western performer, but later, St. Peters found constant and continued popularity working on the Sixties nostalgia circuit, while occasionally putting out some new recordings.
 
He had a series of health problems. In January 1995, at the age of 56, he suffered a stroke, which eventually led to him being confined to a wheel chair. Over the years he suffered several nervous breakdowns and battled emphysema. His last major public performance was in 1999 and in 2001 he announced his retirement from the music industry. In 2003 he was hospitalized several times with pneumonia.
 
Like I said, I’ve always liked his work; he was also a great songwriter, though he released very few self penned singles. Crispian St. Peters was divorced and is survived by his son Lee, daughter Samantha and a grandson.
 
 
 
 

Lena Horne 1917 - 2010

Posted by Whitmore, May 10, 2010 12:05pm | Post a Comment
Lena Horne
 
Lena Horne, the legendary jazz singer, icon of American popular music and award winning actress -- and as far as I’m concerned, one of the most captivating women ever to walk this planet -- died yesterday, Sunday, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She was 92. Called "one of the incomparable performers of our time," she was best known for her plaintive signature song "Stormy Weather" from the film of the same name and her starring roles in such pictures as Cabin in the Sky, Panama Hattie, and The Wiz.
 
Horne had an easy, sultry singing voice, insanely beautiful, and her compelling sex appeal may have at first overshadowed her talents, but she wasn’t just another pretty face. When she signed with MGM Pictures, she was among the handful of black actors to have a contract with a major Hollywood studio, though it was never easy. Her life long battle against bigotry took its psychic toll; Horne was perpetually frustrated with the public humiliation of racism. A pivotal moment took place in 1945 as she entertained at an Army base in Europe and saw that German prisoners of war were seated up front while black American lena Hornesoldiers were relegated to the back. She worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws. Her involvement in various social and political organizations and her friendship with Paul Robeson, who was just as well known as a singer as for his communist leanings, had Horne’s name placed on the era’s blacklists during the red scare witch hunts of the early 1950’s and the age of Joseph McCarthy.
 
Born Lena Mary Calhoun Horne in Brooklyn on June 30, 1917, she dropped out of school at 16 to help support her family. She joined the chorus line at the Cotton Club, the mythical Harlem night spot where the entertainers were black and the clientele white. By the spring of 1934, she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade. She left the club in 1935 to tour with Noble Sissle's orchestra, then billed as Helena Horne. Horne was also one of the first black performers hired to sing with a major white band when she joined Charlie Barnet's orchestra in 1940. She was the first black performer to play the Copacabana nightclub in New York City.
 
In 1943, MGM Studios loaned her to 20th Century-Fox to play the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black movie musical Stormy Weather. Her rendition of the title song became a major hit and put her name center stage for the next several decades.
 Lena Horne
Horne became one of the most visible celebrities in the civil rights movement of the late 50’s and 1960’s. She made headlines for once throwing a lamp, an ashtray and several glasses at a customer who made a racial slur in a Beverly Hills restaurant, bloodying the man's forehead. In 1963 Horne joined with some 250,000 others in the March on Washington, D.C. when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. That same year Horne spoke at a NAACP rally with another civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, just the weekend before his assassination.
 
In the early 1970’s Horne went into seclusion. In a period of just over a year, her father, son and husband all died. She became too grief-stricken to perform or even see anyone but her closest friends. Oddly enough, comedian Alan King was the one who convinced her to return to the stage and public life.
 
Horne had her first big Broadway success as the star of  Jamaica in 1957, but in 1981, for her one-woman Broadway show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, she won a special Tony Award and the 333 performances still hold the record for the longest-running solo performance in Broadway history. In it, she sang two versions -- one straight and the other gut-wrenching -- of "Stormy Weather" to give audiences a glimpse of the spiritual odyssey she had taken in of her five-plus decade long career. In 1984 she was Kennedy Center Honors recipient for extraordinary talent, creativity, and perseverance. And of her four Grammy Awards, the one she received in 1989 was the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.



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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Michael Jackson 1958 - 2009

Posted by Whitmore, June 25, 2009 03:13pm | Post a Comment


Pop icon Michael Jackson was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center this afternoon by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics. Paramedics responded to a call at Jackson's home at 12:26 p.m. He was not breathing when they arrived. The paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and took him to the UCLA Medical Center.

Paramedics were called to a home in the 100 block of Carolwood Drive off Sunset Boulevard in the Bel-Aire area of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Times  and CNN  posted early this afternoon Jackson died of a probable cardiac arrest . His talent and ambition made him the biggest international pop star of the 1980's and 90's. His 1982 album Thriller remains the biggest-selling album of all time, selling somewhere in the range of 65 million copies world wide, powered by seven Top 10 singles and eight Grammy Awards. Michael Jackson was 50 years old.

Oasis

Posted by Whitmore, March 2, 2009 01:20pm | Post a Comment
The Brit-pop band Oasis’ first ever concert tour of China, planned for this spring, has been cancelled;  Chinese authorities have deemed the band as being "unsuitable." The shows scheduled for Beijing and Shanghai were due to take place on April 3rd and 5th; tickets sales were stopped on February 28, according to China Daily Newspaper.
 
Though no clear explanation has been given other than Oasis being “unsuitable,” it’s thought this cancellation might have something to do with China's Culture Ministry's recent discovery that Noel Gallagher played a Free Tibet benefit in the US in 1997 … that is a no-no in Mainland China.
 
Also uncertain is whether or not the show scheduled for Hong Kong on April 7th will take place.
 
The rest of the South East Asian tour will go ahead as planned, as Oasis is currently on a world tour promoting their latest CD, 2008’s Dig Out Your Soul -- their seventh studio album. Just this past week Oasis was voted the best British band at the annual NME Awards. They also won for Best Blog for Noel Gallagher's Tales from the Middle of Nowhere which is published on MySpace.
 
Oasis was formed in Manchester in 1991. Their first number one UK single was “Some Might Say from their second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, peaking back in April 1995. Since then they have chalked up seven more number one hits and sold over 50 million records world wide. They have also collected fifteen NME Awards, five BRIT Awards, nine Q Awards and four MTV Europe Music Awards, plus odds and ends of other awards like the 2002 Top of the Pops and the 2007 Vodafone Live Music Awards.
 
A number of musical acts from the West have performed in China in recent years, including the Rolling Stones and Elton John, but some performers have run into problems on their way to China. Jay-Z was denied permission in 2006 due to his use of profane language. Britney Spears was permitted to play in 2004 but with the strict understanding that her costumes were not to be too revealing. And last year, Icelandic star Bjork made waves when she shouted "Free Tibet!" during her concert in Shanghai.