Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Here's the match video of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce vs Asuka and Becky Lynch from last night's episode of Smackdown. Billie and Peyton were known as The Iconic Duo in NXT. But the WWE has changed their name to The Iiconics for copyright reasons. A clothing company owns Iconic so the WWE needed to change it so they can produce merch. I think the name is too clumsy and they may have to figure out something else. For now I will call them The Aussies which is what I have called them for years. Both went to high school together in Sydney, Australia. They are doing a mean girls chickenshit heel gimmick. The only thing I don't like about it is it obscures that they are pretty good wrestlers. They both got new boobs recently. I guess their shtick is they are better than Asuka...by osmosis. Of course we know this will come back to bite them later. The purpose of this match is to continue Becky's descent into jobberhood. The cheap finish complete with feet on the ropes is a chickenshit heel finish. The one noticeable thing is how much quicker Asuka is compared to the others. It's much easier for her to control that in a singles match. When Becky is in there with Billie, they look like they are moving in slow motion. Along with the match, the video has the post match video of The Aussies boasting about being better than Asuka. Asuka's response was to Tweet a GIF of Billie scurrying from the ring when Asuka went after her. And it also has a video of Becky encountering Absolution and they make fun of her. I'm sure this will lead to more losses for Becky. Enjoy the video!
The girl group Expose had a total of six top ten hits in the late 80s. Seasons Change was their only number one hit. They came from the Miami Freestyle scene and they may have been the most successful Freestyle group ever. The group was formed by DJ Lewis Martinee who wrote and produced most of the songs. He had his girlfriend record demos so he could sell the songs. But she sounded good enough that he decided to have her lead the group X-Posed which was soon changed to Expose. The single Point Of No Return did well enough to get a contract with Arista. But while the debut album was being produced, all three original members of Expose either left or were fired. The new members and the version of Expose that was successful were Jeanette Jurado, Gioia Bruno and Ann Curless. Jeanette was usually the lead singer. The 1987 album Exposure was released. They had three top ten singles. And then Seasons Change topped the Billboard Hot 100. The sax solo is by Euge Groove. The album was certified 3XPlatinum. But there were problems behind the scenes as Martinee owned everything and signed the girls to predatory contracts. Arista tried to get him to pay them better. But they had to sue to get their contracts renegotiated. The 1989 album What You Don't Know didn't do as well as the first album. But there were a couple of top ten hits. Then Gioia left due to throat problems and she was replaced by Kelly Moneymaker. They went in a more pop direction with the 1992 album Expose. Arista owner Clive Davis was behind that as he had Diane Warren write several songs for the album. When there were no hit singles, Arista dropped them. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Jeanette and Ann both appeared in stage musicals but eventually got married and retired. Gioia has recorded a few albums. Kelly has recorded and done some acting. Expose has reunited occasionally and they released a couple of singles. But they haven't been active since 2012. Lewis Martinee has produced other acts like the similar girl group The Cover Girls. And he has written and produced individual songs for Pet Shop Boys, Vanessa Williams and Debbie Gibson. But Expose was his one big success. He still does plenty of remix work. Here's the video for Seasons Change by Expose.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Swing Out Sister
Breakout was the only big US hit for the British group Swing Out Sister in 1987. They were a much bigger deal at home. There were several British groups in the late 80s that offered a jazz influenced kind of pop music. Swing Out Sister are from Manchester, England. Pianist Andy Connell and drummer Martin Jackson were both in 70s punk bands. Connell was in A Certain Ratio. Jackson was in Magazine. They worked with DJ Greg Wilson in the group Broken Glass. Corinne Drewry was a model and fashion designer when she met Connell in 1984. He convinced her to try singing. The group is named after the 1945 Arthur Treacher film Swing Out Sister. Supposedly they all hated the name but they couldn't agree on anything else. They got together with remix guy Paul Staveley O'Duffy and signed with Mercury Records in England. Breakout was the first single from their debut album It's Better To Travel. It reached #4 on the British Singles chart. When it was released in the US in 1987, it reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. It turned out to be Swing Out Sister's only big hit in the US. They continued to have success in England and in the Adult Contemporary and Smooth Jazz markets. They were nominated for two Grammys including Best New Artist. Richard Niles arranged the horns. He was an American who moved to England in the 70s. He was Cat Stevens' musical director but Niles did all kinds of things. Jackson left Swing Out Sister while the 1989 album Kaleidoscope World was being recorded. Since then the group has been a duo and they bring in session musicians. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Swing Out Sister released the 2017 album Almost Persuaded on their own label. It doesn't look like they perform live anymore. Here's the video of Breakout by Swing Out Sister.
Monday, April 23, 2018
Album:Toujours Chic!: More French Girl Singers Of The 1960s
Christie Laume recorded a few singles in the 60s and then she left the music business, got married and moved to the US. Rouge Rouge is generally considered to be the best of those singles. She was born Christina Lamboukas Feb. 4, 1942 in Paris. Her older brother Theo Serapo was also a singer. Christie appeared on radio as a child. She planned to be a beautician when in 1962 her brother married of all people Edith Piaf. Edith took her on tour and renamed her Christie Laume. She even appeared on TV with Edith. But then Edith died. Serapo recorded a couple of albums with Edith. He was able to launch a solo career. He was able to get Christie a record deal at Barclay and she released the 1966 single J'ai Besoin De Toi. When that and an EP didn't do well, she switched to EMI's Odeon label. She released the 1967 EP La Musique Et La Danse. Rouge Rouge was the standout track on that EP. All of Christie's songs were written and produced by Noel Commaret who had previously worked with her brother. The musicians are not identified. I wish I knew who played the fuzz guitar. It wouldn't surprise me if it was Mickey Baker. Christie recorded a duet with Richard Anthony. Then she released another EP in 1968 that was an attempt to be more commercial. When that fell flat, Christie met her future husband who was serving in the US Air Force. They moved to the US and Christie became a devout Christian. No more music career. Ready Steady Girls says Christie is writing her autobiography along with books about her brother and Edith Piaf. You can get Rouge Rouge on this Ace Records various artists comp. Here's a video of Rouge Rouge by Christie Laume. And again thanks to Ready Steady Girls for the info. They are a great site for info about this kind of music.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Album:Despacito & My Greatest Hits
Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi has been a star in Latin America for twenty years. But when Justin Bieber decided to remix his hit Despacito, it became one of the biggest hits in recent memory. But I don't think most music fans know anything about Fonsi. He was born Luis Alfonso Rodriguez Apr. 15, 1978 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Fonsi had a group Big Guys while attending high school in Orlando, FL. Future *NSYNC member Joey Fatone was in that group. Fonsi studied music at Florida State and a demo got him a deal with Universal Music Latin. He's had six number one hits in Latin America. So he's been very successful. Fonsi recorded an English album in 2002 that went nowhere. That brings us to Despacito. The song was first recorded in Spanish and it was a number one hit in Latin America. It's on Fonsi's upcoming album. Fonsi says he just wanted to create a fun dance song. He wrote the song with singer songwriter Erika Ender. And of course the rap is by Ramon "Daddy Yankee" Ayala who is very popular in Latin America. So it seems that Bieber heard Despacito in a club in Colombia. And he liked it so much that he wanted to do a remix. The only real change to the song was Bieber brought in his usual songwriters Jason Boyd and Marty James to write English lyrics. Bieber also was coached to sing in Spanish. And of course they shot a new video. Bieber's involvement was enough to make Despacito the first Spanish language Billboard Hot 100 number one hit since Macarena in 1996. So it was a huge hit. Fonsi's new album still isn't out. But you can get the original version of Despacito, Bieber's remix and a third remix along with some of Fonsi's other hits on this budget CD. As I said, Fonsi is already a star in Latin America. It's doubtful this will make him a star in the US. But it should encourage other artists to work with him. Here's the video for Despacito by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Album:The Essential Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam was one of the most popular bands of the 90s mostly as an album band. They didn't seem to need hit singles. So it's a little odd that their biggest hit single was a cover of a 60s hit for a benefit album. Pearl Jam are from Seattle. Guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament were members of the 80s band Green River. When that band split up, they formed Mother Love Bone with singer Andrew Wood. They released an album on PolyGram in 1989. And then Wood died of a heroin overdose. Gossard and Ament were devastated because it looked like this band could be big. Jamming with guitarist Mike McCready encouraged Gossard to form a new band. They recorded a demo to try and find a drummer and singer. They gave the demo to drummer Jack Irons. He passed but he thought his friend Eddie Vedder would be interested. He was and then they added drummer Dave Krusen. They named themselves after NBA player Mookie Blaylock. They changed the name to Pearl Jam after signing with Epic Records. Vedder says the name is a reference to his great grandmother. They released the 1991 album Ten which was Mookie Blaylock's number. It was a huge worldwide success and Pearl Jam was a big part of the Seattle grunge explosion. But when grunge faded, Pearl Jam continued to be a huge success mostly as a live draw. And their albums continued to sell great. They were never a singles band. Their only top ten hit in their early days was I Got Id in 1997. That brings me to Last Kiss. It was written and recorded by Wayne Cochran in 1961. J. Frank Wilson's cover of Last Kiss reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964. Vedder heard that record and he convinced the band to try it. They performed it a few times in 1998. They recorded it and released it as a 1998 fan club Christmas single. But then radio stations started to play it and Pearl Jam had to release it. But they didn't release it on a Pearl Jam album. Last Kiss appeared on the 1999 charity CD No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees. Last Kiss reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it helped raise $10M for the charity. It is to date Pearl Jam's highest charting single. The Kosovar CD is out of print and the song only appears on a couple of Pearl Jam comps like the 2CD comp The Essential Pearl Jam. Of course Pearl Jam is still successful. They have a new album coming shortly and they are on tour. Here's Pearl Jam performing Last Kiss 1999.
Friday, April 20, 2018
Song:Return Of The Mack
Album:Strictly Rhythm Superjams
Return Of The Mack was the only big US hit for British singer Mark Morrison. He was a bigger deal at home. His big problem was he couldn't seem to stay out of jail. He was born May 3, 1972 in Hannover, Germany but he grew up in Leicester, England and later Miami. He moved back to England at age 19. Morrison produced a few singles for other artists before releasing a single in 1993. His 1995 single Crazy was a top 20 hit in England. Warner Music England came calling and Morrison signed. He was on Atlantic in the US. After some jail time for assault, Morrison recorded the album Return Of The Mack. The single topped the British charts and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Morrison wrote and produced the album with Phil Chill who had previously produced Apache Indian. The girl on the song and in the video is British singer Angie Brown. The main sample on Return Of The Mack is the Tom Tom Club song Genius Of Love. Morrison scored a few more hits in England but he was arrested for carrying a weapon on an airplane. He was convicted of armed robbery in 1999 and he has been charged with assault a few times. Warner dropped him like a bad habit. You can get Return Of The Mack on this various artists budget CD. Morrison still records occasionally for his own label. He signed with Death Row Records in 2001 but nothing ever came from that. More recently, Burger King used Return Of The Mack in a commercial. So I'm sure that made Morrison a good chunk of cash. He records occasionally but he can live off royalties forever. Here's the video for Return Of The Mack by Mark Morrison.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Song:Livin' La Vida Loca
Livin' La Vida Loca was the only number one hit and the signature song for Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin in 1999. He was a star at home before recording in English. He was born Dec. 24, 1971 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He started performing as a child and he appeared in several TV commercials. Then he auditioned for the teen boy band Menudo and after the third audition, 12 year old Martin was hired in 1984. At first he was thought to be too short. Menudo was successful in the 80s. All members are forced to leave at age 18. By 1989, they were fading and Martin would have to leave anyway. After graduating from high school, he got into acting on Mexican Telenovelas and eventually he did some daytime soaps in the US. But the big thing is he signed with Sony in 1991 and he still records for them today. He was very successful recording in Spanish for the next few years. Then he recorded his English debut album Ricky Martin in 1999. Livin' La Vida Loca was the first single and it topped the charts worldwide. The album sold 15M copies worldwide. He had a few other hit singles but that was the big one. Regardless of whether you like Martin, the production and arrangement is really what made Livin' La Vida Loca. And for that you have to credit writers and producers Robi Rosa and Desmond Child. They produced most of the album. Rosa had worked previously with Martin. Child has written tons of hit songs. He's in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Randy Cantor wrote the arrangement. He's a veteran session keyboard player. Another veteran session musician guitarist Rusty Anderson played the guitar solo. And the trumpet solo was by another session musician Tony Concepcion. Martin has never had another hit that big. But it was enough to sustain him so that he still records for Sony. You can get all his hits on this budget comp. In recent years, Martin has appeared on The Voice in Mexico and Australia. He currently appears in the FX series American Crime Story: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace. And he is in residency at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas. That will end in June. Here's the video for Livin' La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin.