Sunday, February 19, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Duran Duran

Artist:Duran Duran
Song:A View To A Kill

Duran Duran was one of the biggest bands of the 80s. The 1985 theme to the James Bond film A View To A Kill was at the end of their initial run but it was also one of their two number one hits in the US. Duran Duran were from Birmingham, England formed in 1978 by bassist John Taylor and keyboard player Nick Rhodes. The name came from a character in the French sci-fi comic strip Barbarella though I think they may have got it from Roger Vadim's 1966 film starring Jane Fonda. The first lead singer was Stephen Duffy of Tin Tin and Simon Colley was the original bassist. Taylor played guitar. They didn't have a drummer. They used a drum machine. Colley left and auditions resulted in the hiring of guitarist Andy Taylor. John Taylor switched to bass. Duffy was replaced by Andy Wickett and he was lead singer for a year. They tried out different guys. But by 1980, they settled on Simon Le Bon as lead singer, Andy Taylor on lead guitar and they added drummer Roger Taylor. They sent out demos and signed with EMI. Their debut album was released in 1981. Their first big hit was their third single Girls On Film mostly because of the video. An edited version was played heavily on MTV. They toured the US and Hungry Like The Wolf was their first big hit in the US. It reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Another thing that gave them a big edge over other bands of the era was they appeared regularly in teen fan mags directed at teenage girls. That was Duran Duran's fanbase at the time. Their first US #1 hit was the 1984 single The Reflex. But there were problems brewing. John and Andy Taylor formed The Power Station with Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson. They scored two top ten hits. Le Bon and Rhodes released an album as Arcadia. Rhodes admits today that splitting into two bands was commercially self destructive. Then John Taylor drunkenly approached James Bond producer Cubby Broccoli at a party and asked him when he was going to get a decent band for one of his theme songs. This led to a meeting with Bond composer John Barry. Duran Duran wrote A View To A Kill and Barry produced and arranged the record. It was the first James Bond theme to top the Billboard Hot 100. You can get all of Duran Duran's hits on this budget comp. Then things fell apart. Roger Taylor quit due to exhaustion. Andy Taylor recorded the 1986 album Thunder in Los Angeles. The others released the 1986 album Notorious and the single Notorious reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Duran Duran continued though they weren't as successful as they were previously. They continued in the 90s until they left EMI in 1999. Duran Duran recorded for Hollywood and Epic. Their latest CD Paper Gods was released in 2015 on Warner Bros. They still tour. Andy Taylor is no longer a member but the other four guys still are. Rhodes took a break and was replaced by Amanda "MNDR" Warner. But he's back and he will be on the 2017 tour. Here's the video for A View To A Kill by Duran Duran.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Kenny Lattimore

Artist:Kenny Lattimore
Song:For You
Album:The Best Of Kenny Lattimore

R&B crooner Kenny Lattimore scored his biggest hit with For You in 1997. Today it's a very popular wedding song. Lattimore is still around. He was born Apr. 10, 1970 in Washington, DC. Though he always wanted to sing, he studied architecture at Howard University just in case. He started doing sessions and that led to Lattimore becoming lead singer of the group Maniquin. They signed with Epic and released a 1988 album with big name producers like Charlie and Ronnie Wilson of The Gap Band and Charlie Singleton of Cameo. But they didn't have a hit single and the album didn't sell. Maniquin split up and Lattimore returned to session work. He worked with a group called Dem Twinzz but Lattimore wanted to be a solo artist. So he moved to New York in 1993. He recorded demos with producer J. Dibbs who had produced Joe. This got him a deal with Columbia and his 1996 debut CD Kenny Lattimore. For You was the third single and it reached #6 on the R&B Singles chart. It crossed over to be a top 40 pop hit. And it's also a very popular wedding song. The song was written by Lattimore's friend Kenny Lerum and it was produced by Barry Eastmond, best known for producing Freddie Jackson. Lattimore recorded two albums for Columbia and then moved to Arista in 2001. He continued to have success on the R&B charts. This budget comp has all of his hits. After Lattimore married singer Chante Moore in 2002, Arista president LA Reid suggested they record as a duo. They recorded two albums together. One was a gospel album and the other was an album of covers. And they toured together. They divorced in 2011. Lattimore recorded an album of covers for Verve in 2008. Then he started his own label with eOne and released the 2015 album Anatomy of a Love Song. His latest CD for Motown is A Kenny Lattimore Christmas. And he still tours. Here's the video for For You by Kenny Lattimore.

Friday, February 17, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Charlatans UK

Artist:The Charlatans UK
Song:The Only One I Know
Album:The Best Of The Charlatans: Melting Pot 1990-1997

The Charlatans were one of several bands to emerge from the Madchester scene in England in the late 80s. The Only One I Know was their first top ten hit in England. They have had plenty of success at home but not as much here. The Charlatans are from Northwich in the West Midlands in England. They were formed in 1988 by bassist Martin Blunt, Rob Collins on keyboards, Jon Brookes on drums, Jon Day on guitar and lead singer Baz Ketley who would be replaced by Tim Burgess. They were called The Charlatans UK in North America because The Charlatans was already copyrighted. They released a single in 1990 and then signed with Beggars Banquet. The Only One I Know was the first single and it reached #9 on the British Singles chart. It was added to the 1990 album Some Friendly. They signed with RCA in the US. The Charlatans toured the US but they never broke through commercially. They were more successful in England. Day was replaced by Mark Collins. They had a setback when Rob Collins was convicted of armed robbery and served four months in prison. Apparently he was unknowingly waiting in the car for a friend who committed the crime. They again had success in England when the 1995 album The Charlatans topped the charts. While recording their 1996 album Telling Stories, Rob Collins was killed in a car crash. Martin Duffy was brought in to replace him temporarily. The album was their most successful to date featuring the top five hit One To Another. The Charlatans contract with Beggars Banquet was up and they signed with Universal. This comp was released at that time. It covers their Beggars Banquet recordings and it's available as a budget CD. Tony Rogers was the new keyboard player. The Charlatans recorded three albums for Universal and they moved to Sanctuary in 2006. After one album, they moved to Cooking Vinyl. They had another setback when Jon Brookes collapsed during a 2010 performance in Philadelphia. He died of brain cancer in 2013. The Charlatans released a new CD Modern Nature in 2015 on BMG. They continue to tour. They usually hire a drummer and other musicians for touring. Here's the video for The Only One I Know by The Charlatans UK.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Vallieres

Album:Chacun Dans Son Espace

Singer songwriter Vincent Vallieres has had success in his native Quebec. He is unknown otherwise. He was born Aug. 8, 1978 in Sherbrooke, QC. He learned to play guitar and he began writing songs as a teen. Influences include Harmonium, Robert Charlebois and Paul Piche. Vallieres won second place in a songwriting contest and he recorded a demo. In 1997, local promoter Bernard Caza signed him to his BYC label. His 1999 CD Trente Arpents was successful in the rural areas of Quebec. Traditionally Montreal tends to spurn artists from the "back country" as it is called. Initially, Vallieres was sold as a folksinger. But he wanted to form a rock band. Chacun Dans Son Espace was his third album in 2003. By this time, he was just known as Vallieres. Vallieres writes and produces all his songs with the help of Eric Goulet on guitar and organ, Michel-Olivier Gasse on bass and Alain Berge on drums. Vallieres left BYC for Spectra in 2011. Vallieres just released a new single Bad Luck and he's touring Quebec. So that means a new album is coming. Here's Vallieres performing Manu on the ARTV show Pour L'Amour Du Country.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Smokey Wood & His Wood Chips

Artist:Smokey Wood & His Wood Chips
Song:Keep On Truckin'
Album:Kings Of Western Swing

John "Smokey" Wood was a pioneer of Western Swing which is a mix of country and jazz. The problem was he only got a couple of opportunities to record. And when it didn't work out, he went back to being a sideman. He was born Sept. 16, 1918 in Harrison, AR. His mother played piano. Wood grew up in Oklahoma and he moved to Houston in 1935. His nickname was The Houston Hipster. Wood's first band was called The Oklahoma Playboys. The big difference between Wood and other Western Swing pioneers was he leaned more towards jazz than country. The band played local clubs but they weren't able to get on the radio consistently which would have led to recording. So Wood formed bands like the Blue Ridge Playboys and the Georgia Flyers. When he finally got on a radio station, Wood changed the group name to the Modern Mountaineers. Wood was also well known for his love of weed. Apparently he was high most of the time and he even grew his own. The Modern Mountaineers finally got the opportunity to record in 1937. The problem was the band's manager didn't like Wood's voice. Wood was replaced as lead singer and he left to take a job at a gas station. The same record company asked Wood to put together a band to record. They were called the Wood Chips and they recorded several songs in Sept. 1937 including Keep On Truckin'. This was Wood's final opportunity to record as a leader. You can get Keep On Truckin' on this 2CD various artists comp from the Irish label Pazzaz. Wood had other opportunities in music including with Spade Cooley in 1945. But they never seemed to work out. He seemed to be more interested in financing his weed habit. Wood toured the carnival circuit for many years and his final gig was with sax player Joe Sanchez. Smokey Wood died on Jan. 6, 1975 of heart failure at age 57. Here's a video of Keep On Truckin' by Smokey Wood & His Wood Chips.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-2Pac

Artist:2Pac f/K-Ci & JoJo
Song:How Do U Want It
Album:Greatest Hits

Today rapper Tupac Shakur is best known for his 1996 death due to a drive by shooting. But he was one of the more significant rappers of the era. How Do U Want It was one of his two number one hits. He was born Lesane Parish Crooks June 16, 1971 in New York City. His mother renamed him Tupac after an 18th century Peruvian revolutionary. Both his parents were Black Panthers so he grew up around that. Shakur began acting in high school. His family moved to Baltimore in 1986 and he attended the Baltimore School for the Arts. He also started rapping and he was considered the best rapper in his school. In 1988, his family moved to the San Francisco suburb of Marin City. He got into the music business as a roadie and backup dancer with Digital Underground. After appearing on the 1991 Digital Underground single Same Song, Shakur signed with their label Interscope and released his 1991 debut CD 2Pacalypse. Though there were no hit singles, it was hailed for its underground feel. Of course some of the songs were controversial. His 1993 album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..... was certified Platinum as the singles I Get Around and Keep Ya Head Up were top 20 hits. Then Shakur formed the group Thug Life and released an album. It did OK but he didn't tour with them. Also Interscope forced Shakur to re-record some of the songs because they thought they were too controversial. Shakur then moved to Death Row Records and released a solo album Me Against The World in 1995. It was certified 2XPlatinum. Dear Mama was his very first top ten single. He finally broke through with the 1996 album All Eyez On Me. It was certified Diamond and the singles California Love and How Do U Want It topped the charts. They were released as double A sides. How Do U Want it features K-Ci & JoJo from Jodeci. Shakur wrote and produced it with Johnny "Johnny J" Jackson who was a member of Thug Life and he produced much of All Eyez On Me. It samples from Quincy Jones' Body Heat. The song appeared in Shakur's final film Gang Related. After Shakur released an album under the name Makaveli, he was killed on Sept. 7, 1996 in a Las Vegas drive by shooting. Though there was a suspected shooter, nothing has ever been proven. Of course with the way Shakur died, he's a legend now and he's getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame this year. If he had lived, it's likely Shakur would have left music for films. He had already acted in a few films and acting is what got him into rap in the first place. Maybe if he stars in the 1993 film Menace II Society, he doesn't even go back to music. He was replaced by Larenz Tate after an altercation with director Allen Hughes. Morgan Creek Productions is making a Tupac Shakur biopic to be directed by Benny Boom. It is filming in Atlanta. Obviously Shakur was a talented guy. But his murder overshadows that talent and it always will. Here's the video for How Do U Want It by 2Pac featuring K-Ci & JoJo.

Monday, February 13, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-House Of Pain

Artist:House Of Pain
Song:Jump Around
Album:House Of Pain

This very catchy rap song was a top five hit in 1992. Then like a lot of rap acts of that era, House Of Pain were forgotten by the mid-90s. The man behind House Of Pain was rapper Erik "Everlast" Schrody. After recording an unsuccessful 1990 solo album for Warner. Bros. produced by Ice-T, he formed House Of Pain with Leor "DJ Lethal" Dimant and high school buddy Daniel "Danny Boy" O'Connor. The name House Of Pain is from the HG Wells novel The Island Of Dr. Moreau. The idea was to present themselves as Irish hooligans. Schrody and O'Connor were Irish but Dimant was born in Latvia and was Jewish. The 1992 single Jump Around reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Everlast wrote it and it was produced by DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill. The song is based on two samples. The horn fanfare is from the Bob & Earl 1963 classic Harlem Shuffle and the repeated screaming sax is from Junior Walker's Shoot Your Shot. That sax riff is repeated 66 times. The song also samples Popeye (The Hitchhiker) by Chubby Checker. The video was shot during New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade. That got them constant airplay on MTV. The album was certified Platinum. Apparently they behaved like hooligans on tour and Schrody was arrested in 1993 for trying to take a gun through Kennedy Airport in New York. Their 1994 album Same As It Ever Was was certified Gold but there were no hit singles. So the writing was on the wall. It was not unusual for rap groups to end up as one hit wonders. House Of Pain's 1996 CD Truth Crushed To Earth Shall Rise Again didn't sell. Everlast went solo and House Of Pain disbanded. The 1992 album House Of Pain is available as a budget CD. Everlast had success with his 1998 single What It's Like and the album Whitey Ford Sings The Blues. DJ Lethal joined Limp Bizkit. Danny Boy was out of music for a while but in 2006 he formed La Coka Nostra with some Everlast and DJ Lethal involvement. House Of Pain have reunited for a couple of tours but they have not recorded. DJ Lethal still tours with Limp Bizkit. House Of Pain doesn't appear to be active right now but La Coka Nostra released a CD in 2016. Everlast will release a new CD in 2017. Here's the video for Jump Around by House Of Pain.