Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Singer's image

Winning Westenra rejects 'tart' image
A story in the Christchurch Press told us that New Zealander Hayley Westenra recently won the "classical performer of the year" award at the Variety Club's annual showbusiness awards in London, and had the opportunity in talking to the Telegraph in London to claim that her record company had tried to pressure her into dressing like a “tart”.
She said, "Occasionally, I have had to stand my ground on image issues. I am not a tarty person and I don't wear those clothes when I am out, so I don't wear them to perform or for interviews either."

I remember Shona Laing having a change of look
and thinking some 'image advisor' has got to you and it is not working (for me anyway). Although the photos on the sergent website doesn’t show any of those sloppy floppy images.

You Tube is marvelous in showing old clips of performers of earlier times and it is interesting to see some singers obviously under ‘advice’ on how to ‘jazz up’ their visual performance as per this clip of Kay Starr doing Wheel Of Fortune.

Consider too, Brook Benton having to cope with the producer’s concept of the visual aspect for the song Mother Nature, Father Time

All good for a laugh - as in you can't take it seriously.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from Monday 17 November 2008

The tease for Monday 17 November
Tonight, a song that was UK#1 when the first heart transplant was performed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard in South Africa on 3 December 1967.
The song also had a claim to fame in being one of the few occasions when song writers have ousted another of their songs from the top. Tony McAuley and John McLeod had written the charts previous #1 by The Foundations - Baby Now That I've Found You.

The tease for Tuesday 18 November
Tonight a UK#1(2) from 17 November, US#1, 10 December 1966 and NZ#1(2) from 12 January 1967. For a few months, in the UK at least, this group were bracketed with the Beatles as progressive music innovators, and their main songwriter was ranked with Lennon and McCartney as a songwriter of genius.

The tease for Wednesday 19 November
Tonight a US#1(1), 5 November 1966 and a Monster Hit in N.Z.
The group's first million seller written by Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart (as was a lot of their material). Their TV show was partly inspired by The Beatles 'Hard Day's Night film and this track was considered a knock-off of the Beatles' "Paperback Writer"

The tease for Thursday 20 November
US#1, 28 November 1964, a UK#11 in early 1965 and a HUGE HIT in N.Z. The song charted again in the UK in 1972, with a #2 peak.
This group comprised two sets of sisters, one set being twins, who got together at High School in Queens, New York. This second global million seller was written by George (Shadow) Morton, (who wrote their first million seller) along with Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. “The song is a heartbreaking cha-cha number about a girl in love” with a rebel and her parents disapproval.

The tease for Friday 21 November
Tonight a US#1(2) from *23 November 1963 (*the day after JFK assassination)
Two 19 years olds, updated a 1957 song which sold a million for them globally. The two had sung in local Baton Rouge Louisiana bistros for several years before teaming up. It was at this producer’s studio where they met and did an impromptu session –impressing the producer with their version of this song and it became a local success in the southern states before becoming a national then international hit.

And the songs for this week
Monday Long John Baldry – Let The Heartaches Begin
Tuesday The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations
Wednesday The Monkees – The Last Train To Clarksville
Thursday Shangri-Las – Leader Of The Pack
Friday Dale & Grace – I'm Leaving It Up To You

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from Monday 10 November 2008

The tease for Monday 10 November
Tonight a UK#1(6) from 28 November 1970, NZ#3 and US#4 from early 1971. Tonight’s artist first tasted chart success as a member of the Cardiff-based trio ‘Love Sculpture’, with their version of Khachaturyan’s “Sabre Dance”. One of his first productions from his own Rockfield studios in South Wales, was his remake of a 1955 soul hit which for tonight’s artist, entered the chart at #16 and vaulted to UK#1.

The tease for Tuesday 11 November
Tonight’s group was created for a popular TV show in the US, as were the Monkees. The show described the humorous adventures of a widow and her five children and proved to be a top-rating TV series. The star of the series, an actress on stage and in film, was the real life step-mother of the lead singer. A US#1(3) from 21 November 1970 with R.I.A.A. Gold Disc award by December.

The tease for Wednesday 12 November
This lovely soft song by Laura Nyro not only made US#1 (with 15 weeks in the Top 100) but sold a million by 5 December 1969 with Gold Disc award from R.I.A.A. and was a Monster Hit in N.Z.

The tease for Thursday 13 November
Tonight, a UK#1, 6 November 1968 and NZ#12 in early 1969. This Ex gas fitter had formed his first band, an R&B outfit called Vance Arnold & The Avengers, 1963. The following year he cut his first single, a Beatles song, “I’ll Cry Instead” using his current stage name. Working with numerous musicians he became well known on the London club circuit, gaining the attention of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. Having a mildly successful single under his belt our artist decided to record a stage favourite, and turned this singalong track into a souful ballad.”

The tease for Friday 14 November
Tonight, a US#1, 25 November 1967 and Monster Hit in N.Z. from this jazz-rock sextet that was a combination of two successful Southern California bands who had been together less than a year when this song hit the US charts.

And the songs for this week
Monday Dave Edmunds – I Hear You Knocking
Tuesday The Partridge Family – I Think I Love You
Wednesday The 5th Dimension – Wedding Bell Blues
Thursday Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends
Friday Strawberry Alarm Clock – Incense And Peppermints

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ray's Song Pick of the Day from Monday 3 November 2008

The tease for Monday 3 November
Tonight a US#1(3) from 1 November 1975. From the artist’s 10th million selling (platinum) album which was certified gold on the day of its release. The single also made UK#12, making 1975 a fantastic year for the artist and his lyricist.

The tease for Tuesday 4 November
Tonight a US#1(2) from 23 November 1974 and NZ#1(4) from 6 February 1975. Tonight's artist's role in the music industry was, originally, largely invisible. His first big break was in 1962 when Clyde McPhatter had a Top 10 hit with one of his songs. He produced Tony Joe White's hit "Polk Salad Annie" before signing with Monument Records, which resulted in his first album including his one main Rockabilly hit that we are hearing tonight.

The tease for Wednesday 5 November
Tonight a UK#1(2) from 11 November 1972. This song was not an obvious love story but was inspired by the young daughter of the artist’s manager, for whom he babysat. The angle gave the song a wider audience than it would have received had it been a traditional romance.

The tease for Thursday 6 November
Tonight a US#1(2) from 20 November and UK#4 (In Top 20 from 4 December) 1971. This theme from a film soundtrack passed the million and half in the US and in Britain sold over 250,000. It won the Oscar for Best Film Song of 1971 and Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement and for Best Engineered Recording in 1971.

The tease for Friday 7 November
Tonight a US#1(2) from 6 November 1971. Written by Bob Stone (or Wikipedia suggests it was, Shel Silverstein) and released in the US September and in Britain in November 1971, where it peaked at #3 and spent 12 weeks in the UK Top 50. It was the first big hit as a solo artist for tonight’s singer, with a million sale in the US, earning the R.I.A.A. Gold Disc award, 19 November 1971. It sold 250,000 in the UK. After her divorce in 1974 our artist started a solo career with Kapp Records, and became a fashion queen working for Vogue etc.

And the songs for this week
Monday Elton John – Island Girl
Tuesday Billy Swan – I Can Help. For more information, click Here
Wednesday Gilbert O’Sullivan – Clair.
Thursday Isaac Hayes – Theme from ‘Shaft’.
Friday Cher - Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves. For more information, click Here