Today marks what would’ve been Elvis’ 75th birthday. There will be a year-long celebration of his life and legacy at Graceland, his home in Memphis, Tennessee.
Rolling Stone: “A Look Back at the King on His 75th Birthday”
Take a look at the photo gallery on NY Daily News site.
Not that I would trust much of what the National Enquirer writes about anyone, but I do know that most of these 10 Things You Don’t Know About Elvis are actually true.
Here’s a 1960 performance of “Fame and Fortune” (introduced by Frank Sinatra)
Here are some more live performances from the King of Rock n’ Roll:
Baby, What You Want Me To Do
Trying to Get To You
And my favorite:
If I Can Dream
Friday, January 8, 2010, marks the 75th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birthday. At Graceland, the biggest Elvis celebration yet is taking place this week.
Check out some of the events below:
Stay tuned for more Elvis!
It’s the end of 2009, as well as the end of the ’00 decade. So here are some “Top” Lists.
Top 10 Pop Songs of 2009 – AOL Radio Blog
Top 10 Artists of 2009 – AOL Radio Blog
Best Albums of 2009 – AOL Radio Staff
Harry Connick Jr.
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Please Come Home for Christmas
Until Christmas, I’ll post holiday videos to help you get into the holiday spirit.
Let’s begin with the Festival of Lights. Instead of one day of presents, we have 8 Crazeee nights…Happy Chanukah!
Here’s a great animated performance of Adam Sandler’s classic by Neil Diamond:
Kenny Ellis gives a jazzy spin to two Chanukah tunes.
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah
My Menorah (to the tune of My Sharona)
To Connie…Love, Jenna was recorded live in New York City at the Metropolitan Room. Jenna Esposito’s homage to Connie Francis features new versions of Francis’ hits like “Who’s Sorry Now,” Stupid Cupid,” “Lipstick On Your Collar,” and “Where The Boys Are.” Jenna also included lesser-known songs like “My First Real Love,” inspired by Connie’s hidden romance with teen idol Bobby Darin, and the rockin’ “Are You Satisfied?” and “Send For My Baby.” Selections from Francis’ Italian albums include “Mama” and “Tango Della Gelosia.”
Esposito is joined by Fortune Esposito (her father) on guitar, David Crone on piano, Michael Blanco on bass, Brian DeWitt on drums, and Brian Broelmann on saxophone, flute, mandolin, and ukulele, along with backup vocalists Kelly Esposito-Broelmann and Rob Langeder.
Ms. Esposito is well versed in all things Connie. It’s nice to hear about how some hits came to be and some behind the scene gossip about those legendary songs. Esposito has soul and charm.
I was lucky enough to see Esposito perform on Valentine’s Day 2009 and was pleased with her playfulness and voice range. I wanted to attend one of the several Connie shows performed by Esposito but was unable to. I’m glad to have the CD to listen to this lovely tribute to one of our original teen idols.
On December 10, 1967, Otis Redding’s tour plane crashed into Wisconsin’s Lake Monona, killing him and four of five members of the R&B group the Bar-Kays, Redding’s backup band. Redding was only 26 years old. One last member of the Bar-Kays was on a commercial flight.
“(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” which Redding started recording only three days earlier, was released in January 1968, and went to No. 1. The whistling parts of that song were part of that first recording, with the intention of being replaced with new lyrics.
(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay
Respect (the original)
I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
Here is his last TV performance, less than a day before his death.
Try a Little Tenderness
The lost members of the Bar-Kays were eventually replaced and here is the new band with a new look playing “Son of Shaft” at Wattstax in 1972.
Norah Jones has created yet another thoughtful and solid album. The Fall, her fourth solo album, is her first effort toward creating a pop-rock collection and leading an electric band, while she alternates between playing guitar, piano, and the Wurlitzer electric piano. It is also her breakup album, with the majority of the 13 songs addressing the end of a romance and the start of a new chapter in her life. These reflections come from her real-life breakup with longtime bassist, collaborator, and romantic partner Lee Alexander.
Ms. Jones is also telling us there’s been some kind of shift with the title of the album. The title of the album could mean two things. Is Ms. Jones making reference to the season, when we often start over after a summer break or is she implying something heavier, a fall from grace? The word the might indicate the latter.
Since Ms. Jones captured our hearts seven years ago and was handed armfuls of Grammy awards for her debut, Come Away With Me, she has kept a low non-celebrity profile and gathered up astonishing amounts of sales and fans with that album and the next two, Feels Like Home and Not Too Late. She’s rarely ventured out of this persona, except on side projects, including the country album with the Little Willies and playing live in small joints in New York City with her punk band El Madmo. The charming Ms. Jones is now the ripe old age of thirty, and it doesn’t take long to realize that The Fall is unveiling a more mature and independent woman.
The hypnotic first single Chasing Pirates kicks things off. Even Though follows, also a guitar-heavy tune. I Wouldn’t Need You, Waiting, Young Blood, and Tell Yer Mama are all about lost love. The last is delivered with a righteous southern “you done me wrong” attitude. The closing track Man of the Hour has our heroine choosing her dog over the other males in her life because of his not having any baggage, eating meat, and giving her lots of lovin’. Back to Manhattan, this listener’s favorite tune from the album, laments: “Brooklyn holds you, and it holds my heart too. What a fool I was to think I could live in both worlds.” and “I should go back to Manhattan. It’s just a train ride away. I know nothing ’bout leaving, but I know I should do it today.”
Jones’ first-person voice dominates on The Fall’s and her lyrics are full of questions about the next stage of her life. This album, much like her debut, shows Jones’ vocal strength and her ability to communicate her feelings intimately as if she were sitting and sharing drinks or coffee with you-her confidante-and you alone. Norah Jones has done it again; captured her listeners’ hearts.
Norah Jones and the team behind “The Fall” take us through some of the tracks on her new album.
Rocky was released on this date in 1976. The Rocky movies have not only been a source for inspiration for athletes, but have had great music, including “Eye of the Tiger,” to accompany the victories and defeats of the “Italian Stallion.”
In honor of all the Rocky flicks, let’s watch videos of some of those inspiring tunes and movie moments.
And here’s the theme and the inspiring scene that started it all. Even after 33 years, Rocky’s triumph is still cool!
“Gonna Fly Now”
Today, November 17th, albums were released by three excellent voices in music: Norah Jones (a full review will be posted soon), John Mayer, and Leona Lewis.
Here’s a taste of what you’ll hear on the albums The Fall and Echo.
Chasing Pirates by Norah Jones
Happy by Leona Lewis
Here’s an interview with John Mayer talking about his new album Battle Studies.
Just came across the song “I Wonder Why?” by Harmonica Shah. (It’s currently the Free Discovery Download on iTunes.) This guy is smokin’!
Check him out:
Grammy winner Bryan Adams was born on November 5, 1959 in Ontario. Although “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” is a song I really hate, and I haven’t liked much of his stuff after that, Reckless was a good rockin’ album, and “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” is a great song. The line When you can see your unborn children in her eyes is really something and Paco de Lucía’s Spanish guitar on the song is fabulous.
Here are some of Bryan’s great songs (in my book):
Carlos Santana was born in Mexico and came to San Francisco as a teenager. In San Francisco, he was introduced to jazz, world, and folk music. Santana decided to become a full-time musician in 1966 and formed the Santana Blues Band with fellow street musicians keyboardist Gregg Rolie and bassist David Brown.
With its original blend of Latin-infused rock, jazz, blues, and African rhythms, the band, (which became known simply as Santana) gained a following in the San Francisco club scene. The band’s memorable performance at Woodstock in 1969 led to a recording contract with Columbia Records. Watch that performance below.
The band’s unique sound features Carlos’ melodic, blues-based guitar set against Latin percussion, such as timbales and congas. In 2003, Rolling Stone named Carlos Santana number 15 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
Black Magic Woman
Oye Como Va
Samba Pa Ti
Celia Cruz, The Queen of Salsa, was born on this day, October 21st, in 1925. and was one of the most successful Salsa performers of the 20th century, with 23 gold albums. She’s also know as “La Guarachera de Cuba.”
“Cruz is indisputably the best known and most influential female figure in the history of Cuban music.” Celia Cobo, Billboard Magazine
Watch some of Celia’s performances below:
Desi Arnaz (Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III) was a Cuban-American musician, actor, and TV producer (Our Miss Brooks, The Andy Griffith Show, The Untouchables, and Star Trek).
He arrived in the U.S. in the 30’s, starred on Broadway and in movies, and played guitar in Xavier Cugat’s band. In the 40s, he formed his own Latin orchestra and launched the conga craze in America.
And in 1951, with his wife Lucille Ball and their show I Love Lucy, he played a fictional version of himself, Ricky Ricardo. On the show, he sang, dance, and played the conga drums and the guitar.
In Santiago, Chile (‘Tain’t Chilly at All)
Cuban Pete (with Lucy)
Chico (Artuto) O’Farrill, a composer, arranger, bandleader, and trumpeter, was one of the leaders in the emergence of Afro-Cuban Jazz in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He arrived in New York City from Cuba when Machito and Dizzy Gillespie were blending bebop and Cuban music. O’Farrill quickly became a key figure in the movement. He preferred jazz over the Cuban music he had experienced before arriving in the U.S. and exposure to the new sounds helped him shape his musical ideas.
He worked as an arranger with Benny Goodman, and also wrote the popular “Undercurrent Blues” for the band. He also worked with other arrangers including Quincy Jones.
His first major contribution to Afro-Cuban Jazz was a recording session for Machito in 1950. O’Farrill’s The Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite is regarded as an important transition in adapting Cuban music to a modern jazz big band. It featured Charlie Parker, Flip Phillips, and Buddy Rich. He described Afro-Cuban Jazz as “a very delicate marriage,” in which each aspect of the music had to be held in proper balance.
Chico’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite
As well as leading his own band, he composed The Manteca Suite for Dizzy Gillespie in 1955, expanding the trumpeter’s famous 1947 hit “Manteca.” O’Farrill also arranged for Stan Kenton and Stan Getz.
He left the USA in 1955. He returned to Cuba, then moved to Mexico in 1957, where he remained until 1965, recording and working with local bands. His compositions from this period include The Aztec Suite for trumpeter Art Farmer.
He reunited with Machito and Gillespie in 1975 for an album, Afro- Cuban Jazz Moods. In 1995, he wrote a commissioned piece for Lincoln Center, featuring Wynton Marsalis, and led his own big band in a weekly residence at NYC’s Birdland, with his son, pianist Arturo O’Farrill, who has taken over conducting the band.
Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
In 2002, Arturo created The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra for Jazz at Lincoln Center. I went to see Arturo and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra last year at Birdland and I was very impressed. The band was comprised of both young and seasoned musicians. Arturo’s teenage sons are also quite talented and performed on one song a piece. Arturo has continued where his father left off. As an educator, he has certainly inspired many young musicians and turned them on to the music that perhaps their grandparents grew up with. His latest release Song For Chico won a Gammy for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2008.
Interview with Arturo O’Farrill