Prince - Sign O' The Times

Prince - Sign 'O' The Times

You realise why Prince was routinely labelled a genius in the late 80s.


Kate Bush 50 Words for Snow

Album Released 21 November 2011

The sublime and the ridiculous: this is classic Kate.

Adam Ant at the Phoenix Cinema, East Finchley

Adam Ant Acoustic and Personal

An Exclusive Screening of his Live In Japan 1981 and Live In Hyde Park 2011 with a Question and Answer session followed by an Acoustic Set by Adam.

8th August 2011, Phoenix Cinema, East Finchley





Frank, Island, 2003.


Amy Winehouse Back to Black
Amy Winehouse Teeth
Amy Winehouse Paparazi
Amy Winehouse flower

Much can be said about Amy Winehouse, one of the U.K.'s flagship vocalists during the 2000s.

The British press and tabloids seemed to focus on her rowdy behaviour and heavy consumption of alcohol, but fans and critics alike embraced her rugged charm, brash sense of humour, and distinctively soulful and jazzy vocals. Her platinum-selling breakthrough album, Frank (2003), elicited comparisons ranging from Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan to Macy Gray and Lauryn Hill.

Interestingly enough, despite her strong cockney accent and vernacular, one can often hear aspects of each of those singers' vocal repertoire in Winehouse's own voice. Nonetheless, her allure has been her songwriting - almost always deeply personal, but best known for its profanity and brutal candour.

Born to a taxi-driving father and pharmacist mother, Winehouse grew up in the Southgate area of Northern London. Her upbringing was surrounded by jazz. Many of the uncles on her mother's side were professional jazz musicians, and even her paternal grandmother was romantically involved with British jazz legend Ronnie Scott at one time.

While at home, she listened to and absorbed her parents' selection of greats: Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra among others. However, in her teens, she was drawn to the rebellious spirit of TLC, Salt-N-Pepa, and other American R&B and hip-hop acts of the time.

At the age of 16, after she had been expelled from London's Sylvia Young Theatre School, she caught her first break when pop singer Tyler James, a schoolmate and close friend, passed on her demo tape to his A&R, who was searching for a jazz vocalist. That opportunity led to her recording contract with Island Records.

By the end of 2003, when she was 20 years old, Island had released her debut album, Frank. With contributions from hip-hop producer/keyboardist Salaam Remi, Winehouse's amalgam of jazz, pop, soul, and hip-hop received rave reviews. The album was nominated for the 2004 Mercury Music Prize as well as two Brit awards, and its lead single, "Stronger Than Me," won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song.

Following Winehouse's debut, the accolades and inquiring interviews appeared concurrently in the press with her tempestuous public life. Several times she showed up to her club or TV performances too drunk to sing a whole set. In 2006, her management company finally suggested that she enter alcohol detox, but instead, she dumped the company and transcribed the ordeal into the U.K. Top Ten hit "Rehab," the lead single for her second, critically acclaimed album, Back to Black.


Containing evocative productions from Salaam Remi and British DJ/multi-instrumentalist Mark Ronson, the album somewhat abandoned jazz, delving into the sounds of '50s/'60s-era girl group harmonies, rock & roll, and soul.


The fanfare over the release was so great that it started to spill over onto U.S. shores; several rappers and DJs made their own remixes of various songs - not to mention covers by Prince and the Arctic Monkeys.

One month after Winehouse won Best Female Artist at the Brit Awards in February 2007, Universal released Back to Black in the U.S. The LP charted higher than any other American debut by a British female recording artist before it, and it remained in the Top Ten for several months, selling a million copies by the end of that summer.

Just as in the U.K., she became the talk of the town, landing on the covers of Rolling Stone and Spin magazines. Not long afterward, though, Winehouse cancelled her North American tour. Early reports revealed that she was entering rehab for alcohol and drug addiction, but her new management denied the claims, stating it was due to severe exhaustion.

Her erratic behaviour kept her and her new husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, constantly in the tabloids and on and off stages on both sides of the Atlantic, but in late 2007 American fans were finally given a chance to hear Winehouse's early work, with a slightly abbreviated (two songs removed and one added) version of Frank. ~Amy died of a drugs overdose in July 2011 Cyril Cordor, All Music Guide


Source: Artistdirect

This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you.

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Al Green

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Lionel Richie

Lionel Brockman Richie Jr.

After leaving The Commodores, Lionel Richie became one of the most successful male solo artists of the '80s, arguably eclipsed during his 1981-1987 heyday only by Michael Jackson and Prince. Richie dominated the pop charts during that period with an incredible run of 13 consecutive Top Ten hits, five of them number ones. As his popularity skyrocketed, Richie moved farther away from his R&B origins and concentrated more on adult contemporary balladry, which had been one of his strengths even as part of The Commodores. After 1987, Richie fell silent, taking an extended break from recording and touring before beginning a comeback toward the tail end of the '90s.


Lionel Brockman Richie, Jr., was born on June 20, 1949, in Tuskegee, AL, and grew up on the campus of the Tuskegee Institute, where most of his family had worked for two generations prior. While attending college there, Richie joined The Commodores, who went on to become the most successful act on the Motown label during the latter half of the '70s. Richie served as a saxophonist, sometime vocalist, and songwriter, penning ballads like "Easy," "Three Times a Lady," and "Still" (the latter two became the group's only number one pop hits). Although The Commodores maintained a democratic band structure through most of their chart run, things began to change when the '70s became the '80s. In 1980, Richie wrote and produced country-pop singer Kenny Rogers' across-the-board number one smash "Lady," and the following year, Richie's duet with Diana Ross, "Endless Love" (recorded for the Brooke Shields film of the same title), became the most successful single in Motown history, topping the charts for a stunning nine weeks. With the media's attention now focused exclusively on Richie, tensions within The Commodores began to mount, and before the end of 1981, Richie decided to embark on a solo career.

Richie immediately set about recording his solo debut for Motown. Titled simply Lionel Richie, the album was released in late 1982 and was an immediate smash, reaching number three on the pop charts on its way to sales of over four million copies. It spun off three Top Five pop hits, including the first single, "Truly," which became Richie's first solo number one. If Lionel Richie made its creator a star, the follow-up, Can't Slow Down, made him a superstar. Boasting five Top Ten singles, including the number ones "All Night Long (All Night)" and "Hello," Can't Slow Down hit number one, eventually sold over ten million copies, and won the 1984 Grammy for Album of the Year. Such was Richie's stature that he was invited to perform at the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, a spectacular stage event that was broadcast worldwide.

In 1985, Richie put his superstar status to work for a greater good, joining Michael Jackson in co-writing the USA for Africa charity single "We Are the World"; the all-star recording helped raise millions of dollars for famine relief. By the end of the year, he was on top of the charts again with "Say You, Say Me," a ballad recorded for the film White Nights but not included on the soundtrack album. The song was slated to be the title track on Richie's upcoming album, but delays in the recording process prevented the record from being released until August 1986, by which time the title was changed to Dancing on the Ceiling (in order to promote Richie's next single release). Three more Top Tens followed "Say You, Say Me," as did "Se La," which became the first of Richie's solo singles not to reach the pop Top Ten. Overall, Dancing on the Ceiling didn't match the success of Can't Slow Down, but it still sold an impressive four million copies, although Richie's reputation for sentimental ballads was beginning to incur a backlash in some quarters.


1987 saw Richie's nine-year streak of writing at least one number one single (a feat matched only by Irving Berlin) come to an end. As a matter of fact, Richie all but disappeared from the SEDmusic business, simply choosing to take some time off after nearly two decades of recording and performing (or, perhaps, quitting while he was ahead). His silence was broken only in 1992, when Motown released a compilation titled Back to Front; in addition to some of his solo hits and a few Commodores tracks, Back to Front also featured three new songs, including the number one R&B hit "Do It to Me" (which wasn't as successful on the pop charts).

Richie wasn't bitten by the recording bug again until 1996, by which time he'd endured his share of personal loss: his father had passed away, and his marriage to wife Brenda -- the muse behind some of his most successful ballads -- had fallen apart. In approaching his comeback, Richie attempted to update his sound to reflect a decade's worth of developments in urban R&B. The result, Louder Than Words, was a moderate success, reaching the Top 30 and going gold. However, it didn't produce any major hit singles, and Richie's nods to new jack swing and hip-hop were criticized as awkward. 1998's Time found Richie in a more familiar element, relying on his signature sound with only slight musical updates. However, the album flopped, spending only a few weeks in the lower reaches of the charts. Richie's next album, Renaissance, was released to a favorable reception in Europe in late 2000; it was issued in the U.S. in early 2001. Three years later, on the heels of enduring a very public and bitter divorce with his second wife, Diane, Richie released Just for You. The 2006 album Coming Home found him working with an all-star cast of collaborators including Jermaine Dupri, Raphael Saadiq, Sean Garrett, and Dallas Austin. Live in Paris followed in 2007.

This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you.

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OK Go are an alternative/glam punk rock band from Chicago who originally consisted of Damian Kulash (lead vocal, rhythm guitar), Tim Nordwind (bass, backing vocals), Andy Duncan (keyboards, guitar and backing vocalist) and Dan Konopka (drums and percussion) but after their first album, Andy Ross replaced Andy Duncan. Their style of clothes has been likened to Weezer in the geek rock genre.

They formed in 1998 and released their first album in 2002 after signing a record deal with Capitol records with the help of the Chicago radio station This American Life. The self titled album featured songs such as ‘Get Over It’, 'Don’t Ask Me', ‘You’re So Damn Hot’ and ‘CCC-Cinnamon Lips’. The album included different styles of music ranging from hip hop beats to Queen-esk rock sounds to electro keyboard.

2005 saw the release of OK Go’s second album called ‘Oh No’ where the band worked with the producer Tore Johensson. To promote the new album to their record label, the band accidently put a unrehearsed choreographed routine in a back garden to the first single ‘A Million Ways’ on the internet. The success of the song grew immensely as the un-air brushed video raised the popularity of the band in the mainstream environment. The video was nominated at the MTV European Music Awards for Best Video.


The band would do another video of another choreographed routine for their hit single ‘Here It Goes Again’. They would use treadmills to create a unique dance that saw the video becoming a viral phenomenon. The band have got over 50 million hits on YouTube for this video and OK Go have also won a Grammy for Best Short-Form Music Video in 2007 and YouTube video awards for Most Creative Video in 2006. The video has been imitated many times with the dance featuring The Simpsons and TV advertisements.

OK Go’s third album called ‘Of The Blue Colour Sky’ was released in January 2010 where the band worked with the producer Dave Friddmann of The Flaming Lips. The band has said the inspiration for this album ranges from Prince to Michael Jackson. With different styles of music being experimented with, it will be exciting to see them in the future.

Dean Woodhouse

This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you.

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  • Etta James

    Etta James Close Up
    Etta James in the Studio
    Etta James Recording

    Etta James is a truly legendary American singer. Her career spans over five decades, dozens of albums, four Grammy Awards and her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    Her vocal styles have changed over the years. Originally, she was positioned as a doo-wop singer. This evolved in to jazz and then finally her gravelly voice was best suited to blues and soul.

    In recent years, she has been seen as crossing the divide between R&B and Rock-n-Roll. Her voice and talent have been documented as an inspiration for Bonnie Raitt, Rod Stewart, Janis Joplin and the Motown diva, Diana Ross.

    Even with a prolific catalogue of acclaimed records, it’s only been in the last decade that she has received mainstream industry recognition. James was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and she was awarded four Grammies in 1995, 2003, 2004 and 2005.

    James had her first #1 single in 1955 with “The Wallflower” but she is more known for her crossover breakthrough in the 60s when she released “At Last”, “Trust In Me” “Pushover” and “Something’s Got a Hold On Me”, all top ten hits.


    In the mid-60s, James began an epic battle with heroin that, according to her autobiography, would eventually last well into her 50s. But she continued to belt out big hits and remained a concert attraction.

    Her career went into a standstill until the late 80s and 90s. She collaborated with Def Jam rapper, Delicious Vinyl. James was now exposed to a younger generation through the popular fusion of hip hop and jazz as well as the song “I Just Wanna Make Love To You” featured on a Coca-Cola TV commercial.

    The 2000s were a big decade for James. In 2001, she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and also was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. She shed over 200 pounds. Rolling Stone named her #64 of the Top 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. In 2006, she added her distinctive vocals to an album of covers featuring songs from Prince, John Lennon, Simply Red and Marvin Gaye. She participated in a tribute album to another jazz great, Ella Fitzgerald. And pop sensation, Beyoncè Knowles, played a younger version of James in the 2008 movie called Cadillac Records.

    Juanita Appleby

    This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you.

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    The Supremes


    Marvin Gaye 

    The Three Degrees

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