Saturday, November 22, 2014

NAME THAT TUNE (AGAIN)!



By time out, we’re returning to the charts of November 1984.  Looking at the Top Ten albums for the week of November 24th, 1984, the # 1 album was “Purple Rain” from Prince.  # 3 was Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer”.   The Honey Drippers album “Volume One” was at # 5.  Huey Lewis & The News had the # 7 album with “Sports”.  And the # 9 album that week was Billy Ocean’s “Suddenly”.  That’s the odd numbered albums anyway.  The five questions for this quiz involve the names of the albums that were the even numbers.  Good luck.       
              
QUESTIONS

1.  The # 2 album for the week of November 24th came from a musician who was born in New Jersey.  In fact, he’s one of that state’s favourite sons.  He’s won 20 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award (and many more).  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.  This superstar was featured on the cover of both Time and Newsweek magazines the same week, October 27th, 1975.  He is tireless on stage and has become legendary for his 3 hour plus concerts.  The albums’ cover photo shows a photo of this performer from behind with a red bandana in his right pocket and the American flag in the background.  Seven of the songs from this album went into the Top Ten.  What’s the name of this 1984 best selling album?       

2.  The # 4 album for that November week in 1984 was the soundtrack for a movie starring Kelly LeBrock.  The songs in the movie (and the soundtrack album) were written and recorded by a Motown legend.  One of those songs, “I Just Called To Say I Love You”, was # 1 on Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 chart for 3 weeks in October ‘84.  Can you name the movie and this ‘wonder-ful’ songwriter/performer/producer?       

3.  Daryl Hall and John Oates had the # 6 album that week.  It was album number twelve for the Philadelphia duo.  A couple of hits came from this album – “Out of Touch” and “Method of Modern Love”.  The album has three short words in its title, all starting with the letter ‘B’.  Hope that helps.  What’s the name of this 1984 Hall & Oates classic album?            

4.  # 8 on Billboards’ album chart for November 24th, 1984 came from another Motown superstar.  He’d been a member of a hit making ‘70’s Motown group before embarking on a successful solo career.  This was the third best selling album of 1984 and garnered this artist 5 Top Ten hits, which included two # 1’s.  For some strange reason, this album also made the country charts and climbed to # 55.  Go figure, since it was not a country album.  Can you name this singer/songwriter originally from Tuskegee, Alabama?      

5.  Finally, the album that was at # 10 during the week of November 24th in ’84 was by a female singer who’s so unusual.  Well, she’s more eccentric than unusual, but boy is she talented.  She hails from Queen’s, New York and still carries that accent around with her wherever she goes.  On TV, she’s played herself on such shows as “Queer As Folk”, “Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D List”, “ and “30 Rock”,  From 1993 to 1999, she appeared in 5 episodes of the Paul Riser/Helen Hunt sitcom “Mad About You” as Marianne Lugasso and in 2009, she was a contestant (but didn’t win) on the Donald Trump reality series, “Celebrity Apprentice 3”.  From 2009 to 2013, she played the recurring character of Avalon Harmonica on the TV series “Bones”.    Her debut album, released in 1983, became a huge hit around the world, climbing to # 4 on Billboard Magazine’s album chart.  Like most girls, she just wants to have fun.  So who is this ‘kinky’ performer?

ANSWERS

1.  Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen is the artist – the album is “Born In The U.S.A.”, which was the best selling album in the U.S in 1985 (and Springsteen’s most successful album to date) with sales of 30 million copies worldwide.  The seven songs from “Born In The U.S.A.” that made Billboards’ Hot 100 chart Top Ten are: “Dancing In The Dark” (# 2), “Cover Me (# 7), “Born In The U.S.A.” (# 9), “I’m On Fire” (# 6), “Glory Days” (# 5), I’m Goin’ Down” (# 9) and “My Homtown” (# 6).  “Born In The U.S.A.”, the album, went to # 1 in eleven countries, including the U.S. and Canada.   

2.  The soundtrack that peaked at # 4 was “The Woman In Red”.  Stevie Wonder wrote all of the songs except one (an instrumental by Ben Bridges).  Dionne Warwick sang the Stevie Wonder written “Moments Aren’t Moments” on her own, plus Dionne and Stevie sang two other songs as a duet.  “I Just Called To Say I Love You” from the movie’s soundtrack became Stevie’s 8th # 1 single.  That song went on to win an Academy Award for ‘Best Original Song In A Motion Picture’.  Although this album only got to # 4 in North America, it did make # 1 in Norway, Italy, Spain and Sweden.        
    
3.  The Hall & Oates album that was # 6 for the week of November 24th was “Big Bam Boom”.  It would climb one more spot on the album chart the following week to reach its highest position of # 5.  Of the two hits from “Big Bam Boom”, “Out of Touch” got to # 1 while “Method of Modern Love” climbed as high as # 5.   
                  
4.  Lionel Richie is the man with all those hits from his 1984 “Can’t Slow Down album.  The singles that made the Top 5 are:  “All Night Long (All Night)”, which went to # 1; “Running With The Night”, which climbed to # 7; “Hello”, also a # 1 hit; “Stuck On You” which got to   # 3 (as well as # 24 on Billboards’ Hot Country Singles chart) and “Penny Lover”, a # 8 hit.  “Can’t Slow Down” had been # 1 on Billboards’ album chart in December of ’83 and spent the entire year of ’84 (all 52 weeks) in the Top Ten.  “Can’t Slow Down” won the Grammy Award for ‘Album of the Year’ in 1985 and had sales of over 20 million.                      
  
5.  Her full name is Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper, but she’s much better known as Cyndi Lauper.  Her 1984 album is “She’s So Unusual”, which had climbed to # 4 on the album chart back in June of ’84 and spent 21 weeks in the Top Ten (although not consecutive weeks).  Cyndi has sold over 50 million albums worldwide, plus an additional 20 million singles.  At the Grammy Awards in 1985, Cyndi cleaned up, winning ‘Best New Artist’, plus ‘Album Of The Year’ for “She’s So Unusual”.  Her # 1 song, “Time After Time” won the Grammy for ‘Song of the Year’.  “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, her first solo hit, took home the Grammy statuette for ‘Record of the Year’ and ‘Best Female Pop Vocal Performance’.  During her career so far, she’s won 15 Grammy Awards.  Cyndi’s won 3 of the 4 biggest show business awards, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony.  The only one missing is the Oscar (give her time).  Her 2013 Tony Award was for ‘Best Score Written For the Theatre’ for the Broadway production, “Kinky Boots”. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

LOOKING OUT FOR NUMBER ONE!



This week, our 5 questions revolve around # 1 albums from the past 50 years. It takes a lot to make it to the top of the charts.
               
QUESTIONS

1.  This Hall of Fame singer/songwriter was writing hits for other artists long before she charted herself.  She did chart one mid chart hit as herself in 1962, “It Might As Well Rain Until September”, but it took until 1971 for her to have a # 1 under her own name.  Her real last name is Klein, but she changed to a slightly shorter, more regal sounding name.  “The Loco-Motion” was another # 1 song she co-wrote.  Little Eva and Grand Funk Railroad both took it to the top of the charts, in 1962 and 1973 respectively.  For the week of November 9th, 1974 her album “Wrap Around Joy” was # 1.  Her life story was recently made into a highly successful, Tony Award winning Broadway play.  Who’s that lady?        

2.  For the week of November 12th, 1994, this soundtrack album was # 1 on Billboards’ Top 100 Album chart.  It sold more than two million copies.  The 18 minute film starred Snoop Doggy Dogg (as he was then called) and was directed by Dr. Dre and Fab Five Freddy.  The plot revolves around the (fictional) death of Snoop Dogg and his resurrection after he’d made a deal with the devil.  Now I totally understand that this question might be a little tougher than most, so if you need to use Google, feel free.  What’s the name of this # 1 album from 1994?    

3.  This performer is a quadruple threat – singer, songwriter, actress, film director.  She first made her major Broadway debut in 1962 in “I Can Get it For You Wholesale”,  which led to a Columbia Records contract.  She is the biggest selling female recording artist of all time (besting even Celine Dion and Whitney Houston).  In Hollywood, she starred in such films as “Hello Dolly”, “Up The Sandbox”, “What’s Up, Doc?” and “The Owl and The Pussycat”.  She’s directed several of her films and written songs for others.  For the entire month of November 1964, she had the # 1 album on Billboard Magazine’s album chart.  So who is this ‘People’ person already?             

4.  This singer/songwriter’s album was # 1 for 21 weeks in 1984 from the week of August 4th until the week of December 22nd, 1984.  It remained at # 1 for the first two weeks in 1985 as well.  It was the soundtrack to a motion picture also starring this performer.   He goes by one name and for awhile was identified by only a symbol.  Who is this ‘prince’ of a guy and what’s the name of his ‘colourful’ album?  (I’ve just got to stop giving the answers away)  

5. For the first three weeks in 1975, this British singer/songwriter had the # 1 album on Billboards’ album chart with “Rock of The Westies”.  He’s been at the top of the album chart over a half dozen times and has had at least 10 # 1 singles.  On stage, he used to wear outrageous costumes and outlandish glasses, although he’s tamed down considerable since those days.  In May 1979, he became the first western rock star to ever perform in Russia.  His real name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight, but what did he change it to?

ANSWERS

1.  Carole Klein was her real name. She came from Brooklyn, New York and had a knack for writing melodies.  As Carole King, she married her writing partner, lyricist Gerry Goffin in 1959.  The duo’s first co-written number one was The Shirelles 1960 hit, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”.  Carole was all of 17 years of age.  Goffin & King’s hit writing career during the 1960’s is the stuff of legends.  In fact, both Goffin and King have been inducted into two Halls of Fame – The Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.  In 2013, Carole was awarded The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.  That same year, Carole King became the first female recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize For Popular Song.  The Broadway play, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” won two Tony Awards earlier this year. 

2.  The soundtrack to ”Murder Was The Case” was # 1 on Billboards’ Hot Album chart for the weeks of November 5th and 12th in 1994.  “What Would You Do”, one of the singles released from the album also appeared on the soundtrack to the Oliver Stone directed film, “Natural Born Killers”.  It was also nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of ‘Best Rap Performance By A Duo or Group’ in 1996.    
    
3.  It’s Barbra Streisand.  Her album “People” was # 1 during the final week of October and all four weeks of November in 1964.  She’s had eight # 1 albums and five # 1 hit singles: “The Way We Were” in 1974, “Love Theme From A Star Is Born (Evergreen)” in ’77; “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, a 1978 duet with Neil Diamond, who went to school with Barbra at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York; “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” in 1979 and “Woman In Love” in 1980 (a sixth # 1, “Sleep In Heavenly Peace (Silent Night)” went to the top of the Christmas singles chart only in 1966).  She played Ben Stiller’s mother in 2004’s “Meet The Fockers” and “Little Fockers” in 2010.  Her latest movie was 2012’s “Guilt Trip” with Canadian Seth Rogan.  Barbra Streisand has won nearly every major show business award.  She has five Emmys, a Tony award, two Oscars and ten Grammys along with 10 Golden Globes and other honours.  Barbra’s sold over 70 million albums during her career.   
                  
4.  Well that was pretty easy since I essentially handed you the answer.  The album was the soundtrack to the movie “Purple Rain” from Prince, who also starred in that movie.  Prince was born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he still lives, although he did have a home in Toronto for a few years.  Prince doesn’t eat meat and in 2006 in PETA’s annual on-line poll,  he was voted ‘world’s sexiest vegetarian’.  At the 57th annual Academy Awards ceremony held on March 25th, 1985, “Purple Rain” won for ‘Best Original Song Score’.  At the ’85 Grammy Awards, “Purple Rain” won for ‘Best Score Soundtrack Album For A Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media’.  The title song won for ‘Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group‘ With Vocal’.  “I Feel For You”, a song Prince had written and recorded on his 1979 self-titled album.  Chaka Khan covered the song in 1984 and she  took home the Grammy statue for ‘Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female’ on February 26th, 1985.  “I Feel For You” also won a Grammy as ‘Best Rhythm & Blues Song”, an award given to the songwriter.                    
  
5.  Elton John is the answer.  “Rock of The Westies” was Elton’s 10th studio album.  It was released on October 24th, 1975 and debuted at # 1 on Billboard Magazine’s album chart for the week of November 8th.  It remained at the top for three weeks.  “Rock of The Westies” was recorded at Caribou Ranch in Colorado, owned by Jim Guercio, producer of The Buckinghams and Chicago.  The most successful single to come from the album was “Island Girl”, a # 1 single for three weeks in November 1975.     

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

BOO! I BETCHA I SCARED YOU, HA HA!



It’ll soon be Halloween and the little ghosts and goblins will be out ‘trick or treating’.  To celebrate this ‘scary’ holiday, all 5 questions this week are associated with all things Halloween. (but maybe in name only).  Pretty simple right?  By the way, for anyone wondering where the title of this week’s quiz comes from, it’s a lyric line in the Ray Stevens 1963 Top Twenty hit song, “Harry the Hairy Ape”.                   

QUESTIONS

1.  This British group from the 1960’s, aptly named for Halloween, didn’t sing about ghosts, haunted houses or scary things at all.  They sang about love gone bad and love betrayed, things like that.  They had 3 Top Ten hits from 1964 until 1969.  Several TV shows and recent movies feature creatures known for their ‘undead’ ways.  That name also applies to this group only they weren’t ‘undead’, they were musicians.  If you really need a hint, these creatures like to eat brains (the musicians do not, so far as I know).  Now, what’s the name of this British band?        

2.  This song was inspired by the ‘horror’ movies that starred Freddy Kruger.  The singer and co-writer of the song (it was a duo) went on to major TV fame in a series set in the ritzy suburb of Los Angeles called Bel Air, then became one of the hottest film stars in Hollywood, even taking a turn portraying Muhammad Ali.  Can you guess the name of this ‘fresh’ performer?  (Ok, I’m just giving away the answers now.)

3.  As a recurring sketch on a certain Canadian comedy TV series, this character, dressed like Dracula, hosted a fake TV show that showed bad horror films.  This character was also one of the TV series’ ‘fake’ newscasters named for CTV’s Lloyd Robertson.  He was Big Jim McBob who loved to ‘blow up things up real good’ and played Guy Caballero, the owner of SCTV who always rode around in a wheelchair.  He later appeared as a regular in two TV series, “Maniac Mansion” and “Freaks & Geeks” and had a small part as a Western Union man in “Back To The Future II”.  In 1982, while SCTV was still on the air, he released a record on RCA with only four parody songs on it (it didn’t chart or frankly, sell very well and is now a highly prized collector’s item.  Guess who has a copy?  Yep, it’s me!)  Can you name this very funny, versatile and “oooo, that was scary wasn’t it kiddies” actor?     

4.  We’re going all the way back to 1958 for this one and it may be the toughest question of all because it might be a little too obscure.  This ‘character’ hosted a TV show in Philadelphia that showed horror films.  He dressed all in black (and he wasn’t Johnny Cash either) and wore heavy make up that made him appear very scary.  His nickname was ‘the cool ghoul’ if that helps at all (but it most likely won’t).  His last name starts with the last letter of the alphabet.  He released an album and a 45rpm single (remember them?) on Cameo Records, also based in Philadelphia, the same label as ‘60’s teen idol Bobby Rydell, The Orlons, The Dovells and  Dee Dee Sharp.  So with heavy heart, I ask the question that I doubt many will be able to answer – what’s the name of this ‘cool ghoul’?  Or, do you know the name of his Top Ten 45 single maybe?        
  
5.  This heavy metal rocker’s real name is Robert Cummings (although he changed it later to a more suitable macabre name).  He grew up in Massachusetts with a deep love for horror films.  He formed his band in the 1980’s with his then girlfriend.  It took them a number of releases before Geffen Records signed them to a contract.  Over the course of the rest of their career, they sold several million albums, but broke up in 1998, which is when he went solo.  He’s since directed several horror films.  Who is this guy?   

ANSWERS

1.  The Zombies charted a slew of hits on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart, including three Top Ten hits, “She’s Not There” (# 2 in 1964); “Tell Her No” (# 6 in ‘1965) and “Time Of The Season” (# 3 in 1969).  The group was formed at St. Alban’s School in England in 1962.  The two best known members are Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone (who still tour as The Zombies today).  Rolling Stone Magazine ranks The Zombies 1968 album, “Odessey and  Oracle” at # 100 in their list of the “500 Greatest Albums Of All Time’.

2.  The song, “A Nightmare On My Street” by D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince went to # 17 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart in 1988.  The Fresh prince aka Will Smith starred in the TV series “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” from 1990 to ’96.  Will’s hit films have included “Independence Day”, “Men In Black I”, “Ali”, “Men In Black II”, “Bad Boys I & II”, “Hitch”, “Hancock” and “Men in Black 3”.  Combined, his films have grossed over 6 BILLION $$.  Will has completed the film “Focus”, scheduled for release next year.  Plus “Bad Boys 3” and “Hancock 2” have both been announced as on his schedule in the next couple of years, but neither are as yet in production.
    
3.  If you guessed Count Floyd, give yourself a pat on the back.  Count Floyd aka Joe Flaherty, hosted “Monster Horror Chiller Theatre” on SCTV as well as a stable of other zany characters.  Prior to moving to Canada, Joe was a member of Chicago’s Second City, then moved to New York where he was a regular performer on ‘National Lampoons Radio Hour” during 1973 and ’74, with such other funny performers as Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner (this was just before the launch of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in 1975).  Flaherty moved to Toronto where he helped launch Canada’s Second City and later SCTV.  The 1982 RCA mini LP was called simply, “Count Floyd” and featured 4 songs, “The Gory Story of Duane and Debbie”, Treat You Like A Lady”, Reggae Christmas Eve In Transylvania” and “Count Floyd is back”.  A copy of the mini LP is currently listed on ebay, selling for $12.99.  Ironically, the 45rpm single of “Count Floyd Is Back” from the mini LP is available on ebay for $19.99.         
            
4.  John Zacherle (nicknamed ‘The Cool Ghoul’) was the host of Philadelphia’s WCAU TV, Channel 10’s “Shock Theatre” beginning in 1957 (and then on WABC TV, New York and finally WOR, New York).  He played a character named Roland, who lived in a crypt.  Zacherle was so popular in Philadelphia that he had over 800 fan clubs.  The station held an open house and expected that maybe 2,000 fans would show up.  14,000 Zacherle followers made the pilgrimage to visit the studio where their hero broadcast his program causing a major traffic jam on the streets nearby the station.  Zacherle’s only hit single, “Dinner With Drac Part 1” climbed all the way to # 6 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart in 1958.  You can check out the story of Zacherle (who’s still alive and kicking) at www.zacherle.com.            
  
5.  Any heavy metal fan would know that the guy we were looking for is Rob Zombie.  Rob’s love of horror films is legendary.  He named his first group White Zombie after the 1932 Bela Lugosi movie of the same name.  His first horror movie as a writer/ director was “House Of 1000 Corpses” in 2003.  Rob wrote and directed “Halloween” in 2007 and “Halloween II” in 2009.  His latest is this years’ “The Zombie Horror Picture Show”.