Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NUMBER ONE ALBUMS FROM YOUR PAST



Saturday April 19th was ‘Record Store Day’ across North America.  The major and indy record companies, musicians and record stores combine their efforts every year to attract more customers into record stores with special editions of some rare (old and new) or limited edition vinyl.  So to celebrate Record Store Day, we’ll look back at some number one albums from years past.


What, for example, would have been the number one album in Billboard magazine for this week back in April 1964?  Chances are pretty good that it would have been from The Beatles.

And surprise, surprise, it was!  It was the final week of an 11 week # 1 run for “Meet The Beatles”, which was then replaced by “The Beatles Second Album”, which began its own five week stay at the top of the album charts beginning with the week of May 2, 1964.        

See how it works?  Now, you try.

QUESTIONS

1.  For the week of April 22nd, 1967, this # 1 album, which enjoyed an amazing 18 weeks at the top of the album chart, was from a quartet of zany, wanna-be Beatles.  They were sometimes called the ‘Pre-Fab Four’.  These four actor/musicians starred in a weekly TV show where they sang songs interspersed with comedy adventures, which helped record sales enormously.  What’s the name of this group?  (HINT:  One member of this group appeared on CBS TV’s Ed Sullivan show on February 9th, 1964, the same night The Beatles made their live North American television debut).            
      
2.  This soundtrack album ‘owned’ the # 1 position for 24 weeks from mid January until early July 1978 and remained on the charts for over two years.  It was a double album from a hugely successful movie.  John Travolta starred (well, that should give it away) as Brooklyn, New York teenager Tony Manero who loves to dance.  Over half a dozen    # 1 hits came from the soundtrack from performers such as Yvonne Elliman and The Bee Gees.  Can you name this soundtrack album? (I should hope you could)                            
                
3.  For ten weeks in 1984, this soundtrack album was # 1, having successfully knocked off Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” out of the top spot.  The movie starred an actor who also performs in a band with his brother and brother, does this actor know how to dance.  Two songs from this soundtrack album went to # 1 (including the title song).  The premise of the movie is about a small town minister who succeeds in banning dancing and rock and roll from his town.  It’s loosely based on real events from a town in Oklahoma.  That edict is eventually overturned by a plucky teenager from Chicago named Ren McCormick, played by the actor we talked about earlier in this question.  Who’s the actor and what’s the name of this movie?                      

4.  This British group began their recording career being produced by Norman Smith, a longtime engineer for The Beatles.  They went through one major personnel change in 1968 when a founding member left and became a recluse for a while.   This group released several moderately successful records, but it was their 8th studio album in 1973 that took them to the ‘dark side’.  Although that album sold 50 million copies, it was only # 1 for one week, however it remained on the charts for a record breaking 741 weeks (that‘s 25 years for those keeping score) and only fell off in 1988.  But that’s not the name of the album we’re looking for.  The group was back at # 1 in 1980 with a double album of songs about teachers, hammers, walls, and war.  This album remained # 1 for 15 weeks.  You don’t need to turn ‘pink’ or purple to figure out the name of the group, but what’s the name of their 1980 # 1 album that two years later became a movie starring Bob Geldof?                              
    
5.  If you know the answer to question # 4, then this one should be easy.  It’s the same group only 14 years later when they returned to the top of the album chart with their final studio album.  The title for the album had been suggested by author Douglas Adams (“The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy”) and refers to something that rings in the British Parliament to announce that a vote is about to be taken.  If you need an additional hint or two, think back to the name of the often flustered town barber on the “Andy Griffith Show” or the colour of a certain kind of salmon (and it’s not sockeye).  So, what’s the name of the group and their 1994 # 1 album?               

ANSWERS

1.  “Hey, hey, we’re The Monkees and people say we Monkee around.”  It indeed was The Monkees (Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork) with their second album, “More of The Monkees”, that landed in the # 1 album spot in Billboard for 11 weeks beginning the week of February 11th, 1967 and ending the week of June 19th, 1967.  Interestingly, “More of The Monkees” replaced their debut album, “The Monkees”, which itself spent 13 weeks at # 1.  So, from the second week of November 1966 until June of ’67, The Monkees owned the # 1 album spot for nearly half a year.  Eighteen year old Davy Jones was in the Broadway cast of “Oliver” and appeared on Ed Sullivan’s CBS TV show on February 9th, 1964 the same night as The Beatles live North American debut.  Jones passed away on February 29th, 2012 at the age of 66).  The remaining three Monkees recently announced a 2014 summer U.S. tour.           

2.  It was the soundtrack to the 1977 movie “Saturday Night Fever” featuring music from the Bee Gees, Yvonne Elliman, KC and the Sunshine Band, Walter Murphy, Tavares and The Trammps.  The soundtrack album quickly climbed to # 1 in seven countries – Australia, Austria, Canada, Italy, the UK, the U.S. and West Germany.  It was the best selling album to that time and won the 1978 Grammy Award for ‘Album of the Year’.  The original article that the movie is based on, was written by Nik Cohn and published in New York magazine in 1976 under the title “Tribal Rites Of The New Saturday Night”.  John Travolta later starred in the movie’s sequel “Stayin’ Alive”, directed by ‘Rocky Balboa’ himself, Sylvester Stallone.  
    
3.  Kevin Bacon, John Lithgow and Lori Singer starred in the 1984 film, “Footloose”.  The soundtrack was the # 1 album for ten weeks beginning the week of April 21, 1984.  Six out of the 9 songs on the soundtrack made the Top 40.  Two of those nine (the title track “Footloose” from Kenny Loggins plus Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”) went straight to # 1 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart.  Other hits included “Almost Paradise”, a # 7 duet for Ann Wilson of Heart and Mike Reno from Loverboy, plus “Dancing In The Sheets”, a # 17 hit for Shalamar.  In October 2011, a new version of the movie “Footloose” was released.  It starred Dennis Quaid as Reverend Moore, Julianne Hough as his daughter Ariel and Kenny Wormald as Ren McCormick.  Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael have been performing as a band called The Bacon Brothers since 1995 and so far, have released 7 albums (including ‘Greatest Hits’ packages’).  The title of their 1997 debut album, “Forosoco” comes from abbreviations for the music they play, ‘Fo’ (Folk), ‘ro” (Rock), ‘so’ (Soul) and ‘co’ (Country).              

4.  Pink Floyd dominated the album charts of 1980 for 15 weeks with their album “The Wall”.  Released in November of ’79, it first hit # 1 for the week of January 19, 1980 and remained there until the week of May 3rd when Bob Seger’s “Against The Wind” album took over the top spot.  In 1982, “The Wall” became a movie starring Bob Geldof (now Sir Bob Geldof).  “The Wall” album was co-produced by Canadian Bob Ezrin (along with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and David Gilmour).  It went on to sell nearly 25 million copies.  Beach Boy Bruce Johnson and Captain & Tennille’s Tony Tennille sang back up on the album as noted in the credits, but Toto’s Jeff Porcaro played drums on some tracks and was not credited.           
    
5.  Pink Floyd did it again in ’94 with “The Division Bell”, which refers to the bell that’s rung in Parliament to alert members that a vote is about to take place.  Released in March of 1994, it was # 1 for four weeks in 1994 from the week of April 23rd until the week of May 14th.  This was Pink Floyds’ 14th and final studio album.  Roger Waters had left the band years before and when asked for a comment on the bands’ latest album, he’s quoted as saying, “Just rubbish…nonsense from beginning to end”.  Bob Ezrin returned as producer and also played keyboards and percussion.  “The Division Bell” was # 1 in ten countries around the world (including the U.S. and U.K.).  To date, it has sold over 6,000,000 copies.  The two large metal heads featured on the cover of “The Division Bell” are on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

‘I DIG ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC”



This week is the induction ceremony for the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Artists become eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first record and need to be nominated by members of the voting committee.
No Canadians will be honoured this time.  In fact, there are only a handful of Canadian performers who have been inducted into the hallowed halls of rock and rolldom.      
Montreal native Leonard Cohen was inducted in 2008, but he was by no means the first. This quiz is about those lucky Canucks who ARE in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Should be a snap, so give it your best shot.  

QUESTIONS

1.  Although he was actually born in Toronto, Winnipeg is the Canadian city most people associate with this singer/songwriter.  His father was a nationally known sports writer, who later wrote a book about his famous son.  In the 1960’s, this performer decided to head to Los Angeles to try to make it.  He and a couple of pals drove out in a big black hearse and he did make it big.  In fact, he’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame TWICE.  Who is this “Harvest Moon” singer?            
      
2.  For many years, fans of this rock trio wrote petition after petition to have them inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, all to no avail…until last year when it finally happened.  The group is legendary in Canada as well as major parts of the U.S. where they toured extensively.  Their chart hits include “Tom Sawyer”, “Closer To The Heart” and “New World Man”.  Who is this group?  (Take your time to think about it now, don’t rush).                         
                
3.  This singer/songwriter/painter started her folk singing career in Saskatchewan (although she was born in Alberta) before moving to Toronto and later, Los Angeles where she really made her mark in the music world.  She’s known for her unique style in songwriting, singing and guitar playing.  Her songs have been covered by artists such as Judy Collins, Amy Grant, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, James Taylor, Mandy Moore, Sarah McLachlan and Ian Matthews among many others.  She experimented with a jazz album and worked with jazz legend Charles Mingus.  She’s won eight Grammy Awards  and in 2000, received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.  Who is this extremely talented Canadian?             

4.  This group formed in New York City.  It featured lead singer and primary songwriter John Sebastian¸ with Steve Boone on bass, Joe Butler on drums and this Toronto born guitar player.  He was known for jumping around on stage and keeping the excitement and energy flowing.  If you remember The Mamas and Papas song “Creeque Alley”, his first name is mentioned in the lyric, “__ and Denny workin’ for a penny, tryin’ to get a fish on the line.”  He left the group in 1967 for a solo career and later moved to Kingston, Ontario where he opened a successful restaurant.  What is his name?                    
    
5.  This singer was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He started out in a folk group, called The Halifax Three, then moved to New York where he formed a trio with a fellow Canadian and a female singer named Cass Elliot.  Then he and Cass joined with a singer/songwriter and his girlfriend (and later wife) to create a group that went on to have six Top Ten songs and were known for their haunting harmonies.  They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.  Can you name the group and the Canadian singer who was one of its members?   

ANSWERS

1.  Neil Young was the first Canadian artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.  Neil received his second induction two years later (1997) when Buffalo Springfield went into the Hall.  Driving around Los Angeles in the hearse, he ran into Stephen Stills on Sunset Boulevard.  They subsequently formed Buffalo Springfield.  Later, when Stills became one third of Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young was occasionally added to the line- up, but never became a full time member.  Neil’s biggest hit single was “Heart of Gold”, which went to # 1 for one week in March of 1972 and featured Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor on backing vocals.         

2.  Yes, it’s Rush and 2013 was the year the Toronto based trio was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart are Rush.  The group was inducted along with Heart, Albert King, Randy Newman, Public Enemy and the late Donna Summer.  The band was formed by Lifeson in 1968 in the Toronto suburb of Willowdale.  Geddy Lee quickly replaced original singer Jeff Jones.  Neil Peart replaced original drummer John Rutsey in July ’75. Rush has released 19 albums  featuring this classic Rush line-up, including “Fly By Night” (1975); “Caress of Steel“ (1975); “2012” (1976); “A Farewell To Kings” (1977); “Hemispheres” (1978); “Permanent Waves” (1980); “Roll The Bones” (1991) and their latest, Clockwork Angels” (2012).  Rush tours often make the Top Ten list of highest grossing events and they’re loved and revered by fans on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border.                     
    
3.  In 1997, Joni Mitchell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside  Joni’s first album was 1968’s “Song To A Seagull” and her last one, 2007’s “Shine” was her 19th release.   Janet Jackson used a sample from Joni’s “Big Yellow Taxi” in her 1997 song, “Got ‘Til It’s Gone”.  In 2002, Joni was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada.  Time Magazine listed Joni’s album “Blue” as among the ‘All Time 100 Albums’ in November of 2006.  Canada Post issued a Joni Mitchell stamp in June 2007.                 

4.  John Sebastian, Steve Boone, Joe Butler and Canadian Zal Yanovsky of The Lovin’ Spoonful were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, along with Earth, Wind and Fire, Eric Clapton, The Moonglows, Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor.  The first seven singles The Lovin’ Spoonful release all made Billboards’ Top Ten.  They were (in chronological order) “Do You Believe In Magic” (# 9); “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice”       (# 10); “Daydream” (# 2); “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?” (# 2); “Summer In The City” (# 1); “Rain On The Roof” (# 10) and “Nashville Cats” (# 8).  Zal left the group in 1967.  In 1979 he opened the restaurant, Chez Piggy in Kingston, then in ’94, launched the  Pan Chancho Bakery.  Zal Yanovsky died of a heart attack in Kingston on December 13, 2002.       
    
5.  Halifax native Denny Doherty was the lead singer on several of The Mamas and The Papas hits, including “California Dreamin’” and “Monday, Monday”.  The Mamas and Papas were one of the 1998 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with early rocker Gene Vincent, Santana, Lloyd Price, the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac.  Denny left Canada for New York and quickly formed a trio called The Mugwumps with Cass Elliot and fellow Canadian Zal Yanovsky, who later co-founded The Lovin’ Spoonful.  He subsequently met John Phillips and with John’s girlfriend (later wife) Michelle and Cass, The Mamas and The Papas was born.  Denny staged a delightful play called “Dream A Little Dream” that he performed all over North America.  Denny was also an actor and starred in the CBC television show “Theodore Tugboat”.  Denny Doherty passed away on January 19th, 2007 at the age of 66.      

Monday, March 31, 2014

JUNO WHO WON AWARDS THIS YEAR?



All of the JUNO awards have been handed out.  Congrats to big winners Arcade Fire, Serena Ryder plus Tegan and Sara.  It’s a good thing Justin Bieber wasn’t in Winnipeg to personally accept his JUNO Fan Choice Award or he would have heard that loud chorus of ‘boos’ coming from the prairie crowd. 
If you were watching the telecast, you saw Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield introduce Bachman-Turner Overdrive into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame this year.  So, in honour of BTO’s honour, this week’s quiz is all about the Winnipeg band.  Pretty simple really, so let’s start ‘takin’ care of business’. 

QUESTIONS

1.  Prior to Bachman-Turner Overdrive but after The Guess Who, Randy Bachman formed another band that eventually morphed into BTO.  What was the name of this band?  Was it:  a. Brown Belt  b. Brave Belt  c. Black Belt  d. Belt Up        
      
2.  Randy Bachman sang lead vocals on BTO’s 1974 # 1 hit, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”.  On one of his early takes, Randy stuttered during the choruses.  He’d planned to send a copy of this version to his brother who stuttered and later re-record the vocals without stuttering.  What is the name of Randy’s brother who stuttered?  a. Robbie  b. Joe  c. Gary  d. Tim                    
                
3.  During the late night recording session in Seattle for “Takin’ Care of Business”, there was a delivery person who brought in food for a session in another studio.  He popped into Randy’s session and heard “Takin’ Care of Business”.  The delivery guy said the song needed a piano.  Randy said ‘OK, go ahead and play it.’  The guy wrote the chord changes down, walked into the studio, played his piano part in ONE take, then left and that became the hit version.  What fast food was the piano playing delivery man delivering?  Was it:  a. Chinese food  b. Chicken Wings  c. Hamburgers  d. Pizza           

4.  Before BTO, there was The Guess Who.  And before The Guess Who, they went by several names.  Which of the following names did they use? a. Al and the Silvertones   b. Chad Allan and the Reflections  c. Chad Allan and the Expressions  d. all of them                   
    
5.  In the world of rock management, this man is a bona-fide legend.  His company is based in Vancouver and besides BTO, he’s also managed Bryan Adams, Anne Murray and Michael Buble.  Randy Bachman thanked him during his JUNO Hall of Fame acceptance speech and he was shown on camera sitting in the audience.  So who is he?  Is he:  a. Sam Feldman         b. Red Robinson  c. Bruce Allen  d. Dan Plouffe

ANSWERS

1.  The answer is b. Brave Belt, which initially featured Randy’s brother Robbie as well as former Guess Who lead singer Chad Allan.  Chad stayed for the debut album, “Brave Belt I” but left soon after.  Fred Turner had been brought in to play bass on tour and took over vocals for the “Brave Belt II” album and Randy’s brother Tim Bachman was added as a second guitarist.  Manager Bruce Allen convinced Randy to change the name of the band and they settled on Bachman-Turner Overdrive (the Overdrive came from the title of a trucker’s magazine).  I think you can guess where the Bachman and Turner part came from.       

2.  c. Gary is the correct answer.  When Randy later tried to re-do the vocal for “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” without stuttering, it didn’t work at all, so he left it alone.  A Mercury Records executive heard the original stuttering version and told the band that they had to include it on their album “Not Fragile” as it was definitely a hit.  Randy reluctantly agreed.  Later, when the executive wanted to release the song as a single, Bachman initially refused, but eventually agreed.  The song went to # 1 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart in November of 1974.  Ironically, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” knocked off Stevie Wonders # 1, “You Haven’t Done Nothin’”.  The BTO song also went to # 1 in Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark and South Africa.       
    
3.  It was d. pizza.  The delivery guy was actually a trained musician moonlighting as a pizza delivery guy to make money.  His name is Norman Durkee and he went on to become musical director for Bette Midler and Barry Manilow.  In order to pay him for the session, Randy had to call around to various pizza places until he found the guy who delivered the pizza that night.  In 2011, “Takin’ Care of Business” was the most licensed song in Sony Music’s catalogue.  It was used as a theme song for several years in commercials for Office Depot, OfficeMax and K-Mart.  The title came from Vancouver radio DJ Daryl B. who regularly used to say “‘We’re takin’ care of business.”  Randy Bachman was listening one night and thought that would make a great title for a song.      

4.  The correct answer is d. all of them.  The band started out as Al and the Silvertones, then became Chad Allan and The Reflections by 1962.  By the time they recorded “Shakin’ All Over” in 1965, they’d become Chad Allan and The Expressions, because there was an American group called The Reflections who had a hit called “(Just Like) Romeo and Julier”.  Chad Allan and The Expressions record company, Quality Records, thought the group sounded British on “Shakin’ All Over” (It had previously been a hit in England for Johnny Kidd and the Pirates), so they sent out white labeled 45 singles with the name ‘Guess Who?” on them.  That name stuck.          
    
5.  c. Bruce Allen is the name we were looking for.  Bruce has had (and continues to have) an illustrious career, managing major Canadian performers.  In 1985, he co-ordinated (and wrangled) many Canadian stars into recording “Tears Are Not Enough” for African famine relief.  That same year, industry magazines The Record and Billboard (in the U.S.) named Bruce ‘Manager of the Year’.  In 2008, he was only the second Canadian manager to receive the ‘Honour Role’ award from the Music Managers Forum in Canada.  His client list includes veteran singer/songwriter Jann Arden as well as Bryan Adams, Anne Murray, Michael Buble and producer Bob Rock.  Bruce has a reputation for ‘telling it like it is’ and ‘shooting from the lip’ and for over 16 years, Bruce has made his opinions known on various radio stations in Vancouver.  Currently he can be heard on News/Talk AM980, CKNW.