Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2015 ACADEMY AWARD SONG OF THE YEAR NOMINEES



Well, the Academy Award nominees were announced on January 15th.  They are:   Our questions this week are all about songs that WON the Oscar for ‘Song of the Year’.  We’ll narrow it down even further and keep our focus on the 1980’s and ‘90’s.  Not too far back to remember now is it?  So, let’s get started...may I have the envelope please

QUESTIONS

1.  A male/female duo sang the Oscar winner for ‘Best Original Song’ in 1983.  Sadly, the male singer passed away last December.  The romantic movie starred Richard Gere and Deborah Winger (whatever happened to her career anyway?) and there were plenty of starched white navy uniforms in it as well.  Do you know the name of this Academy Award winning song?  Don’t look it UP now (HINT ALERT!)                

2.  A different male/female duo sang the Academy Award winning ‘Best Original Song’ in 1992.  Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson sang the song, which climbed to # 9 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart in April of 1992.  It was from a Walt Disney animated feature featuring talking/singing teapots, candelabras and a tortured soul.  What’s the name of this Academy Award winner?           

3.  1989 was the year.  The film was another animated feature from the Walt Disney organization that featured talking and singing crabs.  In 1990, one of the songs from that feature won the Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’.  If you know who wrote the answer to question # 2, then you’ll also know who wrote this Academy Award winning song.  Think little for this one (HINT ALERT!)               

4.  The performer and co-writer of this Oscar winning ‘Best Original Song’ in 1995 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and has had nearly a dozen # 1 hits, including “Crocodile Rock”, Bennie And The Jets”, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”.  Once again, this was a Walt Disney animated feature (boy do they win awards).  Some of the names of the characters in the feature are Simba, Scar, Pumbaa and Timon.  The animated film takes place in Africa where all the animals talk.  The movie was later turned into a six time Tony Award winning Broadway play that continues to play in New York.  There are also several touring companies as well.           

5.  Another male/female duo recorded the Academy Award winning ‘Best Original Song’ in 1988.  In fact, it was the same woman who sang the answer to Question # 1, although a different guy was singing with her this time.  The male singer was a Righteous Brother.  Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey (with her old nose) starred in the movie.  Can you name this Oscar winning song?              
 
ANSWERS

1.  1983 was the year that “Up Where We Belong” from the 1982 motion picture “An Officer And A Gentleman” won the Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’.  The late Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes sang it.  The music was composed by Jack Nitzsche (Phil Spector’s long time arranger) and Buffy Sainte-Marie (who were married at the time) with lyrics by Will Jennings.  “Up Where We Belong” was # 1 for three weeks on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart, from November 6th until November 20th.  It was also # 1 on Australian and Canadian charts.  Jack Nitzsche was also nominated for an Academy Award in ’83 for his musical score for “An Officer And A Gentleman”, but lost to John Williams for “E.T.”.                                  
    
2.  Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson sang the Academy Award winner in 1992 for ‘Best Original Song’ – the theme from “Beauty And The Beast”.  Alan Menken wrote the music and Howard Ashman wrote the lyrics for the songs in “Beauty And The Beast”.  That year, the duo was nominated three times in the ‘Best Original Song’ category.  Once for the winning theme song as well as “Belle” and “Be Our Guest”.  Celine Dion also sang another Oscar winner in 1998 with “My Heart Will Go On” from James Cameron’s epic 1997 film “Titanic”.  Peabo Bryson never did.                

3.  Disney’s 1989 animated feature, “The Little Mermaid” was the movie that featured the 1990 Academy Award winner for ‘Best Original Song”, “Under The Sea” with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman.  Menken won a second Academy Award that March night in Los Angeles in 1990 when he grabbed the Oscar for ‘Best Original Score’, beating out John Williams, who was nominated twice in that category – once for the score to “Born On The Fourth of July” as well as the score for “Indiana Jones and The last Crusade”.      
                  
4.  In 1995, Elton John wrote the music and sang the ‘Best Original Song’ Oscar winner.  Fellow Brit Tim RIce wrote the lyrics.  The song?  Can You Feel The Love Tonight” from 1994’s “The Lion King”.  EJ and Tim actually had great odds of winning in the ‘Best Original Song’ category because they were nominated three times and there were only five entries.  Their three nominees were “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”, “Circle of Life” as well as “Hakuna Matata”.  “The Lion King” was honoured again that year when composer Hans Zimmer won the Academy Award for ‘Best Original Score’.  “The Lion King” had an estimated budget of $45,000,000.  So far, it has returned over $400,000,000. To the Disney coffers.    

5.  The 1988 ‘Best Original Song’ Oscar winner, “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life was sung by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes (boy, this Oscar winner gets around).  Medley was formerly one half of The Righteous Brothers with the late Bobby Hatfield and Jennifer sang the 1983 ‘Best Original Song’ Oscar, “Up Where We Belong” with the late Joe Cocker.  The movie the song was from was “Dirty Dancing”.  1988 was also the year Michael Douglas won the Oscar as ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role” for ”Wall Street” and Cher won ‘Best Actress In A Leading Role’ for her performance in “Moonstruck”. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

IT’S A BRAND NEW YEAR Y’ALL!



2014 is toast.  A brand new year is upon us.  So for the first quiz for 2015, our questions are all about songs that have the word ‘new’ or ‘brand new’ in their title. As usual, there’ll be a clue or two…so let’s kick it all off with 5 ‘brand new’ questions. 

QUESTIONS

1.  They called him the hardest working man in show business.  He charted nearly 100 songs on Billboards’ Hot 100 singles chart, but never had a # 1 hit, although he came close a couple of times (8 of his hits went Top Ten).  His ‘new’ song climbed to # 8 during the week of September 4th, 1965.  A couple of this artist’s Top Ten hits include:  “I Got You (I Feel Good)” (# 3 in ’66), “Cold Sweat – Part 1” (# 7 in ’67) and “Living In America (# 4 in ’86).  Do you know the name of this ‘new’ song by a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend?                

2.  This Sydney, Australian group’s ‘new’ song hit the Top Ten singles chart in 1988.  In November of 1997, the groups’ lead singer Michael Hutchence, died in a hotel room in a tragic accident.  The group stopped performing for nearly a year before slowly edging their way back into the music scene.  In 2004, the band was involved in a reality TV show to find a new lead singer.  The series, which ran on Global in Canada and CBS in the U.S. was called “Rock Star: INXS”.  A Canadian from Nova Scotia by the name of J.D. Fortune won.  But the ‘new’ INXS song we’re looking for had Michael Hutchense as lead singer.  Can you name the song (since you already know the group)?    

3.  This performer appeared at the original Woodstock Festival in August of 1969.  She was a pop/folk singer/songwriter who took her ‘brand new’ song to # 1 in December of 1971.  She performed professionally using only her first name, Melanie.  The ‘brand new’ song in question was banned by some radio stations because they thought the lyrics had sexual innuendos.  Thinking ‘brand new’ is the key (HINT ALERT) to the answer.  What’s the name of Melanie’s # 1 hit?          

4.  Philadelphia is the home of this group.  They had style (HINT ALERT), they had class, they had hits.  Their song with the words ‘brand new’ in it climbed to # 2 in 1974.  Two years previously, “Betcha By Golly Wow” made it to # 3.  In total, this group has had 5   # 1 hits.  Do you know the name of this groups’ ‘brand new’ hit from ’74?       

5.  This group, several of whom were formerly in Linda Ronstadt’s back-up band, racked up 5 # 1’s between March of 1975 and November 1979.  They’ve sold over 150 million records, CD’s, cassettes, 8 tracks and Edison cylinders (OK, I’m kidding about the cylinders).  They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and are still touring today, even though when they broke up in 1980, they swore they would only get back together ‘when hell freezes over’…which apparently it did in 1994 because the band reunited for a new album called, appropriately enough, “Hell Freezes Over”.  What is this high flying (HINT ALERT) band’s # 1 ‘new’ song from 1977?
     
ANSWERS

1.  Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” from James Brown is the correct answer.  The ‘hardest working man in show biz’ first debuted on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart in 1958 with the song “Try Me” that only climbed as high as # 48.  “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” climbed as high as # 8 in September of 1965.  It stalled at # 8 for two weeks, then dropped out of the Top Ten entirely.  That same year, Browns’ follow up single, “I Got You (I Feel Good)” was released.  It reached # 3 for the week of December 18th, 1965 and remained in that spot for 3 weeks before it fell to # 7, and the following week,  dropped out of the Top Ten.                               
    
2.  INXS took their song “New Sensation” to # 3 in 1988.  INXS first hit the Billboards’ Hot 100 chart in 1983 with a Top Thirty hit “The One Thing”.  It wasn’t until 1986 that they had their first Top Ten hit with “What You Need”, which climbed to # 5.  In 1988, they charted 4 Top Tens, “Need You Tonight” (INXS’s only # 1), “Devil Inside” (# 2), “New Sensation” and “Never Tear Us Apart”.  Two years later, they hit the Top Ten singles chart again with “Suicide Blonde” (#9).  “Disappear”, the last INXS song to crack the Top Ten in North America, made it to # 8 in 1991.           

3.  Melanie’s “Brand New Key” was # 1 for 3 weeks, beginning the week of December 25th, 1971.  It replaced “Family Affair” by Sly and the Family Stone.  “Brand New Key” was replaced at the top of the charts for the week of January 15th, 1972 by Don McLean’s “American Pie”.  Melanie (her last name is Safka) was one of the many performers at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969.  “Brand New Key” was Melanie’s only # 1 hit, although she did get to # 6 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart in 1970, backed by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, with the song “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain”).  Melanie says she wrote “Brand New Key” in 15 minutes.  She also wrote The New Seekers 1970 hit “Look What They’ve Done To My Song Ma”.      
                  
4.  The Stylistics had the hit “You Make Me Feel Brand New”.  This Philadelphia group first hit the charts in 1971 with “You’re A Big Girl Now”, although that one only climbed as high as # 73.  In 1972, they had three Top Ten hits, “You Are Everything” (# 9), “Betcha By Golly Wow” (# 3) and “I’m Stone In Love With You” (# 10).  The following year, “Break Up To Make Up” zoomed up to # 5.               

5.  “New Kid In Town” by The Eagles was # 1 for one week in February of 1977.  The Eagles made their debut on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart in 1972 with “Take It Easy”, which climbed to # 13.  Besides “New Kid In Town”, their other # 1’s were:  “Best Of My Love” (1975); “One Of These Nights” (1975); “Hotel California” (1977) and “Heartache Tonight” (1979).       

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 YEAR END QUIZ



2014 is toast.  A brand new year is upon us.  So let’s see how well you do with albums and artists from the past.  The questions are self explanatory, so let’s dive into it shall we?

QUESTIONS

1.  For the entire month of December 1964, these ‘Boys of the Beach’ had the # 1 album on Billboard Magazine’s album chart.  What’s the name of that album?  Is it:      a. All Summer Long  b. The Beach Boys Christmas Album  c. The Beach Boys Concert              

2.  From the week of August 4, 1984 until the week of January 12th, 1985, this one-name artist had the # 1 album on Billboards’ album chart.  That’s 24 weeks at the top of the chart.  An amazing feat for this Minneapolis born performer.  It was the ‘colourful’ soundtrack to his first movie, in which he also starred.  You get a point if you can name either the artist or the title of the album.  So can you?  

3.  During the final week of December in 1994, this holiday album was an instrumental performer was # 1. His real last name is Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, but he only uses an abbreviation of his first name and the initial of his last name.  For the actual title of the album, you’ll need to think of a Motown group that had Smokey Robinson as its lead singer.  OK, enough hints, what’s the name of this holiday # 1 album?   

4.  This artists’ # 1 album began its run for the week of November 30th, 1974 and continued at the top of the charts for the next 10 weeks.  Reginald Kenneth Dwight is his given name, but he changed it to a more ’show biz’ name, using two first names from members of the group he was in at the time.  This was a compilation of some of his hits to that point.  Can you name the album?  (HINT: The name of this artist is in the title).    

5.  This album was # 1 for 10 weeks starting in the Fall of 1985 and continuing into January of ’86.  It was another soundtrack, only this time, for a successful television series starring Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as hip cops.  The series aired from September of 1984 until July of 1989.  Can you name this # 1 soundtrack album?    
         
ANSWERS

1.  c. “The Beach Boys Concert” is the correct answer.  That album was # 1 from the week of December 5, 1964 until the week of December 26.  The soundtrack to the Elvis Presley movie “Roustabout” replaced it at # 1 in January of ’65.  “The Beach Boys Concert” had been recorded at the Civic Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, California, partially in December of ‘63 and also from their August 1, 1964 concert.  The entire album was only 32 minutes long with 13 songs, including non-Brian Wilson written hits like “Monster Mash” (Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett), ”The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” (Jan & Dean), “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” (The Rivingtons) and “The Wanderer” (Dion).  “The Beach Boys Christmas Album” was released on November 9, 1964 and went to # 6 on Billboards’ Christmas album chart that year, but wasn’t certified by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) as a gold record, meaning it had sold 500,000 copies, until 1982.  “All Summer Long” was released in 1963 and                      
    
2.  The artist is Prince.  The album was “Purple Rain”.  It was the Princely one’s first # 1 album, but it wouldn’t be his last.  In 1985, Prince’s “Around The World In A Day” was # 1 for 3 weeks and in the fall of ‘89, the Prince soundtrack for the movie “Batman” went to    # 1 for 6 weeks.            

3.  Miracles – The Holiday Album from saxophonist Kenny G is the answer we were looking for.  It was Kenny G’s only # 1 album on Billboards Top Pop Albums chart and sold 13 million copies worldwide, making it the most successful Christmas album to date.  In 1999, Kenny released “Faith – A Holiday Album” which did go to # 1 on Billboards’ Christmas album chart.  It also climbed to # 6 on the Pop Album chart.  Kenny was born in Seattle, Washington although his mother was originally from Saskatchewan.   While still in high school, Kenny (age 17) was a member of Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra.  He signed with Arista Records in 1982 as a solo artist and although he achieved platinum status with his second and third albums, “G Force” and “Gravity”, his 4th album, “Duotones” sold over 5 million copies in the U.S. alone.  But it was his 6th album, “Breathless” that went through the roof, becoming the most successful instrumental album ever with 15 million copies sold.             
                  
4.  The answer is “Elton John – Greatest Hits which replaced John Lennon’s “It’s Only Rock and Roll” album at # 1 for the week of November 30th.  Ten weeks later, it was replaced by the Ohio Players album “Fire”.              

5.  The soundtrack to the hit TV series, “Miami Vice” was # 1 for 10 weeks from November 2nd, 1985 to the first two weeks of January ’86.  The theme music for the series “Miami Vice” was composed by Jan Hammer and the original soundtrack album featured songs by Glenn Frey, Phil Collins, Tina Turner, Chaka Khan and Grandmaster Melle Mel, plus various instrumentals by Jan Hammer.