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Stephen Kerr's Blog




What's Your Favorite?

I've started a new feature on my afternoon show that allows you to decide what song i should play at 5 Pm! Each afternoon at 3:30, I will tell you what key word to text in to the number 32961. You'll be presented with a list of songs to vote for, andthe one with the most votes will be played at 5 Pm. That's it; nothing to it, and you get to choose the music! I'll be waiting for your vote.
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Give The queen Some Respect

For several weeks now, reports have been circulating about Aretha Franklin battling pancreatic cancer. Although the Queen of Soul is reluctant to go into detail about her health, she thanks her many fans and well-wishers for the cards and letters that have been sent her way, and says she's coming along fine. Read the full article from Usmagazine.com here: http://www.usmagazine.com/healthylifestyle/news/aretha-franklin-my-health-problem-has-been-resolved-201171
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Celebrating A Mississippi Girl

Faith Hill turned 43 this week. Born Audrey Faith Perry on September 21, 1967 in Jackson, MS, she fittingly grew up in the nearby small town of Star. That's exactly what she became in the 1990's, and established herself as not only a superb country singer, but as a crossover artist into pop and adult contemporary. Her brilliant smile, movie-star looks, and much-celebrated marriage to country star Tim Mc-Graw only enhanced her star power. http://music.aol.com/video/breathe-aol-sessions/faith-hill/1364509
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Dance With Gloria

Gloria Estefan turned 53 this week. Born September 1, 1957 in Havana, Cuba, Gloria's family left Havana when she was two and settled in Miami. Along with the tremendous success Gloria has had as a musician, she also had to overcome major injuries after a bus accident in March 1990 left her with a broken vertebra. But she came back over a year later, and is still recognized as one of the most talented female singers in the last three decades. Now, get ready to dance! http://www.vkplay.com/video/fzVOIYPljGk-tv-gloria-estefan-conga-live-in-rotterdam.html
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The King Did It His Way

August 16, 1977, was one of those major "where were you" days, the day rock 'n roll lost its king. In body, that is; his legend may even be bigger now than when he was alive and at his peak. I found this video of the studio version of "My Way" from the early 70's, that has some great pics. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HhAcvlCPb4
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The American Idol Guessing Game

Ok, soFox isn't quite ready to reveal who will replace Simon Cowell and Ellen Degeners as judges on American Idol next season. But there are plenty of names being talked about, including Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. I say let the audience vote. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2010/08/03/2010-08-03_no_order_yet_in_idol_court_names_and_number_of_judges_still_uncertain.html
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Linda Is Good

One of my favorite singers of the 70's turned 64 this week. Linda Ronstadt was born in Tucson, Az, on July 15, 1946. Her 1975 hit "You're No Good" hit #1 on the U.S. singles chart. She also had 15 other top 40 hits. A talented singer and songwriter, Linda has proven her music style runs deeper than just pop. She's also ventured into folk, Latin, country, and even new wave influences. Happy Birthday, Linda! http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-hr9vKWLgZzo/linda_ronstadt_youre_no_good/
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Saluting Cher

Cher is turning 64 this week, May 20. Not only is she a talented singer and actress, but she puts on a great show, whether onstage or on television. I remember watching the TV show she did with Sonny in the early 70's. Here's a video that may bring back some memories, and it's one of the songs we feature on our Super Songs of the 70's weekend. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOSZwEwl_1Q
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Remembering A Motown Legend

If you're a fan of Marvin Gaye, the first two days of April are significant for two different reasons. April 2 is Marvin's birthday. If he were still alive, he would have turned 71 this week. Unfortunately, April 1, 1984, was a tragic day, as Gaye's father shot and killed his son during a heated argument, cutting the singer's life short the day before his 45th birthday. Gaye's father was an ordained minister of the House of God, a very strict Christian sect, and he frequently beat Marvin as a child. Marvin suffered from drug and depression issues throughout his life, as well as marital and tax troubles. His depression was so bad at one point toward the end of his life, he threatened suicide on a number of occasions. Marvin moved back in with his parents shortly before his death to deal with his cocaine addiction. However, his depression only became worse, which led to the bitter argument between him and his father. I remember being on my way to one of my college classes and hearing on the radio that Marvin had died. Since it was April Fool's Day, the thought flitted through my mind that this was some cruel April Fool's prank by a radio station (yes, these things do happen in our business from time to time). But it didn't take long to find out the sad details of his death. Like so many other entertainers, Marvin's life was marked with controversy and tragedy, but his influence on the music industry, particularly with Motown Records, cannot be disputed. Happy Birthday, Marvin!
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This Week At Number One

It was 25 years ago this week that Foreigner's hit "I Want To Know What Love Is" reached Number One on the Billboard singles chart, and stayed there two weeks. The song was penned by London-born singer/songwriter Mick Jones, who sang lead vocals on the song. Also coming in at Number One this week was Barbra Streisand's 1974 hit single "The Way We Were". The song, which was the theme from the film of the same name, stayed at the top for four weeks, and went on to win both an Oscar and a Grammy for Song of the Year. Enjoy the music!
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Rockin To The Top

I hope you enjoy the Super Songs of the 70's Weekends as much as I do. The songs bring back so many memories, and I bought the records of many of them. One such song hit #1 this week in 1974. "Rock Me Gently" was Andy Kim's only hit to reach the top of the singles chart. Andy was born in Montreal, Quebeck, Canada, on Dec. 5, 1952. His real name is Andrew Joachim (hence, the variation of his last name). He quit school and moved to New York at age 16, and had several hits in the late 60's, including the platinum single "Baby I Love You" and "How'd We Ever Feel This Way". Keep enjoying the music
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Shaun The Heartthrob

This week in 1977 was a big one for Shaun Cassidy. His first major hit in the U.S., a cover of the early 60's Crystals song "Da Doo Ron Ron" hit #1. Cassidy was quite the teenage idol in the mid-to-late 70's, both as an actor and singer. Born September 27, 1958 in Hollywood, Cassidy is the half-brother of David Cassidy. Shaun formed his first band at age 11. In 1975, he signed with Mike Curb's division of Warner Bros. His first two singles were successful in Europe: "Morning Girl" in 1976, and a cover of Eric Carmen's "That's Rock and Roll". It was his remake of the Crystals' 1963 hit "Da Doo Ron Ron" that made him quite the heartthrob with teenage girls everywhere (including the girl I was dating at the time). His music career petered out several years after that, but he did well on the TV screen, including stints on the 1977 series "The Hardy Boys Mysteries" and 1980's "Breaking Away". Several years later, he appeared on the ABC soap opera "General Hospital", and he starred with his half-brother David and Petula Clark in Broadway's "Blood Brothers". Enjoy the music!
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Long Live The Wolfman!

This past week has certainly been filled with its share of losses in the entertainment industry: Michael jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, and Billy Mays. I don't want these posts to become a regular obituary, but I hope you'll indulge me in another tribute to someone who passed away 14 years ago this week, but who was very important in the radio and music industry. Wolfman Jack died July 1, 1995 of a heart attack at the young age of 57. He was well-known as a radio personality (sorry, I don't like the term DJ) in the 1960's and 70's, and even appeared on television in the 70's. Born in Brooklyn Jan. 21, 1938, Wolfman, whose real name was Robert Weston Smith, based his character and handle in part on the style of blues legend Howling Wolf. His howl, growly voice, and charismatic personality endeared him to millions around the country and even abroad. He worked at numerous radio stations, including the powerhouse XERF-AM in Ciudad Acuna Coahuila, Mexico, across the river from Del Rio, Texas, from 1958 to 1966. He was also an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church, and was even officially known as "Reverend Jack". He's been referred to in several songs, including the Guess Who's "Clap For The Wolfman", "Wolfman Jack" by Todd Rundgren, and "Ramble On Rose" by the Grateful Dead. A year after his death, he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. Shortly after returning home from a promotional tour for his autobiography, Wolfman reportedly collapsed and died in his wife's arms after giving her a glad-to-be-home hug. But his legend will never be forgotten, especially by those of us who grew up listening to that howl. Enjoy the music.
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Summing Up MJ

How do you sum up the life of someone like Michael Jackson in a few short paragraphs? I'm not sure that's possible, but he certainly had his share of extremes. His life was eventful but tumultuous. He had millions of fans worldwide, and many critics. He was one of the most brilliant musicians ever, but , well, had one of the most bizarre personalities you'll ever find. He was rich, and he went broke. He was idolized for the many monster singles and albums he put out, and was made fun of for his many plastic surgeries, exotic animals, and other eccentricities. Michael will be remembered as much for his troubles with allegations of child molesting and other personal troubles as he will his music. Onstage, he put on a show you could never forget; offstage, he was painfully shy. As an entertainer, he was as big as life; physically, especially in recent years, he was so frail you were afraid he might break in two. Despite the many people who adored and even idolized him, he was once quoted as saying to one of his close friends, "I'm a very lonely man". Many reports about his death and what caused it will probably come out in the next few weeks and months. I don't think it's a stretch to say Michael Jackson will be even more well-known years from now as he was when he was alive, like Elvis is. The day of his death will be one that we'll say, "I remember exactly what I was doing when..." No, Michael Jackson's life may not be accurately summarized in a short blog posting. But whether you like him or despise him, one thing's for sure: you'll never forget him. Enjoy the music.
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Paul McCartney's Highs and Lows

  June 2 was both a good day and bad day for Paul McCartney, for different reasons. 

  In 2002, it was reported that during an argument with his then-fiancee Heather Mills, McCartney threw her engagement ring out the window of the Turnberry Isle Resort in Miami.  Guards at the resort recovered the ring, worth over $25,000, using metal detectors. 

  On a much happier note: On June 2, 1973, McCartney hit #1 on both the U.S. album and singles charts.  His album "Red Rose Speedway" reached the top of the album chart, and one of the songs from that album, "My Love" went to #1 on the singles chart, and stayed in that spot for four weeks. 

  Ah, the ups and downs of a superstar's life.  Enjoy the music! 

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Paul McCartney’s Highs and Lows

  June 2 was both a good day and bad day for Paul McCartney, for different reasons. 

  In 2002, it was reported that during an argument with his then-fiancee Heather Mills, McCartney threw her engagement ring out the window of the Turnberry Isle Resort in Miami.  Guards at the resort recovered the ring, worth over $25,000, using metal detectors. 

  On a much happier note: On June 2, 1973, McCartney hit #1 on both the U.S. album and singles charts.  His album "Red Rose Speedway" reached the top of the album chart, and one of the songs from that album, "My Love" went to #1 on the singles chart, and stayed in that spot for four weeks. 

  Ah, the ups and downs of a superstar's life.  Enjoy the music! 

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A Trio of Chart-toppers

  This week, three songs went to the top of the singles charts by three very different artists/groups.    In 1994, the group All 4 One scored a number 1 hit with "I Swear", a song that became quite popular for weddings, and began an 11-week run in the top spot for them.  The song was also a number one hit on the country chart by John Michael Montgomery.    David Bowie went to number 1 in 1983 with "Let's Dance".  It was the second U.S. number 1 for him.    In 1977, Stevie Wonder reached the top of the singles chart with "Sir Duke".  It was his tribute to music in general, but to jazz legend Duke Ellington in particular, and it remained number one for three weeks.    Enjoy the music!
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A Number One Machine

  It was this week in 1988 that Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine scored their first U.S. #1 hit,   "Anything For You".    That song was one of four Top 10 hits from "Let It Loose", which went triple-platinum that year.  "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" "Can't Stay Away From You" and "1-2-3" were the other Top 10 hits.  That particular album was the first under the billing "Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine".    Before 1985, the group recorded several Latin-language albums.  Their first English-language LP, "Primitive Love", produced three Top 10 songs: "Conga" "Words Get In the Way" and "Bad Boy".    In 1989, Estefan recorded "Cuts Both Ways", the first album to be credited to her name alone, and it gave her "Don't Wanna Lose You", her second U.S. #1 single.  On March 20, 1990, while touring in support of the album, she was involved in a serious accident when her bus was hit by a tractor trailer.  The accident left her with a broken vertebrae which kept her off the road for more than a year and required extensive surgery.    However, Estefan, her husband Emilio, and their son all recovered, and in 1991, her album "In To the Light" gave her another chart-topper, "Coming Out of the Dark", a song inspired by that serious accident.    Enjoy the music!
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A Not So Wonderful Ending

  It was 21 years ago this week that singer/guitarist Eric Clapton and Patti Boyd filed for divorce.  Between Clapton's womanizing, alcohol and drug problems, the couple's relationship was a roller-coaster ride to say the least.    They met while Boyd was still married to George Harrison, and Clapton set his eyes on her at that time.  He even went so far as to tell Harrison that he intended to have Patti for himself one day.    Two of Clapton's most popular songs, "Wonderful Tonight" and "Layla" were written for Boyd.  While waiting for her to get ready for a dinner party, Clapton became irritated because she was taking her time.  To ease his mood, he began to pen the words to the song "Wonderful Tonight", which became one of his biggest hits.  But songs of love wouldn't be nearly enough to save the marriage.    Enjoy the music! 
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Killing Me Softly

  I don't know about you, but I'm enjoying our Majic Super Songs of the 70's weekends more and more every week.  Each time I play a 70's song during the week now, the first thing that runs through my mind is, "I can't wait 'til Friday, when I can kick off another Super Songs of the 70's Weekend again".    One of those "super songs" hit #1 this week in 1972, and stayed there for six weeks.  It was the Ewan Maccoll song "Killing Me Softly" sung by Roberta Flack, one of the most popular pop ballads of the 70's.    The song was also featured in the 70's movie "Play Misty For Me" (yes, I have had people actually call me up and whisper that line, "Play Misty For Me".)  Weird, huh?    Enjoy the music! 
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Remembering Seventeen

  If I mention the name Janis Ian to you, You may not immediately recognize the name (unless you're a hard-core 70's music eficianado).  But you may remember the hit Janis had in 1975, "At Seventeen", about the difficulties of being a phomely teenager.  The song hit #3 on the singles chart in 1975, and won a Grammy that year as well.  It begins: "I learned the truth at seventeen... that love was meant for beauty queens...   Janis Ian (whose real name is Janis Eddy Fink) turned 58 on April 7.  She was born in New York, and adopted her brother's name Ian as her surname.  She recorded her self-titled debut album when she was just 15.  The album contained the song "Society's Child", a song banned by some stations for its discussion of interracial romance.    Though the song initially failed, it proved Ian was not afraid to tackle sensitive issues in her music.  Conductor Leonard Bernstein invited her to perform the tune on his television special, "Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution".  The ensuing publicity and controversy over the performance helped the song climb up the charts.    After recording three more albums between 1967 and 1969, Ian temporarily quit performing to marry a photojournalist she met at a peace rally.  The marriage was short-lived, however, and she returned to performing.  After recording two albums that met with little success, Ian released her blockbuster Lp "Between The Lines", which contained the hit "At Seventeen".  Subsequent albums, however, did poorly, and Ian was dropped by her label.  After her admission of homosexuality in the early 1990's, she recorded "Breaking Silence" in 1993, which referred to that admission.    Enjoy the music! 
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The Nonstop Concert

  I've always been fascinated with the Guiness Book of World Records, and all the crazy records you find in there and here about in general.    One such record was set just two years ago on March 31 in Japan: for the longest nonstop concert.  Hundreds of musicians between the ages of six and 96 gathered in Omi on the night of March 23.  They each took turns performing over 2000 tunes in 182 hours.    As if that weren't enough, an earthquake shook the city during a piano piece from one of the musicians.    The previous world record was set in 2001 in Canada, with 181 hours.    Talk about perseverance!    Enjoy the music!
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Happy Birthday, Sir

  I've had many people ask me over the years who my favorite singer is.  I've certainly played the songs of many in my 25-plus years of radio, but when the question is asked I don't hesitate in my answer: Elton John.    It just so happens that John (whose real name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight) turned 62 this week.  He was born March 25, 1947, in Pinner, Middlesex, England.    One of the reasons Elton John stands out above the rest for me is his versatility.  Not only is he a singer, but a songwriter as well, and he has proven himself capable of performing pop, disco, soul, progressive rock, even country.  Perhaps that is why he landed a song on the top 40 chart every single year from 1970 to 1996.    John is the son of a Royal Air Force trumpeter.  He took up playing the piano at the age of four, and won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music when he was 11.  He began his stint in the music business with Bluesology in the mid 1960's.    Believe it or not, he failed several lead vocalist auditions with such groups as Gentle Giant and King Crimson.  Even though he also failed an audition with Liberty Records, he was given lyrics left with the label by Bernie Taupin.  John began writing songs from Taupin's lyrics, and the two eventually formed what would become one of the most successful tandems in music history.  In 1997, his remake of his own "Candle In The Wind" became the biggest-selling single of all time, as he paid tribute to his good friend Princess Diana shortly after her tragic death.    Enjoy the music! 
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Elvis's St. Patty's Day Purchase

  I don't know how Elvis Presley felt about St. Patrick's Day, but he spent one particular St. Patty's Day purchasing what would eventually become one of the most-visited places in the world.    March 17, 1957, was the day the King bought the Graceland Mansion.  It was named after Grace Toof, the daughter of the mansion's builder.    The original structure had been a place of worship by the Graceland Christian Church.  When Elvis bought the residence from Ruth Brown-Moore for $102,500, it was on 13.8 acres, and boasted 23 rooms and 10,000 square feet.  Several weeks before he moved in, however, the mansion was expanded to 17,552 square feet of living space.    I often wonder if Elvis knew then how popular Graceland would become as a tourist attraction, or how wealthy his estate would be as a result, even well after his death.  I would tend to doubt it.    Enjoy the music! 
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Elvis’s St. Patty’s Day Purchase

  I don't know how Elvis Presley felt about St. Patrick's Day, but he spent one particular St. Patty's Day purchasing what would eventually become one of the most-visited places in the world.    March 17, 1957, was the day the King bought the Graceland Mansion.  It was named after Grace Toof, the daughter of the mansion's builder.    The original structure had been a place of worship by the Graceland Christian Church.  When Elvis bought the residence from Ruth Brown-Moore for $102,500, it was on 13.8 acres, and boasted 23 rooms and 10,000 square feet.  Several weeks before he moved in, however, the mansion was expanded to 17,552 square feet of living space.    I often wonder if Elvis knew then how popular Graceland would become as a tourist attraction, or how wealthy his estate would be as a result, even well after his death.  I would tend to doubt it.    Enjoy the music! 
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Aladdin Is Number One

  I remember when the Disney film "Aladdin" came out in the early 90's.  My daughter was very little at the time, and watch practically every Disney movie that came out back then.    To me, the music on the soundtracks of those movies was almost as special as the films themselves, and "Aladdin" was no exception.  Apparently, lots of others felt the same way, because the theme from the "Aladdin" sountrack, "A Whole New World", sung by Peabo Bryson and Regina Bell, hit #1 this week in 1993.    The song replaced Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You", which had stayed at #1 for the past 14 consecutive weeks.  Peabo also did a duet with Celine Dion on "Beauty And The Beast", from that Disney soundtrack.    Enjoy the music! 
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Saluting Karen

  If she were still living, Karen Carpenter would have been 59 years old this week.  Born in New Haven, Connecticut, on March 2, 1950, Karen and her brother Richard had a string of top 10 hits as the Carpenters in the 70's, including "Close To You" "We've Only Just Begun" "Yesterday Once More" and "Rainy Days and Mondays".    Karen actually recorded one solo album, "Karen Carpenter", in the late 70's.  However, it wasn't released until after her death.    I remember exactly what I was doing when i heard the news about her death in early February of 1983.  I was getting ready to go to work at my first radio job when I heard the news on the radio that she had died.  She had battled anorexia nervosa, and ultimately died of heart failure.  I was deeply saddened, as the Carpenters had been one of my favorite groups when i was growing up.  I always thought Karen had one of the smoothest, most distinctive female voices ever, and i still enjoy playing the Carpenters on Majic.    Enjoy the music!
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Cleaning Up At the Grammys

  It's been a couple weeks since this year's annual Grammy Awards were held, but February 23, 2003 was the day Norah Jones really cleaned up at the 45th annual Grammys.    Jones took home eight awards, including Album Of The Year for her "Come Away With Me" album.  The song "Don't Know Why" took home Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best New Artist, and BestFemale Pop Vocal.    Born in New York City on March 30, 1979, Norah is the daughter of internationally acclaimed musician Ravi Shankar.  She grew up in Texas, attending the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.  At the school, she won a student music award for Best Jazz Vocalist and Best Original Composition.  She attended the University of North Texas in Denton for two years before going to Greenwich Village with a friend in the summer of 1999.  Although intending to return to college, she was captivated by the jazz clubs and folk coffeehouses of New York, and decided to stay and write her own songs.    After recording a handful of demos for the jazz record label Blue Note Records, Jones signed with that label in 2001.  "Come Away With Me" was released in early 2002 and eventually went multi-platinum, selling 18 million copies worldwide and earning her those eight Grammys.    Enjoy the music! 
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Good Vibes

  I've always been fascinated with how composers come up with material for songs.  It can be as simple as a sign on a billboard, or a personal experience. 

  February 18, 1966 was the day Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys recorded "Good Vibrations", a song that would hit number one later that year. 

  Though not known for being a great performer live, Wilson was definitely one of the best songwriters of the pop era.  Born in Hawthorne, California, he wrote the song based on something his mother had told him as a child: that dogs could pick up "vibrations" from people.  This would cause the dog to bark at "bad vibrations". 

  How about that?  All Wilson had to do was change the "bad" part to "good", and he had a hit song, the group's third number one. 

  Enjoy the music! 

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It's Never Too Late

  Carole King turned 67 years old on February 9.  She is best known for her album "Tapestry" which skyrocketed to the top of the album chart in 1971, and stayed on the charts a total of six years.  It was by far the biggest-selling album of that time.    King, who was born Carole Klein, grew up in Brooklyn, and began playing piano when she was four.  While she was in high school, she formed her first band, a vocal quartet called the Co-Sines.    In the early 60's, King partnered with composer Gerry Goffin (they would eventually marry), and the pair wrote over a hundred hits, done by such performers as the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Monkees, the Drifters, and the Chiffons.    While King attempted to launch a solo singing career in the 60's, it wasn't until the release of "Tapestry" that she became a bonified superstar.  The album scored a pair of hit singles, "So Far Away" and "It's Too Late", which hit number one.  She followed that album with "Music" later that same year, and it also made the top of the charts.  Her "Rhymes and Reasons" album hit number two in 1972.  "Wrap Around Joy", which produced the hit single "Jazzman", hit number one in 1974.    Enjoy the music!
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It’s Never Too Late

  Carole King turned 67 years old on February 9.  She is best known for her album "Tapestry" which skyrocketed to the top of the album chart in 1971, and stayed on the charts a total of six years.  It was by far the biggest-selling album of that time.    King, who was born Carole Klein, grew up in Brooklyn, and began playing piano when she was four.  While she was in high school, she formed her first band, a vocal quartet called the Co-Sines.    In the early 60's, King partnered with composer Gerry Goffin (they would eventually marry), and the pair wrote over a hundred hits, done by such performers as the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Monkees, the Drifters, and the Chiffons.    While King attempted to launch a solo singing career in the 60's, it wasn't until the release of "Tapestry" that she became a bonified superstar.  The album scored a pair of hit singles, "So Far Away" and "It's Too Late", which hit number one.  She followed that album with "Music" later that same year, and it also made the top of the charts.  Her "Rhymes and Reasons" album hit number two in 1972.  "Wrap Around Joy", which produced the hit single "Jazzman", hit number one in 1974.    Enjoy the music!
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Natalie's Day

  The daughter of a music legend is having a birthday this week.  Natalie Cole is 59 years old as of February 6.    Natalie's father, Nat King Cole, was certainly well-known in jazz and pop circles in his time, but Natalie has made her own mark.  She signed with Capitol Records in 1974, and ran off numerous successful albums and singles for the next eight years.    Several hits topped the R&B charts between 1975 and 1977, including "This Will Be" "Inseparable" "Our Love" and "I've Got Love On My Mind".  Through the wonders of electronic technology, natalie recorded "Unforgettable" along with her father's vocals, and that album earned several Grammy Awards and went to #1 on the album chart in 1991.    Happy Birthday, natalie.    Enjoy the music! 
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Natalie’s Day

  The daughter of a music legend is having a birthday this week.  Natalie Cole is 59 years old as of February 6.    Natalie's father, Nat King Cole, was certainly well-known in jazz and pop circles in his time, but Natalie has made her own mark.  She signed with Capitol Records in 1974, and ran off numerous successful albums and singles for the next eight years.    Several hits topped the R&B charts between 1975 and 1977, including "This Will Be" "Inseparable" "Our Love" and "I've Got Love On My Mind".  Through the wonders of electronic technology, natalie recorded "Unforgettable" along with her father's vocals, and that album earned several Grammy Awards and went to #1 on the album chart in 1991.    Happy Birthday, natalie.    Enjoy the music! 
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A Not So Super Bowl

  I mainly watch the Super Bowl for the game itself, which turned out to be an exciting finish Sunday between the Steelers and Cardinals.  Some people watch merely for the commercials, and some for the pre-game and halftime entertainment.    It was nice to see Bruce Springsteen, Faith Hill, and Jennifer Hudson put on great performances this past Sunday.  The entertainment card hasn't always been super, though.  It was five years ago on February 2 that the infamous janet Jackson incident took place during halftime of Super Bowl Xxxviii in Houston.    During her performance, jackson's top was ripped off by Justin Timberlake during a halftime duet.  One of Jackson's breasts was temporarily exposed, creating a controversy that was the talk of the nation for months.  Though CBS quickly cut away from the scene, it didn't stop the flood of calls from angry viewers to the network, who apologized for the incident.    Thankfully, the Super Bowl entertainment the past few years has been in much better taste, featuring performances by Paul McCartney, U2, the Rolling Stones, and Springsteen.    Enjoy the music! 
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A Salute To Phil

  Phil Collins turned 58 this week.  The talented drummer, pianist, and vocalist got his first break in his late teens, when he became a replacement drummer with Genesis in 1970.  After singr Peter Gabriel left in 1974, the group auditioned over 400 singers before finally deciding that Collins would replace him.    In 1986, Genesis hit number one on the U.S. singles chart with "Invisible Touch", and had several other number one albums in the U.K. as well.  Once he went on his own, Collins had seven number one hits, including "A Groovy Kind Of Love". He's also played a number of acting roles in "Oliver", "Buster" and "Miami Vice".    Happy B-day, Phil.    Enjoy the music! 
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He May Be Crazy

  Billy Joel has never been accused of being afraid to live on the edge, especially when driving.    It was this week in 2003 that the singer lost control of his Mercedes S500, crashing into a tree, after losing control of the car and skidding for 100 yards.  He was airlifted to a hospital in the Hamptons, New York.    This wasn't the first time the talented musician was involved in a serious accident.  In the spring of 1982, he suffered a broken wrist after crashing his motorcycle.  The injury required major surgery.    In his 1980 song "You May Be Right (I May Be Crazy), Billy boasted that he drove his motorcycle in the rain.  "You told me not to drive, but I made it home alive... so you said that only proves that I'm insaaane!"    How true.    Enjoy the music! 
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The Missing Beatle

  This week in 1988, the Beatles received perhaps the highest honor any entertainer or group could receive: they were inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame.    In attendance were Ringo Starr and George Harrison, along with Yoko Ono and Julian and Sean Lennon.  The notable absence was Paul McCartney.  In a letter to the Hall officials, Paul cited ongoing business differences with other two ex-Beatles as his reason for staying away.    It's a shame that feuds between performers often get in the way of enjoying an honor such as this, but it is unfortunately the nature of the business.    Enjoy the music! 
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Baby, Come Back!

  In 1977, singer and guitar player Peter Beckett formed a group in Los Angeles, along with three other members.  The group called itself Player, and their first smash hit, "Baby Come Back" hit #1 this week in 1978.    In case the name of the group and song don't ring a bell, here are some of the lyrics: Baby, come back, any kind of fool could see... there was something... in everything about you. Baby, come back... You can blame it all on me... I was wrong, and I just can't live without you.    It looked as if the group might be on its way after that hit, but following the release of their self-titled debut album that same year, they failed to have another hit on the charts.  Guitarist and keyboard player J.C. Crowley left the group soon after to become a country artist, and bassist Ronn Moss left to join the cast of the daytime soap "The Bold and the Beautiful".    Beckett retired the Player name in the early 1980's to start a solo singer/songwriting stint, but he and Moss reformed the group in 1995.    Enjoy the music!
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The King Lives On

  Elvis was born January 8, 1935, which means he would be 74 if he were still alive today. 

  Just to show how popular he was (and still is), if you simply referred to him as "Elvis" or "The King" almost everyone would know exactly who you are talking about.  No further explanation would be needed.  Between daily tours at Graceland (where my son James and I intend to visit someday), licensing fees, and Cd sales, Elvis's estate makes millions of dollars each year.  There is no doubt that "The King" is more popular now than when he was alive.  He probably has more impersonators than any other performer in the world. 

  Long live the King of Rock 'n Roll! 

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Carol Of The Bells

  Carol Of The Bells was composed in 1916 as a Ukranian folk tune by Mykola Leontovych.  The song, whose original title was "Shkedryk", is about a sparrow and the bountiful year of a family.    The song was first performed on January 13, 1916, which is considered New Year's Eve on the Julian calendar.  It wasn't until 1921 that "Shkedryk" was performed in the U.S. at Carnegie Hall on October 5.    New lyrics, based on the melody of the original tune, were written in 1936 by composer Peter Wilhousky.  It became what we now know as the Christmas song "Carol Of The Bells", heralding the sound of bells at Christmas.    Enjoy the music!
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Little Drummer Boy

  There appears to be a bit of controversy surrounding who wrote the Christmas song about a boy who plays his drum for the Christ Child.    Jack Halloran supposedly did the recording and choral arrangement of the song in 1957, according to his daughter.  Dawn Halloran alleged the record label, Dot Records, failed to put out the song in time for the 1957 Christmas holiday.  Therefore, according to Dawn, Harry Simeone, together with composers Katherine K. Davis and Henry Onorati, received composing credit instead of her father.    The original title of the song, based on an old Czech carol, was titled "Carol Of The Drums", but was later changed to "Little Drummer Boy".    Enjoy the music!
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Joy To The World

  The holiday season, for many of us, is a joyful time.  One of the things I like most about this time of year is the singin of Christmas carols, which is what I'm discussing here the next several weeks.    The poet Isaac Watts must have felt that same joy as well.  Watts, an Englishman, is the one who is credited with penning the words of "Joy To The World" in the early 1700's.  George Mason, an American teacher and choir director, arranged the music for the hymn in the mid-1800's, taking some of the musical phrases from the composer George Frederick Handel.  Mason wrote several other hymns, including "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross".    The words of Joy To The World are based on Psalm 98 in the Old Testament, particularly verses 4-9.  Verse 4 says, "break forth into joyous song  and sing praises.  The refrain, "let Heaven and nature sing" refers to the waters, creatures, and the hills (verses 7 and 8).  Verse 9 refers to th Lord coming to "judge the world with righteousness".    For those who believe in the true meaning of Christmas, that Jesus was born and is our Savior, this time of year brings lots of joy.    Enjoy the music!
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Jingle Bells

  Each week through the holiday season, I'm examining the history of some of our favorite carols you're hearing on the Majic of Christmas. 

  Snow isn't exactly popular in Texas, particulaly in the Austin area, and neither are sleighs.  But that certainly doesn't stop us from singing songs about them. 

  Jingle Bells was written by an organist from Savannah, Georgia, named James Pierpont around 1850.  The song was originally called "One Horse Open Sleigh", but was later changed to "Jingle Bells". 

  The song was first played around 1857during Thanksgiving, when Pierpont was a church choir director in Savannah.  It was so popular, especially among children, that he brought it back for the Christmas season, and it has been a worldwide carol ever since. 

  Enjoy the music!

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Silent Night

  The Thanksgiving and Christmas season has always been my favorite time of year, especially from a music standpoint.  I've always been fascinated about how some of the traditional holiday songs came into being, and have remained a part of our tradition decades and even centuries after they were first written.    Now that we have launched our Majic of Christmas promotion, I thought it would be a good idea to find out more about some of the songs we play on Majic during the holiday season.  For the next few weeks, we'll take a look at the history of specific songs.    Silent Night is definitely one of the most beautiful carols of the season.  Numerous holiday historians trace the song's origin back to 1816.  The words of the song were originally written as a poem by Joseph Mohr when he was a young priest assigned to a pilgrimage church in Mariapfarr, Austria.    After being transferred to a church in Oberndorf, Austria, in 1817, Mohr took the poem with him to the home of a musician and schoolteacher named Franz Gruber.  On Christmas Eve of that year, Mohr asked Gruber to add a guitar accompaniment for singing at Midnight Mass that night.    It was there, in St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, that the carol "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!" were sung for the first time.  Several years later, Karl Mauracher, a master organ repairman and builder, obtained a copy of the song and took it home with him.  It subsequently became a folk tune, sung by two families of folk singers, similar to the beloved von Trapp Family Singers from "The Sound of Music".  In 1832, several musical notes of the song were changed to reflect the melody we sing today.  It is now translated into hundreds of languages worldwide, painting a wonderful picture of events leading to the birth of Christ, our Savior.    Enjoy the music!
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An Eagle Turns 60

  Along with Don Henley, Glenn Frey is considered as one of the two most popular members of the Eagles.    Frey, a native of Detroit,  turns 60 this week.  He began his music career playing with various teen bands in Detroit, and in 1968, sang backup on "Ramblin Gamblin Man", a hit for another Detroit star, Bob Seger.    In his late teens, Frey decided to move to California, and played with several bands before forming the Eagles with Henley.  Following the many hits with the group, Frey had some success as a solo artist, including "The One You Love", "The Heat Is On" and "You Belong To the City" from the Miami Vice soundtrack.  Frey even did some acting, including a guest star appearance on Miami Vice.    Enjoy the music! 
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Caribean Queen

  This week in 1984, Billy Ocean's hit song "Caribean Queen" hit #1 on the U.S. singles chart, and stayed there for two weeks.    The song was originally titled "European Queen", but was later changed to the title we're familiar with.    Billy Ocean (whose real name is Leslie Charles) was born in Trinidad on January 21, 1950.  He was one of the first Caribean singers to be embraced by MTV, and had a string of top 10 hits, including "Love Is Forever" "When The Going Gets Tough" and "Get Out Of My Dreams (And Into My Car".    Enjoy the music!
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Spooky Songs

  Every holiday has a song, or group of songs, even Halloween.  I must admit, I'm not one who gets into the Halloween hype, with all the costumes and talk of ghosts, goblins, and witches.  But, I have to admit there are some songs, either about Halloween or related to something scary, that I enjoy.    Almost everyone is probably familiar with Bobby Borris Picket's "Monster Mash," and Michael Jackson's "Thriller."  I like those songs, but they're not at the top of my list (perhaps because I've heard them a million times year after year).  One of my personal favorites is a song that came out around 1964 by Jumpin' Gene Simmons (no, not the Gene Simmons of Kiss Fame, at least I don't think he is).  The song is called "Haunted House," about a man who buys a house and refuses to leave when he discovers it's haunted, no matter how intimidating the "ghost" tries to be.    "Purple People Eater" is another of my favorites, although it's more amusing than scary, but it gets play during Halloween.  Other songs that aren't necessarily devoted to Halloween, but still have ties to its characters and traditions,: "Devil Woman" by British pop legend Cliff Richard, "Witchy Woman" by the Eagles, and Santana's "Black Magic Woman".    Obviously, this is only scratching the surface.  Feel free to post your favorite Halloween-related song or tradition.  I'm always open to your comments.    Enjoy the music!
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A Very Weird Birthday

  Many musicians have success writing and singing original songs, but not too many make a name for themselves recording parodies of other people's music.    However, one such artist is "Weird Al" Yankovic, considered the most popular parody singer of our time.  Yankovic turned 49 on October 23, and has been recording and performing his famous tongue-in-cheek novelty songs since high school, the main instrument being an accordion.    Yankovic got his start on Dr. Demento, the radio show that has played everything from the whacky to the downright crude side of music for over three decades.  "Weird Al" is a master at taking popular hits and turning them into outrageous parodies.  Some of his most popular songs include "Eat It", taken from Michael Jackson's "Beat It", "Like A Surgeon", from Madonna's "Like A Virgin", "My Bologna", from The Knack's #1 hit "My Sharona", and my personal favorite, "Another One Rides The Bus", the parody of Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust".    I wonder if he's come up with a parody for "Happy Birthday".    Enjoy the music! 
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Friday Morning Freakout

  One of my favorite features on our Kim & Alex morning show is what they refer to as the "Friday Morning Freakout", a montage of lyrics from such classic hits as "That's What I Like" and "The Twist".    This montage was an actual hit song in Britain back in 1989 by Jive Bunny and the Master Mixes.  The title is "That's What I Like" and it hit number one in the U.K. this week in 1989.    I can't think of another piece of music that gets my blood pumping and my feet moving the way this one does.  Apparently, many of you feel the same way.  Several years ago, I filled in for Alex on a Friday morning, and failed to play the "Friday Morning Freakout".  I must have taken dozens of calls wondering if I knew what time zone I was in.  Truth be told: I forgot to get it from Alex that day.  But, I didn't forget thereafter.  I learned my lesson.    Enjoy the music! 
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Sorry, You Can't Go Onstage

  How would you feel if you were stopped by security and told you could not get into your own concert?    That's exactly what happened to Bob Dylan on October 16, 2001.  Dylan, who was in the midst of his "Love and Theft Tour" at the time, had demanded that security be tighter than usual.    The problem with security arose when Dylan tried to enter, but didn't have a pass, so the guards refused to let him go backstage.  The two guards were subsequently fired.    Hey, they were just following Bob's orders, just as they were paid to do.  I'm sure anybody could recognize it was Bob Dylan, but what if it was someone disguising himself as Dylan?    Enjoy the music!
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Sorry, You Can’t Go Onstage

  How would you feel if you were stopped by security and told you could not get into your own concert?    That's exactly what happened to Bob Dylan on October 16, 2001.  Dylan, who was in the midst of his "Love and Theft Tour" at the time, had demanded that security be tighter than usual.    The problem with security arose when Dylan tried to enter, but didn't have a pass, so the guards refused to let him go backstage.  The two guards were subsequently fired.    Hey, they were just following Bob's orders, just as they were paid to do.  I'm sure anybody could recognize it was Bob Dylan, but what if it was someone disguising himself as Dylan?    Enjoy the music!
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I Just Called To Say...

  This week in 1984, one of the greatest love songs of all time began a three-week run at number one on the singles chart. 

  If you looked at the title of this post, you probably know which song I'm referring to.  Yep, it was Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You". 

  It was the seventh number one song for Stevie, and it is still played at weddings everywhere.  I hear it dedicated on Delilah's show quite often, and when I did the Love Songs At Night show years ago, I probably had at least one request for it every day. 

  The message of the song is simple, but true.  You don't need a special occasion or time of year to say, "I love you" to someone.  Those three words can and should be said every day, many times a day. 

  Enjoye the music!

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I Just Called To Say…

  This week in 1984, one of the greatest love songs of all time began a three-week run at number one on the singles chart. 

  If you looked at the title of this post, you probably know which song I'm referring to.  Yep, it was Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You". 

  It was the seventh number one song for Stevie, and it is still played at weddings everywhere.  I hear it dedicated on Delilah's show quite often, and when I did the Love Songs At Night show years ago, I probably had at least one request for it every day. 

  The message of the song is simple, but true.  You don't need a special occasion or time of year to say, "I love you" to someone.  Those three words can and should be said every day, many times a day. 

  Enjoye the music!

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Singing For Simon

  October 7 is Simon Cowell's birthday.  Yes, even the hard-to-please American idol judge has a birthday.    Born in Brighton, England, Simon has become one of the most controversial figures on television.  His blunt, abrasive, and sometimes downright rude approach on AmericanIdol and similar shows has made him an icon in his own right.  Regardless of how you feel about him, I have to believe suchshows almost wouldn't be the same without him.    If someone should be brave enough to sing Happy Birthday to Simon, can you picture him saying something like, "what was that?"  Or maybe, "that was absolutely abominable."   I wouldn't put it past him.    Enjoy the music! 
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Number One Idol

  Six years ago on September 29, the song "A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson topped the charts, and remained #1 for two weeks.    Clarkson was the first winner of American Idol, and is arguably the most successful Idol winner to date.  Other hits have followed, including Breakaway, Since You've Been Gone, and Because Of You.    The last few years that I've watched American Idol, I'm amused at how many contestants either try to sound like Kelly, or attempt to sing one of her songs.    Enjoy the music. 
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The Boss and Brother Ray

  Two music legends have birthdays this week. 

  Bruce Springsteen was born September 23, 1949, which would make him 59.  But that hasn't seemed to slow "The Boss" down a bit; he still tours with the E Street Band, and is active as ever. 

  Ray Charles was also born September 23.  If he were still alive, he would be 78.  He passed away June 10, 2004. 

  One reason I've always admired Ray Charles is because, like me, blindness didn't stop him from living his dream.  But his diversity inmusic was also fascinating to me.  From blues to rock to country, Ray had a big influence on just about every music genre imaginable. 

  Enjoy the music!

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Paul Is Dead... Or Is He?

  Remember the debate about Paul McCartney being dead back in the late 60's?  Well, it was on September 17, 1969, that media outlets across the country began running stories claiming Paul had been killed in an auto accident while in Scotland in November of 1966.    The stories also said a double had been taking Paul's place for public appearances.    As it turned out, Paul was on vacation in Kenya with Jane Asher, his girlfriend at the  time.  I don't know about you, but the last thing I would want to read in the paper is my obituary.    Enjoy the music! 
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Paul Is Dead… Or Is He?

  Remember the debate about Paul McCartney being dead back in the late 60's?  Well, it was on September 17, 1969, that media outlets across the country began running stories claiming Paul had been killed in an auto accident while in Scotland in November of 1966.    The stories also said a double had been taking Paul's place for public appearances.    As it turned out, Paul was on vacation in Kenya with Jane Asher, his girlfriend at the  time.  I don't know about you, but the last thing I would want to read in the paper is my obituary.    Enjoy the music! 
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A Week of Chart-Toppers

  This was definitely a week of number one songs.    Mariah Carey began an eight-weekrun at #1 this week in 1993 with her hit single "dream Lover".  Along with that, her "Music Box" album topped the album chart in the U.K.    This week in 1982, "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago hit #1 and remained there for two weeks.  Taken from the movie "Summer Lovers", the song stayed at the top for two weeks, and was the group's second U.S. number one.    Kc and the Sunshine Band hit #1 in 1976 with "Shake Your Booty".  It was the group's third number one single, and many of us who saw them perform here in Austin at the Backyard back in July were really dancin' and shakin' to that one.    Enjoy the music!
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Rod Stewart's Costly Laryngitis

  Singer Rod Stewart has had his share of controversy during his legendary career, and this one was no exception.    On September 8, 2005, Stewart was ordered to pay $1.1 million to a Las Vegas casino for missing a New Year's concert back in 2000.  According to the singer, the reason he missed the performance is because he had no voice.  He had just undergone surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid tumor, and his voice hadn't recovered in time for the concert.  A rather costly sum for laryngitis.    Enjoy the music!
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Rod Stewart’s Costly Laryngitis

  Singer Rod Stewart has had his share of controversy during his legendary career, and this one was no exception.    On September 8, 2005, Stewart was ordered to pay $1.1 million to a Las Vegas casino for missing a New Year's concert back in 2000.  According to the singer, the reason he missed the performance is because he had no voice.  He had just undergone surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid tumor, and his voice hadn't recovered in time for the concert.  A rather costly sum for laryngitis.    Enjoy the music!
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Hail To the Hall Of Famers

  It would probably have been more appropriate to mention this last week, but with the Labor Day holiday, I just now came across this interesting tidbit.    It was on Aug. 31, 1995, that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened in Cleveland, Ohio.    Cleveland is argued to be rock's birthplace, beginning in the studios of Radio Station WMMS.  Disc jockey Alan Freed first used the term "rock and roll" in the early 1950's.    This piqued my interest because my 15-year-old son James recently expressed interest in taking a trip to Cleveland to see the museum.  Of course, he's more into metal and classic rock, but he is fascinated with the history of rock music, even dating back to its earliest roots, and he felt he would really enjoy it.    It may be a few years, but I'll figure out a way to get him there, because I'd love to see it, too.    Enjoy the music!
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MJ Is 50!

  Hard to believe, but Michael Jackson turned 50 this week.    Michael's troubles are certainly well documented, and it always saddens me when someone who has so much talent takes a fall from grace the way he did.  But his musical talents can't be overlooked, demonstrated through albums like Thriller, Bad, and Off The Wall.    Enjoy the music! 
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A Trio Of Number One Hits

  The group Looking Glass hit number 1 this week in 1972 with Brandy, subtitled You're A Fine Girl.  The group was basically a one-hit wonder; they followed it with a minor hit called Jimmy Loves Mary Ann.    If you're in to the Grease soundtrack, the title track topped the charts in 1978 this week.  Frankie Valli, who didn't sound quite as falsetto as he did back in the 60's, kept the song at the top for two weeks that year.    Rounding out the trio was Seal, whose ballad Kiss From A Rose reached the top this week in 1995, and remained there one week.    Your comments are always welcome.  Enjoy the music! 
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The Gambler's Birthday

  Kenny Rogers is having a birthday this week.  He was born August 21, 1939.  Can you believe it?  The singer of such big hits as "The Gambler," "Lady," "Morning Desire," and so many more, is 69.    He has also recorded hits with Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Dotty West, and many others.  Happy Birthday, Kenny. 
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The Gambler’s Birthday

  Kenny Rogers is having a birthday this week.  He was born August 21, 1939.  Can you believe it?  The singer of such big hits as "The Gambler," "Lady," "Morning Desire," and so many more, is 69.    He has also recorded hits with Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Dotty West, and many others.  Happy Birthday, Kenny. 
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This Week In Music August 18, 2008

  August 16, 1977 was indeed a sad day in music.  That was the day we lost Elvis, the King.    It's quite common for us to look back years after a significant event and remember what we were doing when it happened.  I recall very clearly what I was doing that day.    I was a teenager then, living in Houston.  My mom wanted to take me shopping for a new pair of jeans.  In typical teenage boy fashion, I balked.  The last thing I felt like doing was running all over a mall looking for jeans.  I wanted to stay home and be lazy, listen to music, read a book... anything but that!    Finally, my exasperated mom told me she would go without me.  "But when I come home to have you try on these jeans, and they don't fit, you're grounded," she threatened.    I pouted for a little while after she left, then turned on the radio.  A few minutes later, the station I was listening to broke the sad news that Elvis had died.  naturally, I was shocked, and it certainly overshadowed a silly argument with my mother over a pair of jeans.  (For the record, the jeans fit, and I wasn't grounded).    If you have a funny or unusual memory about that day, feel free to post it.    Enjoy the music. 
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This Week In Music August 4-10

  Remember the song "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" by the Bee Gees?  It hit #1 this week in 1971, and stayed at the top of the charts for four weeks.    I have a funny memory that comes to mind every time I hear that song.  I was a kid when that song came out, and for the longest time, I kept thinking the words were, "How Can You Mend a Broken Arm?"    Does this sound familiar, misunderstanding certain words in songs?  At first, I thought there must be something wrong with me, that I was the only one who had this problem.  But over the years, I encountered many other people who did the same thing, so I didn't feel so bad.    What about you?  Do you have a song malaprop, where, either intentionally or unintentionally, you substituted a word in place of a similar-sounding one?  If so, feel free to post it.  Maybe I'll compile a list of the most amusing ones and share them in a future post.    Enjoy the music. 
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