Sunday, June 28, 2009

Classic Jackson 5 Video

Jackson Five - ABC

Sunshine Songs- part two

written by Robert Benson

We have explored some ‘rain’ songs in a recent four-part article series in celebration of spring and now that summer is upon us, let’s explore some popular ‘sunshine’ songs and the history behind them in this second part of the two part article series.

A fine addition to the ‘sunshine’ song list is the Beatles’ cut “Good Day Sunshine,” which was written by Paul McCartney, on you guessed it, a sunny day. Included on their 1966 LP “Revolver,” McCartney has said that he was influenced by the Lovin' Spoonful, who had a happy-go-lucky hit with "Do You Believe In Magic?"

Interestingly, McCartney and Ringo Starr are the only members of the band to appear on this track instrumentally. John Lennon and George Harrison added harmony vocals during the choruses later on. George Martin played the solo on the piano; however he recorded it at a faster speed so it would sound slower when mixed. The song was recorded at Abbey Road on June 8, 1966, with overdubs added the following day. The song also took early advantage in the usage of stereo sound, the chorus bounces between the left and right channels at the fade.

"Good Day Sunshine" was played as the wake-up music on the final day of the "Return to Flight" Discovery Space Shuttle mission in July 2005. Leonard Bernstein also has praised the song for its construction in a 1967 CBS News documentary. One of the Beatles most recognizable cuts, “Good Day Sunshine” is one of the most uplifting songs the Beatles ever released and it still thrills music lovers to this day.

A famous one-hit-wonder "Sunshine" was released by Jonathan Edwards in 1971 and is a country folk war protest song released as the first single from his debut album Jonathan Edwards. The single reached #4 on the Billboard charts and earned Edwards a gold record.

The song was not originally planned for release, but an engineer accidentally erased the master of a track called "Please Find Me" near the end of sessions for the album and instead of redoing that song, he wrote a new one, and "Sunshine" was used to fill the album. It was released as a single and the positive energy and message of the song seemed just what the nation needed at that moment.

"It was just at the time of the Vietnam War and Nixon. It was looking bad out there. That song meant a lot to a lot of people during that time--especially me," related Edwards.

In July 2007, the song joined the list of 60s protest songs used to sell high-end consumer products when it was used as the only audio in a Jeep television spot. Pop-folk artist Josh Thompson released a cover version of the song on April 22, 2007. The new version, which also featured vocals by Jonathan Edwards, reached #29 on the Radio & Records' Hot A/C Indicator chart. Jonathan Edwards has also recorded and released a bluegrass version of "Sunshine" (along with an entire album) with the band "The Seldom Scene."

"Sunshine on My Shoulders" is a slow-pop cut co-written by John Denver. The song was released as a single in 1973 and went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S. in early 1974. It was originally released as the B-side of "I'd Rather Be a Cowboy." As the Vietnam War came to an end, this track took on a new significance and began to receive airplay on Adult Contemporary radio stations.

Denver describes how he wrote "Sunshine on My Shoulders:”

"I wrote the song in Minnesota at the time I call 'late winter, early spring'. It was a dreary day, gray and slushy. The snow was melting and it was too cold to go outside and have fun, but God, you're ready for spring. You want to get outdoors again and you're waiting for that sun to shine, and you remember how sometimes just the sun itself can make you feel good. And in that very melancholy frame of mind I wrote "Sunshine On My Shoulders."

A television movie "Sunshine” aired on NBC in 1973 and used the song as a theme. The movie starred Cliff DeYoung and Cristina Raines and told the story of a young mother in love and dying. The TV movie prompted a new TV series (dubbed just Sunshine) which ran for just three months during the summer of 1974. It began where the movie left off with the young widowed father (Cliff DeYoung) raising his stepdaughter (Elizabeth Cheshire).

John Denver was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the 1970s in terms of record sales, recording and releasing more than 300 songs. Songs such as "Leaving on a Jet Plane" (written in 1967 and recorded by Peter, Paul & Mary in 1969 #1 and on the charts for an amazing 15 weeks), "Take Me Home, Country Roads" ( #2 in 1971), "Rocky Mountain High" (#9 in 1972), "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" (#1 in 1974), "Annie's Song" (# 1 in 1974), and "Calypso" (#2 in 1975), “I’m Sorry” (#1 in 1975) and many others made Denver a favorite of soft rock lovers worldwide.

An avid pilot, Denver was killed on October 12, 1997, when the Long-EZ aircraft he was piloting crashed just off the coast of California at Pacific Grove, shortly after taking off from the Monterey Peninsula Airport.

In 1973, Stevie Wonder won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his inspiring cut "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" (from the album Talking Book), which was his third chart-topping Billboard hit. When accepting the Grammy award, Wonder declared: "I would like to thank all of you for making this night the sunshine of my life."

Stevie Wonder wrote the song for his girlfriend Syreeta Wright, a secretary and aspiring singer who worked at Motown, who later became his wife. They married in 1970, but divorced in 1972 and have remained friends and Wonder has produced a lot of her material.

Rolling Stone ranked the song #281 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It has been covered by such recording artist as Acker Bilk, Engelbert Humperdinck, Ray Conniff, Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Mel Tormé, Perry Como, Petula Clark, Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Jones, just to name a few, and is also standard Muzak elevator fare.

In March 1969, the 5th Dimension hit the number one spot with a song called "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In," a song that dominated the early spring that year, staying at the top position for an amazing six weeks. The recording also won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1970 and is listed at #57 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of all time.

The 5th Dimension were a highly popular group during the late '60s and early '70s and originally consisted of Billy Davis, Jr., Marilyn McCoo, Lamonte McLemore, and Ron Townson, who were quickly joined by Florence LaRue. They at first called themselves the Versatiles and owed their rise to Motown Records and Johnny Rivers, who had just started his own record company. The band was appearing at the Americana Hotel in Los Angles in 1968 when group member Billy Davis, Jr. went shopping one day. He accidently lost his wallet in a cab, but it was returned to him by a passenger the next day. The man who found it turned out to be one of the producers of the Rock Opera “Hair.” Davis was grateful and invited the man and his wife to see the 5th Dimension at the hotel. In return, the producer invited the group to see Hair.

Although they were seated in different sections, the whole group was so taken with Ronnie Dyson's performance of the opening number, "Aquarius," that before they left the theater they all agreed that it was song that they should record.

However, their producer Bones Howe was not impressed with the choice, saying that it was just 'half a song' and it needed something on the ‘back end.’ He suggested a gospel-like sing-a-long, but it wasn't until he went to New York to see “Hair” that he realized that a song in the musical and specifically, the last three bars of "The Flesh Failures;" a song that was subtitled "Let the Sunshine In," would be the perfect ending to the song.

Despite doubts from the group and their arranger Bob Alcivar, Bones suggested that they take the two parts and 'put them together like two trains' and the song was created. However, the finished product was too long (over seven minutes) and had to be edited down to four minutes and fifty seconds, which was done and the cut was that year's second biggest single, topped only by the Zager & Evans cut "In The Year 2525."

The "Let the Sunshine In" portion of the song was used as one of the official theme songs for the 2008 general election campaign of Barack Obama and remains one of the most popular songs of the 1960s.

In our next article series, we will again focus on a theme, this time we will explore songs with ‘summer’ in the title. Stay tuned!

New Music/Album Cover Art

New Paramore Release Set

Paramore has revealed that their brand new album "Brand New Eyes" will be released on September 29th. The group worked with American Idiot producer Rob Cavallo on the new disc.

“We made a record that is exactly what we set out to make,” Hayley Williams realted of the follow-up to their smash Riot! on the band’s LiveJournal page back in April.

“There’s fast, there’s slow, and in between… happy, angry, desperate and over it. And I can’t believe it’s real.”


Mariah Reveals New Album Art

Mariah debuted the artwork for the CD — her 12th full-length studio recording and a follow-up to last-year's platinum-selling E=MC2 — in a post on her official web site on Thursday afternoon.

Memoirs' cover art features not one, but three photos of Mariah, who looks as alluring as ever in a smimpy, white sorta-dress.

The album is scheduled to hit record stores on Aug. 25.


NEBULA release new album 'Heavy Psych' August 3rd

L.A. power trio Nebula, whose cosmic cocktail of heavy riffs, electric blues and psychedelic space rock has earned the band international (and, dare we say, universal) acclaim have returned to Tee Pee Records and will release Heavy Psych on August 3rd. Nebula released their first album on Tee Pee in 1998 titled Let It Burn. Let It Burn is being reissued on vinyl later this year and will be released as a limited edition double LP, the first LP containing the original Let It Burn album plus two bonus tracks and a second LP will contain the original demos from the Let It Burn sessions.

Britain's Annual Classic Rock Awards

Britain's Classic Rock Magazine has announced the nominees in the first six categories of the Fifth Annual Classic Rock Awards. Readers are able to vote on these artists and recordings that were released between August of 2008 and June of 2009.

The awards will be presented in November with additional statues given in categories selected by a panel of judges, including The Classic Rock Living Legend Award, Classic Songwriter and Showman Award.

Leading the way are AC/DC who are up for Album (Black Ice), Band and Event along with Iron Maiden who are nominated for Band, DVD/Film (Flight 666) and Event. Metallica received nods for Album (Death Magnetic) and Band. A flock of other veteran artists received a single nomination.

Cast your votes here: VOTE

The list of nominees:

Best New Band

•Crippled Black Phoenix
•New Device
•The Parlor Mob

Album of the Year

•Black Ice - AC/DC
•Death Magnetic - Metallica
•Folklore and Superstitions - Black Stone Cherry
•The Ballad of John Henry - Joe Bonamassa
•Everyday Demons - Answers
•Chinese Democracy - Guns N' Roses
•Consolers of the Lonely - Raconteurs
•And You Were a Crow - Parlor Mob
•The Devil You Know - Heaven and Hell
•Black Clouds and Silver Linings - Dream Theater

Band of the Year

•Kings of Leon
•Faith No More
•Iron Maiden

Reissue of the Year

•Eliminator - ZZ Top
•Pyromania - Def Leppard
•No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith - Motorhead
•The Who Sell Out - Who
•Ten - Pearl Jam
•Reissues - Black Sabbath
•Picture Book - Kinks
•Stormbringer - Deep Purple
•Anthology - Move

DVD/Film of the Year

•Kissology, The Ultimate Kiss Collection - Kiss
•Shine a Light - Rolling Stones
•Archives - Neil Young
•Flight 666 - Iron Maiden

Event of the Year

•Download Festival
•The Resurrection of Anvil
•The Return of Spinal Tap
•Iron Maiden Get a Brit Award
•AC/DC Take Over the World