Jess Glynne’s 3 word gifts to the world!

Jess glynne Hold My Hand

Jess Glynne Hold my Hand

Jess Glynne’s name became widespread when being featured on Clean Bandit’s ‘Rather Be’ – one of those songs that has ‘instant hit’ written all over it. However, due to her not being featured in the video, Jess Glynne’s identity remained a mystery. To me.

When watching the X Factor UK, Jess was introduced as guest judge with Cheryl Fernandez Visini. When she stepped out with her bright red hair, I had no idea who she was, and imagined that if I were a participant on the show, I may have been disappointed that I didn’t get someone cooler.

When the live shows began, Jess Glynne performed a song live during a results show. I decided to pay attention to someone they were giving so much screen time. When she sang her new single “Take me Home” – her voice sounded very familiar.

I picked up my phone and opened Shazaam. I went through my Shazaam and scrolled back and noticed that on Sept 10th, 2015, I had Shazaamed the song “hold my hand”. If I Shazaamed it, there was a 90% chance I liked it (5% chance I was just curious and 5% chance I wanted to know which song was pissing me off).

The next day I youtubed “jess glynne” and finally put together the pieces that an actress was featured on the ‘Rather Be’ video, with vocals provided by Jess!! Then I had a little love session replaying, purchasing, downloading to app both ‘Hold My Hand’ and ‘Take me Home’. Songs which I think have lyrics that are so complimentary to her voice. Or vice versa. Her voice is deep, intense, with such incredible range.

And just like that, I’m a fan. And now I envy those contestants who had her as a guest mentor :)

Purchase her entire album here

Purchase / Gift her MP3 singles

Rather Be

Hold My Hand

Take Me Home

 

They Might be Giants – The Kings of Alt. Rock

If you’re at all into the alternative rock scene, you’ve probably spent some time with They Might be Giants. For those of you who don’t know, TMBG are the guys behind the theme song from the hit television show, Malcolm in the Middle. You might also know them from one of their biggest hits, the cover of the 1953 The Four Lads song, Istanbul (Not Constantinople).

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They Might Be Giants is John Flansburgh and John Linnell, usually backed by a full band and sometimes with just a drum machine. The duo started out back in 1982 and have enjoyed a devoted cult following since the early 90’s, in part because of the success of their Dial-A-Song project (they recorded songs on their answering machine and posted flyers saying that people could call in to hear the latest release. An incarnation of this project still exists at dialasong.com). Their style, while generally fun, has some vague and persistent pessimistic themes that enter a lot of their work (check out You’re On Fire). But while other bands make nihilism the sole component of their sound (I’m looking at you, Nine Inch Nails), They Might Be Giants overlays any depressing thoughts with an outwardly quirky and upbeat feeling. The result is, of course, magic. Their music is more than just sugar coated pop fun, it’s an interesting experience. Their undeniable musical talents give their complex themes full expression. The name, by the way, is actually a reference to Don Quixote when he says “those windmills might be giants.”

Their mix of off kilter lyrics and soft melodies has proven popular over their 30 plus years. You can hear their influence in all kinds of music, ranging from Flight of the Conchords (just compare S-E-X-X-Y to Leggy Blonde) to Barenaked Ladies (compare Doctor Worm to One Week). Their career has seen them pioneer modern surrealist lyrics in alternative rock (I really don’t think I need more proof than Doctor Worm, but go ahead and check out Particleman) and release several gold children’s albums including Here Comes Science and the Grammy winning Here Comes the 123s.

More recently they’ve returned to grown-up songs with the 2013 release of the album, Nanobots.  Nanobots draws upon their artistic roots, mimicking their 1992 album Apollo 18’s use of very short tracks that are meant to turn a playlist of songs into a single piece.

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They recently put out an album comprised entirely of songs released in the first four months of 2015 on their Dial-a-Song website. The album, Glean, has received positive reviews and let fans know that TMBG have the same magic they’ve always had. Despite thirty years at it, they continue to innovate and expand on their work.

Is World Ventures Perhaps Another Con or Genuine

Managers are educated to comprehend the principles define their basic responsibilities. Most of the time, they can just request themselves the issue that is following: what specific methods do I need to decide to try repair it, and What’s inappropriate? Management that is senior passes down goals, timelines and mandates. grademiners.co.uk/coursework-writing/ The bossis major task would be to meet them within the period allocated and the corporate platform In contrast, the responsibilities of leaders include self-direction, liability planning, objective actualization, creating cohesiveness, and inspiring others. Continue reading

Just Who Is Solange Knowles?

Solange Knowles

Every now and again, a talented individual suffers from Brooklyn Museum syndrome in much the way Solange Knowles does. The Brooklyn Museum is a world class art museum which would be thronged with crowds if it were located in say Pittsburgh. However, because it’s located in New York City, also home to the world famous Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum is relegated to second fiddle even though it is an amazing place in and of itself.

The same might be said for Solange Knowles. She is an incredibly talented singer who has recorded multiple albums and who by all rights deserves her claim to fame. If she is not quite as well known as she should be it’s only because of the incredibly famous family she comes from. Her sister is after all the international superstar Beyonce of Destiny’s Child.

Solange also had a few stints with her sister’s former bandmates though she was never a regular and her name is not nearly as well as known as her much more famous sister. She got her big break in 2001 when she was the lead singer, with backing from Destiny’s Child on the theme song for the TV show The Proud Family. Later, she would go on to perform on the Austin Powers soundtrack and as a backup singer for Destiny’s Child’s Christmas album.

Knowles’ first solo effort, called Solo Star was a minor success, debuting at number 49 on the Billboard 200 list before peaking at 23 on that list. Overall, the album has sold a respectable number of copies, as of 2008, hitting a total of 112,000 copies in circulation.

Knowles would also find some success as an actress, guest starring first in an episode One on One, a sitcom which aired on the UPN network. She has also had roles in several films, including Johnson Family Vacation and Bring It On: All Or Nothing.

Knowles would return to her singing career in 2008, releasing a second album, this time under the EMI record label, called Sol-Angel. Unlike her previous efforts, this album featured songs inspired by the 1960s and 1970s. The album became more successful than her first one, selling over 114,000 copies in its first year alone.

Knowles has been working on her third studio album for some time now, most recently announcing in 2013 that the new album would be released under her own, indy recording label, called Saint Records. In the interim, Solange has released an EP, titled True in 2012. The EP was said to be a preparatory recording before releasing her third full fledged studio album.

Solange has been married twice, first to Daniel Smith, with whom she had a son at the age of 21. The couple divorced soon after with the two of them sharing custody of their son. Knowles would eventually remarry, this time to Alan Ferguson, a music video director from New Orleans. The couple continues to reside in that city and have on occasion played host to her more famous older sister Beyonce and her husband, Jay-Z, with whom Knowles reportedly had an altercation in May of 2014.

Liza Minnelli Has Left Rehab

Liza Minnelli

Have no fear Liza fans – your favorite star is back on the straight and narrow and is now ready to rock on with fans all over the world. Minnelli entered rehab last month when she admitted that she was once again having problems with substance abuse but has now emerged refreshed and renewed, ready to hit the road with a new tour.

The 69 year old actress and singer became a household name after she won an Award for her 1972 portrayal of Sally Bowles in the film Cabaret. Of course Minnelli was always likely to end up being famous given her famous parents. She was the daughter of film legend Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli. She had her first acting gig at the age of 3 when she had a bit part in In The Good Old Summertime, starring her mom opposite Van Johnson.

However, she didn’t really take off as an actress, instead finding herself as a nightclub singer, getting her first gig in that business when she was 19 at a hotel in Washington, DC. That early career quickly led to her recording a number of records with Capital Records, primarily covers of pop songs from the time. Those early recordings were compiled as an album entitled The Capitol Years though they can also be purchased individually by fans of the singer.

Minnelli would go on to create her own material, starting with the singles Come Saturday Morning and New Feelin’ in 1970. Later, she would release The Singer in 1973 and Tropical Nights in 1976.

Minnelli’s most recent album was released in 2010 and is entitled Confessions. The album, her first in almost 15 years, was a minor success and received mixed reviews from the critics.

In her personal life, Minnelli is known to have struggled with substance addiction, including a long struggle with alcoholism and drug abuse, especially Valium, which she got hooked on after her mother passed away. This latest stint in rehab is not Liza’s first time around the block though she was one of the first public figures, especially in the musical world to openly admit that she had a problem and to seek help for it.

The singer and actress has also been married numerous times, most recently to David Gest, who alleged in divorce papers that Minnelli would beat him when she was in an alcohol fueled rage.

Minnelli is also known for extensive philanthropic work, including efforts to help develop novel approaches to the study of child brain development and extensive efforts to help with research in HIV/AIDS, a passion she developed following the death of her friend, Rock Hudson, who was one of the earliest celebrities to be diagnosed with the disease.

Minnelli has also continued to engage in various acting jobs, most recently playing herself on the NBC drama Smash as well as a number of other cameos, though her greatest acting achievement remains her role in Cabaret. She is scheduled to appear in front of an audience in Biloxi at the IP Casino Resort and Spa on July 24th.

Remembering Jimmy Greenspoon of Three Dog Night

Jimmy Greenspoon

Jimmy Greenspoon is dead. The founding keyboardist for the rock and roll legend Three Dog Night died last month due to complications from cancer. Greenspoon joined Three Dog Night when it was founded in 1968 and stayed with the group until it broke up in 1976. He would later rejoin the group when it came back together a few years later. Greenspoon’s only time away from the group has been since October of last year when he took a leave of absence to try to fight metastic melanoma.

Three Dog Night was somewhat unusual in that the group included a total of three lead singers, all of whom worked with the band at the same time. One of the group’s lead singers, Danny Hutton claimed that his girlfriend came up with the name after reading a legend about aboriginal Australians.

According to the legend, native Australians would typically curl up at night with a dingo (a kind of local dog) to stay warm. On particularly cold nights, they would sleep with two dogs and on nights which were absolutely freezing, it was said to be a “three dog night.” The other two singers commonly associated with Three Dog Night were Chuck Negron and Cory Wells, who sang together under the name Redwood.

The group would soon morph into Three Dog Night when they hired additional talent, including Michael Allsup, who played guitar, Floyd Sneed, a drummer, Joe Schermie on bass and of course Jimmy Greenspoon, who played the keyboard. The group would go on to earn a total of 12 gold albums and an impressive 21 back to back Billboard Top 40 hits. The first record from the group to be certified gold was “One,” a song written and recorded by Harry Nilsson. In total, the band managed three number one songs in the United States, including Mama Told Me Not to Come, which featured Cory Wells as the lead singer, Joy to the World, this time with Chuck Negron as the lead singer and finally Black and White, which was Danny Hutton’s turn to shine as he was the lead singer for that song.

The group broke up in 1976 but reunited in 1981 with most of the original band members coming back save for Joe Schermie. Mike Seifrit took over on bass for the reunion tour. Over the years however, the group would see a succession of musicians and even lead vocalists coming and going with one of the few constants being Jimmy Greenspoon (though even he left briefly when he entered rehab in 1985 for a drug addiction).

In fact, Greenspoon remained with the band and continued to tour with them, performing as many as 80 shows per year throughout the 2000s. He only left in October due to the diagnosis of metastic melanoma and did not return before he died last month. Greenspoon is survived by his wife Susie. He also has a daughter, Heather Miller and two grandchildren. Of course, he is also survived by all of his fans worldwide who will miss his unique sound.

The Many Versions of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

Leonard Cohen

Hallelujah. It’s such a simple word. It comes from the bible and it means praise to God. However, in the hands of master song writer Leonard Cohen, the word has taken in an ecosystem all its own. The song was written by Cohen in the 1970s and has been a hit ever since then. However, there are so many different versions of the song that it’s hard to keep up with it. Even with Cohen himself, there are many more versions of Hallelujah than there are of Elton John’s Candle in the Wind. Never mind the numerous covers of the song from various other artists.

While writing the song, Cohen reportedly put together some 80 different drafts of the lyrics, though most of those were never performed or recorded. However, even after he released the song, Cohen continued to tinker with it, performing numerous versions with vastly different lyrics.

Some words have stayed the same regardless of the version that one listens to and of course the basic refrain of the word hallelujah has stuck with the song throughout the various versions. Let’s take a look at the just some of the versions in our own catalog:

Here is the official version of the song. This one most represents the original recording of the song from the 1970s:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIuCwnnDq8k

By comparison, there is a much longer version of the song which Cohen has bene performing recently, such as this one from Vevo which closely resembles the recording we have from his performance in the Coachela Music Festival:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrLk4vdY28Q

Of course, that’s not the only versions of the song that exist. Cohen himself has stated that he accepts that there are a great many versions of the song and indeed, we have ten different recordings of the song in our own catalog. That is to say nothing of the many covers of the song, such as this one from Gen X, a more modern band which gave it an upbeat less gospel sounding tone.

Rufus Wainright has his own take on the song, replacing Cohen’s words of Holy Dove with Holy Dark. Here is his version of the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBo-n_17XU0

Getting even further from Cohen’s original Jewish inspired version of the song, Allison Crowe replaces the same words with Holy Ghost, clearly evoking the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity:

Yet another extremely popular cover of the song was performed soon after Cohen’s release by singer Jeff Buckley, whose treatment of the song, which is a little more upbeat than Cohen’s original recording has been considered by many to be the quintessential version of the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8AWFf7EAc4

Ultimately, all these versions of the song do share a great deal in common and of course, bits and pieces of the song have been used in hundreds of films and TV shows whenever a particular mood is called for. For many of us, the thing that the song evokes the most is action scenes done in slow motion as the song improbably plays in the background. However, whatever we think of the song, one thing is undeniable, Hallelujah is an American institution.

The Final Season of Glee

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Glee is in its final season and so far, the show seems to be limping along with some rather strange writing to say the least. Sue Sylvester is more bizarre than ever before and Rachel Berry is back home coaching the gleeks of New Directions after a disastrous failure in a TV show. We did get to see something of the TV show but frankly, this writer can’t understand what was so terrible about it. Considering some of the truly awful shows on TV today, the fake show, That’s So Rachel didn’t seem all that horrible even if it wasn’t very good. Of course, here at Play Anywhere, we’re much more concerned about the music of Glee than about the antics of its characters. Musically, the season so far has been a mixed bag.

The first episode of the season featured an eclectic mix of songs form “Suddenly Seymour,” which comes to us from Little Shop of Horrors to the decidedly more mainstream “Dance the Night Away” from Van Halen. Thrown in for good measure was “Let it Go” from the Frozen soundtrack.

The second episode featured popular songs “Take on Me” by A-Ha and Problem by Ariana Grande. The episode saw Rachel beginning to field a new New Directions team by bringing in, implausibly, the entire original Glee club to help sing for the new kids (and maybe overwhelm them?).

By the third episode of the show, it felt as if the writers were starting to phone it in while they sought work elsewhere. Fans of the show were treated to the truly bizarre spectacle of Sue Sylvester trying desperately to both destroy the latest incarnation of New Directions and at the same time, get Blaine and Kurt back together. This precipitated a duet with the two characters singing “It’s Too Late” by Carole King. Meanwhile, another couple got back together on the show – Santana and Brittany finally got back together and sang “Hand in My Pocket” by Alanis Morrissette.

The fourth and fifth episode this season formed a two part story in which Sue brings Vocal Adrenaline, The Warblers and New Directions together for an invitational, which she intends to use to make the gleeks give up on their dreams since they would see the kind of talent that they are up against. The Warblers gave us an excellent rendition of “My Sharona” by The Knack while the gleeks offered us “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette. In some of the strangest writing ever to come across for a dramedy, Sue Sylvester locks Blaine and Kurt in a small enclosed space while using a little robot version of herself, one reminiscent of the Saw films to push them to have a picnic together (we told you the show’s writers seem to really be doing odd things this season).

As of this writing, it seems that the gleeks are well on their way to winning it all since they combined with the Warblers after Dalton Academy burned to the ground. The combined group easily won sectionals against Vocal Adrenaline, now coached by Sue Sylvester. In other news, Kurt and Blaine are now married as are Brit and Santana. The show will air its final episode on March 20th.

Remembering Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Last month marked the third anniversary of the death of Whitney Houston at the all too young age of 48. This remarkable woman was truly one of the greatest of her generation and the world was dimmed by her loss. Whitney was born in August of 1963 in Newark, New Jersey. She had a leg up on her future career from the day she was born given that her father was an entertainment executive and her mother was a gospel singer.

Houston’s extended family also contains quite a large number of famous musical talents, including Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin, who were first cousin and ‘honorary’ aunt respectively. Houston would begin her singing career at a very young age, offering a solo performance as the Junior Gospel Choir in her church, the New Hope Baptist Church. Houston also gained some experience as a teenager by accompanying her mother occasionally on stage. By 1977, she had begun performing professionally, first as a backup singer for Michael Zager and later offering background vocals for Chaka Khan.

Houston also got an early start as a fashion model, working at a young age for the magazine Seventeen though she got her big break in 1983 when she was signed to a worldwide contract with Arista Records. She would soon have a national debut on the Merv Griffin Show, even before she released her first album. Her first single in fact came out in 1984, a duet with Teddy Pendergrass called “Hold Me.”

Houston’s first album, the eponymously named Whitney Houston was a minor success in its first year in this country, garnering the singer the 3rd spot on the Hot 100 chart from Billboard. Her single, “How Will I know” got her onto the screens of teenagers everywhere as she became well known for the video of the song, featured prominently on MTV. A year after it came out, the album became a much bigger hit, making it to the top spot on the Billboard 200 charts and holding the spot for 14 consecutive weeks. Her song, “Greatest Love of All” became one of her biggest hits of all time and her biggest up to that point, hitting the top spot on the Hot 100 listings. Ultimately, the album would go on to be certified 13x platinum, making it one of the best selling albums of all time.

Accolades would continue to accumulate for Houston, who saw a total of seven American Music Awards come her way in 1986 and 1987 along with an MTV Video Music Award. In 1987, Houston got a nomination for Record of the Year at the Grammys, though it ultimately failed to make the cut for the award. However, Rolling Stone did list the album as being of the 500 greatest albums of all time and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has named it to its Definitive 200 list.

Ultimately, Houston would release a total of 6 studio albums, all the while maintaining an image as a role model for young African Americans and especially girls everywhere. That image began to crumble by the late 1990s though when she began to have problems with drug addiction. In 2000, she was caught by airport screeners with marijuana in her luggage though she managed to depart before the authorities could arrest her for it.

Ultimately, the issue of drug addiction would follow Houston to her death when she was found unconscious in a hotel room in Beverly Hills. Medical examinations at the time revealed that she had large amounts of cocaine and other drugs in her system. Her death was officially ruled an accident. She was just 48 years old at the time. While the singer is gone, her music will live on with the fans forever.

 

 

Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream Dead at 70

Egar Froese2

Edgar Froese is dead. The musician, who was born during the waning days of World War II, specifically on the same day that the United States D-Day invasion began at Normandy Beach. His family was mostly wiped out by the Nazis during the war. Froese is best known for having been a member and the founder of Tangerine Dream, the German electronic music group. He was 70 years old.

Froese’s musical career began soon after the war ended when he was 12 years old. At that time, he started by playing the piano though he soon switched to the guitar, which became his primary instrument from the age of 15. He would get his big break when a 1960s rock group called The Ones invited him to join them. The group had some modest successes and was invited, in 1967, to perform at the home of Salvador Dali, the famous surrealist painter from Spain. Froese was extremely impressed with Dali and would later credit him for having inspired Tangerine Dream to be more experimental in its musical styles.

The Ones stopped singing together in 1967 and Froese returned to his native Berlin, seeking to create a brand new musical group. That group would eventually become what we know today as Tangerine Dream. The group saw constant personnel changes though, with Froese himself being the only member who stayed with the band through the years. The most notable members of the group included Klaus Shulze, who was a drummer in the early years of the group and Christopher Franke, who joined in 1970 and was credited with helping to make Tangerine Dream into a hit internationally.

Tangerine Dream reached its peak in the 1970s when they had a top 20 hit on the British musical charts, Atem. That album made it to number 15 on the British musical charts. The majority of Tangerine Dream’s work is entirely instrumental with vocals being introduced only in the late 1970s with Cyclone. The group had continued to perform, albeit with a constantly changing cast of characters until Froese’s death in January.

Froese himself held that he should be an example for fans everywhere. As such, he styled himself a teetotaler (i.e. someone who does not drink alcohol) and a non-smoker. He also insisted that he never took illegal drugs and he became a vegetarian early in life as well. Froese married Monique, his wife of more than 25 years in 1974 and stayed with her until her death in the year 2000. Froese’s son from that marriage, Jerome, was a member of Tangerine Dream from 1990 until 2006.

Froese is also known in Israel for having composed the music for an investigative TV news show, “Mabat Sheni.” His music, called “Stuntman” has been used as the opening sequence for the show since the early 1980s.

There is no worse as yet as to whether or not the remaining members of Tangerine Dream at the time Froese’s death and or his son Jerome will continue the legacy of the late musician.