Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘pop’

Girl Group Black Album

Here’s the sequel to the Boy Band Black Album blog. All these ladies first gained success as singers in groups. Then they all put out solo albums of varying success. Some were bigger than their groups (Beyonce), others not so much (Dawn Robinson). So in no particular order here are the 10 tracks I would put on a Girl Group Black Album:

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  1. Melanie C. — I Turn to You. Otherwise known as Sporty Spice of the Spice Girls. She came out with a great dance song that shared one of Madonna’s producers.
  2. Belinda Carlisle — Mad About You. She is the lead singer for the Go-Go’s. But this was her first solo single, and one of her best. A fun, flirty pop song that is fun to sing along with.
  3. Emma Bunton — Maybe. She was Baby Spice in the Spice Girls. This sixties inspired dance song was a perfect fit for her sweet voice.
  4. Diana Ross — Upside Down. Yes, she is superstar. But she was once part of the Supremes. This funk song from Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers is one of her best solo numbers.
  5. Dawn Robinson — Party, Party. One of the girls from En Vogue, this song was full of funk and attitude. This will get you moving.
  6. Geri Halliwell — Look at Me. The first of the Spice Girls to go solo. She was Ginger Spice. It was nice to see her out in front, and having fun on her own.
  7. Jane Wieldlin — Rush Hour. The 2nd vocalist from the Go-Go’s. She is one of the guitarists and one of the songwriters too for the group. This cute pop song, was her biggest solo hit, other than her duet with the band Sparks (Cool Places).
  8. Beyonce — Crazy in Love. The song that started it all for her fantastic solo career. Still one of her best, and always great to see her perform it live.
  9. Michelle Williams — We Break the Dawn. The 2nd of the ladies from Destiny’s Child. She has recorded mostly gospel records as a solo artist, but when she went R&B, we got this jam.
  10. Kelly Rowland —When Love Takes Over. Recorded with DJ and producer David Guetta, her soaring vocals are what really make this song. The 3rd girl from Destiny’s Child. I am surprised she hasn’t had more solo success since she has a great voice too.

So that’s my list. Did I leave anyone out? Let me know your thoughts. I would love to hear from you. In the meantime, check out the songs on Itunes or on YouTube.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.


The Beatles 50th at the Bowl!

The Beatles 50th at the Bowl!
Friday, August 22, 2014
Hollywood Bowl

Ringmaster: Dave Stewart

Special guests: Billy Ray Cyrus, Vanessa Amorosi, Mary Lambert, Allen Stone, Liv Warfield, Bob Eubanks

Songs performed: Twist and Shout, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, if I Fell, Help!, All My Loving, Roll Over Beethoven, A Hard Day’s Night, Long Tall Sally, Here Comes the Sun, Come Together, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help from My Friends, Eleanor Rigby, Blackbird, Don’t Let Me Down, Yesterday, Hey Jude, Let It Be, All You Need is Love

Comments: Beatlemania was back in full force this past weekend at the Hollywood Bowl. Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame was the ringmaster of a series of 3 shows celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Beatles performance at the venue back in 1964. The evening started with Dave coming out and playing an instrumental version of the Star Spangled Banner on his guitar. He was followed by local DJs, Bob Eubanks and Dave Hull, who were instrumental in booking the group for their first Los Angeles concert. They shared stories about the group… from wanting to meet Hollywood celebs, to how long it took to sell out the show (3.5 hours).beatles50-685x250

The first half of the show was the original set list from the 1964 show. It consisted of Beatles originals mixed in with blues/rock cover songs. Dave’s sons Django and Sam, along with 3 other band members made up the group for this segment. Django and Sam are his sons with Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama fame (who once covered the Beatles’ “Help!”). Billy Ray Cyrus sang 2 songs; he was a little shaky on the 2nd one.

The second half of the show showcased why they became the superstars that they are. It is amazing that they had 34 Top Ten singles in the 7 years they were charting in the US. And that we are still talking about the Beatles 50 years later. For me, their strength lies in their songwriting, not in their vocals. We got such favorites as “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Come Together” (sung by the great Liv Warfield), “Eleanor Rigby” (sung by 14 year old Kaya Stewart), “Yesterday” (sung by Allen Stone) and “Hey Jude” (sung by Billy Ray Cyrus). The last one had the crowd waving their cell phones in the air.

The night ended with “All You Need is Love” with all the artists on stage. “Let It Be” would have been a better choice in my opinion. I also would have liked to have heard “The Long and Winding Road”. The best vocalists for the night were Vanessa Amorosi and Liv Warfield. Vanessa did about 4 songs, and Live only did one — she should have done more.

I am a little surprised they weren’t able to lure more big stars for the night… but the reality is big stars are probably on their own tours in the summer. I was hoping for an Annie Lennox appearance since she was in the Eurythmics with Dave. And I thought maybe Miley Cyrus would show up since she sang “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” on her recent tour. But, neither showed up. Michelle Branch and Martina McBride did get added to the other weekend shows.

The lighting and stage projections for the night were excellent… they really made use of the ring around the Bowl. I also enjoyed hearing Dave’s story about being on vacation with Paul and Linda McCartney and being very stoned. I was surprised to hear that Dave worked with all Beatles except John over the years.

So while I have never been a big Beatles fanatic, I do appreciate their artistry. I love the movie “Across the Universe” featuring their music, and have the soundtrack for the movie dud “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” too. I should probably get some more of their music!

Love Live the Beatles and their music! They created some pop masterpieces that will be thrilling audiences for generations.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Remember This: Male Singers Part 2

Did you enjoy my trip down memory lane? Here are some more guys I am bringing back into the spotlight:

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Paul Young
British soul singer Paul Young had the biggest hit of his career with his take on a song from Hall & Oates.
Essential songs: Everytime You Go Away, Come Back and Stay

Howard Jones
New wave keyboardist Howard Jones, have had a decently long career. He has written some great pop gems, that still sound great. He was one of the headliners on the Regeneration Tour last year.
Essential songs: Things Can Only Get Better, No One Is to Blame

Kenny Loggins
For a while this guy was the go-to singer for movie soundtracks in the 1980’s. And this was after his success with Jim Messina in the 70’s.
Essential songs: Footloose, I’m Alright, Danger Zone

One of hottest singer, songwriter and producers of the 90’s and beyond. He has written and produced for Toni Braxton, Bobby Brown and more. Plus had hits on his own too.
Essential songs: Whip Appeal, It’s No Crime

Bobby Brown
He first came to prominence in the group New Edition, but after his 2nd album he was a star on his own. Lots of attitude and swagger… he owes a lot of his success to his songwriters and producers.
Essential songs: Don’t Be Cruel, My Prerogative

Billy Ocean
Equally adept at dance songs and ballads, this singer from Trinidad, had a good run of catchy songs.
Essential songs: Caribbean Queen, Get Out of My Dreams (Get into My Car)

Rick Astley
He looked like an Archie comic, but sang like a soul star. Thanks to the production team of Stock Aitken Waterman, he became a worldwide sensation.
Essential songs: Never Gonna Give You Up, Together Forever

This British soul singer definitely made a name for himself . First with his songs, second for who he married and divorced (Heidi Klum).
Essential songs: Crazy, Kiss from a Rose

Lenny Kravitz
American born rocker who hasn’t been shy about his love of music from decades past especially the 60’s and 70’s. He also acts — see The Hunger Games.
Essential songs: American Woman, It’s Not Over til It’s Over

That’s it for round 2. Did I leave anyone off? I would love to hear from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Remember This: Groups — Part 1

I am a pop music junkie. The music business is a tough business. You may have a few good years, and then it is over. Below is my list of groups that had their time on the charts, and the songs that made them famous.

The Jets
This family act from Minneapolis via Tonga had some fun songs in the 80’s. They played their instruments as well as sang and danced. Essential songs: Crush on You, Cross My Broken Heart

This group would best be described as ladies with attitude. They were all strong, powerful, females. Essential songs: Meeting in the Ladies Room, I Miss You

Midnight Star
Another group that was predominantly a hit on the R&B charts. Their sound combined funk, soul and dance. Essential songs: Freak-A-Zoid, No Parking on the Dance Floor

Fine Young Cannibals
Part of the New Wave British invasion of the 80’s and 90’s. They were led by the soulful vocals of Roland Gift. I remember going to their concert, and it was just OK. But the songs still sound good. Essentials songs: She Drives Me Crazy, Good Thing

Thompson Twins
They were a trio during the high-point of their fame, plus even got to be a part of the Live Aid concert. Lead singer Tom Bailey is touring the US this summer as part an 80’s flashback tour. Essential songs: Hold Me Now, Lies

Atlantic Starr
The 2nd “Star” group on my list. They had some nice slow jams as well as dance songs too. A nice mix of male and female vocals too. Essential songs: Secret Lovers, Circles

Sweet Sensation
One of several dance-pop trios to emerge from the Freestyle music scene. They did mostly dance songs, but hit #1 with “If Wishes Came True”. Essential songs: Hooked on You, Take It While It’s Hot, Love Child

Gioia, Jeanette and Ann are the ladies of Exposé. These ladies had a string of Top 40 hits in the 80-90’s. They broke up for awhile, but are still on the touring scene today. Essential songs: What You Don’t Know, Come Go with Me

I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane. Look for Part 2 of this topic next week. I would love to hear your thoughts.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

When Pop Goes Country

Here’s the sequel to my previous post “When Country Goes Pop.” I will highlight artists whose careers have followed more the pop/rock vein and then ventured into country occasionally.

Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker
Lead singer of 90’s hitmakers Hootie and the Blowfish, he’s found a second act in his career as a country crooner. He even toured with Lady Antebellum. Essential songs: “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “Alright” and “This.”

Kid Rock
Notorious rap-rocker Kid Rock has been able to capitalize on country’s love of classic rock and come up with a few hits on the country chart. Essential songs: “Picture” (with Sheryl Crow), “Cowboy” and “All Summer Long.”

Kelly Clarkson
She is from Texas after all, so this is not surprising. She’s got love for Reba (one of her idols) and is friends with Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. Essential songs: “Don’t You Wanna Stay (with Jason Aldean), “Because of You (duet version with Reba) and “Mr. Know It All” (country version).

Aaron Lewis (Staind)
Lead singer for rock band Staind, he has recorded a few albums in the country genre. Essential songs: “Country Boy” (w/ George Jones and Charlie Daniels) and “Forever.”

Tommy Shaw (Styx)
One of the founding members of 70-80’s hitmakers Styx, he has also shown a love for country music too recording a country album between touring dates with Styx. Essential songs: “The Next Right Thing” and “Boat on a River.”


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