Posts tagged ‘Vocalist’

June 7, 2011


do ya wanna funk

mighty real

Sylvester James (1947 – 1988), better known as Sylvester, was an American disco and soul singer, and a gay drag performer.

Sylvester was sometimes known as the ‘Queen of Disco,’ although this moniker has also been bestowed on some of the women of the disco era (i.e. Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer). His most significant works are the songs ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) in 1978 and ‘Do You Wanna Funk’ in 1982.

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June 6, 2011

Dr. Dre

the chronic

Andre Romelle Young (b. 1965), primarily known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American record producer, rapper, and record executive. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and a former co-owner and artist of Death Row Records, also having produced albums for and overseeing the careers of many rappers signed to those record labels, such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent. As a producer he is credited as a key figure in the popularization of West Coast G-funk, a style of rap music characterized as synthesizer-based with slow, heavy beats.

Dr. Dre began his career in music as a member of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru and he later found fame with the influential gangsta rap group N.W.A with Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Mc Ren, and DJ Yella which popularized the use of explicit lyrics in rap to detail the violence of street life. His 1992 solo debut, ‘The Chronic,’ released under Death Row Records, led him to become one of the best-selling American performing artists of 1993. In 1996, he left Death Row to establish his own label, Aftermath Entertainment. Under that label he produced and released a solo album titled ‘2001’ in 1999.

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May 17, 2011

Iggy Pop

iggy pop by xavier martin

Iggy Pop (b. 1947), born James Newell Osterberg, is an American musician. He is considered an influential innovator of punk rock music. He began calling himself ‘Iggy’ after his first band in high school (for which he was drummer), The Iguanas. He was lead singer/songwriter of influential protopunk band The Stooges and became known for his outrageous and unpredictable stage antics. Inspired by the antagonism of Jim Morrison, Pop was the first performer to do a stage-dive, which he started at a concert in Detroit. Other exploits of Pop include rolling around in broken glass, exposing himself to the crowd and vomiting on stage.

Osterberg was raised in a trailer park in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He began his music career as a drummer in different high school bands in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He later moved to Chicago where he played drums in blues clubs, helped by Sam Lay (formerly of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band). In 1968, he and his new band, ‘The Stooges,’ signed with Elektra Records, again following in the footsteps of The Doors, who were Elektra’s biggest act at the time. Reportedly, Pop called Moe Howard to see if it was alright to call his band ‘The Stooges,’ to which Howard responded by merely saying ‘I don’t care what they call themselves, as long as they’re not the Three Stooges!’ and hung up the phone).

May 16, 2011

Dan Hicks


dan hicks

Dan Hicks (b. 1941) is an American singer-songwriter working at the intersection of cowboy folk, jazz, country, swing, bluegrass, pop, and gypsy music. His songs are frequently infused with humor, as evidenced by the title of his tune, ‘How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?’ Taking up the guitar in 1959, he became part of the San Francisco folk music scene, performing at local coffeehouses. Hicks joined the San Francisco band The Charlatans in 1965 as drummer.

In 1968, Hicks formed Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, whose fourth album, 1973’s Last Train to Hicksville, gained the group critical and popular acclaim. Thus, it was a great surprise to many when he chose that moment to disband the Hot Licks. Asked why in 1974, he said, ‘I’m basically a loner… I like singing and stuff, but I didn’t necessarily want to be a bandleader. The thing had turned into a collective sort of thing — democracy, vote on this, do that. I conceived the thing. They wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for me. My role as leader started diminishing, but it was my fault because I let it happen; I cared less as the thing went on.’


April 3, 2011

Daniel Johnston

Hi, How Are You

Daniel Johnston (b. 1961) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and artist. Johnston has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder which has been a recurring problem throughout his life. In 1990, on a two-seater plane piloted by his father Bill, Johnston had a hypomanic episode believing he was Casper The Friendly Ghost and removed the key from the planes ignition and threw it out the window. His father, a former Air Force pilot, managed to successfully crash-land the plane. Although the plane was destroyed, Johnston and his father emerged with only minor injuries. As a result of this episode, Johnston was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.

Interest in Johnston increased when Kurt Cobain was frequently photographed wearing a t-shirt featuring the cover image of Johnston’s album ‘Hi, How Are You.’ In spite of Johnston being resident in a mental hospital at the time, a bidding war to sign him ensued. He refused to sign a multi-album deal with Elektra Records because Metallica was on the labels roster and Daniel was convinced that they were possessed by Satan and would hurt him. He also dropped his manager who brokered the deal, because Daniel believed he too was possessed by Satan. Ultimately he signed with Atlantic Records and released Fun, produced by Paul Leary of Butthole Surfers in 1994.

March 30, 2011

Mark Mothersbaugh


Mark Mothersbaugh (b. 1950) is an American musician; he is the co-founder of the new wave band Devo and has been its lead singer since 1972. Mothersbaugh attended Kent State as an art student, where he met Devo co-founders Jerry Casale and Bob Lewis. In early 1970, Lewis and Casale formed the idea of the ‘devolution’ of the human race; Mothersbaugh, intrigued by the concept, joined them, building upon it with elements of early poststructuralist ideas and oddball arcana, most notably unearthing the infamous ‘Jocko-Homo Heavenbound’ pamphlet (the basis for the song).

Since Devo, Mothersbaugh developed a successful career writing musical scores for film and television. In film, he has worked frequently with filmmaker Wes Anderson, and scored many of his feature films (‘Bottle Rocket,’ ‘Rushmore,’ ‘The Royal Tenenbaums,’ and ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’). His music has been a staple of the children’s television shows ‘Rugrats,’ ‘Beakman’s World,’ and ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog.’ He also wrote some music for ‘Pee-Wee’s Playhouse’ in 1990. His commercial work is often performed with Mutato Muzika, the music production company he formed with several other former members of Devo including his brother, Bob Mothersbaugh.

March 7, 2011

Z. Z. Hill

zz hill

Arzell ‘Z. Z.’ Hill (1935 – 1984) was an American blues singer, in the soul blues tradition, known for his 1970s and 1980s recordings for Malaco. His 1982 album, Down Home, stayed on the Billboard soul album chart for nearly two years. The track ‘Down Home Blues’ has been called the best-known blues song of the 1980s. This track plus the songs ‘Taxi,’ ‘Someone Else Is Steppin’ In,’ and ‘Open House’ have become R&B/Southern soul standards

March 2, 2011

Adoniran Barbosa

adoniran barbosa

Adoniran Barbosa (1910  – 1982) was a famous Brazilian traditional samba singer and composer. The themes of his songs are drawn from the life of low-wage urban workers, the unemployed and the vagabonds. His first big hit was Saudosa Maloca (‘Shanty of Fond Memories,’ 1951), where three homeless friends recall with nostalgia their improvised shanty, which was torn down by the landowner to make room for a building. His next hit ‘Joga a Chave’ (‘Throw me the Doorkey,’ 1952) was inspired by his own frequent experiences of arriving late at home and finding the door locked by his wife, Matilde.

In his ‘Trem das Onze’ (‘The 11 PM Train,’ 1964), the protagonist explains to his lover that he cannot stay any longer because he has to catch the last train to the Jaçanã suburb, and besides his mother will not sleep before he arrives. Unlike the samba songs of the previous decades, which generally used the formal Portuguese of the educated class, Adoniran’s lyrics are a realistic record of the informal speech of São Paulo’s lower classes. He once said ‘I only write samba for the common people. That is why I write lyrics in ‘wrong’ Portuguese, because that is how the common people speak.’