Nancy Wilson – 59 Years of Singing Easy Listening Music

Nancy Wilson

 

Nancy Wilson was born on February 20, 1937 in Chillicothe, Ohio. She is now 78, and knew she would be a singer at the age of four.

Wilson recorded Like in Love in 1959, which was her first album. She recorded her last album Turned to Blue in 2006. That album won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, which was very impressive, when considering that she was 69 at the time. She had won another Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album two years earlier for R.S.V.P (Rare Songs, Very Personal)

Her career was a paradox, in that she was an excellent singer, but had little commercial success, with no single she recorded reaching the Top 10. However, she still recorded 70 albums, and made a career of covering songs sang by other singers.

Guess Who I Saw Today

Guess Who I Saw Today is a song is an unusual song in that it is a conversational song, in which she is telling her husband she saw him earlier that day. Her vocal delivery and the orchestration combine to make the song easy listening at its best.

Our Day Will Come

It doesn’t matter that Nancy Wilson didn’t record the original version of Our Day Will Come, because she captures the essence of the song better than in the original sang by Ruby and the Romantics. This song to me was meant to be recorded by a soloist, since it needs the softness of one voice to make it an easy listening song. It has been covered by many artists ranging from singers, who passed away like Julie London, Isaac Hayes and Amy Winehouse.

You Don’t Know Me

Nancy Wilson singing the classic You Don’t Know Me. It has been covered by a long list of artists, but Nancy sings it as well if not better than any of them. It is hard to believe that 60 years have passed, since country singer Eddy Arnold first recorded it in 1955.

 

Nancy Wilson has been on the periphery of being a huge star. It is difficult to establish a name in music, when a singer becomes better known for their covers of the songs of other artist, and that has been the fate of Nancy Wilson. I still collect her music, because she is the epitome of an easy listening singer. Her music soothes and entertains and is even better when heard through headphones, so you can hear the nuances of her voice and the background music.

She is one of the last female singers who started in the 50’s that is still singing today. There are a few newer singers like Diana Krall who sing some of the standards from the 40’s and 50’s, to keep easy listening music alive, and she like Wilson combines great vocals, with great orchestration, with her piano stylings, and surrounds herself with musicians like guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton.

Krall is carrying on the kind of music Wilson has been singing since 1959, into the 21st century.

Thank you Nancy Wilson for the memories, and hope you keep singing for years to come.

Frankie Valli: 81 Years Old And Still Entertaining

I was watching Frankie Valli being interviewed on The Big Interview by Dan Rather, and was saddened to know,  that he had lost two children in a short time period. He lost his daughter Celia, when she fell off a fire escape, then six months later his daughter Francine died from a drug overdose. Their deaths drove him to drinking, but he eventually recovered from the deep depression he was in.

Valli  was born on May 3, 1934 in Newark, New Jersey as Francesco Stephen Castellucio. He was inspired to become a singer at the age of 7, when he saw Frank Sinatra in concert.

He told about growing up in a Mafia neighborhood, and how the word was out to leave him alone. He told Rather that he lost a lot of friends, who were found in trunks of car in mob killings.

His name was changed when his mentor “Texas” Jane Valli was helping him and he decided to take her last name. It was about this time, that Valli was barbering till he became successful in the music business.

The Four Seasons

First Number One Hits

Success didn’t come easy for Valli who started singing in 1951, and he sang with various groups till the Four Seasons were formed in 1960 and named after a cocktail lounge.

Vee Jay record label was the label that they found the most success with. Sherry and Big Girls Don’t Cry both debuted in 1962 and went to #1 on the Billboard chart. Walk Like a Man was their last #1 hit on the Vee Jay label in 1963.

Moved to Philips/Smash Label

They had their first hit on the Philips/Smash label, when they recorded Dawn which went to #3 in January of 1964. Rag Doll was their last #1 song in June of 1964. Valli started recording albums as a solo artist, but still worked with the Four Seasons.

May of 1967 would bring his first solo hit in My Eyes Adored You which went to #1 on the Billboard chart.

Changing Labels

Valli changed labels again and would record Oh What A Night in December of 1975 on Private Stock record label. He would record his last #1 hit in May of 1978, when Grease went to the top spot on the Billboard chart.

He didn’t record another single that charted after June of 1994 according to his Wikipedia discography.

More From Interview

Dan Rather asked Valli why he is still singing at 81, and he said that he wouldn’t know what to do with himself. He said he tried retiring a time or two, but it just made him want to return to singing. Rather mentioned the excellent memory of Valli and he said he memorized the lyrics to about 2,000 songs.

Valli also mentioned about his acting career and said he had been on Sopranos television program and was recently on a Hawaii Five-0 episode.

He said he had plenty of money, but still won’t buy something until it is on sale. He says he got that from his childhood.

The Four Seasons were one of those groups like the Beach Boys and Bee Gees, that had their own distinct sound. Valli’s falsetto voice is what made the Four Seasons stand out from the other groups.

We are wishing Frankie Valli a lot more years on the road. He is truly an American icon.

Kenny Rogers – From Houston Projects To Country Music Hall of Fame

Kenny Rogers and First Edition singing Don’t Take Your Love to Town in 1972

Kenny Rogers was being interviewed by Dan Rather on The Big Interview, and it gave me a chance to learn more about Kenny Rogers. He told Rather about growing up in Houston in the projects, and that his mother only had a third grade education.

He said he didn’t realize how poor they were, till he started school and realized his family was on another rung.

Dan Rather interviewing Kenny Rogers on The Big Interview

Rogers was born Kenneth Donald “Kenny” Rogers on August 21, 1938, when the president was President Franklin Roosevelt. He had a poor, but happy childhood and his mom told him to be happy where you are, and he remembered that advice during his career.

21 of his songs have reached #1 on the record charts. It was 38 years ago in 1977, when Lucille became his first #1 country hit. Daytime Friends also went to # 1 in 1977. Love or Something Like It went to #1 in 1978, while The Gambler peaked at #2 that year.

Kenny Rogers singing his 1979 hit She Believes In Me

She Believes in Me, You Decorated My Life and Coward of the County went to #1 in 1979. The hits kept coming in 1980 with Lady going to #1. Two lesser known songs reached #1 on adult contemporary charts in 1981, but two of his biggest hits Love Will Turn You Around and Through the Years topped the adult contemporary charts in 1982.

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton singing Islands in the Stream

1983 would see Rogers have #1 duet hits with Sheena Easton on We’ve Got Tonight and Islands in the Stream with Dolly Parton.

His  #1 hits in 1984 were Rogers singing with Kim Carnes and James Ingram on What About Me. It went to #1 on adult chart, but only to #70 on country chart. Crazy was his other #1 hit in 1984.

Morning Desire was his only song that charted in 1985 and it went to #1. Tomb of the Unknown Love was his only #1 song in 1986. Another duet this time with Ronnie Milsap on Make No Mistake, She’s Mine in 1987 was his last #1 hit in the 80’s.

Kenny Rogers singing Through the Years a great song for a 50th wedding anniversary

12 years would pass, before he had another #1 hit. It was Buy Me a Rose, which was recorded with Allison Krauss and Billy Dean in 1999. His only other #1 songs were with Dottie West on When Two World Collide in 1978 and All I Ever Need is You, which was in 1979.

Starred in The Gambler movies

Kenny Rogers starred in a series of movies about The Gambler. He also appeared in 17 other films and television shows. His last movie was a 2001 movie Longshot. His last television appearance as an actor was in How I Met Your Mother six years ago in 2009.

He made six appearances as himself in 2014 and in five of those shows he sang, or was shown singing in a clip Islands in the Stream.

Five Marriages

He talked about his five marriages and how he may have been too selfish, and was away from home too much, because of his concert schedule. He expressed concern that he might not be around too much longer, for his 10 year old identical twin sons, since he is 76 and will be 77 in August.

His current marriage with Wanda Miller will reach 18 years on June 1. He was previously married to Marianne Gordon of Hee Haw fame for 16 years.

Kenny Rogers being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Hall of Fame

Kenny Rogers showed Dan Rather the Kenny Rogers exhibit, at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and it was an impressive exhibit. He was inducted in 2013 and he seemed to be glad that he wasn’t inducted sooner, when he might not have appreciated it as much as he does now.

He sold 10 million copies of his Greatest Hits album, which earned him the prestigious Diamond Award, for selling 10 million albums.

Rogers is currently on his Through the Years tour and is showing no signs of slowing down. He sure isn’t doing it for the money, since he is reportedly worth $250 million.

TOUR DATES

  • WINCHESTER, VA

  • March 07, 2015 7:00 p.m.
  • Patsy Cline Theatre
    Through The Years World Tour
  • TAMPA, FL

  • March 21, 2015 5:00 p.m.
  • Busch Gardens – Gwazi Field – Food & Wine Festival
    Through The Years World Tour
  • RAMA, ONTARIO, CANADA

  • April 10, 2015 9:00 p.m.
  • Casino Rama – Entertainment Centre
    Through The Years World Tour
  • RAMA, ONTARIO, CANADA

  • April 11, 2015 9:00 p.m.
  • Casino Rama – Entertainment Centre
    Through The Years World Tour
  • LAS CRUCES, NM

  • April 24, 2015 9:00 p.m.
  • Las Cruces Country Music Festival – Downtown Las Cruces
    Through The Years World Tour
  • CHANDLER, AZ

  • April 25, 2015 8:00 p.m.
  • Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino
    Through The Years World Tour
  • ANGOLA, IN

  • May 08, 2015 7:30 p.m.
  • T. Furth Center for Performing Arts – Trine University
    Through The Years World Tour
  • GREELEY, CO

  • June 28, 2015 8:00 p.m.
  • Greeley Stampede
    With Special Guest Ronnie Milsap
    Through The Years World Tour
  • LANCASTER, PA

  • July 16, 2015 8:00 p.m.
  • American Music Theatre
    Through The Years World Tour

 

The Kenny Rogers interview may be repeated on the AXS TV network, so check listings for the times. 

Beach Boys: 56 Years and Counting

Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, Mike Love, Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson

There have been some great pop singing groups, over the last 56 years, but my favorite would have to be the Beach Boys. I saw them in concert at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii at the Conroy Bowl at some point between 1963-1965. I can’t pinpoint what year, but can say they put on a great concert that night.

Heard a great story about the Beach Boys, on a documentary a few minutes ago. Brian Johnston, who would join the group in 1965 told about a lady, who asked Brian if they were the beach boys, and he said “Yes we are”. So she told them she needed a table and a couple of chairs. It was a humbling experience, to know someone didn’t even know they were a singing group.

Brian Wilson 74 years old

BRIAN WILSON 

Brian Wilson was the leader of the Beach Boys and his songwriting skills enabled them, to still be active 54 years, after they were first founded in Hawthorne, California. However, the Beach Boys only had four #1 hits in their career with I Get Around in 1963 and Help Me Rhonda in 1964. Two years later in 1966 they would have their next #1 hit in Good Vibrations. 22 years would pass, before their last #1 hit Kokomo went to the top of the charts.

He mostly focused on surfing music from 1961-1965, but the Beach Boys rarely recorded surfing music after 1965.

Brian was the quarterback on his high school football team, and also played baseball was was a cross country runner.

The stress of writing, producing and concerts became too much for Brian to handle. He had a nervous breakdown on a plane flying from LA to Houston and decided to come off the road. However, he started taking LSD after coming off the road and got his inspiration for California Girls during the time he was into LSD.

His use of drugs expanded to cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines and psychedelics. Mickey Dolenz recalls taking LSD with Brian, John Lennon and Harry Nilsson in the 1970’s. Drugs continued to create problems for Brian, and he was alleged to have offered drugs to his children.

Brian has been hallucinating for the last 50 years, since he first started taking psychedelic drugs in 1965.

However, he continues to appear in concert mostly as a solo artist.

Al Jardine 74 years old

AL JARDINE

Al Jardine joined the Beach Boys, then left them twice, but still played with them in each calendar year, since their inception from 1961-1998. Jardine met Brian Wilson at Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, California, when they both played for the football team.

Folk music was Al’s passion, but he met with resistance, when he tried to push the Beach Boys into being a folk band. He sang lead on the #1 hit Help Me Rhonda. He is the one that suggested that the Beach Boys record the Mamas and Papa’s hit California Dreamin’ which peaked at #8 on the charts.

Carl Wilson 1946-1998

CARL WILSON

Carl Wilson was a musician, who could play seven instruments, and his lead singing on God Only Knows shows how talented of a singer he was. He was heavily influenced musically, by Chuck Berry and the Beach Boys sound had a Chuck Berry guitar sound.

He became the leader of the band in concerts, after Brian came off the road in 1965. Carl was disillusioned in 1981, with the Beach Boys lack of focus,  and left the group, to be a solo artist that year. He would declare himself, to be a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War.

His lifetime smoking habit since he was 13 caused him, to have lung cancer, that was diagnosed in 1997. Carl continued to perform with the Beach Boys, even while undergoing chemotherapy. He would sit while performing, except for standing to sing God Only Knows. 

He died on February 6, 1998, while surrounded by his family, which included his wife Gina, who was the daughter of Dean Martin.

Dennis Wilson 1944-1983

DENNIS WILSON

Dennis Wilson actually lived the surfing lifestyle depicted in their early surf music. He was reluctant at first to sing with his brothers, but later became the drummer for the Beach Boys. His drumming skills were limited, so his brother Brian would hire drummers for the studio recording sessions.

He would be a distraction sometimes onstage. I watched the Live From Knebworth DVD of their concert at Knebworth England, and in during that concert he was intent on distracting Mike Love on stage.  His main claim to fame is that he co-wrote You Are So Beautiful with Billy Preston.

His connection with Charles Manson is told in this paragraph from his Wikipedia writeup:

In 1968, Dennis Wilson was driving through Malibu when he noticed two female hitchhikers, Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey. He picked them up and dropped them off at their destination.[3] Later on Wilson noticed the same two girls hitchhiking again. This time he took them to his home at 14400 Sunset Boulevard near Will Rogers Park. Wilson then went to a recording session. When he returned at around 3 a.m., he was met in his driveway by a stranger, Charles Manson. When Wilson walked into his home, about a dozen people were occupying the premises, most of them female. Wilson became fascinated by Manson and his followers; the “Manson Family” lived with Wilson for a period of time afterwards at his expense. In late 1968, Wilson reported to journalists:

I told them [the girls] about our involvement with the Maharishi and they told me they too had a guru, a guy named Charlie who’d recently come out of jail after 12 years. … He drifted into crime, but when I met him I found he had great musical ideas. We’re writing together now. He’s dumb, in some ways, but I accept his approach and have learnt from him.

Things got worse with Manson and his followers and he eventually had to move out of his own house:

As Dennis Wilson became increasingly aware of Manson’s volatile nature and growing tendency to violence, he finally made a break from the friendship by simply moving out of the house and leaving Manson there. When Manson subsequently sought further contact (and money), he left a bullet with Wilson’s housekeeper to be delivered with a cryptic message, which Wilson perceived as a threat. In August 1969, Manson Family members perpetrated the Tate/LaBianca murders. Wilson rarely discussed his involvement with the Manson Family, and usually became upset when the subject was broached.

His life came to a tragic end on December 28, 1983, when he died at the age of 39 in a drowning accident, probably caused by drinking prior to the drowning.

Mike Love 75 Years Old

MIKE LOVE

Mike Love has been the front man for the Beach Boys and was the cousin of Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson. His lead singing has been instrumental, in the success of the Beach Boys. He is the one Beach Boy, that is not seen playing a musical instrument during the concerts.

He was the co-writer on their #1 hit Kokomo. His interest in transcendental meditation began in 1967. Brian wrote some lyrics for songs on their Friends influenced by his TM interest, but the album sold very few copies.

When the Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Mike made some uncomplimentary remarks about Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney:

Also in 1988, he, along with the other founding members of the Beach Boys, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where he made an infamous hostile speech, calling out, among others, Mick Jaggerand Paul McCartney. He was, however, happy that Muhammad Ali was in attendance.

Mike has been married to Jacqueline Piesen since 1994. He had been married four times, before his current marriage.

Bruce Johnston 74 Years Old

BRUCE JOHNSTON

Bruce Johnston was not an original Beach Boy. He joined the group in April of 1965. He wrote the Barry Manilow hit I Write The Songs, which won the Song of the Year Award Grammy and has been recorded by 200 artist. This happened after he had left the Beach Boys in 1972. He returned in 1978 and has been with the Beach Boys in the last 37 years consecutively.

He was adopted by the William and Irene Johnston family and his father was president of Owl Rexall Drug Company in Los Angeles.

Bruce replaced Glen Campbell on the touring Beach Boys group. Campbell had filled in for Brian Wilson and Wilson needed a replacement for Campbell, so Johnston joined the group to play keyboards, guitar and harmonize and also played the saxophone.

Currently, Bruce is touring with Mike Love as the Beach Boys,since Mike owns the name, and had to sue Al Jardine for using the Beach Boys name for his group.

So the Beach Boys are now split into three acts, with Brian Wilson as a solo act, Mike and Bruce using the Beach Boys name and Al Jardine having his own group, and no longer using the Beach Boys name.

Classic Southern Gospel Quartets – The Blackwood Brothers

This record album was my favorite Blackwood Brothers album. It was released in 1964 and my favorite

songs on the album were I’ve Got To Walk That Lonesome Road, The Old Country Church, God Made

                   A Way, In Times Like These and Precious Memories. I played this album so much I wore out grooves on

the record and had to order a new copy.

The Blackwood Brothers Quartet bus which can be found at the Southern Gospel Music Museum at Dollywood.

The original Blackwood Brothers quartet was formed 80 years ago in 1934. The group was founded in Choctaw County, Mississippi and some of the descendants of that group are stil singing, under the Blackwood Brothers Quartet name in 2014.

Roy Blackwood, James Blackwood, Doyle Blackwood and R.W. Blackwood was the original configuration for the Blackwood Brothers in 1934.

Tragedy For Blackwood Brothers in 1954

Tragedy struck the Blackwood Brothers Quartet, when two of its members R.W. Blackwood and Bill Lyles were killed, in a plane crash on June 30, 1954. Cecil Blackwood would later replace R.W. Blackwood and J.D. Sumner replaced Bill Lyles as bass after the plane crash.

The Absolute Gospel website has an excellent article describing the accident and the aftermath:

http://absolutelygospel.com/index.php?/content/articles/3948

Trendsetters For Southern Gospel Innovations

The Blackwood Brothers were the first southern gospel group, to customize a bus for traveling to concerts.

They also founded the National Quartet Convention which started in 1957 and is still active 57 years later and is held every September.

James Blackwood 1919-2002

I was fortunate to see James Blackwood sing with the Blackwood Brothers many times over the years, when they performed in concerts in the Central Louisiana area. He was an excellent spokesman for the group, during their concerts and was one of my favorite Blackwood Brothers singers.

J.D. Sumner 1924-1998

J.D. Sumner is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records, as singing the lowest note ever sung. I remember in one Bill Gaither video, that he was singing a song, when the organist started to play faster, than Sumner wanted him to. The look he gave the organist was priceless. It may or may not have been a prank on Sumner, but if it was a prank it was not well received.

Two of my favorite Blackwood Brothers Quartet songs featuring Sumner were I’ve Got To Walk Than Lonesome Road and There’s A Light. 

J.D. Sumner on stage with Elvis Presley in 1976, which was a year before Elvis died.

J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet often toured with Elvis Presley. Still not sure if southern gospel was represented well during this time, since they were singing so much secular music during these years. J.D. Sumner gave credit to Elvis for helping him stop being an alcoholic. Shame J.D. couldn’t return the favor and convince Elvis to stop using drugs. Instead J.D. was more of an enabler and more or less discounted reports, that Elvis was a user, when he debunked those reports at the funeral for Elvis. That was before the extent of drug usage was known by the general public, but Sumner with his close proximity to Elvis probably knew exactly what Elvis was doing with drugs.

The golden era of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet are long gone, but their music will live on for years to come. I have a collection of their music from the early days till later years on cassette. It is great to hear the gospel style singing and piano playing, that most of us grew up with in the 50’s and 60’s.

James and J.D. and most of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet singers of the past are gone, but they will never be forgotten.

 

George Strait – 60 #1 Hits and Counting

George Strait

 

George Strait was born on May 18, 1952, in Poteet, Texas and recently celebrated his 62nd birthday.

Strait may not be mentioned nearly as much as country singers like Hank Williams, George Jones, Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard, but he leads them all in #1 hits. Hank Williams had 11 #1 hits, if you include posthumous #1’s in Your Cheatin’ Heart and Kawliga.

George Jones had 14 #1 hits, but five of those were duets with female country singers. Conway Twitty had 40 #1 hits, while Merle Haggard had 38 #1 hits.

However, George Strait has outdone them all, when it comes to #1 singles with 60 songs reaching the top of the charts.

Only Elvis Presley and the Beatles have had more gold and platinum albums, than Strait. He won his first Entertainer of the Year Award in 1989 from the Country Music Association and won it again, as recently as 2013 showing his popularity has not waned since he recorded his first album in 1981, which was 33 years ago.

Just found out today, that George Strait was stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii during the Vietnam War and may have been in the same unit I was, since he was a finance clerk and the finance clerks I knew were in our 25th Administration Company as part of the 25th Infantry Division.

George Strait and wife Norma

George Strait married his wife Norma Voss on February 23, 1972. They have now been married for 42 years.

George Strait Jr.

George Strait has collaborated with his son George Jr. on some of his songwriting projects.

Jenifer Strait and her dad

 

Tragedy struck the Straits when their daughter Jenifer was killed in an automobile accident on June 25, 1986 in San Marcos, Texas. She was 13 years old.

 

 

This 72 song collection of George Strait music is the only George Strait music in my collection. It was released in 1995 and yet is now obsolete, since he has recorded another 19 years of music since then. However, it has all his early hits like Amarillo By Morning, Unwound, Cowboy Rides Away, All My Ex’s Live in Texas, You’re Something Special To Me, The Fireman and too many others to name them all.

George Strait and Alan Jackson singing Murder on Music Row

A lot of the names of songs in the box set may not be instantly recognizable, but that doesn’t matter, since any song George Strait sings is something special. 112 Amazon reviewers gave the box set 5 stars and only one gave it 1 star.  You will want these songs on your MP3 player as soon as possible. Amazon is currently selling the box set new for $29.88, but can be bought used for as little as $8.79 for the 4 CD box set.

His first hit song was Unwound which climbed to #6 on the country music charts. His first #1 song was Fool Hearted Memory in 1982. 1983 would see Strait release two more #1 songs in A Fire I Can’t Put Out and  You Look So Good in Love.

George Strait singing Cowboy Rides Away on December 31, 1986 at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas.

Strait went from one #1 song in 1982 to two #1 songs in 1983, then had four #1 songs in 1984, with Right or Wrong, Let’s Fall To Pieces Together and  Does Fort Worth Cross Your Mind all going to #1. The Chair would be his only #1 song in 1985, but 1986 would start a streak of 11 consecutive #1 singles starting with Nobody In His Right Mind Would Have Left Her and ending with Ace in the Hole in 1989.

George Strait closing out his New Year’s Eve concert with Marina Del Ray and Unwound. A woman comes out of the audience and runs on stage and hugs Strait at the 5:08 mark in the video.

River of Love was his last #1 song in 2008. That is a 26 year stretch from his first # 1 song till the last one.

George Strait is in the last days of his Cowboy Rides Away farewell tour which ends June 7 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas.

 

George Strait is the best role model ever for a country music singer in my book.

 

 

             

                                                                                   

Merle Haggard: From Prison to Country Music Hall of Fame

 

 

Merle Ronald Haggard was born on April 6, 1937 in Oildale, California. Merle’s parents James Francis and Flossie Mae Haggard had moved from Oklahoma three years earlier, when their barn burned during the Great Depression in 1934.

The album pictured above is one of the first Merle Haggard albums in my LP record collection.

Haggard lived out a lot of the songs he wrote and sang. He was a very prolific writer and wrote most of his major hits alone, but did collaborate on a few like Okie From Muskogee.

He grew up in a refrigerated box car, that had been converted into a house and was raised there, after being born in Kern General Hospital in Bakersfield, California according to his biography.

Left Home At Eleven

It was a jolt for Haggard when his father died, when he was only nine years old. Two years later he left home. His mother sent him to live with his great-uncle and great-aunt in Modesto, California.

He said that he really was 21 and in prison, but the part about life without parole was only used to fill out the line.

Haggard was not the kind to stay in one place long and talked two girls into hopping a freight train, that was headed to Los Angeles. They only had $5 so he bought what food he could to feed himself and the two girls.

Then they left the train and he stole a car by hot wiring it. Only problem was that the car traveled only five miles, before running out of gas, so they had to start walking. However, they were soon picked up by policeman in a squad car and Haggard refused to give his name, but the girls gave their names.

Ironically, when all three returned home they were kept from attending school, for three days by their parents.

Merle and some of his friends attempted a burglary of a Bakersfield bar in 1957 and he was meted out a sentence from six months to 15 years. At first he was a real troublemaker in prison, by being very uncooperative. This landed him in solitary for his 21st birthday. His time in solitary gave him the time he needed to get his act together and afterward he was a model prisoner. He was paroled at the age of 23 and then began his road to being a country music star. Governor Ronald Reagan would later give Haggard a full pardon.

A more recent photo of Merle Haggard.

Merle Haggard’s Music

His first Top 10 song would be (My Friends Are Going to Be (Strangers) in 1964, which went to #10 and is one of my favorite Merle Haggard songs. His first #1 hit was I’m A Lonesome Fugitive” in 1966. That would begin a string of 38 #1 hits from 1966-1987.

Even the great George Jones only had 14 #1 hits, so Haggard having 24 more songs reach the #1 spot tells me, that Haggard was even more popular than I had thought.

Surprisingly Swinging Doors, one of his biggest hits only climbed to #5 on the country music charts.

Branded Man would be his second #1 hit in 1967. He had too many #1 hits in his career, to mention all of them individually, but some of my personal favorites were Sing Me Back Home, Mama Tried, Mama’s Hungry Eyes, Workin’ Man Blues, Okie From Muskogee, Fightin’ Side of Me, If We Make It Through December, Big City (a song I never get tired of) and his last #1 hit Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Star.

His discography can be seen at this web page and when you scroll down to his list of singles, then you can see how successful he was during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s in particular.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merle_Haggard_discography

 

Personal Life

His personal life was not an easy one with four marriages, that lasted from 1956-1991. His second wife was country singer Bonnie Owens ex-wife of Buck Owens and she was a maid of honor, when he married his third wife. Haggard married another country Leona Williams in 1978 and they were divorced in 1983. He married Theresa Ann Lane on September 11, 1993 and they are still married 21 years later.

Haggard started smoking marijuana at the age of 41 and admitted buying $2,000 worth of cocaine in 1983. Part of his lung was removed in November of 2008, after he was discovered to have lung cancer.

Entered Country Music Hall of Fame

Twenty eight years after his first #1 hit I’m A Lonesome Fugitive Merle Haggard would be admitted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. The following link takes readers to his page at the Country Music Hall of Fame website:

http://countrymusichalloffame.org/Inductees/InducteeDetail/merle-haggard

 

Summary – Merle Haggard wrote a lot of songs, that had to do with his life experiences, probably more than any other country singer, since Hank Williams did in the 40’s and 50’s. Like Williams he wrote a lot of his music by himself. He wrote songs about what life was like for transplanted Oklahomans, that moved to California and songs about how it was to be hungry. He wrote songs about his time in prison and how it was difficult to be a part of society again, after being released and his songs about patriotism, Okie From Muskogee and Fightin’ Side of Me and songs like Big City and Workin’ Man Blues that told the plight of people working for a living. He is now recording for an obscure record label Epitaph, but it doesn’t mean we have heard the last of Merle Haggard. He showed us all that being in prison isn’t always a bad thing, as he said he was one of those that prison helped and he is a testament, of how someone can change and be successful, even after being in prison.

 

Bobby Rydell Performing Again After Liver, Kidney Transplant

Bobby Rydell

Bobby Rydell was born Robert Louis Ridarelli on April 26, 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He will be 72 years old tomorrow.

It doesn’t seem possible that 55 years have passed, since he had his first hit song, with the release of Kissin’ Time in 1959.

Before that he had won a talent contest and became a member of the cast of Paul Whiteman’s TV Teen Club. Whiteman had difficult pronouncing his last name Ridarelli, so changed his last name to Rydell.

He joined the Rocco and the Saints band at the age of 16 and the band also had a soon to be famous trumpet player in Frankie Avalon.

First Million Selling Single

We Got Love, which was his first million selling album peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Wild One was his next million selling single and it reached #2 on the charts and it was released in 1960. My personal favorite Bobby Rydell song Volare was also released in 1960 and went to #4 on the charts. Sway also did well for Rydell in 1960 going to #14 on the charts. Swingin’ School also reached the charts in 1960 and peaked at #5.

Sadly, Rydell only had one more Top Ten hit, when he released Forget Him in 1963, which peaked at #4 on the music charts.

His last new song to make the Billboard Hot 100 charts was Diana, which barely made it onto the charts at #98 in 1965.

It has been 49 years, since he had a song that made the Billboard Hot 100.

More recent photo of Bobby Rydell

Failing Health

He had to cancel a 2012 tour to Australian because of health problems. Rydell would have his liver and kidneys replaced in a double organ transplant. The transplant took place at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in July of 2012.

After recovering for six months Rydell performed in a three night engagement in Las Vegas.

With the health problems behind him Rydell has been very active. He has appeared in international concerts, which included a 2014 tour in Australia. He also has appeared as part of a stage act, with fellow Philadelphian rock and rollers Fabian and Frankie Avalon.

Interesting Trivia From IMDB.com

Rydell High School in Grease was named after Rydell.

He was married to his first wife Camille Quattrone Ridarelli from 1968-2003 until the time of her death. He remarried in 2009 to Linda Hoffman.

Started playing drums at the age of six.

The city of Philadelphia named Bobby Rydell Boulevard after him.

He was a victim of the British invasion, as his recording career was never the same after the Beatles hit American shores.

Has Remained Active

Bobby Rydell has remained active after his recording career more or less ended, by hitting the night club circuit and appearing in concert. However, he did appear in the movie Bye Bye Birdie in 1963, at the height of his popularity.

He has appeared in Time-Life infomercial for Malt Shop Memories.

It was sad that his recording career fizzled out at the age of 23, but he was too talented and too young to walk away from the music scene.

When he turns 72 tomorrow he can reflect on a long career in music and has been a fine representative for the city of Philadelphia.

Dick Clark played a part in the success of Bobby Rydell, by having him appear on American Bandstand.

He may have not had the long recording career, of some recording artists, but that has only made his fans treasure, more than ever, those years in the 60’s, when he was making memories for all of us.

 

 

 

 

Stringbean: Murdered After Grand Ole Opry Appearance In 1973

 

 

 

 

 

 

David “Stringbean” Akeman was born July 4, 1916 in Annville, Kentucky and died in Ridgetop, Tennessee on November 10, 1973.  His friend and co-star of Hee Haw Grandpa Jones found him and Stringbean’s wife Estelle murdered the next morning. Stringbean had been shot and killed inside the house, while his wife was found dead outside.

Stringbean acquired his nickname when the star of a show he was in introduced him as Stringbean and he has been known as Stringbean ever since.

He made a homemade banjo as a child out of a shoebox and thread. Then later he would barter two chickens, for a real banjo and then really began to learn how to play the banjo in the old style.

The Depression would cause Stringbean to find work, with the Civilian Conservation Corps and he built roads and planted trees, as part of that work.

 

Signs With Bill Monroe’s Band

Bill Monroe signed Stringbean as one of the Bluegrass Boys. Monroe had discovered Stringbean when he was playing semi-pro baseball. Earl Scruggs would later replace Stringbean as the banjo picker in the Bluegrass Boys band.

He married Estelle Stanfill in 1945.

Even though he had been playing music and singing since the 1930’s he didn’t record his first album till the 1960’s.

 

Started Sagging Britches Fad

Stringbean might have been an inspiration for the sagging britches fad, as can be seen in the photo on the right. The only difference was that Springbean wouldn’t wear that outfit once he stepped off the stage. That outlandish outfit by itself was enough to draw laughs from the audience.

He never did learn to drive a car so his wife Estelle did all the driving. Grandpa Jones had to clean his guns for him, since he didn’t know how.

 

First Television Appearance

His first television appearance was when he appeared on the Porter Wagoner Show in 1963 and was on another show in 1970. He made one appearance on the Johnny Cash Show in 1971. His big break came when he started appearing on Hee Haw and would be seen in 92 episodes from 1969-1974. The 1974 shows had been filmed previously, before his tragic death in November of 1973.

There were rumors that Stringbean didn’t believe in keeping his money in banks, since he grew up in depressions and saw how many had lost their life savings, when the banks failed. He was known to flash his cash around and apparently John and Marvin Brown, who were 23 year old cousins decided to try finding that money, while Stringbean and his wife were at the Opry.

 

Stringbean Surprised Burglars

Apparently, they didn’t time it right and the Akemans returned from the Opry, on the night of November 10, 1973, before they thought they would or perhaps they were laying in wait for them, so they could rob them of more cash and both Stringbean and his wife Estelle were shot by the intruders. Ironically, they found only $250 and also stole only a chain saw and some firearms. Stringbean probably drew his gun, but was shot before he could shoot the intruders. By shooting him they didn’t have a chance to question Akeman, about where the money was being hid.

They didn’t notice the $3,000 in his overalls pocket or the $20,000 hidden in a chimney. The $20,000 wouldn’t be found till 23 years later. The money had deteriorated so badly, that it was unusable.

Grandpa Jones would find Stringbean’s wife outside and he found Stringbean also dead inside the house. Stringbean was only 57 at the time of his death. Archie Campbell another co-star, from Hee Haw said that he never heard Stringbean say an unkind word about anyone.

To make things worse for Grandpa Jones the tabloids insinuated that Jones had been having an affair with Stringbean’s wife.

 

Murderers Sentenced To 198 Years

John and Marvin Brown, who committed the murders of Stringbean and his wife were each sentenced to 198 years in prison. Marvin Brown died in Brushy State Prison in Petros, Tennessee in 2003, which was 30 years after the murders. John Brown has served 41 years of his sentence. He applied for parole in 2011 and won’t be able to apply again till 2017.

This is what John Brown had to say about the murders: He has a devoted wife who had married him shortly before he was arrested, and she says, “John says that he hopes David and Estelle are in heaven, looking on his life and saying that something good did come of this.”

 

Senseless Tragedy

Country music fans have lost an icon in Stringbean. He grew up dirt poor during the Depression and had to struggle to make it in the world of country music. Then when he finally makes the big money he can’t help but show it off. He had come a long way from having nothing in the 30’s to living comfortably in the 70’s, but his life came to a tragic halt on November 10, 1973. He died at 57 which is young for country music performers, who sometime perform into their 80’s like the great Ray Price who recently died.

City Confidential television show filmed an episode in 2003 about the murders of Stringbean and his wife.

The world of country music lost one of its biggest stars on November 10, 1973, but his memory will live on for years to come among fans of country music.

Perry Como: From Barber To Million Selling Singer

Perry Como 1912-2001

 

Perry Como was born as Pierino Ronald Como on September 18, 1912 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. His parents Pietro and Lucia Como had immigrated from Italy in 1910. Perry was the first of 13 children to be born in America and was the seventh son of a seventh son. Ironically, he would have 13 #1 songs.

He was only 11 when he began his career as a barber and by the age of 14 had his own barber shop. He would receive his first break when offered a job by the Freddy Carlone Orchestra. He had to choose between earning $28 a week with the orchestra or keep drawing the $125 a week he was earning as a barber. His dad talked him into accepting the singing job, since Perry would never know if he would be a success as a singer, until the gave it a try and began traveling with the orchestra in 1933.

His big break would come when bandleader Teddy Weems signed him to sing with his orchestra in 1936.

 

Perry Como early in his career.

 

Como now was in the big money going from $28 a week, with the Freddy Carlone Orchestra, to $50 a week with the Ted Weems Orchestra. Perry almost got fired when with the Weems Orchestra, because the listeners couldn’t understand the words he was singing. He corrected the problem and kept his job. By 1940 he was earning $250 a week.

1942 was a fateful year for Perry who would quit the Ted Weems band and return home to become a barber again. However, before he could negotiate a lease, for his barber shop he was offered a CBS radio program.  He went on the radio program for CBS in 1943. Later that same year he would be offered a recording contract with RCA Records. The relationship would last for 44 years, which is longer than any other major artist.

 

A Perry Como Christmas album that was in my collection at one time.

 

Perry Como was part of a revolutionary broadcast on April 5, 1946, when the Chesterfield Supper Club was broadcast from 20,000 feet in the air. He had to use handheld mike, which became very heavy due to cabin pressure.

Como in Movies and Television

Perry was seen in only five theatrical movies from 1943-1948 and never acted in another movie the last 53 years of his life.

He first appeared in his own television show in Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall from 1950-1966. I can remember Dream Along With Me being his theme song and the Sing to Me Mr. C. part of the show. Another memory of his show was when the singers sang ” We get letters, stacks and stacks of letters.” It would be great to see some of those old shows again if they even still exist.

Perry Como Christmas 1974 Christmas special.

 

Perry’s Christmas specials were a treat during the years they were shown. His Christmas show became as big of a part of Christmas and the Bob Hope Christmas special. He sang Ave Maria on the specials, but never sang it during a live performance, since he said it is a special song that had to be sung at the right time and at the right place.

Some interesting trivia about Perry from IMDB.com:

Perry Como was a short man who was only 5 foot 6.

He sold over 50 million records and was so humble, that he never asked for certification of most of his records that achieved gold record status.

His only marriage was to Roselle Beline, whom he was married to from July 31, 1933 till her death on August 10, 1998.

Was signed to RCA Records from 1943-1988.

He was the godfather of Debby Boone.

This quote by Perry Como signifies his humbleness: I’ve done nothing that I can call exciting. I was a barber. Since then I’ve been a singer. That’s it.

Perry Como died on May 12, 2001 at Jupiter Inlet Colony, Florida. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s at the time of his death.

 

Perry Como was reportedly as casual as he appeared on television. However, he did not like wearing sweaters, even though he was seen wearing sweaters on television.

A list of 587 songs recorded by Perry Como:

http://www.whosdatedwho.com/tpx_25003/perry-como/songs

When I think of his song Round and Round I think of hearing it played at roller skating rink and it was the perfect song for roller skating.

His first #1 song was Till The End of Time in 1945 and his last #1 song was And I Love You So in 1973.

The complete list of his songs that charted:

http://musicvf.com/Perry+Como.art

This album has 100 of Perry’s hits at a reasonable price and a great way to augment your Perry Como collection, without buying several albums.

http://www.amazon.com/100-Hits-Legends-Perry-Como/dp/B002LZUNCW/ref=sr_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1395524835&sr=1-4&keywords=perry+como

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dean Martin – 56 Years of Entertaining

Dean Martin 1917-1995

 

Dean Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti on June 7, 1917 in Steubenville, Ohio. He didn’t speak English until he was five years old. Then he dropped out of school in 10th grade and delivered bootleg liquor, dealt cards as a blackjack dealer and did some boxing as a welterweight. He made this comment about his boxing ability  “I won all but 11.”[, which was nothing to brag about since he was only in 12 boxing matches.  His boxing name “Kid Crochet” probably didn’t help his boxing career.

Martin sang with the Ernie Kay Orchestra and then was drafted by the Army in 1944 and served in Akron, Ohio. He appeared in his first full length movie in 1949, when he appeared in My Friend Irma.

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Lewis is now 88 years old.

 

Dean Martin first team up with Jerry Lewis at the 500 Club in Atlantic City, New Jersey on July 24, 1946. The first show did not go well and the owner threatened to fire them, if they couldn’t do better in their second act. That is when they came up with the act, where Martin tries to sing a serious song, while Jerry is doing everything possible to distract from his singing. The act went over big and began their run as a team.

They were heard on radio from 1948 to 1953 on the Martin and Lewis Show. The pair would go on to star in movies that seemed to feature Lewis more than Martin, because of his madcap actions on the big screen. Martin was incensed when a Look magazine cover only showed Lewis, since Martin had been cropped out of the photo.

Their association ended ten years exactly, from their first appearance in Atlantic City. Their friendship was really never the same, until Frank Sinatra brought Martin on stage at the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon in 1976, which was 20 years, after their 1956 breakup. They remained friends, until the death of Martin in 1995.

Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Dean Martin who comprised the Rat Pack.

Martin was part of the Rat Pack that included Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop. They would entertain audiences with their mixture of singing and comedy.

He was also active in acting in motion pictures, with his appearances in Young Lions (1957), Rio Bravo (1959) and would appear in Cannoball Run (1981) and Cannonball II (1984).

This was an active time for Martin as he was appearing on stage, recording record albums, appearing in movies and in 1965 he would start appearing on the NBC show Dean Martin’s Comedy Hour, which would remain on the air until 1974. 263 episodes were filmed of the show and hope they can be seen somewhere on a television network 49 years, after the first show debuted on television. Martin also hosted many Dean Martin Celebrity Roast shows in later years.

 

Made Impact As A Singer

 

1958 would see his recording of Return to Me top out at #4 and  Volare peak at #12. It may have been able to climb higher on the charts, but it had been recorded many times, before Martin released his version of Volare.

 

Surprisingly his song You’re Nobody Till Somebody Love You was only #25 on pop chart, but reached #1 on adult contemporary chart. This was the year the Beatles hit America, so that probably had something to do with it.

The year 1967 would see his last two #1 hits, which only went to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, when In the Chapel in the Moonlight and In the Misty Moonlight would take the #1 spot.

Dino: The Essential Dean Martin Collection has 30 of his biggest hits and can be found at Amazon.com for one cent, plus shipping if you buy a used copy of the collection.

http://www.amazon.com/Dino-The-Essential-Dean-Martin/dp/tracks/B00021LPIS/ref=dp_tracks_all_1#disc_1

Dean Martin may be one of the most successful school dropouts ever. He became successful as part of the Martin and Lewis comedy act, singing as soloist for big bands, recorded for many years, acted in many blockbuster movies and hosted a successful television show for nine years.

 

 

 

Album Review – Spotlight on Vic Damone – Vic Damone

Released 1995 on Capitol

Spotlight on Vic Damone is the kind of album, that might not seem that special at first. However, after really listening to it you can hear just how good of a singer Damone was and how great the song selections are on this album.

The album starts off with the Cole Porter classic In The Still Of The Night a song which was released in 1937. Damone effortlessly sings this classic and gets the album off to a rousing start. Laura is the kind of song you think of, when thinking about easy listening songs. I first think of Dick Haymes singing Laura on records from the 1940’s, but Damone in my book does an even better job 50 years later on this album.

Shangri-La from 1946 is an easy listening song, that is not recorded as much, as some songs from that era. However, Damone does such a great job on it, that you want to hear it again and again. Close Your Eyes was written 81 years ago in 1933.  You won’t even think of how long ago the song was written, when Damone sings it, since you won’t care how old it is, when you hear his smooth styling.

The next three songs Let’s Sit This One Out, Diane and After the Lights Go Out are not that well-known but Vic Damone’s voice make you like all three songs instantly. Ebb Tide was written in 1953 and Damone had one of the most popular versions of the song. It is a great song that will live on for years.

Is You Or Is You Ain’t (Ma’ Baby) is the most up tempo song on the album. It almost seems out-of-place, since it is so much faster than the other songs on the album. It is the one song on the album, that I wouldn’t have minded seen left off. When most of us think of There! I’ve Said It Again we think of the Bobby Vinton version, but Damone more than holds his own on his version. It was originally recorded by Vaughn Monroe in 1945.

The next four songs Little Girl, Poinciana (Song of the Tree), Change Partners and I Could Write A Book are not songs, that we think of often, but after listening to Damone’s interpretation of the songs we will have an appreciation for all four songs.

The next song is a personal favorite of mine in Ruby. Damone sings it as well, as I have ever heard it sung. The Hawaiian Wedding Song is a special song to me, since I lived in Hawaii for over two-and-a-half-years, so I have heard it sung a lot over the years and Damone’s version makes me feel like I am in Hawaii again.

Let’s Face The Music And Dance is an Irving Berlin classic which is a little up tempo, but Damone is up to the challenge. He ends the album with another slow song Make This A Sad Goodbye. It may be another of the lesser-known songs on the album, but Damone gives it the same attention, as the better-known songs on the album.

Summary: Spotlight on Vic Damone may not have all of his greatest hits, but it gives a sampling that reminds us, why we like Vic Damone so much. This album is a great example of why Frank Sinatra said once, that Vic Damone had the best pipes in the business. This album may not have this effect on other music fans, but for me it made me want to add to my collection of Vic Damone music.

For information purposes only, since I have no financial connection with Amazon: Spotlight on Vic Damone can be bought as an MP3 album for $11.49 for the 18 songs, or can be bought new for $129.89 from an Amazon partner or can be bought used for $1.59 plus $3.99 shipping from an Amazon partner. I bought my copy used and have had no problems.

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=spotlight+on+vic+damone&tag=mh0b-20&index=popular&hvadid=2478069250&ref=pd_sl_2npqrfdrwu_ep

Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner’s Daughter To Queen Of Country Music

A young Loretta Lynn early in her career

Loretta Lynn was born Loretta Webb on April 14, 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. Loretta was named after actress Loretta Young.  She was born to coal miner Melvin Webb and his wife Clara Ramey.

She married Oliver Vanetta Lynn at the age of 15 in 1948. They moved to the state of Washington and she began, to sing while living in Washington.  Her sister Crystal Gayle also became a well-known country artist. She was also related on her mother’s side of the family to Patty Loveless.

  • Betty Sue Lynn, birth date: November 26, 1948 died July 29, 2013 (age 64)[5]
  • Jack Benny Lynn, (1949-12-07)December 7, 1949 died July 22, 1984 (age 34)
  • Ernest Ray Lynn, April 12, 1951-
  • Clara Marie Lynn (Cissie), April 7, 1952-
  • Peggy Jean and Patsy Eileen Lynn (twins; latter named for Patsy Cline), August 6, 1964

Lynn became a grandmother by the age of only 29 and it is hard to believe, but she will be 82 next month.

Loretta Lynn with the prettiest blue eyes that I remember seeing when talking to her after a concert in Alexandria, Louisiana in the 1960’s.

I was fortunate enough, to see Loretta Lynn in concert at Rapides Parish Coliseum in Alexandria, Louisiana when she and Ernest Tubb were a duo. She was very gracious to me, when I asked for her to autograph one of her greatest hits albums. I was struck by her beauty and dazzled by her blue eyes.

This is more about the album that she autographed for me:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loretta_Lynn%27s_Greatest_Hits

Her husband would die in 1996, which was 48 years after their marriage.

Loretta Lynn had this to say about their marriage:  “He never hit me one time that I didn’t hit him back twice”.

The Wilburn Brothers helped her get her a recording contract with Decca Records. However, they also helped themselves, by gaining publishing rights to her material. She fought to have the publishing rights in her name, but when that fail she stopped writing songs in 1970.

Loretta Lynn joined the Grand Ole Opry on September 25, 1962 and has remained a member for the last 52 years.

Loretta Lynn Discography

I’m A Honky Tonk Girl was her debut single in 1960 and it climbed to #14 on the country charts.

Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin (With Loving On Your Mind) would be her first #1 hit I 1966. Fist City would go to #1 in 1968 and Woman of the World (Leave My World Alone) was #1 in 1969.

The 1970’s would see eight more of her songs take the top spot on the country music charts:

1970 – Coal Miner’s Daughter

1971 – One’s On The Way

1972 – Rated X

1973 – Love Is The Foundation

1974 – Trouble In Paradise

1976 – Somebody Somewhere (Don’t Know What He’s Missin’ Tonight)

1976 – She’s Got You

1977 – Out Of My Head And Back In My Bed

She has not had another #1 hit since 1977, which encompasses 37 years.

Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty

Loretta Lynn – Conway Twitty Studio Albums, Singles

Loretta Lynn would team up with Conway Twitty to release 11 studio albums from 1971-1988. Four of the studio albums would be #1 on country charts.

Five of their singles would chart at the #1 position on the Billboard Country charts.

1971 – After The Fire Is Gone

1971 – Lead Me On

1973 – Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man

1974 – As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone

1975 – Feelins

Movie Released

The Coal Miner’s Daughter would be released in 1980 and it told the story of Lynn’s rise to stardom and how she and her husband traveled to radio stations plugging their songs.

Loretta Lynn is 81 today and has been a grandmother for 52 years.

Classic Instrumentalists: The Ventures

The Ventures 1958- present

 

The Ventures were originally formed as the Versatones in 1958, but changed their name to the The Ventures in 1959. Don Wilson on rhythm guitar is the only surviving member of the group and has remained with the group, during their entire 56 year run.

What really sets the The Ventures apart is that they have sold 110 million albums, which is the most sold by any rock instrumental group.  My favorite song recorded by The Ventures is their 30th anniversary recording of Wipeout on their Super Sessions  with their drummer Mel Taylor and guest drummer Max Weinberg being featured. I can’t recall ever hearing any two drummers sounding better on one recording.

You may want to watch this video of Mel Taylor of The Ventures and guest drummer Max Weinberg having their own battle of the drums:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea843FEdAIU&list=PL7F416D97B1AB2DDB

Wipeout is a must in any collection of songs by the Ventures, along with Pipeline, Tequila, Walk Don’t Run and many more of their best known hits. They have a unique sound that can be detected easily.

The Ventures have played a lot of covers of hits, by other groups but when they adapt the songs, to their own style they sound as good or better than the original recording.

George Harrison of the Beatles says he liked the instrumental sound of The Ventures more than the sound of any British groups.

The Ventures play Pipeline on this video from their 30th Anniversary Super Sessions DVD:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nth5gRyJF28

The Ventures have been very popular in Japan in recent years having sold 40 million albums over there.

It is a testament to their sound, that they have been popular for 56 years and one of the few groups from the 50’s, whose recordings have stretched over seven decades.

So next time you visit a thrift store with old records you might get lucky and found a vinyl or CD of The Ventures, that will bring back memories of the past.

There have been a lot of groups known as surf groups, but to me The Ventures stand out as the best of all the groups.

 

Doris Day Will Be 93 In April

Doris Day made her motion picture debut 69 years ago in 1948 in Romance on the High Seas at the age of 24.

 

Doris Day may be one of the most likeable motion picture and television actresses, that has graced the silver screen. However, she was first known as a singer, as she sang with the Bob Crosby and Les Brown bands. One of her first hit songs was Sentimental Journey.

She was born as Doris Mary Anne Von Kappelhoff  on April 3, 1924 in Evanston, Ohio and will be 93 this year. She would later change her name to Day, with her name coming from her song Day by Day.

Her career included 99 old-time radio shows, which included appearances on the Bob Hope Show and her own radio show.

Doris Day Golden Girl: Columbia Collection from 1944-1966.

 

I have the Golden Girl: Columbia Collection 1944-1966 in my compact disc collection. 27 Amazon reviewers give the album 5 stars, while only one gives it one star and no reviewer gives the album no stars. The album is on two discs with a total of 48 songs in the album.

Her rendition of It Had To Be You alone makes the album worthwhile. Again is another one of my favorite tracks on the album. It is good to hear music, that you can understand the words, as you listen to the album. She also sings the classic I Only Have Eyes For You. I listened to the entire album last week and was mesmerized to hear Doris Day at her best.

Amazon.com has short clips of all 48 songs and the album can be bought used for as little as 30 cents as of January 2, 2017.

Day married trombonist Al Jorden in 1941 and their divorce became final in 1943. Her only child Terry was born during this marriage. Her next marriage to saxophonist George Weidler was in 1946 and that marriage was over by 1949.

Then two years later she married Martin Melcher her agent, who later became her husband in 1951. Melcher produced many of her movies from 1956-1968. Melcher died at the age of 52 in 1968.

It was after his death, that she learned he had gone through her $20 million fortune and leaving her in debt. She may have been even deeper in debt, if not for his death. His business partner Jerome Rosenthal was sued by Doris Day for his financial dealings that burned through her fortune. Day has stated that she didn’t think her husband realized what Rosenthal was doing. She was awarded $22 million in damages in 1974.

Day found out after the death of Martin Melcher, that he had her lined up to do a television series and a couple of special shows. She still completed her obligation in the contract and she never acted again after the Doris Day Show ended in 1973. It has been 41 years since she last acted on television or on the screen.

Between the income from the television shows and her financial settlement there was no reason, for Day to ever act again. She did appear in some shows which didn’t involve acting.

Her son Terry Melcher, who had been adopted by her husband Martin Melcher was a successful record producer. He was introduced to Charles Manson by Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. Melcher was considering signing Manson to a recording contract but never signed Manson, which angered Manson. He did use two songs penned by Manson with the Beach Boys singing those songs.

Melcher was living with his girlfriend Candice Bergen at 10050 Cielo Drive house he was renting. Melcher and Bergen moved out of the house after Melcher and Manson had parted ways. Manson went to the house asking to see Melcher, but by then Melcher had moved.

It was on August 9, 1969 that members of the Manson family entered the home and murdered Sharon Tate, who was the wife of Polanski was eight months pregnant. Four others were murdered in the house including coffee heiress Abigail Folger and hairdresser Jay Sebring.

There has been much speculation about whether Manson knew Melcher was no longer living in the house. One thing for certain is that if he wanted to get Melcher’s attention, then he was so successful, that Melcher hired a bodyguard.

Doris Day had lost her husband one year before and now her only son was apparently being targeted by Charles Manson.

Some trivia about Doris Day from imdb.com:

Did not like swear words and required anyone using a swear word to put a quarter in the “Swear Jar”.  She would not even allow her songs to be used in movies, in which there was swearing.

Her mother named her after her favorite silent film star, Doris Kenyon. By coincidence, in the mid 1970’s when Day wrote her autobiography, Kenyon was her neighbor on Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills.

Son Terry Melcher was born February 8, 1942. She named him after the character in a comic strip she loved as a little girl, “Terry and the Pirates”. Sadly, he passed away of cancer on November 19, 2004.

Was a two-and-a-half pack a day smoker until about 1951.

She has two Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6278 Hollywood Boulevard and for Motion Pictures at 6735 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

In 1976, Doris married Barry Comden, 12 years her junior. They met at the Beverly Hills Old World Restaurant where he was the maitre d’. In the 1970s, Comden opened an Old World restaurant in Westwood and supervised the construction of another restaurant, Tony Roma’s, in Palm Springs. It was Comden who came up with the idea for a line of pet food that would feature Doris’ name. Doris Day Distributing Co. unraveled mainly because of a pyramid-type scheme that the couple had been unaware of. They lived in Carmel but Comden complained that Day preferred the company of her dogs more than him and they divorced in 1981.

Underwent a hysterectomy during the filming of Julie (1956) after being diagnosed with a tumour the size of a grapefruit that was growing into her intestines.

Some quotes attributed to Doris Day:

I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. And that’s all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy.

[on Rock Hudson] I call him Ernie, because he’s certainly no Rock

[about Elizabeth Taylor‘s diamonds] When I see Liz Taylor with those Harry Winston boulders hanging from her neck I get nauseated. Not figuratively, but nauseated! All I can think of are how many dog shelters those diamonds could buy.

      [dismissing allegations that she “stole” husband Martin Melcher from his former wife, singer Patty Andrews] A person does not leave a good marriage for someone else.

 

Doris Day at the age of 89 is still involved with protecting animals from abuse. She may not have acted in the last 41 years, but her legacy of films in her 25 years of acting will keep us entertained for years to come. It is sad that her television show is seldom seen in reruns, but it can be seen on DVD. It might even be the best way to watch the show, as the show was known for its many season to season changes in its five-year run. In addition she has recorded many albums during her recording career.

I watched Move Over Darling last week, in which James Garner appeared with Doris Day. It was a hilarious movie, in which a husband is marrying a new bride, after his wife who “died” in a plane crash five years before and was now legally dead. Only problem was that she was rescued and comes back home to find her husband married to another woman. Chaos ensues as she and the character played by James Garner try to get back together again.

 

 

 

 

1,000th Post

 

This is the 1,000th post, since I started writing this blog in April of 2009. There have been some long gaps, when there were no articles written, due to financial problems, when there was no internet service and two or three months last year, when I had to have cancer surgery in Houston VA hospital.

I want to thank each reader, that has taken time to read, even one of the articles, which have been written in the last four and a half years.

The early articles had a more nostalgic bent to them, but eventually I started running out of nostalgic things to write about, so wrote more about what is in the news today.

I have tried to avoid writing about politics, since writing about politics is the fastest way to end a friendship. I have relatives who are polar opposites, when it comes to politics so try, to avoid angering any of them.

However, I have found writing about the JFK assassination has sparked some controversy. I am still not sure exactly what happened on November 22, 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in the streets of Dallas Texas or the circumstances surrounding the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit only about 45 minutes later in a Dallas neighborhood.

A certain author wrote a book about the Kennedy assassination saying the case was closed, that was published in 1993. Here it is 20 years later and I still have seen no concrete proof that Lee Harvey Oswald killed the president that day. I am not even sure he was in the sniper’s nest in the sixth floor, when the fatal shots were fired. Knowing the fingerprint of LBJ’s personal hitman Mac Wallace was found on a box in the sixth floor makes me question, if Oswald was there only to be seen and blamed for the assassination, while Wallace may have done the actual shooting.

Brought Back Memories

Writing about growing up in Pineville, Louisiana in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s brought back a lot of memories. Memories like the railroad train set on top of our bed and the elementary school burning down one night and watching television in store front windows, before we had television. I have been enthusiastic about watching train sets in action since then.

Readers will find the bulk of the nostalgic articles posted in the first few months of the blog back in April and May of 2009.

Comments Welcomed

The comments of the readers have been valued and very interesting. I wrote an article about Max “Jethro” Baer of the Beverly Hillbillies and an actress who appeared with him wrote and mentioned that in her comment.

When I wrote about the film Battle of Chosin in Korea and the brutal conditions the soldiers experienced, one of the producers of the movie Chosin wrote and commented on the article.

Readership Stats

594,620 readers have visited this site as of this minute, since April of 2009. The most read article has been an article about Lizard Lick Towing Boss Arrested with 48,421 readers. 24,928 readers read an article about 1950’s Prices, which showed a newspaper ad, for a restaurant serving a Thanksgiving Dinner with all the trimmings for $1. Try finding that deal today.

17,555 read the Classic Television: Leave It To Beaver article. The most controversial article written was probably The Voice: Alright If You Like To See Bald-headed Women Sing, which 4,022 read.

This article was written about one of the nights that Elvis appeared in Alexandria, Louisiana late in March of 1977, which was about four-and-half months before his death.

https://nostalgia049.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/elvis-presley-in-alexandria-louisiana-march-1977/

I want to thank each reader, who has visited the website and want to encourage everyone, to continue reading the articles and all readers are welcome to comment on the articles. Only caveat is that no cursing or mean-spirited comments will be allowed.

Thank you very much for reading the posts and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Andrew Godfrey

 

 

 

Ricky Nelson Wasn’t Partying at the Garden Party

Ricky Nelson 1940-1985

Ricky Nelson was riding high in the world of rock and roll, when the Beatles and the other British music invaders hit our shores. He adopted a scruffier look and when he sang at a rock and roll reunion, in Madison Square Garden on October 15, 1971 he found out singing songs from his new album was a huge mistake.

Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Bobby Rydell also appeared on the show.

Nelson’s set started off fine, when he sang Hello Mary Lou and She Belongs To Me, but the crowd turned on him when he sang Country Honk, which was a country version of the Rolling Stones hit Honky Tonk Women.

One of my Army friends from the Bronx was there that night and said it was a really bad situation. There are some that think the crowd was reacting to what police were doing, but Nelson took it personally and didn’t return to the stage for finale at the end.

Nelson definitely wasn’t partying that night, since his fans apparently didn’t want to hear him sing new songs. I am sure Bo Diddley sang his namesake song Bo Diddley and that Bobby Rydell and Chuck Berry sang some of their signature hits. Diddley later recorded another song with his name Hey Bo Diddley. I can’t think of any other songs having the name of the singer in the title.

Ricky Nelson singing Garden Party:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFugRFKqjFg

That night did lead Nelson to write and record his last No.1 hit Garden Party in 1972. That song became the fourth No. 1 song for Nelson, as it was preceded by Poor Little Fool in 1998, Travelin’ Man in 1961 and For You in 1963.

Ricky and seven other passengers died in a tragic plane crash on New Year’s Eve in DeKalb, Texas. It was the third problem,involving the plane since Nelson leased the 1944 Douglas DC-3. A gas heater on the plane wasn’t functioning properly, but instead of turning it off one of co-pilots kept turning it back on, when requested to by the pilot.

Ironically, the two pilots survived the crash and found no response from the passenger compartment. This is a paragraph from Wikipedia pertaining to the malfunctioning heater:

When questioned by the NTSB, Pilots Brad Rank and Ken Ferguson had different accounts of key events. According to co-pilot Ferguson, the cabin heater was acting up after the plane took off. Ferguson continued that Rank kept going back to the back of the plane to see if he could get the heater to function correctly and that Rank told Ferguson several times to turn the heater back on. “One of the times, I refused to turn it on,” said Ferguson. He continued, “I was getting more nervous. I didn’t think we should be messing with that heater en-route.” After the plane crashed, Ferguson and Rank climbed out the windows, suffering from extensive burns. They shouted to the passenger cabin, but there was no response. Ferguson and Rank backed away from the plane, fearing explosion. Ferguson stated that Rank told him, “Don’t tell anyone about the heater, don’t tell anyone about the heater.”[106]

Rumors that cocaine was being free-based aboard the flight were refuted by the National Transportation Safety Board.

However, trace amounts of cocaine, marijuana and Darvon were found in the blood of Nelson after his death.

His death prematurely ended his 36 year career in show business, which started with his appearance in Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1949 which was on old-time radio.

The words of Garden Party have a lot of significance: Yoko bringing her walrus, has something to do with John Lennon who attended the reunion show.

Mr. Hughes wearing Dylan’s shoes refers to the late George Harrison.

The reference to Johnny B. Goode alludes to Chuck Berry, who was in the reunion show that night.

Ricky Nelson would be 73 if he was still alive today.

– Words and Music by Rick Nelson

I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends
A chance to share old memories and play our songs again
When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name
No one recognized me, I didn’t look the same

CHORUS
But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself

People came from miles around, everyone was there
Yoko brought her walrus, there was magic in the air
‘n’ over in the corner, much to my surprise
Mr. Hughes hid in Dylan’s shoes wearing his disguise

CHORUS

lott-in-dah-dah-dah, lot-in-dah-dah-dah

Played them all the old songs, thought that’s why they came
No one heard the music, we didn’t look the same
I said hello to “Mary Lou”, she belongs to me
When I sang a song about a honky-tonk, it was time to leave

CHORUS

lot-dah-dah-dah (lot-dah-dah-dah)
lot-in-dah-dah-dah

Someone opened up a closet door and out stepped Johnny B. Goode
Playing guitar like a-ringin’ a bell and lookin’ like he should
If you gotta play at garden parties, I wish you a lotta luck
But if memories were all I sang, I rather drive a truck

CHORUS

lot-dah-dah-dah (lot-dah-dah-dah)
lot-in-dah-dah-dah

‘n’ it’s all right now, learned my lesson well
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself

Southern Gospel Music: A 103 Years Later

The Speer Family was one of the earlier southern gospel family groups who traveled from city to city in the 1940’s.

Some historians say southern gospel music was founded in the 1870’s but 1910 is when the first southern gospel quartet was formed.

However, the first southern gospel song The Old Time Religion was published in 1873. Charles Davis Tillman is credited with bringing the song to white southerners, when he heard African-Americans sing it in a tent meeting in South Carolina.

The song is still being sung 140 years later in churches and in gospel singing concerts. The song was used in the movie Sergeant York in 1941. Life’s Railway to Heaven is another song brought to southern gospel fans by Tillman. The Carter Family, Chuck Wagon Gang and Oak Ridge Boys were just some of the groups and soloists who sang the song.

 Poor Wayfaring Stranger was even older than the other songs mentioned, since it was found in a 1858 songbook. It has been sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford, Dusty Springfield, Johnny Cash and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, not to mention too many other groups and soloists to mention.

Singing schools such as the Stamps-Baxter School of Music taught quartet singers to sing their part properly and how to blend in with a group, when the whole quartet sang at once.

Southern gospel music could be heard at singing conventions, which featured more difficult songs like I’m Winging My Way Back Home and Heavenly Parade. I can personally vouch for how difficult I’m Winging My Way Back Home can be to sing, since I have tried to sing it in choirs and have not had much success. When done right though it is true southern gospel music at its best.

The Cathedral quartet first became known as part of the Rex Humbard ministry.

The Blackwood Brothers Quartet was formed in 1934 and still is singing today 79 years later. Tragedy struck the quartet in 1954 when a plane crash killed baritone R.W. Blackwood and bass singer Bill Lyles. Cecil Blackwood replaced his older brother R.W. as baritone and J.D. Sumner replaced Lyles as the bass singer.

This was my favorite Blackwood Brothers Quartet record album. Played it so much that wore out the grooves in the record and had to order a new copy of the album. My favorite songs on the album were when J.D. Sumner and Jim “Big Chief” Wetherington of the Statesmen had a singing contest singing I’ve Got To Walk That Lonesome Road at a concert, trying to see who could hit the lowest note and I think it is safe to say that J.D. won. Old Country Church was another favorite on the album, especially when the tenor hit the chorus on the last verse.

I have seen the Blackwood Brothers sing in the Alexandria, Louisiana area a few times, but never saw them with J.D. Sumner singing bass, since Ken Turner was singing the bass part. James Blackwood singing lead made up for that though, with his great delivery of the songs we grew up with. My mother lived in the Hiawatha, Kansas area in the 1970’s and was able to see the Blackwood Brothers sing there many times.

J.D. left and joined the Stamps Quartet, which toured with Elvis Presley throughout the United States. I saw them sing backup for Elvis in 1977, shortly before Elvis died, in a concert in March of 1977 and when Elvis wasn’t feeling well he had one of the quartet singers sing a song, while he sat down and gathered enough strength to continue the concert.

All night sings were a big part of southern gospel music in the earlier years when throngs of southern gospel fans would spend a good part of the night listening to southern gospel music.
Have never seen the Statesmen in person, but have seen them numerous times on the Gospel Singing Jubilee and Gospel Caravan shows shown on television on Sunday mornings. Watching southern gospel music before church was a routine at our house.

I can remember when a local southern gospel radio station in Pineville, Louisiana held a concert every year in the Rapides Parish Coliseum, in Alexandria, Louisiana. I heard that a heckler one time was giving Howard Goodman of the Happy Goodman Family a rough time, but if I remember right Howard got the best of it.

The original Dove Brothers Quartet pictured left to right: John Rulapaugh tenor, McCray Dove lead, Burman Porter bass, Richard Simmons pianist and Eric Dove baritone.

My favorite gospel quartet is the Dove Brothers Quartet which was founded in 1998.

We traveled 200 miles to see them in Texarkana, Texas and will never forget them singing When I Move To Hallelujah Square and the classic Get Away Jordan which had been recorded many years earlier by the Statesman Quartet.

I was able to talk to all the members of their quartet at their product table and would travel many times to see them in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas and they finally appeared in my hometown of Pineville, Louisiana.

Only McCray Dove, Eric Dove and Burman Porter are singing in the current configuration of the group.

The following video is of the Dove Brothers Quartet singing Get Away Jordan, at the National Quartet Convention in 1999 at Louisville, Kentucky. We need more singing like this today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NmOUXtfzZA

Southern gospel music has in recent years seen more soloists and duets and trios, but for me what draws me to southern gospel music are the traditional quartets.

Mark Lanier is a southern gospel soloist who used to sing with the Bibletones, Perfect Heart and Poet Voices. He lives in Ball, Louisiana and travels mostly throughout the south singing at churches. His son played baseball with my grandson in Tioga, Louisiana, so have been able to talk with him often and he sang at our church in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2010.

This is a video of Mark singing the lead on I Hold A Clear Title, when he sang for Perfect Heart in 1994.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IHqdD6JAcA

Most southern gospel fans like to hear the tenor or bass being featured on songs. I like the traditional southern gospel songs like He Touched Me, Mansion on the Hilltop, I Never Shall Forget That Day, The Old Country Church, Without Him, Farther Along, The King is Coming, The Lighthouse and O What a Savior.

Bill Gaither has done a lot to make southern gospel music more popular, since he brought the well-known names of the past back to the forefront, through his homecoming videos. We have at least 10 of his videos and enjoy watching the greats of the past singing on stage in unison.

The Atlanta Homecoming video is one of my favorites of the series, but my favorite is the Ryman Gospel Reunion video. That video includes The Lighthouse, Unclouded Day, I Never Shall Forget That Day and too many others to list them all. Clips of all the songs on the video can be heard at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/music/dp/B000000V23

The Blackwood Brothers Quartet bus which can be seen at the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame on the grounds of Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The following links to a complete list of those enshrined in the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame:

http://www.sgma.org/inductees_alphabetical.htm

Some of those who will be inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame on October 2, 2013 in Dollywood:

Thomas Dorsey, who wrote Take My Hand Precious Lord and Peace in the Valley. He died in 1993.

Tim Riley, who is owner of and bass singer for Gold City Quartet.

“Little” Roy Lewis and Polly Lewis of the Lewis Family.

It is sad that southern gospel groups don’t travel as far south as Louisiana, as they used to but the big busses of these days owned by the groups make it cost prohibitive, because of the higher gasoline prices.

We may not hear southern gospel music as much as we once did, but we are glad to be members of Calvary Baptist Church in Merryville, Louisiana,  which sometimes even sings from a southern gospel music hymnbook and southern gospel music is often sung for special music.

Bill Gaither Concert in Beaumont, Texas

The Gaither Vocal Band as they appeared on stage in Beaumont, Texas on July 26. The group from left to right is David Phelps, Michael English, Wes Hampton, Mark Lowry and Bill Gaither.

 

I have been to a lot of southern gospel concerts, over the years but had never seen a Bill Gaither concert till last night at Ford Park in Beaumont, Texas.

My wife Rhonda and me thoroughly enjoyed the show.

The show featured the Gaither Vocal Band, with the Nelons, Martins, Gene McDonald and Angela Primm appearing before the Gaither Vocal Band took the stage.

Gene McDonald the former bass singer for the Florida Boys sang a solo, which is unusual for a bass singer, but he pulled it off, with no problem at all.

 

Michael English, Bill Gaither, Mark Lowry, David Phelps and Wes Hampton who comprise the Gaither Vocal Band.

 

The Nelons, Martins, Angela Primm and Gene McDonald finished their acts and then the stage went dark and the Gaither Vocal Band started singing their first song. It was exciting when the stage lights were turned back on and there was the Gaither Vocal Band bigger than life.

Mark Lowry the comedian-baritone of the group carried the show in my estimation, with his humor and him singing his hit song Mary Did You Know. Lowry said that was his only hit, so he was going to sing it. Lowry was the consummate comedian, with his exchanges with Bill Gaither one of the highlights of the concert.

Gaither hosted the concert and did an excellent job of introducing the singers, while also singing bass for the Gaither Vocal Band. The 77-year-old Gaither didn’t show his age as he didn’t seem to tire, as the concert which lasted close to three hours went on.

They did sing a lot of songs, that I hadn’t heard of, so assume it was new material. But that didn’t matter, since whatever song they were singing at the time didn’t matter, because of their delivery of the songs.

Kevin Williams the guitarist transformed into a pitchman shortly before the intermission, as he showed the various products for sale at the product table, by all the performers on the show.

He held up one product and said it was the Beaumont special and Bill Gaither interjected, that it will be the Tulsa, Oklahoma special tomorrow night.

A highlight of the show was when the audience sang along on a song that was sung by a lady, who was not introduced. The song was I Stand Amazed In The Presence and it was a touching moment to hear the huge audience join in singing the song.

Some highlights of previous homecoming shows were shown on the two screens. The audience applauded when the late Vestal Goodman was showing singing from a past homecoming concert.

David Phelps was featured on He is Alive and when he hit those high notes, with his tenor voice it had a huge impact on the audience. He stood out among all the singers, but they all sang well, when they were being featured.

The Gaither classic The King is Coming was sung near the end of the show and it reached a crescendo on the last verse when Michael English started the last verse:

I can hear the chariots rumble, I can see the marching throng

The flurry of God’s trumpet spells the end of sin and wrong

Regal robes are now unfolding, heaven’s grandstand now in place

Heaven’s choir is now assembled, starts to sing Amazing Grace

Then the whole group sang the chorus as it reached an even higher crescendo, as they finished the song.

It was a great night for southern gospel fans, but also a good night for those who like contemporary music.

Gaither Vocal Band

The first configuration of the Gaither Vocal Band when it was formed in 1981, with Steve Green, Gary McSpadden, Lee Young and Bill Gaither.

There have been a total of 16 configurations in the 32 years of the Gaither Vocal Band.

Three of the four current members of the group, excluding Bill Gaither have left the group for solo careers, but have all returned and the current configuration started in 2009.

 

Timeline For Current Members

Michael English – Was a member of the group from 1985-1994 and returned in 2009, for a total of 15 years with the group.

Mark Lowry – First joined the group in 1988 and remained with the group through 2001, then returned in 2009 for a total of 19 years with the Gaither Vocal Band.

Wes Hampton – Joined the group in 2005 and has been with the group for nine consecutive years.

David Phelps – First stint with the Gaither Vocal Band was from 1997-2005 and rejoined the group in 2009, for a total of 14 years with the group.

 

All four singers are powerhouse vocalists on their own, but magic happens when they combine their voices, as they had letter-perfect harmony last night.

It was a long show, but still wish it had been longer, because this was a night to remember.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smokey Joe’s Cafe Final Performance: Keep on Rollin’ and Searchin

Victor Trent Cook, Ken Ard, Adrian Bailey and Frederick Owens are featured in Keep In Rollin’ and Searchin’, two of the songs featured in this final performance of Smokey Joe’s Café.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLi0IDrzalY

Frankie Valli Still Going Strong At 79

Frankie Valli earlier in his career.

Frankie Valli was born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio on May 3, 1934 in Newark, New Jersey. The 79 year-old singer appeared on American Idol singing his classic hits Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You and Grease in the Season 12 American Idol finale.

Frankie Valli shown with Curtis Finch, Burnell Taylor and Lazaro Arbos on the stage during the Season 12 finale for American Idol.

Valli was enticed to sing after seeing Frank Sinatra in concert at the Paramount Theater in New York City. He appeared with various groups, but his main claim to fame came during his time singing with the Four Seasons. The group had monster hits like Sherry, Walk Like A Man, Big Girls Don’t Cry, which all went to No.1 on the Billboard charts in 1962 and 1963. Another 1963 hit Candy Girl peaked at No.3. Dawn (Go Away) would also climb to No.3.

His first hit as a soloist was Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, which reached the No.1 spot on the Billboard charts. My Eyes Adored You went to No.1 in 1974, then he had his last No.1 solo song with Grease.

An interesting note of trivia is that the Four Seasons were named after a New Jersey bowling alley.

When Valli recorded solo albums he sang in his regular voice, not the falsetto he used with the Four Seasons. Valli sounded good whether singing in falsetto or regular voice.

The Four Seasons and Valli weren’t affected by the British invasion, as they didn’t alter their sound to fit in with the Beatles craze.

The late 70’s would see Valli battle otosclerosis, which causes loss of hearing. He would have to sing from memory during this time and but would regain his hearing in 1980.

He would record his first solo album in 27 years in 2007 and is still active today 62 years after he first became an active singer.

A crowning achievement for Valli and Four Seasons was their induction, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

These are some 30 second clips of the Four Seasons and Frankie Valli hits:

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/frankie-valli-mn0000794449/songs

Four Seasons singing Working My Way Back To You

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pI1BgbYIPk

Four Seasons singing a medley of Dawn, Rag Doll and Bye Bye Baby

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmFFsBCHLB0

Ryan Seacrest who is usually shorter than most of the singers on American Idol had to be happy, to stand next to the diminutive Frankie Valli who is five foot five, so Seacrest towered over him at five foot eight.

It is great to know that 79 year-old Valli is still active, with no signs of retiring anytime soon.

American Idol: America Got It Right With Choice of Candice Glover

Candice Glover is the new American Idol of Season 12.

It has been evident since the Final 10 were chosen by judges, that Candice Glover was the best singer among those singers in the Final 10.

American Idol fans confirmed that she was the best, by choosing her as the new American Idol for Season 12. The only surprise would have been if Candice had not won. Kree Harrison finished second and Angie Miller was third in Season 12. I look for Kree and Angie to have successful careers, but Candice should have her first album released long before either of them, since her album should be in stores for months, before Kree and Angie release their albums.

The producers are smart to release the first album of Candice much sooner than usual. Most albums by the current American Idol are not released till November, so the summer release will let fans of Candice have her music, in their MP3 players and phones sooner rather than later, plus many albums should be sold on the American Idol tour this summer.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=frankie+valli+on+american+idol+finale&view=detail&mid=DE2CA8D5E78046F9CAD9DE2CA8D5E78046F9CAD9&first=0&FORM=NVPFVR.

There were many guest artists on the finale, but none of them came close to matching Frankie Valli and him singing with the five guys on I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You and Grease. Valli commanded the stage like giants of entertainment do when they enter the spotlight. Valli turned 79 earlier this month and was born a year before Elvis Presley. Valli has been singing since 17, which was 62 years ago.

Aretha Franklin also sang but her singing didn’t have the impact of Valli, since she was singing from New York, but she sang some of her biggest hits, which were received well by the audience.

It was great to see Candice become the first girl  to win American Idol since Jordin Sparks won in Season 6.

Randy Jackson said his goodbyes to fans of American Idol last night. He is the only one of ten judges to remain with the show the first twelve seasons. Latest rumors say that the other three Idol judges could be leaving too, but it could be several months, before any changes to the judging panel will be announced. There are even some reports that the show could return to a three judge format.

It is too early for ratings results for the finale, but it is almost a foregone conclusion that the ratings will be the lowest for any finale in the 12 year history of the show.

The Voice Season 4 will be ending soon, then Season 5 of The Voice will return in the fall along with Season 3 of X-Factor, so three music competitions will end before American Idol returns in January.

 

 

 

 

American Idol: Candice Glover Should Be Next American Idol

http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/candice-glover-performs-i-who-have-nothing/17womoku7

It will be complete shock if Candice Glover isn’t crowned as the next American Idol. The above video escalated Candice to a whole new level of excellence. Kree Harrison is a great singer, that should have a long and successful career, but she is not the singer that Candice is.

Her rendition of I Who Have Nothing the Ben E. King classic showed that she is the best singer on American Idol this season. However, her chances of winning depend on how her voting base voted last night.

American Idol needs a win by Candice, since she is a powerhouse singer, that should sell millions of records and draw thousands to her concerts. Kree may sell a lot of albums, but she will never reach the star power of Candice, who delivers the big moments in her songs, that the Idol judges are looking for.

There are rumors that Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey will not return as judges, while Randy Jackson has already announced he won’t be returning for Season 13.

Simon Fuller: Creator of American Idol

Simon Fuller the creator of American Idol was criticized last night, for the songs he chose for Candace and Kree to sing last night. Randy Jackson disliked his song choices and Ryan Seacrest interjected, that he only said that since he would be leaving the show after tonight’s finale.

Randy was wrong to even mention song choices, since Candice and Kree only sang the songs and had no part in selecting them. Why criticize the man who created the American Idol juggernaut and paid Jackson millions of dollars since the first show?

We can expect many changes in American Idol in Season 13. Another year of lower ratings demands that changes be made.

There is way too much emphasis on the celebrity of the judges, when the focus should be entirely on the contestants. Paying Mariah Carey $18 million, Nicki Minaj $12 million and Keith Urban $5 million was not able to attract viewers in larger numbers and in fact this season had the lowest ratings in the history of the show.

There are already rumors that Jennifer Lopez may return as a judge in January, but can’t see the producers signing another high salary celebrity.

I wouldn’t mind seeing some of the previous winners join the judge panel, who wouldn’t have the clout to demand huge salaries, plus they would understand better, what the contestants are experiencing during the life of the show.

Former American Idol contestants currently have albums in the Billboard 200. The Voice may be attracting more viewers, but their winners are not selling albums and downloads like winners or also-rans from American Idol. That makes American Idol the king of the singing competitions, till the other shows start producing singers that sell albums in the millions.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/idolchatter/2013/05/15/american-idol-sales-finale-week/2164287/

American Idol: Angie Miller Goes Home, All Four Judges Reportedly To Be Fired For Season 13

Angie Miller went home on American Idol leaving Candice Glover and Kree Harrison to compete on the last performance show next Wednesday for the coveted title of American Idol.

 

It was an almost foregone conclusion for me at least, that Candice Glover and Angie Miller would be the last two standing on American Idol but the voters chose Kree Harrison to face Candice in the last performance show next Wednesday night.

There was no doubt that Kree is a good singer, but to me she was not a singer of the caliber of Angie Miller. I don’t think Kree can connect with an audience nearly as well, as Candice who clearly has to be the favorite next week, but even she is not a sure winner, unless her supporters take time to vote her the next American Idol next Thursday night.

All Four Judges Could Be Fired

The latest reports circulating in the media are saying that all four judges will be fired, before the start of Season 13 next January.

In fact, Randy Jackson announced he is leaving the show in a Thursday statement. It would have been no surprise if Nicki Minaj or Mariah Carey had been fired or both, since their feud was a distraction during Season 12. Nicki Minaj telling Mariah to “simmer down sir” was a prime example of their dislike for each other.

Mariah has fired Randy as her manager, so that may have been a cause of a reported dustup between the two.

However, doubt many observers thought that all four judges would be fired. I thought Keith Urban did a good enough job to be retained for another season.

Even executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is reportedly in line to be fired. Ryan Seacrest could be the only familiar face to return next season.

The days of the high priced divas may be over for American Idol, after paying Mariah $18 million and Nicki $12 million, for this season.

Worst of all the May sweeps ratings determine the prices that sponsors are  charged and with only 11.11 million tuning in last Wednesday night the show won’t have the money to pay the high salaries in Season 13. The 11.11 million viewers were the fewest viewers watching American Idol this season.

Season 6 ratings averaged around 30 million, so that is an indication of how far the ratings have tumbled since Jordin Sparks was the last woman, that was voted the winner of American Idol six years ago.

We should hear from American Idol management in the coming months, if these latest rumors are true. The show really has no choice, but to make changes in light of the extremely low ratings. There is almost no chance of the show being cancelled, since it is one of the top money-making shows on television.

So if you watch American Idol next week soak in the atmosphere, because it is almost a sure bet, that there will be major changes in Season 13.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/american-idol-producers-set-fire-judges-report-article-1.1339251

 

 

American Idol: Nobody Going Home

Angie Miller and Kree Harrison were Top 2 in American Idol results show in which nobody went home to get the show on schedule after judges didn’t use their save.

 

Kree Harrison had to be shocked to be in the Top 2 with Angie Miller, on the Thursday night results show on American Idol. The judges had roundly criticized her performances on Wednesday night, but evidently the judges couldn’t sway the voters into not voting for her.

It was a shock to see Candace Glover in the Bottom 2, since she had some of the best feedback from the judges on Wednesday night. Amber Holcomb also was in the Bottom 2, but that wasn’t too surprising since there was some criticism of her decision to sing MacArthur Park on Wednesday’s show.

Ryan Seacrest teased the audience by saying “And going home is no one” and then explaining the show was expecting the judges to use their save, but when they didn’t the show needed an extra week to finish on the original schedule.

According to my calculations there should be three more weeks, with the final three revealed next week, then the final two the following week and finale the third week. None of this is official so is only conjecture at this point.

Lee DeWyze, the Season 10 winner, who is probably the least recognizable winner among the 11 winners so far sang a song from his new album.

Angie Miller seems to be favorite to win American Idol.

The favorite to win Season 12 of American Idol seems to be Angie Miller, unless she falters in the remaining shows. She needs to follow the advice of the judges and Jimmy Iovine and sing while playing the piano, which seems to be the niche she needs to be in to become the next American Idol.

However, with the votes from yesterday and those cast next week anything can happen, so it is crucial for each of the remaining four contestants, to make good song choices and to perform them as flawlessly as possible.

American Idol has lost almost 5.5 million viewers since the premiere show in January. I think many fans have gone over to The Voice and don’t care to watch American Idol the next two nights. A Big Bang Theory rerun topped American Idol last week, which shows how far the ratings have tumbled this season.

Only 12.46 million viewers tuned in to the Wednesday performance show, but no results are available yet for last night’s show.

American Idol: Judges Praise Angie, Trash Kree

Candace Glover, Angie Miller, Kree Harrison and Amber Holcomb will find out who is going home next on American Idol on the results show tonight.

 

The judges may not have that much influence on American Idol voters, but if they do make a difference in the voting, then Angie Miller and Candace Glover should be in Top 2 and Kree Harrison and Amber Holcomb should be in the Bottom 2. However, we can only guess what the actual results will show, when Ryan Seacrest reveals the results tonight.

Kree Harrison got trashed, hammered and battered by the judges after she sang the Susan Tedeschi song Hurt So Bad. I was thinking how good of a job, that she had done with the song, but the judges hated her rendition of the song. It was plain to see that Kree was shocked at being attacked so mercilessly by the judges. I thought she did a creditable job on A Whiter Shade of Pale, but the judges were not impressed by that either.

Keith Urban seemed to think the one hit wonder songs should have been recorded in the last 10 years. The contestants are not mind readers and shouldn’t be expected to know what timeline the judges were wanting the songs from.

I can understand A Whiter Shade of Pale being a one hit wonder, since it was the only hit of Procol Harum, but Cry Me A River recorded by Julie London 58 years ago in 1955 would not be considered a one hit wonder, since London recorded many more albums after its release. It has been covered many times over the years, including my favorite version by Diana Krall in her Look of Love album released in 2001.

Candace received mixed reviews from the judges, while Angie received more praise, than any of the other three contestants. It would be a tremendous shock if Angie is in the bottom two and it would show that the opinions of the judges were not affecting the voting results.

Jimmy Iovine did not like Amber singing MacArthur Park, which was written by Jimmy Webb. Iovine called the song corny, probably because of the lyrics saying “Someone left a cake out in the rain and I’ll never find that recipe again” which was corny. Interesting side note about the song: Webb wrote the song after breaking up with Linda Rondstadt, since they had met many times in MacArthur Park.

Kree and Amber clearly got the worst feedback from the judges, so it looks like Angie and Candace should be the top vote-getters.

Vote For the Worst website has Kree as the one to vote for this week, which might help her stay another week. There is speculation that Ryan Seacrest’s surprise tonight may be that nobody goes home, since the judges haven’t used their save.

So the surprise may be either that the judges use their save or that Ryan will announce nobody will go home. The bad thing about that scenario is that fans cast millions of votes for nothing, so it would make sense if the judges are allowed to use the save, rather than just announce nobody will go home.

I don’t think the judges should even have judged the two group songs. The group songs are only filler anyway and it gave the judges a third chance to trash Kree. I don’t know if Kree can recover from hearing how much the judges hated her singing to become the American Idol.

There is no sense in American Idol having a two-hour show for four contestants and next week it will again be two hours for three contestants, unless the judges use their save to keep all four contestants for another week.

Next week’s show could be the next to last show of Season 12, unless everybody stays another week tonight.

Rumors have been flying around the internet that Mariah Carey might be fired, before the completion of Season 12, to boost the ratings, but those rumors seem to have been unfounded.

For a more complete recap of last night’s show:

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/04/25/american-idol-amber-holcomb-judges-argue/

 

 

American Idol: Janelle Goes Home: And Then There Were Four

Janelle Arthur received the fewest number of votes and was sent home on American Idol.

Janelle Arthur who expected to be sent home last night became the first girl to be eliminated on American Idol on Thursday night.

The judges could have saved her, but seem to be saving their save for one of the remaining four contestants. Had heard that they had to use their save by Top 5 week, but apparently they will have it at their disposal for one more week. I will be surprised if these judges will ever save anyone, as they can’t seem to agree on who is worth saving. The following article says the judges will not be allowed to use their save now:

http://www.rickey.org/american-idol-12-to-end-one-week-early-after-non-save-in-the-top-5/

Top 4 week will see Amber Holcomb, Candace Glover, Angie Miller and Kree Harrison try to extend their time on American Idol. It was surprising to see Kree in the Bottom 2, but in another way it was not surprising, since any of the four remaining contestants would make excellent American Idols.

From now on the competition should be even tougher for the contestants, since we are nearing the end of Season 12. If the save is not used Season 12 will end the second week in May. The judges will have their hands full, as they and the voters hold the fate, of the remaining contestants as the season nears its end.

Nicki Minaj and Jimmy Iovine did not see eye to eye on the merits of Amber Holcomb’s singing on Wednesday’s show.

Clay Aiken and Fantasia sang on the show last night and Paula Abdul made a surprise appearance. Paula may have not been the best judge ever, but would be an upgrade over either Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey.

American Idol continues to trail The Voice in the television ratings. The Voice has seen a spike in their ratings during the Battle Rounds. The Voice may be an excellent show, but until one of their winners makes a real mark in the music world I can’t take it too seriously. I lose interest after the blind auditions on The Voice, then watch when they get down to the live shows after the Battle Rounds are over. Worst thing is that there is such a long gap from seeing The Voice contestants in the Battle Rounds, till all the finalists from the Battle Rounds appear individually in the remaining shows.

All four of the remaining contestants on American Idol should have recording careers, plus Janelle Arthur should make it big in the world of country music.

Lazaro Arbos has some less than flattering words about one of the remaining contestants, after he went home from the show:

“I’m not gonna say names and I don’t wanna sound rude,” Lazaro told ABC News Radio backstage at Live with Kelly & Michael earlier in the week. “But I think that one woman in particular is cra-a-a-a-z-y and she wants to win!”  Lazaro would not say if the contestant was Kree, Candice, Amber, Angie or Janelle, but he thinks that she — whoever she is — needs to chill out. Big time.  “She thinks that we’re in The Hunger Games and she’s fighting for her life,” dished Lazaro about the mystery contestant. “She needs to realize that it’s not about winning: it’s about what you do after the show.” – Vote for the Worst website

Janelle was chosen by Vote For The Worst website as their choice to vote for this week. It will be interesting to see how they choose as the worst remaining contestant, now that Janelle has been eliminated.

Facts on remaining contestants:

Candace Glover – Candace is 24 and from Beaufort, South Carolina. This was her third try at American Idol having competed in Season 9 and Season 11. She made it to Las Vegas week in Season 11 and performed in a group with Season 11 finalists DeAndre Brackensick and Jessica Sanchez.

Angie Miller – Angie is 19 and from Beverly, Massachusetts. She is partially deaf and has a You Tube page with 2.8 million views.

Amber Holcomb – Amber is 19 and from Houston, Texas. She was seen in Season 11 and was in a group with Season 11 finalists Shannon Magrane and Joshua Ledet.

Kree Harrison – Kree is 23 and came from Winfield, Texas, but currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Kree’s father died in an airplane crash when she was 12 and her mother died in a car accident, when Kree was 16.

The following poll asks which of the remaining four contestants will be the Season 12 American Idol:

 

 

 

 

American Idol: Candace Glover Current Favorite To Win American Idol

Angie Miller, Candace Glover, Janelle Arthur, Kree Harrison and Amber Holdomb comprise the Final 5 on American Idol Season 12.

The American Idol judges Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey have their work cut out for them since only the most talented singers are left in the competition.

It is looking like Candace Glover is the current favorite to win the title of the American Idol for Season 12. It will be interesting tonight to see how Candace fares in the voting results, that will be revealed tonight. The best singer on American Idol is not always the winner on the finale in May.

Janelle Arthur on the other hand is almost certain to be in the bottom two tonight, after receiving lukewarm critiques from the judges. I agree with Nicki Minaj that Janelle will make a mark in country music, even if she doesn’t win the competition.

It will be sad to see Janelle go home tonight, if she does receive the fewest votes. She is very likeable and seems to be able to handle any criticism from the judges well.

However, there are no guarantees in American Idol voting, as Pia Toscano can testify to when she was eliminated early in Season 12.

Pia Toscano eliminated early in Season 10 of American Idol.

So Ryan Seacrest might reveal some surprising results tonight, but in all likelihood Janelle will be bidding adieu to her fellow contestants tonight.

Kree Harrison probably will be among the top vote-getters tonight, with Angie Miller or Amber Holcomb joining Janelle in the bottom two.

The shocking event of the night was that Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey actually talked to each other, for the first time that I know of during Season 12 live shows.

Unreality TV delves further into their altercation last night:

http://www.unrealitytv.co.uk/american-idol/american-idol-2013-nicki-minaj-tells-mariah-carey-to-simmer-down-over-kree-harrison/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Unreality+%28Unreality+TV%29

Personally, I thought all the contestants performed well, but the judges know music much better than me who missed notes or sang offkey, so my opinion and a dollar will get me on the city bus, but doesn’t really mean that much.

New York Daily News has posted a recap of last night’s show:

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/channel-surfer/2013/04/american-idol-season-12-episode-28-recap-candice-glover-shines-on-night-when

 

Latest Idol News

Pia Toscano mentioned earlier in this article will be seen in her first movie Grace Unplugged in October and should also release her debut album. New York Daily News has more info on the Season 10 American Idol contestant:

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/channel-surfer/2013/04/american-idol-season-12-episode-28-recap-candice-glover-shines-on-night-when

Fantasia will be seen on American Idol tonight singing Lose To Win and Clay Aiken is also slated to appear in the telecast.

Taylor Hicks is still appearing in concerts, but his albums are not selling well. His 2011 album Taylor Hicks has received great reviews with 248 Amazon reviews rating the album 5 stars, while only 5 gave the album 1 star. His problem is that it has not sold well and is currently 87,267th in sales and new and used copies of the album can be bought for one cent.

 

 

 

George Beverly Shea Dies At 104

George Beverly Shea 1909-2013

George Beverly Shea has died in Montreat, North Carolina after a brief illness at the age of 104. He was born on February 1, 1909 in Winchester, Ontario, Canada.

Shea is best known for being a soloist with the Billy Graham crusade from 1947 till almost 60 years later when Graham was no longer physically able to stand and preach.

George Beverly Shea shown with Billy Graham at a crusade.

His recording career lasted from 1951 till his death and he recorded 70 albums during his recording career. I can still remember hearing him sing How Great Thou Art and It Took A Miracle and many other songs during the televised crusades.

He was an accomplished musician playing the violin, piano and organ.

Shea was married a combined 70 years to his first wife Erma Scharfe who died in 1976 and his second wife whom he married in 1985 and survived him upon his death.

George Beverly Shea may be gone, but he will never be forgotten by the many of us who saw him sing so many times over the years, with the Billy Graham crusade. His music will live on for years to come.

American Idol: Candace Glover In Bad Situation

Candace Glover received the most positive feedback on American Idol.

Candace Glover received enthusiastic praise for her singing on American Idol last night. Her rendition of Love Song was so good, that Randy Jackson said that it was the best performance of any singing competition ever. It is looking now like Candace is the one to beat. However, she didn’t even finish in the Top 3 last week. Instead Kree Harrison, Angie Miller and Lazaro Arbos finished in the Top 3.

The question now is whether her voting base will cast enough votes for her to be in the Top 3, when the voting results are announced by Ryan Seacrest tonight. American Idol is not always about who is best, but who has the strongest voting base.

A case in point is Lazaro Arbos, who is still around despite being the worst of the boy singers and worst of the remaining contestants. Lazaro was hammered unmercifully by the judges last night, but that may actually work in his favor. It may have caused him to garner sympathy votes, which may keep him on the show. Or maybe the criticism may cause some of his supporters, to abandon him and start voting for real singers. I like Lazaro but know good and well, that he is not going to be the next American Idol.

For the tenth best singer among the ten contestants, to be competing for a spot in the Final 5 tells me the voters are not particularly voting for the best singer.

However, even if Lazaro stays the girl who receives the least votes would almost certainly be saved by the judges.

Nicki Minaj continues being nice to a contestant one minute, then the next minute rip their singing the next minute. She seems to enjoy sticking it to a contestant, after luring the contestant into thinking she is going to say something positive about their performance. Janelle Arthur was the victim last night of her criticism saying her song was boring. I am not saying Nicki doesn’t have the right to criticize the contestants, but she should start her criticism from the start, instead of acting like she really cares about a contestant, then jump on them with both feet.

If the voters vote strictly on performance, then Candace, Kree Harrison and Amber Holcomb should be in the Top 3 tonight, with Janelle, Angie Miller and Lazaro at the bottom of the vote-getters. If Lazaro stays I look for Janelle to finish last and then be saved by the judges.

My personal pick as of today to be the next American Idol is Candace, with Kree Harrison likely to be the finalist with her on finale night, but Amber Holcomb is still in the running, if either of them falters.

One criticism for the show is that I see no need for the show to be two hours long, with only six singers left in the competition. The songs last about two minutes or less, so the 12 songs last night lasted only about 24 minutes. That left one hour and 36 minutes for judges to make their critiques, run umpteen commercials and fill the rest of the time with filler.

We are forced to watch the show on regular antenna, since the satellite network doesn’t carry the closest Fox station. We used to record the shows when we were on cable, which saved us watching about 40 minutes of commercials and turning the show into an hour and 20 minute show. The show will be two hours again next week, even though they may be down to five singers, unless Lazaro stays and a girl singer is saved, which would still leave six singers.

For a complete rundown on last night show from Hollywood.com:

http://www.hollywood.com/recaps/55007430/american-idol-recap-top-6-candice-glover-lazaro-arbos?page=all

Annette Funicello Dies At 70

Annette Funicello 1942-2013

Annette Funicello  died in a Bakersfield, California hospital today at the age of 70. She had suffered from multiple sclerosis for the last 26 years.Her death was caused by complications from multiple sclerosis.

She could longer walk in 2004 and lost her speech in 2009.

Her last movie or television appearance was in Back To Beach film, which was released in 1987.

Longtime fans will remember her as Annette from the Mickey Mouse Club, which debuted in 1955. She starred in several beach movies with Frankie Avalon from Beach Party in 1963 till they co-starred on Back to the Beach 24 years later.

Annette recorded several albums and one of her songs Tall Paul peaked at No.7 on the Billboard charts. She recorded singles from 1958-1983.

I can remember watching Annette on Mickey Mouse Club many years ago and then saw many of her beach movies over the years.

Her husband Glen Holt survives her along with three children, from her first husband Jack Gilardi.

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-et-st-mickey-mouse-club-star-annette-funicello-dies-at-70-20130408,0,5659102.story

American Idol: Will Lazaro Arbos Go Home Thursday?

Lazaro Arbos is only remaining male contestant in Season 12 of American Idol.

 

Lazaro Arbos may be going home on Thursday night, since he is only male contestant left in Season 12. However, that is not a foregone conclusion, with him finishing in the Top 3 last Thursday night. Those in the Top 3 were not announced in a particular order, so it is conceivable that Lazaro may have even been the top vote-getter.

Lazaro may be a sentimental favorite of the voters this season, since the judges have not had many kind words about his singing during the season. Their critiques of his singing may even be helping to garner sympathy votes for Lazaro.

Janelle Arthur may even be going home next Thursday, if Lazaro isn’t sent home this week. She finished in Bottom 2 last week, so unless she steps it up next week she could be going home.

If a girl doesn’t win in Season 12, then something is very wrong with the voting procedure, since the girls are clearly much better singers than the boys this season.

If Lazaro is sent home, then it means a very talented singer will be going home the next week and every week after, till the new American Idol is announced.

Any of the remaining girls including Janelle, Amber Holcomb, Candace Glover, Angie Miller and Kree Harrison are worthy of being the next American Idol.

It will be interesting to see how American Idol fans vote in this poll, so we can see if Lazaro’s fan base can keep him on the show and send a better singer home.

 

American Idol – The Voice Ratings Battle

Season 4 of the Voice premiered with 13.64 million viewers and has increased to 13.93 million viewers on the last episode.

Meanwhile American Idol garnered more viewers, for their premiere of Season 12, with 17.93 million viewers, but last Thursday’s results show drew over 6 million less viewers, with 11.72 million watching the results show. The producers have to be concerned with the loss of that many viewers.

Evidently, viewers are tiring of the music competition genre. Television has a predilection to latch onto a hot trend and doesn’t let go of it till it fizzles out. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was a prime example of overkill at its worst. The show did well till it was shown on more than one night a week, then withered away till where it wasn’t even shown during primetime.

Singing competitions are proliferating to the point, where summer is our only respite from the shows. However, with X-Factor and The Voice in the fall and then American Idol in January and The Voice in March we are having singing competition shows from September to May.

 

 

 

 

American Idol: Nicki Minaj Going Overboard……Again

Nicki Minaj tweeted that ousted contestant Devin Velez needed to be gracious after being voted off the show last week and that she wasn’t going to use the save on a boy contestant.

Nicki Minaj took to Tweeter lecturing Devin Velez that he should be gracious for being on the show. When Velez sang I Can’t Help Myself on Wednesday night, with Lazaro Arbos and Burnell Taylor Minaj compared their singing to that of Hollywood week. Even worse, she ordered the group off the stage, which to me was extremely mean. They had to feel bad enough, after being trashed by Minaj, without her ordering them off the stage.

Nicki Minaj tweeted to Devin Velez last week, after he tweeted that Minaj was not very professional in ordering the group of Velez, Lazaro Arbos and Burnell Taylor, off the stage after their rendition of I Can Help Myself. Velez did admit the performance was sub-par, but thought Minaj acted unprofessionally, when ordering them off the stage. Minaj tweeted back that Velez needed to be gracious for his shot on the show.

Nicki Minaj was angered by a tweet by Devin Velez, after he was voted off the show and tweeted back to him that he should have been gracious for even being on the show. She went on to say in her tweet, that she was not going to save a boy, since the girls are much better singers. Velez said he didn’t mind being criticized by Minaj after the group of Velez, Lazaro Arbos and Burnell Taylor performed I Can’t Help Myself, but thought she acted unprofessionally, by telling the group to get off the stage.

I don’t think that the group singing should have even be judged on Wednesday night. It was just more filler to justify having eight singers sing in a two-hour show. Fox could have easily cut the show to half and hour, since each song takes about a minute and a half and then the judges do their critiques for 3 or 4 minutes, so each song and judging of that song should last no longer than 6 minutes. That comes out to 48 minutes for 6 songs. That left an hour and 12 minutes for commercials and filler material. Can’t wait till they get down to 6 songs, so maybe they will cut the show down to an hour and a half.

The first poll question is if Nicki Minaj is helping or hurting American Idol ratings in Season 12:

The second poll question is which of the remaining 7 contestants will become the American Idol of Season 12?

I think Minaj has been a major factor in Season 12 of American Idol losing so many viewers. Last Thursday night’s results show was the lowest ratings of the season. I do agree that the save will not be used on a boy, when it could be used on a girl with real talent.

My personal picks for top three to win and not necessarily the one I want to win would be between Candace Glover, Angie Miller and Kree Harrison.

There are even rumors that Ryan Seacrest may not return for the next season, but if I remember right he is in second year of three-year contract paying him $15 million a year.

Will The Voice Find A Singer That Can Sell Albums?

Shakira, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher, judges and Carson Daly host of  Season 4 of The Voice on NBC.

The Voice has done well in the ratings, but still hasn’t come up with a winner that can sell records. Season 1 winner Javier Colon’s album Come Through For You peaked at No.134 on the Billboard 200 chart and has sold only 45,000 copies, as of late last December, more than a year after its initial release.

Season 2 winner Jermaine Paul has an album Finally that has no release date listed at Amazon.com, almost a year after he won The Voice in May of 2012.

Season 3 winner Cassidee Pope has released these singles which have sold a lot of downloads. She covered Cry a song recorded by Faith Hill and sold 81,000 copies in one week last December and debuted at No. 60 in its first week.

.Pope also recorded singles of Over You by Miranda Lambert which rose to No.25 on the Billboard Country chart and also recorded Keith Urban’s Stupid Boy which was at No.40, plus Michelle Branch’s Are You Happy Now, which was No.95. The real test for Pope will be when her first album is released later on down the road.

So the judges this season are intent on finding someone who will become a bona fide star, with name recognition something which has eluded the first three winners of The Voice.

Shakira and Usher the two one name judges seemed to have settled in well, in the first shows of Season 4.

Monday night’s show saw all four judges turn around their chairs for the Morgan Twins who sang Fallin’ and Judith Hill who sang What A Girl Wants.

Midas Whale a duo singing Folsom Prison Blues and Sarah Simmons singing One of Us sang well enough to have all four judges turn around for them on Tuesday night.

Cathia who sang “No Me Doy por Vencido” attracted the attention of Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton and Cathia naturally chose Shakira as her mentor.

No judges turned around for six contestants on Monday night and for one of the six singers shown last night. It is heartbreaking to see a singer sing their heart out, only not to have one judge turn their chairs around. That is what gives the show credibility though, since everyone knows, that some of the singers are not ready for prime time yet.

I usually watch the Blind Auditions, then skip the Battle Rounds, since it seems to be a contest of who can sing the loudest and hit the highest notes. I then return for the individual competitions in the last weeks of the show.

The Voice may be very popular, but until they have a singer who breaks through and has national name recognition it will be known more as the show that features judges turning around in their chairs.

After all these singers are vying to win The Voice and hope to sell millions of albums, like some past winners of American Idol have done. Selling 45,000 albums in close to a year like Javier Colon is not going to help him or The Voice. That is far from the record sales of Carrie Underwood, who has sold 15 million albums, which included 7 million copies of her Some Hearts album.

For The Voice to be taken seriously as a star maker they have to come up with a star that can sell more than 45,000 albums, while an American Idol winner like Carrie Underwood has sold 15 million albums.

The Celebrity Net Worth website discloses that American Idol Season 4 winner Underwood has a  net worth of $45 million, while Season 1 American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson has a net worth of $14 million.

I will start taking The Voice more seriously, when they can produce stars of the magnitude of Underwood and Clarkson.

American Idol : Two Boys Down, Three To Go

This photo shows the Top 9 of American Idol, but Paul Jolley on the far right left the show on Thursday and became the second boy to go home.

 

It was no surprise that another boy was sent home on the results show of American Idol last Thursday. Paul Jolley became the second boy in a row, to be sent home in Season 12.

This is looking more and more like the years of the girls on American Idol. They are so much better than the boys, that if a boy wins I will be completely shocked.

I have honestly tried to like Nicki Minaj, but when she asked Paul Jolley if he was jolly, then said his song was terrible it just shows how insensitive she can be. Why say something nice about a contestant, then rip his singing in the next sentence? Nicki plays favorites and that has been clear this season. I don’t mind her criticizing the contestants, but she could do it with a little more respect.

There is no way that Amber Holcomb should have been in the bottom three, but my poll a couple of weeks ago sort of gave an indication she does not have a strong fan base.

The results of my poll from the March 13 blog shows the results, with 69 voters in the poll as of this minute:

Angie Miller – 34 votes, 49.28 percent

Candace Glover – 12 votes, 17.39 percent

Kree Harrison – 11 votes, 15.94 percent

Lazaro Arbos – 4 votes, 5.8 percent

Janelle Arthur – 4 votes, 5.8 percent

Amber Holcomb – 2 votes, 2.9 percent (Have no idea why Amber received only 2.9 percent for her 2 votes, while Curtis received 3 percent for his 2 votes.)

Curtis Finch – 2 votes, 3 percent ( Was eliminated last week)

Burnell Taylor, Devin Velez and Paul Jolley ( Was eliminated on Thursday) received no votes.)

The poll showed 5 girls in the first 6 positions.

Lazaro Arbos is being touted by Vote For the Worst website as their poster boy. They are seeking to make Lazaro into another Sanjaya Malakar, who lasted much longer than he should because of the support from the website.

Speaking of Lazaro, there was some confusion over when he learned the song, with him saying he learned it the night before the live show, while Jimmy Iovine claimed he had the song for many days.

Some of the contestants didn’t seem to be very knowledgeable about the Beatles, as some didn’t even know of the song they picked.

It was good to see Jessica Sanchez and Casey Adams again, as they sang for the audience. It looks like both of them could go far in music.

Casey Adams released an album last June, that is currently No.16 among albums on Amazon. Most of the songs are original, with the exception of a duet with Haley Reinhart of the Ray Charles classic Hit the Road Jack. Samples of the songs can be heard in these clips:

http://www.amazon.com/Casey-Abrams/dp/B007WCJQU4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1364058797&sr=8-3&keywords=casey+adams

It is looking like Candace Glover, Angie Miller and Kree Harrison are the top three contestants this season. I think Amber Holcomb belongs up there with them, but her voting base needs to strengthen to become a factor in the voting.

I don’t think anyone was surprised to see the judges decide not to use their save on Paul Jolley. I doubt if they will use on any of the boys, since they may need it to save one of the girls.

OTHER AMERICAN IDOL NEWS

American Idol's Kris Allen Expecting Son
Katy and Kris Allen are expecting a baby boy later this year.

 

Kris Allen and his wife Katy were involved in a car accident in January, which left Kris unable to play the guitar due to a broken wrist. However, they now have some good news, with the announcement that they are expecting a baby boy later this year….The ratings for American Idol continued to dip, as the performance show on Wednesday only drew 12.94 million. The performance show from the previous week had attracted 13.44 million viewers. The 11.65 million viewers watching the Thursday results show was the lowest number of viewers for any show in Season 12….Grey’s Anatomy topped American Idol last Thursday night for the first time ever.

The Voice starts on Monday, which could cause further erosion for American Idol. Viewers may be burned out after watching The Voice for a couple of nights, then face two more nights of singing competition on American Idol. This will be a real test, that tells us what direction American Idol is going.

John Mayer has announced that Phillip Phillips winner of Season 11 will be opening for his next tour. Phillip Phillips seems to be one of the more successful American Idols….There has not been a girl voted the American Idol, since Jordin Sparks won in 2007….Aubrey Cleland won out over Charlie Askew as the 11th member of the American Idol tour this summer.

Nicki Minaj has angered the other judges during the auditions, when showing up late for the shows. I have always heard that Mariah Carey was a diva, but it appears Nicki is even more of a diva.

http://popcrush.com/nicki-minaj-said-to-be-the-biggest-diva-on-the-american-idol-set/

 

 

 

 

 

Net Worth of Petula Clark, Fabian, Prince Jackson, Connie Francis and Gordon Lightfoot

Petula Clark – $10 Million

The Celebrity Net Worth website lists 80 year-old Petula Clark as being worth $10 million. Clark has now been singing for 74 years. When I think of Petula Clark I think of her hit song Downtown.

Fabian – $25 Million

Fabian Forte known only as Fabian by most rock and roll fans was 70 last February and although he may not have a lot of hit songs he made his mark in the movies, appearing in a total of 45 movies and TV shows from 1959-1996. Celebrity Net Worth lists Fabian’s net worth at $25 million.

Prince Michael Joseph Jackson – $100 Million

 

Prince Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. may be only 16, but he is already worth $100 million.. He may or may not have access to that money now, but his financial security is insured, if he doesn’t go through his money too fast.

Connie Francis – $25 Million

The net worth of Connie Francis is listed at $25 million despite the fact that she only had three No.1 hits in her 70 year career. The 74-year-old Francis had her first No.1 hit in My Heart’s Got A Mind Of Its Own in 1960. Her next No. 1 hit was released in 1961 when Together was No.1 on adult contemporary chart and her last No. 1 hit was Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You which reached No.1 on the Billboard charts in 1962. Francis has not even released an album since 1969.  One of her best known songs was Who’s Sorry Now, but it peaked at No.4 for her first Top 10 hit in 1957.

Her biggest regret was not marrying Bobby Darin, after her dad chased Darin out of a building at gunpoint. He then said Darin was out of their lives, when the news of his marriage was broadcast on the radio. Francis said she wished their car had been filled with water, while driving in the Lincoln Tunnel and hoping her father would both be killed.

Gordon Lightfoot in 1967 – $30 Million

The 74 year-old Gordon Lightfoot is listed as being worth $30 million.  Lightfoot has been singing since 1956 at the age of 18. Bob Dylan said Lightfoot was one of his favorite songwriters. He wrote Early Morning Rain, which was covered by many well-known singers including Elvis Presley.

His first No.1 song was If You Could Read My Mind, which reached No.1 in Canada in 1970. His other No. 1 hits on Canadian pop charts were Sundown in 1974 and The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald in 1976. Lightfoot had nine songs reach No.1 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary charts. Sundown was the only Lightfoot song to reach No.1 on the U.S. pop charts, but he placed four songs on the U.S. Adult Contemporary charts.

He released his last album All Live on Rhino Records in 2012. It includes most of his most well-known hits in this list from Wikipedia:

  • All Songs Written By Gordon Lightfoot

Remembering Roy Orbison 25 Years After His Death

It doesn’t seem like this December will mark the 25th anniversary of the death of Roy Orbison. Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas on April 23, 1936 and died in Madison, Tennessee on December 6, 1988 at the age of 52.

Orbison has left behind a rich musical legacy with his signature songs like Crying, Only the Lonely and Oh, Pretty Woman. He also was a songwriter writing songs like Claudette, which was recorded by the Everly Brothers.

1960 would bring his first Top 10 hit Only the Lonely which reached No.2 on the Billboard charts. Orbison would release  his first No.1 hit in 1960, when he recorded Running Scared and then would also see Crying reach No.2 on the charts that same year.

His main hit in 1963 was  Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream) which topped out at No.4 on the Billboard charts. Blue Bayou, one of his better known songs only reached No.29 in the United States, but went to No.1 in Australia. Mean Woman Blues peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard charts that same year.  In fact he only had two No.1 songs on pop charts in the United States, but had nine No. 1 hits in Australia.

Oh, Pretty Woman was his last No.1 hit in 1964, but he released It’s Over, which topped out at No.9 on pop charts, but claimed the No.1 spot on adult contemporary charts in 1964.

Orbison would not record another No.1 hit in the United States in the last 28 years of his singing career.

Opened For Beatles In United Kingdom

Duane Eddy was scheduled to appear in United Kingdom in 1963, but he was replaced by Roy Orbison. He opened for the Beatles and he performed without moving and yet the fans liked him so much that they asked for encores fourteen times. By this time the Beatles finally had to physically hold him back, so they could go on stage.  The crowd was chanting “We want Roy” which was a surprise, since the fans came to see the Beatles that night.

Orbison didn’t even know who the Beatles were and asked what’s a beetle and John Lennon said “I am”. The Beatles and Orbison became good friends later as they admired Orbison for commanding a crowd, even though he hardly even moved.

Wife Has Affair With Contractor

Orbison’s wife Claudette had an affair with the contractor who built their Hendersonville, Tennessee home. Claudette did join him that fall on a tour to England. She gave Orbison the idea for his hit song Oh, Pretty Woman, when she told him that she was leaving for home. He asked her if she needed money and she said ” Pretty woman never needs money” and it was only 40 minutes later before the song Oh, Pretty Woman was finished.

Personal Tragedies

The first of a string of tragedies began for Orbison during a 1965 tour in UK.  He broke his foot in front of thousands of screaming fans and had to perform in a cast. He reconciled with his wife Claudette after the accident, but she would die the next year when she was hit by a semi-trailer while she and Orbison were riding home on separate motorcycles on June 6, 1966.

Tragedy struck Orbison again on September 16, 1968, when he learned his Hendersonville, Tennessee home had burned down and his two eldest sons had perished in the fire. Orbison had now lost his wife and two sons in 27 months time. He would marry Barbara Jakobs of Germany on March 25, 1969.

Orbison would have to have a triple heart bypass on January 18, 1978.

Career Revived in 1987

Roy Orbison started to revive his music career in 1987, after being pushed into the background by the British invasion. He joined the Traveling Wilburys, which played a major part in reviving his career. His stage name was Lefty Wilbury in honor of the late country music star Lefty Frizzell.

Death and Aftermath

Orbison would travel to Europe in November of 1988 and some observers noticed that he looked ill, but he continued to perform. He then returned to Hendersonville to rest, before embarking on another trip to London this time, to film two videos for the Traveling Wilburys.

However, the trip would never take place, because he would fly model airplanes with his son on December 6, 1988 and then visited his mother for dinner and died after dinner that night. Ironically his wife Barbara would die on the same date 23 years later on December 6, 2011 from pancreatic cancer.

Legacy

Roy Orbison left a rich musical legacy behind for his fans. Only Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison have had two Top 5 albums at the same time.  He will be forever remembered for singing while not moving, wearing his sunglasses and being dressed in black. His music is still being sung today as evidenced by Kree Harrison, an American Idol contestant sang Crying last Wednesday night, which reminded me of Orbison singing the original version which can be heard below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls2lC7DQFMI

American Idol Poll: Who Will Win American Idol in Season 12?

Now that we finally know who the ten finalists are in Season 12 of American Idol this will be a good time to see who American Idol fans think will win Season 12.

American Idol: Top 10 For Season 12 Announced

Ryan Seacrest is pictured with the American Idol Season 12 Top 10 which includes left to right, Paul Jolley, Curtis Finch Jr., Angela Miller, Candace Glover, Burnell Taylor, Devin Velez, Janelle Arthur, Lazaro Arbos, Amber Holcomb and Kree Harrison.

American Idol started back in January and last night finally revealed their Top 10 for Season 12 of the show.  I wish that the voting would be based on the best singers, which may have allowed Breanna Steer (my personal favorite since she was from Louisiana and was very talented) and Aubrey Cleland to be in the Top 10. However, only five girls and five boys were allowed to join the Top 10.

It was an especially emotional moment, when Janelle Arthur was voted into the Top 10, in her third try at becoming the American Idol. She and Kree Harrison were not the only ones voted in that were from the same state, with Arthur living in Oliver Springs, Tennessee, which is located close to Knoxville and Harrison who hails from Nashville, Tennessee. Paul Jolley  lives in Palmersville, Tennessee.. So three of the Top 10 reside in Tennessee.

Curtis Finch Jr., from St. Louis, Missouri, Devin Velez from Chicago, Illinois and Angela Miller from Beverly Massachusetts were the only Top 10 finalists, who were born outside the south.

The others from the south include Candace Glover, St. Helena Island, Georgia, Amber Holcomb, Houston, Texas, Burnell Taylor, New Orleans, Louisiana and Lazaro Arbos of Naples, Florida.

The Clicker Today website says this about the 11th singer going on tour with American Idol:

(And if you’re furious about someone getting eliminated, you may get a second chance to see your favorite again: The male and female who finished sixth in the semifinal voting in their groups will take the stage once more next week. The winner of that match will get a bonus 11th spot on the tour.)

Not sure if this means the 11th singer will sing only on the summer tour, since it doesn’t mention anything about the winner actually being a contestant.

There were a few surprises among the Top 10, but overall it seems to be a good group, especially the girls in the Top 10. It may be time to not split the Top 10 evenly among girls and boys, when the girls overwhelmingly had the best singers this year.

It was no surprise that Charlie Askew and Zoanette Johnson didn’t make the Top 10. Askew for some reason completely changed his look for the boys competition, which detracted from his singing. Askew seems to have serious emotional problems, which need to be addressed immediately. Zoanette may have made the Top 10 female singers, but she was not the singer the other girls were. She may have had an intriguing back story, but this is a singing competition and when Randy Jackson said her song was a mess it gave no reason, for voters to vote for her, with so many girls who sang much better on the show.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/08/showbiz/tv/american-idol-top-10-ew/index.html

American Idol: Judges Send Zoanette To Top 20 in Shocker

Bryant Tadeo was eliminated last week on American Idol after scathing critique by Nicki Minaj.

Nicki Minaj once again showed her mean side on American Idol last week, when she complimented Bryant Tadeo for his powerful closing of New York State of Mind, but then turned on him and said that was only good part of the song.  It is easy to see Ms. Minaj has no compassion for some contestants, when the night before she heaped lavish praise on Zoanette Johnson who was mediocre at best singing Circle of Life.

Ms. Minaj clearly plays favorites and has let the back stories of some singers sway her critiques of the contestants.  I thought Rachel Hale sang much better than Zoanette, but someone had to be sacrificed so Zoanette could advance. I can tell from the expression on the face of Minaj if she will praise or criticize a performance.

Just my opinion but I think Keith Urban is the best judge on the panel this season. He focuses on the singing and nothing else.

If Zoanette advances to the Final 10 there might be a backlash from American Idol fans. If the fans vote her into the Top 10 it will be a shock. However, she may show she can be a serious singer next week, so it isn’t fair to write her off yet, but just can’t see her selling millions of albums in the future.

The girls are much better than the boys this season, which makes me wonder if the judges should have been allowed to pick the best singers and not have to choose 10 boys and 10 girls.

These are the remaining 20 contestants according to the Wikipedia page for Season 12:

Contestant Result
Lazaro Arbos
Janelle Arthur
Charlie Askew
Nick Boddington
Aubrey Cleland
Curtis Finch, Jr.
Candice Glover
Kree Harrison
Amber Holcomb
Zoanette Johnson
Paul Jolley
Adriana Latonio
Elijah Liu
Angela Miller
Vincent Powell
Cortez Shaw
Breanna Steer
Burnell Taylor
Tenna Torres
Devin Velez

American Idol Season 12 ratings continued to tumble on Thursday night, as the show attracted only 12.56 million viewers, which is the fewest for this season.  The Voice and Dancing With the Stars return later this month, but not sure if  they will going against each other head to head . It is similar to the situation of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire a few seasons back,when it was being shown so much that fans eventually tired of seeing it so often.  Season 11 had a season low 14.85 million viewers, which was surprisingly the night the Final 2 sang. You would think that would be one of the most-viewed shows of the season, but instead it was the least-viewed, probably because Phil Phillips and Jessica Sanchez were in final two, while Josh Ledet was clearly a better singer than either one of them, yet finished third so there may have been some viewer backlash in play that night.

Maybe once the Top 10 is chosen the ratings may move upward again, but with the proliferation of singing competition shows the bubble may have already burst.

The following poll may give us a better idea of how American Idol fans felt about Zoanette being advanced:

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