Who took a Grammy for “Best Rock Song” in the 90s

The 2016 Grammy Awards ceremony is happening as we speak! Probably many of you guys are super excited to find out who will win big time this year…not to mention the awesome live performances we are just dying to see.
As we all know, there are plenty of categories, however to me personally (for rather obvious reasons), the nominations and winners for “best rock performance”, “best metal performance”, “best rock album” and in particular “best rock song” have always triggered tremendous emotions in me, which include both happiness and appreciation, as well as criticism and dissatisfaction.

Anyhow, since the Grammy Awards Ceremony is happening today – 15th of February, I thought it’s only natural to prepare a little publication dedicated to some of the past winners of this prestigious award. In particular, I would like to remind my readers of the best rock songs that won a Grammy. I decided to include winners only from the 90s because – well, after that (at least to me), things just changed drastically. Besides, I think the 90s were a very good decade for rock music and throughout this period of 1992 to 1999, some of my favorite rock tunes have emerged as winners. I was born in the 90s and I grew up listening to those songs – this makes this publication even more special to me.

The first time a Grammy for a best rock song was given in 1992 (which also happens to be the year I was born in) and the first one to grab the gramophone trophy was Sting, with the song “The Soul Cages”. I should mention that the award is given not to performers (singers) but the writers of a song, even though I’m sure most of you guys already know that. In some cases, the songwriter and the performer are two different people; however they may also be the same person – such as the case with Sting and Eric Clapton, for instance. This time, as I said, I will be focusing on the quality of the song itself (lyrics, technicality, complexity, excellence, impact, etc.), rather than the vocal or live performance of it (despite those elements being probably the most important reasons for its success, I believe). This award is also given regardless of a rock song’s chart position or previous awards (yeah, right…). Interesting fact, our favorite Mr. Bruce Springsteen actually holds the record for most wins and nominations in this category ever, not just in the 90s – he has nine nominations and won four times – he deserves it and we all love his music! (He said goodbye to the 80s and entered the 90s with such a tremendously successful jump!)
The following is a list of songs that, as I already said won a Grammy award for “best rock song”. I won’t be focusing on each song individually; however I am going to include the names of the songwriters, performers and the year it won the award. I hope by doing so, some of you guys may get reminded of those long-lost tunes from when we were a little bit younger. Also, while you are checking those songs out, try to detect the difference between the way rock songs were made 20 years ago and the way we do it nowadays. I am sure many of you would easily spot the contrast – in pretty much every aspect of the rock song. Here we go!

Sting – The Soul Cages (1992)
Songwriter(s): Sting
Performer(s): Sting

Eric Clapton – Layla (Unplugged Version) (1993)
Songwriter(s): Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon
Performer(s): Eric Clapton

Soul Asylum – “Runaway Train” (1994)
Songwriter(s): Dave Pirner
Performer(s): Soul Asylum

Bruce Springsteen – “Streets of Philadelphia” (1995)
Songwriter(s): Bruce Springsteen
Performer(s): Bruce Springsteen

Alanis Morissette – “You Oughta Know” (1996)
Songwriter(s): Alanis Morissette, Glen Ballard
Performer(s): Alanis Morissette

Tracy Chapman – “Give Me One Reason” (1997)
Songwriter(s): Tracy Chapman
Performer(s): Tracy Chapman

The Wallflowers – “One Headlight” (1998)
Songwriter(s): Jakob Dylan
Performer(s): The Wallflowers

Alanis Morissette – “Uninvited” (1999)
Songwriter(s): Alanis Morissette
Performer(s): Alanis Morissette

All of the above listed songs have one thing in common – they were all exceptionally well-written, composed and possess a special aura – a distinctive character, if I may say. Obviously, they were awarded for a reason. I don’t necessarily agree with the winners (especially from the last few years of the decade), however it is what it is. I hope you guys got reminded of some of those classics! Let’s wait and see what happens this year! Cheers!

[Playlist] 60 Classic Rock Songs for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s day to all!

In the spirit of this special occasion, I came up with this idea of gathering 60 classic rock songs that are perfectly suitable for this day – a day that celebrates love, adoration, romance, true feelings and two people being happy together. The YouTube playlist I made includes songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s. It’s a personal selection based on songs I truly love and appreciate. In addition, I think that this playlist would also fit quite well as a musical background during a romantic dinner or any other activity you’d like to engage in throughout Valentine’s Day (-.-‘). I chose 60 songs, all of which celebrating and commemorating love in all its forms and phases. I truly believe that I was able to capture the spirit of the day quite well – each and every song is able to create a romantic atmosphere, mostly through the lyrics and the tenderness that comes out of them. I tried to include as much songs as I could – from many different artists, eras, genres, etc., but at the end of the day, I decided to just make them 60 – it’s a nice and round number and the playlist may last you for 2-3 hours. I hope you will enjoy it, as much as I do and even play some of the songs on this special day. I wish all of you, guys a wonderful day… and for those of you who haven’t found their partner yet, I’d say go out and have fun regardless… Spread the love!

 

[CLICK HERE] – Classic Rock Songs for Valentine’s Day

 

Tracklist:

  1. Aerosmith – Angel
  2. Aerosmith – Crazy
  3. Alice Cooper – You and Me
  4. Bad English – Heaven is a 4 Letter Word
  5. Bad English – Straight to Your Heart
  6. Bad English – When I see You Smile
  7. Bon Jovi – Always
  8. Bon Jovi –Bed of Roses
  9. Boston – More than a Feeling
  10. Boston – Something about You
  11. Bruce Springsteen – I’m on Fire
  12. Bryan Adams – (Everything I do) I Do it For You
  13. Bryan Adams – Heaven
  14. David Bowie – Modern Love
  15. Def Leppard – I Wanna be Your Hero
  16. Def Leppard – Love and Affection
  17. Dire Straits – Think I love You Too Much
  18. Eagles – I can’t Tell You Why
  19. Eagles – Love Will Keep Us Alive
  20. Eagles – The Best of my Love
  21. ELP – From the Beginning
  22. Elton John – Your Song
  23. Elvis Presley – Burning Love
  24. Elvis Presley – Fever
  25. Eric Clapton – Forever Man
  26. Eric Clapton – Pretty Girl
  27. Eric Clapton – See What Love Can Do
  28. Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight
  29. Fleetwood Mac – You Make Loving Fun
  30. Foreigner – I don’t Want to Live without You
  31. Foreigner – Prisoner of Love
  32. Foreigner – Soul Doctor
  33. Foreigner – Waiting for a Girl Like You
  34. Heart – Crazy on You
  35. John Lennon – Woman
  36. Journey – Faithfully
  37. Kiss – Beth
  38. Led Zeppelin – All My Love
  39. Neil Young – Heart of Gold
  40. Peter Frampton – Baby I love Your Way
  41. Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  42. Queen – Love of My Life
  43. Roxette – A Thing About You
  44. Roxette – Neverending Love
  45. Simple Minds – Let There Be Love
  46. Starship – Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
  47. Styx – Lady
  48. Survivor – First Night
  49. Survivor – High on You
  50. Survivor – Is This Love
  51. Survivor – The Search is Over
  52. The Beatles – Something
  53. The Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend the Night Together
  54. The Rolling Stones – Wild Horses
  55. Tina Turner ft. Bryan Adams – It’s Only Love
  56. Van Halen – Beautiful Girls
  57. Van Halen – Love Walks In
  58. Whitesnake – Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City
  59. Whitesnake – All I Want is You
  60. Whitesnake – Is This Love

 

 

P.S Honestly, I am not such a huge fan of this day and I don’t really get what the huge crazy is all about – if you love and cherish someone, you should make sure they feel loved each and every day of the year…You don’t wait for this day to come, so that you can prove how much someone means to you…And what’s with all the merchandise and the hearts and the teddy bears!? Of course, another way to stuff more money into the bank accounts of huge corporations that don’t really care about people…

 

 

[90s] [Album Focus] Best-Selling Soundtrack Of All Time – The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album

Greetings!

So I’ve been meaning to dedicate a publication to the greatest soundtrack albums of all time, however due to busy schedule I’m afraid I cannot do it at this point. Instead, I decided to focus on just one for the – the best of the best, the greatest of the greatest and the best-selling soundtrack albums of all time – Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard”.
As I always do, I’m going to start the post with some background information…Back in the day, especially in the 80s and in the 90s there was a heavy cross-media promotion. Unlike today, in the past a media product was usually heavily tight with other media products such as books and music. The movie industry started relying heavily on soundtrack in order to boost the popularity of the movie – it was the other way around as well – soundtracks were relying on the movies to boost their sales. Basically, films and music were together in an inseparable marriage. I don’t know what actually happened, however… – nowadays I feel like movies don’t really invest much in memorable and grandiose soundtracks the way they did before. Time has surely changed…
The practice of cross-promotion between a movie and a soundtrack became a trend since the introduction of Television back in the 50s and 60s. It was a brilliant win-win strategy which left us with the most memorable movie themes and songs ever! Helping the other industry out and capitalizing heavily at the same time became a major business model. Simply all the movie and music producers were working together in order to create a unique and memorable artistic product. In addition, 70s and the 80s marked the rise of blockbusters – you know, those high budget and incredible movies featuring all the famous stars and great effects. Blockbusters have always relied on promotions and heavy exposure to the public in order to obtain revenues – that’s only natural. One way to gain additional promotion was to use music – which of course became the most powerful tool! I’m not sure what the correct line of events is though – one could argue – is the soundtrack promoting the movie or the movie was promoting the soundtrack!? See, that’s what I’m talking about – those two media products were inseparable and had a huge impact on one another! The music of a movie simply represents the spirit and the identity of the movie itself – it is as equally important – no second opinion about that! Little by little, from just one or two theme songs, the idea of a whole album became a cultural phenomenon –producers started investing on whole albums filled with music from the movie. I believe it all started with Saturday Night Fever – one of the greatest soundtrack albums of all time, that’s for sure (kudos to BeeGees). Once it was established that such albums are extremely popular and well-accepted from the audience, everyone just simply jumped on the bandwagon – soundtrack after soundtrack – great albums after great albums. I mean, who can ever forget the original soundtrack albums of “Flashdance” or “Footlose” or “Dirty Dancing”? – no one that is…

Going back to the greatest soundtrack of all-time… I don’t think the album or the movie needs much introduction. It’s one of the all-time classics which will simply remain in history for their brilliance…I will focus on the soundtrack album because it’s an album-related publication, after all. So here we go…the best-selling soundtrack of all time by the princess of pop herself…


 

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Released: November 17th, 1992
Genre: Pop, RnB
Label: Arista
Producer: Clive Davis, Whitney Houston, Jazz Summers, Tim Parry
Tracklist:
*“I Will Always Love You”
*“I Have Nothing”
*“I’m Every Woman”
*“Run to You”
*“Queen of the Night”
*“Jesus Loves Me”
*“Even If My Heart Would Break” (performed by Kenny G and Aaron Neville)
*“Someday (I’m Coming Back)” (performed by Lisa Stansfield)
*“It’s Gonna Be A Lovely Day” (performed by the S.O.U.L.S.Y.S.T.E.M.)
*“(What’s so Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding” (performed by Curtis Stigers)
*“Waiting for You” (performed by Kenny G)
*“Trust in Me” (performed by Joe Cocker, featuring Sass)
Singles: “I Will Always Love You”, “Someday (I’m Coming Back)”, “I’m Every Woman”, “I Have Nothing”, “Run to You”, “Queen of the Night”, “It’s Gonna Be a Lovely Day”


 

The album features a bunch of  other artists – many people think it’s just her songs; however that’s not the case. We have Lisa Stansfield and Kenny G and of course, Joe Cocker…all brilliant musicians and voices. The album was co-executive produced by Whitney Houston and the great Clive Davis – the person behind ARISTA records. Whitney had full control over the album – she chose specifically each and every song. The theme song was supposed to be a completely different one; however they lost it to another movie.Can you imagine that – one of the greatest ballads of all time – the ballads of the ballads, the most powerful and tear-breaking performance by a female artist almost didn’t happen….Whitney’s male co-star – Mr. Kevin Costner was actually the one who suggested that they should record “I Will Always Love You” as the theme song. Maybe some of you don’t know but the original song was written and performed by Dolly Parton – the famous country diva. How did they manage to transform such a slow, rather boring and I’d say “background” music to this amazing and powerful composition, I have no idea. Kudos to the brilliant producers!
The success of the album was almost immediate. Whitney became the first act to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period! This makes the album the fastest-selling album in the history of music! She also won a Grammy and for the album of the year and the RIAA certified the album 17 times Platinum. Over 44 million copies have been sold worldwide to day, which makes the album the best-selling soundtrack of all time – well, how can it not be?

Of course, the album is mostly remembered by the phenomenal ballad we all know and love with all our hearts – “I Will Always Love You”. The song appealed to all markets and to people of all ages – it was a mixture of soul, RnB, pop and contemporary music. It also received huge airplay. The single spent fourteen weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album itself topped the Billboard 200 for 20 weeks. The following singles that were released from the album followed the success of the theme song – with “I’m Every Woman” (a Chaka Khan cover) and “I Have Nothing”, Whitney Houston became the first female act to have three songs in the Top 20 at the same time.

Not only was the soundtrack a musical phenomenon and a complete triumph, but the movie itself simply became one of the greatest romance stories of all time. This whole project once again proves my point – cross-promotion is needed and it should be very well thought of! In this case, the movie promoted the soundtrack and vice-versa. The results – smashing box-office success and the greatest and most memorable ballad of time… In my opinion, the powerful an unmatched vocal delivery of Whitney Houston and the success of the album completely overshadowed the movie. However, in this case it turned out just great!

There’s absolutely no point in talking about the quality and excellence of this soundtrack – just listen to the songs and lose yourself to the feeling… Every song is so inspirational and so well-crafted that you just can’t stop replaying. That’s the magic of Whitney’s voice and her aura in general – she is able to convey so many emotions with her voice that at one point you just don’t know whether to cry, smile or be happy. I grew up listening to this album (yes, I have it in my CD collection, of course) and it just means the world to me! I am extremely sad that we lost this gorgeous queen and will always wish I could go back in time and enjoy her projects all over again…
One thing I have to say, she was also a brilliant actress and we can most certainly see it in “The Bodyguard”. I miss her and I will always love her…
Also, I wish they could make great soundtracks like this one nowadays – I’ve been waiting and waiting but so far all we have does not deserve to even be mentioned… Let’s wait and see….

Velina

xoxox


Credits:
“The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album” by Arion Berger, November 13, 2013, retrieved by Rolling Stones Magazine
“Top 10 Best Selling Movie Soundtracks”, retrieved by http://www.sky.com
“The Bodyguard (soundtrack)”, retrieved from Wikipedia

 

Top 5 Best-Selling Debut Albums of All Time

Debut Albums collage!with link

Greetings!

For today’s publication I decided to make another informative (hopefully) list which this time is going to be dedicated to albums, rather than singes or songs. The publication won’t be based on my personal opinion; rather I would like to list the top 5 best-selling debut albums of all time.

First impressions count! The following albums made such great first impressions that they not only launched successful careers but also became a cultural landmark. The success of a debut album may give us some sort of idea how popular an artist/band can be. It also works as a key to set up a fan base and make impressions in the music industry. In my opinion, the initial impact has to be for sure the strongest one. Smash hit album release is a MUST in order to grab the audience and establish a name for yourself in the industry. Also, a debut album is important because it sets some sort of standards and expectations from the musician/s and the following projects. Many musicians are remembered by their unbelievably good debut albums. Unfortunately, some of them were not able to live up to those high standards in their second albums or following projects. Such are the cases with some of the following musicians – Guns ‘n’ Roses for instance – great debut album but where are they now? My point is that, in music industry, especially nowadays with the development of media, artists need CONSISTENCY – which also happens to be one of the most difficult things to achieve! That’s why musicians such as Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson were so great (and still are). Album after album they completely proved to their fans and to the industry that they most certainly are not a one-album-wonder.
Back to the debut albums, the following is a list of 5 best-selling debut albums. I am considering a part 2, which hopefully can happen sooner. I hope you enjoy the music and learn something new!
Here we go…


Guns ‘N Roses – Appetite For Destruction

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The ultimate game changer for Guns ‘n Roses and in my opinion the main and only reason why they are so famous and loved by fans all over the world. It also happens to be the best-selling debut album of all times! It is also the 11th best-selling album in the United States alone! The album sold more than 30 million copies worldwide – such an impressive number! The album was released on July 21st, 1987 and it spent more 147 weeks on Billboard chart! Axl, Slash and the boys spawned 7 singles from the album. Four of those singles – “Sweet Child O’ Mine“, “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City” each peaked top 10 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 (#1, #5, and #7). Producer Mike Clink deserves nothing but huge applause! The album was released under the Geffen Records label – do I have to say more? This is probably one of the greatest record labels in history! The album became one of the most powerful forces in rock music history and its songs will always be a hit! Unfortunately, the only member left in the band is Axl and nowadays things are just not working well for him. The rest of the members departed and pursued solo careers. This is a perfect example how a band can have a tremendous success and in time gradually but steadily fall from its grace~ Too bad, the guys were rockin’ it!


 Boston – Boston

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It saddens me that so many people are not aware of this amazing band and the legacy they left. Their self-titled album “Boston” was released back in 1976 and the success of the album was a surprise to so many people. Indeed, this unknown band came literally out of nowhere and dropped this amazing album which still remains the second best-selling debut album of all time! The album was released under the label of Epic Records and was produced by the great John Boylan and Tom Scholz, The album produced three singles, each of them absolute and smashing hits – “More Than a Feeling”, “Foreplay/Long Time” and “Peace of Mind”. Interesting fact, till today the songs from this album are constantly being played on radios all around the world, mostly in the USA, of course. The style of the album is often referred as “Boston style” rock, however in my opinion if I have to place a genre or style of music, I would say radio-friendly rock with classic elements and melodic guitar hooks! The influence and trend this album created was enormous. They were blamed for the creation of so called “corporate” rock and for the “transition of mainstream American rock from blues-based proto-metal to power pop”.


 Hootie and the Blowfish – Cracked Rear View

Cracked-Rear-View-cover

On number three, we have the debut album of Hootie & the Blowfish – Cracked Rear View, which was released back in 1994 under the label of Atlantic Records. Till today, it remains their most successful album. It was also the best-selling album of 1995! The album spawned five hit singles – “Let Her Cry,” “Hold My Hand”, “Only Wanna Be with You”, “Time” and “Drowning”, four of which became ultimate smashing hits. There was some sort of controversy – they were sued by Bob Dylan for unauthorized use of his lyrics in the song “Only Wanna Be With You”. Regardless, the album became a total hit! It appealed to both young people and the older generation – one of the reasons why it was such a success story. Another reason may be the catchy but soulful lyrics. The sound of the album is more alternative, pop oriented rock rather than heavy-sounding like the previous two albums.


Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time

Britney-Spears-Baby-One-More-Time-cover

Oh my…Remember when Britney was like 18 years old and became this huge global phenomenon back in the late 1990s? The popularity of this debut album was unimaginable! Oh and yes, I also had it – I was a kid once! I was 7 years old when this album came out and I remember how happy I was the moment I got my hands on it. She was the perfect pop star and quickly became my idol – only because of this influential debut album! The album came out on January 1999 and it quickly won the hearts of many young fans all over the world! The album is fourteen times platinum, according to the RAA and it turned into the 5th best-selling album of all time in the USA. She released five singles from the album – “…Baby One More Time”, “Sometimes”, “(You Drive Me) Crazy”, “Born to Make You Happy” and “From the Bottom of My Broken Heart”. Needless to say, the title song of the album was the most successful one among these songs, even though each one of them broke the records! The songs were catchy, rhythmic, easy to dance to and so innocent – they immediately reached to the hearts of the teenagers of the 90s! Britney got tons of nominations, Grammys and pretty much all the acknowledgements you can imagine – people and the music industry simply fell in love with this pop sensation! Interesting fact, the title song – “…Baby One More Time” was originally supposed to be given to the famous girl trio TLC, however they rejected it – such a huge mistake, if you ask me. In conclusion, I have to say this album is everything! It gave a new meaning to pop and it changed the music industry! This is one perfect example of how powerful a debut album can be! It was the ultimate revival of teen pop! Rolling Stone wrote: “Britney Spears carries on the classic archetype of the rock & roll teen queen, the dungaree doll, the angel baby who just has to make a scene.”


Backstreet Boys – Backstreet Boys

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Backstreet Boys! The famous boyband we all love and grew up listening to! I’m 100% sure that all of the 90s girls had a crush on them – they were those perfect, talented and handsome guys, singing about love and romance. My favorite one was Nick – he was just so adorable! Anyhow, back to the album – it is a bit confusing because internationally, the album was released in 1996 in Canada, Europe and Asia. However, their debut in the USA was one year later – in 1997 and they repackaged the initial international album and released a new version with some new songs. The USA release coincided with their second international album, titled “Backstreet’s back” so it contained songs from both the original 1996 debut and the 1997 follow-up “Backstreet’s Back“…It was always so puzzling to me and difficult to follow which album was where and when… Bottom line is, the debut album became one of the most successful debut albums of all time. It reached number four on Billboard and has been certified fourteen times Platinum by the RIAA for sales. The numbers are beyond impressive…but how can they not be? – the album produced some of their most famous and signature songs – songs we still know by heart and sing. I mean, who doesn’t know “Quit Playing Games with My Heart” or “As Long As You love me”… or of course…”Everybody”! The debut album also established their names and crafted their special and unique sound and style. I just want to go back in time…… too many memories!


This is it for now! The top 5 best-selling debut albums of all time! We have rock, alternative and pop artists who did so well with their career-launching albums that they simply made history!
I deeply recommend you guys listen and enjoy the albums because they have really beautiful and meaningful songs – they are best-selling for a reason!
Enjoy~

Velina

xoxoxo

 


Credits:
“Top 10 Best Selling Debut Albums in US History” by Adriano Valente, retrieved from http://www.therichest.com
“List of best-selling albums”, retrieved from Wikipedia

5 Classic Rock Christmas Songs

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Greetings!

Christmas is coming soon, so it was only natural do dedicate a publication to some of the most classic Christmas rock songs. I love Christmas and I’m sure pretty much everyone else in this world does –but what is Christmas without music? The spirit of the holidays is perfectly captured in the following songs I would present to you. In terms of lyrics, vocal and instrumental deliveries I have chosen five songs that I believe are the best Christmas rock songs! Of course, this is just my personal opinion and I don’t want to make any claims, however those five songs are going to be played on my Christmas days for sure! Also, I would like to say that in my opinion, the bands nowadays are not really investing much of their time or resources into creating memorable Christmas songs. I honestly wish I could include some new and more recent Christmas songs, however somehow I can’t think of any – they are just too forgettable and meaningless compared to the classic songs from 30-40 years ago. So once again, I will dive into the past to dig up some of those great and memorable Christmas songs and I hope you’d enjoy them as much as I do. With no further due, here they are…


 

Eagles – Please Come Home For Christmas

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This is probably one of the most famous Christmas classic songs ever! It was first released back in 1960 by American blues singer Charles Brown. Then, later in 1978, Eagles covered and released the song during the holiday season. The song has very beautiful lyrics which of course are related with Christmas, Christmas traditions and spending the season with the people you love. I should say that I respect and admire Charles Brown with all my heart but I decided to include Eagles’ cover instead simply because the first time I heard this song was their version so it somehow connects more with me. The song was also covered by Bon Jovi and included in his Christmas album in 1992. However, I prefer the Eagles version – it somehow creates a much warmer and cozy atmosphere – you just want to grab a cup of hot choco and sit down next to the fireplace with the song on the background.
But this is Christmas, Christmas my dear
The time of year to be with the ones you love
So won’t you tell me you’ll never more roam
Christmas and New Year’s will find you home


 

Queen – Thank God It’s Christmas

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Then we have this brilliant song by Queen… It’s no cover this time – the song was written by lead guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. It was released back in 1984. The song has no official music video and that’s probably one of the reasons why not so many people are familiar with this Christmas classic rock song. However, to me it is one of the best ever! Freddie’s voice fits just perfectly! What I mostly adore about this song (besides the brilliant vocals of Freddie) are the lyrics. To me they create the perfect atmosphere and are so easy to sing with… There’s some kind of sadness however, at least to me… But still I have to say it is one of my most favorite songs about Christmas…
The moon and stars seem awful cold and bright
Let’s hope the snow will make this Christmas right
My friend the world will share this special night
Because it’s Christmas
Yes it’s Christmas
Thank God it’s Christmas
For one night


 

George Thorogood – Rock And Roll Christmas

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We have another oldie – this song was released back in 1981 – can you imagine? I’m including it in my list because it is just so uplifting and so spirited. Of course, I don’t think people nowadays would enjoy listening to such music during their Christmas celebrations. The song itself carries the spirit of a long-gone time. It’s very blues and piano oriented song and I love it. It’s a song to dance to and even do the twist to! It heavily reminds me of the 60s and the Chuck Berry/Elvis sound that’s actually the whole idea of the song. Just enjoy the funny video and have a rock and roll Christmas!
Let’s have a rock and roll Christmas,
Just like we used to know
Yeah, a rock and roll Christmas,
And I’ll meet you by the mistletoe
We’ll rock around the tree,
Go Santa, go, go, go
I want a Chuck Berry record, and a picture of Elvis too
A pair of ice skates for my baby, Peggy Sue
Yeah, and a phonograph player so I can rock and roll with you


Lynyrd Skynyrd – Christmas Time Again

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I love love love this Christmas song. It was released back in 2000 which make it the newest favorite Christmas rock song on the list. I wasn’t sure whether I should include it or not since I’m talking about classics here, but it was released 15 years ago so i decided that it’s perfectly fine…In addition to the song title, Christmas Time Again is also the name of the seventh studio album of Lynyrd Skynyrd which was released during the holiday season. I want to include each and every Christmas song from the album; however I will go with just this one for now. I deeply recommend you guys listen to the entire album because it is that good! It is to me one of the most well-crafted Christmas albums ever! The vocals are beyond perfect and the atmosphere that the song creates is so sweet and loving! The lyrics are also brilliant!
Well, its in your eyes and in your smile it shows
That this very special time of year
It seems to set your heart a glow
Oh, sing it with me, baby
Oh, its Christmas, you know its Christmas
And its our favorite time of year
Bells will be ringin, our hearts are singin
Well, Im glad its Christmas time once again


 

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – Little Drummer boy

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The song comes from Joan Jett’s second studio album titled I love Rock ‘n’ Roll. The album was released right before the holiday season so I guess the album had to have a Christmas song! After the holidays however, “Little Drummer Boy” which was also the last song of the album, was replaced by a new one. We all know the famous song – it is a very popular and classic Christmas carols which was written back in 1940s by Katherine Kennicott Davis . The cover of Joan Jett however is most certainly very different, unique and it had that special rough rock ‘n’ roll vibe that made it so popular! I love her voice and I think she did such a good job with her own version of the song! I love the back vocals and the guitar riffs as well. The pa rum, pum, pum, pum part is so catchy!!
I have no gift to bring
Pa rum, pum, pum, pum
That’s fit to give a king
Pa rum, pum, pum, pum
Rum, pum, pum, pum
Rum, pum, pum, pum
Shall I play for you
Pa rum, pum, pum, pum
On my drum?


So, this is it for now – a small part of my most favorite Christmas rock songs! Some of them are covers of other famous Christmas carols but I included the versions I like the most! I’m planning on making a publication about newer artists and their contribution to the Christmas song fever! Stay tuned for more! Happy Holidays!

Velina

xoxoxo

 

5 Unforgettable Michael Jackson Duets & Collaborations

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Greetings, everyone!

Today’s publication is very special to me, since I am going to talk about the greatest entertainer that ever lived. The idea behind the publication came to me this morning when I was simply listening to the playlist I have on my phone and suddenly it played “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. As we all know, the song features Eddie Van Halen’s instantly recognizable and brilliant guitar riffs. This made me think about other famous and everlasting collaborations and duets he did throughout the years. I don’t think right now I will have the time to actually list all of them – they are that many. However, I wanted to present and cover at least five of my ultimate favorites and of course provide some background information about the projects.

It was very difficult to decide what to begin with actually, since we are talking about the King of the Kings – the person who did so much for the music industry – not only he broke the racial barrier on TV but he was also one of the greatest philanthropists. He gave the world something much more than music. Personally, I don’t think anyone can match his success or stage persona – he was that good. I was so lucky to be probably the last generation to be influenced by his music on such high levels. It is such a shame that we lost him…
Back to the publication, I don’t really think there were, are, or will be, any entertainers greater than him. However, he was a humble and gentle soul, everybody admired him and he had numerous friends in the industry. Throughout his career he made some unforgettable collaborations and duets with other artists. We grew up listening to those songs and we are still doing it – who can forget “USA for Africa” or “Beat It”? – No one.
I chose to talk about 5 songs in particular – my personal five I would say. In the future, I would most certainly plan on publishing a “part 2” so stay tuned for more. The following list of songs are not numbered chronologically or based on commercial success, popularity or any other recognition. The list simply reflects my preferences.

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“Beat It” (featuring Eddie Van Halen)
ROCK meets POP

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I won’t lie – the reason why I love this song so much is because of Eddie’s distinctive and powerful guitar riffs. Everyone who knows me is well aware of how much I love Van Halen, so it was only natural to begin with this song. Another reason why I chose to start with “Beat It” was because of its background story. The song itself was the third single from the singer’s sixth solo album, Thriller and it was released on February 3, 1983. It ultimately topped all the charts, including US R&B singles chart, US Billboard Top Tracks chart and Billboard Hot 100. Many music critics claim that this song was the best song of the album. I would agree for sure. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore Thriller and Billie Jean and pretty much every song from the album. However, “Beat it” did it perfectly to me. It is a perfect fusion of rock and pop and what a fusion that was!! “I wanted to write a song, the type of song that I would buy if I were to buy a rock song… That is how I approached it and I wanted the children to really enjoy it—the school children as well as the college students,” – He said. The story of how Eddie Van Halen ended up in the song is also pretty interesting. When he was first contacted by Quincy Jones, Eddie thought it was a prank call – really? However, once he realized that Michael really wanted to collaborate with him for a rock song, Eddie quickly agreed. What I love about this story is the fact that Eddie didn’t even ask for money – he simply did it for free. “I did it as a favour…I was a complete fool, according to the rest of the band, our manager and everyone else. I was not used. I knew what I was doing – I don’t do something unless I want to do it,” – Eddie said. His guitar riffs were a bit too much though, so the producers had to reduce the distorted guitar a little. Another interesting fact is that when they were recording his solo, a monitor speaker in the control room actually caught on fire – imagine the power coming out of the guitar! Unfortunately, Eddie was not allowed to be in the music video of the song (Shame!) however he did appear on stage with Michael during Jackson brothers “Victory Tour”. Bottom line is – they were both phenomenal! Eddie was ripping through those notes with the speed of light! He wrote his own guitar solo, of course. However I should mention that the song itself was composed, arranged and written by Michael – and what a song that is!
“You have to show them that you’re really not scared
You’re playin’ with your life, this ain’t no truth or dare
They’ll kick you, then they beat you,
Then they’ll tell you it’s fair…”

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“Say, Say, Say” (featuring Paul McCartney)
Legend vs Legend

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Two music geniuses coming together and creating such an amazing, catchy and everlasting song with probably one of the most memorable music videos ever! The song doesn’t need introduction. In my opinion it is Michael’s most successful collaboration with another artist ever! In terms of commercial success and popularity it is indeed one of the greatest duet songs ever. However, in my opinion the vocal delivery of both Paul and Michael is not as impressive as I would like it to be.
“Say, Say, Say” was released in 1983 and was produced by George Martin for Paul McCartney’s album, Pipes of Peace. It quickly hit number one in charts all over the USA and Europe. It was also certified as gold by the RIAA for sales of more than one million copies in 1983.
During the recording sessions, Michael actually stayed and lived with Linda and Paul with whom eventually he became good friends. The majority of the song lyrics were written by Michael and the song itself was produced by George Martin who worked with The Beatles before. I am sure most of you guys know the story behind the feud between those two but I really think it is hilarious – so I would like to share it once more. During Michael’s stay in Paul and Linda’s house, Paul shared with him how much money he makes from all the publishing rights he bought to hit songs. That is indeed through because if you own the publishing rights, every time someone covers the song or plays it on the radio – you get money. Michael got inspired and eventually bought the company that owned most of the Fab Four’s music catalog – such an irony, right! “…to be someone’s friend and then buy the rug they’re standing on…,” – Paul said.
“What can I do
Girl to get through to you?
Cause I love you, baby
Standing here, baptisted in all my tears
Baby through the years
You know I’m crying…”

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“Scream” (featuring Janet Jackson)
Brother vs. Sister

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Phenomenal! Exceptional! Brilliant! I don’t even know what to say about this collaboration and this song! Not to mention the video which is indeed one of the craziest videos of the 90s – but that is Michael, after all – the king of the music videos! The song is very rough, wild and quite angry I think – it about how media misinterpret and misinform the society. (Quite sensitive and popular topic, especially after the 90s)… In the first half of the 90s, Michael Jackson was often the center figure of media backlash – so he decided that the best way to respond is through his music! Specifically, the song addresses the sexual child abasement claims that were made against Michael in 1993.
In my opinion, however, when we talk about this specific Janet and Michael collaboration, what made it so famous is the music video, rather than the song itself. Don’t get me wrong – it is a song to die for. However, the MV was why it stood out and made such a buzz – both of them took on a much darker and wild persona and took off to space to get away from all the media hustle and bustle. One other thing I wanted to point out is that they both sounded very different from their usual selves, especially Michael. With this song and his vocal delivery, you could tell how frustrated and angry he was – and most certainly was not hiding it.
The single was released on May 31, 1995.
“Tired of injustice
Tired of the schemes
The lies are disgusting
So what does it mean
Kicking me down
I got to get up
As jacked as it sounds
The whole system sucks”

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“State Of Shock” (featuring Mick Jagger)
Fun, Crazy, Pure Rock’n’Roll….

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I love this song! This song and “Beat It” are probably my top favorite Michael Jackson collaborations of all time! Mick Jagger – do I need to say more? Mick brought so much energy, so much passion and so much fun to the song! It was written by Jackson and guitarist Randy Hansen and it reached number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 (huh? It deserved number 1)… It was originally supposed to be a song featuring only Jackson’s guitarist Randy, but then they came up with the idea of inviting a rockstar.
Interesting fact, the song was originally supposed to be a duet between Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury, however their schedules were so different, that Michael eventually recorded it with Jagger. Personally, I think they made the right decision. I don’t wish to compare Mick and Freddie since I adore them both on so many levels; however for this song in particular, Mick’s energetic vocal delivery did it for me!
“State Of Shock” was released in June 1984 “by The Jacksons and it was their last platinum effort.
“The lead singer of the Rolling Stones eyed the phenomenal success of Thriller with envy,”
– said Christopher P. Andersen.
“Mick became obsessed with Michael Jackson” and explained it saying, “He wanted to know every detail about Jackson’s life, his contract with Columbia, how the Thriller singles were selling,…,” said Arthur Collins, then president of Rolling Stones Records.
“You gotta be mine
‘Cause you’re so fine
I like your style
It makes me wild
You take it to me good
Know you should
You get me on my knees
Well, please, baby, please…”

+ bonus – a live performance I absolutely adore – featuring my favorite female rockstar Tina Turner during LIVE AID in 1985

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“Give Into Me” (featuring Slash)
Power, Power, Raw Power…

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After the phenomenal success of “Beat It”, I think it was only natural for Michael to start making more and more projects with famous guitarists. This time, he chose Slash from Guns n Roses and what a perfect match!!! The song is often considered as a hard rock ballad and it was released on February 1993 as the tenth track on Michael Jackson’s 1991 studio album Dangerous.
Many people are sometimes confused when it comes to Slash and Michael Jackson’s collaborations because the guitarist is often associated with the song “Black or White”. However to set the records straight, the song’s main riff is not played by Slash.
“Give Into Me” on the other hand turned into this sensual, wild and rather aggressive heavy metal ballad tanks to Slash’s genius guitar skills. It was also written, composed, and produced by Michael Jackson and Bill Bottrell. Slash also appeared on the music video, as well as other musicians such as Muzz Skillings (Living Color) and Gilby Clarke (Guns n Roses).
“You Always Knew Just How To Make Me Cry
And Never Did I Ask You Questions Why
It Seems You Get Your Kicks From Hurting Me
Don’t Try To Understand Me
Because Your Words Just Aren’t Enough”

This is it for now!
Those are my five most favorite Michael Jackson collaborations of all time!
He was indeed the greatest and whatever he was doing – he was doing it with class, love and a lot of hard work! That is why so many people loved him and wanted to work with him.
I hope I brought back some memories to you guys ~
Stay tuned for more!

 

Velina

xoxoxo

 

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Credits:
“31 Years Ago: Mick Jagger Releases ‘State of Shock’ with Michael Jackson” by Tony Rettman; Retrieved from http://ultimateclassicrock.com
“How ‘Scream’ became the craziest video of the 90s” by Michael Cragg; Retrieved from http://www.dazeddigital.com/music
“Paul McCartney vs. Michael Jackson” by Matthew Wilkening; Retrieved from http://ultimateclassicrock.com/paul-mccartney-vs-michael-jackson-nastiest-rock-feuds/
“10 unforgettable Michael Jackson collaborations” by Andy Huang; Retrieved from https://thebestten.wordpress.com