Disco took another hit this week with the death of Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, one of the biggest Disco acts of all time. He passed away yesterday due to cancer at the age of 62. The Bee Gees are known for their impeccable harmonies and accessible brand of Disco. They have sold over 100 million records and in a 2 year span in the late 70s racked up 6 consecutive #1 singles.
Some of their hits include “You Should Be Dancing”, “Stayin’ Alive”, “More Than A Woman”, “How Deep Is Your Love”, “Emotion” and more. Some of those hits come from the 70s Disco film “Saturday Night Fever” starring John Travolta. The soundtrack for the movie won Album of the Year at the Grammys in 1979. They also starred in the 1978 film adaptation of the Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, which had a little “Abbey Road” thrown in for good measure.
As I write this post I am listening to the Bee Gees and realizing how many great hits they had and how Disco got a really bad wrap over the years. Between the death of Donna Summers and now Robin Gibb, I’ve been listening to more Disco than usual and it’s hard to not get caught up in these awesome, funky Disco grooves. What can I say, I got Disco fever!!! A lot of us did at some point and that is due in large part to the Bee Gees and Donna Summer, of which we have been dealt two loses from in one week. R.I.P. Robin Gibb.
And my #1 favorite album out of my 50 favorite albums of the 00’s is of course the double album, “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” by OutKast.
I wanted to share two lesser known songs from the albums, “Ghettomusick” from “Speakerboxxx” and “Prototype” from “The Love Below”. I have said it many times before but, “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” is one of the most expansive, catchy, creative and easily one of my favorite albums of all time. It was wildly popular, successful and well reviewed. It sold over 10 million copies and won Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2004, making it only one of two Hip-Hop albums to ever win that honor. The other being Lauryn Hill with “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”. These two songs may not have been as popular as their other hits from the albums, “Hey Ya!”, “The Way You Move” & “Roses”, but they are equal in quality as is every other song off the albums. Do you have a favorite song from the albums that wasn’t a single? Please share.
So I’ve been meaning to share this song for a while now, since I did my top 5 Rappers of all time countdown, a few weeks back. If you don’t already know, The Dungeon Family is a supergroup that consists of OutKast, Goodie Mob, Sleepy Brown and many other awesome southern Rappers and Producers. This group of Rappers, Singers and Producers are all legends in their own right. They formed back in the early 90s and changed the face of southern Rap as well as music in general. The most notable members from The Dungeon Family are of course, Andre 3000 and Big Boi of OutKast and Cee-Lo of Goodie Mob, who is now a coach of the hit TV show, The Voice. They have numerous awards between them, including many Grammys. I’m not sure how many, but I’m sure its at least a dozen, including one for Album of the Year in 2004 for OutKast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”. The song of the day, “Trans DF Express” is the single from their awesome collaborative album, “Even In Darkness” that came out just over 10 years ago, back in 2001. So grab your ticket and hop on the Trans DF Express!!!
Every once in a while, for whatever reason, old songs/artists that you haven’t heard from in a long time, reemerge out of the blue and all of a sudden you start hearing them and seeing them wherever you go. I’ve been hearing Alanis Morissette songs on the radio a lot lately and oddly enough soon after that she became a guest vocal coach on the hit singing TV show, The Voice. Isn’t that ironic? Don’t you think? In particular, I’ve been hearing her song “Ironic” from her Grammy for Album of the Year winning album, “Jagged Little Pill”. Which I also ironically enough listened to in the last month (before I started hearing her on the radio again and before she ever popped up on The Voice) because I was building up to last months Grammy Awards by listened to every Grammy winning album for Album of the Year, save a few that I couldn’t get via Spotify and/or didn’t own myself. A little toooooo ironic. Yeah, I really do think. So today’s song of the day is, what do you know, Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic”.
Number 3 on my top 5 favorite rappers of all time is Kanye West. The song of the day is his debut single “Through The Wire”, which is still one of my favorite songs of his. Say what you want about him and his antics, but he’s SUPER talented and yes, a musical genius. He probably deserved one of those Grammys for Album of the Year for one of his three albums that were nominated too. He produces all of his own music as well as the music of many other artists and he also has a crazy, sick flow, to boot!!! He is one of the few music artists, in general (not just in Rap) that is making real music, with feeling, from his soul and actually has something of value to say. He’s also willing to take risks and be different, which, to me, is one of the most valuable characteristics an artists can have. Check back tomorrow for my #2 Rapper of all time.
As I said yesterday I originally didn’t want to post a Whitney Houston video, as to not be another outlet adding to the barrage of Whitney coverage and music, but I think that she was a great talent and deserves to be showcased on Volume 11. So today’s song of the day is her song “Run To You” from her hit film and Grammy winning album “The Bodyguard”. The album won Album of the Year in 1994. This is a beautiful song with a video consisting almost exclusively of a beautiful close up of her and a pretty fitting scene, now that she has passed away, of her running in the clouds. R.I.P. Whitney.
So last night was the 54th Grammy Awards and I have to say it was a great show!!! Lots of great performances, although I could have done without a Chris Brown performance, not to mention two of them and a win for him for best R&B Album. Also Nicki Minaj went way over the top in the most weird and unoriginal way possible. Her performance was a jab at the Catholic Church. Like that hasn’t been done before by Madonna and Lady Gaga. It was just weird for weirds sake. It may have been visually flashy, but was just done for shock value with no real depth or artistic value.
Other than those few negative moments, I can’t really complain with how it went. Some of the great performances of the night, came to you via Bruno Mars, Adele, Jennifer Hudson, Coldplay & Rihanna, Glen Campbell, Foo Fighters and Paul McCartney (twice!!!). All the big winners were deserving. And by winners I mainly mean Adele, because she walked away with just about every major award. She took home 6 awards in total, including the big award of the night, Album of the Year, as I predicted. It was pretty obvious that, that would happen. Also Bon Iver took home the award for Best New Artist, as I also predicted.
LL Cool J was the first host that the Grammys has had in many years and he did a great job. He began the evening leading a group prayer for Whitney Houston. Later in the evening, Jennifer Hudson performed a beautiful and moving tribute to Whitney Houston, as well. The only thing that was really missing from the night was a tribute to Amy Winehouse and the inclusion of Don Cornelius in the tribute montage for those that have passed away in the past year. However it was a very memorable night and of the nominees, the people who most deserved it, won for a change. The Grammys had been kind of losing me in recent years with poor choices for winners and weak overall shows, but they won me back this year. I can’t wait for next year!!! It’s MY Superbowl!!!
P.S. Paul McCartney ended the show with the Abbey Road medley. ending with the song “The End”!!! It doesn’t get any better than that. “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
I recently made a playlist in Spotify of all of the Grammy winners for Album of the Year, from the very first to the most recent. There are however a handful missing from the playlist because I don’t own them and they aren’t available on Spotify (e.g. John Lennon’s “Double Fantasy”). Today I started listening to the playlist in anticipation of this Sunday’s 54th Grammy Awards. I started with the first album to ever win the Grammy for Album of the Year in 1959, Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn”, which is a soundtrack to the television series of the same name. I recognized the title track, which is today’s song of the day, but had never heard the full album. I very thoroughly enjoyed the album and plan on going out to buy it soon. I liked it that much. I see why it won. Over the next 4 days I will be sharing songs from 4 more Album of the Year winners as well, but today belongs too Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn”.
Since Hip-Hop first popped up on the music scene in the late 1970’s, it has had a rough time when it’ has come to the Grammy Awards, continually getting overlooked and snubbed. There wasn’t even a Rap category until 1989 and even then, the announcing of the award wasn’t even televised. Will Smith (then Fresh Prince) and DJ Jazzy Jeff had the honor of receiving the very first Rap Grammy to ever be given out, but boycotted the show with the other Rap nominees, because they would not televise the giving of the award due to “time constraints”. Hip-Hop has had an even harder time winning for Album of the Year award. The only 2 Hip-Hop artists to ever win the honor are Lauryn Hill and one of my very personal favorites, OutKast. I read an interesting article in The Huffington Post this week about this subject, that I thought should be shared. Read on at the link below to learn more about the history of Hip-Hop and Grammys (or lack there of, apparently).
So we are just 3 weeks away from music’s biggest night, (or as I call it, the Superbowl of music) the Grammy Awards!!! To be honest I used to get a lot more excited about them, until they started to try and appeal to a younger audience. This aim to reach out to a younger audience has led to a lot more, less “talented” and less experimental/original artists winning. The Grammys problem is they either go to too old and obscure with their winners or too young and Pop-py (as of late). For instance, I have nothing against Taylor Swift. I like her quite a bit actually, but her winning Grammy for Album of the Year in 2010 for “Fearless” was a little premature. She just hasn’t matured enough as an artist yet, to have earned a Grammy for Album of the Year. As matter of fact her follow up album “Speak Now” was a much better and more consistent album of ever better crafted songs, but she of course didn’t win for her better album or even get nominate for it, she won for her more popular album and that’s just not right. The Grammys aren’t supposed to be about popularity, it’s supposed to be about the quality of the music. For whatever reason it seems like the Grammys are sticking to this new “younger” format, which is evident in the nominations for Album of the Year, as well as other categories in the past 3 years.
The 2010 nominees for Album of the Year were as follows:
Taylor Swift – Fearless (Winner)
Beyonce – I Am… Sasha Fierce
The Black Eyed Peas – The E.N.D.
Lady Gaga – The Fame
Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King (the exception here)
The 2011 nominees were as follows:
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Winner)
Eminem – Recovery
Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster (just a deluxe version of The Fame with a handful of added songs, that was nominated the year before and lost, but for whatever reason was nominated again)
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream (really Grammys? really?)
And this year’s nominees are as follows:
Adele – 21 (I’m putting my bets on this album to win. Yes it’s popular, but it’s also quality music.)
Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
Lady Gaga – Born This Way (she will lose again, as she did for the same album two years in a row)
Bruno Mars – Doo Wops And Hooligans
Rihanna – Loud
Whoever wins, wether it’s a deserving artist or not, there are always great albums that get neglected each year, but I guess that’s just the nature of the politics involved within the academy. One thing you can always be sure of with the Grammys is that they always put on an impeccable show, with great and inspired performances by such a wide range of musicians. So far they have announce that Paul McCartney and Coldplay along with Rihanna will perform and “Rumor Has It” that Adele may make her first singing appearance since her throat surgery, that put the temporary breaks on her skyrocketing career. There has not been any more mention of her performing, but I think the big surprise of the night will be her coming out to sing. I think this is especially likely seeing as I’m pretty sure she will walk away with Album of the Year.
Before I conclude this post I would like to make my prediction for Best New Artist. I am almost always spot on with calling the winner in this category.
The nominees for Best New Artist are as follows:
The Band Perry
I’m going to place my best on Bon Iver winning. We shall see in a few weeks.