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Happy Birthday Prince!

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Prince Rogers Nelson (born June 7, 1958), known by his mononym Prince, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor. He has produced ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. He has written several hundred songs and produces and records his own music for his own music label. In addition, he has promoted the careers of Sheila E., Carmen Electra, the Time and Vanity 6, and his songs have been recorded by these artists and others, including Chaka Khan, The Bangles, Sinéad O’Connor, and Kim Basinger.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Prince developed an interest in music at an early age, writing his first song at age seven. After recording songs with his cousin’s band 94 East, seventeen-year-old Prince recorded several unsuccessful demo tapes before releasing his debut album, For You, in 1978. His 1979 album, Prince, went platinum due to the success of the singles “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover”. His next three records, Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and 1999 (1982) continued his success, showcasing Prince’s trademark of prominently sexual lyrics and incorporation of elements of funk, dance and rock music. In 1984, he began referring to his backup band as the Revolution and released the album Purple Rain, which served as the soundtrack to his film debut of the same name.

After releasing the albums Around the World in a Day (1985) and Parade (1986), The Revolution disbanded and Prince released the critically acclaimed double album Sign “O” the Times (1987) as a solo artist. He released three more solo albums before debuting the New Power Generation band in 1991. After changing his stage name to an unpronounceable symbol (Prince logo.svg), also known as the “Love Symbol”, in 1993, he began releasing new albums at a faster pace to remove himself from contractual obligations to Warner Bros; he released five records between 1994 and 1996 before signing to Arista Records in 1998. In 2000, he began referring to himself as “Prince” once again. He has released thirteen albums since then, including his latest, 20Ten, released in 2010.

Prince has a wide vocal range and is known for his flamboyant stage presence and costumes. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.[3] He has won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the first year he was eligible. Rolling Stone has ranked Prince No. 27 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Prince’s music has been influenced by rock, R&B, soul, funk, hip hop, blues, new wave, electronica, disco, psychedelia, folk, jazz, and pop. His artistic influences include Sly & the Family Stone, Parliament-Funkadelic, Joni Mitchell, the Beatles, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, the Isley Brothers, Todd Rundgren, Duke Ellington, Curtis Mayfield, and Stevie Wonder. Prince pioneered the “Minneapolis sound”, a hybrid mixture of funk, rock, pop, R&B and new wave that has influenced many other musicians.

Happy Birthday Stevie Nicks!

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Stephanie Lynn “Stevie” Nicks (born May 26, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter who in the course of her work with Fleetwood Mac and her extensive solo career has produced over forty Top 50 hits and sold over 140 million albums. She was deemed “The Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll” and one of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” by Rolling Stone, and, as a member of Fleetwood Mac, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. As a solo artist, she has garnered eight Grammy Award nominations and, with Fleetwood Mac, a further five.

Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975 along with her then romantic partner Lindsey Buckingham. Fleetwood Mac’s second album after the incorporation of Nicks and Buckingham, Rumours, released in 1977, was the best-selling album of the year of its release and, to date, made claimed sales of 40 million copies worldwide, which makes it the sixth biggest selling studio album of all time. The album remained at No.1 on the American albums chart for 31 weeks and reached the top spot in various countries worldwide. The album won Album of the Year in 1978 and produced four U.S. Top 10 singles, with Nicks’ “Dreams” being the band’s first and only U.S. number one hit.

Nicks began her solo career in 1981 with the album Bella Donna, which reached Platinum status less than three months after its release, and has since been certified quadruple-platinum.[4] She has produced seven more solo studio albums to date, with her most recent titled In Your Dreams, released on May 3, 2011. Nicks is known for her distinctive voice, mystical visual style, and symbolic lyrics.

Released this month in 1979! Van Halen II ~ Van Halen

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It’s called Van Halen II not just because it’s the band’s second album but because it’s virtually a carbon copy of their 1978 debut, right down to how the band showcases their prowess via covers and how Eddie Van Halen gets a brief, shining moment to showcase his guitar genius. This time, he does his thing on acoustic guitars on the remarkable “Spanish Fly,” but that temporary shift from electrics to acoustics is the only true notable difference in attack here; in every other way, Van Halen II feels like its predecessor, even if there are subtle differences. First, there’s only one cover this time around — Betty Everett’s “You’re No Good,” surely learned from Linda Ronstadt — and this feels both heavier and lighter than the debut. Heavier in that this sounds big and powerful, driven by mastodon riffs that aim straight of the gut. Lighter in that there’s a nimbleness to the attack, in that there are pop hooks to the best songs, in that the group sounds emboldened by their success so they’re swaggering with a confidence that’s alluring. If the classic ratio is slightly lighter than on the debut, there are no bad songs and the best moments here — two bona fide party anthems in “Dance the Night Away” and “Beautiful Girls,” songs that embody everything the band was about — are lighter, funnier than anything on the debut, showcases for both Diamond Dave’s knowing shuck and jive and Eddie’s phenomenal gift, so natural it seems to just flow out of him. At this point, it’s hard not to marvel at these two frontmen, and hard not to be sucked into the vortex of some of the grandest hard rock ever made.

Did you know? Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy died on this day in 1986..

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1986, Irish singer, songwriter and bassist Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy died of heart failure and pneumonia after being in a coma for eight days following a drug overdose. Had the 1973 hit ‘Whiskey in the Jar’, (their version of the traditional Irish song), 1978 album ‘Live and Dangerous’ spent 62 weeks on the UK chart. A life-size bronze statue of Phil Lynott was unveiled on Harry Street in Dublin in 2005.

Happy Birthday Keith Richards!

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Keith Richards (born 18 December 1943) is an English musician, singer, songwriter and founding member of the English rock band The Rolling Stones. Rolling Stone magazine credited Richards for “rock’s greatest single body of riffs” on guitar and ranked him 10 on its list of 100 best guitarists. Fourteen songs Richards wrote with the Rolling Stones’ lead vocalist Mick Jagger are listed among Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.