There is no doubt that the advent of technology has produced many amazing things that most of us never saw coming or would ever think was possible. Furthest from anyone’s mind would be the mashing of two polar opposite musical styles of heavy metal and funk. Not possible you say? Check out the fine work by DJ Cummerbund as he seamlessly combines the heavy metal madness of Ozzy Osbourne with the super slick, funky rhythms of Earth, Wind and Fire to produce a mashup of Crazy Train and September. Ain’t technology grand??
People say that relentless heat can mess you up in many ways. It can make some people nauseous, dehydrate you, give you a headache, make you drowsy or in some cases, it destroys your ability spell ! I’m not bying itt thoughh. I thunck thets a lode of crips.
Yup, it’s been a pretty hot one this week with temperature records being broken, hydro grids being strained to the limit and people with air conditioning suddenly having friends over unexpectedly. You can actually buy a raw steak and cook it on your dashboard during the drive home.
While some would say this heat wave is a result of global warming, others say it is the coming of the end. I just think it’s a great excuse to hear a great summer retro classic !
One of the driving forces in early hip hop and Electrofunk was DJ / producer Arther Baker. Starting as a club DJ in the early 70s, he began experimenting with the new electronic sounds of the day and began producing remixes on analog tape. Long before digital took over, to create a quality mix required skill and patience since most of what you were doing was pretty much live. You needed mad skillz back in the day not like these days were software downloaded for free can create a remix on a whim.
Though you may not have heard of him, you certainly have heard his work since his collaborations include artists like Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force, Pet Shop Boys, Cyndi Lauper, Hall and Oats, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, ABC, Nenah Cherry and New Order to name a few. He was actually responsible for taking an obscure, instrumental piece from a 1984 New Order album “Lies, Power and Corruption” and churning it into the now classic Blue Monday.
His style was easily recognizable with heavy emphasis on the rhythm track with heavy use of drum machines and 808 sounds that pretty much defined the genre. He brought some contemporary artists to the mainstream with his remixes and also forces some artists to expand their horizons a bit by introducing new life into their usual style.
In 1985, he and Steven Van Zandt created Artists United Against Apartheid and created the anti-Apartheid anthem “Sun City” which helped raise global awareness of Apartheid in South Africa and was credited for being a major factor in it’s eventual demise. (Who says music can’t change the world ?)
His influence is still felt today and continues to inspire new artists and DJs as well as producers and remixers. Here’s a few more classic examples of his early style.
Growing up in Canada in the 80s exposed me to many Euro inspired music groups and to be honest back then I wasn’t that in tune with who was who in the music world so every once in a while I’d pick up on a group and think they were some avante garde, new wave group from the U.K. or France. Lime was one of those groups.
Formed in Montreal in the early 80s by the husband and wife team of Denis and Denyse LePage, they took full advantage of the exploding electronic music scene and created a bunch of Euro-disco inspired tracks. The story of Lime does have a few twists in it though (Lime twist…..get it ?….never mind) with some speculating that Denis and Denyse were in fact the same person that recorded both the male and female parts himself and used two attractive people to front the band when touring kinda like Milli Vanelli ended up doing years later. Regardless, they did leave behind some club classics.
Babe, We’re Gonna Love Tonight is one such classic from their second album Lime II released back in 1981. It reached #6 on the U.S. Dance charts in 1982 and the video has all the classic elements of music videos from the early 80s. Cheesy graphics, awkward edits, cheap effects, bad lip syncing, boring dance routines and the list goes on. Not sure if the couple in the video are the actual band or the “attractive” people chosen to front the band on tour. Either way though – this track sounded great in a crowded club and always got the party started back in the day.
As you’ve no doubt already heard, today is the end of the world so if you have any unfinished business to attend to, get moving and get er’ done. One thing’s for sure, it’s not like we didn’t have any warnings about the inevitable coming of the apocalypse. Signs were everywhere.
Still not convinced ? If you were an almighty power and gave your creation free will to take all the beauty you’ve given them to go forth and enhance life on earth and harness the wonders all around you and the best we come up with is this:
Wouldn’t you cash in the chips and move on to something else too? Still not convinced ? How about this:
Granted – he is amusing but holy cow, where the hell do we go from here ?!?! So again, the end is literally around the corner so here’s a list of things to do (or not to do) in lieu of the coming destruction.
1. Don’t pay any debt. (Why bother?) 2. Run with scissors. (What’s the worst that can happen, you’re gonna die anyway) 3. Tell the neighborhood bully he’s an idiot. (Even if he beats the crap out of you it will only hurt for a few hours) 4. Tell your office mates you’re the one secretly passing the silent but deadly ones. (You think they’re going to care at a time like this?) 5. Call you’re cable company and order all the premium channels. (If you’re gonna die, may as well have an awesome selection of viewing options) 6. Use real butter. (Seriously, you’re going to worry about your cholesterol now ?) 7. Order and actually eat a baconator. (After eating one, world’s end won’t come quick enough) 8. Mix your recyclables in with your regular garbage. (No amount of recycling will save us now) 9. Rent a Ferrari and drive the bajeezus out of it. 10. Do something really stupid………. but what ?
In the event that the world doesn’t end, do not attempt anything on the previously mentioned list. They were only suggestions anyway. Yup – it’s over folks. However you choose to spend you’re last day on earth, hope you enjoy doing it and if at all possible – Keep It Retro !
The world of rock lost one of the great ones the yesterday with the sad passing of vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Ronnie succumbed to his battle with stomach cancer on May 16, 2010. Ronnie James Dio was hailed as one of the most powerful voices in heavy metal. Dio was the voice behind some legendary metal bands like Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Elf, Heaven & Hell and his own namesake band, Dio.
Born Ronald James Padavona, in New Hampshire in 1942, he was the only child in an Italian family. The traditions and superstitions of his heritage influenced his later stage persona with the gratuitous use of his trademark devil horns which was actually an Italian superstitious remedy to prevent the unwanted “evil eye”.
Dio’s spent his childhood learning to play various instruments including the French horn which he said helped him become a better vocalist since it taught him how to breath properly. He enjoyed success with Rainbow but it was his selection to replace Ozzy Osbourne as lead singer for Black Sabbath in 1979 that really helped put Dio in the metal spotlight for so many.
Growing up in the 80s you had to make a very important decision if you were a metal head – Dio or Ozzy? Who was the true frontman for heavy metal founders Black Sabbath? At the time I have to admit I didn’t like Ronnie and always felt Ozzy was the one true voice for Sabbath but over time you learn to appreciate the operatic ability of Dio and the strength his vocals provided to the thundering guitars. He had a style all his own and was often imitated but truly never duplicated.
His legacy is his body of work that spanned six decades. Here are a few examples of what made him a legend of metal.
Retroland lost a great one today. Malcolm McClaren passed away today after a battle with cancer at the age of 64. Whether you liked him or not, you couldn’t dispute the fact that the man was an innovator had vision and a knack at spotting trends and capitalizing on them.
Malcolm was a fashion designer originally and opened up a London boutique called “Let It Rock” in 1971 before eventually renaming it “Sex”. It was around this time he started to get involved with music. He worked with the New York Dolls for a bit but his true claim to fame came when he started managing a punk band called “The Strand” who later renamed themselves – The Sex Pistols.
After one studio album and a brutal North American tour, the group was done and Malcolm moved on. Among the groups of the day that Malcolm had a hand in include Adam Ant and Bow Wow Wow. He then embarked on his own musical career.
His first venture happened after being exposed to Afrika Bambaata and his Zulu Nation which were a break dance crew that would perform to a new style of music from Bambaata that came to be known as Hip Hop. Malcolm was fascinated and with writing and production help by Trevor Horn put out his first album Duck Rock which featured a couple of early Hip Hop classics “Buffalo Girls” and “Double Dutch” which really helped crossover Hip Hop to the masses.
Malcolm constantly kept reinventing himself and in 1984 mixed electro-pop and opera to create Madame Butterfly which exposed him to a new audience and led to working with Yanni to create the music for a British Airways advertising campaign.
Malcolm continued to work in the entertainment industry and had some songs featured in major motion pictures, appeared on reality TV in the UK, created a few documentaries and just kept it up right till the end. He was anything but boring and a true original.
Today we got a double shot for you with two songs with the same title but vastly different styles yet both are extremely cool tracks and ooze retro with every note. First up is Twilight Zone by Golden Earring which was a hit in 1982 and had pretty heavy rotation on all the video music channels back when they actually played videos…….those were good days. It reached number 1 in the US Billboards Top Tracks and number 10 on the Hot 100.
The second Twilight Zone comes from Two Unlimited and was released ten years later and also got heavy rotation on the video channels. The song is pretty much the opposite side of the spectrum to the Golden Earring version yet was a big hit in many countries and became a workout staple due to the very catchy high energy hook. It made it to number 5 on the U.S. Billboards Hot Club Play charts and only 49 on the Top 100.
So what’s the connection? They are both Dutch groups. Enjoy.
Sadly the Vancouver winter Olympics are over and there’s nothing left to do but count the cash and clean up the mess. I do have to say that the whole event ran pretty smooth with the exception of a few technical glitches, lack of snow and a couple of deaths – other than that, it was mint.
Seriously though it was sad to see a young athlete lose his life though it was while doing something he loved – how many of us will be lucky to die doing something we love? As a tribute to him and all the athletes who competed, here’s a retro classic from 1983 by Spandau Ballet that takes it’s title from the one thing everyone strives for during the Olympics – Gold.
It’s a sad day in Retroville with the news of the passing of Doug Fieger, the American lead singer of new wave group The Knack and the co-writer of the number one track from 1979 “My Sharona” after a six year battle with cancer. Doug died on Valentine’s day.
Doug formed the band with three other musicians in 1978 after a few failed attempts at having a successful band. The Knack teamed up with producer Mike Chapman who was responsible for some hits by Blondie, Nick Gilder and Exile. They cut all the tracks for their first album in pretty much one take and that was what gave the album that energetic live feel. The whole album was done and ready to press in eleven days at a total cost of $18,000. It was one of the cheapest albums to ever go Platinum. It went gold just thirteen days after its release.
Their biggest hit was the catchy if not annoying My Sharona from their first album. It spent six weeks at number one on the Billboard’s Hot 100 in the U.S. while the album spent five weeks at number one.
Rather than giving you My Sharona which you’ve heard atleast three thousand times, here’s one of their followup hits that isn’t as well known but still pretty cool.