Sunday, January 8, 8947
David Bowie (David Robert Jones) (b. 1947)
David Bowie (David Robert Jones) (b. 1947)
Ziggy Stardust (1972)
It Ain't Easy
Rock 'N' Roll Suicide
Live at the Tower
Rock 'N' Roll Suicide
David Bowie (b. David Robert Jones, January 8, 1947) is an English musician, actor, producer, arranger, and audio engineer. Active in five decades of rock music and frequently reinventing his music and image, Bowie is regarded as an influential innovator, particularly for his work through the 1970's.
Although he released an album and numerous singles earlier, David Bowie first caught the eye and ear of the public in the autumn of 1969, when his space-age mini-melodrama "Space Oddity" reached the top five of the UK singles chart. After a three-year period of experimentation he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era as a flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, spearheaded by the hit single "Starman" and the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona epitomised a career often marked by musical innovation, reinvention, and striking visual presentation.
In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single "Fame" and the hit album Young Americans, which the singer identified as "plastic soul." The sound constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees.
He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the minimalist album Low -- the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno. Arguably his most experimental works to date, the so-called "Berlin Trilogy" nevertheless produced three UK top-five albums.
After uneven commercial success in the late 1970's, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes" and its parent album, Scary Monsters. He paired with Queen for the 1981 UK chart-topper "Under Pressure," but consolidated his commercial -- and, until then, most profitable -- sound in 1983 with the album Let's Dance, which yielded the singles "China Girl," "Modern Love," and the title track.
Peter Noone (b. Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone, 5 November 1947, Davyhulme, near Manchester) is an English singer, songwriter, guitarist, pianist and actor, best known as "Herman" of the successful 1960s rock group Herman's Hermits.
The son of an accountant, Noone attended Wellacre Primary School in Flixton, Urmston and Stretford Grammar School near Manchester. He played a number of acting roles on television, including that of Stanley Fairclough in the soap opera Coronation Street.
Noone studied voice and drama at St Bede's College, Manchester and Manchester School of Music, where he won the Outstanding Young Musician Award.
Early in his career, he used the stage name Peter Novak. At the age of 15, he became the lead singer, spokesman, and frontman of Herman's Hermits. As "Herman", the photogenic Noone appeared on the cover of many international publications, including Time Magazine.
After leaving Herman's Hermits, Noone recorded 4 singles for UK Rak, 1 single for UK and US Philips, and several singles for the small UK Bus Stop label. His first RAK single, Oh! You Pretty Things, was a hit in the UK; it was written by David Bowie, who also played piano on the track. In 1974 he scored a #15 US AC and #101 US BUBBLING UNDER with "Meet Me On The Corner Down At Joe's Cafe" on the Casablanca label. In 1989 he had a #19 US AC hit with his solo recording of "I'm Into Something Good" from the movie The Naked Gun.
Noone has a brother Damon Noone who is also a musician and a parliamentary candidate for United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).
During the 1970s, Noone also starred in various stage, TV and film productions, including ABC's musical version of The Canterville Ghost, the lead in Pinocchio, (1968 TV programme) and Hallmark Hall of Fame's presentation of Pinocchio). He starred in three films for MGM: Mrs Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter, Hold On! and When the Boys Meet the Girls. He received favourable reviews in the lead role of Frederic in several Broadway theatre productions of The Pirates of Penzance during the 1980s. Also in the 1980s, Noone fronted a new-wave band called the Tremblers, and released a solo album, One of the Glory Boys.
He was the host of VH1's My Generation from 1989 to 1993, and in 2001 he was voted "VH1's Sexiest Artist. The Viewers' Choice award". He now lives in Santa Barbara, California, USA. One of his neighbors is Dennis Miller, and Noone occasionally appears on his radio programme.
He still tours with a group called Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone. Noone appeared on the televised singing show American Idol on 20 March 2007 as a mentor for male contestants on the show. He performed "There's a Kind of Hush" on American Idol on 21 March 2007.
Noone has a fan base of self-proclaimed "Noonatics". Many of his fans follow him from city to city, with concert venues often containing several dozen colorfully dressed and vocal Noonatics.
Herman's Hermits is an English beat or pop band, formed in Manchester in 1963 as Herman & The Hermits. The group's manager and producer, Mickie Most (who controlled the band's output), emphasized a simple, non-threatening and clean-cut image, although the band originally played R&B numbers.
This helped Herman's Hermits become hugely successful in the mid-1960's but hampered the band's creativity, relegating Noone, Hopwood, Leckenby and Green's original songs to quickly recorded B-sides and album cuts.
Their first hit was "I'm Into Something Good" (written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King), which reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart and No. 13 in the US in 1964. They never topped the British charts again, but had two US Billboard Hot 100 No. 1's with "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" (originally sung by Tom Courtenay in a 1963 British TV play) and "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am" (a British music hall song by Harry Champion dating from 1911). These songs were aimed at a US fan-base, with Peter Noone exaggerating his Manchester accent; the band was not fond of either song and they were never released as singles in Britain.
They were on the MGM label, a company which often featured the musical performers they had signed to record deals in films. The Hermits appeared in several MGM movies, including When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965) - and Hold On! (1966). They also starred in the film Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter (1968) and were one of the performers in Pop Gear (1965).
Herman's Hermits had three Top 3 hits in the U.S. in 1965, with the aforementioned #1 hits, as well as "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat" (U.S. #2). They had the hits "A Must to Avoid" (U.S. #8), "Listen People" (U.S. #3), George Formby, Jr.'s "Leaning on a Lamp Post," from Me and My Girl (U.S. #7), and "Dandy" (U.S. #3) in 1966; "There's a Kind of Hush" was a Top 10 hit for them the following year. They appeared on the The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show and The Jackie Gleason Show. Commercial success proved elusive after the late '60s. The group had recorded their final album of the sixties, "Rock N Roll Party". This however was eventually shelved by MGM, and Peter Noone and Keith Hopwood left the band in 1971. The band reunited in 1973 to headline a hugely successful British invasion tour culminating with a standing-room-only performance at Madison Square Garden and an appearance on The Midnight Special (without Hopwood). Later a version of the band featuring Leckenby and Whitwam opened for The Monkees on a couple of reunion tours. Noone declined an offer from tour organizers to appear but later appeared with Davy Jones on a successful teen idols tour.
Original members were Keith Hopwood (guitar, vocals), Karl Green (guitar, vocals), Alan Wrigley (bass guitar, vocals), Steve Titterington (drums), and Peter Noone (lead vocals). Although the youngest of a remarkably young group, fifteen-year-old Noone was already a veteran actor, with experience on the British soap opera, Coronation Street. Derek "Lek" Leckenby (guitar, vocals), and Barry "Bean" Whitwam (drums) (born Jan Barry Whitwam, 21 July 1946, in Prestbury, Cheshire), joined later from another local group, The Wailers, Whitwam replacing Titterington, Karl Green switching to bass guitar to replace Wrigley, and Leckenby effectively taking Green's position. After Leckenby joined, the group obtained a deal with producer Mickie Most and signed to EMI's Columbia Graphophone label in Europe and MGM Records in the United States.
The band played on many singles including "I'm Into Something Good", "Listen People," "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat," "Leaning on the Lamp Post," "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" (1965),"A Must to Avoid," "You Won't Be Leaving" and "I'm Henry VIII, I Am." The last was said at the time to be "the fastest-selling song in history."
Leckenby played the solo on "Henry," while Hopwood contributed the rhythm guitar on "Mrs. Brown."
Despite the group's competent musicianship, some of their subsequent singles employed some session musicians, including Big Jim Sullivan, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and Vic Flick with contributions from the band, although the role of session players on Herman's Hermits records has been exaggerated in the rock media and in inaccurate liner notes on the recent ABKCO Retrospective, which fails to credit the Hermits' playing. Mickie Most did use session musicians on many of the records he produced, including on a number of Hermits singles, as was his (and, for that matter, industry) practice at the time, a practice that continues today. Even The Yardbirds were forced by Most to make do with session musicians (except for Jimmy Page) on their Most produced recordings. (see Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zepplin Saga by Stephen Davis). Continuing acrimony between former members of Herman's Hermits has increased the misinformation about the group's role on their records. Leckenby in particular was a gifted guitarist. Most commented on VH1's My Generation: Herman's Hermits episode that the Hermits "played on a lot of their records and some they didn't." The group did play on all their US and UK Number One hits as well as on most of their top ten US singles and on number of other singles and most album cuts. According to Peter Noone, Lek Leckenby played the muted lead on "This Door Swings Both Ways" (Noone Interview: Herman's Hermits Listen People DVD-Reeling in the Years 2009), The riff in the song "Silhouettes" has been variously credited to Jimmy Page, Big Jim Sullivan and Vic Flick, however, according to Keith Hopwood and Karl Green interviewed in the previously referenced DVD, Derek Leckenby replaced Vic Flic in the studio and actually played the signature riff under direction from Mickie Most. According to interviews of Hopwwod, Green and Noone in the same DVD, Jimmy Page did play on the single "Wonderful World," although Big Jim Sullivan lists the song as part of a session he played. Likely, both may have added to the backing track. A number of writers have claimed that session players played on "I'm Into Something Good" but according to the surviving band members interview in the 2009 Listen People DVD, the song was recorded on a two track recorder with only a piano player adding to the Hermits.
For a brief time the group rivalled the Beatles on the charts, and was the top-selling pop act in the U.S. in 1965 (see Billboard charts for verification). On the The Beatles Anthology video, there is brief interview shown with a young girl in the audience attending The Beatles second appearance at Shea Stadium, when asked why The Beatles didn't sell out the stadium this time, she stated that The Beatles were not as popular as Herman's Hermits. Green once said he preferred harder rock but was grateful for the hand he was dealt.
Moreover, while the band's singles were written by top songwriters of the day, Noone, Leckenby, Hopwood, and Green contributed numerous songs such as "My Reservation's Been Confirmed," "Take Love, Get Love," "Marcel's," "For Love," "Tell Me Baby," "Busy Line," Moon Shine Man," "I Know Why," "GasLite Street," and others. "I Know Why" even made limited appearance as an "A" side.
The group was nominated for two Grammy awards in 1965, both for "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter". According to Noone and Hopwood, the song was recorded as an afterthought in two takes, using two microphones, with Hopwood on guitar, Green on bass guitar, and Whitwam on drums. Noone and the band deliberately emphasized their English accents on the record, which was never intended to be a single. Hopwood recalls playing a Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar in the studio, with its strings muted in order to create the distinctive sound. When playing the song live, Hopwood often used a Rickenbacker guitar with a rag under the bridge to duplicate the sound-this technique can be seen clearly in old performance clips.
The 1967 album Blaze garnered critical acclaim, but barely made the Top 100 in the U.S., and was not released in the U.K. Highlights included original songs by Leckenby, Hopwood, Green, and Noone, including "Ace King Queen Jack" and the psychedelic "Moon Shine Man." Ray Davies of the Kinks wrote "Dandy," which was a #5 hit for Herman's Hermits, and appears on their greatest hits album.
[8947 John Adams / 8947 Bowie / 8946 Shore]