The Blossoms

 

The Blossoms

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Blossoms
The Blossoms.png

The Blossoms in 1966 (clockwise from top: Fanita James, Jean King, and Darlene Love)
Background information
Also known as The Dreamers
The Playgirls
The Rollettes
The Rebelettes
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres R&B, pop, rock and roll, soul
Years active 1954–1990; 2000-present
Labels Capitol, Philles, Challenge, Bell, RCA, Reprise, Ode, MGM, Lion
Members Fanita James
Gloria Jones
Past members Darlene Love
Jean King
Gracia Nitzsche
Nanette Williams
Annette Williams
Jewel Cobbs
Pat Howard
Edna Wright
Carolyn Willis

The Blossoms are an American girl-group that initially originated from California. During their height of success in the 1960s, the group’s lineup most famously consisted of Darlene Love, Fanita James, and Jean King.

Although the group had a recording career in their own right, they were most famous for being the group to actually record the #1 hit “He’s a Rebel” (which producer Phil Spector credited to the Crystals), and for providing backing vocals for many of the biggest hits of the 1960s.

It has been said that the Blossoms were to the American West Coast what the Sweet Inspirations were to the East Coast and the Andantes were for Motown.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Their career began in Los Angeles, California, while still in high school in 1954. Originally the group was a sextet of young girls singing for fun. Calling themselves The Dreamers the group originally sang spirituals since two of the members had parents who were against their daughters singing secular rhythm and blues music popular on the radio during the early 1950s.

Fanita Barrett (later known as Fanita James), Gloria Jones (not the same Gloria Jones who later became famous for “Tainted Love“), Jewel Cobbs, Pat Howard and twin sisters Annette and Nanette Williams all came from musical backgrounds. The twins had taken vocal and dancing lessons as youngsters. Fanita’s brother Ronald was already a success with his vocal group, The Meadowlarks. The Dreamers were introduced to local musicians through Dexter Tisby, then successful with his own group the Penguins who had a hit with “Earth Angel“.

The Dreamers joined Richard Berry in the studio and during 1955 and 1956 made several recordings for Flair and RPM Records. Among them was a version of Harry Warren and Mac Gordon’s “At Last” and several of Richard Berry’s compositions: “Together”, “Wait For Me”, and “Daddy, Daddy”. The Dreamers gained attention as versatile singers and began to get studio work singing backup for other artists as well as recording a few singles of their own as the Dreamers.

The Dreamers signed with Capitol Records where one of the executives, noticing their different skin tones, said they looked like a bouquet; which is how they became the Blossoms. Even though signing to Capitol was considered a step up, the group’s stay at Capitol was short – yielding only three singles – none of which made the charts. The Blossoms also underwent significant changes at this time. By 1958 Nanette was married, pregnant, and planning a leave of absence from the group.

Darlene Wright (later known as Darlene Love) replaced Nanette and was selected to be the lead, which the ensemble-based Blossoms had not previously had. The addition of Wright would change the style of the group but chart success was still elusive, despite Darlene’s unique presence as lead, on songs like “No Other Love” for Capitol in 1958, “Sugarbeat” for RCA (as the Playgirls) in 1960 and “Write Me A Letter” for Challenge in 1961.

The group provided back-up vocals to Sam Cooke’s 1959 hit Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha.[1]

The 1960s[edit]

During the summer of 1962, the Blossoms finally emerged successful on the charts, although their biggest hit song, “He’s a Rebel“, would not be credited to them.

Then-unknown producer Phil Spector had learned that Vikki Carr was soon to record “He’s a Rebel” for Liberty Records as her debut single, and decided he had to rush his own version to stores. Since the Crystals (his biggest girl group at the time) were touring on the east coast at the time, the Blossoms were instead brought in to record the track. Prior to this, Spector had been using the Blossoms to contribute backing vocals behind many of his artists’ tracks including the Crystals’ “Da Doo Ron Ron”.

However, when Spector released the record, the song was instead credited to the Crystals (much to the dismay of the actual Crystals). The Blossoms in turn only received a meager session fee (Darlene Love states they were paid “triple scale”) and are not credited for contributing to the record. The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and firmly established Spector as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Over the next three years, the Blossoms, with Darlene as lead, would be the favored singers on all of Spector’s sessions recorded in California.

Darlene and Fanita sang with Bobby Sheen as Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans. This combo achieved hit singles for Spector, including a version of the Disney classic “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

Although The Blossoms were attempting to establish themselves as primary artists, they still contributed backing vocals behind many of the biggest hits of the 1960s including the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby“, Shelley Fabares’ “Johnny Angel“, and the Blossoms lead singer Darlene Love’s solo efforts (which included “He’s Sure the Boy I Love” although again Spector credited the song to the Crystals).[2] Fabares stated in an interview quoted in The Billboard Book of #1 Hits that her strongest memory of that recording session was the “beautiful voices of the backup singers”.[3]

In 1964, the group was reduced to a trio of Darlene, Fanita, and newcomer Jean King and were a featured part of a relatively successful weekly rock’ n’ roll television program called Shindig! The Blossoms used their vocal versatility to their advantage, singing in various styles behind a cross-section of artists, including; Patty Duke, Shelley Fabares, Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye.

The Blossoms appeared in 1964’s The T.A.M.I. Show providing backup vocals and dancing for all of Marvin Gaye’s songs; their name appeared in the opening credits, but they were not introduced. They are later seen at stage left encouraging an exhausted James Brown to take the stage one last time after his climactic performance. In 1968 they appeared in the Elvis (NBC TV Special). The Blossoms also provided backing vocals to Doris Day’s “Move Over, Darling” from the film of the same name. They resumed recording under their own name later in the 1960s for labels such as Reprise, Ode, and MGM. While with Ode, they recorded a pop-gospel version of Laura Nyro‘s “Stoney End“, which was first released in 1967 as the B-side to the “Wonderful” single, and then again in 1969 as an A-side single. They recorded their only album, Shockwave, in 1972 for Lion Records.

1970s-present[edit]

Darlene eventually left the Blossoms in 1974 and Jean King died of a heart attack in Las Vegas in 1983. Fanita kept the Blossoms going with varying personnel, backing Tom Jones, and performing on the Las Vegas circuit until 1990 when she became a backing singer for Doris Kenner Jackson of the Shirelles. Darlene stayed out of the music business for about five years after a brief reunion with Phil Spector in late 1974. She made a comeback in 1981 and two years later was starring in Leader of the Pack, the Broadway musical based on the life of songwriter Ellie Greenwich. Darlene began a film acting career portraying Trish in the Lethal Weapon movie series. She also had her own one-woman show “Darlene Love: Portrait of a Woman” at The Bottom Line in New York City. Darlene is also remembered for her hit “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” from the 1963 album A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector.

Following Doris Kenner Jackson’s death in 2000 from breast cancer, Fanita revived the Blossoms with original member Gloria Jones and a new third member.

In 2013, the Blossoms (namely Darlene Love, Fanita James, Edna Wright, and Gloria Jones) were highlighted in the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, in which it was revealed that they also sang backing vocals for Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash“, Frank Sinatra’s version of “That’s Life“, and Betty Everett’s “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)“.

Known members[edit]

  • Fanita James (1954-1990; 2000–present)
  • Gloria Jones (1954-1962; 2000–present)
  • Annette Williams (1954-1960)
  • Nanette Williams (1954-1958)
  • Jewel Cobbs (1954)
  • Pat Howard (1954)
  • Darlene Love (1958-1974)
  • Gracia Nitzsche (1962-1964)
  • Edna Wright (1962-1964)
  • Carolyn Willis (1962-1964)
  • Jean King (1964-1983)

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role
2013 20 Feet from Stardom Background singers

The Shirelles

 

The Shirelles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Shirelles
The Shirelles 1962.jpg

The Shirelles in 1962. Clockwise from top: Addie “Micki” Harris, Shirley Owens, Beverly Lee, and Doris Coley.
Background information
Also known as The Poquellos, Shirley & the Shirelles
Origin Passaic, New Jersey, US
Genres R&B, rock and roll, doo-wop, pop, soul
Years active 1957–82
Labels Tiara, Decca, Scepter, Bell, RCA; UK: Top Rank, Stateside, Pye International
Past members Shirley Owens
Doris Coley
Addie Harris
Beverly Lee

The Shirelles were an American girl group that achieved popularity in the early 1960s. They consisted of schoolmates Shirley Owens (later Shirley Alston Reeves), Doris Coley (later Doris Kenner-Jackson), Addie “Micki” Harris (later Addie Harris McFadden), and Beverly Lee.

Founded in 1957 for a talent show at their high school, they were signed by Florence Greenberg of Tiara Records. Their first single, “I Met Him on a Sunday”, was released by Tiara and licensed by Decca Records in 1958. After a brief and unsuccessful period with Decca, they went with Greenberg to her newly formed company, Scepter Records. Working with Luther Dixon, the group rose to fame with “Tonight’s the Night“. After a successful period of collaboration with Dixon and promotion by Scepter, with seven top 20 hits, the Shirelles left Scepter in 1966. Afterwards, they were unable to maintain their previous popularity.

The Shirelles have been described as having a “naive schoolgirl sound” that contrasted with the sexual themes of many of their songs. Several of their hits used strings and baião-style music. They have been credited with launching the girl group genre, with much of their music reflecting the genre’s essence. Their acceptance by both white and black audiences, predating that of the Motown acts, has been noted as reflecting the early success of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. They have received numerous honors, including the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, as well as being accepted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and named one of the 100 best acts of all time by Rolling Stone in 2004. Two of their songs, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “Tonight’s the Night”, were selected by Rolling Stone on its list of the greatest songs of all time.

Initial career and success[edit]

An updated/… version of the Shirelles’ first song, “I Met Him on a Sunday” entitled “I Met Him On A Sunday ’66”

The group that later became the Shirelles was formed in 1957 by four teenage girls from Passaic, New Jersey,[1] under the name the Poquellos[2] (or Pequellos[3]). The founding members, Shirley Owens (born June 10, 1941), Doris Coley (August 2, 1941 – February 4, 2000), Addie “Micki” Harris (January 22, 1940 – June 10, 1982), and Beverly Lee (born August 3, 1941), entered a talent show at Passaic High School at the suggestion of a teacher. After hearing them sing “I Met Him on a Sunday”, a song they had written for the show, their classmate Mary Jane Greenberg convinced the reluctant Poquellos to meet with her mother, Florence, the owner of Tiara Records.[2][4] After several months of avoiding Greenberg and telling her that they were not interested in singing professionally, they were booked to Tiara. By the end of the year they had changed their name to the Shirelles,[1] a combination of the first syllable of Owens’ given name and -el, reminiscent of then-popular group the Chantels,[5] after briefly using the name the Honeytunes. That year, they released their first song, “I Met Him on a Sunday”; after local success, it was licensed to Decca Records for national broadcast and charted at #50. The song was influenced by doo-wop, but infused with pop melodies.[6]

Tiara Records, along with the Shirelles’ contract, was sold to Decca Records in 1959 for $4,000; Greenberg stayed as the manager, securing performances for the group, including one at the Howard Theatre in Washington D.C.[7] After two singles did poorly, including their first release—with Coley as lead vocalist—of “Dedicated to the One I Love“, a cover of the “5” Royales song of the same name,[8] Decca returned them to Greenberg and gave up on them, considering them a one-hit act.[7] On Greenberg’s new label, Scepter Records,[1] they rereleased “Dedicated to the One I Love” as a single, which peaked at #89; Wayne Wadhams, David Nathan, and Susan Lindsay in Inside the Hits attribute the low rating to poor distribution.[9] In order to better promote the group, Greenberg asked songwriter Luther Dixon, who had previously worked with Perry Como, Nat King Cole, and Pat Boone and co-written the 1959 hit “16 Candles“, to write for and produce songs for them. Dixon accepted.[10]

Their first single produced with Dixon, “Tonight’s the Night“, was released in 1960 and peaked at #39. The success of “Tonight’s the Night” led to the girls being booked to perform with several major artists,[9] such as Etta James and Little Richard,[11] and facilitated Scepter’s move to a larger office. It was followed by “Will You Love Me Tomorrow“, written by husband-wife songwriting team Gerry Goffin and Carole King;[10] the song went on to become the first Billboard number-one hit by an African-American girl group,[12] possibly the first by any girl group.[2] “Tonight’s the Night” was later used as the title song for the 1961 album Tonight’s the Night, which also included “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “Dedicated to the One I Love”.[13]

After the success of their singles, the Shirelles became frequent guests of Murray the K, who hosted them on his “All Star Rock Shows” on the New York radio station WINS.[3] During this same period they reissued “Dedicated to the One I Love”, which peaked at #3, followed by “Mama Said“, then “Baby It’s You”, written by Burt Bacharach, Luther Dixon, and Mack David, “Soldier Boy“,[14] and “Boys“, with saxophonist King Curtis.[3]

In 1963 Dixon left Scepter, which presaged a tailing-off of the number of the Shirelles’ singles to chart. However, they carried on performing and recording. Dionne Warwick replaced Owens and Coley, who took leave to marry their fiancés, in concerts and the group continued to record material. That year, their song “Foolish Little Girl” reached the pop/R&B Top 10, and they had a cameo in the film It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.[5] However, later in 1963 they learned that the trust, holding their royalties, that they were supposed to receive from Scepter on their 21st birthdays, did not exist.[14] In response, they left the label,[8] and later filed a breach of contract suit against the company. Scepter met this with a countersuit for quitting; both suits were withdrawn in 1965, after an agreement was reached.[15] Knowing that Scepter had lied about the trust disappointed the Shirelles, who felt deceived. In a 1981 interview with Bruce Pollock, Owens said that Greenberg had put on a “mother routine”, which the girls had “fall[en] for … completely”.[16]

Later career[edit]

Owens left the group in 1975.

In later years, the Shirelles declined in popularity due to pressure from the British Invasion[5] and the heavy competition from other girl groups, including the Chiffons, the Dixie Cups, the Ronettes, the Supremes, and the Crystals.[14] During this period, Warwick often replaced Coley due to the latter’s family commitments. The Shirelles were still bound to Scepter and thus unable to record for another company until the end of their contract[8] in 1966.[15] Their last single to chart was 1967’s “Last Minute Miracle”,[5] which peaked at #99.[17]

After the commercial failure of their most recent releases, Coley left the group in 1968 to attend to her family. The remaining three Shirelles recorded songs for several labels, including Bell Records, RCA, and United Artists until 1971. Afterwards, they toured singing their older songs, and participated in the filming of the 1973 documentary Let the Good Times Roll,[5] recording two songs for it.[3] Coley returned as lead singer in 1975,[8] replacing Owens, who left that year to pursue a solo career.[18] In 1982 Harris died of a heart attack in the Hyatt Regency after two performances in Atlanta, Georgia, with the group.[5][6][19] The following year, the remaining three original members performed “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” with Warwick on her album How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye.[5]

Current versions of the group[edit]

Today, the original members tour in different, separate, groups,[5] although the trademark to the Shirelles name was eventually acquired by Lee.[20] Shirley Owens performed on the Doo Wop 51 PBS special in 2000, and continues to tour under the name ‘Shirley Alston Reeves and her Shirelles’. Lee currently tours with new members, billed as “The Shirelles”. Coley died in Sacramento, California, on February 4, 2000, of breast cancer.[8][12]

Style[edit]

Wadhams, Nathan, and Lindsay describe the style of the Shirelles early work as “tight, almost doo-wop harmony”.[21] Owens’ vocals, described by rock n’ roll writer Alwyn W. Turner as being “wonderfully expressive”, were capable of sounding “almost, but not quite” out of tune, which in his opinion led to Owens’ sounding innocent in her songs;[22] music critic Albin Zak describes her vocals as being able to intone desire and vulnerability.[10] The other members, singing backup, also convey what Michael Campbell, a professor of music at Western Illinois University, calls a “naive schoolgirl sound”.[4] The lyrics sung by the Shirelles tended to be fairly simple and “barely” concealed the subtexts of the songs. The songs were implicitly directed at female listeners, with the male subjects of songs being referred to as “he” instead of “you”;[22] this was a change from previous female-written songs, which tended to be more gender neutral, and helped pave the way for the “confessional” songs of 70s singers like Joni Mitchell and Carole King.[4][23]

Musically, their works with Dixon were influenced by Brazilian baião and featured numerous instances of syncopation.[10]

Influences[edit]

Steve Huey of AllMusic notes that the Shirelles defined “the so-called girl group sound with their soft, sweet harmonies and yearning innocence”, with their songs predating Motown in their widespread crossing of racial demographics, both in the US and in Britain. He also notes that they spawned “legions of imitators”, and laid a blueprint for future female pop stars to follow.[5] Turner writes that the Shirelles “launched [the girl group] genre”, noting that their early work already included “the essence” of the genre;[22] Alwyn Zak expands on the statement, noting that the influx of female groups started after the success of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”.[24]

Michael Campbell notes that the Shirelles’ success reflected the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He indicates that works such as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, written by a white couple, produced by an African-American man, with vocals by young African-American women and strings sounding like they were targeted at a white audience, conveyed a “color-blind” message on top of its more obvious sexual one.[4]

Accolades[edit]

In 1994, the Shirelles were honored by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation with the Pioneer Award for their contributions to music.[25] The award was accepted by Owens, Lee, and Kenner. As Coley was accepting her award, she said “This is dedicated to the one I love”, and sang an impromptu rendition of “Soldier Boy” together with Owens and Lee.[6] Two years later they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, together with Gladys Knight and the Pips. At the ceremony in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, the three surviving members sang a medley of songs after being presented the awards by Merry Clayton, Marianne Faithfull, and Darlene Love.[26] In 2002, they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Lee and Owens accepted the award.[27]

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked them #76 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Paul Shaffer, who did the write-up, wrote that the girl-group sound, originated by them, was “everything to [him]”; he also described their impromptu performance of “Soldier Boy” as inspiring.[6] They also included two of the Shirelles’ songs, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “Tonight’s the Night“, on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In the 2010 edition, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” was ranked 126th, while “Tonight’s the Night” was ranked 409th.[28]

In September 2008, the Shirelles’ hometown of Passaic honored the group by renaming a section of Paulison Avenue between Passaic and Pennington Avenues (the section where Passaic High School is located) “Shirelles Boulevard”. The dedication ceremony was attended by both surviving Shirelles. Owens said that it was different than when they were inducted into the Hall of Fame, as it was their home town. She noted that “the people who loves [sic] us and we loved are right here.”[29]

Stage musical[edit]

The Shirelles’ story was shown in Baby It’s You!, a musical revue written by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, which follows the story of Greenberg and Scepter Records.[30] The revue played on Broadway for 148 performances, opening at the Broadhurst Theatre on April 27, 2011 and closing on September 4 of the same year.[31]The use of their likenesses without permission led to Lee, as well as the estates of Coley and Harris, to sue Warner Bros.[20]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album Billboard 200 Record Label
1961 The Shirelles Sing to Trumpets and Strings Scepter Records
Tonight’s the Night
1962 The Shirelles and King Curtis Give a Twist Party
Baby It’s You 59
1963 Foolish Little Girl 68
1965 Hear and Now Pricewise Records
Swing the Most
1967 Spontaneous Combustion Scepter Records
1971 Happy and in Love RCA Records
1972 The Shirelles
1973 Eternally, Soul Scepter Records

Compilation Albums[edit]

Year Album Billboard 200 Record Label
1963 The Shirelles’ Greatest Hits 19 Scepter Records
1964 The Shirelles Sing the Golden Oldies
1967 The Shirelles’s Greatest Hits Vol. II
1972 Remember When Volume 1 Wand Records
Remember When Volume 2
1975 The Very Best of The Shirelles United Artists Records
1984 Anthology 1959-1964 Rhino Records

Singles[edit]

“Tonight’s The Night” was their first song to break the Top 40

“Will You Love Me Tomorrow” was the Shirelles’ first Number 1 hit

“Last Minute Miracle”, the last single by the Shirelles to chart

Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart positions[17] Album
US US
R&B
UK
1958 “I Met Him On A Sunday (Ronde-Ronde)”
b/w “I Want You To Be My Boyfriend”
49 Non-album tracks
“My Love Is A Charm”
b/w “Slop Time”
“I Got The Message”
b/w “Stop Me”
1959 Dedicated To The One I Love
b/w “Look A Here Baby” (Non-album track)
83 Tonight’s The Night
“Doin’ The Ronde”
b/w “A Teardrop and A Lollipop” (Non-album track)
1960 “Please Be My Boyfriend”
b/w “I Saw A Tear” (from The Shirelles Sing To Trumpets and Strings)
The Shirelles’ Greatest Hits Vol. II
Tonight’s The Night
b/w “The Dance Is Over”
39 14 Tonight’s The Night
Will You Love Me Tomorrow
b/w “Boys”
1 2 4
1961 Dedicated To The One I Love(reissue)
b/w “Look A Here Baby” (Non-album track)
3 2
Mama Said
b/w “Blue Holiday”
4 2 The Shirelles Sing To Trumpets and Strings
“A Thing Of The Past” / 41 26 Baby It’s You
“What A Sweet Thing That Was” 54 The Shirelles Sing To Trumpets and Strings
Big John (Ain’t You Gonna Marry Me)
b/w “Twenty-One”
21 2 Baby It’s You
Baby It’s You” / 8 3
“The Things I Want To Hear (Pretty Words)” 107
1962 Soldier Boy” / 1 3 23
“Love Is A Swingin’ Thing” 109 Twist Party (With King Curtis)
Welcome Home, Baby” / 22 20
“Mama, Here Comes The Bride” 104
“Stop The Music” / 36 The Shirelles’ Greatest Hits
“It’s Love That Really Counts (In The Long Run)” 102
Everybody Loves A Lover
b/w “I Don’t Think So” (from Foolish Little Girl)
19 15
1963 Foolish Little Girl” / 4 9 38 Foolish Little Girl
“Not For All the Money In The World” 100
“Don’t Say Goodnight and Mean Goodbye”
b/w “I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You”
26
“What Does A Girl Do?”
b/w “Don’t Let It Happen To Us” (Non-album track)
53 * The Shirelles Swing The Most
“It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” / 92 * It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
“31 Flavors” 97 *
1964 “Tonight You’re Gonna Fall In Love With Me”
b/w “20th Century Rock N’ Roll” (from It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World)
57 * Hear & Now
“Sha-La-La”
b/w “His Lips Get In The Way” (from The Shirelles Swing The Most)
69 *
“Thank You Baby”
b/w “Dooms Day” (from Hear & Now)
63 * The Shirelles’ Greatest Hits Vol. II
“Maybe Tonight” / 88 * Hear & Now
“Lost Love” 125 *
“Are You Still My Baby”
b/w “I Saw A Tear” (from The Shirelles Sing To Trumpets and Strings)
91 * Non-album tracks
1965 “Shhh, I’m Watching The Movie”
b/w “A Plus B”
“March (You’ll Be Sorry)”
b/w “Everybody’s Goin’ Mad” (from It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World)
108
“My Heart Belongs To You”
b/w “Love That Man” (Non-album track)
125 The Shirelles’ Greatest Hits Vol. II
“Mama, My Soldier Boy Is Coming Home”
b/w “Soldier Boy” (from Baby, It’s You)
Non-album track
1966 “I Met Him On A Sunday – ’66”
b/w “Love That Man” (Non-album track)
The Shirelles’ Greatest Hits Vol. II
“Que Sera Sera”
b/w “Till My Baby Comes Home”
Remember When
“Shades Of Blue”
b/w “When The Boys Talk About The Girls” (from Remember When)
122 Non-album tracks
“Teasin’ Me”
b/w “Look Away”
1967 “Don’t Go Home (My Little Darlin’)”
b/w “Nobody Baby After You” (Non-album track)
110 The Shirelles’ Greatest Hits Vol. II
“Bright Shiny Colors”
b/w “Too Much Of A Good Thing”
Non-album tracks
“Last Minute Miracle”
b/w “No Doubt About It”
99 41 Spontaneous Combustion
1968 “Sweet Sweet Lovin'”
b/w “Don’t Mess With Cupid”
Non-album tracks
“Call Me (If You Want Me)”
b/w “There’s A Storm Going On In My Heart”
1969 “A Most Unusual Boy”
b/w “Look What You’ve Done To My Heart”
“Playthings”
b/w “Looking Glass”
“Go Away and Find Yourself”
b/w “Never Give You Up (Never Gonna Give You Up)”
1970 “There Goes My Baby/Be My Baby”
b/w “Strange, I Love You”
“It’s Gonna Take A Miracle”
b/w “Lost”
“Dedicated To The One I Love” (new version)
b/w “Take Me”
1971 “No Sugar Tonight”
b/w “Strange, I Love You”
Happy and In Love
1972 “Sunday Dreaming”
b/w “Brother, Brother”
The Shirelles
1973 “Let’s Give Each Other Love”
b/w “Deep In The Night” (from The Shirelles)
Non-album tracks
“Do What You’ve A Mind To”
b/w “Touch The Wind”

| * no RnB Charts printed by Billboard during these chart runs

The Crystals

 

The Crystals

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Crystals
The crystals sm.JPG

The Crystals in 1963
Background information
Origin New York, New York, United States
Genres Pop, R&B
Years active 1960–1967, 1971-present
Labels Philles Records
Associated acts Darlene Love
Members Dolores “Dee Dee” Kenniebrew
Patricia Pritchett-Lewis
Melissa Antoinette “MelSoulTree” Grant
Past members Barbara Alston
Mary Thomas
Myrna Giraud
Patricia “Patsy” Wright
Dolores “LaLa” Brooks
Frances Collins

The Crystals are an American vocal group based in New York, considered one of the defining acts of the girl group era in the first half of the 1960s. Their 1961–1964 chart hits, including “There’s No Other (Like My Baby)“, “Uptown”, “He’s Sure the Boy I Love”, “He’s a Rebel“, “Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)” and “Then He Kissed Me“, featured three successive female lead singers, and were all produced by Phil Spector. The latter three songs were originally ranked #267,[1] #114, and #493, respectively, on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[2] However, two songs were dropped from the magazine’s 2010 update.[3]

History[edit]

Formation and signing to Philles[edit]

In 1961, Barbara Alston, Mary Thomas, Dolores “Dee Dee” Kenniebrew, Myrna Giraud and Patricia “Patsy” Wright formed the Crystals with the help of Benny Wells, Barbara’s uncle. Soon, the quintet signed with Phil Spector‘s label Philles Records.[4]

Their first hit, the gospel-influenced “There’s No Other (Like My Baby)”, debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1961. Originally the B-side to “Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby” (featuring Wright on lead), the stirring pop ballad was co-written by Spector and Leroy Bates and featured Barbara Alston on vocals. The recording was made late on the evening of the high school prom at Central Commercial High School, the school attended by Barbara, Mary, and Myrna; they were still wearing their prom dresses, as they had come to the studio straight from the event.[5] The single reached number 20 in January 1962, marking an auspicious debut for Spector’s Philles label.[4]

Brill Building songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil‘s “Uptown” gave the girls their second radio hit. Having an ethnic flavor with flamenco guitar and castanets, the more uptempo “Uptown” featured Alston once again emoting convincingly over a boy, though this time with class issues woven into the story. After the success of “Uptown”, a pregnant Giraud was replaced by Dolores “LaLa” Brooks.

The controversial subject matter of the next single, 1962’s “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)” (written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin and sung by Alston), resulted in limited airplay with the track only “bubbling under” the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #123. Barbara Alston later disowned the track, stating it was “absolutely, positively, the one record that none of us liked”[6]

“Replacement” Crystals[edit]

Soon after “He Hit Me” flopped, Phil Spector began recording singer Darlene Love and her backing group the Blossoms but under the name “the Crystals” who sometimes had difficulty hitting the same notes during live performances according to the documentary 20 Feet from Stardom. Legend has it that the real Crystals were not able to travel from New York to Los Angeles fast enough to suit the LA-based Spector, who wanted to quickly record writer Gene Pitney‘s “He’s a Rebel” before Vikki Carr could release her version on Liberty Records. The Crystals were unavailable, but Love and the Blossoms were also based in L.A., so Spector recorded and released their version under the Crystals’ banner. It was not the first time Spector would promise the Blossoms a single and release it under the Crystals. Ironically, Liberty Records president Al Bennett had previously hired Spector as a staff producer and promotion director.

The song (“He’s a Rebel”) had originally been offered to The Shirelles, who turned it down because of the anti-establishment lyrics. It marked a shift in girl group thematic material, where the singer loves a “bad boy”, a theme that would be amplified by later groups (especially The Shangri-Las‘ “Leader of the Pack“).[7]

“He’s a Rebel” was the Crystals’ only US #1 hit. Their follow-up single, “He’s Sure the Boy I Love”, in actuality also featured Love and the Blossoms. It reached #11 on the Billboard chart, and features a spoken intro by Darlene Love.

“Let’s Dance The Screw”[edit]

After the success of He’s A Rebel, Spector wanted to sever his partnership with Lester Sill. Spector felt that—as he was a writer and producer—he shouldn’t have to split royalties. In order to fulfill the terms of their contract (which stipulated a certain number of records for which the royalty was to be split)[citation needed] and thus, offer to buy Lester Sill out, Spector quickly wrote and recorded a song which, due to its subject and length, was designed not to garner any royalties.

The song, entitled “Let’s Dance The Screw – Part I & (b-side) II”, is a track with a length (a-side) in excess of 5 minutes, therefore unlikely to be considered for radio play, as most songs’ runtimes were 3 minutes or less. The record featured simple instrumentation—just a piano (unlike Spector’s famous Wall of Sound production style)—repetitive lyrics, and Spector’s lawyer, Marty Machat, intoning the title and lyric “Let’s Dance The Screw,” numerous times in a deadpan monotone. The B-side, Part II, was more of the same but played much more slowly—and a running time in excess of 8 minutes.

The Crystals sang the song’s repetitive verses, though it is unclear if these singers were the ‘original’ Crystals or the Blossoms[citation needed].

The recording was never released commercially as a single, and only a few promo copies are known to exist (all marked ‘DJ copy—not for sale’) and one known stock copy on light blue label.

The record was apparently created to be a joke at Sill’s expense, who was soon to leave the Philles label, as a single copy was specially delivered to him in early 1963.[8] Both parts of the song have since been released on CD.

The “Real” Crystals return[edit]

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The 1963 hits “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Then He Kissed Me” were both penned by Phil Spector with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich.

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Though it is unclear as to the level of their participation in “Let’s Dance The Screw”, the ‘real’ Crystals definitely began recording again under their own name in 1963. However, Thomas had departed to get married, only to join another mildly successful group, The Butterflys, along with another original Crystal, Myrna Giraud. This reduced the group to a quartet. Alston, known for her shyness and stage fright, was never comfortable with being out front, stepped down from the lead spot giving it to Dolores “LaLa” Brooks. According to Brooks, she had been doing Alston’s leads in their live shows for a while.

After “Let’s Dance The Screw”, the group’s next release was the classic “Da Doo Ron Ron“. The song was a top 10 hit in both the US and the UK, as was the follow-up single “Then He Kissed Me”, with lead vocals also sung by Brooks. LaLa also flew out to L.A to record tracks for the seasonal album, A Christmas Gift For You.”

At the start of 1964, the Crystals flew to the UK for their first European live shows. “Then He Kissed Me” soared to #2 in the UK, and the Crystals also headlined the TV programs “Ready Steady Go”, and “Saturday Night At the Palladium”.

Mounting tension and break-up[edit]

Despite the steady flow of hit singles, tensions between Spector and the Crystals mounted. Already unhappy with having been replaced by Love and the Blossoms on two singles, the Crystals were even more upset when Spector began focusing much of his time on his other girl group the Ronettes. Not only did the Ronettes become Philles Records’ priority act, the Ronettes actually replaced the Crystals on four album tracks on the 1963 compilation LP The Crystals Sing the Greatest Hits. As well, there were disputes about royalties, with the Crystals feeling that Spector was withholding royalty money that was owed to them.

Two failed Crystals singles followed before the band left Spector’s Philles Records for United Artists Records in 1964. “Little Boy”, which reached #92, was a Wall Of Sound production that was layered multiple times, which meant that the vocals were hard to distinguish from the music. “All Grown Up”, their final Philles single (of which two versions exist), only reached #98.

1964 also saw the departure of Wright, who was replaced by Frances Collins, a dancer whom they had met while touring; toward the end of that year Alston departed leaving the group a trio. As a trio, they recorded two singles for United Artists, “My Place” and “You Can’t Tie a Good Girl Down”. One more single was released by Barbara, Dee Dee and Mary on the tiny Michelle Records in 1967 (“Ring-a-Ting-a-Ling”) and they disbanded in 1967 (see 1967 in music). They reunited in 1971 (see 1971 in music) and still perform today. Kenniebrew is the only original Crystal who remained active throughout their touring from the seventies to the present. Dee Dee carries on the Crystals legacy by performing with Patricia Pritchett-Lewis, a member since 2005, and Melissa Antoinette Grant (aka MelSoulTree]), a member since 2002. The voice of The Crystals’ two biggest hits – Lala Brooks, after living in the UK for two decades, has returned to the stage and tours around the world.

Contemporary usage[edit]

“Then He Kissed Me” was the opening song to which Elisabeth Shue danced around her bedroom in Adventures in Babysitting (1987); it was the song in which Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco enter the Copacabana on their first real date in the movie Goodfellas (1990); it was featured during the episode ‘Homer and Marge Turn a Couple Play‘ on The Simpsons (2006). It was also covered by Asobi Seksu and used on their live album. “Da Doo Ron Ron” was played during a scene in a dance club in the 1979 film Quadrophenia, and by Russel/Harold Ramis to train ESL students in the 1981 comedy Stripes, “He Hit Me (and It Felt like a Kiss)” was used in the episode ‘Mystery Date’ on Mad Men (2012).

Crystal was the name of one of the girl group-inspired street urchin characters in the musical Little Shop of Horrors, along with Chiffon and Ronnette. Amy Winehouse cited “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)” as an influence when writing her album Back to Black.[9] The American singer Lana Del Rey used the same phrase in the song “Ultraviolence” in the album of the same name.

Band members[edit]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

NB. Nine of the twelve tracks on He’s A Rebel also appeared on Twist Uptown

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 1963: The Crystals Sing the Greatest Hits, Volume 1
  • 1992: The Best of the Crystals
  • 2011: Da Doo Ron Ron: The Very Best of the Crystals

Singles[edit]

Year Single (A-Side, B-Side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Lead vocals Label & number Chart Positions Album
US UK[10]
1961 There’s No Other (Like My Baby)
b/w “Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby”
Barbara Alston Philles 100 20 Twist Uptown
1962 “Uptown”
b/w “What a Nice Way to Turn Seventeen”
Philles 102 13
He Hit Me (and It Felt like a Kiss)
b/w “No One Ever Tells You” (from Twist Uptown)
Philles 105 He’s A Rebel
He’s a Rebel
b/w “I Love You Eddie”
Darlene Love Philles 106 1 19
“He’s Sure the Boy I Love”
b/w “Walkin’ Along (La La La)” (Non-album instrumental)
Philles 109 11
1963 “(Let’s Dance) The Screw – Part 1”
b/w “(Let’s Dance) The Screw – Part 2”
Group vocals Philles 111 Non-album tracks
Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)
b/w “Git’ It” (Non-album instrumental)
Dolores “LaLa” Brooks Philles 112 3 5 The Crystals Sing the Greatest Hits, Volume 1
Then He Kissed Me
b/w “Brother Julius” (Non-album instrumental)
Philles 115 6 2 Today’s Hits
(Various Philles artists)
1964 “I Wonder”
b/w “Little Boy” (UK single)
London 9852 36 Non-album tracks
“Little Boy”
b/w “Harry (From West Virginia) and Milt” (Instrumental)
Philles 119 92
“All Grown Up”
b/w “Irving (Jaggered Sixteenths)” (Instrumental)
Philles 122 98
1965 “You Can’t Tie a Good Girl Down”
b/w “My Place”
United Artists 927
1966 “I Got a Man”
b/w “Are You Trying to Get Rid of Me”
United Artists 994
1967 “Ring-A-Ting-A-Ling”
b/w “Should I Keep On Waiting”
Michelle 4113

Bethenny Frankel

Image result for BETHENNY FRANKEL

Image result for BETHENNY FRANKEL

Image result for BETHENNY FRANKEL

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Bethenny Frankel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bethenny Frankel
BethennyFrankelVAOCApr09.jpg

Frankel in April 2009
Born (1970-11-04) November 4, 1970 (age 46)
New York City, New York, United States
Education Pine Crest School
Alma mater New York University[1]
Occupation Reality television personality, chef, talk show host, author, entrepreneur
Years active 1993-present
Known for The Real Housewives of New York City
Spouse(s)
  • Peter Sussman (m. 1996–97)
  • Jason Hoppy (m. 2010–16)
Children 1
Parent(s) Robert J. Frankel
(father)
Bernadette Birk[2]
(mother)
Website www.bethenny.com

Bethenny Frankel (born November 4, 1970)[3] is an American reality TV personality who founded Skinnygirl Cocktails, authored four self-help books and hosted the talk show, Bethenny. Frankel has appeared on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, The Real Housewives of New York City and was the subject of the reality television series Bethenny Ever After.

Early life[edit]

Frankel is the only child of Robert J. Frankel, a horse trainer, and Bernadette Birk, an interior designer.[2][4] Her father was Jewish and her mother was a Roman Catholic of Welsh descent, who converted to Judaism when the couple married.[5][6] Her father left her mother when Frankel was four years old. When she was five, her mother married another horse trainer, John Parisella.[2] Frankel describes her childhood as difficult.[2] Her biological father stopped supporting the family and her mother, Frankel says, “was always drinking” and often argued violently with her stepfather.[2][7]

Frankel said she moved many times and attended multiple schools before going to boarding school. Frankel graduated in 1988 from the Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida[8] where she lived on campus. She attended the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City,[9] and New York University.[2][10]

Career[edit]

Bethenny worked as a production assistant on the set of Saved by the Bell.[11]

In 2005, Frankel was a contestant on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, a reality competition series, and was one of two finalists.[12][13] In 2008, Frankel was selected for the reality TV series The Real Housewives of New York City.[14] In June 2010, Frankel starred in the Bravo reality TV show Bethenny Getting Married?, which documented her engagement and marriage to Jason Hoppy, and the birth of their daughter. At the time of its premiere, the series was the highest rated of any series in Bravo‘s history.[15][16] In September 2010, Frankel announced that for personal reasons she would not be returning to The Real Housewives of New York City for its fourth season.[17] However, following months of speculation, it was confirmed on October 20, 2014 that Bethenny would return to the cast for the seventh season of the show as a main housewife after three seasons absent.[18][19]

Skinnygirl[edit]

In March 2009, Frankel’s book, Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting, was published and The SkinnyGirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life, was published in December. She created an exercise DVD, Body by Bethenny, in spring 2010 and an audio book, The Skinnygirl Rules, which summarized her two prior books.[20] In 2011, Frankel published, A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life and in December 2012, published the novel Skinnydipping.[21]

Frankel created the Skinnygirl cocktail company in April 2011 and later sold the company to Fortune Brands’ Beam Global (now a part of Suntory) for an estimated $100 million.[22][23]

Bethenny[edit]

Further information: Bethenny (TV series)

Discussion of Frankel as a host for a talk show were initiated in 2011[24] and revived in 2012.[25][26] The Bethenny show premiered on September 9, 2013[27] and was canceled on February 14, 2014.[28] Fox network continued to air repeats of the show in its time slot until September 2014.

Causes[edit]

Frankel posed nude for a PETA billboard in September 2009.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Frankel married entertainment industry executive Peter Sussman in 1996 and divorced him in 1997.[30][31] She married pharmaceutical sales executive Jason Hoppy in March 2010, and gave birth to a daughter, Bryn, in May of the same year.[32][33] Frankel separated from Hoppy in December 2012[34] and filed for divorce in January 2013.[35] A custody agreement was finalized in June 2014, but property division negotiations were still ongoing.[36] The divorce was finalized in July 2016, nearly four years after the couple separated.[37]

Movie and television history[edit]

Year Show Role Notes
1993 Soiree Sans Hors D’oeuvres Woman Minor role
1994 Hollywood Hills 90028 Laura Drake Lead Role
1995 Wish Me Luck
2005 The Apprentice: Martha Stewart Herself 13 episodes, runner-up, came in 2nd place.
2008–10, 2015 – Present The Real Housewives of New York City Main cast member (season 1–3, 7–present)
2009–16 The Wendy Williams Show Various episodes, celebrity guest
2009 Z Rock 1 episode, “I Wanna Be Z-dated” as Joey’s love interest/Chief
2010–12 Chelsea Lately Various episodes, celebrity guest
2010 Skating with the Stars 6 episodes, runner-up, came in 2nd place.
2010–15 The Ellen DeGeneres Show Various episodes, celebrity guest
2010–12 Bethenny Ever After Herself
2013–14 Bethenny Herself
2013 The Neighbors Jill 1 episode, “Mo Purses Mo Money Mo Problems”
2016 The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Herself Guest (season 6)
2016 Beat Bobby Flay Herself 1 episode, “Comforts of Home” as Guest Judge (season 10)

Bibliography[edit]

John Wetton (tribute)

Image result for JOHN WETTON MUSICIAN

Image result for JOHN WETTON MUSICIAN

Image result for JOHN WETTON MUSICIAN

Image result for JOHN WETTON MUSICIAN

Image result for JOHN WETTON MUSICIAN

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John Wetton
John Wetton playing bass live.jpg

John Wetton playing bass live
Background information
Birth name John Kenneth Wetton
Born (1949-06-12)12 June 1949
Willington, Derbyshire, England
Died 31 January 2017(2017-01-31) (aged 67)
Bournemouth, Dorset, England
Genres Progressive rock, hard rock, pop rock, jazz fusion
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician, producer
Instruments Vocals, bass guitar, guitar, keyboards
Years active 1965–2017
Labels E.G., Atlantic Records, Geffen, Universal Records, Island, Eagle, Avalon, EMI, King Records, Frontiers
Associated acts Mogul Thrash, Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, U.K., Jack-Knife, Wishbone Ash, Asia, Phenomena, Renaissance, Qango, Brian Eno, Ayreon
Website Official website
Notable instruments
Fender Precision Bass
Zon Legacy

John Kenneth Wetton (12 June 1949 – 31 January 2017) was an English singer, bassist, and songwriter.[1] He was born in Willington, Derbyshire, and grew up in Bournemouth. He rose to fame with bands Mogul Thrash, Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry, Uriah Heep, and Wishbone Ash.[1]

After his period with King Crimson, Wetton formed UK, and later he was the frontman and principal songwriter of the supergroup Asia,[1] which proved to be his biggest commercial success. Their self-titled debut album sold eight million copies worldwide and was Billboard magazine‘s No. 1 album of 1982. He later formed the duo Icon with Geoff Downes (ex-Yes, ex-Buggles), and since the 1990s had a successful solo career releasing a large number of studio and live albums.

Wetton had a long career as an in-demand session bass player, and collaborated with many members of progressive rock bands such as Yes (including Steve Howe, Bill Bruford, Geoff Downes, Alan White, Billy Sherwood and Peter Banks), Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry, and Genesis (Steve Hackett).

Career[edit]

Wetton grew up in Bournemouth and was in a number of early bands with Richard Palmer-James, on bass and vocals, including, The Corvettes, The Palmer-James Group (formed with Alec James), Tetrad, and Ginger Man.[2] A key early band was Mogul Thrash; after live work with Renaissance, he joined Family and also did various sessions.[1]

Wetton’s first big break came when he joined Wimborne, Dorset, musician Robert Fripp in his new line-up of King Crimson in 1972, allowing Wetton to come to the fore as a lead singer and composer. Palmer-James also worked with the band as a lyricist. Wetton remained with the band until Fripp unexpectedly disbanded it in 1974.[3] Wetton continued to work on various projects, including a tour with Roxy Music[4] and two albums with Uriah Heep[5] In 1977, after failed attempts to reunite King Crimson and create a new band with Rick Wakeman,[6] Wetton and Bruford formed U.K.. Wetton brought into UK keyboard/violin wizard Eddie Jobson,[1] while Bruford brought in guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Upon Bruford and Holdsworth’s departure, American percussionist Terry Bozzio joined, making U.K. a threesome a la Emerson, Lake & Palmer. This version of U.K. released the studio album Danger Money and toured in support of Jethro Tull.

Wetton released his first solo album, Caught in the Crossfire, in 1980 after the break-up of U.K. Later that same year, he had a brief stint in Wishbone Ash, contributing bass and vocals to Number The Brave. In 1981, at the urging of Geffen Records’ John Kalodner, Wetton started working and writing with Steve Howe, who had most recently been in Yes. They went on to form Asia.[1] with whom Wetton worked until 1983. In that year, Wetton was fired from Asia at the insistence of Geffen Records, ostensibly because of less-than-expected sales of the Alpha album. Wetton was brought back to Asia in 1985, with Mandy Meyer replacing Steve Howe, to complete Astra.[7]

In the late 1980s, Wetton’s collaboration with former Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera was released as Wetton/Manzanera, with drums provided by Yes’s Alan White. Also around this time, Wetton began working again with Geoff Downes and Carl Palmer in an attempt to restart Asia without Steve Howe. Some of the material by this incarnation of Asia made its way onto 1990’s Then & Now CD.

The 1990s saw Wetton mostly out of Asia and focusing on a solo career. In 1999, another attempt to reform Asia resulted in Wetton participating in the short-lived progressive rock group Qango with Carl Palmer, John Young, and Dave Kilminster. The group performed several shows in the U.K. and recorded one live album, Live in the Hood, before disbanding when Wetton and Palmer returned to their solo projects.

In the early 2000s, he reunited with Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes for iCon. In 2006, an official reunion of the original Asia line-up (Wetton, Downes, Howe, and Palmer) finally occurred. The studio album titled Phoenix, the original band’s first since 1983’s Alpha, was released in April 2008 and peaked at No. 73 on the North American Top 200 albums charts.[8] The original line-up released two more studio albums, Omega and XXX before Howe departed in January 2013. With new guitarist Sam Coulson, Asia released Gravitas in March 2014.

In 2013 he guested on the album Grandine il vento with Renaissance, with whom he had played live 42 years before.

Wetton also worked extensively as a session musician with such musicians as Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry and Phil Manzanera.

Death[edit]

Wetton died in his sleep at his home in Bournemouth, Dorset on 31 January 2017, from colon cancer. He is survived by his wife Lisa, son Dylan, brother Robert and mother Peggy.[9][10][11]

Band timeline[edit]

Discography[edit]

Solo[edit]

Live albums
  • Chasing the Dragon (live in Japan)(1995), Eclipse Records
  • Akustika: Live in America (1996)
  • Live in Tokyo 1997 (1998)
  • No Mans Land Live in Poland (1999), Giant Electric Pea
  • Hazy Monet Live In New York City May 27, 1997 (1999)
  • Sub Rosa Live in Milan Italy (1999)
  • Live At The Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999 (2000)
  • Live in Argentina (2003)
  • Live in Stockholm 1998 (2003)
  • Live in Osaka (2003)
  • Live in the Underworld (2003), Classic Rock Legends
  • Amata (2004), Metal Mind Records
  • Agenda (2004), Metal Mind Records
  • Live via Satellite (2015)
Soundtrack
  • Chasing the Deer (1998)
Collaborations
Compilations
  • King’s Road, 1972–1980 (1987), E’G/Virgin Records
  • Anthology (2001), NMC
  • The Studio Recordings Anthology (2015)

King Crimson[edit]

Live albums

UK[edit]

Live albums

Asia[edit]

  • Asia (1982); No. 1 US, No. 15 JP
  • Alpha (1983); No. 6 US, No. 4 JP
  • Astra (1985); No. 67 US, No. 15 JP
  • Then & Now (1990); No. 114 US, No. 24 JP – half studio album, half Compilations
  • Phoenix (2008); No. 73 US No. 28 JP
  • Omega (2010)
  • XXX (2012); No. 134 US
  • Gravitas (2014)
Live albums
  • Live in Moscow 1990 (1991)
  • Fantasia: Live in Tokyo (2007)
  • Spirit of the Night – Live in Cambridge 09 (2010)
  • Resonance – The Omega Tour 2010 (2012)
  • High Voltage – Live (2014)
  • Axis XXX Live San Francisco (2015)
Compilations
  • The Very Best of Asia: Heat of the Moment (1982–1990) (2000)
  • Definitive Collection (2006); #183 US

Icon (Wetton/Downes)[edit]

Live albums
  • Icon Live: Never in a Million Years (2006), Frontiers Records
  • Icon: Acoustic TV Broadcast (2006), Frontiers Records (also release as DVD)
  • Icon: Heat Of The Rising Sun (2012), The Store For Music

Session work and collaborations[edit]

With Mogul Thrash
With Gordon Haskell
  • It Is and It Isn’t, 1971. Wetton plays Organ, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals, Gut String Guitar, Vocal Harmony.
With Family
  • Fearless, October 1971; US No. 177, UK No. 14
  • Bandstand, September 1972; US No. 183, UK No. 15
With Larry Norman
With Malcolm and Alwyn
  • Fool’s Wisdom, 1973
With Peter Banks
  • Two Sides of Peter Banks, 1973
With Brian Eno
  • Here Come the Warm Jets, September 1973. Wetton plays bass on Track 3 (“Baby’s on Fire”) and track 5 (“Driving Me Backwards”)
With Pete Sinfield
With Bryan Ferry
With Uriah Heep
With Roxy Music
With Phil Manzanera
With Duncan Mackay
  • Score 1977
With Atoll
  • Rock Puzzle 1979
With Jack-Knife

Note: Jack-Knife was a project in which John Wetton and W.J. Hutcheson, who were his bandmates in Tetrad, visited Richard Palmer-James at his home in Munich. They recorded as Jack-Knife an album with the German drummer Curt Cress in 10 days called I Wish You Would, performing songs from the early days.

With Roger Chapman
With Wishbone Ash
With David Cross
With Steve Hackett
With Qango
With Daniele Liverani
  • Genius A Rock Opera – Episode 1 (2002)
With Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash
With Alan Simon
With Eddie Jobson
With Ayreon
With Renaissance
With District 97
  • One More Red Night – Live

Asia (band)

 

Asia (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Asia
AsiaPromotionalOriginal.png

Original lineup in 1982
Clockwise from top: Geoff Downes, Steve Howe, John Wetton and Carl Palmer
Background information
Origin England
Genres Progressive rock,[1] art rock,[1] AOR,[2] arena rock[3][4]
Years active 1981–1986, 1989–present
Labels Geffen, Great Pyramid, Musidisc, WEA Japan, Mayhem Recordings, Resurgence, Snapper, InsideOut, Frontiers, EMI America, King, Victor
Associated acts Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, GTR, Qango, Wetton/Downes, GPS, Asia Featuring John Payne, King Crimson
Website www.originalasia.com
Members Geoff Downes
Carl Palmer
Sam Coulson
Past members See: Personnel

Asia are an English progressive rock band formed in London in 1981. The most commercially successful line-up was its original, which was a supergroup of four members of different progressive rock bands of the 1970s, including lead vocalist and bassist John Wetton of King Crimson, guitarist Steve Howe of Yes, keyboardist Geoff Downes of Yes and The Buggles, and drummer Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Their debut album, Asia, released in 1982, remains their best selling album and went to number one in several countries.

The band has undergone multiple lineup changes during its history, but in 2006, the original lineup reunited. As a result, a band called Asia Featuring John Payne exists as a continuation of John Payne‘s career as Asia’s frontman from 1991 until Wetton’s return in 2006;[5] the latter would remain in Asia until he died of cancer on January 31, 2017.[6] In 2013, Howe retired from the band to continue with Yes and pursue other projects, and was replaced by guitarist Sam Coulson, completing the current lineup.[7]

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

Asia began in early 1981 with the apparent demise of Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, two of the flagship bands of British progressive rock. After the break-up of King Crimson in 1974, various plans for a supergroup involving bassist John Wetton had been mooted, including the abortive British Bulldog project with Bill Bruford and Rick Wakeman in 1976. Wakeman left the project at the urging of management, according to Bruford. In 1977 Bruford and Wetton were reunited in U.K., augmented by guitarist Allan Holdsworth and keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson. Their self-titled debut was released in 1978. But by January 1980, U.K. had folded after one lineup change and three recordings. A new project was then suggested involving Wetton, Wakeman, drummer Carl Palmer and (then little known) South African guitarist/singer Trevor Rabin, but Wakeman also left this project shortly before they were due to sign to Geffen and before they had played together.[8]

In late December 1980, Wetton and former Yes guitarist Steve Howe were brought together by A&R man John Kalodner and Geffen Records to start writing material for a new album. They were eventually joined in early 1981 by drummer Carl Palmer, and finally by Howe’s fellow member of Yes, keyboardist Geoff Downes. Two other players auditioned and considered during the band’s formation were former The Move and ELO founder Roy Wood and the aforementioned guitarist/singer Rabin, who would go on to be part of a reformed Yes in 1983. Rabin, in a filmed 1984 interview included in the DVD 9012Live, said that his involvement with Asia never went anywhere because “there was no chemistry” among the participants.

The band’s first recordings, under the auspices of Geffen record label head David Geffen and Kalodner, were considered disappointing by music critics[9] and fans of traditional progressive rock, who found the music closer to radio-friendly album-oriented rock (AOR). However, Asia clicked with fans of popular arena acts such as Journey, Boston and Styx; Kalodner had once introduced Wetton to Journey’s short-lived frontman Robert Fleischman, with a view to Fleischman becoming Asia’s lead-singer. As they worked on material together, Fleischman was impressed by Wetton’s singing and felt the voice best suited to the new material was Wetton’s own. He left Asia amicably.[10]

Rolling Stone gave Asia an indifferent review,[11] while acknowledging the band’s musicianship was a cut above the usual AOR expectations.

1981–85: “Heat of the Moment” and early success[edit]

Asia’s eponymous debut album Asia, released in March 1982, gained considerable commercial success, spending nine weeks at number one in the United States album chart and selling over four million copies in the States alone. The album sold over 10 million worldwide and has never been out of print. The singles “Only Time Will Tell” and “Heat of the Moment” became Top 40 hits, both boosted by popular MTV music videos. Both tracks went on to become stadium favourites at United States sporting events. “Sole Survivor” also received heavy air play on rock stations across the United States, as did “Wildest Dreams” (another MTV video) and “Here Comes The Feeling”. The band’s best performing single, and perhaps their most recognised and popular hit song, “Heat of the Moment”, spent six weeks at #1 on Billboards Album Rock Tracks chart and climbed to #4 on the Hot 100.

In the United States the band sold out every date on their debut tour, which began at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York [12] on 22 April 1982, continued in theatres but quickly expanded into massive arenas because of high ticket demand. Asia would go on to receive a Grammy Award nomination as Best New Artist of 1982. MTV also played Asia videos on heavy rotation—as many as five times a day. Both Billboard and Cash Box named Asia’s debut the #1 album of the year. Asia’s logo and cover art were created by illustrator Roger Dean of Yes and Uriah Heep fame.

However, neither the second album, Alpha (released in July 1983), nor any following Asia album could repeat the chart success of the first release. “Don’t Cry” was a #1 Album Rock Track and Top 10 Pop hit in the summer of 1983, and the video received considerable attention on MTV, while “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” was another Top 40 hit for the band. The video for “Smile” also scored heavy MTV play. However, Rolling Stone panned Alpha as an over-produced commercial album,[13] while others lamented that Howe and Palmer were effectively reduced to session musicians. Alpha received indifferent reviews from various critics, while still attaining platinum status and reaching #6 on the Billboard album chart.

In October 1983, Wetton was forced out of the group on the heels of the comparatively disappointing sales of Alpha. The band stated that Wetton quit, Wetton countered that he was fired by phone and there is no universally agreed upon version of what happened. Wetton later revealed one factor may have been his alcohol dependency. In any event, the next leg of their 1983 United States tour (which had begun in the summer but shut down suddenly on 10 September after a performance at Pine Knob in Detroit), scheduled for the autumn, was abruptly cancelled, reportedly because of low ticket sales.

Ex-King Crimson and ELP front man Greg Lake replaced Wetton for the highly publicised “Asia in Asia” concert at the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan on 6 December 1983, which was the first concert broadcast over satellite to MTV in the United States and later made into a home video. Some of the songs had to be played in a lower key to suit Lake’s voice and he read most of the lyrics from a teleprompter; Lake has commented in interviews that he was asked to cover Wetton’s parts at very short notice.[14][15] The Japanese dates were successful financially but not musically.[citation needed]

Lake left in early 1984 and Asia reunited with Wetton that same year to start work on their next album. But Howe soon left to be replaced by Krokus guitarist Mandy Meyer. Howe then enjoyed brief success with GTR, another supergroup, formed with Steve Hackett of Genesis and produced by Downes.

1985–91: Astra, break-up and new lineups[edit]

The third Asia album was tentatively titled Arcadia, but during production it was discovered that that name was being used by a forthcoming spin-off project from Duran Duran. The retitled Astra, released in November 1985, was not as commercially successful as the first two albums. The record label cancelled the projected tour because of lack of interest. Howe’s replacement, Mandy Meyer of Krokus, provided more of a hard-rock approach. The band charted another single with “Go”, featuring Meyer’s guitar heroics centre stage. The music video was another hit with MTV but in 1986 this Asia lineup folded, bringing the group to an end for the time being. Singer/bassist/songwriter Wetton is quoted as saying “It [Astra] did really well in Sweden … but Swedish sales aren’t that large.”[citation needed]

Wetton resurfaced with a 1987 album with guitarist Phil Manzanera, Wetton-Manzanera, based on material that had been originally intended for Asia. Also in 1987, Wetton played with Phenomena on their Dream Runner album and landed a number one hit in South America with the Phenomena single “Did It All for Love”, also appearing in the related music video. Asia were also credited with contributing the Giorgio Moroder produced track “Gypsy Soul” to the Sylvester Stallone film soundtrack to Over the Top, although Wetton was the only band member involved.

Wetton and Downes’ attempt to restart the group in 1987 with guitarist Scott Gorham (formerly of Thin Lizzy) and drummer Michael Sturgis (ex-a-ha) fizzled when they were unable to land a worldwide recording deal.

Wetton and Palmer were more successful in reuniting the band for a few tours of Europe in the summer and autumn of 1989. Downes (who was working on a project with Greg Lake) was not available, so keyboards were played by John Young. Guitars on this tour were handled by Alan Darby (who was replaced shortly after by German guitarist Holger Larisch) and Zoe Nicholas and Susie Webb were brought aboard to provide back-up vocals. Unlike Wetton’s later anger at Asia continuing without him in the 1990s, this lineup was viewed favourably by other Asia band members.

Asia returned to the studio in 1990 with Downes, Toto guitarist Steve Lukather and other studio musicians and released Then & Now, a best-of with four new tracks. “Days Like These” from the disc received substantial airplay during the summer of 1990 on AOR radio stations and re-sparked some interest in the band. Pat Thrall joined Downes, Palmer and Wetton on tour and they performed classic material, including King Crimson and U.K. songs.

The band toured the Soviet Union in November 1990 to play in front of 20,000 fans on two sold out nights. “Days Like These” charted in the United States at No.64 in 1990 and climbed all the way to No.2 on the United States Album Rock Tracks chart. A video was planned but scrapped because various problems hampered the single’s chance at the Top 40. Asia received the RIAA Gold album award for Then and Now many years later, but the initial response was modest as the album failed to dent the Top 100. A DVD and CD are available of the Asia concerts in the USSR (featuring a bonus studio track, “Kari-Anne” recorded by the 1987 Wetton-Downes-Gorham-Sturgis lineup and with Francis Dunnery contributing a guitar solo).[16][17] Wetton left the group in April 1991 after a South American tour, discouraged by Asia’s lack of success in the United States.

1991–2006: Downes/Payne era[edit]

John Payne (pictured in 2011) replaced John Wetton as Asia’s frontman between 1991 and 2006, and now continues to perform with the spin-off group, Asia Featuring John Payne.

After Wetton’s departure, vocalist/bassist John Payne joined the band and, together with Downes, enlisted new musicians and led Asia through to 2006. The first album with this lineup was Aqua, released in June 1992. In addition to Downes and Payne, the album featured Howe, Palmer, and guitarist Al Pitrelli (of Danger Danger, Megadeth and Alice Cooper). Howe returned during the sessions having just left Yes again, but Palmer would leave soon, committing to an ELP reunion, and was able to play on just three songs. Session men then completed the drumming. Downes’ environmentalist single “Who Will Stop the Rain?” (originally written for Max Bacon and the aborted Rain project, later appearing on Bacon’s album From the Banks of the River Irwell) attracted some radio attention. The Aqua club tour featured Howe (whose presence was heavily promoted), who took the stage after the fifth song. The tour was successful enough to warrant the band’s continuation. The 1992–93 tour featured Downes, Howe, Payne, guitarist Vinny Burns and drummer Trevor Thornton. Before a European festival tour in late 1993, Howe and Burns left and were replaced by guitarist Keith More.

The group released Aria in May 1994, which featured lead guitarist Al Pitrelli once again, who would leave Asia during the short Aria tour. The Aria album did not fare well commercially and the ensuing tour was limited to four concerts. Ex-Simply Red guitarist Aziz Ibrahim took over during the tour. Aria also introduced new drummer Michael Sturgis, who had been involved during the band’s aborted 1987 reunion and had appeared on some of the sessions for Aqua. Aria was not released in the United States until 1995.

Over New Year’s Eve 1996, a broken pipe inundated the control room in Downes’ and Payne’s recording studio, Electric Palace, in London. Amid the lost equipment, a vault containing unreleased material was found intact. The band decided to release the double-disc Archiva, a collection of unreleased tracks recorded during the first three Downes/Payne albums. Next, Arena, released in February 1996, featured Downes, Payne, Sturgis, Ibrahim and guest guitarist Elliott Randall (ex-Steely Dan, and Randy Crawford). The album was released on Resurgence Records but there was no tour because of lack of interest. The group’s lone promotional performance in conjunction with the album occurred on 19 April 1996, when Downes and Payne appeared with guitarist Elliott Randall on the Virgin FM radio programme Alive in London to play the song “Never”.

An all acoustic album, Live at the Town & Country Club, was recorded by the group in September 1997 (and released in 1999) that featured a lineup of Downes, Payne, Ibrahim, and drummer Bob Richards.

In 1999 there was talk of a reunion of the original lineup minus Howe. The original proposition included Dave Kilminster on guitar, who had previously toured and recorded with Wetton. While Howe was interested in participating, he was unable to because of his busy schedule with Yes. This reunion did not take place and John Payne continued to carry on Asia with Downes uninterrupted. Wetton and Palmer did, however, get together to form Qango, which included Kilminster and John Young, although the band was short-lived. Kilminster went on to work with Keith Emerson, The Nice and Roger Waters. In 2000, Geffen/Universal released a best-of entitled The Very Best of Asia: Heat of the Moment (1982–1990), which also included three rare B-sides from the early days. In May 2000 the band put out an all instrumentals album called Rare.

Asia in 2001; left-to-right: Downes, Payne, Chris Slade and Guthrie Govan

2001’s Aura featured three different session guitarists, including Ian Crichton (of Canadian progressive rock band Saga) who’d briefly joined Asia in 1998–1999. Aura took a more progressive rock form, but still did not recapture the commercial success of the first album. Former members Howe, Thrall, Sturgis and Elliott Randall also made guest appearances. The single “Ready to Go Home” was barely distributed. Asia then signed with Recognition Records. 2001 did see the band with a stable lineup, achieved during the Aura sessions featuring Downes, Payne, guitarist Guthrie Govan and ex-Manfred Mann’s Earth Band/The Firm/Uriah Heep/Gary Numan/AC/DC drummer Chris Slade (who had first joined Asia in 1999, briefly). Asia would tour for the first time since 1994, including the first United States dates since 1993. A live album and DVD, both titled America: Live in the USA, were released in 2003, recorded at the Classic Rock Festival in Trenton, New Jersey in October 2002, which they co-headlined with Uriah Heep.

In the summer of 2003, Downes and Payne undertook the “Asia Across America Tour”, which received some media attention. Performing “unplugged”, the duo would reportedly play anywhere in the United States that fans requested, provided there was a venue and the fans put up $3,000 to cover costs.

Marking a departure from convention, for the first time a studio release was not titled as a single word starting and ending with the letter A (excepting the partial compilation / partial new album Then & Now). Released on Asia’s newly signed label SPV/Inside Out Records, 2004’s Silent Nation (name influenced by the Howard Stern vs. FCC incident) picked up some unexpected exposure on the Internet.

In 2004 an acoustic Asia toured once again featuring only Downes and Payne. In 2005 the full band toured in Europe and the Americas playing settings ranging from small clubs to medium-sized theatres. In the United States attendance was poor at best. Meanwhile, Wetton and Downes released some archival Asia material under the name Wetton/Downes, and they then reunited to record a full-length album (Icon, released in 2005), and an accompanying EP and DVD. Two additional Icon projects have since followed: Icon II – Rubicon (2006) and Icon 3 (2009).

In August 2005, Slade left the group to be replaced by drummer Jay Schellen. The new band started work on an album, tentatively entitled Architect of Time, which was originally planned for release in 2006, though later developments would cause this project to be shelved.

2006–14: “Original Asia” reunion[edit]

In early 2006, the partnership between Downes and Payne was dissolved when Downes left for a reunion of the original band lineup under the Asia name, a breakup that Payne described as “painful”.[18] The existing lineup (minus Downes) continued for a short while before morphing into GPS.

When Downes left in 2006, Payne owned a significant portion of the rights to the band name “Asia”, until a legal agreement was set by both bands’ management. The original members exclusively now perform and record as Asia. On 9 May 2006, John Payne, Geoff Downes, John Wetton, Carl Palmer and Steve Howe contractually agreed that John Payne could continue his 15-year period with Asia as Asia Featuring John Payne. Asia featuring John Payne debuted in 2007 with Payne on vocals/bass, Guthrie Govan on guitar, Erik Norlander on keyboards and Jay Schellen on drums.

The official websites of each band reflect a split between the shared history of Payne’s tenure with the band, as the reunited Asia acknowledge only pre- and post-Payne albums, whereas Asia Featuring John Payne claim Payne-era (1991–2006) albums Aqua (1991) through Silent Nation (2004) as part of their own discography.[19] Asia Featuring John Payne perform songs from the entire history of Asia.[18]

Downes and the other three original members (Wetton, Palmer and Howe) convened a group meeting in England in early 2006 in anticipation of formally reforming for work that year. And after a slew of rumours, they announced that this original lineup of Asia were planning a CD, DVD and world tour to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary. The band appeared in October 2006 on United States cable channel VH-1 Classic and began a world tour largely focused on the United States The band secured ownership of the Asia name and toured under the description of the Four Original Members of Asia. The set list featured most of the first album as well as a couple of songs from the second, along with one selection each from Yes, ELP, King Crimson and the Buggles to acknowledge the history of each member of the band. In a 2006 interview, guitarist Steve Howe states, “This is the real Asia. There have been other incarnations of the band, but this is the one that the public truly embraced”.

Asia in 2006; left-to-right: Howe, Palmer and Wetton (off-camera: Downes)

The tour began on 29 August 2006 in Rochester, New York. “The Definitive Collection” was released by Geffen/Universal to tie into the tour in September and peaked at No.183 on the United States album charts–—the first time Asia had made the charts since 1990. A limited edition release available only at Best Buy stores also included a DVD of all the band’s music videos.

The reunion tour continued into 2007 with venue size based on the success of the 2006 shows, where the band was mainly playing in clubs and theatres. Many of these sold out, including all seven dates in Japan. Also in 2007, the band released Fantasia: Live In Tokyo on CD and DVD through Eagle Records, commemorating the 25th Anniversary and documenting the success of the 2006–2007 tour.

In mid-2007, all four original members (Wetton, Downes, Howe and Palmer) went into the studio to record a new album, marking the first recorded material from all four original members since 1983’s Alpha.[20] The band continued to tour until major heart surgery for Wetton in the second half of the year saw remaining tour dates rescheduled for 2008. The new studio album, entitled Phoenix, was released on Frontiers Records on 14 April 2008 (via EMI/Capitol on 15 April in North America[21]), along with a world tour to promote. The 12-track album includes “An Extraordinary Life”, based on Wetton’s experience of ill health; rockers such as “Never Again” and “Alibis”; and power ballads such as “Heroine” and “I Will Remember You”. The world tour also featured a couple of the new songs. The album cover featured Dean’s illustration and design.[20] The Phoenix album did well in both the American and European/Japanese markets. It debuted at No.73 on the American Billboard 200; the band had not charted with a studio album since 1985.

As a special finale to the US Phoenix tour, the band performed, for the first time ever, the entire first Asia album from beginning to end at their San Francisco concert at The Regency Center on 5 May. The album comprised the entire 2nd set of the evening’s concert.

In summer 2009, Asia toured the United States with Yes. Asia opened with a 55-minute show, while Yes closed with a 1-hour and 50 minute set. Asia’s set included only “An Extraordinary Life” from Phoenix, the rest of the songs coming from the first two albums plus one cover each from The Buggles (“Video Killed the Radio Star” with Wetton on lead vocals and Downes on vocoder), King Crimson (“The Court of the Crimson King”, which was recorded by the original incarnation of that band with Greg Lake on lead vocals) and Emerson, Lake & Palmer (“Fanfare for the Common Man”). Yes songs were omitted from this tour’s setlist, though Asia also covered “Roundabout” on earlier legs of the “Four Original Members” tour. Contrary to some early expectations, Downes did not perform with Yes, although their set list included two songs from the 1980 album Drama, which featured Downes on keys. A series of shows late in the tour featured a special appearance by Ian McDonald (flute and vocals on “The Court Of The Crimson King”, which he co-wrote, and backing vocals on “Heat Of The Moment”).

In late 2009, the band began working on their follow-up CD to Phoenix. According to Wetton’s website in late November 2009: “Good news is that the new album is starting to leap, rather than creep (or sleep) in terms of progress. This week I have two completed lead vocals, with complete harmony/chorus voxes on three. It’s just me, Geoff [Downes], Steve R[ispin], and Mike Paxman in the studio— Carl [Palmer] is pretty much all done, Steve H[owe] is half done, and returns to the fold after Yes tour. It sounds absolutely wonderful”. The follow-up, titled Omega, was released in the UK on 26 April 2010.

The band finished a new studio album timed to coincide with the band’s thirtieth anniversary, titled XXX, and released in the U.K. on 2 July 2012 and worldwide around the same time.[22] In September 2012 they played 4 shows in Japan and a North American tour started on 11 October 2012. The UK tour, however, had to be cancelled after a number of shows due to Palmer contracting a serious case of E. coli.[23]

On 10 January 2013, Steve Howe announced his retirement from the band to focus on other projects,[24] including Yes, bringing an end to the reunion of the original lineup. Asia in turn announced they would be continuing with new guitarist Sam Coulson, with a new album in the works entitled Gravitas.[25][26][27] The new lineup performed live in 2013.[7]

On the website ultimateclassicrock.com, Howe explained his decision to leave Asia:

Something had to give. Because I’d just done five years with both bands and then Geoff had joined [Yes] when we did Fly From Here, which is maybe a lot shorter, only a quarter of that time for him. He only experienced the tip of the iceberg of being on call for two bands. But there were times in the first three years — it actually got easier when Geoff joined. It was easier because we were both in the band and we could both wrestle with the schedules — but before that, at times, Yes or Asia would extend a tour by a day and then Yes or Asia would then expand the start of the tour, so the gap would start to close.

And I would start freaking out saying “yeah, but hang on … if you add that date here and they’ve just added this date here, I’m now squeezed like a concertina.” So there was going to be a time at some point when this was unworkable and unfortunately it was the end of last year that made me realize that this being on call was really too much. I couldn’t keep either really happy. I was either making Yes miserable or Asia miserable, because of the other one being in existence.

So I think that Asia had a terrific run and we made three great albums. In fact, XXX, I think, is a fantastic record.

— Steve Howe

The band finished the recording sessions for Gravitas in December 2013[28] and in January 2014 they started shooting the music video for “Valkyrie”, which was released as a single. The album’s cover artwork was designed by Asia longtime collaborator Roger Dean. On 30 January 2014, Wetton revealed the album’s track listing through Asia’s official website and talked about each song from the album.[29] The album was released on 24 March 2014 [30] and reached Number 1 in the Progressive Rock Chart for emusic on 27 March.[31]

2014–present: Wetton’s health problems and death[edit]

Following Gravitas and the subsequent tour, the band went on an almost three-year hiatus due to Wetton having cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.[27][32][33] On 5 December 2016, Asia announced a US tour opening for American rock band Journey, beginning with 12 dates from 15 March 2017 at the Yakima Valley Sundome in Yakima, Washington,[34] and four days later, announced their live album Symfonia: Live in Bulgaria 2013, upon which they performed with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra.[35]

On 11 January 2017, Wetton released a statement that, due to receiving another round of chemotherapy, he would be unable to perform on the 12 dates announced for the Journey tour, and that he would be substituted by Billy Sherwood of Yes.[36] Wetton died on 31 January 2017 at the age of 67.[37][38][6]

Personnel[edit]

Through the years, Geoff Downes has been the most consistent member of the band, which experienced a revolving roster of noted musicians, particularly in the 1990s.

Several musicians have joined and left after a short time without recording any studio material with the group. The most notable collaboration of this kind was the participation of Greg Lake in the “Asia in Asia” concert on bass guitar and lead vocals. Yet more musicians have played as session musicians or have guested with the band without formally joining. Some of these artists include: Robert Fleischman, Vinnie Colaiuta, Francis Dunnery, Ant Glynne, Scott Gorham, Tomoyasu Hotei, Luís Jardim, Ron Komie, Tony Levin, Steve Lukather, Thomas Lang, Kim Nielsen-Parsons, Nigel Glockler, Simon Phillips, and Alex Thomas.

Steve Howe of Yes fame was an original member, and rejoined the original lineup in 2006, before departing to pursue other projects in 2013.

John Wetton died from cancer on January 31, 2017.[39]

Lineup[edit]

Current members
Live Members
Former members
  • Steve Howe – guitar, mandolin, backing vocals (1981–1984, 1992–1993, 2006–2013)
  • John Wettonlead vocals, bass (1981–1983, 1984–1986, 1989–1991, 2006–2017; died 2017)
  • Greg Lake – lead vocals, bass (1983–1984; died 2016)
  • Mandy Meyer – guitar, backing vocals (1984–1986)
  • John Young – keyboards, backing vocals (1989)
  • Zoe Nicholas – backing vocals (1989)
  • Susie Webb – backing vocals (1989)
  • Alan Darby – guitar (1989)
  • Holger Larisch – guitar (1989)
  • Pat Thrall – guitar, backing vocals (1990–1991)
  • John Payne – lead vocals, bass, guitar (1991–2006)
  • Al Pitrelli – guitar (1991–1992, 1993–1994)
  • Trevor Thornton – drums (1992–1994)
  • Vinny Burns – guitar, backing vocals (1992–1993)
  • Keith More – guitar, backing vocals (1993)
  • Aziz Ibrahim – guitar, backing vocals (1994–1998)
  • Mike Sturgis – drums, percussion (1994–1997, 1998–1999)
  • Elliott Randall – guitar (1996)
  • Bob Richards – drums (1997)
  • Ian Crichton – guitar (1998–1999)
  • Chris Slade – drums, percussion (1999, 2000–2005)
  • Guthrie Govan – guitar, backing vocals (2000–2006)
  • Jay Schellen – drums, percussion (2005–2006)

Timeline[edit]

This is an approximate timeline of the members of Asia.

Discography[edit]

Main article: Asia discography

Remixes[edit]

  • In 2005, DJ Manian‘s dance remix of “Heat of the Moment” was released to nightclubs.

Soundtracks and other uses[edit]

Julia Roberts filmography – Wikipedia (Updated)

 

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Image result for julia roberts filmology GIFS

Image result for julia roberts filmology GIFS

Image result for julia roberts filmology GIFS

Image result for julia roberts filmology GIFS

Image result for julia roberts filmology GIFS

Image result for julia roberts filmology GIFS

Image result for julia roberts filmology GIFS

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Julia Roberts filmography – Wikipedia

Julia Roberts filmography

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A photograph of Roberts at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

Roberts at the premiere of Money Monster at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

Julia Roberts is an American actress and producer who made her debut in the 1987 direct-to-video feature Firehouse.[1] Roberts made her breakthrough the following year by starring in the coming-of-age film Mystic Pizza (1988).[2][3][4] For her supporting role in the comedy-drama Steel Magnolias (1989), she received the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.[5][6] Roberts’ next role was opposite Richard Gere in the romantic comedy Pretty Woman (1990). The film is estimated to have sold over 42 million tickets in North America—the most for a romantic comedy in the United States as of 2014.[7][8] For her performance, Roberts won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress (Musical or Comedy).[6] In 1991, she appeared in the psychological thriller Sleeping with the Enemy, and played Tinker Bell in the Steven Spielberg-directed fantasy adventure Hook. Two years later, Roberts starred in the legal thriller The Pelican Brief, an adaptation of the John Grisham novel of the same name. During the late 1990s, she played the lead in the romantic comedies My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), Notting Hill (1999), and Runaway Bride (1999).

In 2000, Roberts played the eponymous environmental activist in the Steven Soderbergh-directed biographical film Erin Brockovich. She became the first actress to earn $20 million for a film.[9][10] Roberts’ performance garnered her the Academy Award for Best Actress, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress (Drama).[6][11][12] The following year, she starred in the romantic comedy America’s Sweethearts (2001), and also reteamed with Soderbergh on the comedy heist remake Ocean’s Eleven (2001). Roberts appeared in the 2003 drama, Mona Lisa Smile, which earned her a then record $25 million salary for a film actress.[10][13] The following year, she starred in the romantic drama Closer (2004), and also reprised her role in Ocean’s Eleven in its sequel, Ocean’s Twelve (2004). In 2006, she lent her voice to two animated films: The Ant Bully, and Charlotte’s Web. Roberts appeared in the black comedy drama August: Osage County (2013), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[9]

Roberts made her television debut in the drama series Crime Story in 1987. She appeared in the crime drama series Miami Vice, and the television film Baja Oklahoma (both in 1988). In 1996, Roberts guest starred on the television sitcom Friends. Her guest star appearance on the police procedural/legal drama Law & Order in 1999, earned Roberts a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.[14] She has, as of 2014, served as an executive producer on four films in the American Girl film series. The first three were television films while the fourth, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, had a theatrical release in 2008. In 2014, Roberts provided narration for an episode of the documentary series Makers: Women Who Make America, and appeared in the television film The Normal Heart. Her role in the latter garnered Roberts a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.[14]

Film[edit]

A photograph of Roberts attending the Deauville American Film Festival in 1990

Roberts at the Deauville American Film Festival in 1990

A photograph of Roberts in 2002

Roberts in May 2002

A photograph of Roberts in Paris, 2010

Roberts promoting Eat Pray Love in Paris, 2010

Title Year Role Notes Ref(s)
Firehouse 1987 Babs Uncredited
Straight-to-video release
[1][15][16]
Satisfaction 1988 Shane !Daryle Shane [17]
Mystic Pizza 1988 Arujo !Daisy Arujo [18]
Blood Red 1989 Collogero !Marisa Collogero Filmed in 1986 [16][19]
Steel Magnolias 1989 Latcherie !Shelby Eatenton Latcherie [20]
Pretty Woman 1990 Ward !Vivian Ward [21]
Flatliners 1990 Mannus !Rachel Mannus [22]
Sleeping with the Enemy 1991 Burney !Laura Williams Burney/ Sara Waters [23]
Dying Young 1991 O’Neil !Hilary O’Neil [24]
Hook 1991 Tinker Bell [25]
Player !The Player 1992 Herself Cameo [26][27]
Pelican Brief !The Pelican Brief 1993 Shaw !Darby Shaw [28]
I Love Trouble 1994 Peterson !Sabrina Peterson [29]
Prêt-à-Porter 1994 Eisenhower !Anne Eisenhower [30]
Something to Talk About 1995 Bichon !Grace King Bichon [31]
Mary Reilly 1996 Reilly !Mary Reilly [32]
Michael Collins 1996 Kiernan !Kitty Kiernan [33]
Everyone Says I Love You 1996 Sidell !Von Sidell [34]
My Best Friend’s Wedding 1997 Potter !Julianne Potter [35]
Conspiracy Theory 1997 Sutton !Alice Sutton [36]
Stepmom 1998 Kelly !Isabel Kelly Also executive producer [37]
Notting Hill 1999 Scott !Anna Scott [38]
Runaway Bride 1999 Carpenter !Maggie Carpenter [39]
Erin Brockovich 2000 Brockovich !Erin Brockovich [9]
Mexican !The Mexican 2001 Barzel !Samantha Barzel [40]
America’s Sweethearts 2001 Harrison !Kiki Harrison [41]
Ocean’s Eleven 2001 Ocean !Tess Ocean [42]
Grand Champion 2002 Jolene [43][44]
Full Frontal 2002 Francesca/Catherine [45]
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind 2002 Watson !Patricia Watson [46]
Mona Lisa Smile 2003 Watson !Katherine Ann Watson [47]
Tell Them Who You Are 2004 Herself [48]
Closer 2004 Cameron !Anna Cameron [49]
Ocean’s Twelve 2004 Ocean !Tess Ocean [50]
Ant !The Ant Bully 2006 Hova Voice only [51]
Charlotte’s Web 2006 Charlotte the Spider Voice only [52]
Charlie Wilson’s War 2007 Herring !Joanne Herring [53]
Fireflies in the Garden 2008 Taylor !Lisa Taylor [54][55]
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl 2008 Executive producer [56]
Duplicity 2009 Stenwick !Claire Stenwick [57]
Valentine’s Day 2010 Hazeltine !Captain Kate Hazeltine [58]
Eat Pray Love 2010 Gilbert !Elizabeth Gilbert [59]
Jesus Henry Christ 2011 Executive producer [60][61]
Love, Wedding, Marriage 2011 Ava’s Therapist Voice only [62][63]
Larry Crowne 2011 Tainot !Mercedes Tainot [64]
Mirror, Mirror 2012 Queen Clementianna [65]
August: Osage County 2013 Fordham !Barbara Fordham [9][66]
Moment of Clarity 2014 Herself Documentary
Secret !Secret in Their Eyes 2015 Cobb !Jess Cobb [67]
Mother’s Day 2016 Miranda [68]
Money Monster 2016 Fenn !Patty Fenn [69]
Wonder Films that have not yet been released 2017 Pullman !Isabel Pullman In post-production [70]
Smurfs: The Lost Village Films that have not yet been released 2017 Smurfwillow !Smurfwillow In post-production, Voice only [71]
Key
Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released

Television[edit]

Title Year Role Channel Notes Ref(s)
Crime Story 1987 Tracy NBC Episode: “The Survivor” [72][73]
Miami Vice 1988 Wheeler !Polly Wheeler NBC Episode: “Mirror Image” [74]
Baja Oklahoma 1988 Hutchins !Candy Hutchins HBO Television film [75]
Before Your Eyes: Angelie’s Secret 1995 Narrator CBS Television film [76]
Friends 1996 Moss !Susie Moss NBC Episode: “The One After the Superbowl [77]
Murphy Brown 1998 Herself CBS Episode: “Never Can Say Goodbye” [78][79]
Law & Order 1999 Ludlow !Katrina Ludlow NBC Episode: “Empire [14][78]
Silent Angels: The Rett Syndrome Story 2000 Narrator Discovery Health Channel [80]
Queens Supreme 2003 CBS Executive producer [81]
Freedom: A History of US 2003 Virginia Eyewitness/
Appleton’s Journal
PBS 2 episodes [82]
Samantha: An American Girl Holiday 2004 The WB Executive producer
Television film
[83]
Felicity: An American Girl Adventure 2005 The WB Executive producer
Television film
[84]
Beslan: Three Days In September 2006 Narrator Showtime Documentary [85]
Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front 2007 Disney Channel Executive producer
Television film
[86]
Extraordinary Moms 2011 Presenter OWN Documentary
Also executive producer
[87]
Makers: Women Who Make America 2014 Narrator PBS Episode: “Women in Hollywood” [88]
Normal !The Normal Heart 2014 Brookner !Dr. Emma Brookner HBO Television film [89]