Where do you like to the listen to music? Why?
I have always enjoyed listening to music in my bedroom. Back in my family house in Thrikkakara I first had one bedroom, a smaller one facing the front of the house and I used that from 1987 till 1997 – ages 11 to 21. Since my sister had moved out post her wedding in 1995, I soon started storing my music albums in the cupboards of my sister’s now vacant room and soon that became my new bedroom. These two places is where I loved to play music the most. We also had a spare room which was our library and my computer room. I would take my stereo system from the bedroom and place them there for a while as while as I could listen to music while I played on my desktop.
I also used to play a lot of songs on my walkman. Every trip we took, every summer vacation stay in my grandmother’s house and spending time with my cousins, and sometimes even when I would spend the day in the city, my walkman was with me. I must have drained 1000s of batteries in the course of a decade or more listening to all that music on my walkman. When I lived in Bangalore for a year at the age of 19 I had these rechargeable batteries and I got a second pair just so I could listen to music as much as I could as it was my only source of happiness while living in a hostel.
Nowadays I listen to music in two ways – on my Smartphone with earphones or my new ear pods and playing the songs on my laptop and external speaker. I have my mp3s and I have Youtube for my laptop and I have Spotify & Prime Music for my phone. It’s all good and I can listen to music as much as I want.
So a year ago I wrote a post about the lack of Black female singers in my music collection. I listed only two singers who I have enough music from, enough songs from, and who I love, though I do like some songs from other artists. Now it’s the turn of the men. There’s a lot more in this list as there are more Black make singer/musicians who create the kind of music that I do like to listen to. Let’s start to look at the main ones in my collection.
First up is bluesman Robert Cray. The first I had ever heard about Cray was in an article in a magazine about his mentor Eric Clapton. Curious to know about the guitarist mentioned in the article, I went to a music store back in 1992 (I was 16 years old) and saw that there was a cassette of Cray’s 1992 release I Was Warned and I bought that. It soon became a staple in my stereo system and later on I bought the CD and a few other of his albums. Born in 1953, in Columbus, Georgia to a military family Cray’s musical beginnings go back to when he was a student and by the time he was 20 he had seen his heroes Albert Collins, Freddie King and Muddy Waters in concert and decided to form his own band; they began playing college towns on the West Coast.
In the late 1970s he lived in Eugene, Oregon, where he formed the Robert Cray Band and by the early 80s he was steadily making albums and touring, joining other Blues based musicians, playing with Chuck Berry & Tina Turner and opening for Eric Clapton. Cray has generally played Fender guitars (Telecasters and Stratocasters) and there are two signature Robert Cray Strat models available from Fender. His success continued in the 90s and past the 2000s and in his late 60s he still tours and makes new music and is highly popular in the Blues rock scene.
Up next is Living Colour. Although I first heard of the band a few years earlier than Cray, it would take me until 1993 to get my hands on some of their music. I first heard of the all-Black American band back in the summer vacations of 1989 when on a chart program show my cousin & I saw the video for the band’s biggest hit Cult Of Personality off their 1988 debut album Vivid. Over the next couple of years I would see the videos for this song and Glamour Boys once in a while on tv but in 1993 I was finally able to buy both this album and their 1993 release Stain., which was the first with their current bassist Doug Wimbish.
A compilation albums of their hits plus some unreleased songs were released including the cover of Cream’s Sunshine Of Your Love, which also had a video as it was supposed to be released on Stain. While singer Corey Glover, drummer Wil Calhoun & guitarist Vernon Reid concentrated on their solo careers and albums, the older Wimbish continued being a much in demand sideman for other artists like Joe Satriani, Annie Lennox, Carly Simon as well as releasing 2 solo albums. The band reunited in 2003 and have released 3 more albums and have toured a lot in support of the albums and will be soon releasing a new one soon.
During my teenage years I used to go to a bunch of rock concerts held in my hometown of Kochi. Most were by bands from Kerala who played solely covers of famous hard rock & metal bands. A couple of them were big names at the time in India – 13 AD from Cochin and Shiva from Calcutta – both long since disbanded.
There were many others for a while since I turned 15 a couple of my cousins and I went to almost all of them. Despite no internet or any promotion from radio or tv, we would get to know about the concerts atleast a few days in advance and ensure that we would go and see them on the Friday or Saturday nights that the event would happen in. Most were open air concerts in one of the small stadiums we had at the time but there were a few that were held in closed venues as well. We went for all of them and had a great time singing along with the songs that we knew and would usually head to the cold drink stalls during the ones that we didn’t know.
When I moved to Bangalore for a year back in 1995 I also went to two awesome concerts held there and one of them had two established bands from India. Those were really awesome but unfortunately I have never been able to see an international act in my life, despite several coming to India since then. Someday I hope to see one of my fav bands live.
Dame Olivia Newton-John, the British-Australian singer whose breathy voice and wholesome beauty made her one of the biggest pop stars of the ’70s and charmed generations of viewers in the blockbuster movie Grease, died on Monday, according to a statement from her husband. She was 73. The singer revealed in September 2018 that she was treating cancer at the base of her spine. It was her third cancer diagnosis, following bouts with breast cancer in the early ’90s and in 2017. She was a four-time Grammy Award winner whose music career included five number one hits and another ten Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100, and two Billboard 200 number one albums, If You Love Me, Let Me Know (1974) and Have You Never Been Mellow (1975).
Eleven of her singles (including two Platinum) and 14 of her albums (including two Platinum and four 2× Platinum) have been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). With global sales of more than 100 million records, Newton-John is one of the best-selling music artists from the second half of the 20th century to the present. In 1978, Newton-John starred in the musical film Grease, whose soundtrack remains one of the world’s best-selling albums of recorded music. It features two major hit duets with co-star John Travolta. Her other major success is the 1980 film Xanadu, in which she also sung “Magic” and “Xanadu” (with the Electric Light Orchestra).
The UK born Olivia moved to Australia with her family when she was 6 and by her teenage years she started making a name for herself in the local music industry and her musical hits in the UK, Australia & the US would lead her to make a move to the US in the mid 70s. For 45 years, Olivia held the Guinness World Record for the shortest gap (154 days) by a female between new Number 1 albums (If You Love Me, Let Me Know > Have You Never Been Mellow) on the US Billboard 200 album charts until Taylor Swift in 2020 bested that record. Although she had little acting experience (and turned 29 during filming), Newton-John gave an indelible performance as Sandy, a sweet-natured Australian transfer student who romances Travolta’s alpha greaser Danny at a Southern California high school in the 1950s.
In 1981, she took her new, sexier persona a step further with “Physical,” a dance number with suggestive lyrics. Banned by several radio stations, it became her biggest hit, spending 10 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. In 1983 she teamed with Travolta again for “Two of a Kind,” a romantic comedy-fantasy, but it failed to recapture their “Grease” spark. Over a lengthy career Newton-John won four Grammy Awards and sold more than 100 million albums. Shealso faced her share of troubles and tragedy. Her breast cancer diagnoses forced her to postpone and cancel several tours. And in 2005 Newton-John’s then-boyfriend, Patrick McDermott, disappeared at sea while on a fishing trip off the coast of California. He was never found — an unsolved mystery that haunted the singer for years.
From her second marriage to Matt Lattanzi, she has a daughter – actor/singer Chloe Rose Lattanzi. Married twice before, Newton-John married John Easterling, founder and president of the Amazon Herb Company.
PRS Limited Edition Custom 24 Floyd Rose Faded Whale Smokeburst 2