Saturday, January 20, 2007

This Day in Music History: Michael Bolton and How Am I Supposed to Live Without You

Michael Bolton and Doug James were both surprised when they got a call that Laura Branigan was interested in recording How Am I Supposed to Live Without You, the song they wrote together. You see the song had already been placed on hold by Arista artist Air Supply. However, Clive Davis wanted to make a change in the chorus that Michael Bolton didn't want made. Still they were excited that Air Supply wanted to record it as they were selling millons of records at that time. In the end Air Supply never recorded the song and Branigan did. She took it up the charts to number 12 in the top 40.
For Michael Bolton this was great. It was his first big hit for him as a songwriter. He had others record his songs before like Rex Smith, the Pointer Sisters, Kenny Rogers, Starship and Joe Cocker but they were mostly album cuts. Now he had co-written a hit song.
In 1983 Deidre O'Hara of CBS Songs introduced him to Doug James. They went into the studio and joked around while getting to know each other. Finally Doug sat down at the piano and Michael started singing. They started bouncing ideas off each other and the first song they wrote was this one.
It was while waiting on Air Supply to record it that they got a call saying "Congratulations! Laura Branigan's cutting your song this afternoon." Doug James said he was worried because they had not done a lead sheet yet. However, Branigan cut the song from the demo tape.
When Bolton wrote the song he was really a rocker and trying to stay away from ballads. He had been in a band that release a couple of albums that sounded more like Led Zeppelin or Bad Comapany. He went did a couple of solo rock albums but they didn't do too well on the charts. With that experience and the urging of others he went from rock and roll to pop ballads. He has been more successful in music ever since.
Doug James said that Michaels version of How Am I Suppose to Live Without You is closer to what they had in mind then Laura Branigans. It was the second single from his Soul Provider album and became the first #1 song of the 1990's on this day in music history, January 20,1990. It was #1 on the Billboard charts for 3 weeks.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Happy Anniversary Marvel Two-In-One

This month is the 33RD anniversary of Marvel Two-in-One. Marvel had such success with Marvel Team-Up with Spider-Man that they created another team up book. The star of this book, which started in 1974, was the Fantastic Fours ever lovin’ blue eyed Thing. Like Spider-Man did in Marvel Team-Up the Thing would have a different guest star from the Marvel roster of heroes. His first guest star was Man-Thing who would also get his own series that year. One of its more popular issues was the King-Sized Annual #2. It said that Spider-Man was the guest star but it also had Captain Marvel, the Avengers and Warlock. The story was written by Jim Starlin and they were fighting Thanos who was going to destroy half the stars in the universe. In the end Thanos and Warlock “died”. However, death in comic books is rarely permanent and both were brought back years later in the Silver Surfer’s comic book.
While the series was never as popular as Marvel Team-Up it did have an impressive run. It lasted for 100 issues and ran from 1974 to 1983 and had several annuals. In his last team up he was joined by his human self Ben Grimm. This happened when he was able to visit an alternate world where he had never become the Thing.
So Happy Anniversary to Marvel Two-in-One. Too bad you didn’t get to run a lot longer.
If you want the first issue as seen above you can click on the title and go to a site where you can buy it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New Universal #1

Slowly but surely Marvel Comics has been reintroducing the New Universe. First they gave us new stories, and in some cases completing stories, based on the old series that started the New Universe during Jim Shooters run as editor-in-chief at Marvel. Now we have New Universal. The book is being published semi-monthly and it is where the fabled “White Event” takes place. The white event is what started the old New Universe series of books. The white event takes place in outer space but it has ramifications with certain people on Earth. They have something in them that is like the mutant gene in the Marvel Universe and it ignites that gene and gives them all special powers. This issue is written by Warren Ellis and art by Salvador Larroca. The art is breathtaking. The shots from outer space made me feel as if I was on a space station looking at the Earth. Most importantly Mr. Ellis gives us more background stories on the main characters. Mostly Star Brand and Justice. Justice is a police Detective named John Tensen. He is shot and barely alive. He is now considered 98% dead while lying in a hospital room. When the White Event takes place he is healed and sees that his nurse was about to kill him. He could see into the nurse’s mind that he was not doing it as a mercy killing. So he gives his brand of Justice to his first criminal.
Star Brand is out on a date and they fall asleep in a field while looking at the stars. When he wakes up he has the Star Brand on his hand and the power of the White Event has fried his girlfriend alive. Her Father was the local Sheriff and now believes he killed his daughter.
There is also an unnamed girl who gets powers from the event. I don’t remember her from the first series but she is told that “This is a paradigm shift. Everything you know has changed. Please remain calm.”
So far I like this new universe. Perhaps when Mr. Shooter started it he was ahead of his time. Jim Shooter got us on base and Mr. Ellis and Mr. Larroca have been set up to hit it out of the park.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

WKRP in Cincinnati is coming to DVD

Like the title says one of my favorite shows is coming to DVD. However, I have heard that there will be music substitutions as it is too expensive to get all the songs they used. I hope certain songs are there as they were sometimes the punch lines to the joke. Either way if you want you can get a notice from when it becomes available. Click here and go to where you can sign on to get a notice from them when it is available for pre-order. The above photo is from TV I used that as there is no cover art for the box set yet. You can click on the title above to go to

This Day in Music History: George Harrison and Got My Mind Set on You

Before the Beatles came to America in 1964 George Harrison came by himself a few months earlier in 1963. You George had an older sister who left home when she was about 17 years old. She studied to become a teacher and moved to America. So George came to America to vist his sister. While visiting he bought an album by the singer James Ray. He said that the album was terrible but there were three really good songs on it. All of them were written by a former mailman named Rudy Clark. The songs were It's Been A Drag and Got My Mind Set on You Part 1 and Part 2. However, the two parts didn't have any break in between.

George said he got the idea to record the song when he was in the studio with Jim Keltner and Gary Wright. Keltner started playing a swing/rock type of beat. Wright said that it sounded like Got My Mind Set on You. George was surprised anybody else had ever heard of the song. He then decided to record it. George made some changes when he recorded it. He changed it from the Jazz/Swing sound that the original had to a more pop rock sound with some chord changes. He also eliminated the female background singers. When he was asked why he made the changes he said it was because he prefered the way he heard it in his head.

The song was co-produced by George and Jeff Lynne of ELO fame. George said he wanted to work with someone who's work he respected and someone who respected his work. He didn't want a newcomer who would dismiss everything that he had done in the past. Dave Edmonds set up a meeting between the two and the rest is history. So on this day in music history, January 16, 1988 George Harrison release the song Got My Mind Set on You from his Cloud Nine Album and had the #1 song on the Billboard charts for 1 week.

The song had two music videos made for it. The most popular one was George just sitting in a room singing and playing his guitar to the tune while the objects in the room became animated and moving to the beat. My friend Mike loved this one and wanted the suit of armor to start dancing to the tune but it never did. Too bad as it would have been a nice touch.

My favorite was the second as it had a story to it. A boy and girl were at an arcade trying to get each others attention. They were playing a game where the prize was a snowglobe. Inside the snowglobe was George, Jeff Lynne, Jim Keltner, etc. playing the song.

There was always a friendly rivalry between the Beatles and I heard that Paul McCartney was happy but also a little bit jealous when George hit #1. You see Paul had not had a #1 hit since 1983 when his duet with Michael Jackson was #1 in December of that year.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Amazing Grace

I got this story in an e-mail and I thought it was interesting.

One day, a man went to visit a church..

He got there early, parked his car, and got out.

Another car pulled up and the driver got

out and said,"I always park there!

You took my place!" The visitor went inside for

Sunday School, found an empty seat and sat down.

A young lady from the church

approached him and stated,

"That's my seat! You took my place!"

The visitor was somewhat distressed

by this rude welcome, but said nothing.

After Sunday School, the visitor went

into the sanctuary and sat down.

Another member walked up to him and said,

"That's where I always sit! You took my place!"

The visitor was even more troubled by this

treatment, but still He said nothing.

Later as the congregation was praying

for Christ to dwell among them,

the visitor stood up, and his appearance began to change.

Horrible scars became visible on

his hands and on his sandaled feet.

Someone from the congregation

noticed him and called out, "What happened to you?"

The visitor replied, as his hat

became a crown of thorns, and a tear fell from his eye,

"I took your place."

May we all remember the Man who took our place.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

This Day in Music History: Dean Martin and Memories Are Made of This

On this day in music history, January 14, 1956, Dean Martin had the first #1 song of the year with Memories Are Made of This. Not bad for a poor kid from Steubenville, Ohio. He was born Dino Crocetti and held many jobs from gas station attendent to boxer before deciding on a career in show business as a singer. He made the change he said because he was tired of getting punched in the mouth and cleaning windshields. He was doing well as a nighclub singer but he really took off when he teamed up with a new nightclub comedian who was not doing too well at the time. The comedian as many know was Jerry Lewis. Their chemistry started a fire that burned bright for many years. Together they had hit movies, TV shows and club apperances. Dean never had a recording contract before they got together but he signed with Capitol records and had many hits for them. Memories Are Made of This started his year out right as it was #1 for 5 weeks. By the end of the 1950's Martin and Lewis broke up. Jerry was the comedian and no one worried how well he would do. They did wonder about Dean's solo career. They didn't have to worry as he was a fine singer and a pretty good comedian himself. That was a side that was rarely seen in his previous movies as most of the funny lines were given to Jerry. He had hits in musical/romantic comedies like Bells Are Ringing. His spoof of the spy movies in the Matt Helm series were also big hits. He also did war dramas like the Young Lions and westerns with John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart as well as the crime drama Ocean's Eleven with all of the Rat Pack in the cast. In his later years he became know for his hit variety series and his Dean Martin's Roast. It was in his TV shows where his comedy really shined. A short time before he died he had started a tour with his old friends Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. On December 25, 1995 he passed away at the age of 78 from acute respiratory failure at his home in Beverly Hills, Ca.
If you want to get a copy of the photo you can click on the title above and it will take you to the site where it can be purchased.