We’re back! Did you miss us? Or did you even notice we were gone? (Given that we haven’t had a Digital Update for you since December 17, we sure hope you noticed.) A lot has happened since we were last together, including a very sad loss which, as it happens, ties directly into this week’s additions.
New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
On December 22, the world of music lost the great Joe Cocker, who had the kind of unique voice that is likely never to be duplicated. Cocker had a substantial back catalog, with 22 studio albums to his credit, and three of those efforts – all of them from the mid-1980s – have at last made their way into our digital catalog.
Link Wray and Peter Sarstedt. Roy Orbison and Bongos Ikwue. Harlan T. Bobo and Ricky Nelson. Just a few of the pairings that make up this late-month Jukebox, whetting the appetite for next month's two-part series delving into the origins of American soul, c&w and early rock & roll. Dig in, the quarters are on us.
In 1987, Gotti skated, Gretsky scored, Diane left the bar, Maggie made it three, Cherry hit the freezer, Barbie went up the river, Ollie took the stand, and Squeaky skipped the joint. Oh, and there was some music too. That’s where Dr. Rhino comes in...enjoy!
34 years ago today, Todd Rundgren released an album which sounds a bit a different from most of the efforts that preceded it, but there’s never any question that it’s Todd all over.
Throughout the late ‘60s and the entirety of the ‘70s, Rundgren was about as experimental as a mainstream pop artist could get and still maintain a significant following, trying a little of this and a little of that, rarely settling for the same sound from one album to the next. As such, the fact that Healing sounds different is, in its way, exactly what you’d expect from him. That said, the material finds him getting a bit more reflective than usual.
25 years ago today, Kylie Minogue went to the pinnacle of the UK singles chart with a cover of a song made famous by Little Anthony and the Imperials and co-written by…Grandpa Munster?!?
Nah, just kidding. The lyricist was named Al Lewis, though. Just a different Al Lewis, i.e. not this guy.
“Tears on My Pillow” was the fourth and final single released from Minogue’s sophomore full-length effort, Enjoy Yourself, and from its sales, it’s clear that the record-buying public responded to its title by saying, “Don’t mind if I do,” with the album ultimately going platinum four times over in the UK while also finding significant success in Australia, France, and Switzerland, too.
In the US, though? Not so much.
55 years ago, a swingin’ cat who entered the world under the name Walden Robert Cassotto but came to be better known by his stage name – Bobby Darin – released a jazzy little full-length number which proved to be the second top-10 album of his career.
This Is Darin was actually Darin’s third album, but his first, self-titled album never actually charted, although it did provide the world with a classic single in the form of “Splish Splash.” Between that debut and his second album, That’s All, Darin also struck paydirt with his version of Woody Harris’s “Queen of the Hop” as well as “Dream Lover,” which was ultimately a far more important hit in the long run, as Darin wrote all by his lonesome. Both tracks were top-10 hits, and as a result of these singles increasing his name recognition, Darin released That’s All to tremendous acclaim, winning Grammys for Record of the Year and Best New Singer, providing him with career-defining singles like “Mack the Knife” – his first #1 hit – and “Beyond the Sea” (#6), and achieving a level of success which effectively ensured that all eyes and ears would be on whatever he might decide to do next.
Hitting the big 6-0 today is a gentleman whose prowess on guitar is the stuff of legend: Eddie Van Halen.
Born in Nijmegen, Netherlands in 1955, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen wasn’t just born unto a father who played clarinet, saxophone, and piano, he was actually named after a musician…or didn’t you realize that “Lodewijk” is Dutch for “Ludwig”? (This explains a bit more why Eddie went on to name his son Wolfgang.) The Van Halen family moved to Pasadena, California in 1962, and soon began to study piano, along with his brother Alex. Although Eddie had a gift when it came to tickling the ivories, even winning a piano competition at Long Beach City College four years running, he soon shifted his interests to the guitar, while Alex - inspired by his brother – decided to take a stab at playing drums.
34 years ago today, one of the most memorable anthems to emerge from the UK during the ‘80s first hit record store shelves, kicking off Kim Wilde’s career in a big, big way.
“Kids in America” may have been Wilde’s first single, but she came into the music business with the right background: she was the daughter of ‘50s rock ‘n’ roller Marty Wilde. Unsurprisingly, it was family connections which helped pave the way for her own success, but what is surprising is that the first connection wasn’t her dad: she was discovered by legendary producer Mickie Most while she was recording vocals for a song by her brother, Ricky Wilde. Impressed by both her voice and her image, Most was interested in working with her, which led to Ricky and Marty collaborating on a song for Kim…and given this particular post, you’ve probably guessed what that song was.