If the Smiths were, as Simon Goddard once wrote, “the most influential British guitar group of the (1980s),” then today is a day for celebration, as it’s the 51st birthday of the guy whose guitar enabled the group to provide that influence.
Born on Halloween 1963 in Manchester, England under the later-to-be-tweaked name of John Martin Maher, Johnny Marr formed his first band – the Paris Valentinos – just after entering his teens, doing so with another lad whose name would soon become almost as familiar to NME and Melody Maker readers as his own: Andy Rourke. The two would stick together beyond the dissolution of the Paris Valentinos, first as members of White Dice, then as members of Freak Party, but when the latter group fell apart as a result of failing to find a proper singer, former White Dice frontman Rob Allman suggested that it might be worth his time to meet an intriguing young fellow by the name of Steven Morrissey, and…well, we all know how that worked out.
Why is October 30 such a special day? We can’t tell you why.
Oh, all right, since you asked nicely, perhaps we can: it’s Timothy B. Schmit’s birthday!
Born in 1947 in Oakland, California, Timothy Bruce Schmit – yes, now you finally know what the “B” stands for – may be known to most casual music fans for his membership in The Eagles, which is fair enough given that he co-wrote and took the lead vocal on the band’s 1980 top-10 hit, “I Can’t Tell You Why.” (What, like that opening line didn’t already tip you off about that?) As it happens, though, Schmit has had an affiliation with a number of notable bands over the years, including a stint in Poco – he joined their lineup when Randy Meisner left the group – and contributions to a number of Steely Dan albums, among them Pretzel Logic and Aja.
55 years ago, Cliff Richard and the Shadows – yes, it was so long ago that he was still working with Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Jet Harris, and Tony Meehan – released the song that would prove to be his final single of the 1950s and his second song to top the charts in the UK.
What kind of candy is good year round and never makes you fat? Ear candy! You can tune in to our bloody awesome Halloween party playlist here but beware, we've invited the vampires in, the werewolves, and the ghosts too.
31 years ago today, Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb – collectively known as the Bee Gees – added another notch to their belt by having one of their compositions top not only the Billboard Hot 100 but also the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart as well.
With a title on loan from an Ernest Hemingway novel, “Islands in the Stream” ended up being the gift that keeps on giving, not only for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, who turned the song into a platinum-selling single that topped CMT’s 2005 poll of the best country duets of all time, but for the brothers Gibb as well, who have also seen the song covered by Barry Manilow and Reba McEntire (on Manilow’s 2007 album, The Greatest Songs of the Eighties), Feist and The Constantines (on the deluxe edition of Feist’s album, The Reminder), Michael Scott and Jim Halpert, a.k.a. Steve Carell and John Krasinski, on The Office, and Wayne Brady on How I Met Your Mother. You may also recall that “Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are),” by Pras featuring Mya and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, heavily borrowed from the song for its chorus.
New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
Today’s Digital Roundup consists of a trio of soundtracks – one from the ‘60s, two from the ‘70s – by two masters of movie music, and since both guys are pretty great in their own right, we’ll do things the only fair way and start off alphabetically.
Lalo Schifrin, Boulevard Nights – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: The first of two efforts by the great Lalo Schifrin, a man who secured street cred with jazz fans in the ‘50s and ‘60s by working with guys like Dizzy Gillespie and Xavier Cugat but earned pop culture immortality in 1966 by writing the theme to Mission: Impossible. Boulevard Nights isn’t necessarily Schifrin’s most well-known film score, and if we’re to be completely honest, it isn’t one of his best, either, but it’s very much an artifact of its time, which is to say that if you were shaking your groove thing to the dying gasps of disco and spent a fair amount of your time getting the funk out, then you’ll probably dig it. (It also helps if you like George Benson, who takes lead vocals on the first track, “Street Tattoo.”)