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Bob Seger – Turn the Page – Live 1973

Bob Seger,

Robert Clark “Bob” Seger (born May 6, 1945) is an American rock singer-songwriter, guitarist and pianist. As a locally successful Detroit-area artist, he performed and recorded as  Seger and the Last Heard and Seger System throughout the 1960s. By the early 1970s, he had dropped the “System” from his recordings and continued to strive for broader success with various other bands. In 1973, he put together the Silver Bullet Band, a group of Detroit-area musicians, with whom he became most successful on the national level with the album Live Bullet, recorded live with the Silver Bullet Band in 1975 at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan. In 1976, he achieved a national breakout with the studio album Night Moves. On his studio albums, he also worked extensively with the Alabama-based Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, which appeared on several of Seger’s best-selling singles and albums.

A roots rocker with a classic raspy, shouting voice, Seger wrote and recorded songs that dealt with love, women and blue-collar themes and was an exemplar of heartland rock. Seger has recorded many hits, including “Night Moves“, “Turn the Page“, “We’ve Got Tonight“, “Against the Wind“, and “Shakedown” that was written for Beverly Hills Cop II and “Like a Rock“, and also co-wrote the Eagles‘ number-one hit “Heartache Tonight“. His iconic recording of “Old Time Rock and Roll” was named one of the Songs of the Century in 2001.

bob seger

With a career spanning five decades, Seger continues to perform and record today. Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012.

Seger was born to Stewart and Charlotte Seger of Dearborn, Michigan, and lived in the area until age 6 when his family moved to nearby Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has an older brother, George.

Seger’s father, a medical technician for the Ford Motor Company, played several instruments and Seger was exposed to music from an early age. Seger was also exposed to frequent arguments between his parents that disturbed the neighborhood at night. In 1956, when Seger was 10 years old, his father abandoned the family and moved to California. The remaining family soon lost their comfortable middle-class status and struggled financially.

Seger attended Tappan Junior High School, (Ann Arbor, Michigan) (now Tappan Middle School) and graduated from Pioneer High School in 1963 (at the time it was known as Ann Arbor High School). He ran track and field in high school. Seger also went to Lincoln Park High School for a year.

As far as his early musical inspirations are concerned, Seger has stated, “Little Richard – he was the first one that really got to me. Little Richard and, of course, Elvis Presley.” “Come Go With Me” by The Del-Vikings, a hit in 1957, was the first record he bought.

Regional favorite: 1961–1976

The Decibels & The Town Criers

Seger arrived on the Detroit music scene in 1961 fronting a three-piece band called the Decibels. The band included Seger on guitar, piano, keyboards, and vocals, Pete Stanger on guitar, and H.B. Hunter on drums. All of the members attended Ann Arbor High. The Decibels recorded an acetate demo of a song called “The Lonely One”, at Del Shannon‘s studio in 1961. As well as being Seger’s first original song, “The Lonely One” was Seger’s first song to be played on the radio, airing only once on an Ann Arbor radio station.

After the Decibels disbanded, Seger joined the Town Criers, a four-piece band with Seger on lead vocals, John Flis on bass, Pep Perrine on drums, and Larry Mason on lead guitar. The Town Criers, covering songs like “Louie Louie“, began gaining a steady following. Meanwhile, Seger was listening to James Brown and said that, for him and his friends, Live at the Apollo was their favorite record following its release in 1963. Seger was also widely influenced by the music of The Beatles, once they hit American shores in 1964. In general, he and local musician friends such as future Eagle Glenn Frey bought into the premises of 1960s pop and rock radio, with its hook-driven hits; he later recalled he and Frey thinking at the time, “You’re nobody if you can’t get on the radio.”

Doug Brown & The Omens

As the Town Criers began landing more gigs, Bob Seger met a man named Doug Brown, backed by a band called the Omens. Seger joined Doug Brown & the Omens, who presumably had a bigger following than the Town Criers. While Doug Brown was the primary lead vocalist for the group, Seger would take the lead on some songs—covering R&B numbers. It was with this group that Seger first appeared on an officially released recording: the 1965 single “TGIF” backed with “First Girl”, credited to Doug Brown and the Omens. Seger later appeared on Doug Brown and the Omens’ parody of Barry Sadler‘s song “Ballad of the Green Berets” which was re-titled “Ballad of the Yellow Beret” and mocked draft dodgers. Soon after its release, Sadler and his record label threatened Brown and his band with a lawsuit and the recording was withdrawn from the market.

While Bob was a member of the Omens, he met his longtime manager Edward “Punch” Andrews, who at the time was partnered with Dave Leone running the Hideout franchise, which consisted of two clubs where local acts would play and a small-scale record label. Seger began writing and producing for other acts that Punch was managing, such as the Mama Cats and the Mushrooms (with Frey). Seger and Doug Brown were then approached by Punch and Leone to write a song for the Underdogs, another local band who recently had a hit with a song called “Man in the Glass”. Seger contributed a song called “East Side Story“, which ultimately proved to be a failure for the Underdogs.

The Last Heard

Seger decided to record “East Side Story” himself, and officially left the Omens (though he did retain Doug Brown as a producer). As Bob Seger and the Last Heard, Seger released his version of the song with Hideout Records in January 1966, and it became his first big Detroit hit. The single (backed with “East Side Sound”, an instrumental version of “East Side Story”) sold 50,000 copies, mostly in the Detroit area, and led to a contract with Cameo-Parkway Records. Though the name “The Last Heard” originally referred to the collection of Omens and Town Criers who recorded “East Side Story” with Seger, it soon became the name of Seger’s permanent band, which consisted of former Town Crier Pep Perrine on drums, Carl Lagassa on guitar, and Dan Honaker on bass. Following “East Side Story”, the group released four more singles: the James Brown-inspired holiday single “Sock It to Me Santa”, the Dylan-esque “Persecution Smith”, “Vagrant Winter”, and perhaps the most notable, “Heavy Music“, released in 1967. “Heavy Music”, which sold even more copies than “East Side Story”, had potential to break out nationally when Cameo-Parkway suddenly went out of business. It was actually a top 100 hit in Canada, where it topped out on the national RPM charts at #82; in the US, it just missed the Hot 100, peaking on the “bubbling under” chart at #103. The song would stay in Seger’s live act for many years to come.

bob segar

The Bob Seger System

After Cameo-Parkway folded, Seger and Punch began searching for a new label. In the spring of 1968,  Seger & the Last Heard signed with major label Capitol Records, turning down Motown Records, who offered more money than Capitol. Seger felt that Capitol was more appropriate for his genre than Motown.

Capitol changed the name of the band to The  Seger System. In the transition between labels, guitarist Carl Lagassa left the band and keyboard player Bob Schultz joined. The System’s first single with Capitol was the anti-war message song “2 + 2 = ?“, which reflected a marked change in Seger’s political attitudes from “The Ballad of the Yellow Beret”. The single was again a hit in Detroit and hit number 1 on radio stations in Buffalo, New York and Orlando, Florida, but went unnoticed almost everywhere else, and failed to chart nationally in the US. The single did, however, make the Canadian national charts, peaking at #79.

The second single from The  Seger System was “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man“. It was a major hit in Michigan, and it also became Seger’s first national hit, peaking at #17. The song’s success led to the release of an album of the same title in 1969. The Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man album reached #62 on the Billboard pop albums chart. Glenn Frey (later in the Eagles) had his first studio gig singing back-up and playing guitar on “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man”.

Seger was unable to follow up this success. For the next album, singer/songwriter Tom Neme joined The System, ultimately writing and singing the majority of the tunes featured, for which the group was heavily criticized. The album, called Noah, failed to chart at all, leading Seger to briefly quit the music industry and attend college. He returned the following year and put out the System’s final album, 1970’s Mongrel, this time without Tom Neme. Bob Schultz left the band as well, being replaced by Dan Watson. Mongrel, with the powerful single “Lucifer“, was considered to be a strong album by many critics and Detroit fans, but failed to do well commercially.

Solo

After Mongrel failed to live-up to the success of Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man, The System dissipated. For a short period of time following the breakup, Seger had ambitions to be a one-man act. In 1971, Seger released his first solo album, the all-acoustic Brand New Morning. The album was a commercial failure and led to Seger’s departure from Capitol Records.[8][14]

Seger, having regained an eye for bands, began playing with the duo Teegarden & Van Winkle, who in 1970 had a hit single with God, Love and Rock & Roll. Together they recorded Smokin’ O.P.’s, released on Punch Andrews’ own Palladium Records. The album mainly consisted of covers, spawning a minor hit with a version of Tim Hardin‘s If I Were a Carpenter (#76 US), though it did feature Someday, a new Seger original, and a re-release of Heavy Music. The album reached 180 on the Billboard 200.

After spending the better part of 1972 touring with Teegarden & Van Winkle, Seger left the duo to put together a new backing band, referred to as both My Band and the Borneo Band, made up of musicians from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jamie Oldaker, Dick Sims, and Marcy Levy were all members of My Band before joining Eric Clapton‘s backing band. In 1974, Seger put out Back in ’72, recorded partly with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, a renowned group of session musicians who had recorded with the likes of J. J. Cale and Aretha Franklin. According to Seger, there was a financial misunderstanding with the musicians: they offered to record him “for $1500 a side”, which he took to mean $1500 per album side. When he found out that they meant $1500 per song, he left after recording three songs but resolved to work with them in the future. Back in ’72 featured the studio version of Seger’s later live classic Turn the Page; Rosalie, a song Seger wrote about CKLW music director Rosalie Trombley (and which was later recorded by Thin Lizzy); and “I’ve Been Working“, a song originally by Van Morrison, a strong influence on Seger’s musical development. Despite the strength of Seger’s backup musicians, the album only reached 188 on the US charts and has since faded into obscurity. Even so, Back in ’72 and its supporting tour mark the beginnings of Seger’s long-time relationships with future Silver Bullet Band saxophonist Alto Reed, powerhouse female vocalist Shaun Murphy, and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Over the tour, My Band would prove to be unreliable, which frustrated Seger. By the end of 1973, Seger had left My Band in search of a new backing band.

The Silver Bullet Band

In 1974, Seger formed the Silver Bullet Band. Its original members were guitarist Drew Abbott, drummer and backup-singer Charlie Allen Martin, keyboard-player Rick Mannassa, bass guitarist Chris Campbell, and saxophone player Alto Reed (then known as Tom Cartmell). With this new band sitting in occasionally, Seger released the album Seven, which contained the Detroit-area hard-rock hit “Get Out of Denver”. This track was a modest success and charted at #80 nationally.

In 1975, Seger returned to Capitol Records and released the album Beautiful Loser, with help from the Silver Bullet Band (with new keyboardist Robyn Robbins replacing Mannassa) on his cover of the Tina Turner penned “Nutbush City Limits“. The album’s single “Katmandu” which was featured in the 1985 movie “Mask” starring Cher (in addition to being another substantial Detroit-area hit) was Seger’s first real national break-out track since “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man”. Although it just missed the US Pop Top 40 – peaking at #43 – the song received strong airplay in a number of markets nationwide including Detroit.

In April 1976, Seger and the Silver Bullet Band released the album Live Bullet, recorded over two nights in Detroit’s Cobo Arena in September 1975. It contained Seger’s rendition of “Nutbush City Limits” as well as Seger’s own classic take on life on the road, “Turn the Page“, from Back in ’72. It also included his late 1960s successful releases – “Heavy Music” and “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man”. Critic Dave Marsh later wrote that “Live Bullet is one of the best live albums ever made … In spots, particularly during the medley of “Travelin’ Man”/”Beautiful Loser” on side one, Seger sounds like a man with one last shot at the top.” An instant best-seller in Detroit, Live Bullet began to get attention in other parts of the country, selling better than Seger’s previous albums, getting progressive rock radio and album-oriented rock airplay, and enabling Seger to headline more shows. Yet still, Seger had a popularity imbalance. In June 1976, he was a featured performer at the Pontiac Silverdome outside Detroit in front of nearly 80,000 fans. The next night, Seger played before fewer than a thousand people in Chicago.

bob segar

Peak of success: 1976–1987

Seger in 1977.

Seger finally achieved his commercial breakthrough with his October 1976 album Night Moves. The title song “Night Moves” was a highly evocative, nostalgic, time-spanning tale that was not only critically praised, but became a #4 hit single on the Billboard pop singles chart as well as a heavy album-oriented rock airplay mainstay. The album also contained “Mainstreet” (written about Ann Arbor’s Ann Street), a #24 hit ballad that emphasized Seger’s heartland rock credentials as well as guitarist Pete Carr‘s haunting lead guitar. The album also featured the anthem “Rock and Roll Never Forgets”. Night Moves was Seger’s first top ten album in the Billboard album chart, and as of 2006 was certified at 6 million copies in the United States alone – making it the biggest-selling studio album of his entire career. Furthermore, it activated sales of Seger’s recent back catalog, so that Beautiful Loser would eventually sell 2 million and Live Bullet would go on to sell some 5 million copies in the United States. Indeed, Live Bullet stayed on the Billboard charts for 168 weeks and it remains one of the ten best-selling live albums of all time.

The following year, original Silver Bullet drummer Charlie Allen Martin was hit by a car from behind while walking on a service road, and was left unable to walk. David Teegarden, drummer for Seger on the Smokin’ O.P.’s album, replaced him. Despite the loss, Seger followed up strongly with 1978’s Stranger in Town. The first single, “Still the Same“, emphasized Seger’s talent for mid-tempo numbers that revealed a sense of purpose, and reached #4 on the pop singles chart. “Hollywood Nights” was an up-tempo #12 hit rocker, while “We’ve Got Tonight” was a slow ballad that reached #13 on the Hot 100. (The latter became an even bigger hit when country music superstar Kenny Rogers and pop singer Sheena Easton teamed up for a 1983 treatment of it that topped Billboard’s Country and Adult Contemporary charts.) “Old Time Rock and Roll“, a song from George Jackson and Thomas E. Jones III that Seger substantially rewrote the lyrics for, was not a big pop hit initially, but achieved substantial album track airplay. Moreover, it would later become one of Seger’s most recognizable songs following its memorable Tom Cruise-dancing-in-his-underwear use in the 1983 film Risky Business. Indeed, it has been ranked the second-most played Jukebox Single of all time, behind Patsy Cline‘s “Crazy“. The iconic recording of “Old Time Rock and Roll” was named one of the Songs of the Century in 2001. (Seger has ruefully remarked that not taking one-third writing credit on his recording was “the dumbest thing I ever did” financially.)

Seger also co-wrote the Eagles‘ #1 hit song “Heartache Tonight” from their 1979 album The Long Run; their collaboration resulted from Seger and Glenn Frey‘s early days together in Detroit.

In 1980, Seger released Against the Wind (with ex-Grand Funk Railroad member Craig Frost replacing Robyn Robbins on keyboards) and it became his first and only #1 album on the Billboard album chart. The first single “Fire Lake” featured Eagles Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, and Glenn Frey on backing vocals and Muscle Shoals guitarist, Pete Carr, on 12-string acoustic. Fire Lake reached #6 on the Hot 100, while the title song “Against the Wind” reached #5 as a single and even crossed over to the Top 10 on Billboard ’​s Adult Contemporary chart. “You’ll Accomp’ny Me” became the third hit single from the record, reaching #14. Against the Wind would also win two Grammy Awards. As of 2006, both Stranger in Town and Against the Wind had sold over 5 million copies each in the United States.

The live 1981 album Nine Tonight encapsulated this three-album peak of Seger’s commercial career. Seger’s take on Eugene Williams’ “Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You” became a Top Five hit from Nine Tonight and the album would go on to sell 4 million copies.

Seger released the acclaimed The Distance in the final days of 1982. During the recording of this album, Silver Bullet guitarist Drew Abbott left the band due to his frustration with Seger’s frequent use of session musicians in the studio, and was replaced by Dawayne Bailey. After the album’s release, David Teegarden also left the band due to internal conflict, and was replaced by ex-Grand Funk drummer Don Brewer. Critically praised for representing a more versatile sound than that of his recent material, The Distance spawned numerous hits beginning with Rodney Crowell‘s “Shame on the Moon“. It was the biggest hit of the Silver Bullet Band’s entire career, hitting #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and holding at #2 for four consecutive weeks – behind Patti Austin and James Ingram‘s “Baby, Come to Me” and Michael Jackson‘s “Billie Jean” – on the Hot 100. It also crossed over to #15 on Billboard’s Country Singles chart. The follow-up single, “Even Now”, just missed the Top 10 and “Roll Me Away” peaked at #27. The driving album track “Making Thunderbirds” was a popular music video filmed in Detroit and well-received on MTV. Seger’s multi-platinum sales dropped off at this point, with The Distance peaking at #5 and selling only 1.9 million copies in the United States. (This album was belatedly released on 8 track tape; Capitol reportedly had no plans to do so, but Seger, guessing that a good many of his fans still had 8 track players in their vehicles, prevailed upon the label to release the album in that discontinued format as well.)

In 1984, Seger wrote and recorded the power rock ballad “Understanding” for the film soundtrack Teachers. The song was another Top 20 hit for Seger in late 1984. In 1986, he wrote and recorded “Living Inside My Heart” for the film soundtrack of About Last Night….

Seger was no longer as prolific and several years elapsed before his next studio album, Like a Rock emerged in the spring of 1986. The fast-paced “American Storm” was another Top 20 single aided by a popular music video featuring actress Lesley Ann Warren, and “Like a Rock” followed, reaching #12 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Later, it would become familiar to many Americans through its association with a long-running Chevrolet ad campaign (something Seger explicitly chose to do to support struggling American automobile workers in Detroit).[21] Seger’s 1986–1987 American Storm Tour was his self-stated last major tour, playing 105 shows over 9 months and selling almost 1.5 million tickets. Like a Rock reached #3 and eventually sold over 3 million copies although it has never been certified above platinum.

The following year Seger’s “Shakedown“, a somewhat uncharacteristic song off the 1987 film Beverly Hills Cop II‘s soundtrack, became his first and only #1 hit on the pop singles chart. The song had originally been intended for Seger’s fellow Detroiter Glenn Frey, but when he lost his voice just prior to the recording session, Frey called in Seger to take his place. Seger changed the verses of the song but kept the chorus the same. The song earned Seger an Academy Award nomination as co-writer in the Best Original Song category the following year.

bob segar

Later years: 1988–present

 Seger‘s next record was 1991’s The Fire Inside, at a time when glam metal, grunge and alternative rock were taking the forefront. His new music found little visibility on radio or elsewhere. The same was true of 1995’s It’s a Mystery, although the album was certified gold (500,000 copies sold). However, in 1994, Seger released Greatest Hits; the compilation album was his biggest-ever record in terms of sales, selling nearly 10 million copies in the United States as of 2010. Seger did go back on the road again for a 1996 tour, which was successful and sold the fourth-largest number of tickets of any North American tour that year. (Seger was once known for his concerts in small venues, as witnessed with his appearance at the 18th Amendment in Omaha, Nebraska.)

Seger took a sabbatical from the music business for about ten years to spend time with his wife and two young children. In 2001 and 2002, Seger won the prestigious Port Huron to Mackinac Boat Race aboard his 52-foot (16 m) sailboat Lightning. He subsequently sold the boat. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 2004. Fellow Detroiter Kid Rock gave the induction speech and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm proclaimed that date Bob Seger Day in his honor. In 2005, Seger was featured singing with 3 Doors Down on the song “Landing in London” from their Seventeen Days album.

Seger’s first new album in eleven years, titled Face the Promise, was released in 2006. In its first 45 days, it sold more than 400,000 copies. The album sold over 1.2 million copies, returning Seger to platinum status and staying on the Billboard chart for several months. His supporting tour was also eagerly anticipated, with many shows selling out within minutes. Showing that Seger’s legendary appeal in Michigan had not diminished, all 10,834 tickets available for his first show at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena sold out in under five minutes; three additional shows were subsequently added, each of which also sold out.

In 2009, Seger released a compilation album entitled Early Seger Vol. 1, which contained archival material from the 1970s and 1980s, including some fully or partially re-recorded tracks from his albums Smokin’ O.P.’s and Seven and some never-before-released songs. The album was initially only available for purchase at Meijer stores and then later for download at BobSeger.com. Seger contributed piano and vocals on Kid Rock’s 2010 album Born Free. Seger staged a successful arena tour during 2011, with another two-CD compilation album, Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets, slated for release.[25] On May 28, 2011, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder proclaimed that date as Bob Seger Day for his more than 50 years of sharing his celebrated musical talents with fans all over the world.

On December 30, 2011, before a sell-out crowd at the Mandalay Bay Resort Arena in Las Vegas, Seger closed another successful tour though it’s likely not to be his last. On October 30, 2011, he told AnnArbor.com director Bob Needham he was returning to the studio to complete another new album for release in the fall of 2012, followed by another supporting tour.

On June 14, 2012, Seger was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. On January 10, 2013, Seger announced another tour in the US and Canada.

Seger performed a duet of Who’ll Stop the Rain with John Fogerty on Fogerty’s album Wrote a Song For Everyone, released in 2013.

Seger’s latest studio album, Ride Out was released on October 14, 2014.

bob segarPersonal life

Seger’s first marriage in 1968 lasted for ‘one day short of a year’. He had a long term relationship with Jan Dinsdale from 1972 until 1983. In 1987, he married actress Annette Sinclair and they divorced one year later. He married Juanita Dorricott in 1993, and they have two children, Samantha Char and Christopher Cole. Seger lives mainly at his home in Orchard Lake Village, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.Bob Seger owns a condo in Naples, Florida.

Cat Stevens – “Wild World” – Live Performance!

Cat Stevens,

Yusuf Islam (born Steven Demetre Georgiou; 21 July 1948), commonly known by his former stage name Cat Stevens, is a British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, humanitarian, and education philanthropist. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.

Stevens’ albums Tea for the Tillerman (1970) and Teaser and the Firecat (1971) were both certified triple platinum in the United States by the RIAA. His 1972 album Catch Bull at Four spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard 200, and fifteen weeks at number one in the Australian ARIA Charts. He also earned two ASCAP songwriting awards in consecutive years for “The First Cut Is the Deepest“; the song has been a hit single for four different artists. Some of his other hit songs are “Father and Son“, “Wild World“, “Peace Train“, “Moonshadow“, and “Morning Has Broken“.

In December 1977, Stevens converted to Islam and adopted the name Yusuf Islam the following year. In 1979, he auctioned all his guitars for charity and left his music career to devote himself to educational and philanthropic causes in the Muslim community. He has received several awards for his work in promoting peace in the world, including the 2003 World Award, the 2004 Man of Peace Award, the 2007 Mediterranean Prize for Peace, and two honorary doctorate degrees for services to education and humanitarian relief from universities in the United Kingdom. Known professionally by the single name Yusuf, in 2006 he returned to pop music with his first album of new pop songs in 28 years, titled An Other Cup. In 2009, he released the album Roadsinger. In 2014, he released the album Tell ‘Em I’m Gone, and began his first US tour since 1978.

cat stevens

Steven Georgiou, born on 21 July 1948 in the Marylebone area of London, was the third child of a Greek Cypriot father, Stavros Georgiou (b. 1900), and a Swedish mother, Ingrid Wickman (b. 1915). Steven had an older sister, Anita, and a brother, David. The family lived above the Moulin Rouge, a restaurant that his parents operated on the north end of Shaftesbury Avenue which was a short walk from Piccadilly Circus in the Soho theatre district of London. All family members worked in the restaurant. His parents divorced when he was about eight years old, but they continued to maintain the family restaurant and live above it.

Although his father was Greek Orthodox and his mother a Swedish Baptist, Georgiou was sent to St. Joseph Roman Catholic Primary School, Macklin Street, which was closer to his father’s business on Drury Lane. Georgiou developed an interest in piano at a fairly young age, eventually using the family baby grand piano to work out the chords, since no one else there played well enough to teach him. Inspired by the popularity of The Beatles, at 15 he extended his interest to the guitar, persuaded his father to pay £8 for his first instrument, and began playing it and writing songs. He would escape at times from his family responsibilities to the rooftop above their home, and listen to the tunes of the musicals drifting from just around the corner from Denmark Street, which was then the centre of the British music industry. Later, Stevens has emphasised that the advent of West Side Story in particular affected him, giving him a “different view of life”. With interests in both art and music, he and his mother moved to Gävle, Sweden, where he attended primary school (Solängsskolan) and started developing his drawing skills after being influenced by his uncle Hugo Wickman, a painter. They subsequently returned to England.

He attended other local West End schools, where he says he was constantly in trouble, and did poorly in everything but art. He was called “the artist boy” and mentions that “I was beat up, but I was noticed”. He went on to take a one-year course of study at Hammersmith School of Art,] as he considered a career as a cartoonist. Though he enjoyed art (his later record albums would feature his original artwork on his album covers), he wanted to establish a musical career and began to perform originally under the stage name “Steve Adams” in 1965 while at Hammersmith. At that point, his goal was to become a songwriter. As well as The Beatles, other musicians who influenced him were The Kinks,[27] Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, blues artists Lead Belly and Muddy Waters, Biff Rose (particularly Rose’s first album), Leo Kottke,[24] and Paul Simon.[29] He also wanted to emulate composers who wrote musicals, like Ira Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein. In 1965 he signed a publishing deal with Ardmore & Beechwood and recorded several demos, including “The First Cut Is the Deepest“.

Musical career (1966–1970)

Early musical career

Georgiou began to perform his songs in London coffee houses and pubs. At first he tried forming a band, but soon realised he preferred performing solo. Thinking that his given name might not be memorable to prospective fans, he chose a stage name Cat Stevens, in part because a girlfriend said he had eyes like a cat, but mainly because he said, “I couldn’t imagine anyone going to the record store and asking for ‘that Steven Demetre Georgiou album’. And in England, and I was sure in America, they loved animals.” In 1966, at age 18, he impressed manager/producer Mike Hurst, formerly of British vocal group The Springfields, with his songs and Hurst arranged for him to record a demo and then helped him get a record deal. The first singles were hits. “I Love My Dog“, charting on the UK Singles Chart at number 28, and “Matthew and Son“, the title song from his debut album, went to number 2 in the UK. “I’m Gonna Get Me a Gun” was his second UK top 10, reaching number 6, and the album Matthew and Son reached number 7 on the UK Albums Chart. The original version of The Tremeloes cover hit, “Here Comes My Baby“, was written and recorded by Stevens.

cat stevens

Over the next two years, Stevens recorded and toured with an eclectic group of artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Engelbert Humperdinck. Stevens was considered a fresh-faced teen star, placing several single releases in the British pop music charts. Some of that success was attributed to the pirate radio station Wonderful Radio London, which gained him fans by playing his records. In August 1967, he went on the air with other recording artists who had benefited from the station to mourn its closure.

His December 1967 album New Masters failed to chart in the United Kingdom. The album is now most notable for his song “The First Cut Is the Deepest“, a song he sold for £30 to P. P. Arnold that was to become a massive hit for her, and an international hit for Keith Hampshire, Rod Stewart, James Morrison, and Sheryl Crow. Forty years after he recorded the first demo of the song, it earned him two back-to-back ASCAP “Songwriter of the Year” awards, in 2005 and 2006.

Tuberculosis

Stevens contracted tuberculosis in 1969 and was close to death at the time of his admittance to the King Edward VII Hospital, Midhurst, West Sussex. He spent months recuperating in the hospital and a year of convalescence. During this time Stevens began to question aspects of his life and spirituality. He later said, “to go from the show business environment and find you are in hospital, getting injections day in and day out, and people around you are dying, it certainly changes your perspective. I got down to thinking about myself. It seemed almost as if I had my eyes shut.”

He took up meditation, yoga, and metaphysics; read about other religions; and became a vegetarian. As a result of his serious illness and long convalescence, and as a part of his spiritual awakening and questioning, he wrote as many as forty songs, many of which would appear on his albums in years to come.

Changes in musical sound after illness

The lack of success of Stevens’ second album mirrored a difference of personal tastes in musical direction, and a growing resentment at producer Mike Hurst’s attempts to re-create another album like that of his debut, with heavy-handed orchestration, and over-production,rather than the folk rock sound Stevens was attempting to produce. He admits having purposefully sabotaged his own contract with Hurst, making outlandishly expensive orchestral demands and threatening legal action, which resulted in his goal: release from his contract with Deram Records, a sub-label of major Decca Records. Upon regaining his health at home after his release from the hospital, Stevens recorded some of his newly written songs on his tape recorder, and played his changing sound for a few new record executives. After hiring agent Barry Krost, who had arranged for an audition with Chris Blackwell of Island Records, Blackwell offered him a “chance to record [his songs] whenever and with whomever he liked, and more importantly to Cat, however he liked”. With Krost’s recommendation, Stevens signed with Paul Samwell-Smith, previously the bassist of The Yardbirds, to be his new producer.

cat stevens

Musical career (1970–1978)

Height of popularity

Around this time, Stevens had a catalogue of new songs that reflected his new perspective on what he wanted to bring to the world with his music. His previous work had sold at home in the UK, but Stevens was still relatively unknown by the public across the Atlantic. To rectify this, after signing with Island Records in 1970, an American distribution deal was arranged with A&M RecordsJerry Moss in North America. Stevens began work on Mona Bone Jakon, a folk rock based album.

Producer Paul Samwell-Smith paired Stevens with guitarist Alun Davies, who was at that time working as a session musician. Davies was the more experienced veteran of two albums which already had begun to explore the emerging genres of skiffle and folk rock music. Davies was also thought a perfect fit with Stevens in particular for his “fingerwork” on the guitar, harmonising and his backing vocals. They originally met just to record Mona Bone Jakon, but developed a fast friendship. Davies, like Stevens, was a perfectionist, appearing at all sound checks to be sure that all the equipment and sound were prepared for each concert. He collaborated with Stevens on all but two of the succeeding albums Stevens released, and performed and recorded with him until Stevens’ retirement. Their friendship continued, however, and when Stevens re-emerged as Yusuf Islam after 27 years, Davies appeared again performing at his side, and has remained there.

The first single released from Mona Bone Jakon was “Lady D’Arbanville“, which Stevens wrote about his young American girlfriend Patti D’Arbanville. The record, with a madrigal sound unlike most music played on pop radio, with sounds of djembes and bass in addition to Stevens’ and Davies’ guitars, reached number 8 in the UK. It was the first of his hits to get real airplay in the US. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold record in 1971. Other songs written for D’Arbanville included “Maybe You’re Right”, and “Just Another Night”. In addition, the song “Pop Star”, about his experience as a teen star, and “Katmandu”, featuring Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel playing flute, were featured. Mona Bone Jakon was an early example of the solo singer-songwriter album format that was becoming popular for other artists as well. Rolling Stone magazine compared its popularity with that of Elton John‘s Tumbleweed Connection, saying it was played “across the board, across radio formats”.

Mona Bone Jakon was the precursor for Stevens’ international breakthrough album, Tea for the Tillerman, which became a Top 10 Billboard hit. Within six months of its release, it had sold over 500,000 copies, attaining gold record status in the United Kingdom and the United States. The combination of Stevens’ new folk rock style and accessible lyrics which spoke of everyday situations and problems, mixed with the beginning of spiritual questions about life, would remain in his music from then on. The album features the Top 20 single “Wild World“; a parting song after D’Arbanville moved on. “Wild World” has been credited as the song that gave Tea for the Tillerman ‘enough kick’ to get it played on FM radio; and the head of Island Records, Chris Blackwell, was quoted as calling it “the best album we’ve ever released”. Other album tracks include “Hard-Headed Woman”, and “Father and Son“, a song sung both in baritone and tenor, about the struggle between fathers and their sons who are faced with their own personal choices in life. In 2001, this album was certified by the RIAA as a Multi-Platinum record, having sold 3 million copies in the United States at that time. It is ranked at No. 206 in the 2003 list of “Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time“.

 

After the end of his relationship with D’Arbanville, Stevens noted the effect it had on writing his music, saying, “Everything I wrote while I was away was in a transitional period and reflects that. Like Patti. A year ago we split; I had been with her for two years. What I write about Patti and my family … when I sing the songs now, I learn strange things. I learn the meanings of my songs late …”

Having established a signature sound, Stevens enjoyed a string of successes over the following years. 1971’s Teaser and the Firecat album reached number two and achieved gold record status within three weeks of its release in the United States. It yielded several hits, including “Peace Train“, “Morning Has Broken“, and “Moonshadow“. This album was also certified by the RIAA as a Multi-Platinum record in 2001, with over three million sold in the United States through that time. When interviewed on a Boston radio station, Stevens said about Teaser and the Firecat:

I get the tune and then I just keep on singing the tune until the words come out from the tune. It’s kind of a hypnotic state that you reach after a while when you keep on playing it where words just evolve from it. So you take those words and just let them go whichever way they want …’Moonshadow’? Funny, that was in Spain, I went there alone, completely alone, to get away from a few things. And I was dancin’ on the rocks there … right on the rocks where the waves were, like, blowin’ and splashin’. Really, it was so fantastic. And the moon was bright, ya know, and I started dancin’ and singin’ and I sang that song and it stayed. It’s just the kind of moment that you want to find when you’re writin’ songs.

For seven months from 1971 to 1972 Stevens was romantically linked to popular singer Carly Simon while both were produced by Samwell-Smith. During that time both wrote songs for and about one another. Simon wrote and recorded at least two Top 50 songs, “Legend in Your Own Time” and “Anticipation” about Stevens. He reciprocated in his song to her, after their romance, titled, “Sweet Scarlet”.

His next album, Catch Bull at Four, released in 1972, was his most rapidly successful album in the United States, reaching gold record status in 15 days, and holding the number-one position on the Billboard charts for three weeks. This album continued the introspective and spiritual lyrics that he was known for, combined with a rougher-edged voice and a less acoustic sound than his previous records, using synthesisers and other instruments. Although the sales of the album indicated Stevens’ popularity, the album did not produce any real hits, with the exception of the single “Sitting”, which charted at number 16. Catch Bull at Four was Platinum certified in 2001.

Movie soundtracks

In July 1970, Stevens recorded one of his songs, “But I Might Die Tonight”, for the Jerzy Skolimowski film Deep End. In 1971, Stevens provided nine songs to the soundtrack of the black comedy Harold and Maude which became a popular cult film celebrating the free spirit, and brought Stevens’ music to a wider audience, continuing to do so long after he stopped recording in the late 1970s. Among the songs were “Where Do the Children Play?“, “Trouble“, and “I Think I See the Light”. Two of the songs, “Don’t Be Shy” and “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out“, were not released on any album until their inclusion in 1984 on a second “greatest hits” collection: Footsteps in the Dark: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2.

After his religious conversion in the late 1970s, Stevens stopped granting permission for his songs to be used in films. However, almost twenty years later, in 1997, the movie Rushmore received his permission to use his songs “Here Comes My Baby” and “The Wind”, showing a new willingness on his part to release his music from his Western “pop star” days. This was followed in 2000 by the inclusion of “Peace Train” in the movie Remember the Titans, in 2000 by the use in Almost Famous of the song “The Wind”, and in 2006 the inclusion of “Peace Train” on the soundtrack to We Are Marshall. Since then, permission has been given for Cat Stevens songs to be used in the soundtracks for several movies and tv shows, including the song “Tea for The Tillerman” used as the theme tune for the Ricky Gervais BBCHBO sitcom Extras. A Christmas-season television commercial for gift-giving by the diamond industry aired in 2006 with Cat Power‘s cover of “How Can I Tell You.”

Later recordings

Subsequent releases in the 1970s also did well on the charts and in ongoing sales, although they did not touch the success he had from 1970 to 1973. In 1973, Stevens moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a tax exile from the United Kingdom, however, he later donated the money to UNESCO. During that time he created the album Foreigner, which was a departure from the music that had brought him to the height of his fame. It was differed in several respects: entirely written by Stevens, he dropped his band and produced the record without the assistance of Samwell-Smith, who had played a large role in catapulting him to fame, and instead of guitar, he played keyboard instruments throughout the album. It was intended to show a funk/soul element rising in popularity that Stevens had come to appreciate. One side of Foreigner was continuous, much different from the radio-friendly pop tunes fans had come to expect. In November 1973 he performed side two of the album at the Aquarius Theater in Hollywood, with a pre-arranged uninterrupted quadraphonic simulcast on the ABC network. The show was titled the “Moon and Star” concert. This performance did include his band, but they were all but overshadowed by an orchestra. The album produced a couple of singles including “The Hurt”, but did not reach the heights he had once enjoyed. The follow-up to Foreigner was Buddha and the Chocolate Box, largely a return to the instrumentation and styles employed in Teaser and the Firecat and Tea for the Tillerman. Featuring the return of Alun Davies and best known for “Oh Very Young“, Buddha and the Chocolate Box reached platinum status in 2001. Stevens’ next album was the concept album Numbers, a less successful departure for him.

In April 1977, his Izitso album updated his pop rock and folk rock style with the extensive use of synthesisers, giving it a more synthpop style.”Was Dog a Doughnut” in particular was an early techno-pop fusion track and a precursor to the 1980s electro music genre, making early use of a music sequencer. Izitso included his last chart hit, “(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard”, an early synthpop song that used a polyphonic synthesiser; it was a duet with fellow UK singer Elkie Brooks. Linda Lewis appears in the song’s video, with Cat Stevens singing to her, as they portray former schoolmates, singing to each other on a schoolyard merry-go-round. This is one of the few music videos that Stevens made, other than simple videos of concert performances.

cat stevens

His final original album under the name Cat Stevens was Back to Earth, released in late 1978, which was also the first album produced by Samwell-Smith since his peak in single album sales in the early 1970s.

Several compilation albums were released before and after he stopped recording. After Stevens left Decca Records they bundled his first two albums together as a set, hoping to ride the commercial tide of his early success; later his newer labels did the same, and he himself released compilations. The most successful of the compilation albums was the 1975 Greatest Hits which has sold over 4 million copies in the United States. In May 2003 he received his first Platinum Europe Award from the IFPI for Remember Cat Stevens, The Ultimate Collection, indicating over one million European sales.

 

 

Orianthi Panagaris – Vodoo child

Orianthi Panagaris

(born 22 January 1985),

known professionally as Orianthi, is an Australian singer-songwriter and guitarist. She has played with Michael Jackson as part of his ill-fated This Is It concert series, and in Alice Cooper’s touring band.

Her debut single “According to You” peaked at No. 3 in Japan, No. 8 in Australia and No. 17 in the US; her second album, Believe, received a worldwide release in late 2009. In 2009, Orianthi was named one of the 12 Greatest Female Electric Guitarists by Elle magazine. She also won the award as “Breakthrough Guitarist of the Year” 2010 by Guitar International magazine.
Orianthi Panagaris was born in Adelaide, South Australia, and is of Greek and Australian descent. Orianthi first started learning piano and playing at the age of three and moving to acoustic guitar at the age of six. She learned to play the acoustic guitar at six at the encouragement of her father, started electric when she was eleven and left her school, Mercedes College, enrolling at Cabra Dominican College, she also attended St Peter’s Collegiate Girls’ School for a short period. At the age of 15, she turned her focus to writing songs and so began her professional career.[5] She has been playing in bands since the age of 14 and performed in her first stage show for Steve Vai at the age of 15. Orianthi met and jammed with Carlos Santana when she was 18.[6] He invited Orianthi to get up and jam with him at soundcheck then later asked if she would join him on stage that night to jam at his Adelaide concert, Memorial Drive on 30 March 2003.

Orianthi independently released her debut studio album, Violet Journey in 2005, composing all the material, contributing guitar, vocals and drums on most cuts. She produced and mixed the final product at her home studio. Carlos Santana brought Orianthi to Paul Reed Smith’s attention which led to her endorsement. Orianthi relocated to Los Angeles, signed with Geffen Records in late 2006 and struck a management deal with 19 Entertainment.

Orianthi has made a commercial for Panasonic HD, featured in the song “Now or Never” for Bratz: The Movie, played at the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival, appeared in The New York Times business section promoting eco-friendly acoustic guitars, and opened for Steve Vai in the US.
Breakthrough

Orianthi appeared at the 51st annual Grammy Awards as Carrie Underwood’s lead guitarist, with Underwood inviting Orianthi to become a member of her band. Following that performance in addition to recommendations from industry professionals Michael Jackson’s management reached out to Orianthi for an audition for This Is It. Orianthi was hence Michael Jackson’s lead guitarist and was present on all rehearsals for his This Is It concerts before his death. In regard to being handpicked by Jackson, she stated:

I don’t know exactly why he picked me, but he watched my YouTube videos and loved them. He had his choice of guitar players, but I came in and played the ‘Beat It’ solo for him. Afterward he was so happy he got up and grabbed my arm and started walking up and down the stage area with me. He said, ‘Can you play once for me?’ and hired me that night. I wish he was still around. He made me believe in myself more, and I learned so much. Going into it, I thought it would be all about playing guitar solos. But the majority of it was playing chords and funky rhythms.

She played and sang at Jackson’s memorial, globally televised live on 7 July 2009. She appears in the film Michael Jackson’s This Is It, which chronicles the rehearsals for the tour and shows her and Michael on stage. She presented an award at the 2009 American Music Awards, which Jackson won posthumously. Orianthi also appears on “We Are the World 25 for Haiti” – with the original co-written and partly performed by Jackson. She plays guitar on the song “Monster” by Michael Jackson featuring 50 Cent which was released on Michael on 14 December 2010.

orianthi
Solo career/collaborations

Orianthi started working on her major label debut Believe in 2007 which was released in October 2009. The album produced the worldwide hit “According to You”, which was the Single of the Week on iTunes on 27 October 2009, reached number 2 on US radio airplay and charted to number eight in Australia, three in Japan, and achieved platinum status in the US and Australia. The charismatic rock instrumental Highly Strung featuring Steve Vai became a popular YouTube video with millions of views and climbing, and her song Suffocated was featured on Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock as a playable song. Orianthi followed up with a four song EP including two singles “Shut Up and Kiss Me” and “Courage”.
A.R.Rahman with Orianthi during the recording of Sadda Haq

Orianthi appeared on several late night shows most notably on American Idol results show 26 March 2010. In 2010 she toured extensively with headlining shows in the US, Japan, Australia and Malaysia. She also opened for other artists including: John Mayer,Mika, Kid Rock, Daughtry and over 30 dates for Adam Lambert’s Glam Nation Tour with former Idol contestant Allison Iraheta. Orianthi performed at various music festivals and charity functions most notably at the Stand Up to Cancer telethon.

Orianthi has been very prolific in collaborating and being featured by many artists. She is featured on Iraheta’s third single “Don’t Waste The Pretty”[16] and on Fefe Dobson’s song “Can’t Breathe”[17] which appears on Dobson’s album Joy released in November 2010. She has stated that the people she has collaborated with (i.e. Allison Iraheta and Lacey Mosley) are some of her best friends.

She recorded for the song Saadda Haq composed by Academy award winning composer A.R.Rahman for a Bollywood film soundtrack Rockstar. The song became very popular and lot of media coverage in India came for Orianthi, being cited for her time as Michael Jackson’s lead guitarist.

On 12 October 2011, the 5 track EP Fire, produced by Dave Stewart was released as an iTunes download.

Her third studio album, Heaven in This Hell, was released on 12 March 2013.
Touring guitarist
Orianthi performing live with Alice Cooper in London in October 2012

On 29 August 2011, Orianthi was announced as Alice Cooper’s new guitarist. She replaces Damon Johnson, who is now a member of Thin Lizzy. She is the first female member of the Alice Cooper band. Orianthi has done two world tours with Alice Cooper, but resigned in June 2014 to be replaced by Nita Strauss.

Orianthi has appeared as a guitarist for other stars including shows with Michael Bolton, Dave Stewart and James Durbin. She also appeared on the Top 7 week season 12 of American Idol on April 3, 2013 to play guitar for each of the performances. One month later Orianthi performed Fine China with Chris Brown at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, and on December 8th of that same year she paid tribute to Carlos Santana, performing in the Kennedy Center Honors Gala.