In the spotlight this week, a Canadian singer-songwriter who has often been described as the female Bob Dylan… A woman who was part of the folk scene of the 1970s and became a superstar… then fell from fan favor with albums of highly creative but largely un-accessible musical experimentation. Her name… Joni Mitchell.
This time the story of two brothers, Leonard and Phil Chess… founders of the legendary American Record Label, Chess Records Two guys who got into the music business as a sideline in the 1940s and managed to became major forces behind one of the greatest sea changes in popular music in the twentieth century.
Two men who, strangely, played no instruments and sang no songs. A couple of guys who could neither write a note of music nor pen a lyric for a verse or chorus… but who, despite that, became immensely important in the history of popular music.
Leonard and Phil Chess. The driving forces behind the rhythm and blues labels that introduced Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolff, Etta James, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and dozens of other ground breaking acts to the world. You know their music. And if you don’t you have felt their influence.
In the spotlight this time… a New York City boy, who is one of the most successful recording artists in U.S history, not to mention more than 150 million album sales world-wide. He’s delivered top ten hits in each decade of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s… all the while defying attempts to pigeon hole his music.
He is a rocker and a balladeer. He is responsible for some of the greatest pure rock and roll tunes of the 70’s…. but is also known for his romantic ballads… an ability perhaps fuelled by the fact that he has been partners to some of the most beautiful women of our time. He is the original Piano Man… His name is Billy Joel.
In the spotlight this time… A Grammy award winning Northern Irish singer, song-writer, author, poet and multi-instrumentalist who has been entertaining fans all over the world for the better part of five decades. Sometimes Van Morrison is type cast as musician inspired only by the conventions of American Rhythm and Blues. Sometimes though he takes his listeners on musical journeys inspired by the Celtic traditions of his home. That’s why he has come to embody a style of music known mostly as Celtic Soul.