Saturday, December 30, 2017

How many rock stars have been knighted? (Updated June 2018)

The first rock stars to be honored by the Queen

In the past year,   Ray Davies (CBE)  was knighted for service to music, Victoria Beckham (more for her fashion and charity work),  Ed Sheeran and  Marty Wilde received lesser honors. Just a few days ago it was announced that Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) and Barry Gibb will be knighted.

It's been 52 years since the Beatles became the first rock stars to  receive royal honors,   So how many British  rock stars have actually been knighted.? Ten rock stars can rightfully be called Sir. Included among the 'Sir's'  are  Sir Paul McCartney , Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Tom Jones   Sir Elton John , Sir Rod Stewart,  Sir George Ivan Morrison (Van Morrison) , Sir Ray Davies Sir Richard Starkey and now Sir Barry Gibb.  Being knighted  is  the highest honor, but many people  (most years as many as a 1000 people ) receive lesser honors each year, so  a good number of famous rock and pop  stars now have been honored by the realm.  

Prince Charles knights Barry Gibb (AP)

As we stated above, the Beatles were given the lesser honor of MBE's in 1965, but   John Lennon and George  Harrison had the misfortune of dying before anybody could get round to knighting them. Lennon famously gave back his MBE in 1969 with a note saying  “Your majesty, I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against, "Cold Turkey" slipping down the charts. With love, John Lennon.”

Recently, it was revealed that before he died, George Harrison was offered a promotion from MBE to CBE, but declined because,he would have preferred a knighthood (perhaps so he could be on par with Paul McCartney)  Oddly enough, Sir George Martin, the Beatles producer was actually knighted putting him above  George, John and  Ringo was only this year promoted to knighthood.. Perhaps being only the " fifth Beatle"  is not such a bad thing.
Jimmy Page was given a OBE for helping Brazilian children

Back to our story....
There is a Sir Mick Jagger,   but no Sir Keith Richards. None of the other Rolling Stones have received any honors at all. Keith made fun of Jagger for accepting the knighthood.
What about Bono and Bob Geldof who are sometimes called "Sir". These men are   Irishman have received honorary  knighthoods for their charity work. Bono was given his honor in 2007. 

Bob Geldof  received his honor back in 1986. Geldof is entitled to use the post-nominal letters "KBE" but, as he is not a citizen of a Commonwealth realm, he is precluded from using the title "Sir". Regardless, the nickname "Sir Bob" has stuck and media reports continue to refer to him as "Sir Bob Geldof".

Many   of the other notable figures of the British rock scene have  been given lesser honors. then Sir  CBE's , LVO's , MBE's etc, but these folks were not given the honorific of "Sir". You don't have to be a Sir to be are whole slew of lesser honors that the British government can bestow that allow you to put initials after name, but no Sir or Dame before it.  

Among those receiving lesser honors are:

Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Dave Gilmour, (but not Roger Walters) , Brian May (but not the rest of Queen ) , Roger Daltrey (but not Pete Townshend) , Eric Clapton (CBE), the late  Robin and Maurice Gibb, Albert Hammond, Peter Asher, Gerry Marsden,  Joan Armatrading, Annie Lennox, Mark Knopfler ,Graham Nash (OBE) , Rod Stewart, Phil Collins (who is a LVO), Adele,  Kate  Bush (CBE) , and Gordon "Sting"  Sumner, Damon Albarn of Blur (OBE), Tim and Neil Finn,  Jools Holland of Squeeze (OBE) -though Jools  is more famous for his TV work. Folk rock legends  Ashley Hutchings(MBE)  and Richard Thompson of Fairport Convention,  Maddy Prior MBE , Martin Carthy MBE,  and Shirley Collins MBE.

David Bowie actually declined honors, as have Paul Weller, and Hank Marvin of the Shadows. 

Who else hasn't been given honours?  Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Beck, Elvis Costello, Robbie Williams, , Keith Richard,  Peter Gabriel, Pete Townshend,   Charlie Watts, Steve Winwood, Roger Waters, Peter Noone (of Herman's Hermits) and John Paul Jones are among the most noted  rich stars who haven't been honored for services to the realm. As far as I know, no British punk star or new waver  has been honored. Also no American rock performers have received honors since they are   are not eligible for British honours.

Among the dead rock  British rock stars who were never given honors are George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Brian Jones, Keith Moon, Nick Drake, John Entwistle,  John Bonham, and Sandy Denny.

What about Popular Music and Musical theater types?
Lionel Bart,  Cameron McIntosh, Andrew Lloyd Webber (he's a Lord!)  and Tim Rice have been knighted. You can call them "Sir". Elaine Paige has been honored as well.

There have been no female  British " rock" stars who have been made Dames (the highest form of title for British females.) Perhaps that's because there have been  very few British female rock stars. The late Dusty Springfield was given a OBE, and as we noted above Joan Armatrading, Kate Bush, and Annie Lennox  and   Adele have been given lesser honors than a Dame-ship. In 2017, Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham was given a OBE!

Pop singers Shirley Bassey ! and Julie Andrews were made Dames, Olivia Newton John was made a CBE.

What about other countries honors?
Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Anka, and Joni Mitchell have received the Order of Canada.
Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder are among the many people who awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Reggae stars Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff have received the Jamaican order of merit.

Why are rock stars given honors?    Many  reasons  are given, certainly it's true that groups like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles all have done wonders for the British economy,  Many  of the people knighted have been artistically important.  Doing charity work helps too, but clearly being a wonderful person is not a requirement , or Mick Jagger would not have been knighted. Also surprisingly, being a tax exile seems to have not  kept stars from being honored.

Also at Felpin's Pond
Can you write hit song after age 50?

Monday, July 3, 2017

The ABBA Review Guide

My new ABBA book is out now at Createspace.  It's a 390 page B&W tome!
It's a fact filled, fun filled journey into the world of ABBA. Just a warning this is not a ABBA picture book. The book only features about twenty illustrations all of which are in black and white-so no fun there. What the book does feature is reviews and information on almost every ABBA related recording, movie, book, video or theater piece ever released.

 For more info see the createspace page for it...
ABBA Review Guide

ABBA Review Guide at Amazon

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The covers of First Aid Kit featuring Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (Cover)

The  Swedish sister vocal duo, First Aid Kit has made quite a  reputation from performing covers as well as original self written numbers.  Below you will find  list of the covers that they have done. At least seven  songs,"Tiger Mountain Peasant Song", "Walk Unafraid", "Universal Soldier", "America", "Gloomy Sunday" and "When I Grow Up' have been formally released by the group as recordings but most of the songs have not. Among their most praised performances are their  three appearances at Polar Music Prize ceremonies  performing songs written by Emmylou Harris, Paul Simon and Patti Smith.

It is quite rare to hear vocal harmony today-especially by singers who match so well together..  The other refreshing  aspect of this act is their willingness to perform acoustically pretty much  alone, and live.  More than once I  have been blown away by their songs-and performances and  I can tell you that a rare thing nowadays. The video above is their breakthrough video performing a song by Fleet Foxes, it was filmed in 2008.

America (Simon and Garfunkel)
Blue Christmas (Elvis)
Blues Run the Game(Jackson Frank)
Chandelier (Sia) 
Chelsea Hotel no 2 (Leonard Cohen)
Chiquitita (ABBA cover)
Colorado Girl
Complainte pour Ste. Catherine (McGarrigles)
Crazy On You (Heart)
Dancing Barefoot  (Patti Smith cover)
Devil in Disguise
Diamonds and Rust (Joan Baez Cover)
Enter the Ninja
Gloomy Sunday (Billie Holiday)
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
Harvest (Neil Young)
Heart Like a Wheel (McGarrigle’s)
I Met Up with the King
If It Be Your Will (Leonard Cohen)
It Ain't Me Babe (Bob Dylan Cover)
It Hurts Me Too
Kathy's Song (Paul Simon Cover) -
Love Interruption (Jack White)
On The Road Again -

One More Cup Of Coffee (Bob Dylan)
Perfect Places (Lorde)
Play With Fire (Rolling Stones)
Red dirt girl (Emmylou Harris)
Seven Nation Army
Side of the road
Simple Man (Graham Nash)
Song for Zula
Stand by your man
Still Feeling Blue
Subterranean Homesick Blues
Talk to Me Of Mendocino
The Gambler (Don Schlitz/Kenny Rogers cover)
The Partisan  
The Swallow  Song
Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran cover)
This Land is Your Land
Those memories of you
Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (Fleet Foxes)
Universal Soldier (Buffy-Sainte Marie)
Visa vid midsommartid
Waiter at the Station (Willy Mason)
Waiting Around to Die (Townes Van Zandt) 
Walk the line (J. Cash)
Walk Unafraid
War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)
Waterloo Sunset (The Kinks cover)
Went to War (Amason cover)
We're Going To Be Friends
What's The Point
When I Grow Up (Fever Ray)
Who By Fire (Leonard Cohen)
Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone? Carter family
With God on Our Side (Bob Dylan)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A short history of the American guitarist, Jen Turner (updated)

Jen Turner playing  bass at the Coachella Festival.
She appears to have come out of New Jersey. She was born about 1971, Her first instrument was the piano, but at some point she was also a ardent drummer playing in drum circles.  As a teenager, she hitched around the country for four months to learn to play guitar. 

Jen Turner performing at the Meadowlands in 1995 with Natalie Merchant.

Somehow in early twenties, she  ended up being picked to play lead guitar on Natalie Merchant’s debut solo album, Tigerlily. That is where her  biggest  commercial success occurs with her playing some just  amazing guitar on the album's  songs, most notably on "Carnival" and "Wonder".   Turner  was so good that she was almost upstaging  Merchant. After two years she ended up leaving the Merchant backing band and formed her own group, Furslide  in 1997.

Furslide, which she fronted as lead singer and guitarist  also  included  Jason Lader and Adam MacDougall. They  released their debut album titled Adventure in fall 1998 and played a few shows subsequently in the US, the UK and all across Europe (for example opening for Lenny Kravitz on October 8, 1998 in Detroit, they also where the support act for Kula Shaker, Alanis Morissette and Ben Folds). In 1999 they dissolved, not having been commercially successful. 

In 2001 and 2002 she made two excellent albums as lead singer with a new group, called Inner, the  group also included Erica Quitzow, Samuel Omeechevaria and Fabien Waltmann. These two records  were released on her own independent record label, Caboose Music.

Inner's first release was  an EP called Dog Demos in 2001.The demos  were supposedly all recorded in one take.  They released a full length album,  Lovetheonlyway in 2002. This may be her best work up to now-vocally she sounds like Jane Siberry here. The songs here   are  very introspective, raw, confessional and original sounding. What struck me is how the  lyrics kept going in unexpected places. 

Jen Turner  appears to have kept  a lower profile for a few years in the middle 2000’s. Since 2007 she has mostly worked in bands where she is not the front person. Perhaps, an understandable approach since she is a better instrumentalist than vocalist, but a little more frustrating for those trying to pick her "musical voice" out of the competing voices of the band she is working in. She  worked on two albums playing guitar  with Joseph Arthur and the Lonely Astronauts.  Those albums are called Let’s Just Be (2007) and Temporary People (2008).


In 2009 she was  documented doing  some live work in the style of Inner at a gig at the Living Room in New York City.

Around 2009 or 2010  she joined Here We Go Magic and was with them for their second and third albums. This was her blond period.  With this group she played bass and keyboards. She   produced their 2010 album, Pigeons (released June 2010) and was also with for them for  their album,   Different Ship in 2012.   She left that band abruptly in a airport in a misunderstanding over sausages.

In 2012  she engineered (and played drums on!) the album,  In Limbo, by the group Teen. I can't think of too many people who went from guitar to bass/keyboards to engineer/drums over the space of a few albums. Yes, multi-instumentalists have done all these at once on albums, but to go from specific role to another role-that's unusual.

       For a time  in  the 2010's  she  worked in a side project  called Thrillionaire which features another female singer, Henrietta Tiefenthaler, they sing lush psychedelic melodies over German Krautrock beats. She also did  some concerts recently as part of a group called Alamar. 

In 2013/she was  in a duo  called  Exclamation Pony with  Brit Ryan Jarman (who’s regular band is the Cribs) in  late 2013,they released a single   called "Pseudo Individual".

In 2015,she joined up with the group High Desert Fires. Bun-headed Chris Traynor fronts the band, sings and plays guitar. Jen  plays  guitar and sings. Gabriella Da Silva  sings, Taylor McLam plays drums and  sings, Drew Broadrick plays piano and sings,   Sibyl Buck plays the bass and sings and  Naren Rauch is a multi instrumentalist.  Jen worked with Sibyl Buck before in the Lonely Astronauts. Chris Traynor is similar to Jen in that he has a long experience in various bands (most notably Bush), and plays more than one instrument.

 Jen makes a short appearance in a new documentary about the Tigerlily album that was released as part of a new Natalie Merchant release called, Paradise Is There. See link below

Recently, she  produced a new album by NYC trio, American Anyman.

What little I have read about  Jen Turner as a person suggests that she is a humble and kind person with a free spirit.  Her  music career has been a unique mix of  continuing reinvention and great mystery.

 There are rumors that Jen  is working on solo material-here's hoping!

 Chest Rockwell's video upload of "Carnival"-

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Romina Power -A short bio in English!

I first saw Romina Power  in some trashy movie, and was enchanted with her
youthful good looks.  It turns out she is daughter of  the late American
actor, Tyrone Power.  Her mother was anMexico actress. Although Romina
has lived throughout the world, most of her singing and acting career
has been conducted in Italian. Usually she sings with Al Bano,who was for
long time was her husband.  He was also  father to her children. He's
the better singer, but she looks more dazzling.   I'm intrigued that I
have never heard of her.   In her spare time she writes novels.

This  is is her in the movie, Justine