Artist Spotlight: Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers

Introduction

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers are a rock band hailing from Gainesville, FL. Petty played in a variety of different bands when he was younger, including the Sundowners, the Epics, and Mudcrutch. Mudcrutch consisted of Petty and future Heartbreakers’ members Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench. After a failed album in 1975, Mudcrutch disbanded, and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers formed in December of the same year. The Heartbreakers’ self-titled first album was released in 1975.

Artist Spotlight Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

You’re Gonna Get It! And Legal Battle

The Heartbreakers released their second album, You’re Gonna Get It! (1978) not long after.  This album was the first of the band’s to go Gold, meaning it had sold 500,000 copies. In 1979, the label Shelter Records (which Petty’s group was signed to) was sold to MCA Records. Petty had no desire to be under the new label, and filed for bankruptcy as a counter-move.

The Heartbreakers released their third album, Damn The Torpedoes (1979) through MCA’s label Backstreet, after resolving their issues with the label.

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Rush

Introduction

Rush is Canadian rock band from Toronto, Ontario. They were formed in 1968. The band members are: Geddy Lee (Keyboardist, bassist, and lead vocals); Alex Lifeson (guitarist, backing vocals); and Neil Peart (drums, percussion, and lyricist).  The band is known for several things, including multi-layered songs and works that draw on illusions to fantasy, science-fiction, and philosophy. They have received seven Grammy nominations.

Artist Spotlight Rush

Discography

The prolific band boasts 20 albums, the first of which (Rush), was released in 1974. They are still active today, and released their most recent album, Clockwork Angels, in 2012. Rush is also featured on the album Songs for Tibet, a compilation featuring multiple celebrities supporting Tibetan independence from China and expressing support for current Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso.

Artist Spotlight: Prince

Introduction

Prince, born Prince Rogers Nelson, was an influential singer, instrumentalist, and record producer. Nelson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, though all four of his grandparents had roots in Louisiana. Prince took his stage name from that of his father, a musician who used the name Prince Rogers while performing.

The Symbol

In 1993, Prince began having issues with Warner Bros., the record label he was signed to. The feud was over the fact that Warner Bros. was not releasing Prince’s backlogged music quickly enough.

Artist Spotlight Prince
“The symbol” used by Prince to replace himself.

In rebellion, prince changed his name to the symbol below, which was said to be called “Love Symbol #2.” This symbol was a combination of the alchemy symbol for soapstone, along with the male and female signs. Prince also stipulated he would no longer perform for Warner Bros., but that the symbol would be performing for them, thus making logistical planning difficult.

Prince also became known as “The Artists formerly known as Prince” or simply “The Artist.”

 

Artist Spotlight: Breathe Carolina

Introduction

Breathe Carolina is an Electronic band from Denver, Colorado. Their members are Tommy Cooperman, David Schmitt, and Eric Armenta. They were formed in 2006, and are still active musically today. They have four albums as of this article’s writing.  The band was begun by Schmitt and another musician, Kyle Even. Both had been in other bands (for Schmitt, it was a band called As The Flood Waters Rose; for Even, it was Rivendale). After the breakup of those bands, the two came together to create Breathe Carolina.

Artist Spotlight Breathe Carolina

First Albums

Even and Schmitt went on to create a MySpace profile where they uploaded their music. Over 10,000 people played their songs in 2008. The odd-sounding name derives from a dream Schmitt had in which he calmed a woman named…Carolina. The group’s first EP, Gossip, was released in 2007 as an iTunes exclusive.

Artist Spotlight: The Animals

Introduction

The Animals are an English R&B and Blues band. They were formed in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, in the early 1960’s, but moved to London in 1964 after they became a big-name act. The Animals had 10 top twenty hits on the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard 100. They disbanded in the late 1960’s after undergoing several different member changes and poor management.

Reunions And Comebacks

The Animals’ original members (Eric Burdon, Chas Chandler, Hilton Valentine, and John Steel) reunited in 1968 for a benefit concert in Newcastle. They had a brief return to music in both 1975 and then again in 1983.  The Animals were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

Artist Spotlight The Animals

Artist Spotlight: Britney Spears

Introduction

Considered one of the most influential pop artists, Britney Jean Spears was born on December 2, 1981, in McComb, MO. She was a member of the Mickey Mouse Club along with other big names in 2000’s pop, including Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. Spears’ first album ….Baby One More Time was released on January 12, 1999. It reached platinum twice, as well as earning a spot on the Billboard Top 200.

Artist Spotlight Britney Spears

Controversy

In February 2006, pictures of Spears driving with one hand and holding her son Sean with the other drew fire from child advocacy groups. The same month, Spears stayed at a drug rehabilitation facility in Antigua, and shaved her head the following day. She was in and out of treatment facilities following that day.

 

Artist Spotlight: Madonna

Introduction

Possibly the most prolific artist in history, Madonna was born Madonna Louise Ciccone in Bay City, MI, in August 1958. She is often known as the “Queen of Pop”, as her music has influenced almost every female pop singer to some degree. She released her first album, Madonna, in 1983. However, it was re-released as Madonna: The First Album in 1985.

Artist Spotlight Madonna

Filmography

Madonna has also had a budding career as an actress, and starred in a variety of different films. She also sang the title theme for the James Bond movie “Die Another Day”, released in 2002.  She most recently starred in “Arthur and the Invisibles” (2006), a comedy/fantasy translated to English from French.

 

Artist Spotlight: Stevie Nicks

Introduction

You may not know her name, but you likely know Stevie Nicks’ voice. Both as the lead singer of Fleetwood Mac and during her solo career, Nicks has influenced artists as diverse as Joe Walsh, Vanessa Carlton, and Sheryl Crow.

Artist Spotlight Stevie Nicks

Nicks was once the lead singer of the band Fleetwood Mac, which is now defunct. The band was born in London in 1967.  Their first album was self-titled, and released in 1968 on the record label Blue Horizon.

Solo Career

Nicks is often dubbed the “Queen of Rock N’ Roll”, and for good reason. Nicks released her first solo album, Bella Donna, in 1981. Bella Donna topped the Billboard charts, and hit platinum status just three months after it came out.

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Artist Spotlight: Elvis Presley

Introduction

Also known as the “King of Rock N’Roll”, Elvis Presley is a name known to pretty much everyone across the globe. His presence is seen in everything from movies like Viva Las Vegas and Blue Hawaii to dozens of albums and modern-day impersonators around the world. Musicians such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and The Everly Brothers owe a good deal to Presley’s musical influence. In turn, The King “borrowed” from Blues artists such as B.B. King, Fats Domino, and Ivory Joe Hunter.

Artist Spotlight Elvis Presley

Cultural Impact

Even The King of Rock N’ Roll had some scandals to endure. At the time he was performing, segregation between Blacks and Whites was making it hard for Elvis to present his music since it was seen as a mixture of “Black” and “White” music and took influence from artists of both colors.

Racists in Elvis’ time didn’t appreciate the “intermixing” of the two cultural backgrounds. However, the young generation at the time loved The King’s music, and it began to catch on more and more. Presley and other artists who followed his lead were increasingly seen as the instrument through which the younger generation was “breaking away” from the values of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

The older generations did not appreciate this miniature “rebellion”, and this caused some to look down badly at this style of music. It could be argued that Elvis set the stage culturally and musically for the “counter-culture” movements of the 1960’s.

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Artist Spotlight: Michael Jackson

Introduction

Perhaps one of the most influential artists of modern times, Michael Jackson was also one of the most controversial. The pop and R&B star was the lead singer of the Jackson Five earlier in his life, and then began a solo career in 1971. Some of Jackson’s most famous songs include “Billie Jean”, “Thriller”, and “Dirty Diana.”

Artist Spotlight Michael Jackson

Career

Jackson’s album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, and the song of the same name is one of the most recognizable in the world. The music video for Thriller tells a scary story of reanimated zombies and other things that go bump in the night.

Jackson albums including BadDangerous, and HIStory are also amongst the best-selling in the world. He has multiple Grammy Awards, as well as the Grammy Legend Award, and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The latter of these awards have also been given to the likes of U2’s Bono and pop virtuoso Rihanna.

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