Friday, June 28, 2013
It's finally Friday, thankfully! And here to ring in the weekend is the legend that is Amanda Lear.
"Fabulous (Lover, Love Me)" was released in 1979 as the lead single from Amanda's fourth album, Diamonds for Breakfast. The lyrics, written by Amanda, address the ever-running rumours about her alleged transsexuality: "Surgeons built me so well that nobody could tell that once I was somebody else". The song became a chart success in Europe and remains one of Lear's most recognizable songs of the disco era.
The question Amanda's sex at birth has been the subject of much speculation for decades. Lear's origins are unclear, with the singer herself providing different information regarding her background and keeping her birth year a secret even from her long-term husband. Contested facts include her birth date and place, her birth sex, names and nationalities of her parents and the location of her upbringing. Most sources claim 18th of November 1939 to be her birth date, but in a 1996 interview the singer revealed her birth year was 1946. However, in 2010, during an interview with a French newspaper Libération, Lear presented her identity card to a journalist, which read: "born 18 November 1950 in Saigon".
Lear's alleged transsexual background has been commented upon in the media and in the biographies of those who knew Lear earlier in her life, including Salvador Dalí. April Ashley, a famous transsexual entertainer, has long claimed that in the 1950s and early 1960s, she and Lear, whose real name she claimed was Alain Tapp, were working together in transvestite revues in Paris. In her book, April Ashley's Odyssey, she recalls Lear performing drag acts under the stage name Peki d'Oslo.
Similar facts have been reported by Romy Haag, a transsexual artist living in Germany, who ran a popular nightclub Chez Romy in Berlin and knew Amanda closely and Bibiana Fernández, a Spanish transsexual actress and singer. Some sources even insinuate that it was Dalí himself who sponsored Lear's sex change operation in 1963. Rumours claiming that Lear was an actual man in drag or even referring to her as a hermaphrodite were circulating at the beginning of her singing career, but they cleared off after she posed nude for Playboy in the late 1970s.
Despite Lear herself contradicting transsexual rumours already in the 1970s and explaining they were a part of strategy to draw public attention, they have persisted to date. When asked by Carmen Thomas in a 1976 interview whether it was true that she was born a male, Lear replied that it was "a crazy idea from some journalist" but then immediately contradicted herself stating that the rumour was started by Salvador Dalí as a publicity stunt. She would later tell the same story in the Interview magazine, however, this time claiming that it was David Bowie who started the rumour.
She would also address these rumours in her songs "Fabulous (Lover, Love Me)" and "I'm a Mistery" (deliberately misspelled as to reference the word "mister"). Despite some sources claiming her transsexual background is an open secret, she would always flatly deny it. However, an excerpt from an article from an Italian newspaper surfaced online in November 2011, including a reproduction of a copy of Lear's birth certificate, which states that she was born Alain Maurice Louis René Tap on 18th of June 1939 in Saigon. The article also included a picture of Lear as a young man.
Either way, does it really matter if she used to be a man? I adore her (but I have always said that no woman can be THAT camp...). She is currently working on a new album, which should be out later this year. But for now, here she is with the Song Of The Day - being all fa-fa-fa-fabulous!
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Boy George has announced a new album and a UK tour.
The dates are in support of the upcoming This Is What I Do, George's first studio album of new material in nearly two decades. Tickets for the new shows go on sale this Friday, June 28 at 9am, and are priced from £22.50 to £26.50.
This Is What I Do is produced by Richie Stevens (Soul II Soul, Tina Turner, Simply Red, Culture Club) and mixed by Dave Bascombe (Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode, Pendulum, Doves).
Some of the guest musicians who feature on the record will join the live tour. No further details of the album have been made available, except that it will be released later this year.
The full tour dates are as follows:
November 3 - Manchester RNCM
November 5 - Birmingham Glee Club
November 6 - Leeds City Varieties Music Hall
November 7 - Glasgow King Tuts
November 9 - Oxford O2 Academy 2
November 10 - London KokoNovember 11 - Brighton Concorde 2
While we wait for the new album, here is the latest from the Boy:
Labels: Boy George
Monday, June 24, 2013
Cyndi Lauper turned 60 this weekend!
I adore that woman, have pretty much everything she has ever released and finally got to see her in concert a couple of years ago. Can't believe she's 60 now - she certainly doesn't act or look it!
Cyndi is currently on her She's So Unusual tour, celebrating the (gulp) 30th anniversary of her debut solo album. She just won a Tony Award, her last album was a major critical success and she still works tirelessly to promote equality for gay people. A late happy birthday to one of my absolute favorite icons: Miss Cyndi Lauper.
Here is a look at the career of one of the most unique and talented girls of all time.
Labels: Cyndi Lauper
Having just read a post by the lovely Jon who went to see Marianne Faithfull in concert over the weekend, I thought I would post this 1999 documentary about the lady.
She is an absolute unique talent that never really seems to have found the commercial claim she deserves. No one else has that voice, that's for sure. And then there is her life story...
Labels: Marianne Faithfull
Friday, June 21, 2013
Here is the MDNA Workshop documentary that will be included on the Blu-Ray/DVD of Madonna´s latest tour:
And a quick look at the queen warming up - in her bathroom!
And finally: a brand new interview from GMA this morning:
The MDNA Tour airs tomorrow in the US!
The official Secret Project trailer in HD:
Diana Vickers will release her second album, Music To Make Boys Cry, on September 9th.
The album will most likely feature 12 songs, including the first single "Cinderella" and a track called "Break My Fall", which was co-written by Lana Del Rey. Full tracklist should be made available soon.
Labels: Diana Vickers
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Last night Madonna attended the world premiere of Madonna: The MDNA Tour, which was screened at the Paris Theater in New York. She even did a Q&A with fans before the screening (see video below).
From her Instagram:
And the official trailer for the Secret Project, that was shown in the theater last night:
Cher performed her new single live for the first time on US television last night (June 18). The singer has released "Woman's World" as the lead cut to be lifted from her forthcoming 26th studio album Closer To The Truth.
Cher also revealed that her collaboration with Lady Gaga won't appear on the album.
She insisted that she thinks the duet is "brilliant" but it won't feature on her new LP because Gaga doesn't like it. "I did a song with Gaga and I think it's brilliant and I thought her performance was great but she doesn't like it," she said in a live stream interview ahead of her performance last night.
Discussing the record she teased: "The songs are really good. They're dance songs but they're kind of fun. There are some tongue-in-cheek songs... there's some really sad songs. One is Pink's and it's called "Lie To Me". My friend from the Scissor Sisters, Jake Shears, is on "Take It Like A Man". I'm really proud of it."
Asked why she has taken 12 years to follow up 2001's Living Proof, she confessed: "I don't know. Truthfully, my record company should have drop-kicked my ass a long time ago. I wasn't doing what they wanted me to do. They said, 'You have to get serious or there isn't going to be any album'."
After Cher premiered her new single "Woman's World" she took some time to discuss with Billboard the evolution of the music on her album Closer to the Truth, which Warner Bros. will release on September 24th (September 30th internationally).
"Woman's World" which Paul Oakenfold produced and co-wrote, was the album's starting point."Then Pink gave me a beautiful song," Cher told Billboard. "Then Mark Taylor, the man who produced the Believe album, came up with four great songs. There was a beautiful country song and a song a friend of mine and I wrote for Interview with a Vampire that got turned down. It's very eclectic, you know. The songs are good songs that just happen to be together. I did a couple things on this album, ventured into places that I haven't gone and I really enjoyed that. I took some chances on this album and when it turned out to be good, I was pleased."
"Scary" was the word she used to describe her return to performing on TV. "It's very exciting, makes you feel elated. I like being on it, but I don't like going on it."
And despite having done multiple legs of her Farewell Tour, Cher winced a little and hemmed and hawed before admitting that might not have been the true farewell. "We're talking about it," she said of a potential tour.
Here is last night's performance:
And some interviews:
And finally: the official lyric video for "Woman's World":
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Cher has announced more details of her upcoming album.
The singer will release Closer To The Truth on September 24 as her 26th studio collection, following the release of her new single "Woman's World".
A standard edition will feature 11 brand new tracks, while a deluxe collection will contain 14 songs.
Cher previously revealed that she has recorded a duet with Lady Gaga for the album, but recently revealed that it may not make the final tracklist, due to problems with producer RedOne. Cher felt that the production of the song was "tired" and wanted him to redo it, but according to Cher no-one at the label was able to get a hold of him. Gaga was apparently also creating some problems, so Cher decided to just drop the whole thing.
Cher has also recorded a track written by Pink, as well as teasing a possible collaboration with Christina Aguilera. The album is also said to include a collaboration with Jake Shears.
Cher will perform new single "Woman's World" on The Voice in the US tonight (June 18).
Pet Shop Boys have compared their new album to Madonna's early work.
The duo said their upcoming LP Electric sounds like Madonna's first self-titled record, which was released in 1983.
"The album is meant to be pure enjoyment," Neil Tennant told Time Out. "We realised that it was sounding quite early '80s dance, like Madonna's first album. This album has got that '80s freshness but it still sounds, you know, modern."
The group's new LP - out July 15 - was executive produced by Stuart Price, who helmed Madonna's 2005 album Confessions on a Dancefloor. You can read the whole Time Out interview here
Also, the group has debuted the video for their latest single, "Vocal":
This short film has been produced and directed by the filmmaker and photographer, Joost Vandeburg. He has created it using authentic amateur film footage shot at various raves in the late 80s, along with some footage from the Haçienda in Manchester. The video (and the song) was inspired by the way British youth at this time found its own freedom with a new culture epitomised by dance music and raves: "It's in the music/It's in the song/And the feeling of the warmth around us all is so strong."
"Vocal" will be released as a physical single in the UK on July 22 and will feature further remixes, which will be announced soon.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Grace Jones is officially working on a new album!
Nothing else is known about it, except that it is produced by Ivor Guest, who produced her last album. That was of course the fantastic comeback album Hurricane, which came out in 2008 (and was followed by Hurricane Dub, also produced by Ivor). The news was brought by Ivor himself so we can start looking forward to the return of Miss Jones.
This will be very interesting, I'm sure - stay tuned. But until then, repeat after me: "Heeeeeeeeres GRACE"...
Labels: Grace Jones
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
We are back in the 80s, and back in France for the Song Of The Day.
In February 1985 singer Jeanne Mas released the second single of her debut album. "Johnny, Johnny" became the biggest chart hit of her career, spending a month at #1 in France and selling close to 900.000 copies. The song was re-released in 2005 in a remixed form, marking the 20th anniversary of the song.
Here is the video:
With all the rain, the wind and the complete lack of sun over the last few weeks, it is hard to realize that it is in fact summer.
However, my favorite unofficial remixer Robin Skouteris has come up with a fabulous mashup that serves as a great reminder that it IS indeed summer.
We neeeeeed a holidaaaaaaaay...
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Finally, something is happening with the new Cher album!
Above is the artwork for the first single, "Woman's World". And Cher has announced the first live performance of it: "I'll be celebrating my new single 'Woman's World' with a performance on the finale of @NbcTheVoice on 6/18!" The single will be made available for download the same day, but no word yet on physical releases.
This will be her first live solo TV performance in more than 10 years, making a historical comeback. The new album (reportedly also called Woman’s World) marks the first new Cher album since 2001. The album is expected to come out on September 24th.
Recently Cher co-hosted the Women in Film Series with Robert Osborne, helped promote her Mom’s new CD Honky Tonk Woman and produced the Lifetime show Dear Mom, Love Cher which aired last month and will be released on DVD later this year.
Goldfrapp have announced their new album. Tales of Us, which marks the sixth studio LP from the group, will be released on September 9.
Tales Of Us will be available on CD, vinyl and digital formats. The duo has also put together a special limited edition boxset that contains the CD, vinyl, an exclusive disc of bonus material plus the full album in 5.1 on DVD. It also contains a 12” print (first 500 copies signed by the duo) and a 40-page hardback book compiled by them. The price for the box is £64.99.
Friday, June 7, 2013
It's Friday! I passed all my tests! Me thinks it's time for some disco!
Child star Leif Garrett has not had an easy life (or career, for that matter). His well documented troubles with substance abuse and the law are much more known then his work. But, he did release one song that I absolutely adore.
"I Was Made For Dancin'" came out in 1979 and became his biggest hit, charting at #10 in the US and #4 in the UK. It became the highlight of his music career, as things went downhill afterwards. A classic case of a child star - he didn't even reach 18 before he was "burned out". Oh well, there is always this number to enjoy.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Although not officially confirmed, it seems that the Blu-Ray/DVD release of Madonna's MDNA Tour will be on August 26th/27th! Hope it's true - I can not wait any longer!
It's official - here's the press release:
Madonna’s groundbreaking, critically acclaimed, controversial and visually stunning MDNA concert will be available in the US on August 27th (August 26th globally), it was announced today by Universal Music. The two hour MDNA extravaganza was the most successful tour of 2012.
Presented by Live Nation Global Touring, the tour included 88 sold out shows in 29 countries. Madonna and her ten member band lead by musical director Kevin Antunes and troupe of 25 dancers performed a wild two hour spectacle that fascinated, enthralled and entertained 2.2 million fans.
The show’s co- director and supervising editor, Danny B. Tull commented…
“Madonna spent six months personally editing the video footage from 30 cameras and many different shows to put together the MDNA DVD. Her attention to every frame, every detail and nuance and total commitment to show her creative vision has been done to perfection. Each song is like a short movie. One minute you are in an action movie and the next you’re at a golden era musical before shooting across to India and back for a house party to finish. It’s better than any 3-D Imax movie out there and at a break neck pace that would make any Olympian struggle for breath.”
Songs included “Girls Gone Wild” and “Gang Bang” from Madonna’s MDNA CD which debuted at No. 1 in 35 countries as well as fan favorite classic Madonna songs such as “Hung Up”, “Express Yourself,” “Vogue,” “Open Your Heart, “Like A Prayer” and “Celebration”.
Madonna in her manifesto about the show remarked…
“My show is a journey.. the journey of a soul from darkness to light. It is part cinematic musical theatre, part spectacle and sometimes intimate performance art. I know people can relate to it. It’s very important to me as an artist that my show not be taken out of context. It must be watched with an open heart from beginning to end.. I am sure if it is viewed this way, the viewer will walk away feeling inspired, invigorated and will want to make the world a better place.. And this of course is my intention.”
Amongst the glowing reviews, the Daily Mail raved…
“The queen of pop’s latest album MDNA provided the bedrock for a two hour show that sent out a powerful message to any young pretenders eyeing up her crown.. She remains one of the greats.”
The Miami Herald remarked…
“Madonna’s sold-out concert was a jaw-dropping sequence of stunningly designed set pieces; including an aeriel drum crops, a battalion of dazzling dancers, an explosively bloody gangster fantasy and a surreal spiritual voyage.”
The Dallas Morning News commented…
“The Material Girl proceeds to take us through a song cycle that examined sex, liberation, sin, empowerment, love, addiction, rebellion and finally redemption.. She did it all in classic Madonna style – controversial and eye-popping.”
The MDNA DVD was directed by Danny B. Tull and Stephane Sennour and was produced by Madonna..
Executive producers: Arthur Fogel , Guy Oseary and Sara Zambreno.
Tour wardrobe was created by Arianne Phillips.
Supervising Editor Danny B. Tull.
Director of Photography Mark Ritchie.
Back in 1986, ex-Blondie singer Debbie Harry was french kissin in the USA. She released the song as the first single from her second solo album, Rockbird.
Sadly, Debbie never found much success as a solo artist. The single peaked at #57 in the US, although it did better in the UK where it became her only solo Top 10 hit, peaking at #8. The song did well in some other territories, especially Australia where it peaked at #4.
To be fair, Debbie's solo material often leaves a lot to be desired IMO. But when she's good, she nails it. I think she nails it here.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Time to go back to 1992 now - where we meet the unique and absolutely fabulous paring of English dance producer Adamski and the utterly amazing German princess of punk: Nina Hagen.
"Get Your Body" was not exactly a hit (at least not in the UK, where it peaked at #68) but the fantastic video was played a lot on MTV. I still love this song - in fact I bought the 12" a couple of weeks ago and I have been playing it a lot. ("I'd like to bite you - instead I kiss you")...