With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Catherine Rocks The Cleveland Way! May 26, 2018


Many of you who know me will by now know that my wonderful wife Catherine will very soon be embarking on a mammoth 109 mile charity walk on the Cleveland Way in the North East of England. A map of the Cleveland Way is shown at the very end of this post. Why is she doing this? Well four years ago Catherine and I were totally devastated by the loss of two children as a result of an adoption disruption. It was clear to us that the support needed by vulnerable children was just not available. There was no money and no urgency to the long term support that was needed. It is incredibly important to both of us that the children and young people in our community have access to the support they need to thrive and to grow into happy and resilient adults. We know that we are unable to do anything now for the children we lost, but we want to try and make a difference to the lives of other children and young people. We want to do whatever we can to try and prevent what happened to our children from happening again. Please feel free to contribute toward Catherine’s target of £10,000. Her efforts so far means that she is already at 46% of that total. Click here for the link to donate.

Anything you can add to that will be invaluable to the two charities we are supporting. Those charities are The Island (Enhancing the quality of life for vulnerable children and young people in York) and SASH (Working to prevent homelessness in young people aged 16-25 in York, North Yorkshire & East Yorkshire).

The Island offers support to vulnerable 8-13 years olds in York who are struggling to cope at home, at school, or in the wider community, or who are experiencing difficult transitions in their lives. The Island links these young people with volunteer mentors with whom they meet on a weekly basis over the course of a year (or longer if required). This allows them to develop supportive, ongoing relationships, whilst also providing them with the undivided attention and the ‘islands of space and time’ they need to increase their confidence and self-esteem, participate in worthwhile recreational activities, and move forward in their lives.

SASH run supported lodgings schemes which help young people develop the skills they need to live on their own. They provide an emergency nightstop service that makes a difference to young people’s lives when most needed.

Both charities need your support. They only exist because people in our community care enough to help them do what they do. Please click here to find Catherine’s Virgin Money Giving page. Now obviously this blog is essentially a music blog so I have picked ten walking themed songs (ok the first one loosely links to Catherine’s walking route) I hope that you enjoy them. In fact feel free to listen while you donate 🙂

 

 

“I know in my heart you’d find a girl who’s scared sometimes” February 16, 2012


As seems usual these days after the death of a famous musician or singer Whitney Houston is likely to have at least three songs in the UK top 40 this week; “I Will Always Love You“, “I Have Nothing“, “One Moment In Time“, “My Love Is Your Love” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody“.

The Westboro Baptist Church take the opportunity to increase the number of people they hate! 😉

Who profits from this upsurge in sales? well obviously Whitney’s estate will do reasonably well, but frankly I would imagine her family would rather have her still there. Then there is Sony of course. Now they stand to make a lot of money and being a large corporation they are obviously not cynical at all are they? Well I’ll let you be the judge of that. A few hours after Whitney was pronounced dead Sony increased the prices for her songs. They have later reduced the prices and apologised. But it’s interesting that they made no similar increases for other artists on their roster.

"Osama All My Love For You"

It takes a death to bring out some strange stories doesn’t it? Well apparently Osama Bin Laden was besotted by Whitney and wanted to marry her. Well he wanted her to be one of his wives at least. This is according to a one time friend of Bin Laden who lived with him for a time in the 90s. Her name is Kola Boof  who is described as a poet and activist. She says that Bin Laden claimed that Whitney would be a good Muslim but for having been brainwashed by the USA. He also spoke about having Whitney’s now ex husband Bobby Brown killed. For me the Osama in love with Whitney story really deserves to be true doesn’t it?

"Million Dollar Bin Laden"

 

“No matter what they take from me they can’t take away my dignity” February 12, 2012


By now you may have already heard or read the reports of the untimely and sad demise of Whitney Houston aged just 48. Any comment about the cause of death at this stage is pure speculation. Her body was discovered in her Los Angeles hotel room on February 11th. She was staying there for Clive Davis‘ pre Grammys party. It was Davis who discovered Whitney singing in bars and clubs as a teenager. Whitney won 6 Grammys herself and with the ceremony taking place today it’s likely that there will be a lot of focus on her career.

Her mother was Cissy Houston, a talented singer herself. She was also related to Dee Dee Warwick and Dionne Warwick. Aretha Franklin was her godmother. She was just eleven when she started singing in her church gospel choir. As a teenager she would occasionally appear on stage to provide backing vocals for her mother. Her first big break in the industry was when she provided backing vocals on the Michael Zager Band’s hit “Life’s A Party” when she was just 14. One of the biggest hits to be graced with a Whitney backing vocal was the stupendous “I’m Every Woman” from Chaka Khan in 1978. Whitney was still only 15. She carried on as a backing vocalist for a while and even graduated to lead vocals an a Paul Jabara album.

Clive Davis signed her to Arista in 1983 and spent some time developing her and finding the right production and writers which meant that her first solo album, ‘Whitney Houston’, didn’t appear until February 1985. Eventually it rose to the summit of the US Billboard album charts and spent 14 weeks there. It also spawned three US number ones; “Saving All My Love For You”, “How Will I Know” and “The Greatest Love Of All” The album which featured duets with Jermaine Jackson and Teddy Pendergrass and backing vocals from her mother Cissy, went on to sell 25 million copies worldwide.

The follow-up album was the rather unimaginatively titled ‘Whitney’ which stormed the charts in the wake of its predecessor. As well as the album hitting the top of the US charts it gave Houston another four US number ones in; “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “So Emotional” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”.  Her third album ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight’ took her in a much tougher R & B direction and in my opinion showcased her vocal talents better than the first two did. She appeared at the Super Bowl in 1991 where she sang the US national anthem. It was later released as a single and reached the US Top 20. It was the biggest chart hit that any artist had ever had with “The Star Spangled Banner

It was in the 1990s that her career took an even faster upwards trajectory. 1992 was a pivotal year for her. In July She married singer Bobby Brown who she had met at the Soul Train Music Awards three years earlier. She had her only child  Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown with him a year later. After her initial success from 1985 she had many offers of film roles but none of them felt right to her. But eventually she took on the role of a singing superstar in ‘The Bodyguard’ which was released in 1992. She co-starred with Kevin Costner. The film may well be remembered more for its soundtrack though, which included the mega hit “I Will Always Love You”. It was a cover of a Dolly Parton song and frankly is not a song I like very much at all. But I am probably in a small minority there as it reached number one in almost every country it was released. The soundtrack album also included a great version of “I’m Every Woman” a song on which Whitney had provided backing vocals 14 years before. She went on to make a number of other successful movies including ‘Waiting To Exhale’ and ‘The Preachers Wife’

Her next studio album that wasn’t soundtrack related, ‘My Love Is Your Love’ wasn’t released until 1998. It was a much funkier sound from her and includes my favourite Whitney song “It’s Not Right, But It’s OK”. That remains an office catch phrase for me after hearing a colleague (thank you Mr Mangan) use it a lot. Basically if something is not perfect but is ok he would say, ‘It’s a bit Whitney’ meaning in very simple terms, ‘it’s not right but it’s ok’. This album was followed by her greatest hits package ‘Whitney : The Greatest Hits’ in 2000. It included a number of new songs including duets with George Michael and Enrique Iglesias. (Another greatest hits package ‘The Ultimate Collection’ was released in 2007)

The next few years might be seen as wilderness years for her in that she suffered the problems of drug addiction. Plenty has been written about those episodes of her life so I don’t see the point of adding to that here. Even during those low times she was able to release a couple of albums; ‘Just Whitney’ and her first Christmas album. She finally divorced from Bobby Brown in 2007 and got herself back on track by releasing a new album ‘I Look To You’ in 2009. She promoted a single from the album, the rather excellent “Million Dollar Bill” with an appearance on the X Factor in the UK. In 2010 she took off on her first world tour for many years. The shows received mixed reviews and a number were cancelled and rescheduled due to Houston falling ill.

Many of todays generation of female singers owe a debt to Whitney Houston and I am sure she will be sadly missed. Whatever you might think of the way she lived her life it is hard to deny that she was an incredible talent and 48 is just way too young to leave this life. My thoughts go to her family, friends and fans. RIP Whitney Houston.

To celebrate her life I have chosen some of my favourite Whitney Houston songs for you;

 

 
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