Musings On Music History: Happy Birthday To Us And A Bunch Of Random Stuff!
06.14: Not only does Roxanne not have to put on the red light, but she’d be well advised not to. On this day in 2003, the Queen of England made Sting a Commander of the British Empire. What hath thou wrought, Queen Elizabeth II? Does this mean that Sting can now command the British Navy or that he can have people summarily executed? Or lead the troops in yoga? The latter would be much preferred to either of the other two.
06.16: File this one under pretty damn funny. The band Toto (Remember them? No? Hello? Africa? Awesome!) issued an apology to keyboardist David Paich after joking Paich would sit out their summer 2003 tour to get a sex change operation. Turns out Paich was really looking after a sick family member. Smooth move, other guys in Toto besides the beleaguered keyboardist guy.
06.17: One of the rockinest rockers ever to rock the airwaves rocked his way into the world on this day in 1946. Take a guess. We’ll give you a couple of hints. He plays piano. His first name is a homonym for something you might find in a parfait. One of his biggest hits is a girl’s name. If you guessed Barry Manilow, you’re a winner! Yeah, we kinda threw you off with the whole “rockinest rocker” bit, but Mr. Manilow really is a one-of-a-kind talent. Maybe not rockinest, exactly, but talented nonetheless. Believe it or not, Barry got his start as the piano player for the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, at Continental Baths, a gay bathhouse in NYC, in the early ’70s (which, btw, had an incredible array of musicians grace its stage over the years). From there he took over adult contemporary radio with the #1 “Mandy” (the aforementioned biggest hit and first of thirteen #1s), from his second album, Barry Manilow II. Yeah, Barry gets the dirty end of the stick from a lot listeners and critics, but anyone who got their start alongside The Divine Miss M, who absolutely ruled his particular idiom, without whom Arista would not have existed, who is just a downright cool guy is cool with us. Happy B-Day, Barry. You rock in our book, always.
06.17: Madonna informed the television show 20/20, on this day in 2004, she was changing her name to Esther to “attach (her)self to the energy of a different name.” Sounds reasonable. How’d that work out for ya, Esther? We mean, since that day, all anyone can ever talk about is “Esther” this and “Esther” that and “I saw Esther in concert last night and she was amazing!” Right?