AC/DC's mammoth power chord roar became one of the most influential hard rock sounds of the '70s, and is now one of the defining sounds of rock and metal. In its own way, it was a reaction against the pompous art rock and lumbering arena rock of the early '70s. AC/DC's rock was minimalist -- no matter how huge and bludgeoning their guitar chords were, there was a clear sense of space and restraint. Combined with Bon Scott's larynx-shredding vocals, the band spawned countless imitators over the next two decades and enjoyed commercial success well into the 2000s, scoring their biggest hits after Brian Johnson replaced the departed Scott.
AC/DC were formed in 1973 in Australia by guitarist Malcolm Young after his previous band, the Velvet Underground, collapsed (Young's band has no relation to the seminal American group). With his younger brother Angus serving as lead guitarist, the band played some gigs around Sydney. Angus was only 15 years old at the time and his sister suggested that he should wear his school uniform on-stage; the look became the band's visual trademark. While still in Sydney, the original lineup featuring singer Dave Evans cut a single called "Can I Sit Next to You," with ex-Easybeats Harry Vanda and George Young (Malcolm and Angus' older brother) producing.
The band moved to Melbourne the following year, where drummer Phil Rudd (formerly of the Coloured Balls) and bassist Mark Evans joined the lineup. The band's chauffeur, Bon Scott, became the lead vocalist when singer Dave Evans refused to go on-stage. Previously, Scott had been vocalist for the Australian prog rock bands Fraternity and the Valentines. More importantly, he helped cement the group's image as brutes -- he had several convictions on minor criminal offenses and was rejected by the Australian Army for being "socially maladjusted." And AC/DC were socially maladjusted. Throughout their career they favored crude double entendres and violent imagery, all spiked with a mischievous sense of fun.
The group released two albums -- High Voltage and T.N.T. -- in Australia in 1974 and 1975. Material from the two records comprised the 1976 release High Voltage in the U.S. and U.K.; the group also toured both countries. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap followed at the end of the year. In the fall of 1977, AC/DC released Let There Be Rock, which became their first album to chart in the U.S. Mark Evans left the band soon after, with Cliff Williams taking his place. Powerage, released in spring of 1978, expanded their audience even further, thanks in no small part to their dynamic live shows (which were captured on 1978's live If You Want Blood You've Got It). What really broke the doors down for the band was the following year's Highway to Hell, which hit number 17 in the U.S. and number eight in the U.K., becoming the group's first million-seller.
AC/DC's train was derailed when Bon Scott died on February 19, 1980. The official coroner's report stated he had "drunk himself to death." In March, the band replaced Scott with Brian Johnson. The following month, the band recorded Back in Black, which would prove to be its biggest album, selling over ten million copies in the U.S. alone. For the next few years, the band was one of the largest rock bands in the world, with For Those About to Rock We Salute You topping the charts in the U.S. In 1983, Rudd left the band after the recording of Flick of the Switch; he was replaced by Simon Wright.
With Flick of the Switch, AC/DC's commercial standing began to slip, and they weren't able to reverse their slide until 1990's The Razor's Edge, which spawned the hit "Thunderstruck." While not the commercial powerhouse they were during the late '70s and early '80s, the '90s saw AC/DCmaintain their status as a top international concert draw. In the fall of 1995, their 16th album, Ballbreaker, was released. Produced by Rick Rubin, the album received some of the most positive reviews of AC/DC's career; it also entered the American charts at number four and sold over a million copies in its first six months of release. Stiff Upper Lip followed in early 2000 with similar results. AC/DC signed a multi-album deal with Sony the following year that resulted in a slew of reissues and DVDs, and they returned to the studio in 2008 for Black Ice, an all-new collection of songs that was followed by the group's first world tour since 2001. Two years later, the band's music was featured heavily in the action movie Iron Man 2, and a compilation was released in conjunction with the film under the title Iron Man 2.
As AC/DC began work on a new album with producer Brendan O'Brien in 2014, they announced that Malcolm Young was suffering from dementia and had left the band; his nephew Stevie Young took his place at the recording sessions and the accompanying 40th anniversary tour, and subsequently joined the group full-time. Just prior to the December release of Rock or Bust, drummer Phil Rudd was arrested under charges of attempting to procure a murder, threatening to kill, and possession of cannabis and methamphetamine. Although the arranged murder charges were dropped, the other charges remained and the drummer's future with the band was uncertain. Nevertheless, AC/DC marched forward with the release of Rock or Bust and plans for a tour in 2015. Two years later, Malcolm Young died in November 2017 at the age of 64.
Having sold more than 150 million records, Billy Joel ranks as one of most popular recording artists and respected entertainers in the world. Throughout the years, Joel’s songs have acted as personal and cultural touchstones for millions of people, mirroring his own goal of writing songs that “meant something during the time in which I lived … and transcended that time.”
Billy Joel has had 33 Top 40 hits and 23 Grammy nominations since signing his first solo recording contract in 1972. In 1990, he was presented with a Grammy Legend Award. Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, Joel was presented with the Johnny Mercer Award, the organization’s highest honor, in 2001. In 1999 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and has received the Recording Industry Association of America Diamond Award, presented for albums that have sold over 10 million copies.
In November, 2014, Billy Joel will receive The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, which honors living musical artists whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin, by promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations. Also in November, 2014, Billy will receive the once-in-a-century ASCAP Centennial Award. This is presented to American music icons in recognition of their incomparable accomplishments in their respective music genres and beyond.
December 2013, Madison Square Garden announced Billy Joel as the first-ever music franchise of “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” Joining the ranks of The Garden’s other original franchises – including the New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty – Billy Joel kicked off this franchise at The Garden performing a show a month, as long as there is demand, starting January 27, 2014. Since his first show in 1978, Billy has performed 46 shows at Madison Square Garden, including an unprecedented 12 consecutive sold-out shows that have earned Billy a spot among the Garden greats with a banner raised in his honor.
Also in December 2013, Billy Joel received the 36th Annual Kennedy Center Honor, one of the United States’ top cultural awards. At The ceremony, Don Henley sang the classic ballad, “She’s Got a Way.” Also paying homage was Garth Brooks, who performed a medley of “Allentown” and “Goodnight Saigon” and Rufus Wainwright who performed two Joel classics, “New York State of Mind” and “Piano Man.” Brendan Urie performed “Big Shot.” Tony Bennett introduced the tribute.
Joel held his first ever indoor Irish concert at the O2 in Dublin on November 1, 2013. He also returned to the UK for the first time in seven years and played two arena dates in Manchester and Birmingham plus a very special – more intimate – show at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. In October 2013, Billy Joel held a surprise concert on Long Island at The Paramount (Huntington, NY) to benefit Long Island Cares. On December 31, 2013, Billy performed at The Barclays Center.
In 2013, Billy Joel held tens of thousands of visitors to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in the palm of his hand. It was Joel’s second full-length show in three years He went to New Orleans fresh from Sydney, Australia, where he played a full set at the Stone Music Festival.
Joel and his band prepared a similar array of Joel’s huge collection of hits for Sydney and New Orleans, and mixed in some handpicked tunes specific to the venue at hand. Joel told the crowd, “we know how you felt” since last year’s Hurricane Sandy, referring to Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2005. “We’re trying to rebuild. We’re taking inspiration from you guys.”
New York’s quintessential son, Billy Joel, performed six songs at the historic 12.12.12 The Concert For Sandy Relief, joining other music greats including Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and more to raise awareness and money to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The show, which included tributes to first responders and those affected by the storm, was broadcast to an estimated 2 billion viewers and raised $32 million in funds before anyone took the stage. Billy, who is proud of his personal connection to Long Island and the tri-state area impacted by the storm, told the audience, “We’re going to get through all this. This is New York and New Jersey and Long Island, and we’re just too mean to lay down and die.”
Billy Joel was honored by Steinway & Sons with a painted portrait that hangs in Steinway Hall in Manhattan. Joel, who has been a Steinway Artist for almost 20 years, is the first non-classical pianist to be immortalized in the Steinway Hall collection. His portrait hangs alongside those of legendary musicians including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Franz Liszt, Arthur Rubinstein, Ignacy Paderewski, and more. The portrait of Billy Joel, painted by artist and musician Paul Wyse, is one of only two living artists to be inducted into the collection, the other being Leon Fleisher. In 2010, Joel released “The Last Play at Shea. The intersecting histories of a city, a team, and a music legend are examined in a documentary feature film that charts both the ups and downs of the New York Mets and the life and career of Long Island native Billy Joel, the last performer to play Shea Stadium before its demolition in 2008. Energetically set to the soundtrack of Joel’s final Shea concert, “The Last Play At Shea” interweaves personal and candid Joel interviews with concert footage-with guests such as Sir Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, Steven Tyler, John Mayer, Don Henley, Roger Daltrey – the history of Shea, and the birth of the Mets.
In 2004, Billy Joel received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, adding another milestone to his extraordinary career. “Movin’ Out,” a Broadway musical based on Joel’s music choreographed and directed by Twyla Tharp, was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and took home two including Best Orchestrations–Billy’s first Tony Award win–and Best Choreography.
In addition to his Grammy Awards, Joel has earned three Awards For Cable Excellence and has received numerous ASCAP and BMI awards including the ASCAP Founders Award and the BMI Career Achievement Award and, in 1994, was given the 1994 Billboard Century Award. Among his many other awards and honors, Billy Joel has been given a Doctor of Humane Letters from Fairfield University (1991), a Honorary Doctorate from Berklee College of Music (1993), and a Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hofstra University (1997) and a Doctor of Music from Southampton College.
Joel has donated his time and resources to a variety of charitable causes outside the realm of his musical career. A longtime advocate for music education, he first began holding “master class” sessions on college campuses more than 20 years ago, giving sessions at colleges across the country and around the world. In addition, he has held classes as a benefit for the STAR Foundation (Standing for Truth About Radiation) and to establish the Rosalind Joel Scholarship for the Performing Arts at City College in New York City.
Billy Joel has launched an ongoing educational initiative to provide seed money, musical scholarships, and endowments to a variety of East Coast colleges, universities and music schools.
For his accomplishments as a musician and as a humanitarian, Billy Joel was honored as the 2002 MusiCares Person Of The Year by the MusiCares Foundation and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.
Phil Collins' status as one of the most successful pop and adult contemporary singers of the '80s and beyond was probably as much a surprise to him as it was to many others. Balding and diminutive, the Genesis drummer-turned-vocalist was almost 30 years old when his first solo single, "In the Air Tonight," became a number two hit in his native U.K. (the song was a Top 20 hit in the U.S.). Between 1984 and 1990, Collins had a string of 13 straight U.S. Top Ten hits.
Long before any of that happened, however, Collins was a child actor/singer who appeared as the Artful Dodger in the London production of Oliver! in 1964. (He also has a cameo in A Hard Day's Night, among other films.) He got his first break in music in his late teens, when he was chosen to be a replacement drummer in the British art rock band Genesis in 1970. (Collins maintained a separate jazz career with the band Brand X as well.)
...And Then There Were Three...Genesis was fronted by singer Peter Gabriel. They had achieved a moderate level of success in the U.K. and the U.S. with elaborate concept albums, before Gabriel abruptly left in 1974. Genesis auditioned 400 singers without success, then decided to let Collins have a go. The result was a gradual simplifying of Genesis' sound and an increasing focus on Collins' expressive, throaty voice. And Then There Were Three... went gold in 1978, and Duke was even more successful.
Face ValueCollins made his debut solo album, Face Value, in 1981, which turned out to be a bigger hit than any Genesis album. It concentrated on Collins' voice, often in stark, haunting contexts such as the piano-and-drum dirge "In the Air Tonight," which sounded like something from John Lennon's debut solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.
We Can't Dance During the '80s, Collins was enormously successful in balancing his continuing solo work with his membership in Genesis. In 1992, Genesis released We Can't Dance and began an extensive tour. Upon its completion, Collins released Both Sides in 1993, and the record became his first album not to produce a major hit single or go multi-platinum. In 1995, he announced that he was leaving Genesis permanently. The following year, he released Dance into the Light. Although the album didn't chart highly, its subsequent supporting tour was a success. The Hits collection followed in 1998, and a year later Collins made his first big-band record, Hot Night in Paris. The song cycle Testify arrived in 2002, and his next studio-recorded solo release was 2010's Going Back, which saw him revisiting the Motown hits that so influenced him and featured three of the surviving Funk Brothers -- guitarists Eddie Willis and Ray Monette, and bassist Bob Babbitt.
The Singles After some time out of the spotlight, much of it spent recovering from physical ailments, Collins returned in 2014 to play a couple of songs at his sons' school and to write songs with Adele. Soon after, he began work on reissuing his solo albums, sorting through the archives for demos and live recordings to flesh them out. In early 2016, Warner Music began releasing the discs in pairs, with new portraits of Collins on the covers in place of the original images. Collins returned to the stage in March of 2016, performing at the Little Dreams Foundation Benefit Gala in Miami. He published his autobiography, Not Dead Yet: The Memoir, in October of that year, and the double-disc compilation The Singles appeared during the same month. 2017 saw the release of Take a Look at Me Now: The Complete Studio Collection, chronicling all of Collins' studio album work from 1981 to 2010.
Artist Biography by William Ruhlmann
Steve Miller was a mainstay of the San Francisco music scene that upended American culture in the late '60s. With albums like Children of the Future, Sailor and Brave New World, Miller perfected a psychedelic blues sound that drew on the deepest sources of American roots music and simultaneously articulated a compelling vision of what music - and, indeed, society - could be in the years to come. Then, in the '70s, Miller crafted a brand of pure pop that was polished, exciting and irresistible - and that dominated radio in a way that few artists have ever managed. Hit followed hit in what seemed like an endless flow: "Take The Money and Run," "Rock'n Me," "Fly Like an Eagle," "Jet Airliner" and "Jungle Love," among them. To this day, those songs are instantly recognizable when they come on the radio - and impossible not to sing along with. Their hooks are the very definition of indelible. Running through Miller's distinctive catalog is a combination of virtuosity and song craft. His parents were jazz aficionados - not to mention close friends of Les Paul and Mary Ford - so, as a budding guitarist, Miller absorbed valuable lessons from that musical tradition. When the family moved to Texas, Miller deepened his education in the blues, eventually moving to Chicago, where he played with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy and Paul Butterfield. In recent years, Miller has immersed himself in the blues once again. And, as always, whether he was riding the top of the charts or exploring the blue highways of American music, he is playing and singing with conviction and precision, passion and eloquence, and making records that are at once immediately accessible and more than able to stand the test of time.
Huey Lewis & the News were a bar band that made good. With their simple, straightforward rock & roll, the San Francisco-based group became one of America's most popular pop/rock bands of the mid-'80s. Inspired equally by British pub rock and '60s R&B and rock & roll, the News had a driving, party-hearty spirit that made songs like "Workin' for a Livin'," "I Want a New Drug," "The Heart of Rock & Roll," "Hip to Be Square," and "The Power of Love" yuppie anthems. At its core, the group was a working band, and the bandmembers knew how to target their audience, writing odes to nine-to-five jobs and sports. As the decade progressed, Huey Lewis & the News smoothed out their sound to appeal to the aging baby boomers who adopted them, but by the beginning of the '90s, the appeal of their formula had decreased. Nevertheless, the group remained a popular concert attraction, and continued to have radio hits on adult contemporary stations.
My Aim Is True The roots of Huey Lewis & the News lay in Clover, an early-'70s country-rock band from San Francisco that featured Lewis (vocals, harmonica) and keyboardist Sean Hopper. Clover moved to England in 1976 upon the urging of Nick Lowe, who believed they could fit into the U.K.'s pub rock scene. In a short time, the group cultivated a small following. Lowe produced the group's first single, "Chicken Funk," which featured lead vocals by Lewis and, the following year, the band, minus Lewis, supported Elvis Costello on his debut album, My Aim Is True. Polygram released two Clover albums that failed to find an audience, and when their leader, John McFee, left the group to join the Doobie Brothers, the band broke up and returned to California. Before returning to the States, Lewis played harmonica on Lowe's Labour of Lust and Dave Edmunds' Repeat When Necessary, which also featured Lewis' song "Bad Is Bad."
Upon their return to America, Lewis and Hopper began jamming at a Marin County bar called Uncle Charlie's, which is where they formed American Express with Mario Cipollina (bass), Johnny Colla (saxophone, guitar), and Bill Gibson (drums), who had all played in Soundhole, one of Van Morrison's backing bands in the late '70s. American Express recorded a disco version of "Theme from Exodus," calling it "Exodisco." Mercury released the single, which was ignored. In 1980, the group added lead guitarist Chris Hayes and was offered a contract by Chrysalis, who requested that the band change its name. The members chose Huey Lewis & the News and the band's eponymous debut was released later that year to little attention.
Picture ThisPicture This, the group's second album, was released early in 1982 and the record became a hit on the strength of the Top Ten single "Do You Believe in Love," which was written by former Clover producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange. A couple other minor hits, "Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do" and "Workin' for a Livin'" followed, and the band began building a strong following by touring heavily. Sports, the group's third album, was released in the fall of 1983 and it slowly became a multi-platinum success, thanks to touring and a series of clever, funny videos that received heavy MTV airplay. "Heart and Soul" (number eight, 1983), "I Want a New Drug" (number six, 1984), "The Heart of Rock & Roll" (number six, 1984), and "If This Is It" (number six, 1984) all became Top Ten hits, and Sports climbed to number one in 1984; it would eventually sell over seven million copies. Late in 1984, Lewis sued Ray Parker, Jr., claiming that his song "Ghostbusters" plagiarized "I Want a New Drug." The suit was settled out of court. The News had their first number one single in 1985 with "The Power of Love," taken from the soundtrack to Back to the Future.
Fore! The band returned with its fourth album, Fore!, in 1986. The record sailed to number one on the strength of five Top Ten singles: "Stuck with You" (number one, 1986), "Hip to Be Square" (number three, 1986), "Jacob's Ladder" (number one, 1987), "I Know What I Like" (number nine, 1987), and "Doing It All for My Baby" (number six, 1987). Huey Lewis & the News were riding high on the charts when they decided to expand their musical reach with 1988's Small World, dipping tentatively into various American roots musics. While the record produced the Top Ten hit "Perfect World," it was a commercial disappointment after two chart-topping, multi-platinum albums, stalling at number 11 on the charts and only going platinum.
Hard at PlayThe News took three years to follow up Small World with Hard at Play, which was released on their new label, EMI. Hard at Play failed to break the Top 20 and only produced one hit, "Couple Days Off." With its commercial heyday clearly passed, the group took the remainder of the '90s rather easy, touring sporadically and releasing the covers album Four Chords & Several Years Ago in 1994. The band's first release for Elektra Records, the album generated one adult contemporary radio hit, "But It's Alright," and failed to go gold. It would be over six years before the next album appeared, Plan B, which was released by Silvertone Records in 2001. A Stax Records/Memphis soul tribute album, Soulsville, appeared nine years later in 2010; it debuted at 121 on the Billboard charts. As the group prepped an album of original material, they decided to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Sports! in 2013, releasing a deluxe double-disc edition of the album and supporting the reissue with a tour and a sizeable press campaign.
Artist Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Starting with their Top Twenty debut album in 1978, Van Halen almost single-handedly redefined heavy metal as sunny, pop-friendly California party music that managed to retain its physical power and virtuoso credentials — a concept that would reverberate throughout the hair-metal Eighties. With Eddie Van Halen's highly original guitar pyrotechnics a constant through the years, Van Halen would shuffle their lineup again and again. Initially fronted by the flamboyant and ever-quotable David Lee Roth, the band garnered a loyal mass following that held fast long after Roth's 1985 departure, and through numerous well-publicized intra-band squabbles.
The Van Halen brothers' father, Jan, was a freelance saxophone and clarinet player who performed styles ranging from big band to classical in the Netherlands. The family moved to Pasadena, California in 1967, "with 15 dollars and a piano," as Eddie once said. Jan washed dishes, then played in wedding bands to support the family. Beginning around age six both Eddie and Alex received piano lessons and extensive classical music training, but with move to America they discovered rock & roll.
Eddie learned to play drums, and Alex learned to play guitar; eventually they traded instruments and started a band called Mammoth. Roth, the even-then outgoing and outrageous scion of a wealthy family and lead singer of another rival band, Redball Jet, joined them. The bassist and lead singer of another group, Snake, Michael Anthony came aboard shortly thereafter. After learning that there was already another group claiming the name Mammoth, the group considered calling themselves Rat Salade before deciding on Van Halen.
Van Halen played the Pasadena/Santa Barbara bar circuit for more than three years. Its sets initially consisted primarily of cover material ranging into disco to pop, but the band eventually introduced original songs and was soon one of the most popular groups in California, regulars at the Sunset Strip hard-rock club Gazzari's, and an opening act for Santana, Nils Lofgren, UFO, and other established acts.
In 1977 Kiss' Gene Simmons spotted Van Halen in L.A.'s Starwood club and financed its demo tape. After seeing the group and upon hearing Simmons' recommendation, Warner Bros. Records' Mo Ostin and staff producer Ted Templeman signed Van Halen. Its self-titled debut album hit Number 19 and eventually sold more than 6 million copies. The debut single, a pile-driving cover of the Kinks' 1964 hit "You Really Got Me," hit Number 36. The followup, "Runnin' With the Devil," hit Number 84.
Roth's swaggering good looks and extroverted persona, not to mention pithy, frequently tongue-in-cheek statements on the rock & roll lifestyle he claimed to espouse, assured press coverage. But while the mainstream media focused on Roth, musicians and fans were riveted by Eddie Van Halen's guitar mastery and an array of unorthodox techniques that he developed as he taught himself to play: rapid-fire hammer-ons and pull-offs, two-hand tapping, and any combination thereof to produce his unique sound. In addition, the guitarist was also known to build and/or meticulously customize his instruments, using everything from sandpaper to chainsaws to alter the timbre of his instrument and achieve a distinct sound. Long before the group ever recorded, Eddie became a legend among local guitarists eager to learn the secret of his sound. Like countless guitarists before him, from Robert Johnson to Eric Clapton, Eddie began performing with his back to the audience to guard his technique.
Van Halen II (Number 6, 1979), released as new wave began coming to the fore, continued in the group's straight-rock style and featured their first Top 20 single, "Dance the Night Away," as well as the popular "Beautiful Girls." Women and Children First (Number 6, 1980) spun off the single "And the Cradle Will Rock" (Number 55, 1980) a metal showcase that typified the band's dense, loud, crunching style.
In 1979 Van Halen launched its second world tour, its first as headliner. Early on, the band embraced its larger-than-life image; for example, tour incidents ranged from Roth's breaking his nose on a lighting rig when jumping onstage to the band trashing its dressing room after a promoter failed to comply with the band's contractual stipulation that the backstage candy dish contain no brown M&Ms.
Fair Warning (Number 5, 1981), another multiplatinum effort and possibly the band's most meaty metal album, followed. The more light-hearted, almost campy Diver Down (Number Three, 1982), which included hit covers of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" (Number 12, 1982) and Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street" (Number 38, 1982) became the group's highest-charting album to that point. (In 1981 Eddie married actress Valerie Bertinelli; in 1991 their son, Wolfgang, was born. Three years later, Eddie stopped drinking.)
Van Halen's biggest album with Roth was 1984 (Number Two, 1984), which contained the Number One hit "Jump" (on which Eddie played synthesizer) as well as "I'll Wait" (Number 13, 1984), "Panama" (Number 13, 1984), and "Hot for Teacher" (Number 56, 1984), all songs supported by popular videos that showcased both Roth's alternately boastful and clownish persona and Eddie (and the rest of the group's) flashy musicianship. Shortly before 1984's release, Eddie Van Halen had composed and played the guitar solo on Michael Jackson's "Beat It," a few bars of heavy metal that many observers believed helped the video land a spot on MTV's then predominantly white playlist.
The loquacious Roth and the soft-spoken Eddie had long been considered one of rock's oddest couples. When in 1985 Roth released his four-song EP, Crazy From the Heat, and it spun off two hit singles — covers of the Beach Boys' "California Girls" (Number Three, 1985) and of the 1956 Louis Prima medley "Just a Gigolo"/"I Ain't Got Nobody" (Number 12, 1985) — a breakup was widely rumored. The videos for the two songs were hugely popular, and for a time Roth had a film in development (the deal fell through). When Roth delayed recording for Van Halen's seventh album, tensions rose, and Roth left the band. That June, established hard-rock singer and former Montrose frontman Sammy Hagar was named Roth's replacement.
The Hagar era began auspiciously, with the group's next three multiplatinum albums — 5150, OU812, and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (or "F.U.C.K.," as it's slyly abbreviated) — all hitting Number One. Among the hit singles from these records were "Why Can't This Be Love" (Number Three, 1986), "Dreams" (Number 22, 1986), and "Feels So Good" (Number 35, 1989). Van Halen headlined the Monsters of Rock Tour in 1988 and in 1991 bought the Cabo Wabo Cantina, a Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, restaurant and bar. (Hagar later bought out the other members.) The innovative, text-oriented 1992 video for "Right Now" didn't boost the single beyond Number 55, but it did win MTV's Best Video of the Year award and provided the theme for a round of Pepsi commercials shortly thereafter. The year 1993 saw the release of the band's first live album, Van Halen Live: Right Here, Right Now (Number Five). Balance debuted at Number One in 1995 and sold double-platinum nearly immediately upon its release. It contained one Top Thirty hit, "Can't Stop Lovin' You."
Throughout his tenure with Van Halen, Hagar continued to release solo albums. While this wasn't considered a problem by the other members, tempers flared in spring 1996, when the band finished the Balance tour. Hagar's wife was pregnant and he wanted to take time off; the rest of the group wanted to work on a few new tracks for a greatest-hits compilation, an idea that Hagar was against. Some speculated that Hagar objected because a best-of package would undoubtedly feature songs from the Roth era, songs Hagar had declined to sing in concert.
In June of that year, Van Halen claimed that Hagar left the band, while Hagar insisted that he was fired — a difference in opinion that has lasted to this day. The remaining members of Van Halen invited Roth back into the studio with them to record two new tracks for the hits album. That fall, the apparently reunited foursome presented a trophy at the MTV Video Music Awards, and speculation was that Roth was back in the band full-time. Apparently Roth thought so, too, because he was miffed when Eddie, the band's spokesperson, clarified in a press statement that Van Halen's intentions were to include Roth in a couple of new recordings and nothing more. Again, the difference of opinion regarding the group's original intention prevails.
With Hagar gone and Roth out of the picture again, Van Halen hired ex-Extreme singer Gary Cherone as its new lead vocalist in November 1996. The choice was initially surprising, since Extreme's biggest hits, "More Than Words" and "Hole Hearted," were ballads. But the bulk of that band's catalogue was hard rock, and the collaboration seemed to reinvigorate Eddie Van Halen. He and Cherone immediately began writing songs together, with Cherone's lyrics inspiring Eddie's music — the first time the group's music wasn't written first.
This new incarnation recorded Van Halen III (Number Four, 1998), an album that signaled another Van Halen first: Eddie singing lead on one song. The band toured and the single "Without You" rose to Number One on the Mainstream Rock chart, but CD sales fell quickly. The release sold just 500,000 copies, making it the first Van Halen album not to go at least double platinum. In November 1999 Cherone left the band. He recorded a solo album and returned to a Massachusetts stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which he starred in after Extreme broke up.
Meanwhile, Eddie Van Halen, a heavy smoker, participated in what was said to be a clinical trial of preventative treatment for tongue cancer in 2000. In 2001 he revealed that he had been treated for cancer.
Roth's solo career yielded three platinum albums, with his third and fourth albums, Eat 'Em and Smile and Skyscraper, both Top 10, featuring the hits "Yankee Rose" (Number 16, 1986, from Eat) and "Just Like Paradise" (Number Six, 1988, from Skyscraper). The band for Eat 'Em included bassist Billy Sheehan, guitarist Steve Vai, and drummer Greg Bissonette. This lineup remained fairly steady for Skyscraper, but Sheehan left, and in 1989 Vai began his solo career. A Little Ain't Enough, a critical and commercial disappointment despite its Top 20 showing, had no hit singles.
In 1991 Roth fired his band and moved to New York City, where in April 1993 he was arrested while purchasing a small amount of marijuana in Washington Square Park (he received a year's probation). His 1994 release, Your Filthy Little Mouth, continued the decline, and a 1998 album credited to the DLR Band fared no better. Even commenting on his low commercial standing, Roth remained quotable as ever and published a breezy, explicit autobiography entitled, Crazy From the Heat (with Paul Scanlon), in 1997.
In 2002, the first of three Van Halen-related unthinkables happened when Roth hooked up with his nemesis, fellow former VH singer Hagar, for a joint tour some dubbed "The Sam and Dave Tour" (Hagar suggested "Sans Halen"). The second unthinkable happened the following year when Van Halen announced it was working with Hagar again on a track for a greatest-hits collection.
In 2004, the band released The Best of Both Worlds (Number Three), featuring alternating tracks from the Roth and Hagar years, and then hit the road with Hagar. The band's comeback tour was one of the top ten tours of 2004, grossing $55 million. The group went into hibernation again after the tour, as Eddie Van Halen headed into rehab for alcohol abuse. Then, in late 2006, he announced that Roth had been invited to participate in a reunion of the original band. Music journalists were skeptical, given the fiasco of the lineup's aborted reunion. Indeed, the first string of shows was canceled to allow Eddie to enter rehab in early 2007. In the meantime, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (with both Hagar and Roth on the inductee list; Hagar and Anthony were the sole attendees).
But sure enough, in September 2007, Diamond Dave and his ex-bandmates (minus Anthony, with replacement Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's son, on bass) kicked off their long-awaited reunion tour in Charlotte, North Carolina. The tour received generally positive reviews, and Rolling Stone's 2007 year-end issue listed the reunion as "Miracle of the Year." With Eddie fighting rehab and health issues, the 74-date show was seen by nearly a million people and grossed over $93 million. The group also hinted that a new Roth-fronted Van Halen album might follow. Meanwhile, in 2009, Anthony and Hagar — who had toured in recent years as "The Other Half" — joined up with master guitarist Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith in the band Chickenfoot, whose self-titled debut album charted at Number Four.
Portions of this biography appeared in The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001). Chuck Eddy contributed to this article.
A sturdy American blues-rock trio from Texas, ZZ Top specialized in down-and-dirty blues-rock during the '70s, then scored colorful MTV hits during the 1980s. Formed in Houston in 1970 by Billy Gibbons (guitar), Dusty Hill (bass), and Frank Beard (drums), the trio came from a pair of rival bands the Moving Sidewalks (Gibbons) and American Blues (Hill and Beard). Their first two albums reflected the strong blues roots and Texas humor of the band. Their third album (Tres Hombres) gained them national attention with the hit "La Grange," a signature riff tune to this day, based on John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillen." Their success continued unabated throughout the '70s, culminating with the year-and-a-half-long Worldwide Texas Tour.
Degüello Exhausted from the overwhelming workload, they took a three-year break, then switched labels and returned to form with Deguello and El Loco, both harbingers of what was to come. By their next album, Eliminator, and its worldwide smash follow-up, Afterburner, they had successfully harnessed the potential of synthesizers to their patented grungy blues groove, giving their material a more contemporary edge while retaining their patented Texas style. Now sporting long beards, golf hats, and boiler suits, they met the emerging video age head-on, reducing their "message" to simple iconography. Becoming even more popular in the long run, they moved with the times while simultaneously bucking every trend that crossed their path. As genuine roots musicians, they have few peers; Gibbons is one of America's finest blues guitarists working in the arena rock idiom -- both influenced by the originators of the form and British blues-rock guitarists like Peter Green -- while Hill and Beard provide the ultimate rhythm section support.
Live from Texas One of the few rock & roll groups with its original members still aboard after four decades, ZZ Top play music that is always instantly recognizable, eminently powerful, profoundly soulful, and 100 percent American in derivation. They have continued to support the blues through various means, perhaps most visibly when they were given a piece of wood from Muddy Waters' shack in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The group members had it made into a guitar, dubbed the "Muddywood," then sent it out on tour to raise money for the Delta Blues Museum. ZZ Top's support of and link to the blues remain as rock-solid as the music they play. The concert CD/DVD Live from Texas, recorded in Dallas in 2007 and featuring a still vital band, was released in 2008. The Rick Rubin and Gibbons-produced La Futura, the band's 15th studio album, and the group's first new studio outing since 2003's Mescalero, appeared in 2012. With the trio still a firm fixture on the worldwide touring circuit, ZZ Top released the Live: Greatest Hits from Around the World collection in 2016.
Stevie Nicks was born in Phoenix, Arizona. From an early age, she showed a love and aptitude for music, singing country and western duets with her grandfather when she was 4 years old. After moving to San Francisco, she began songwriting and performing at Menlo-Atherton High School, where she met her future long-time companion, Lindsey Buckingham. After smaller projects failed, she and Lindsey signed with Polydor Records, and produced their collaboration, "Buckingham-Nicks". The album flopped, and the two (who were now lovers) were dropped from the label, but not before attracting the attention of Mick Fleetwood, who invited them to join Fleetwood Mac. Two years later, in 1975, Fleetwood Mac's self-titled album topped the charts, headlined by Stevie's "Rhiannon". Success for the band, and for Stevie, was immediate. The legendary "Rumours" album followed in 1977, at the same time Stevie's relationship with Lindsey came to an end. Stevie's solo career began in 1981 and met with instant success. The stress of maintaining a solo career and remaining with Fleetwood Mac became too much for her, and she became addicted to cocaine, and then to prescription medication. After undergoing treatment for her addictions, Stevie vowed she would never perform publicly again, but was lured out of retirement for Fleetwood Mac's 1997 reunion and continues to perform, write and record.
Many point to Billy Squier as early-'80s rock personified -- an era when he and many of his peers tempered hard rock with pop melodicism -- and by adding just the right amount of posing and posturing for the newly constructed MTV set, he scored a string of arena rock anthems and power ballads. But Squier did not enjoy overnight success as it took many years and several failed bands before he hit paydirt as a solo artist. Born on May 12, 1950, in Wellesley Hills, MA, Squier began playing piano and guitar at an early age, but didn't become serious with music until discovering Eric Clapton (via the renowned British guitarist's stints with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and Cream) in the late '60s and deciding to pursue music full-time. After playing in several local bands in the Boston area, Squier spent the early '70s relocating back and forth between Boston and New York City, during which time he contributed to a troupe that combined music with poetry (called Magic Terry & the Universe), attended the Berklee College of Music, and played in a pair of rock groups (N.Y.C.'s Kicks, which included future New York Dolls drummer Jerry Nolan, and Boston's the Sidewinders).
The Tale of the Tape But it wasn't until Squier's next band, Piper, that the singer/guitarist fronted a group that inked a recording contract, issuing a pair of underappreciated albums for A&M (1976's self-titled debut and 1977's Can't Wait), before splitting up. Undeterred, Squier soldiered on as a solo act, issuing his solo debut, Tale of the Tape, in 1980, which spawned a moderate rock radio hit with "You Should Be High Love," setting the stage perfectly for his big commercial breakthrough. Looking to the bombastic rock of early Led Zeppelin for inspiration, Squier's sophomore release, Don't Say No, became a monster hit on the strength of the Zep carbon copy "The Stroke," as well as such other rock radio staples as "In the Dark," "My Kinda Lover," and "Lonely Is the Night," all of which enjoyed heavy rotation on the newly founded MTV, helping Squier expand his audience even further.
Emotions in MotionSquier's hit parade continued with 1982's Emotions in Motion, another big release that spawned an additional monster radio/MTV hit with "Everybody Wants You," as Squier supported the album with a tour of U.S. arenas (with an up-and-coming Def Leppard opening). But on his next release, the 1984 Jim Steinman-produced Signs of Life, Squier hit a snag in his career. Although the album was another sizeable U.S. hit, the video for the album's single, "Rock Me Tonite," alienated some of Squier's hardcore rock following, as the singer was filmed flamboyantly prancing around his apartment in time to the music (and in a moment of great delight, ripping off his shirt) -- resulting in the clip often being considered one of the most inadvertently hilarious videos of all time.
Enough Is EnoughSquier continued to issue albums throughout the '80s (including such titles as 1986's Enough Is Enough and 1989's Hear & Now), but it wasn't enough to prevent his audience from moving on to such younger, similarly styled acts as Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe, as the hits eventually dried up. Squier continued to release albums in the '90s (1991's Creatures of Habit, 1993's Tell the Truth, and 1998's Happy Blue), but the hard rock audience, who became more interested in such unpretentious rockers as Nirvana, had deemed the majority of '80s rockers passé.
AC/DC 's rowdy image, giant riffs and macho lyrics about sex, drinking and damnation have helped make them one of the top hard-rock bands in history. When they first emerged from Australia in the Seventies, the primal simplicity of their songs and riffs fell on deaf ears of more prog-attuned American rock fans; in fact, they were initially marketed as a punk band. But that started to change by decade's end. And thanks in large part to duck-walking, knickers-clad guitar showman Angus Young, who became as famous for mooning audiences as for his gritty blues-based lead guitar, the group has remained one of the world's most dependable concert draws. AC/DC's albums consistently go platinum, despite never having produced a Top Twenty single in the U.S.
The guitar-playing brothers Angus and Malcolm Young moved with their family from Scotland to Sydney in 1963. After forming the first version of AC/DC in 1973, they added bawdy growler Bon Scott a year later, followed by the boogiefied rhythm section of drummer Philip Rudd and bassist Mark Evans. Their first four albums were produced by ex-Easybeats Harry Vanda and George Young, Malcolm and Angus' older brother. The group had gained a solid reputation among raucous hordes in their homeland early on, but not until 1979, with the platinum Highway to Hell (Number 17, 1979), did they become a presence on the American charts.
In February 1980, not long after AC/DC's American breakthrough, Bon Scott died from choking on his own vomit after an all-night drinking binge. Two months later he was replaced by comparably gruff ex-Geordie vocalist Brian Johnson, and less than four months after that, Back in Black began a yearlong run on the U.S. chart, peaking at Number Four (1980). Spurred by the never-say-die title track and the hard-swinging double-entendre "You Shook Me All Night Long," both of which ultimately proved standard source material for acts ranging from country to hip-hip, the album has sold more than 22 million copies to date, making it the fifth best-selling album in U.S. history.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, a 1981 reissue of a 1976 Australian LP, went to Number Three in the U.S., followed by For Those About to Rock, We Salute You, the group's first U.S. Number One LP, in late 1981. The less spectacular showings of the gold albums Flick of the Switch (Number 15, 1983) and Fly on the Wall (Number 32, 1985) gave way to the multiplatinum Who Made Who (the soundtrack to Maximum Overdrive) and The Razors Edge (Number Two, 1990). The latter contains the group's closest thing to a hit chart single, "Moneytalks" (Number 23, 1991). (The ubiquity of a number of AC/DC songs, especially those from Back in Black, is merely history catching up; this may well be rock's ultimate long-tail band.)
In January 1991, three fans were crushed to death at an AC/DC show in Salt Lake City, Utah. In late 1992, the group paid the families of the three deceased teenagers an undisclosed sum, following an out-of-court settlement. Other parties to the settlement included the convention center, the concert's promoter and the company in charge of security.
AC/DC laid low until 1995, when the Rick Rubin-produced Ballbreaker (which also marked the return of drummer Phil Rudd) entered the charts at Number Four. The bulk of the five-CD box set Bonfire, released in 1997, was made up of live tracks recorded in 1977 and 1979, as well as of a remastered version of Back in Black. It marked the first time AC/DC had released material featuring Bon Scott since the singer's death.
With older brother George Young back on board as producer, Stiff Upper Lip (Number Seven, 2000) confirmed AC/DC's status as one of the most enduringly popular hard-rock bands on the planet. Wisely sticking to its time-tested formula of no-frills riffing, the band followed the record's release with extensive touring, during which Angus Young wore, as always, a schoolboy uniform. (That outfit has become such a part of rock legend that it was included in Rock Style, an exhibit at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, which opened in 1999.)
In 2008, AC/DC returned with Black Ice, on which their signature stomp was stubbornly unaltered. It was their first album since 1981 to hit Number One in the United States; it debuted at the top of the charts in 28 other counties as well. In its first week in the U.S., sold exclusively through Wal-Mart, it moved 784,000 units. It was followed in late 2009 by the retrospective box set Backtracks, the deluxe edition of which comprised three CDs, two DVDs, and one LP of studio and live rarities. That year, the Recording Industry Association of America declared AC/DC the ninth-best selling artist in the U.S. ever. Boxscores, meanwhile, ranked the band's 2009 live tour behind only U2, Madonna, and Bruce Spingsteen in terms of gross and attendance. More than three and a half decades into the band's career, AC/DC showed no sign of letting up.
Bon Jovi's self-titled debut album (Number 43, 1984) included the hits in "Runaway" (Number 39, 1984) and "She Don't Know Me" (Number 48, 1984). But Tony Bongiovi sued the band, claiming he had helped develop its sound; Jon Bon Jovi called his cousin's influence "slim to none," but settled out of court. Their next album, 7800° Fahrenheit (Number 37, 1985), went gold.
Bon Jovi then made two crucial marketing moves: bringing in composer Desmond Child (former leader of the Seventies New York disco-rock band Rouge, he also wrote for Aerosmith, Cher and Kiss) as a song doctor, and basing the next album's content on the opinions of New York and New Jersey teenagers for whom they played tapes of more than 30 possible songs. The resulting selections formed Slippery When Wet (Number One, 1986), which sold more than 12 million copies with the help of some startlingly un-metal synthesized hooks and straightforward performance videos that showcased the videogenic band. Hit singles included "You Give Love a Bad Name" (Number One, 1986), the hardscrabble romantic anthem "Livin' on a Prayer" (Number One, 1986) — both of which Child cowrote — and "Wanted Dead or Alive" (Number Seven, 1987). The latter, perhaps in part due to Bon Jovi calling himself a "cowboy," would be covered by more than one Nashville country act a couple decades down the line.
Bon Jovi regrouped in 1999 with to record "Real Life" for the EdTV soundtrack. The following year, the band released Crush (Number Nine, 2000), collaborating with Swedish teen-pop svengali on the hit single "It's My Life" (Number 33, 2000), which included sound-effect hooks that harked back to the band's Eighties singles. Demand for Bon Jovi's old-style pop-metal turned out to be so big that, since the reunion, the band has gone on to release more successful albums than it did even during its pin-up prime. Crush went double platinum in the U.S. and sold 8 million copies worldwide. After a successful tour, Bon Jovi returned with Bounce (Number Two, 2002. And to keep momentum with their younger audience, Bon Jovi had adopted a more alternative-rock look and sound and played dates with the alternative-identified pop-rock band Goo Goo Dolls. For This Left Feels Right (Number 14, 2004), the band re-recorded some of its biggest hits as slowed-down adult contemporary songs. The four-disc box set 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong (Number 53, 2004) — the title and packing art playing on the similarly titled Elvis Presley album — compiled 50 rare and unreleased tracks and a behind-the-scenes DVD.
Bon Jovi returned the following year with an album of new material, Have a Nice Day (Number Two, 2005), which produced not only a pop single in the title track (Number 53, 2005) but also the band's first country crossover hit, "Who Says You Can't Go Home" (Number One Hot Country, 2005; Number 23 pop, 2006). The duet with singer Jennifer Nettles of the country band Sugarland won a 2007 Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. The twangy move suited the changing tastes of aging Bon Jovi fans, many of whom had begun listening to the more adult-contemporary, rock-oriented sounds of post-Garth Brooks country radio. After releasing a live disc and comprehensive greatest-hits package in 2006, Bon Jovi's next album of new material, Lost Highway (Number One, 2007), was marketed more directly to the country audience, with country-charting singles "(You Want to) Make a Memory" (Number 27 pop, Number 35 Hot Country, 2007) and "Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore" (Number 47 Hot Country, 2007), a duet with LeAnn Rimes. To support the record, the band recorded an episode of MTV's Unplugged.
But the band's next album, The Circle, was more rock than country; it debuted at Number One in Billboard in November 2009, five months after Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora's induction into the Songwriter's Hall Of Fame. At decade's end, Billboard ranked Bon Jovi as the ninth highest grossing touring artist of the 2000s; The Circle Tour, scheduled to begin in early 2010, was slated to be their biggest and most extensive since their late Eighties hair-metal heyday.
Depeche Mode were the quintessential Eighties techno-pop band, parlaying a fascination with synthesizers into huge success on the British charts (where its albums consistently went Top 10) and eventually on the U.S. pop chart. Whereas a more traditional four-piece rock band might feature three members playing instruments and the fourth singing and perhaps playing guitar or bass, the lineup of this British group — whose name was inspired by a French fashion magazine — was described like this in a 1993 press release: "Dave (Gahan) is the singer, Martin (Gore) the songwriter, Alan (Wilder) the musician, and Andrew (Fletcher) the coordinator."
Depeche Mode's stark, synthetic sound and moody, provocative lyrics buck classic pop convention, to the extent that techno music innovators in Detroit and London regularly cite the band as a major inspiration. But for decades now, Depeche Mode also inspired countless alternative rock, indie, and even metal bands — possibly because the hooks that distinguish their most popular songs are among their era's most ingratiating.
Since 2000, only one single, "Precious" (Number 71, 2005) has hit the Hot 100 in the U.S. But the band continues to be a top-tier touring draw. Despite its being preceded by occasional cancellations in Europe (due to Gahan experiencing gastroenteritis and a Gahan leg injury), the band's 2009 U.S. tour was the country's 20th highest grossing of the year.
Aerosmith was formed in 1970 by Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton and Steven Tyler, who was then a drummer. The group was completed with drummer Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford; Tyler, with his trademark high shriek, became lead singer. For the next two years all five members shared a small apartment in Boston and played almost nightly throughout the area, occasionally venturing to New York City. Clive Davis saw the band perform at Max's Kansas City in New York and signed them to Columbia. A minor hit and future FM-radio staple from their debut, "Dream On," strengthened their regional following.
Meanwhile, Aerosmith began to tour widely. In 1976 "Dream On" recharted, rising to Number Six. And by the time of "Walk This Way" (Number 10, 1977), the band had become headliners. Its phenomenal success was short-lived, however. A series of sold-out tours and platinum albums hit its peak in 1976.
When Nine Lives finally came out in 1997, it entered the chart at Number One. And though the album didn't yield a major hit single, "Pink" (Number 27, 1998) earned Aerosmith another Grammy, for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. In 1998, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", Aerosmith's contribution to the soundtrack of Armageddon (which starred Tyler's daughter Liv), became a Number One pop hit, and was nominated for an Academy Award. In early 2001, Aerosmith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, just as the band's new album, Just Push Play (Number Two, 2001) scored with the powerpoppish hit single "Jaded" (Number Seven, 2001).
Pat Benatar was born on January 10, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York. After high school, she married her boyfriend and moved to Virginia. Unhappy with domestic life, the couple divorced, and Benatar moved back to New York. She worked the club scene and found her guitarist and future husband Neil Giraldo. Benatar became famous in the 1980s with the release of her second album, Crimes of Passion, which included hits like "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."
Benatar released her debut album, In the Heat of the Night in 1979. The record was a smash success and included two monster hit singles, "Heartbreaker" and "I Need a Lover."
A year later, Benatar cemented her status as rock's premier female vocalist with her second album, Crimes of Passion. Backed by three big singles, "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", "Treat Me Right" and "You Better Run", the record went platinum immediately. As the decade continued, Benatar's career only grew. There were more albums and further popular singles, like "Love is a Battlefield" and "We Belong," whose videos got heavy play on MTV.
Her status as a 1980s icon, however, didn't translate entirely well in the 1990s. While Benatar continued to produce music, including albums like Gravity's Rainbow (1993) and Innamorata (1997), the singer struggled to match her earlier success.
She was also sidetracked by her family life. In 1982, Benatar and her guitarist, Neil Giraldo, married. The couple maintains a strong partnership on and off stage and they have two daughters, Haley and Hana.
In recent years Benatar, whose last album, Go, was released in 2003, has tapped into the nostalgia surrounding the 1980s. She continues to perform live, and in 2009 hit the road with another pioneering female rock musician, Blondie, for a series of concerts.
In all, Pat Benatar's career includes 10 platinum albums, eight No. 1 singles, and four Grammy awards.
Queen formed in 1971 and in 1973 signed their first recording contract for EMI. That year they released their first album, QUEEN. The same year saw their first major UK tour, and in 1974 they released QUEEN II as well as making their first UK headlining tour. They made their first US tour, and in November released SHEER HEART ATTACK which was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
1975 saw their new release, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, and – significantly – the single Bohemian Rhapsody. It became one of the greatest singles of all time, staying at No. 1 in the UK chart for nine weeks. The song has regularly featured in all major pop polls and was recently named again as the best single of all time. The success of A NIGHT AT THE OPERA was equally stunning, giving the band their first platinum album.
In 1976 they toured the US and Japan and by spring all four albums resided in the UK Top Twenty. Later that year they released A DAY AT THE RACES, and gave a free concert in Hyde Park to an estimated crowd of 200,000 fans. The following year saw two major US tours, the band’s sixth album, NEWS OF THE WORLD and the legendary double A side single, WE WILL ROCK YOU and WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS.
1978’s JAZZ, included another huge hit single in Bicycle Race and Queen toured the US and Canada. They spent much of 1979 touring in Europe and Japan, as well as releasing their first live album, LIVE KILLERS. They released THE GAME in 1980 which went five times platinum in Canada alone! Another One Bites The Dust became the band’s biggest selling American single. Later that year the soundtrack for FLASH GORDON was released and by the end of the year Queen had sold over 45,000,000 albums worldwide.
GREATEST HITS, GREATEST FLIX and GREATEST PIX were released simultaneously later in 1981 and Greatest Hits has rarely been out of the UK album charts since. 1984 saw THE WORKS and the single Radio Ga Ga became a worldwide hit, reaching No. 1 in 19 countries. Another huge hit was I Want To Break Free, featuring one of their most famous videos, all dressed in drag. In 1985 they were the headlining act at Rock in Rio, the biggest festival to be held anywhere in the world.
1986 saw their 14th album, A KIND OF MAGIC, which was the soundtrack to the Russel Mulcahy film, Highlander. The title track became another worldwide smash and the album entered the UK charts at No. 1; later in the year the 2nd live album, LIVE MAGIC, went into the charts at No. 3. Between 1988 and 1991 Queen released three more albums, THE MIRACLE in 1989 and in 1991 INNUENDO and GREATEST HITS TWO. All three entered the UK charts at No. 1, as did the single Innuendo.
On 23rd November 1991 Freddie Mercury announced to the world that he had AIDS and the next day he died peacefully at his home, surrounded by family and friends. He remains the most high profile loss from the disease in the entertainment world and the news shocked fans throughout the world. As a tribute Bohemian Rhapsody /These Are The Days Of Our Lives was released as a double A-sided single to raise funds for the Terence Higgins Trust. It entered the UK chart at No. 1, where it stayed for five weeks, raising over £1,000,000 for the charity and Queen became the first band to have the same single top the uK charts twice. In December of that year Queen had 10 albums in the UK Top 100. In 1992 Freddie was awarded posthumously the BRIT’s “Outstanding Contribution to British Music” and Days Of Our Lives won Best Single. On 20th April many of the world’s top stars joined Brian, Roger and John on stage at Wembley for an emotional tribute to Freddie.
In 1995 the tracks that Queen had begun in 1991 were completed by Brian, Roger and John and the long-awaited MADE IN HEAVEN was released worldwide. It was the end of an era. Since then the phenomenon of Queen has remained, however, with continuing sales for their recorded output on CD and video. October 2002 also saw Queen receive their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles, joining The Beatles as only one of a handful of non-US bands to receive the much coveted honour. In 2004 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Walk of Fame, and in the UK were voted by the public into the first UK Music Hall of Fame.
Brian and Roger continue to be ambassadors for Nelson Mandela’s 46664 HIV/AIDS awareness campaign and this month, March, played a second benefit concert for 46664 in Fancourt, South Africa. Brian and Roger took Queen back onto the touring circuit for the first time since 1986 in 2005 and 2008, joined by former Free/Bad Company singer, songwriter and musicial Paul Rodgers playing concerts across the UK and throughout Europe.
Singer Billy Idol was born on November 30, 1955, in England. He joined the punk band Chelsea in 1976, and delivered his first hit single, "Dancing with Myself," with Generation X in 1980. Idol's success continued into the following decade, his popularity bolstered by singles such as "White Wedding," Eyes Without a Face," and "Cradle of Love.
Billy Idol was born William Michael Albert Broad on November 30, 1955, in Middlesex, England. While studying English literature at Sussex University, Broad became a member of the Bromley Contingent, a group of Sex Pistols followers that included members of the Clash and Siouxsie and the Banshees. He changed his name to Idol after a schoolteacher returned a paper proclaiming him "idle" in class.
Idol teamed with lyricist and bass guitarist Tony James, and together they joined the punk band Chelsea in 1976. Idol and James subsequently left and formed Generation X—a name they took from a book about 1960s youth rock culture. Though the band never toured the United States, they did take the nation by storm in 1980 with the single "Dancing with Myself." They broke up following their second release, Kiss Me Deadly, due to managerial problems.
In 1981, Billy Idol launched his solo career in New York City with the release of the EP Don't Stop, which included two Generation X songs, (a remix of "Dancing with Myself" and "Untouchables") and a cover of Tommy James's "Mony Mony." He then pulled together a new team, including producer Keith Forsey, ex-KISS manager Bill Aucoin and New York guitarist Steve Stevens. The group released four successful records together: Billy Idol (1982), Rebel Yell (1983), Whiplash Smile (1986) and Vital Idol (1987).
Despite his legendary excessive lifestyle, Idol participated in several charity shows. He took part in Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit concert in 1988, and appeared in a charity performance of the Who's Tommy in London the following year. A motorcycle crash in February 1990 seriously damaged his leg, but he recovered quickly enough to appear in the video for "Cradle of Love," off that year's album Charmed Life.
Idol attempted to rebrand his image with 1993's computer-driven Cyberpunk, but the recording was a commercial and critical failure. The following year, he narrowly escaped death for a second time when he suffered a drug overdose. Idol remained out of the public eye until the end of the decade, when he made a cameo appearance in the Adam Sandler comedy The Wedding Singer (1998).
In 2005, Idol released his first studio album in more than a decade with Devil's Playground, featuring such songs as "World Comin' Down," "Scream" and "Romeo's Waiting." The following year, the musician releasedHappy Holidays, which included several traditional Christmas songs along with a few original singles. The Very Best Of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself, a career-spanning collection, followed in 2008. "Everyone should idolize themselves, shouldn't they?" Idol said with a laugh when asked about the album's title, according to his website.
Idol signed up to perform at the 2013 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, alongside the likes of Paul McCartney, John Oates of Hall & Oates, Jeff Tweedy and Björk. Around that time, the veteran singer returned to the studio to create a new album, releasing Kings & Queens of the Underground in 2014. That same year, Idol also published his autobiography, Dancing With Myself.
The only thing about Fleetwood Mac that hasn't changed since the band formed in 1967 is the rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John "Mac" McVie — fitting, since the band is named after those two. Through the Seventies, the band's personnel and style shifted with nearly every recording as Fleetwood Mac metamorphosed from a traditionalist British blues band to the maker of one of the best-selling pop albums ever, Rumours, then kept on for decades after that — to varying degrees of success.
Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac was formed by ex–John Mayall's Bluesbreakers Green, McVie, and Fleetwood along with Elmore James enthusiast Jeremy Spencer. McVie had been a charter member of the Bluesbreakers in 1963, Fleetwood had joined in 1965, and Green had replaced Eric Clapton in 1966. With its repertoire of blues classics and Green's blues-style originals, the group's debut at the British Jazz and Blues Festival in August 1967 netted it a record contract. Fleetwood Mac was popular in Britain immediately, and its debut album stayed near the top of the British chart for 13 months. The quartet had hits in the U.K. through 1970, including "Black Magic Woman" and the instrumental "Albatross" (which was Number One in 1968 and reached Number Four when rereleased in 1973). America, however, largely ignored Fleetwood Mac: its first U.S. tour had the group third-billed behind Jethro Tull and Joe Cocker, neither of whom was as popular in Britain.
Green and Spencer recorded Fleetwood Mac in Chicago with Willie Dixon, Otis Spann, and other blues patriarchs in 1969 (the LP wasn't released until 1971), yet the group was already moving away from the all-blues format. In May 1970 Green abruptly left the group to follow his ascetic religious beliefs. He stayed out of the music business until the mid-Seventies, when he made two solo LPs. His departure put an end to Fleetwood Mac's blues leanings. Danny Kirwan and Christine Perfect moved the band toward leaner, more melodic rock. Perfect, who had sung with Spencer Davis in folk and jazz outfits before joining British blues-rockers Chicken Shack in 1968, had performed uncredited on parts of Then Play On, but contractual obligations to Chicken Shack kept her from joining Fleetwood Mac officially until 1971. By then she had married McVie.
Early in 1971, Spencer disappeared in L.A. and turned up as a member of a religious cult, the Children of God (later the title of a Spencer solo effort). Fleetwood Mac went through a confused period. Bob Welch joined, supplementing Kirwan's and Christine McVie's songwriting. Next Kirwan was fired and replaced by Bob Weston and Dave Walker, both of whom soon departed. Manager Clifford Davis then formed a group around Weston and Walker, called it Fleetwood Mac, and sent it on a U.S. tour. An injunction filed by the real Fleetwood Mac forced the bogus band to desist (they then formed the group Stretch), but protracted legal complications kept Fleetwood Mac from touring for most of 1974. From then until around the time of theTusk tour in 1979-80, the band managed itself, with Mick Fleetwood taking most of the responsibility.
The group relocated to California in 1974. After Welch left to form the power trio Paris in 1975, Fleetwood Mac finally found its best-selling lineup. Producer Keith Olsen played an album he'd engineered,Buckingham-Nicks (Polydor), for Fleetwood and the McVies as a demo for his studio; Fleetwood Mac hired not only Olsen but the duo of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, who had played together in the Bay Area acid-rock group Fritz from 1968 until 1972, before recording with Olsen. Fleetwood Mac now had three songwriters, Buckingham's studio craft, and an onstage focal point in Nicks, who became a late-Seventies sex symbol as Fleetwood Mac (Number One, 1975) racked up 5 million in sales. The McVies divorced in 1976, and Buckingham and Nicks separated soon after, but the tensions of the two years between albums helped shape the songs on Rumours (Number One, 1977), which would sell over 17 million copies, win the Grammy for Album of the Year, and spawn the 1977 hits "Go Your Own Way" (Number 10), "Dreams" (Number One), "Don't Stop" (Number Three), and "You Make Loving Fun" (Number Nine).
After touring the biggest venues around the world—with Nicks, who was prone to throat nodes, always in danger of losing her voice—Fleetwood Mac took another two years and approximately $1 million to makeTusk (Number Four, 1979), an ambitious, frequently experimental project that couldn't match its predecessors' popularity, although it still turned a modest profit and spun off a couple of hits: "Tusk" (Number Eight, 1979) and "Sara" (Number Seven, 1979). Buckingham and Mac engineer Richard Dashut also produced hit singles for John Stewart and Bob Welch. As with many bands that have overspent in the studio, Fleetwood Mac's next effort was a live double album, Live (Number 14, 1980).
In 1980 Fleetwood and Dashut visited Ghana to record The Visitor with African musicians, and Nicks began work on her first solo LP, Bella Donna, which hit Number One and went quadruple platinum with three Top 20 singles: "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" (a duet with Tom Petty), "Leather and Lace" (a duet with Don Henley), and "Edge of Seventeen (Just Like the White Winged Dove)." Late 1981 saw the release of Buckingham's solo LP, Law and Order (Number 32, 1981) and his Top 10 single "Trouble."
Fleetwood Mac's first collection of new material in three years, Mirage (Number One), was less overtly experimental and featured the 1982 hit singles "Hold Me" (written by Christine McVie about her relationship with Beach Boy Dennis Wilson) (Number Four), "Gypsy" (Number 12), and "Love in Store" (Number 22). The following year Nicks released her second solo effort, The Wild Heart, which contained "Stand Back" (Number Five). Unlike Buckingham's critically lauded but only moderately popular solo releases, Nicks' were hugely popular, with her third release, Rock a Little, charting at Number 12. In 1984, Christine McVie released two hit singles, "Got a Hold on Me" (Number 10) and "Love Will Show Us How" (Number 30), and Buckingham released his critically acclaimed Go Insane.
Under the stress of several factors — among them each member having his or her own management team, Buckingham's increasing authority in the studio, Nicks' ascent to solo stardom and chemical dependency (treated during a 1987 stint at the Betty Ford Clinic), and Fleetwood's bankruptcy — the group took a hiatus, not coming back together again until 1985, when it began work on Tango in the Night.
Long dissatisfied with his position in the group, Buckingham officially left after deciding not to tour with it to support the album. His replacements, Billy Burnette, who was a member of Fleetwood's informal side group Zoo, and Rick Vito, toured instead. While the group was at work on Tango, Nicks was also recording, working, and touring behind Rock a Little. Released in the spring in 1987, Tango quickly moved into the Top 10, bolstered by the Top 20 hits "Little Lies," "Seven Wonders," and "Everywhere."
Behind the Mask (Number 18), Fleetwood Mac's first studio album not to go platinum since 1975, came out in 1990, around which time Christine McVie and Nicks both announced they would remain in the group but no longer tour. Later that year the drummer's best-selling memoirs, Fleetwood: My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac, was published.
In early 1991, Vito left the group, followed two years later by Burnette. In January, 1993, Buckingham joined Fleetwood, the McVies, and Nicks to perform Bill Clinton's campaign anthem, "Don't Stop," at his presidential inaugural gala. The next month, Nicks announced her departure from the group. In 1994, she released Street Angel (Number 45, 1994), her first album of new material in four years.
Two new members joined Fleetwood Mac in fall 1993: Dave Mason and Bekka Bramlett (the daughter of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, with whom Mason had toured before Bekka was born). Bramlett had also sung with the Zoo. After releasing Time (1995) to disappointing response, the group dissolved.
A year later, the Rumours edition of Fleetwood Mac reunited to record The Dance (Number One, 1997), a live document of an MTV concert that featured the band's greatest hits as well as four new songs. The album's release coincided with a worldwide tour — its first in 15 years — that found Fleetwood Mac's popularity undiminished as it marked the 20th anniversary of Rumours.
In 1998 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where it played an acoustic set that Buckingham insisted would be its swan song. Ironically, founding member Peter Green performed as well — but with fellow inductees Santana.
Taking stock of Nicks' solo highlights, Enchanted, a three-disc box set, was also released. Her 2001 release,Trouble in Shangri-La, returned her to the Top 10. Even Green enjoyed a comeback, forming the Peter Green Splinter Group and releasing a series of late-'90s albums devoted to the blues. By 2000, Fleetwood Mac had sold more than 100 million copies of its albums — including 25 million for Rumours alone — making it one of the most popular rock bands in history.
In 2003, the band regrouped to record Say You Will — the first Fleetwood Mac album in 30 years without Christie McVie's vocals. The album debuted at Number Three, giving the band its best debut since 1982'sMirage, and selling over 500,000 copies. In 2009, the group reconvened again for the Unleashed tour, which thoroughly covered North America before moving on Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Along the way, band members offered hints that another group album might be on the way.
Portions of this biography appeared in The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001). Evan Serpick contributed to this article.
Hall and Oates were signed to a record label in the 1970's, releasing their debut album in '73 with Atlantic, Abandoned Luncheonette, with their hit single, "She's Gone", hitting #1 on the R&B charts. After a second album with Atlantic, Hall and Oates were dropped by the label. RCA quickly picked them up, bringing them great success.
From the mid 1970's to mid 1980's, they had several #1 singles from their six consecutive multi-platinum albums, including "Rich Girl", "Kiss on My List", "Private Eyes", "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)", "Maneater", and "Out of Touch".
In 1987, Daryl Hall and John Oates were recognized by the Recording Industry Association of America as "the number one selling duo in music history", and they continue to hold that title.
Following the killing of 49 people at a gay club in Orlando over the weekend, Elton John and Paul McCartney have joined the long list of artists who’ve paid tribute to the victims over the past few days.
Performing in London last night, John told the audience, “When a horror like this massacre in Orlando comes along, great agony crashes across the world like a tsunami. And great grief. We feel shocked, angry and feel devastated inside for the victims and the loved ones who are mourning them.”
According to Billboard, he commented on the Love and Bravery project he’s involved with as well, and “having love to accept everyone for who they are. Especially people who are different from you and the bravery to show it.”
John also acknowledged the landmarks around the world that paid tribute to the victims with rainbows. “What I find extraordinary, and what really gives me strength and hope, is that immediately behind that devastation came a different wave,” he noted. “A rainbow colored wave of love, from Istanbul to Tel Aviv, from Sydney Opera House to the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building and the White House … So tonight, while I would like to honor and mourn the LGBT community’s loss in Orlando and the loss of everyone who has been a victim of hate and stigma and dogma, I would like to say tonight we are winning the fight against prejudice. The rainbow around the world tells me we can and we will win against these people.”
Meanwhile, McCartney draped himself in a rainbow-hued flag and wrote “We stand together with Orlando” on his Twitter page.