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.