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Shocked, Michelle

With only a handful of releases, artist Michelle Shocked has managed to cover a number of musical styles. Her 1986 debut "The Texas Campfire Tapes" was literally a campfire-side recording. In 1989 she released "Captain Swing," a '40s big band swing style . In 1991, she released a blackface minstrelsy-styled album, "Arkansas Traveler." Shocked's style changes eventually drew the ire of her label who refused to release her proposed gospel project in 1993.

Drake, Nick
An English folk/rock singer of late '60s and early '70s who only is recently being rediscovered for his fragile, haunting vision. Drake died tragically in 1974 from an overdose of antidepressant medication.

Boettcher, Curt
Curt Boettcher was one of the chief architects of the 1960s sunny, psychedelic California sound. After working with the Association he was involved with other groups like the Ballroom, the Millennium and Sagittarius. Boettcher, pronouced as "becher," died in 1987.

Buckleys, The
Explore the music of the enignmatic Tim Buckley (1947-1975) and son, Jeff Buckley (1966-1997) who both died too early (overdose and drowning, respectively). Both left behind a fascinating music legacy.

A performer whose lifestyle and music remain ever entertwining and controversial, Madonna burst on the scene with 1984's "Like a Virgin" album.

Bjork started with a hit in Iceland when she was 11 years old. A member of the avant-pop group, the Sugarcubes, she later released a series of highly inventive dance/club oriented albums.

Bush, Kate
An enigmatic, literate artist from England, Kate Bush burst on the music scene at the age of 17 with the hit "Wuthering Heights" baed on Emily Bronte's novel. The track appeared on her 1978 debut album, "The Kick Inside" which was produced by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour.

Summer, Donna
From the pulsating, extended 1975 disco hit "Love to Love You Baby" to the naughty 1979 "Hot Stuff/Bad Girls" 1-2 punch and beyond, Summer delivers on the title of "Disco Diva."

After disbanding the Police in 1984, Sting emerged as a highly inventive solo artist incorporating elements of worldbeat, jazz and classical in his literate, boundary-expanding brand of rock.

Bowie, David
From the androgynous Ziggy Stardust of "Space Oddity," to plastic soul in "Young Americans," and to the blockbuster dance-pop of "Let's Dance," Bowie has been a true musical chameleon throughout his career.

Mitchell, Joni
It's hard to think of the folk-rock scene of the 1970s without including Joni Mitchell and her restless innovation from "Woodstock" to "Turbulent Indigo."

Jones, Rickie Lee
Rickie Lee Jones burst on the music scene with 1979's "Chuck E's in Love" with its literate wordplay and successful blend of folk, jazz and R&B.

Joel, Billy
Billy Joel's combination of Beatlesque hooks and Tin Pan Alley sensibilities racked him an impressive string of multi-platinum albums and hit singles.

Vega, Suzanne
Suzanne Vega hit the pop consciousness with her 1987 song "Luka," re-opening the door for singer/songwriters dealing with substantial themes. Vega's style was very much the blueprint for the '90s Lilith Fair tours.

Faithfull, Marianne
Marianne Faithfull was the center of the swinging London scene in the 1960s with her debut single "As Tears Go By" - a Jagger/Richards composition. She all but disappeared for many years to return in the late 1970s with the acclaimed, acerbic "Broken English" in 1979.

Stevens, Cat
Cat Stevens (born Demetre Georgiou) changed his name to Yusuf Islam when he became a Muslim in the late '70s essentially ending a string of late '60s and '70s introspective hits like "Peace Train" and "Wild World."

lang, kd
Hailing from Alberta Canada, k.d. lang's music has moved from cutting-edge, if not at times campy, country to pop/torch songs while raising a couple of eyebrows along the way.

John, Elton
Elton John (born Reginald Dwight) along with songwriter Bernie Taupin had a solid streak of hits in the early to mid '70s included on landmark albums like "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Honky Chateau."

Springsteen, Bruce
In the mid '70s, Bruce Springsteen was the rock & roll savior fans and critics were desperately searching for. Fortunately, Springsteen delivered on classic albums, such as "Born to Run" and "Darkeness on the Edge of Town."

Morrison, Van
Van Morrison's music can be called everything from celtic folk, R&B, jazz and blues but above all, it is poetic, with songs like "Into the Mystic", "Moondance" and "Have I Told You Lately."

Simon, Carly
Simon earned a number of hits in the early 1970s with her signature pop/rock, confessional style including "Anticipation," "Loving You is the Right Thing to Do," and the jet-set commentary "Your So Vain."

Gabriel, Peter
Leaving Genesis in 1977 to mount a solo career, Gabriel moved from cult artist to mainstream ("Shock the Monkey" 1982) to multi-platinum ("Sledgehammer" 1986) and still onward to world music with his Real World label.

Turner, Tina
After the sizzling Ike & Tina Revue ended in 1976 it took a while for Tina's solo career to take off. It did in a big way in the 1980s starting with her 1984 album "Private Dancer."

Anderson, Laurie
Weaving together spoken and written language as well as cutting-edge technology, Laurie Anderson's performance pieces are beguiling, sometimes disturbing, but always interesting.

Nilsson, Harry
Nilsson assembled disparate elements of many musical styles from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s into well-crafted pop songs. A personal favorite of the Beatles and critics, his output became erratic in the 1970s.

Manilow, Barry
Starting with commercial jingles in the 1960s and then moving to accompanying and arranging for Bette Midler in the early 1970s, Barry Manilow started his own solo career with his 1972 self-titled release.

Jackson, Joe
Emerging from the angry, intelligent New Wavers at the end of the 1970s, Joe Jackson has released an array of albums - some easily accessible ("Night & Day", 1982) and some less so ("Heaven & Hell", 1997).

Simon, Paul
After five years with the immensely popular duo Simon & Garfunkel, Paul Simon embarked on an equally successful solo career starting with 1972's self-titled release.

Marrying Celtic with New Age, Enya has both created her own personal style as well as being successful on the pop and rock charts around the world.

Collins, Phil
After his stint as the drummer/singer in Genesis, Collins emerged as a solo artist in the 1980s with a series of hits including "In the Air Tonight," "Sussudio," "One More Night," and "Another Day in Paradise."

Midler, Bette
The multi-talented Midler has had a successful singing and acting career for nearly three decades including her hit renditition of "Wind Beneath My Wings" (1989) as well as her starring role in "The Rose" (1979).

Jackson, Michael
Jackson followed his smash debut album "Off the Wall" with the decade-defining album "Thriller." His coined dance trend, "moon walking," became a national pastime and synonymous with Jackson.

Jackson, Janet
Janet Jackson’s albums "Control" and "Rhythm Nation" were part of the 1980s mega-album trend to storming the charts. Each album released numerous hits and established her firmly in pop culture.

Franklin, Aretha
Aretha Franklin didn't earn the title "Lady Soul" for nothing. Her late 1960s and early 1970s releases showcase her gospel-charged approach to soul with classic tracks such as "Respect" and "Think."

Springfield, Dusty
Bouffant and dark mascara aside, Dusty Springfield was one of Britain's greatest pop divas. Her release "Dusty in Memphis" was the perfect marriage of pop and soul. Born in 1939, Springfield died of breast cancer in 1999 - just ten days before being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

For over four decades, Cher has adjusted her musical style with the times. She began in the early 1960s with girl-group styled hits with then husband, Sony, and continues at the turn-of-the millennium with pulsating dance club hits.

Lennon, John
After leaving the Beatles in the late 1960s John Lennon, released a series of experimental albums with wife Yoko Ono. As he settled into domestic bliss over the next decade he steered back toward more traditional rock before his tragic assassination in 1980.

Parks, Van Dyke
Van Dyke Parks is a composer, arranger, producer and musician with a career spanning four decades. He has contributed lyrics and music to many other artists including the Beach Boys ("Heroes and Villains") and Harpers Bizarre ("Come to Sunshine"). His own albums span orchestrated pop as on 1968's "Song Cycle" to Americana themes interpreted in a Caribbean style as on 1976's "Clang of the Yankee Reaper."

Newton-John, Olivia
Beginning with country hits like "I Honestly Love You", Newton-John moved on to hits from the films "Grease" and "Xanadu.” Later she capitalized on the fitness fad, with the sexy aerobics hit "Physical".

Browne, Jackson
Browne's five albums released between 1973 and 1977 capture the mood of the decade as seen from the eyes of the quintessential Californian singer/songwriter poet.

Gaye, Marvin
Marvin Gaye's early '70s albums "What's Going On" and "Let's Get It On" are exceptional soul releases. His last album, released before his tragic death in 1984, included the smooth soul hit "Sexual Healing."

Ross, Diana
Ross began her solo career in 1970. Much like the few singular musicians who maintained staying power over the decades, she adapted her musical style with trends of the time to various degrees of success.

Jones, Howard
Howard Jones' synth-pop hits of the mid 1980s include "New Song," "What is Love" and "Life in One Day." Jones combined layered synthesizers with strong pop hooks.

Yankovic, Weird Al
Yankovic is the leading song parodist of the MTV era. Who could forget the spoofs "My Bologna" (the Knack's "My Sharona") or "Eat It" (Michael Jackson's "Beat It") that rival the originals for inventiveness?

Bataan, Joe
The originator of the New York Latin Soul style, Joe Bataan's masterpiece was the influential 1973 "Salsoul" which fused funk and latin influences and remains a rare groove item to this day.

Loggins, Kenny
Loggins first found success in the duo Loggins & Messina in the '70s. He moved on to a successful solo career associated with several hugely popular movie soundtracks including "Footloose" and "Caddyshack."

Sade's music is cool and sophisticated as best demonstrated on her signature tune and first international hit "Smooth Operator." She won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1985.

Orbit, William
After years of behind the scenes work, William Orbit came to the mainstream's attention with his work on Madonna's "Ray of Light" album. Orbit's Strange Cargo series takes the listener on an ambient journey.

Vannelli, Gino
Canadian Gino Vannelli has been releasing music since the early '70s. His signature tunes "I Just Wanna Stop" and "Living Inside Myself" showcase his skillful songwriting and passionate performing.

Jean-Marc Cerrone, a Parisian producer / composer / drummer, released a series of highly orchestrated Euro-disco albums in the '70s containing hits such as "Supernature" and the 15 plus minute "Love in C Minor."

Stewart, Rod
Spanning over four decades and all varieties of rock, Stewart's music career ranges from folk/rock material like "Maggie May" to polished disco/rock gems like "Hot Legs." Through it all, Stewart remains a sex symbol of rock.

Taylor, James
Perhaps overused, the phrase sensitive "singer/songwriter" aptly describes James Taylor. His music helped a generation transition from the turbulent '60s into the more introspective '70s.

Beck is a musician whose music simultaneously mirrored and informed the culture of the 1990s. Drawing from many musical styles, but refusing to be defined by any, his releases are full of restless electisism. He came to national attention with his 1994 surprise hit "Loser" which appears on the "Mellow Gold" release.

Streisand, Barbra
Streisand's music is only part of a multi-faceted career including stage, acting and directing. In the face of the dominant musical trend of rock & roll, Streisand has managed to follow her own unique path.

Harrison, George
Harrison was the lead guitarist for the Beatles. Despite several challenges he slowly grew to find his voice in both his playing and songwriting that would carry him into a successful solo career after the Beatles' breakup.

Ian, Janis
Ian's debut album contained the hit "Society's Child" - a song about a interracial romance written from a teenager perspective Ian was 15 years old at the time. She went on to continued success in the early '70s.

Jarre, Jean Michel
Jean Michel Jarre is France's "electronic ambassador." His '70s albums "Oxygene" and "Equinoxe" are considered classics in the then emerging electronic style.

Diamond, Neil
Neil Diamond has been going strong for over four decades. His strongest period was in the late '60s and early '70s when he released signature tunes such as "Cherry Cherry," "Sweet Caroline" and "Cracklin' Rose."

Prince Rogers Nelson (aka Prince and later still just an unpronounceable symbol) is one of the few artists who can bounce effortlessly from different musical styles be it funk, pop, psychedelia, or rock. His 1983 release 1999, while not as funky as his previous release, brought him much commercial success based on the strength of hits like the title track "1999" and "Little Red Corvette."

Cass (Cass Elliot), Mama
Mama Cass was one quarter of the Califormia folk-pop outfit the Mamas & the Papas until their breakup in 1968. She went on with a solo music career and numerous TV appearances until her untimely death in 1974.

Carlos, Wendy
Carlos' 1968 "Switched-On Bach" release kicked off an electronic/classical fusion fad that forever changed the landscape of electronic music. The album featured classic pieces performed with a Moog synthesizer. Carlos would go on to produce many other important works including soundtracks for the films "A Clockwork Orange" and "Tron."

Weber, Andrew Lloyd
Andrew Lloyd Weber is one of the most successful composers of musicals. His musicals include the renowned "Cats", "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Evita", and "The Phantom of the Opera" among others.

Wonder, Stevie
Stevie Wonder is an important figure in the history of the R&B and Motown. Wonder's creativity blossomed in the early '70s on key albums like "Innervisions" and "Songs in the Key of Life."

Waits, Tom
Waits' 1970s albums are rife with descriptions of boozy lowlife. In the '80s he began to appear in films as well as score for film. In the late '90s he returned with a series of critically acclaimed albums.

Vez, El
El Vez, the self proclaimed "Mexican Elvis" had used Elvis, Paul Simon, and David Bowie cover themes for his own albums of political, pro-Latino music and humor. Can you guess the original album referred to above?

Ronstadt, Linda
Linda Ronstadt's early to mid '70s albums were definitive of the "California" folk-rock sound. Later in her career her musical output fell into the adult contemporary pop and Latin genres.

Vollenweider, Andreas
Swiss harpist / composer Andreas Vollenweider has enjoyed success on the pop, jazz, and classical charts which can only be explained by his pan-cultural music defying to be neatly categorized.

Dylan, Bob
From humble beginnings to music legend, the story of Bob Dylan and the evolution of popular music are at times one and the same. For over four decades, his impact on popular music has been immense.

Nyro, Laura
Most of Nyro's music is famous from other musician's covers of her songs such as "Wedding Bell Blues" and "Stoney End." Regardless, she has earned a great deal of critical praise for her songwriting and idiosyncratic performance style.

Raitt, Bonnie
Raitt had been releasing albums since the early '70s, but it wasn't until the late '80s that she achieved commercial success with 1989's "Nick of Time" which earned her a Grammy for Album of the Year.

Shocked, Michelle
With only a handful of releases, artist Michelle Shocked has managed to cover a number of musical styles. Her 1986 debut "The Texas Campfire Tapes" was literally a campfire-side recording. In 1989 she released "Captain Swing," a '40s big band swing style . In 1991, she released a blackface minstrelsy-styled album, "Arkansas Traveler." Shocked's style changes eventually drew the ire of her label who refused to release her proposed gospel project in 1993.

Etheridge, Melissa
Melissa Etheridge's first three album earned praise and moderate success, but it would be her fourth release, 1993's "Yes I Am" that would be her big commercial breakthrough. The album contained MTV/radio hits like "I'm the Only One" and "Come to My Window." The album's tracks and, in particular, the title track were Etheridge's way to put the speculation about her sexual orientation as a lesbian, to rest once and for all.

Starr, Ringo
Ringo Starr, former drummer in the Beatles from 1962 to 1970, embarked on his solo career with a decidedly non rock & roll album "Sentimental Journey" in 1970. It was an album of standards from the '30s and '40s. He abruptly changed styles to country and western on then next album "Beaucoup of Blues." His 1973, the album, "Ringo" returned the artist to familiar pop/rock territory turning out a number of hits like "Photograph" and "Oh My My."

Branigan, Laura
An Italian 1970s pop song, translated into English and titled "Gloria" became Laura Branigan's first and biggest hit of her career off of her 1982 self-titled debut. She disproved those relegating her to one-hit wonder status by returning with 1983's "Branigan 2" and the hit "Solitaire." She followed with her third release, 1984's "Self Control" and scored another huge hit with the sexy title track.

Wainwright, Rufus
The son of contemporary folk artists Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright found his musical calling in the lush, theatrical style of Tin Pan Alley. His self-titled debut and sophomore release "Poses" feature his characteristic moaning/singing voice typically accompanied by rollicking piano work, lush melodies and poignant, romantic lyrics – creating what some have termed pop-opera or "popera."

Penn, Michael
Michael Penn's 1989 debut "March" was a critical favorite spawning the hits "No Myth" and "This and That." His subsequent three albums were released slowly over 20 years earning him praise for their song craft but attracting only a small loyal audience. Michael's brothers are the actors Sean and Chris Penn.

Riperton, Minnie
Minnie Ripperton (1943-1979) started her career in 1961 with the girl-group, the Gems. She joined the psychedelic soul outfit, Rotary Connection, in the late '60s and then launched her solo career with the 1969 acclaimed "Come to My Garden." She reached her greatest commercial success with 1974's "Perfect Angel" and the chart topping single, "Lovin' You," which demonstrated her five octave vocal range.

Alpert, Herb
Herb Alpert has been a successful musician and businessman for over four decades. He founded A&M records in 1962 and was the label's most popular act during the '60s with his backing band, the Tijuana Brass. Their success was based on the strength of hits like "The Lonely Bull" and the classic "A Taste of Honey." He staged a major comeback with 1979's disco-tinged "Rise" and again with 1987's "Diamonds," which featured Janet Jackson on vocals.

Hendrix, Jimi
Born in Seattle in 1942, Jimi Hendrix is a legend of the electric guitar. He became an international superstar after his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967 where he awed the audience not only with his virtuosic playing, but by lighting his guitar on fire as well. His version of the American national anthem played at the closing of the Woodstock festival in August 1967 is considered one of the most important performances in rock history. He died on Sep 18, 1970 in London from drug-related complications.

An openly gay rocker, Jobriath only released his two albums before retiring to the seclusion of the Hotel Chelsea and eventually succumbing to complications due to AIDS in 1983. His 1973 debut album is equal parts Meat Loaf, Queen and David Bowie and was massively promoted. Jobriath's second album in 1974 was essentially ignored by both promoters and buyers. Jobriath retired shortly thereafter. He was essentially forgotten for many years until a new batch of fans emerged in the 1980s.

Ferry, Bryan
Bryan Ferry began his solo career in 1973 while still in the influential British rock band, Roxy Music (1971-1983). His 1970s solo releases typically featured covers of classic 1960s pop/rock and soul tunes in contrast to Roxy Music's art/glam rock style. After the breakup of Roxy Music, Ferry continued the style of the group’s last and most successful album, "Avalon" (1982), with sleek and stylish offerings like 1985's "Boys and Girls" and 1987's "Bete Noire."

Walker, Scott
Scott Walker achieved more recognition in Britain than in his native country, the U.S., in both his time in the Walker Brothers (1964-1967) and his solo career. Walker effectively crossed the crooning vocal style of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett with the bleak, theatrical world view of famed singer and songwriter Jacques Brel from whom Walker drew much of his early song material. Walker's songs are often deal with the seamy side of life – drunkards and prostitutes and death.

The Japanese musician Kitaro honed his distinctive electronic style while composing the soundtracks for the popular 1990s Japanese television documentary series, "The Silk Road." Kitaro's music is lush, soothing, majestic and contemplative, often evoking windswept vistas. He collaborated with the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart on the 1987 album "The Light of the Spirit" and won a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album for 1999's "Thinking of You."

Orton, Beth
Beth Orton was a major force in the late 1990s emerging genre that blended acoustic folk with trip-hop. She worked with several artists like William Orbit and the Chemical Brothers before releasing her highly acclaimed debut, 1996's "Trailer Park." Her 1997 "Best Bit" EP featured a pair of duets with jazz-folk legend Terry Callier. She followed with 1999's acclaimed "Central Reservation" and 2002's somber "Daybreaker."

Benatar, Pat
Pat Benatar studied opera at Julliard High School of Music and sang at New York's famous Catch a Rising Star Nightclub. Her 1979 debut, "In the Heat of the Night" earned her immediate success with the track "Heartbreaker." Subsequent hits like "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and "Fire and Ice" coupled with heavy rotation on the fledgling MTV network helped Benatar become a top concert draw in the 1980s.

Idol, Billy
English born Billy Idol had a brief run with the British punk band, Generation X (1976-1981) before pursuing a solo career. His distinctive bleach blonde spiked hair, punk attitude and polished dance beats on hits like "White Wedding" (1982) along with stylish videos in heavy rotation on the fledgling MTV network helped propel Idol's self-titled debut into a commercial success. His sophomore effort, 1983's "Rebel Yell" was even more successful.

Kamakawiwo'ole, Israel "Iz"
Often referred to as the Bob Marley of Hawaii, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, or "Iz" for short, was the most popular Hawaiian entertainer since Don Ho and his "Tiny Bubbles" in the 1960s. Iz was part of the popular late 1970s group "The Makaha Sons" and pursued a successful solo career starting in 1990. His calm world outlook and accomplished ukulele playing are best demonstrated on his posthumous release, 2001's "Alone in Iz World." He died in 1997 of complications from being overweight.

Clifford, Linda
Linda Clifford may not be as well known as other divas of the disco period like Donna Summer, but she brought a distinctive element of R&B and soul to her music that set her apart. She signed on with Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom Records label and had her first big hit with 1978's anthem, "Runaway Love." She followed with subsequent hits like the club favorite "If My Friends Could See Me", "Red Light" (which appeared on the 1980 Fame soundtrack) and "Shoot Your Best Shot."

Downes, Geoff
Keyboardist Geoff Downes has the distinction of being in three seminal rock acts, each being famous or infamous, as may be the case, for different reasons. First, he was one half of the electro-pop duo, The Buggles, whose early 1980s prophetic single, "Video Killed the Radio Star" goes down in music history as the first single played on MTV. Next he was part the seminal progressive rock band, Yes, for their 1980 release "Drama." Finally, he was a member of the 1980s supergroup, Asia.

Miranda, Marlui
Marlui Miranda's music and work, while not strictly ethnographic, is informed from over two decades of research of Brazilian indigenous music. Her 1996 "Ihu Todas Os Sons" presents 17 haunting and breath-taking tracks. Each track highlights a different form of tribal musical expression such as those used in a ceremony or story telling. 1998's "IHU 2" is a traditional mass performed using traditional indigenous melodies and music styles.

Saussy, Tupper
Tupper Saussy was part of the late 1960s group Neon Philharmonic which had the 1969 Billboard hit "Morning Girl" from the baroque, psychedelic album "The Moth Confesses." Saussy became an anti-tax activist, going underground to avoid Federal authorities in the 1980s. He authored two controversial books: "Miracle on Main Street" (1980) - dealing with the U.S. monetary system, and "Rulers of Evil" (2001) - dealing with the influence of the Catholic Church and the Jesuit Order in the history of America and Western Civilization.

Franks, Michael
Michael Franks is the singer/songwriter behind the 1970s quirky soft rock hit "Popsicle Toes." The song originally appeared on his 1976 release, "The Art of Tea." Franks has worked in many different styles including smooth jazz, Brazilian and folk-rock over the last three decades. Franks taught undergraduate literature course at UCLA and Berkley in the early 1970s as well as composed film scores.

Merchant, Natalie
After departing the popular 1980s college rock band, 10,000 Maniacs, lead singer Natalie Merchant started her solo career with the well-received 1995 release "Tigerlily." Songs such as "Wonder" and "Carnival" off her debut display Merchant's gift for writing literate, socially conscious lyrics. She followed her debut with 1998's "Ophelia" and 2001's "Motherland." On her latest release, 2003's "The House Carpenter's Daughter" Merchant explores bluegrass and folk influences.

Hammond, Albert
Albert Hammond wrote and performed the memorable 1972 hit "It Never Rains in Southern California." He released a dozen or so albums well into the 1980s but he is best known for his songwriting. He wrote Leo Sayer's 1977 hit "When I Need You," co-wrote (with Diane Warren) the Starship's 1987 hit "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" and co-wrote (with Hal David) the Julio Iglesias-Willie Nelson 1984 duet "To All the Girls I Loved Before."

Walsh, Joe
Guitarist Joe Walsh was a member of the James Gang and the Barnstorm before pursuing a solo career in the early 1970s. In 1976 he was asked to replace the guitarist of the highly successful West Coast band, the Eagles. Besides his contribution to the Eagles' highly successful albums, Walsh's solo career produced the album rock classics "Funk #49," "Rocky Mountain Way" and "Life's Been Good" – a humorous portrait of rock star excesses.

Frampton, Peter
Peter Frampton's 1976 "Frampton Comes Alive" is one of the best selling live albums of all time. On this double-LP live album, Frampton uses his trademark talking guitar effect on the now classic rock staples "Baby, I Love Your Way," "Do You Feel Like We Do" and "Show Me the Way." These songs ironically were included on earlier albums in their studio form, but did not have the impact as his live performance of them.

Smith, Elliott
Elliott Smith's music is reminiscent of Nick Drake's lyricism and folk melancholy married to a Beatlesque music sensibility. His songs often address subject matter as drug addiction, troubled relationships and loneliness — though Smith choose not to label himself as a confessional songwriter. Inclusion of several of Smith's song on the soundtrack of the popular film "Good Will Hunting" earned him an Academy Award nomination. Smith died of apparent suicide in 2003.

Cole, Natalie
Natalie Cole is the daughter of music legend Nat King Cole. She began her musical career in the mid '70s. Her 1975 debut "Inseparable" contained the infectious hit "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)." She followed with a number of R&B hits into the late '80s when she moved into jazz-based pop with 1991's "Unforgettable: With Love." On this album, with the help of overdubbing, Cole is able to sing the duet "Unforgettable" with her dad.

Phoebe Snow
Blessed with a distinctive contralto voice, Phoebe Snow (born Phoebe Ann Laub) began honing her act in New York’s Greenwich Village clubs in the early 1970s. In 1972 she was signed to Shelter Records and two years later her critically acclaimed self-titled debut appeared. It spawned the sultry 1974 hit "Poetry Man." She followed with five more releases in the '70s and then all but disappeared in the mid '80s. Snow returned in 1989 with "Something Real" and in 1998 with "I Can't Complain."

Puffy AmiYumi
Known in their native Japanese as Puffy and in the U.S. as Puffy AmiYumi, this female duo Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura, became so popular in their native country that they eventually hosted their own TV show and even sported their own line of shoes, clothes and toys. Right from their start in 1995, the duo embrace all styles of music, from power pop, disco glitter, ska punk, soulful balladry to hard rock and everything in between. Helping the duo is producer and former Jellyfish drummer Andy Sturmer.

Buffy Sainte-Marie
The Canadian-American folk singer, Buffy Sainte-Marie was born to Cree parents in Canada and adopted by a white family in the U.S. She was signed to the Vanguard label and was one of their prominent stars in the 1960s. In particular, her songs addressing the plight of Native Americans such as "Now That the Buffalo's Gone" and "My Country 'Tis of They People You're Dying" generated controversy. She also wrote the war protest song "Universal Soldier" which was one of the Scottish troubadour Donovan’s first hits.

The Britpop band, Cousteau, was formed in 1998 and was named after the famous French oceanographer, Jacques Cousteau. The group’s 2000 self-titled release recalls the '60s fellow British artist Scott Walker in their chamber pop sensibility and attracted a cult following. The group returned in 2002 with "Sirena" and continued the ocean theme – "sirena" means mermaid both in Italian and Spanish. In 2003 the group changed their name to "Moreau."

The Paris-based group Ekova was formed by American vocalist/cellist Dierdre DuBois, Iranian percussionist Arach Khalatbari, and Algerian guitar/lute player Mehdi Haddab. The group's debut in 1998, "Heaven’s Dust," met with critical success. The group’s knack for finding interesting combinations of sounds along with Dubois' glossolalia singing (literally in a made-up language) leads to a unique listening experience. The group’s second album "Space Lullabies and Other Fantasmagore" was released in 2001.

Afro Celt Sound System
Formed in 1995, the Afro-Celt Sound System's name describes from the start their mission: a seamless fusion of the traditional music of Western Africa with that of Ireland. The music of Africa and the music of the Celts display remarkably similarities - the harp and the kora, the bodhran and the talking drum. Ancient historians talked of "Black Celts" leading one to wonder if the first inhabitants of western Europe originally African? The group's debut in 1996, "Sound Magic, Vol. 1," was released on the Real World label.

Buckley, Tim
Tim Buckley (1947-1975), the gifted folk/rock troubadour, was known for using his 5 and ½ octave voice as a freeform jazz instrument to astonishing effect. His first release was the folksy, psychedelic self-titled debut in 1966. In subsequent releases he moved toward jazz and avant-garde musical territory. The quickly evolving eclectic approach limited his commercial success during his lifetime. A good starting place for the newcomer is Buckley's relatively accessible 1969 release "Happy Sad." Buckley died of drug overdose.

The British group Electronic formed in 1989 from the members of two other influential British bands. Johnny Marr from the Smiths teamed up with New Order’s front man, Bernard Shaw. On their first hit "Getting Away With It" they are joined by the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant on vocals. Electronic released just two more releases in the subsequent years, 1996's "Raise the Pressure" and 1999's "Twisted Tenderness."

Pet Shop Boys
The stylish duo of Chris Lowe and Neil Tenant formed the Pet Shop Boys in 1981 in London. Right from the start, their highly polished, synth dance-pop style cultivated a following on both sides of the Atlantic. Their 1986 debut "Please" contained the hits "West End Girls" and "Opportunity (Let's Make Lots' of Money)." Some of their quirkier hits are remakes such as "Always on My Mind" (Willie Nelson), "Can’t Take My Eyes Off You" (Frankie Valli), "Go West" (Village People) and "Where the Streets Have No Name" (U2). They also collaborated with Dusty Springfield and Liza Minnelli.

Orchestra du Soleil
The German-based Orchestra du Soleil is the trio of Stefane Tachvighi, Silvie Penelope Schmidt and Carl Oesterhelt. Their first release 2001's "A Summer Day by the Lake" is a hypnotic trip through a fictional summer day. It's retro-pop sound recalls 1960s bossa nova and psychedelic pop. Their second release 2003's "ODSA Mondial: An Excursion in Nuclear Music" is based on the writings of the 20th century work of psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957), who developed the science of orgonomy which is posits that neurosis in humans are related to the natural flow of life energy being blocked in the body by traumatic experiences in life.

Chamber Strings, The
The Chamber Strings is the brainchild of singer and songwriter Kevin Junior. After a series of stints with different bands, Junior formed the group in Chicago in 1997. Their initial release, Gospel Morning, was originally released on a label that collapsed. Fortunately, the album was picked up by Bobsled Records and released a second time in 1999 with better distribution. The group’s sophomore release "Month of Sundays" was released in 2001. The group’s lush, chamber-pop approach produces instantly memorable tunes like the upbeat "A Fool Sings Without Any Song" and the wistful "It's No Wonder" from their 2001 release.

Neil Young
The Canadian-born singer/songwriter Neil Young has had many facets to his long and distinguished musical career. He is perhaps best known for his first couple of solo releases including 1972’s "Harvest." This album contains the classic rock favorites "Old Man" and "Heart of Gold" as well as contributions from none other than the London Symphony Orchestra on two tracks. Young was also a member of the influential Buffalo Springfield prior to his solo career as well as member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for their 1970 album "Deja Vu."

Klaatu was a Canadian band active between 1973 and 1981. In 1976 a rumor started circulating in the United States to the effect that the Beatles had recorded and released a new album under the pseudonym of "Klaatu" and sales of Klaatu's 1976 self-titled debut rocketed. Once the rumor was revealed, the group’s commercial fortunes declined quickly - perhaps by listeners who felt they had been deceived by a group of unknown musicians pretending to be the Beatles. Their second release was aptly titled "Hope" (1977). In total, Klaatu released five albums. The re-release of their 1976 debut in 1998 is a good place to pick up on the Klaatu vibe. It starts with the wonderfully quirky single "Calling Occupants (Of Interplanetary Craft)."

Shakespear's Sister
The duo Shakespear’s Sister (1988-1992) was comprised of Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit. Fahey was a former member of Bananarama and Detroit was a former backup singer of Eric Clapton in the late '70s. Their debut "Sacred Heart" (1989) was a synth-laden affair and contained the UK top ten hit "You're History." Their follow-up and last album "Hormonally Yours" was released in 1991. The duo took their name from a Smith’s song, although the original spelling was altered due to a mistake made by a designer along the way.

Eddie Jobson
Eddie Jobson is a rock violinist and keyboard/synthesizer virtuoso. The British-born Jobson was a member of influential '70s groups such as Roxy Music, Curved Air, Jethro Tull and U.K. He released only two solo albums, 1983's "Zinc (Green Album)" and 1985’s instrumental "Theme of Secrets." The latter album was entirely performed by Jobson with a Synclavier computer and it takes the listener on a rich sonic journey.

Louis Prima
Louis Prima (1910-1978) enjoyed a career spanning from the 1930s to the 1960s. Prima was a trumpeter, band leader, singer and composer as well as actor in several films. His music style was equal parts swing, Dixie Land, jazz and rock and roll. Examples of Prima's signature songs include "Angelina," "Just a Gigolo – I Ain't Got Nobody," "Buona Sera" and others. These and other hits were typically swinging romps capitalizing on his Italian heritage, comedic word play and showmanship. In the height of his career in the mid 1950s, vocalist and wife, Keely Smith, acted as the straight man that Prima played off.

Joan Baez
Joan Baez (1941- ) is sometimes jokingly referred to as the queen of folk or the Madonna of folk. However, these terms only begin to reveal the contribution Baez has made to music and popular culture. While she achieved limited commercial success in terms of charting singles, Baez's greatest influence has always been her treatment of topical issues of world events and politics like the Vietnam conflict, integration and the United Farm Workers plight, to name just a few. Baez debuted at the now legendary 1959 Newport Folk Festival and then slowly built her following in the late '60s in her association with Vanguard Records during that label's years as the bastion of folk, rock and eclectic jazz.

Mojave 3
The roots of the group Mojave 3 extend back to the shoegazing group, Slowdive. Three of the members of Slowdive, Neil Halstead, Rachel Goswell and Ian McCutcheon, signed with 4AD in 1995. The group's debut "Ask Me Tomorrow" appeared in 1996 and set the pattern for the group's style: somber and sometimes sparse, atmospheric songwriting with nods to the alternative-country movement. The group released their fourth album, "Spoon and Rafter," in 2003.

Sandra Bernhard
Comedian, actress and musician Sandra Bernhard (1955- ) began working the Los Angeles comedy clubs in the late 1970s where she earned a loyal following based on her biting monologues on pop culture. Her feature length movie "Without You I'm Nothing" was based on her off-Broadway show of the same name. The movie ends with Bernhard wrapped in a flag and singing Prince's "Little Red Corvette." 2000's "I'm Still Here…Damn" found Bernhard covering everything from Lillith Fair waifs to bottled water.

Seal began in the London music scene in the late 1980s. On his self titled 1991 debut, Seal's distinctive vocal style is paired with techno and house beats. The debut was well received and produced the hits "Killer" and "Crazy." Seal's second release featured the international hit single "Kiss from a Rose" featured in the 1995 Batman Forever film as well as a duet "If I Could" with Canadian folk icon, Joni Mitchell. "Human Being" followed in 1998 and "Seal IV" in 2003. Key to Seal's rich sound is the production savvy provided by the respected producer, Trevor Horn.

Badly Drawn Boy
Badly Drawn Boy (BDB) is the one man band, Damien Gough. BDB's indie pop sound caught the critics' attention and the 2000 debut "Hour of the Bewilderbeast" won a Mercury Prize for best album of the year. As well, it earned him a fan in author Nick Hornby. One of Hornby's books "About a Boy" was being made into a film (starring Hugh Grant) and Gough was tapped to provide the soundtrack. The soundtrack was released as 2002's "About a Boy." BDB's third release 2002's "Have You Fed the Fish?" continued with more top-notch singing and songwriting. The track "You Were Right" features the lyrical turn: "I'm turning Madonna down/And I'm calling it my best move."

The British band Gomez was formed in 1996. The group's sound has been described as blues-rock meets lo-fi and trip-hop. Lead vocals switch between three distinctive, strong vocalists adding an unexpected interesting dimension to their music. Gomez's songs typically unwind slowly, revealing themselves and engulfing the listener. The group won the distinguished Mercury Prize for 1998 album of the Year for their debut "Bring It On." "Liquid Skin" followed in 1999 and "In Our Gun" in 2002.

Kirsty MacColl
Kirsty MacColl (1959-2000), the daughter of folk legend Ewan MacColl, began her musical career in the late 1970s. She wrote the modern girl group gem "They Don't Know" in 1979 for a singing audition. The song became a huge hit for comedienne Tracy Ullman. During the next two decades she released only a handful of albums. 1991's "Electric Landlady" spawned the U.S. hit "Walking Down Madison" as well as the Latin-tinged "My Affair." She dropped out of site for most of the late 1990s after a painful divorce in the early 1990s. MacColl returned in 2000 with the full-on Latin album "Tropical Brainstorm." Kirsty MacColl died later the same year as the result of a boating accident off the coast of Mexico.

Jen Chapin
Jen Chapin is the daughter of the 1970s folk-rock singer/songwriter Harry Chapin whose signature songs include "Taxi" and "Cat's in the Cradle." Jen Chapin did not originally pursue a career as a musician but eventually came to it in the 1990s. Her first release is 2000's "Live at the Bitter End" – recorded at the lower Manhattan venue, the Bitter End. She released 2002's "Open Wide" with her husband, Steven Crump. In 2004, she released "Linger" in which a portion of the proceeds from the sales will go World Hunger Year (WHY). WHY was formed by Harry Chapin in 1975 to fight world hunger and poverty. Jen Chapin is the current chair of WHY.

Like most musical movements of yesteryear, the motivation and appeal of the sounds of a particular time are often hard to understand later. Two of these movements are space age pop and exotica of the 1950s and 1960s. One of the most popular artists working in these genres was the Mexican –born Esquivel. The composer, arranger and pianist Esquivel experimented with the then-exotic instruments such as the tuned bongo kits, the theremin and the ondioline (a keyboard instrument that could produce flute and violin-like sounds with vibrato.) Exotica and space age pop were culturally and technically motivated. On the cultural side, post war American listening audiences were yearning for tastes of exotic as well as futuristic music which helped the movement gain momentum. On the technical side, advances in recording and stereo were being made which allowed musicians to experiment with the spectrum of sounds. Exotica and space age pop experienced a revival in interest in the 1990s.

Blind Boys of Alabama, The
One of the longest lived gospel group groups, the (Original Five) Blind Boys of Alabama was formed in the 1940s at the Talladega Institute for the Deaf and the Blind in Alabama. The school is part of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) and was founded back in 1867 by a Civil War veteran who was visually impaired as a result of imprisonment during the war. Despite recording since 1948, the group did not enjoy widespread success until 1988 when they starred in the Obie Award-winning show "Gospel at Colonus." The show was a retelling of the story of Oedipus using gospel choir and soloists as the storytellers.

Hector Zazou
Hector Zazou was born in Algeria of a French father and Spanish mother. He has been recording since the mid-1970s but did not garner much attention until he teamed up with Zairean singer Bony Bikaye in the early 1980s. What followed as Zazou teamed up artists from Africa and around the world were avant-garde, cutting-edge musical odysseys with each album taking a different stylistic turn. For example, there are his concept albums: 1994's "Sahara Blue," a tribute to French symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, and 1995's "Songs from the Cold Seas," a tribute to the Arctic regions. On these two albums there are guest performance by artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, John Cale, Dead Can Dance, Bjork and Suzanne Vega. Zazou has also collaborated on albums with artists including ambient keyboardist Harold Budd ("Glyph" 1995) and Celtic singer and composer Barbara Gogan ("Lights in the Dark" 2003).

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
The American poet and musician, Gil Scott-Heron (1949- ) is known for his spoken word performances of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In particular, his influential 1970 song/poem "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" which appeared on his album "Small Talk at 125th and Lenox" is considered an important work in black popular music. In the song, Scott-Heron offers piercing social commentary about the irrelevance of television and the important of real events, especially, on the subject of black empowerment.

John Vanderslice
John Vanderslice is a San Francisco-based, independent singer/songwriter who has earned a following for his literate and well-crafted music. He is a proponent of all-analog recording and his recording studio, Tiny Telephone, in the Mission District of San Francisco is the last all-analog recording studio in the Bay Area. Vanderslice records on the Barsuk label, a small independent record label based in Seattle. His debut "Mass Suicide Occult Figurines" in 2000 contained the track "Bill Gates Must Die" – which caused a minor media sensation when it was claimed (but was later revealed to be false) that Vanderslice was being sued by Microsoft. In 2005, he released his fifth studio album "Pixel Revolt."

Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)
Shelby Allan "Shel" Silverstein (1930-1999) was an eclectic American poet, songwriter, musician, composer, and writer to name just a few of his talents. His beloved (and mildly controversial to some) children's literature includes "A Light in the Attic," "Where the Sidewalk Ends," "The Giving Tree," and "Runny Babbit." Another facet of the multi-talented Silverstein is his quirky contributions to rock music. Hits he wrote include "Cover of the Rollin' Stone" and "Sylvia's Mother" for Dr. Hook and "A Boy Named Sue" famously performed by Johnny Cash in his concert at San Quentin. Silverstein also released many albums of his own starting in the late 1950s and continuing into the 1980s. His 1975 album "Freakin' at the Freakers Ball" is a good introduction to the perverse musical humor of Silverstein.

Originally named "Bauhaus 1919" after the German art movement, Bauhaus is considered one of the first goth rock groups. Their first single in 1979 "Bela Lugosi's Dead" manifests many of the underlying themes of the goth movement: minimalism, nihilism, romanticism, and gothic horror. The group – consisting of Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash, David J., and Kevin Ash - broke up in 1983 with all members going to perform on various other projects including solo work, Dali's Car, Love and Rockets, and Tones on Tail. The group reunited in 1998. Bauhaus is the abbreviated term for "Staatliches Bauhaus" a German art and architecture school in Germany that operated from 1919 to 1933. The school was influential on Modernist architecture.
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