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Pablo Cruise began in San Francisco, in 1973, with former members of Stoneground (Cory Lerios on keyboards and vocals, David Jenkins as vocalist and on guitar, and Steve Price on drums) and It’s a Beautiful Day (Bud Cockrell on bass and vocals). Initially, there were many fans who were left wondering who Pablo Cruise really was. When asked the question, the band, which is a quartet, would answer, “He’s the guy in the middle.” When asked what Pablo Cruise meant, the band would say that “Pablo represents an honest, real, down to earth individual; and Cruise depicts his fun loving and easy going attitude towards life.” 
The band released its first album in 1975, a minor success self-titled Pablo Cruise, and their second album in 1976, titled Lifeline. Their second album achieved slightly higher success than their first but still only managed to chart at No. 139 in the United States.
1977′s A Place in the Sun was the turning point in the band’s career as they finally entered the mainstream music scene. With hit single “Whatcha Gonna Do?” and the title track “A Place in the Sun“, the album peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard charts. Other chart hits followed, including “Love Will Find a Way” and “Don’t Want to Live Without It” (both in 1978), “I Want You Tonight” in 1979, and “Cool Love” in 1981.
Initially based in Boise, Idaho, the Raiders began as an instrumental rock outfit led by organist Paul Revere (born Paul Revere Dick in Harvard, Nebraska, on January 7, 1938). In his early 20s, Revere owned several restaurants in Caldwell, Idaho and first met singer Mark Lindsay (born March 9, 1942, Eugene, Oregon) while picking up hamburger buns from the bakery where Lindsay worked  (this circumstance was later referred to in the tongue-in-cheek song “Legend of Paul Revere”). Lindsay joined Revere’s band in 1958. Originally called The Downbeats, they changed their name to Paul Revere & The Raiders in 1960 on the eve of their first record release for Gardena Records. The band scored their first Pacific Northwest hit in 1961, with the instrumental “Like, Long Hair”. The record had enough national appeal that it peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard charts on April 17, 1961. When Revere was drafted for military service, he became a conscientious objector and worked as a cook at a mental institution for a year and a half of deferred service, while Lindsay pumped gas in Wilsonville, Oregon. Lindsay, on the strength of their Top 40 single, toured the U.S. in summer 1961 with a band that featured Leon Russell filling in for Revere on piano.
By summer 1962, Revere and Lindsay were working together again in Oregon with a version of The Raiders that featured drummer Mike “Smitty” Smith (not to be confused with The Dave Clark Five‘s late lead vocalist and keyboardist Mike Smith), who would spend two long periods with the band. Around this time, KISN DJ Roger Hart, who was producing teen dances, was looking for a band to hire. Hart had a casual conversation with a bank teller who told him about a band called “Paul Revere-something”. Hart obtained Revere’s phone number and they met for lunch. Hart hired the band for one of his teen dances. Soon afterwards, Hart became the group’s personal manager. It was Hart who suggested they record “Louie Louie“, for which Hart paid them about $50, producing the song and placing it on his Sande label, ultimately attracting the attention of Columbia Records. According to Lindsay, the Northwest Raiders were a “bunch of white-bread kids doing their best to sound black. We got signed to Columbia (Records) on the strength of sounding like this”. Whether the Raiders or The Kingsmen recorded “Louie Louie” first is a matter of some controversy. However, both groups recorded it in the same studio in Portland, Oregon on Northwest 10th Avenue. By then, Raiders included Revere, Lindsay, Smith, guitarist Drake Levin and bassist Mike “Doc” Holliday, who was replaced in early 1965 by Phil Volk.
This week we feature the girls and one of the best one to start the week off with would be one of my favorites in Laura Nyro. Today”s song became a hit for another New Yorker so please give it a listen here.
Nyro was born Laura Nigro in the Bronx, New York, the daughter of Gilda Mirsky Nigro, a bookkeeper, and Louis Nigro, a piano tuner and jazz trumpeter. Laura had a younger brother, Jan Nigro. Laura was of Russian Jewish, Polish and Italian ancestry. As a child, she taught herself piano, read poetry, and listened to her mother”s records by Leontyne Price, Billie Holiday and classical composers such as Ravel and Debussy. She composed her first songs at age eight. With her family, she spent summers in the Catskill Mountains, where her father played the trumpet at resorts. She credited the Sunday school at the New York Society for Ethical Culture with providing the basis of her education; she also attended Manhattan”s High School of Music and Art.
Nyro was very close to her aunt and uncle, the artists Theresa Bernstein and William Meyerowitz, who helped to support her education and early career.
While in high school, she sang with a group of friends in subway stations and on street corners. She said, “I would go out singing, as a teenager, to a party or out on the street, because there were harmony groups there, and that was one of the joys of my youth.” Among her favorite musicians were John Coltrane, Nina Simone, Pete Seeger, Curtis Mayfield, Van Morrison, and girl groups such as The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas and the Shirelles. She also commented: “I was always interested in the social consciousness of certain songs. My mother and grandfather were progressive thinkers, so I felt at home in the peace movement and the women”s movement, and that has influenced my music.”
Her father’s work brought him into contact with record company executive Artie Mogull (1927–2004), and his partner, Paul Barry (1912–1987) who auditioned Laura in 1966 and became her first managers. However, Louis Nigro claims that he “not even once” mentioned Laura to any of his clients, adding “they would have laughed at me if I did.” As a teenager she experimented with using different names, and Nyro (NEAR-oh) was the one she was using at the time. She sold her song “And When I Die” to Peter, Paul and Mary for $5,000, and made her first extended professional appearance, at age 18, singing at the “hungry i” coffeehouse in San Francisco. Mogull negotiated her a recording contract, and she recorded her debut album, More Than a New Discovery, for the Verve Folkways label. The album provided material for other artists, notably the 5th Dimension and Barbra Streisand.
In 1967, Nyro made only her second major live appearance, at the Monterey Pop Festival. Although some accounts described her performance as a fiasco that culminated in her being booed off the stage, recordings later made public contradict this view.
Soon afterwards, David Geffen approached Mogull about taking over as her agent. Nyro successfully sued to void her management and recording contracts on the grounds that she had entered into them while still a minor. Geffen became her manager, and the two established a publishing company, Tuna Fish Music, under which the proceeds from her future compositions would be divided equally between them. Geffen also arranged Nyro’s new recording contract with Clive Davis at Columbia Records, and purchased the publishing rights to her early compositions. In his memoir Clive: Inside the Record Business, Davis recalled Nyro”s audition for him: she”d invited him to her New York apartment, turned off every light except that of a television set next to her piano, and played him the material that would become Eli and the Thirteenth Confession. Around this time, Nyro considered becoming lead singer for Blood, Sweat & Tears, after the departure of founder Al Kooper, but was dissuaded by Geffen. However, BS&T would go on to have a hit with a cover of “And When I Die.”
The new contract allowed Nyro more artistic freedom and control. In 1968, Columbia released Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, her second album. This received high critical praise for the depth and sophistication of the performance and arrangements, which merged pop structure with inspired imagery, rich vocals and avant-garde jazz, and is widely considered to be one of her best works. It was followed in 1969 by New York Tendaberry, another highly acclaimed work which cemented Nyro’s artistic credibility. The record”s “Time and Love” and “Save the Country” emerged as two of her most well-regarded and popular songs in the hands of other artists. Her own recordings sold mostly to a cult audience. This prompted Clive Davis, in his memoir, to note that her recordings, as solid as they were, came to resemble demonstrations for other performers.
Her fourth album, Christmas and the Beads of Sweat, was issued at the end of 1970. The set contained the songs “Upstairs By a Chinese Lamp” and “When I Was a Freeport and You Were the Main Drag”. It featured Duane Allman and other Muscle Shoals musicians. The following year’s Gonna Take a Miracle was an album of her favorite “teenage heartbeat songs”, recorded with vocal group Labelle (Patti Labelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash) and the production team of and Leon Huff. With the exception of her attribution of the song “Désiree” (originally “Deserie” by The Charts), this was Nyro”s sole album of wholly non-original material, featuring such songs as “Jimmy Mack“, “Nowhere to Run“, and “Spanish Harlem“.
Cale was born on December 5, 1938, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and graduated from Tulsa Central High School in 1956. Along with a number of other young Tulsa musicians, Cale moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, where he first worked as a studio engineer. Finding little success as a recording artist, he later returned to Tulsa and was considering giving up the music business until Clapton recorded Cale’s “After Midnight” in 1970. His first album, Naturally, established his style, described by Los Angeles Times writer Richard Cromelin as a “unique hybrid of blues, folk and jazz, marked by relaxed grooves and Cale’s fluid guitar and laconic vocals. His early use of drum machines and his unconventional mixes lend a distinctive and timeless quality to his work and set him apart from the pack of Americana roots-music purists.” In 2013 Neil Young remarked that of all the musicians he had ever heard, J.J. Cale and Jimi Hendrix were the two best electric guitar players.
Some sources incorrectly give his real name as “Jean-Jacques Cale”. In the 2006 documentary, To Tulsa and Back: On Tour with J.J. Cale, Cale talks about Elmer Valentine, co-owner of the Sunset Strip nightclub Whisky a Go Go, who employed him in the mid-1960s, being the one that came up with the “JJ” moniker to avoid confusion with the Velvet Underground‘s John Cale. Rocky Frisco tells the same version of the story mentioning the other John Cale but without further detail.
His biggest U.S. hit single, “Crazy Mama“, peaked at #22 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1972. During the 2006 documentary film To Tulsa and Back Cale recounts the story of being offered the opportunity to appear on Dick Clark‘s American Bandstand to promote the song, which would have moved it higher on the charts. Cale declined when told he could not bring his band to the taping and would be required to lip-sync the words.
Cory Allan Michael Monteith (May 11, 1982 – July 13, 2013) was a Canadian actor and musician, known for his role as Finn Hudson on the Fox television series Glee. Born in Calgary, Canada, and raised in Victoria, Canada, Monteith had a troubled adolescence involving substance abuse from age 13, and he left school at 16. After an intervention by family and friends, he entered at age 19, and began rebuilding his life.
As an actor based in Vancouver, he had minor roles on such television series as Stargate Atlantis and Smallville before an audition tape of him singing “Can”t Fight This Feeling” helped to land him the biggest role of his career, Finn on Glee. This introduced him to an international audience as a high school quarterback who is at first reluctant to join the high school singing club. In later seasons, the character had graduated but returned as a singing coach. Following his success on Glee, Monteith”s film work included the movie Monte Carlo and a starring role in Sisters & Brothers. In an interview with Parade magazine in 2011, he discussed his history of substance abuse as a teen, and in April 2013 he again sought treatment for addiction. In July 2013, he died of a of heroin and alcohol in a Vancouver hotel room.