Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Today In Oldies 10/28/2010

Golden Hits Radio and GHR-2's Everything Oldies......Oldies news you need to know!
Where In The World Is......Gino Vannelli?
Music was in Gino Vannelli's blood from birth.  Born to a big band musician father, he developed a passion for multiple genres of music, and by the end of his high school years, he had scored a major label record deal with RCA!  While that deal unfortunately exposed him to everything bad about the music business, leaving him broke and desperate, his perseverance provided a rare second chance most artists never get.   

After an unsuccessful stint in New York, Gino and his brother, Joe, set out for Los Angeles to try and reverse their musical misfortune.  Down to their last five dollars and having been rejected by every major label in town, they were down to one last hope.  The Vannelli brothers camped out outside the offices of A&M Records one morning checking for any sign they could find of label head Herb Alpert.  Seeing him walk through the parking lot, Gino Vannelli made it past a security guard and begged a slightly apprehensive Alpert to give him an audition.  Alpert told him to return later that afternoon.  After playing a few of his songs acoustically for Alpert, including the one that would become his first American hit, he was signed instantly to A&M!

That was 1973, and Gino Vannelli's first album hit later that year, and his first hit single came a year later and brought a rather interesting distinction with it.  "People Gotta Move" hit #22 in the U.S. in 1974, and it got him an invitation to appear on Soul Train.  He became only the second white artist to perform on the show up to that point (the first had been Dennis Coffey in 1971).  Several more albums for A&M failed to produce a hit single, but the big one finally came in 1978.

Vannelli's album "Brother To Brother" spawned "I Just Wanna Stop", which elevated his career to a new level.  It was a Top 5 smash, hitting #4 in the U.S. and topping the charts in his native Canada.  It also brought him a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Performance and a truckload of Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys.

He signed with Arista Records in 1980, and after some time off, his first album for the label produced another Top 10 hit.  "Living Inside Myself" earned Gino Vannelli another Grammy nomination and hit #6 in 1981.  He hit the American charts one last time with "Hurts To Be In Love" in 1985, peaking at #6 on the Adult Contemporary charts.

The end of Gino Vannelli's run on the charts certainly didn't signify the end of his career.  He has successfully ventured into several other musical genres, including jazz and opera.  His foray into classical music produced a song called "Parole per Mio Padre" ("A Word To My Father"), a song that got him an invitation from the Vatican to perform for Pope John Paul II.  He has also dabbled in poetry, publishing a book of poems to accompany his 2009 CD, "A Good Thing".  When asked to provide liner notes for a CD of his re-recorded hits earlier this year, they ultimately became a separate book entitled Stardust In The Sand.  The final chapter, Godlings and Feet of Clay, describes Vannelli's encounters with some of music's biggest superstars, including Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, and Sting.

In 1978, aspiring musicians were probably describing their encounter with Gino Vannelli after he arrived as a star........

Golden Hits Radio and GHR-2's Burning Question of the Day

Which group took their name from an unemployment form in their native country?

Check back tomorrow @ Everything Oldies for the answer, and leave a comment here with your best guess!

Yesterday's Burning Question (and Answer) of the Day

"Hungry Heart" was Bruce Springsteen's first Top 5 hit in 1981, but he originally wrote it for someone else.  To which band did he intend to give "Hungry Heart" before being advised by his manager to keep it?

Answer: The Ramones

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