Posts By Mark Graham

by (@unclegrambo)

Guns N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers And Beastie Boys Lead The List Of Inductees In The Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame

The 2012 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will include hard rock veterans Guns N’ Roses, funk-rock stalwarts Red Hot Chili Peppers, bratty hooligans turned socially conscious hip hoppers the Beastie Boys, trippy sixties folk singer Donovan, English blues rockers Faces/The Small Faces, and the pioneering female folkster Laura Nyro. These groups will all be inducted during a ceremony held this April, one that promises to be one of the most emotionally charged and exciting RRHOF events in recent memory.

We’re speaking, of course, primarily of the tumultuous relationship between W. Axl Rose and (most of) the former members of Guns N’ Roses, a band whose explosive brand of hard rock changed the face of not only the Sunset Strip sound of the mid-80s, but also propelled them into a short reign as the World’s Best Band around the time of Appetite For Destruction/G N’R Lies/Use Your Illusion I and II. Thanks to a potent combination of too much fame, too much money, and too many drugs, the group imploded after a disastrous two-plus year world tour that concluded in 1993, and most of the band members have not performed together since. Axl addressed this issue on a recent episode of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show, noting that he has mended some fences with bassist Duff McKagan and rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, but also intimated that he and Saul “Slash” Hudson are not on what anyone would describe as speaking terms. Can they put aside their differences for one evening, and maybe perform a few tracks? That, my friends, is likely a question that not even Hall organizers will have an answer to until the night of the ceremony.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Hall of Fame if every act nominated got in. To that end, this year’s snubs include The Cure, Eric B. & Rakim, Joan Jett, Heart, and the artist that you, the VH1 Tuner readers, voted as being most-worthy of induction into the Hall this year, Donna Summer. It’s not over yet, though, guys! Just ask Alice Cooper, who was passed over for 15 years until being inducted on his 16th go-round last year.

Congrats to all of this year’s nominees; see you in April!

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by (@unclegrambo)

Avril Lavigne Decorates Christmas Cookies (Yes, That Avril Lavigne!)

Avril Lavigne has matured quite a bit since her early mall pop days with The Matrix, both as an artist and as a person. Her maturation is on full display in this somewhat jarring yet supremely entertaining new video from our friends over at MTV Buzzworthy, a video which shows a newly domesticated Lavigne decorating Christmas cookies, of all things!

Don’t get it twisted, though: Martha Stewart, she is not. Her trademark sense of style—remember when Avril did Head-To-Toe with us earlier this year?—has not wavered one bit, even as her skills in the kitchen have rapidly progressed. In fact, according to the video, Avril has even started cooking (“Italian!”) for her band when they’re out on the road together. Here’s hoping somebody saved that snowman cookie for us!

Watch Avril Lavigne Make Christmas Cookies While Being Certifiably Adorable [MTV Buzzworthy]

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by (@unclegrambo)

Defiance As A Defense Mechanism: Lana del Rey Live At The Bowery Ballroom

Seemingly every time anyone discusses Lana Del Rey, questions about her quote-unquote “authenticity” are evoked. This sentiment was, above all else, dominating the pre- and post-show conversation at tonight’s sold-out show at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom (including the two dudes we overheard huddled up, sniffing something in a comically loud fashion, in a men’s bathroom stall after the concert had wrapped).

If you’re not already familiar with the artist known as Lana Del Rey, you soon will be. This 25-year-old siren exploded into the public consciousness this summer when she self-released her debut single, “Video Games,” to YouTube (garnering some 9 million views along the way). Cooler-than-thou hipster blogs initially praised her work, but quickly turned their backs on the self-described “gangster Nancy Sinatra” when it was discovered that she initially released an album under her real name, Lizzy Grant, before fully formulating the Lana Del Rey character. It’s not as if Grant/Del Rey’s calculated transition was unprecedented; everyone from Robert Zimmerman (better known as Bob Dylan) to Stefani Germanotta (aka Lady Gaga) has done something similar in the name of “art.” However, in this age of information overload, the rabid, scoop-hungry blogosphere has recognized that they can rack up more page views by deriding this young singer’s work than they can by taking a wait and see approach.

After months worth of fervent Internet discourse and a hype-generating European tour, Lana Del Rey finally took the stage in her self-appointed hometown of New York City earlier this evening in what she clearly felt was a put-up or shut-up performance. “It’s good to be home,” she told the Bowery Ballroom audience as she strode on stage to the bold entrance music of Bernard Herrmann‘s iconic score from Psycho. After a couple uncomfortable moments of “f***in technical difficulties” (her words), she quickly launched into “Without You,” a song which contains lyrics that arguably define her ethos: “I think I found God in the flashbulbs of your pretty cameras.”

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by (@unclegrambo)

12 Days Of DIVAS: Watch Jill Scott’s Soaring Version Of “Natural Woman” From 2001

VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul will air on VH1 on Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and we couldn’t be more excited about this year’s lineup, which includes Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J and more.

As a lead-up to this year’s broadcast premiere in two weeks, we here at VH1 Tuner are excited to announce that we’ll be putting the spotlight on one of our favorite soulful performances from DIVAS events past for each of the next 12 days, a little event that we’re calling the 12 Days of DIVAS. First up, we’ve got a killer cut from the incredibly talented Jill Scott, who is another one of the headliners for this year’s event. Back in 2001 at VH1 Divas Live: The One And Only Aretha Franklin, Scott brought the house down at New York City’s famed Radio City Music Hall with her soaring version of Aretha’s staple, “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman.” In particular, pay close attention to the full-bodied stank that she lays down approximately 3:25 into this song, right as she’s wrapping up the Goffin/King classic — these are the kinds of unforgettable moments that make the DIVAS franchise one of the most anticipated events in the music industry year in and year out.

VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul will premiere exclusively on VH1 on Monday, December 19, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.

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by (@unclegrambo)

The 30 Greatest Britney Spears Songs (In Honor Of Her 30th Birthday)

If you think about it, Britney Spears is one of the last pop stars created during the “old” era of the music industry (meaning, before the advent of mp3′s). Her career as a bubblegum teen idol was launched in the late nineties, right at the same time as a little show on MTV called TRL was beginning to take off. The fortunes of these two properties became inextricably tied together, and thanks to some crazy catchy tunes and some truly iconic music videos that got tons of on-air exposure during the last gasp of MTV’s infatuation with the music video format, Britney Spears quickly became not only the biggest star in the music industry, but one of the most famous celebrities in all the world.

As everyone knows, her tabloid notoriety would soon go on to eclipse her musical output, and there was a period of time there when a lot of people thought that Britney Spears might not make it to her 30th birthday. However, to her credit, Britney was able to pull her life back together and re-dedicate herself to her music career, and her focus is now unquestionably sharp. As we look back upon her body of work on the occasion of Brit Brit’s milestone 30th birthday—an incredible six Number One albums, nineteen Top 40 singles (!)—it’s a testament to her longevity and outstanding career output that we had an incredibly difficult time putting together this list of the 30 Greatest Britney Spears Songs (which you can also listen to on Spotify).

Feel free to debate our choices in the comments below!

VH1 Presents: The 30 Greatest Britney Spears Songs

30. “Radar” (Blackout, 2007)
29. “If You Seek Amy” (Circus, 2008)
28. “Hot As Ice” (Blackout, 2007)
27. “Showdown” (In The Zone, 2003)
26. “Break The Ice” (Blackout, 2007)
25. “Soda Pop” (Baby One More Time, 1999)
24. “Hold It Against Me” (Femme Fatale, 2011)
23. “Overprotected” (Britney, 2001)
22. “(I Got That) Boom Boom” (In The Zone, 2003)
21. “How I Roll” (Femme Fatale, 2011)

Keep reading for the Top 20!
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by (@unclegrambo)

Eight Burning Questions About The 2012 Grammy Nominations

The nominees for the 2012 Grammy Awards—seventy-eight categories worth, if you’re counting at home!—were announced last night. Four of those categories (Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist) were announced live on CBS during a star-studded concert, featuring performances by the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, The Band Perry and more. If you happened to go to bed early or decided to watch American Horror Story instead, we’re here to help. Rather than plead ignorance when your co-workers ask you for your thoughts on the nominations, we’ve come up with this list of eight handy conversation starters to get you going. No, we’re not focusing on boring things like who got the most nominations in this post (if you want that stuff, no worries, we’ve got you covered); instead, we’re gonna give you a kickstart for some things that are actually fun to discuss, like whether or not Lady Gaga was doing dressed like a cross between a Cobra Kai member and Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, if Kanye West is going to go ballistic again after being snubbed in the Album of the Year category, and deciphering what exactly a Skrillex is. Enjoy, and happy watercoolering.

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[Photos: Getty Images]

by (@unclegrambo)

2012 Grammy Nominations: The Complete List (In All The Categories That You Care About)

The nominees for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards were announced in Los Angeles tonight during a live special that aired on CBS. The 2012 Grammys will be broadcast on CBS February 12th at 8/7c. Kanye West led all nominees with 7 nods, despite being royally snubbed in the Album of the Year category, closely followed by Adele, Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars (who each snagged six nominations).

However, big surprise of the evening was certainly the recognition bestowed upon Bon Iver, who scored nominations in three of the “Big 4″ categories (Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best New Artist). He is a virtual unknown to most Americans, and not even presenter and fellow Best New Artist nominee Nicki Minaj knew how to pronounce his name (she probably should’ve watched this YouTube video with the correct pronunciation of Bon Iver before heading out on stage). However, music industry insiders clearly know of him, and his performance at the awards in February will likely be the most lovably awkward televised performed since Elliott Smith showed up at the Oscars in 1998.

Here’s a (mostly) complete list of the 2012 Grammy Nominations:

RECORD OF THE YEAR
Adele, “Rolling In The Deep” [WATCH]
Bon Iver, “Holocene” [WATCH]
Bruno Mars, “Grenade” [WATCH]
Mumford & Sons, “The Cave” [WATCH]
Katy Perry, “Firework” [WATCH]

SONG OF THE YEAR
Adele, “Rolling In The Deep”
Bon Iver, “Holocene”
Bruno Mars, “Grenade”
Kanye West, “All Of The Lights”
Mumford & Sons, “The Cave”

BEST NEW ARTIST
The Band Perry
Bon Iver
J. Cole
Nicki Minaj
Skrillex

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Adele, 21
Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops & Hooligans
Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
Lady Gaga, Born This Way
Rihanna, Loud

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by (@unclegrambo)

2012 Grammy Awards Preview: Record & Song Of The Year

Year in and year out, people watching the Grammy Awards find themselves asking the same question: What is the difference between Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year? What makes this especially confusing is that different songs are usually nominated in each category; in the past five years, only 10 out of the 50 total songs nominated in each of these categories have made both categories (three of those, however, have ended up winning both prizes: “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum, “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse and “Not Ready To Make Nice” by Dixie Chicks).

To answer the question we posed above, the Grammy for Record Of The Year is awarded to the artist and production team responsible for how the song sounds, while the Grammy for Song Of The Year is given to the songwriters responsible for the composition of the song (meaning: lyrics and melodic structure). With that in mind, here are a few likely candidates to be nominated in these two categories when the 2012 Grammy nominations are announced live on CBS at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Adele, “Rolling In The Deep”
The smoky-voiced siren is the favorite to sweep this year’s major awards, and “Rolling In The Deep” has proven to be MASSIVE in terms of its sound and its popularity; it’s been sitting in the Billboard Hot 100 for 46 weeks and counting.

Bruno Mars, “Grenade”
Bruno was incredibly well-respected as a songwriter in music industry circles long before he became a solo performer; in the Grammys game, respect from one’s peers is equally important as commercial success.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Ten Helpful Conversation Starters If You Missed The 2011 American Music Awards

Did you watch the 2011 American Music Awards last night? No worries whatsoever if you didn’t, because we here at VH1 Tuner have got your back. Whether you need something to discuss with Sally from Accounting about for the 20 seconds you’re awkwardly standing together in the break room waiting for your coffee to finish brewing OR you want to make sure your pop culture game is on point at the bar tonight, we put together this handy summary of the 10 most likely events from the evening that would come up in conversation. From Christina Aguilera‘s hot mess ensemble (which we kind of loved!) to Taylor Swift‘s constant state of surprise (“Who, me?”), from the correct way to pronounce Ellie Goulding (which will come in handy if you run into Robin Thicke) to the correct answer of whether that was indeed Little Pitbull that appeared in Pitbull‘s trousers while he was mock humping J.Lo, here is the story of the American Music Awards told in ten easily digestible parts. Bon appetit!

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AMAs Best Fashions: From Retro Jenny McCarthy To Futuristic Justin Bieber [TheFABLife]

by (@unclegrambo)

VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul Adds Chaka Khan, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, And More To List Of This Year’s Performers

VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul is set to premiere on Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/ 8 CT, and will feature performances by legends like Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Jill Scott, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson and Jessie J. This morning, though, we got some incredible news! In addition to the already outstanding roster of talent we have previously announced, we’re psyched to annouce that Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Boyz II Men, Estelle, Marsha Ambrosius and Travie McCoy have also agreed to pay tribute to soul music hubs we’ll be celebrating that night: Chicago, Detroit, London, Memphis and Philadelphia.

We’ve got the full press release for you below.

VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul Adds Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Boyz II Men, Estelle, Marsha Ambrosius and Travie McCoy as Performers

VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul Pays Tribute to the Great Cities of Soul Music Including Chicago, Detroit, London, Memphis and Philadelphia

Special will air Monday, December 19 at 9 PM/8c on VH1

NEW YORK – November 21, 2011 – VH1′s beloved, popular franchise, VH1 DIVAS, announced today additional performers to join this year’s tribute to soul music. Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Boyz II Men, Estelle, Marsha Ambrosius and Travie McCoy will join VH1′s “divas” in paying homage to these cities and soul music’s timeless classics at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. “VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul” premieres Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/8 CT on VH1.

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