You would think that the rigorous discipline of the military life and the unrestrained freedom of the music world would be at odds, but as it turns out, a number of rockers, rappers and musicians of all kinds have signed up and done their duty in defense of their countries. Some, like crooner Tony Bennett and former-Nirvana and Soundgarden member Jason Everman, have been on the frontlines of armed combat at its worst, while others like MC Hammer and Elvis Presley have served during times of relative peace. And, of course, given their natural inclination to indulge their creative impulses, guitar greats like Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead were never really cut out for Army life in the first life and were discharged before finishing their tours of duty. But on this Veteran’s Day, it’s important to acknowledge their contributions and those of all people who serve or have served in keeping their countries safe and protecting these freedoms which we hold so dear.
Okay, are you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside? Because you should be. James Blunt has stolen our hearts in the past with charmers like “You’re Beautiful” and this song, friends, is no exception. He shot this video throughout Idaho and Wyoming, and guess what? None of the people in the video are actors. Everyone you meet is their true character, lending James smiles and high fives on his motorcycle trip. It’s an emotional journey you won’t likely forget. So here’s to you and your blazing bonfire heart.
As we parallel park into July and officially hit the curb of this year’s halfway point, it’s time to take a quick look back at what the past six months have taught us. Not conventional life lessons, however; we’re talking about stuff that’s a little bit less intense and also involves YOU! That’s right, in the first installment of our Top 100 Videos of 2011… So Far, we’re spilling the beans on the #100-51 most clicked-and-viewed videos on VH1.com. You’ll see that this pi?ata-like list of content contains tasty treats and slippery surprises alike! We’ve got brand-new videos that just recently launched, some VH1 Classic leaning clips (hey there, Megadeth), repeat offenders, and of course, effervescent, essential vids from the music video cannon. So take a look at the first fifty videos below and don’t forget to come back later this week as we continue on our quest to discover what artist snags the #1 spot!
100. Jack Johnson, “From The Clouds”
99. Chris Brown, “Deuces”
98. Ke$ha, “Tik Tok”
97. Bruno Mars, “The Other Side”
96. Beyonc?, “Video Phone (Extended Remix)”
95. Usher, “OMG”
94. B.o.B, “Airplanes”
93. Taylor Swift, “Mine”
92. Sara Bareilles, “King Of Anything”
91. John Legend & The Roots, “Wake Up Everybody”
Everyone else in the United States may have taken the day off yesterday, but Billboard‘s “Mashup Mondays” was in session?possibly because yesterday’s contributor, James Blunt, isn’t an American. Blunt and band leapt at the opportunity for contrast, covering Katy Perry‘s “California Gurls.” We’re not sure to what extent the scaled-back, near-acoustic rendition of last year’s Song Of The Summer is a gag; there’s a wink in every grin he gives the camera, though half the time it’s on lines like “they’ll melt your popsicle,” but the rendition isn’t sloppy.
Blunt jokes characteristically in the interview segment after the song. He explains his song selection by noting, “I sing like a girl myself, so why not?” and comments, on Perry, “I suppose I’ve always admired her, ’cause she’s just got great hands”:
We see what you did there.
We only wish Billboard had gotten footage of Blunt “trying the Snoop Dogg rap,” about which Blunt only says “It’s not on the track — particularly with an English accent it doesn’t really work.”
Before Hanson signed off as VH1’s April Posted artist on Saturday, they not-so-subtlely encouraged their fans to keep voting for “Give a Little” on the VH1 Top 20 Countdown. But they’re going to face stiff competition in their quest for the top slot, not least from one of this weekend’s guests on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown?and the VH1 Posted artist for May?Christina Perri.
Perri, whom you may remember as a You Oughta Know artist back in October, stopped by the countdown with tourmate (and fellow You Oughta Know artist) James Blunt to premiere her new single “Arms” from her full-length debut lovestrong., coming May 10. We’re excited to have her on board, where she’s going to provide us with a behind-the-scenes look at all of the prep that goes into making her upcoming album release a big success.
UPDATE #2 (5:48pm): Dave Itzkoff of the New York Times reports on Twitter: “BREAKING! Weird @alyankovic’s manager tells me @ladygaga has now given permission for “Perform This Way” to be included on his album.” Score one for the nerds (like us)!
UPDATE (5:35pm): To quote The Dude (which is entirely appropriate on 4/20), “New s**t has come to light, man!” After the jump, we’ll explain how this whole situation might (or might not!) be one big misunderstanding…
“Weird Al” Yankovic has a new album nearly ready. All that’s missing is a lead single, and he thought he had it?“Perform This Way,” a parody of “Born This Way” that focuses on Lady Gaga herself (like, for example, her sometimes extravagant sartorial choices):
But, to make a long story short, Gaga said no. So why has Weird Al posted the song online anyway?
We’ve got yet another reason to look forward to 2008 — this February, James Blunt hits the road with Sara Bareilles for an 11-city romp as part of VH1’s You Oughta Know Tour. The UK crooner, an esteemed alum of our You Oughta Know program, will be working the tunes from the recent All the Lost Souls, while the soulful Bareilles, another YOK singer, just put out Little Voice in July.
Find out where they’re playing below, and check back here to purchase tickets starting November 17th. In the meantime, whet your appetite by clicking on the pics below and then watch Blunt’s videos and Bareilles’ sexy “Love Song.”
2/4/08 Seattle, WA The Moore Theater
2/6/08 San Francisco, CA The Warfield
2/7/08 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
2/8/08 Las Vegas, NV The Pearl
2/12/08 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
2/22/08 Chicago, IL Vic Theatre
2/23/08 Ann Arbor Michigan Theater
2/27/08 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre
2/29/08 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
3/1/08 Philadelphia, PA Keswick Theatre
3/4/08 Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
“It’s a great live song with a dirty, gritty feel that’s about mortality and the magic of life. We sat around the studio and captured it live, and we haven’t edited it in any way. It has a Massive Attack feel.”
That’s James Blunt describing “I’ll Take Everything.” If it seems like a stretch that the “You’re Beautiful” balladeer hears echoes of the ominous synth-soul superheroes in his tune, you don’t have to take him at his word. We’ve been streaming Blunt’s All the Lost Souls for the last few days and will continue to do so through next Tuesday – you can hear the whole CD for yourself on The Leak.
“I’ll Take Everything” isn’t the only song he describes; in Track By Track he tell us that some new tunes are about the “thirst for fame” and people “in real difficulty.” Check out the entire disc and the full interview, and let us know if you think All the Lost Souls is as good as Blunt’s first album.