Civil rights activist, politician and all-around inspiration Nelson Mandela passed away today at the age of 95. Those of us who were alive during the ’80s will no doubt recall that both he and the anti-apartheid movement became a focal point for the musical community during that decade. His plight attracted the attention of renowned musical talents like Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, Peter Gabriel, U2 and more.
As a means of paying tribute to the impact that Nelson Mandela made on the world, please read along as we recall the 5 Most Impactful Songs of the Anti-Apartheid movement.
Rock ‘n’ roll has a long and storied history as “the Devil’s music”, rotting away teenage morals and shocking decent upright citizens who have no sense of rhythm. With a rep like that, it’s inevitable that some songs are going to ruffle feathers every now and then. But we’re still pretty amazed that the censors found fault with these seemingly inoffensive classics!
Some musicians burst onto the scene with their artistic vision fully formed. But many other take some time to discover their true style, leaving a pile of weirdly uncharacteristic recordings in their wake. You know those awkward middle school photos you with bleached tips and Oakley glasses trying to look like a skater dude? Same kind of deal. Many of the primitive musical projects from these future-famous artists are straight-up bizarre, while others are so good that we wished they went that direction full time! They may not all be catchy, but they’re definitely all super interesting. Read on to see 10 of the most unexpected musical past lives of rock stars!
The party’s over, the circus has left town, the finale of the 2012 Hard Rock Calling music festival is over and done, and we’re getting so misty-eyed that we can barely see the keyboard. Luckily the powers that be gave us one hell of a parting gift: Paul Simon performing all of Graceland with the original Ladysmith Black Mambazo backing group! It’s hard to feel too bad with music like that swirling in our ears. Rest assured folks, he’s still crazy after all these years.
But we’re getting way too ahead of ourselves. Today was something of a gentler day for the HRC lineup. If yesterday was a competition to see who could rock out the hardest (and loudest), today was more of an exploration of the many different possibilities within music, from country to gospel to african rhythm to reggae and beyond. It was truly a grab-bag in the finest sense: every set was an unexpected winner, full of songs you never knew you loved. There was something of a late sixties NorCal festival vibe in their air when we arrived. The English summer sun was shining, and we saw young women brandishing tambourines wandering the muddy grounds in lacy shirts with daisy chains in their hair (really). Plus we saw some seriously outstanding mustaches, which were definitely worth the price of admission.
We got there just in time to hear Robert Randolph ripping it up on a pedal steel guitar with his Family Band. Part blues, part funk and all awesome, their break-neck jams gave us as badly needed wakeup jolt. “We only got two hours sleep last night!” Robert yelled from the stage in between numbers. So did we Bob, and right now we barely have enough energy to lift a can of Red Bull to our lips! How does he do it?!
Hard Rock called and we answered! The 7th annual Hard Rock Calling music festival is almost upon us, and VH1′s got your front row ticket and backstage pass. The big event will take place this Friday through Sunday in London’s Hyde Park, and we’ll be there rockin’ out with some of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll history! Hard Rock always treats us music fans right, but this year they’ve really spoiled us with some once-in-a-lifetime performances.
Grunge gods Soundgarden will be there playing cuts from their upcoming album, a first in 16 years! Paul Simon is going to celebrate the 25h anniversary of his landmark Graceland album by performing it start to finish, backed by the incredible Ladysmith Black Mambazo group who gave the original recording its timeless sound. Bruce Springsteen will no doubt turn rock ‘n’ roll into an athletic event during his marathon set with the E Street Band, and punk prince Iggy Pop will tear up the stage (and hopefully not himself). Lady Antebellum, Alison Krauss, John Fogerty and Robert Randolph…they’ll all be there to move it and groove it across the pond.
And get this, guys: That’s just the main stage. We’ve got three others to choose from, so get ready for more music than your ears can handle. We’re pleased to report some success stories, as one-time VH1 You Oughta Know artists Dawes and Christina Perri both take the stage. We’ll be sure to catch up with them and see how they like performing along side their idols. There will be tons of surprises along the way, so keep checking back for updates to see what went down in London Town! And also be sure to follow us on twitter (VH1Music) and instagram for up to the minute updates. See ya there!
[Photo: Getty Images]
TENACIOUS D HAS RISEN AGAIN (JUST LIKE THE FENIX)
The D has been silent since The Pick Of Destiny bombed at the box office back in 2006, but the band just released a brand new video that includes the most kickass training montage since Rocky IV. Oh, and btw, R.I.P. Val Kilmer; your sacrifice will never be forgotten. [TenaciousD.com]
PAUL SIMON CELEBRATING THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF GRACELAND WITH DELUXE BOX SET
You’ll have to sell the diamonds on the soles of your shoes to be able to afford the $249.99 price point, but for that scratch, you’ll get 2 DVDs, 2 CDs, an copy of the vinyl LP, a deluxe book featuring unreleased photos, new liner notes, a replica of Paul Simon’s handwritten lyrics pad and a limited edition, numbered Graceland poster autographed by Rhymin’ Simon himself. [PaulSimon.com]
Of all the Grammy Awards, the one that artists covet the most is the Album of the Year prize. The nominees for the 54th annual ceremony are being released live tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, and a number of artists, producers and record label executives are currently feeling a rush of butterflies go through their stomachs. Thanks to the confusing timeline in the Grammys universe, this year’s Album Of The Year nominees will be LPs that were released between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011. With that in mind, here are some of the frontrunners:
If there’s one shoo-in for this year’s Album Of The Year prize, it’s 21. Debuting at Number One on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200 Chart, 21 took on the number one chart position in a total of 19 countries across the world, which was good enough for a spot in the Guinness Book Of World Records. With two Grammys already under her belt (taking the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2009 Grammys), Adele is a fan and industry favorite.
Taylor Swift has been blazing across the country on her Speak Now tour, and in her warm, earnest way, she’s been welcoming city-specific guests to share the stage with her while she pays unique tributes to all the towns she visits. And now, on the final leg of her tour, Taylor is in that town, New York City, and the opportunities for tributes and guests are almost endless. For her first New York show last night at Madison Square Garden, Taylor played “one of the greatest songs ever written,” The Goo Goo Dolls‘ “Iris,” with the band’s frontman Johnny Rzeznik. With one last show set to light up the Garden tonight, we’re speculating who of the New York set will join Taylor on stage. Will it be a Strokes affair? Mother Monster? Or a spectral visitor from the afterlife?
Who did we miss? We want to hear your thoughts!
[Photos: Lauren Deiman/Getty Images]