The Epic 2017 Project #242: 170830
Queen – Hot Space (1981)
Hot Space – Queen’s tenth studio album – was released on 21 May 1982 by EMI Records in the UK and by Elektra Records in the United States. Marking a notable shift in direction from their earlier work, they employed many elements of disco, funk, rhythm and blues, dance and pop music for this one. This made the album less popular with fans who preferred the traditional rock style they had come to associate with the band. Queen’s decision to record a dance-oriented album germinated with the massive success of their 1980 hit “Another One Bites the Dust”.
“Under Pressure”, Queen’s collaboration with David Bowie, was released in 1981 and became the band’s second No.1 hit in the UK. Though included on Hot Space, the song was a separate project and was recorded ahead of the album, before the controversy over Queen’s new disco-influenced rock sound. The album’s second single, “Body Language”, peaked at No.11 on the US charts.
In July 2004, Q magazine listed Hot Space as one of the top fifteen albums where great rock acts lost the plot. Most of the album was recorded in Munich during the most turbulent period in the band’s history, and Roger Taylor and Brian May despised the new sound, with both being very critical of the influence Freddie Mercury’s manager Paul Prenter had on the singer.
Having said all that, I still really like the album – and for all the right reasons. Here’s ‘Back Chat’
The Epic 2017 Project #238: 170826
Quantic Soul Orchestra – Stampede (2003)
Always nice to feature some local flavour on JemTunes. So here’s a bit of Quantic from Brighton.
The Quantic Soul Orchestra is a live band project of musician and DJ, Will Holland. Holland has recorded under several names, but the most notable is Quantic. The Should Orchestra was his first collaborative project, and ‘Stampede, the first studio album, released on Tru Thoughts in 2003.
The band’s line-up changes from album to album, with sometime members including Holland’s sister, saxophonist Lucy Holland, his Limp Twins collaborator Russ Porter and former Hardkandy member Simon Little. Will Holland plays guitar and bass, and performs some of the percussion.
Their music focuses on reviving a dusty funk and jazz sound. They are signed to the Tru Thoughts label and have released four albums to date as well as a collaborative album with renowned funk and soul artist Spanky Wilson.
Holland is now based in Columbia.
The Epic 2017 Project #187: 170701
NERD – Fly or Die (2004)
Fly or Die went on sale on March 23, 2004. The lead single “She Wants to Move” went into the Top 5 in U.K, top 10 in New Zealand, top 20 in Norway, Italy, Ireland and Denmark and top 40 in Australia and the Netherlands. Fly or Die sold 412,000 copies in the United States, but shipped at least 500,000 units making it qualify for RIAA’s Gold Certification.
The Epic 2017 Project #132: 170512
Grace Jones – Living my life (1982)
Living My Life is the sixth studio album by Grace Jones, released in 1982. It was the last of three albums she recorded at the Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas.
Jones had already recorded two reggae-oriented albums with the Compass Point Allstars at the Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas, with the most recent, Nightclubbing, becoming her most successful record to date. She went back into the studio in 1982 to record an album which would be her final offering in the unofficial Compass Point trilogy. This time around, Jones recorded only one cover, “The Apple Stretching”, which was originally written by Melvin Van Peebles and used in the Broadway show Waltz of the Stork. “Nipple to the Bottle” was co-written with Sly Dunbar, while, apart from “My Jamaican Guy”, the other tracks were collaborations with Barry Reynolds.
The title track “Living My Life”, despite receiving a limited single release, was ultimately left off the album. Further outtakes included the track “Man Around the House” (written by Jones and Barry Reynolds), and a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”. Both tracks were released on the 1998 compilation Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions.
The Epic 2017 Project #120: 170430
The Isley Brothers – Forever Gold (1977)
The Isley Brothers from Cincinnati, Ohio originally comprised four brother – O’Kelly Jr., Rudolph, Ronald and Vernon, performing gospel music until Vernon’s death a few years after formation in 1954.
After moving to the New York City area in the late 1950s, the group had modest chart successes during their early years, first coming to prominence in 1959 with their fourth single, “Shout”, written by the three surviving brothers. Initially a modest charted single, the song eventually sold over a million copies. Afterwards the group recorded for a variety of labels, including the top 20 single, “Twist and Shout” and the Motown single, “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” before recording and issuing the Grammy Award-winning hit, “It’s Your Thing” on their own label, T-Neck Records.
Influenced by gospel and doo-wop music, the group began experimenting with different musical styles incorporating elements of rock and funk music as well as pop balladry. The inclusion of younger brothers Ernie Isley (lead guitar, drums) and Marvin Isley (bass guitar), and Rudolph’s brother-in-law Chris Jasper (keyboards, synthesizers) in 1973 turned the original vocal trio into a self-contained musical band. For the next full decade, they recorded top-selling albums including The Heat Is On and Between the Sheets.
Forever Gold is a greatest hits album capturing that success and released in 1977.
The Epic 2017 Project #111: 170421
Herbie Hancock – Monster (1980)
Herbert Jeffrey “Herbie” Hancock (born April 12, 1940) started his career with Donald Byrd. Then he joined the Miles Davis Quintet where he helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk music. Hancock’s music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs “cross over” and achieved success among pop audiences.
His best-known compositions include “Cantaloupe Island”, “Watermelon Man” (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), “Maiden Voyage”, “Chameleon”, and the singles “I Thought It Was You” and “Rockit”
Monster was his twenty-ninth album. Released as a follow-up to the “Feets” album, it avoided jazz and funk in favor of disco.
The Epic 2017 Project #074: 170315
Extreme – III sides to every story (1992)
The third album by the Boston funk-metal band Extreme, released in 1992. It was the follow-up to the very successful Pornograffitti album and the last with the band’s original line-up: Gary Cherone, Nuno Bettencourt, Pat Badger and Paul Geary; Geary later left, and was replaced by Mike Mangini.
The album is structured as a concept album in three sections labeled as “sides” — a play on the notion of “different sides to a story” and that of “sides” of an album (in LP and cassette media). The sides, mentioned in the song “Cupid’s Dead” as “three sides to every story” are named “Yours”, “Mine” and “The Truth”, and each features a distinct musical style and lyrical imagery.