VINTAGE PORTRAITS: MUSICIANS
Most young visitors are too young to remember this woman. Perhaps you weren’t even born yet. The above is a photo of Vanessa Williams, who was a former Miss America! Winning that crown was huge for women of color all over America! However, her fame and title was short lived, when in 1984 photos of her were published in Penthouse Magazine posing nude with another woman caused a huge scandal! Vanessa was about 21 then, and expressed great shame for taking those photos. However, many people in the porn industry (mostly men) suggested that it would boost her career. It made sense that they would say that right? I don’t know if it actually boost her career, but I didn’t think it hurt it either. What really confused me was that, while the public (and the “Miss America” organization) came down on her like a ton of bricks, the reality was I lot of those same people (men) were salivating over those photos. What a bunch of Hippocrates!! In 2017, I don’t think anybody would be phased by something like this again (except if it were two men), people would go absolutely ape-shit. So many double standards, it’s the one of many annoyances we have in America.
From left to right: Keith Wilder, Mario Mantesse, Ernest Berger, Johnny Wilder, Rod Temperton and Eric Johns outside a place called the “Sands,” which if I remember correctly, it is a casino joint in Las Vegas. The band Heatwave was arguably one of the most popular bands of the 70s. These forgotten musicians have earned the right to be called legends! I feel what made Heatwave so successful, is each band member’s unique cultural and ethnic backgrounds, coming together to produce their unique sound. People don’t realize how important this group was, not just musically speaking. In a world where people still prefer to focus negatively on our differences, this ethnically diverse group came together because of their differences to create awesome music. Their signature song that put them on the map was a song called “Always And Forever,” and today is arguably the most played song at weddings and 70s parties.
This handsome devil was David Bowie (1947 – 2016). He was dubbed UK’s best selling artist of all times. Throughout his career, he has sold over a whopping 140 million albums! You know, it’s interesting. People made such a big stink when Boy George emerged in the pop scene. It really showed people’s fear of both sexuality and androgyny. However, David Bowie was gender-bending looong before Boy George came on to the scene, yet I don’t recall nearly as much “controversy.” Couldn’t it be that David Bowie was perceived more as an “act/fantasy/performer,” and George was perceived as a “Drag Queen/Cross-Dresser?” Hmmm…. Anyway, I wasn’t a huge David Bowie fan, but there were a couple of songs here and there I liked. One of my few favorites, AND the first 45 record I ever bought of David was “Let’s Dance.”
Classic portrait of the old New Edition and fine a$$ Ray Parker Jr. around 1980s. Question…. Did you know that it was Ray Parker Jr. that produced “Mr. Telephone Man” for New Edition? Yup, learn something new every day!
Aaahh Culture Club! One of my truly favorite bands of the 80s. I really love these nostalgic photos, they really do bring back a lot of memories. It is said that all of the Jacksons where huge fans of Culture Club. In fact, one of the Jacksons was thrilled to meet this awesome musical group at a benefit gathering Circa 1980. Pictured in this portrait from left to right, LaToya Jackson, Boy George, and his then very handsome boy friend John Moss. They’ve made so many great hits throughout their career. Check them out when you get a chance.
A very young Janet Jackson and Todd Bridges. If I remember correctly, this was on the set of the hit 80’s TV show “Different Strokes.” There was something about this picture that I’ve always assumed that Janet & Todd have dated for some time. But then again, although Janet has always said she’s been attracted to “all” kinds of men, when I’ve looked through all her very public relationships, every single one of those men have been light skinned. But, the other side of this coin is, Todd has admitted eons later that he had a serious drug problem. So, kudos for Janet choosing not to get involved with that mess.
Boy, do I have an oldie for you guys today. Does anyone remember Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson? Gloria Loring is an actress and singer. I believe she became really popular when she landed a gig on a soap opera called “Days Of Our Lives” back in the day. Carl Anderson is an actor that became recognized as for his role as Judas, in the hit Broadway musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” back in the day. TheY both recorded a hit song together called “Friends & Lovers” in 1985, but it was released in 1986. The song was produced as a new theme song for “Days Of Our Lives” (if I remember correctly). It was a huge hit, and peaked at #2 at 22 weeks. The song was not only a huge hit, it also played an important political role in the 80’s. Many of my visitors may have been be too young to remember, or weren’t born at all at the time. Among many social issues we had in the 80’s, one of the big controversies that existed was interracial relationships. It seemed that every single talk show and news media were discussing morals of interracial relationships. Personally, I never saw the big deal. If someone has a good heart, and treated me with respect, I couldn’t care what their race, or color was! This song help force people to deal and address the issue of anti-interracial relationships. I still think it is a great song. Listen on Rhapsody.
Today, when people think of calypso music, they think of jumping up and party, dancing, good food, and lots of eye candy! However, calypso music is also about world issues and politics (very much in the same way that reggae is. The Caribbean music has always been about raising awareness! The Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) was no exception when it came to political awareness. In 1958 Sparrow was the only person to have a triple win in the same year during the “Carnival Road March.” The first song was called “P.A.Y.E” which talked about the importance of paying taxes in Tobago and Trinidad. The second song was “Russian Satellite,” which talked about cruelty to animals. The last song was called “Theresa,” which in essence was a song about a gold-digging woman. This was the first time in Sparrow’s career that he sang both English and Spanish. Actually it was still mostly in English, I guess because bilingual music wasn’t really performed, people was crazy in love with the song.
Listen With Rhapsody
Listen With Spotify [Sorry, Not Available]