Sunday, July 28, 1996

In Concert: Styx

image from youtube.com


Venue: Sandstone Ampitheatre; Bonner Springs, KS
Tour: Return to Paradise
The Players: Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards), Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar), James Young (vocals, guitar), Chuck Panozzo (bass), Todd Sucherman (drums)
Opening Act: Kansas


The Set List: *

1. A.D. 1928/Rockin' the Paradise
2. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
3. Lady
4. Too Much Time on My Hands
5. Snowblind
6. Suite Madame Blue
7. Crystal Ball
8. The Grand Illusion
9. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
10. Show Me the Way
11. Boat on the River
12. Lorelei
13. Babe
14. Miss America
15. Come Sail Away

Encore:

16. Renegade
17. The Best of Times

* Setlist unknown so listing comes from 1997 Return to Paradise live album


Saturday, July 27, 1996

Spice Girls hit #1 in UK with “Wannabe”

First posted 10/31/2019.

Wannabe

Spice Girls

Writer(s): Spice Girls (Melanie Chisholm, Melanie Brown, Geri Halliwell, Victoria Adams, Emma Bunton), Matt Rowe, Richard Stannard (see lyrics here)


Released: June 26, 1996


First Charted: July 20, 1996


Peak: 14 US, 4 RR, 27 A40, 17 UK, 9 CN, 111 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: 2.91 US, 1.71 UK, 7.0 world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: --


Video Airplay *: 431.04


Streaming *: 365.0


* in millions

Review:

The Spice Girls consisted of Victoria Adams (later Beckham, aka “Posh Spice”), Melanie Brown (aka Mel B or “Scary Spice”), Emma Bunton (aka “Baby Spice”), Melanie Chisholm (aka Mel C or “Sporty Spice”), and Gerri Halliwell (aka “Ginger Spice”). The group was assembled in 1994 by the father-and-son team of Bob and Chris Herbert, a management team who, in the mid-‘90s, set out to create a girl group to compete with popular UK boy groups at the time like Take That and East 17. WK2 The group impressed songwriter Richard Stannard at an industry showcase that November and he and Matt Rowe, his songwriting partner, started writing with the group. WK1 The uptempo dance-pop “Wannabe,” which was written in 30 minutes and recorded in less than an hour, was designed as a showcase of their personalities WK1 and a celebration of female friendship and empowerment.

By 1995, the group left the Herberts’ Heart Management group and signed with Simon Fuller, WK2 best-known for creating American Idol. Brown and Halliwell were adamant that “Wannabe” should be the group’s lead single despite Fuller and the record company’s objections. The Spice Girls won in the end and a video was assembled for the song in May 1996. Within two hours of its appearance on British cable network The Box, the video had topped the viewers’ chart. It became the most requested track in the channel’s history. WK1

Between the success of the video, an early single release in Japan, and a flurry of promotion, the Spice Girls exploded in the UK immediately. The song debuted at #3 on the UK charts and climbed to the top the next week, where it stayed for 7 weeks. In the U.S., the song wouldn’t hit the top of the charts until February 1997, by which time the Spice Girls had already landed three #1’s in the UK and were on the brink of their fourth consecutive chart-topper, making them the first act in UK chart history to do so. BR1 All told, “Wannabe” hit the top in 37 countries and became the best-selling single in the world by a girl group. WK1 In 1997, it received the Brit Award for British Single of the Year. In 2014, it was named the most easily recognizable pop song of the last 60 years. WK1

The Spice Girls hit #1 eight times in the UK during the ‘90s, becoming the biggest act of the decade. Their debut album Spice sold 31 million sales worldwide, making it the best-selling album in history by a female group. With more than 85 million records sold worldwide during their career, they became the best-selling girl group of all time and the biggest pop success since the Beatles. WK2


Resources and Related Links:

Awards:


Tuesday, July 2, 1996

Asia released sixth studio album, Arena

First posted 4/20/2008; updated 9/10/2020.

Arena

Asia


Released: July 2, 1996


Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)


Genre: rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Into the Arena
  2. Arena
  3. Heaven
  4. Two Sides of the Moon
  5. The Day Before the War
  6. Never
  7. Falling
  8. Words
  9. U Bring Me Down
  10. Tell Me Why
  11. Turn It Around (1996, --)
  12. Bella Nova


The Players:

  • Geoff Downes (keyboards)
  • John Payne (vocals/ bass)
  • Michael Sturgis (drums)
  • Elliott Randall (guitar)
  • Aziz Ibrahim (guitar)

Rating:

3.526 out of 5.00 (average of 11 ratings)

About the Album:

“This is not your father's Asia.” AMG Their original lineup consisting of guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Carl Palmer, vocalist John Wetton, and keyboardist Geoff Downes only lasted only two albums and by 1994’s Aria, only Downes remained. While numerous players would come and go throughout Asia’s career, the 1992-2004 phase was anchored by Downes and vocalist John Payne. Arena saw the departure of guitarist Al Pitrelli; stepping in were guitarists Elliott Randall, who’d worked with Steely Dan, and Aziz Ibrahim, who’d worked with Simply Red.

“In its beginnings Asia was a band frequently called the first progressive rock supergroup, although that title really belonged to Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The Asia of old actually had an arena rock sort of sound that, while espousing prog elements and textures, was pretty much straightforward rock. At times the band was definitely a bit formulaic. As Asia has continued on, with members coming and going, the tone of the group has changed. The bandmembers seem to struggle a bit with direction, not going completely prog, but certainly not eschewing that direction altogether.” AMG

“This disc reveals one element that could definitely be seen as an improvement over the old days, though: the music has lost much of its slick and almost contrived texture. Sometimes the cuts here come off a bit…adrift, but they…seem…less contrived than a lot of the classic Asia catalog. All that said, the disc is very listenable and has some definite strong points, calling to mind the classic Asia era at times as well as other groups, including Trevor Rabin-era Yes and Dream Theater.” AMG


Notes: The song “That Season” was added to later editions as a bonus track.

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