Poof! Just like that, 2011 has come and gone. It seems like just yesterday that I was trying to remember to write 2011 on my checks instead of 2010, and now I have to again go through the whole brain reprogramming thing to make sure I’m now inking 2012 in the date box.
Reflecting back it was another dynamic year in the American music industry. New singers emerged and some of our favorite old artists left us for the that special rock and roll malt shop in the sky.
Far and away the newcomer singer of 2011 was English born alternative singer-songwriter Adele. Her smash hit “Rolling In The Deep” topped Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for seven weeks in the spring and earned her the company’s Song of the Year award. Her follow-up hit, “Someone Like You,” also peaked at number one in October.
On the strength of her three number one hits (“Firework,“ “E.T. - Futuristic Lover” and “T.G.I.F.”), pop-dance singer Katy Perry earned Billboard’s 2011 Hot 100 Artist of the Year designation.
On the country side of the music industry, newcomers Thompson Square (“Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not”) and Brantley Gilbert (“Country Must Be Country Wide”) scored number one hits with their debut singles. Scotty McCreery, 2011 American Idol winner, also entered the country charts with his hits “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble With Girls.”
Sadly, in 2011 we said goodbye to R&B singer Amy Winehouse (alcohol poisoning), rapper Heavy D (pneumonia), soul singer Nate Dogg (heart failure), country singer Billie Jo Spears (cancer), ’40s-’50s singer Margaret Whiting (natural causes) and Dobie Gray (cancer). Best known for his 1973 hit “Drift Away,” Dobie Gray was a versatile vocalist who could handle soul, country and pop, not to mention musical theater.
Gray grew up in a family of sharecroppers, and discovered gospel music through his grandfather, a Baptist minister. He also soaked up the R&B and country music of his surroundings, and in the early ’60s he moved to Los Angeles to seek his fortune.
In his 20-year recording career, Gray scored 12 hits on the Billboard charts, including “Look at Me,” which became his first chart hit in 1963. His true breakout though was a 1965 recording of “The ‘In’ Crowd,” whose Motown-style bounce distinguished it from jazzman Ramsey Lewis’ celebrated version. In 2003, Dobie Gray came out of retirement to team with a contemporary pop-rock artist for a new version of his 1973 hit “Drift Away.” The new version did very well, making it into the Top 10.
This week’s music question is: Who did Gray team with on his new version of “Drift Away?” Was it: A) Mother Nature, B) Father Time, C) Aunt Jemima or D) Uncle Kracker ?
This week, if you are the fifth caller and have the right answer, you’ll win a $15 dollar gift certificate to the newly reopened and remodeled Miss Fitz 260 Café — “Where good friends and good food meet!” say new owners Kathy Beckett and Diane Fitzpatrick.
Let’s take a look now at how we did with last week’s music trivia question: Can you name the orchestra leader who composed and conducted the theme song and score for “Little House On The Prairie?” Was this England born and Chicago raised conductor/composer/arranger A) David Bowie, B) David Allan Coe, C) David Rose or D) David Seville?
The correct answer was David Rose. David Bowie was a 1970s-90s pop-rock singer; David Allan Coe was successful as a country singer and actor in the 1970s and 80s and David Seville was a 1950s novelty singer and creator of The Chipmunks.
Congratulations to this past week’s music trivia winner, Tom Cooka, who won a $25 dollar gift certificate from Tax and Bookkeeping Service, courtesy of owner Barbara Hartwell.
Since Tom last won, he has been working harder than ever at his lifelong passion — running. Now a spry 81 years old, he is training for the Jan. 15 Phoenix Rock & Roll Half-Marathon (13.1 miles), where he hopes to set an Arizona state age group record.
Finally, new pictures that I’ve added to my Web site are from the recently held Payson Community Kids annual Christmas party. DJ Craig — Phone: 468-1482