April 30: country singer-songwriter, author, poet, actor, and activist, Willie Nelson is 78 years-old today.

Be sure to watch video of Willie Nelson singing "Crazy" at the end of this post.
Did you know?

In March 2007, Ben & Jerry's released a new flavor, Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler Ice Cream, with a portion of Nelson's proceeds donated to Farm Aid.

"Willie's guitar, Trigger"

Born in Abbott, Texas, Willie Hugh Nelson started studying music from mail order material that his grandparents gave him. He wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at nine.

Nelson picked cotton at an early age, and to earn extra money, sang in local dance halls, taverns, and honky tonks beginning at age thirteen and in high school. Nelson was influenced musically during his childhood by Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Ernest Tubb, Django Reinhardt, Ray Price and Hank Snow.

When Willie was in high school his sister married Bud Fletcher, a local musician who invited Nelson to join his band, The Bohemian Fiddlers as their lead singer and guitar player. After graduating from high school in 1950, he joined the Air Force. However, he was discharged due to back problems.

After his return, Nelson attended Baylor University for two years but dropped out because he was succeeding in music. During this time, he worked as a disc jockey in Texas radio stations and a singer in honky tonks.

Nelson moved to Vancouver, Washington, where he wrote "Family Bible" and recorded the song "Lumberjack" in 1956. In 1960, he signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music which allowed him to join Ray Price's band as a bassist. During that time, he wrote songs that would become country standards, including "Funny How Time Slips Away," "Hello Walls," "Pretty Paper," and "Crazy." In 1962, he recorded his first album, And Then I Wrote. Due to this success, Nelson signed in 1965 with RCA Victor and joined the Grand Ole Opry.

Willie in 1966
In 1973, after signing with Atlantic Records, Nelson turned to outlaw country, including albums such as Shotgun Willie and Phases and Stages. In 1975, he switched to Columbia records, where he recorded the critically acclaimed album, Red Headed Stranger. The same year, he confirmed his move to outlaw country with the 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws, which he recorded with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser.

During the mid 1980s, while creating hit albums like Honeysuckle Rose and recording hit songs like "On the Road Again," "To All the Girls I've Loved Before," and "Pancho & Lefty," he joined the country supergroup The Highwaymen, along with fellow singers, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.

During the 1990s and 2000s, Nelson continued touring extensively, and released albums every year. Reviews ranged from positive to mixed. Nelson explored genres such as reggae, blues, jazz, and folk.

Nelson made his first movie appearance in the 1979 film, The Electric Horseman, followed by other appearances in movies and on television.

Today, Nelson is co-chair of the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which is in favor of marijuana legalization.

On the environmental front, Nelson owns the bio-diesel brand Willie Nelson Biodiesel, which is made from vegetable oil.

He is the co-founder and president of Farm Aid, and has been contributing to the benefit concert series since the first event in 1985, organizing concerts and performing with other prominent artists. Nelson is also the Honorary Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Texas Music Project, the official music charity of the state of Texas.

An important collection of Willie Nelson materials (1975–1994) became part of the Wittliff collections of Southwestern Writers, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas. The collection contains lyrics, screenplays, letters, concert programs, tour itineraries, posters, articles, clippings, personal effects, promotional items, souvenirs, and documents. The collection documents how Farm Aid contributions were used and Nelson's IRS troubles. Most of the material was collected by Nelson friend Bill Wittliff who wrote or co-wrote Honeysuckle Rose, Barbarosa and Red Headed Stranger.

(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

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Essential Willie Nelson


On June 23, 2010 Nelson was inducted to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry. Nelson is an honorary trustee of the Dayton International Peace Museum. In 2010, Austin, Texas renamed Second Street to Willie Nelson Boulevard. The city also planned to honor him with a life-size statue to be placed at the entrance of Austin City Limits' new studio.


April 30: Bobby Vee - "Rubber Ball," "Take Good Care of my Baby" - is 68 today.

Video of Bobby singing "Take Good Care of My Baby" at end of this post)
Did you know?

Early in Vee's career, a musician named Elston Gunnn briefly toured with the band. "Gunnn," whose birth name was Robert Allen Zimmerman, later went on to fame as Bob Dylan.

In Dylan's autobiography, "Chronicles, Volume One," he makes special mention of Bobby Vee and shares significant and complimentary details about their friendship, both professional and personal.

Bobby Vee was born Robert Thomas Velline in Fargo, North Dakota in 1943. According to Billboard magazine, Vee has had 38 Hot 100 chart hits, 10 of which hit the Top 20.

When Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper were killed in the airplane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa in February 1959, Velline, then aged 15, and a hastily-assembled band of Fargo, North Dakota, schoolboys calling themselves The Shadows, volunteered to fill in for Holly and his band at the Moorhead engagement, where the three deceased singers were headed when they died. This performance led to Vee's career as a singer. Despite the circumstances of his debut, Vee went on to become a star, and regularly performs at the Winter Dance Party memorial concerts in Clear Lake to this day.

Bobby's first single was "Suzie Baby," an original song by Vee that mimicked Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue." His follow-up single, a cover of Adam Faith's UK number 1 "What Do You Want?," charted in the lower reaches of Billboard in early 1960. His fourth release, a revival of The Clovers' doo-wop ballad "Devil or Angel," was his first real chart success, and his next single, "Rubber Ball," was the record that made him a musical star.

Vee's 1961 summer release "Take Good Care of My Baby" went to No.1 on the Billboard U.S. listings and number 3 in the UK Singles Chart. Vee went on to record a string of international hits in the 1960s, including "Devil or Angel," the aforementioned "Rubber Ball," "More Than I Can Say," "Run To Him," "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" and "Come Back When You Grow Up."

Vee was also a pioneer in the music video genre, appearing in several musical motion pictures as well as in the Scopitone series of early film-and-music jukebox recordings.

In 1963, Bobby Vee released a tribute album on Liberty Records called "I Remember Buddy Holly." In the sleeve notes accompanying the album, Vee recalled Holly's influence on him and the events surrounding the tragic death of Holly: "... Buddy was scheduled to appear at a dance in my home town of Fargo, North Dakota. It was going to be a big event for the whole town, but even more so for me. I was anxiously looking forward to seeing Buddy in action.'

Vee continued, 'The day he was to arrive disaster struck, taking Buddy's life, along with the lives of two other fine singers, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. The shocking news spread through Fargo very quickly. The local radio station broadcast a plea for local talent to entertain at the scheduled dance. About a week before this, I had just organized a vocal and instrumental group of five guys. Our style was modelled after Buddy's approach and we had been rehearsing with Buddy's hits in mind. When we heard the radio plea for talent, we went in and volunteered. We hadn't even named the group up to that time, so we gave ourselves a name on the spot, calling ourselves "The Shadows." We appeared at the dance and were grateful to be enthusiastically accepted. Soon afterwards, I made my first record. It was called "Suzie Baby" and I was pretty lucky with it; it was a fair-sized hit.'

Vee concluded, 'For some time now, I have wanted to make an album in tribute to Buddy, but I wasn't sure it was the proper thing to do. However, during the past year, I have received many requests to do such an album. ... I have made many records, but I have never forgotten Buddy Holly and his influence on my singing style and my career.'
(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

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Bobby Vee is still performing and touring internationally as of 2008, along with his backup band, The Vees, which includes his two elder sons, Jeff and Tommy Vee. His youngest son, Robby Vee, is also a recording and performing artist. EMI/UK released 'The Very Best of Bobby Vee' on May 12, 2008.

Bobby Vee is a recipient of the state of North Dakota's Roughrider Award and his contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 2009 Bobby Vee was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.


April 29: Lonnie Donegan - "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor..."- was born on this date in 1931...

Lonnie was 71 when he passed away from heart problems on Nov. 3, 2002. 
(Video at end of post)
Lonnie Donegan was a Scottish singer, guitar, banjo, songwriter and pioneer, who launched the skiffle craze in the UK.  . Born in in Bridgeton, Glasgow, Scotland, BS commonly known as the "King of Skiffle" he was a huge influence on the generation of 1960s British musicians including Paul McCartney and John Lennon.  

The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums states Lonnie was "Britain's most successful and influential recording artist before The Beatles. He chalked up 24 successive Top 30 hits, and was the first UK male to score two U.S. Top 10s".

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 King of SkiffleOriginal Hits of the Skiffle Explosion


Among Lonnie's many hits include "Rock Island Line," "Gamblin' Man," "Lost John," "Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O," "Cumberland Gap," "My Dixie Darlin'," "Jack O' Diamonds," "The Grand Coulee Dam," "Sally Don't You Grieve," "Tom Dooley," "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor (On The Bedpost Over Night)," "Battle of New Orleans" and "My Old Man's A Dustman."


AMR to MP3 Converter

Tal como o seu nome indica, AMR to MP3 Converter é um gratuito conversor de áudio para AMR e MP3, o qual tem a capacidade de converter ficheiros de áudio AMR para MP3 e vice-versa. Este programa suporta a conversão de múltiplos ficheiros áudio de uma só vez.

O formato AMR (.amr) é muito utilizado por telemóveis para a gravação de voz.

Converter AMR para MP3:

1. Clique no botão "Add MP3 Audio".

2. Seleccione um ficheiro de áudio ".mp3" (Repita estes dois passos até ter inserido todos os ficheiros que deseja).

3. Clique em "Convert to AMR" para iniciar o processo de conversão.

Converter MP3 para AMR:

1. Seleccione o separador "MP3 to AMR".

2. Clique no botão "Add AMR Audio".

3. Seleccione um fichero ".amr"/".amt" " (Repita estes dois últimos passos até ter inserido todos os ficheiros que deseja).

4. Clique em "Convert to MP3" para iniciar o processo de conversão.

Suporta: Windows XP e Windows Vista.

Allok MP3 to AMR Converter 2.6.2

Programa que converte seus arquivos MP3 para o formato AMR, que é utilizado como formato de áuidio por telefones celulares.

visualização de Allok MP3 to AMR Converter

April 25: "First Lady of Song" Ella Fitzgerald was born on this date in 1917...

... she died on June 15, 1996 at 79 years-of-age.

"Lady Ella," Ella Jane Fitzgerald was an American jazz and song vocalist. With a vocal range spanning three octaves she was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.
Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Virginia. When she was young, Fitzgerald wanted to be a dancer, although she loved listening to jazz recordings by Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby and The Boswell Sisters, especially the lead singer Connee Boswell.

In 1932, her mother died from a heart attack. At one point worked as a lookout at a bordello and also with a Mafia-affiliated numbers runner. When the authorities caught up with her, she was first placed in an orphanage then the New York Training School for Girls in Hudson, New York, a state reformatory.

She made her singing debut at 17 on November 21, 1934 at the Apollo Theater. in Harlem, New York. She pulled in a weekly audience at the Apollo and won the opportunity to compete in one of the earliest of its famous "Amateur Nights." She had originally intended to go on stage and dance but, intimidated by the Edwards Sisters, a local dance duo, she decided to sing Connee Boswell's "Judy" and "The Object of My Affection. She won the $25.00 first prize.

In January 1935, Fitzgerald won the chance to perform for a week with the Tiny Bradshaw band at the Harlem Opera House where she met drummer and bandleader Chick Webb. She began singing regularly with Webb's Orchestra through 1935 at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. Fitzgerald recorded several hit songs with them, including "Love and Kisses" and "(If You Can't Sing It) You'll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini)."

But it was her 1938 version of the nursery rhyme, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," a song she co-wrote, that brought her wide public acclaim.

Chick Webb died on June 16, 1939, and his band was renamed "Ella Fitzgerald and her Famous Orchestra" with Ella taking on the role of bandleader. Fitzgerald recorded nearly 150 sides during her time with the orchestra.

In 1942, Fitzgerald left the band to begin a solo career. She had several popular hits while recording with such artists as the Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, and the Delta Rhythm Boys on the Decca label.

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Pure Ella

With the demise of the Swing era and the decline of the great touring big bands, a major change in jazz music occurred. The advent of bebop led to new developments in Fitzgerald's vocal style, influenced by her work with Dizzy Gillespie's big band.

It was in this period that Fitzgerald started including scat singing as a major part of her performance repertoire. While singing with Gillespie, Fitzgerald said, "I just tried to do [with my voice] what I heard the horns in the band doing."

Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook, released in 1956, was the first of eight multi-album Songbook sets Fitzgerald would record for Verve Records between 1956 to 1964 after leaving Decca. Fitzgerald's song selections ranged from standards to rarities and represented an attempt by Fitzgerald to cross over into a non-jazz audience.

Fitzgerald had a number of famous jazz musicians and soloists as sidemen over her long career. The trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie, the guitarist Herb Ellis, and the pianists Tommy Flanagan, Oscar Peterson, Lou Levy, Paul Smith, Jimmy Rowles, and Ellis Larkins all worked with Ella mostly in live, small group settings.
Ella Fitzgerald is considered a top interpreter of the Great American Songbook. Over a recording career that lasted 59 years, she was the winner of 13 Grammy Awards including one for Lifetime Achievement in 1967.

Other major awards and honors she received during her career were the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Medal of Honor Award, National Medal of Art, first Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award, named "Ella" in her honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement.


April 24: Today is Easter Sunday ("Easter Parade" by Sarah Vaughan & Billy Eckstine)

Easter processions or parades have been part of Christian culture since its earliest beginnings. The Bible records two processions in the first Holy Week. The first was on Palm Sunday as Jesus was welcomed to Jerusalem by an adoring throng. The second took place as Jesus carried a cross to Calvary. These processions are often commemorated in Christian church services, and are seen as the earliest predecessors of the modern Easter parade.

During the Dark Ages, Christians in Eastern Europe would gather in a designated spot before Easter church services, then walk solemnly to the church. Sometimes the congregation would form another parade after the services, retracing their steps and singing songs of praise. These processions had two purposes—to demonstrate to churchgoers the unity of spirit found in their faith, and to reach out to nonbelievers in a highly visible manner. Even in those times, participants wore their finest attire to show respect for the occasion.

In the Middle Ages, the clergy expanded these processions into teaching tools. Paintings and statues would be placed along city streets, where church members could walk from one to another to see all the "stations of the cross." To a public that had no access to the Bible and often could not understand the Latin language in which church services were conducted, these special processions were a means to understanding their faith.

Having new clothes for Easter had deep roots in European customs. Sacred times called for special forms of dress—material markers of holiness and celebration. Distinctive garb for Easter, like one's "Sunday best" and the special vestments of priests, for centuries showed the solemnity and sacredness of the season.

A superstition  in Tudor times held that unless a person had new homespun cloth available at Easter, moths and crickets would eat the old goods, and destructive rooks would nest in large numbers around the residence. An old Irish adage stated "For Christmas, food and drink; for Easter, new clothes," and a 15th-century proverb from Poor Robin's Almanack states that if on Easter Sunday some part of one's outfit is not new, one will not enjoy good luck during the year.
Irving Berlin's Easter Parade (1948)

On the day before Easter in 1911, Don Hewes (Fred Astaire) is crushed when his dancing partner (and object of affection) Nadine Hale (Judy Garland) refuses to start a new contract with him. To prove Nadine's not important to him, Don acquires innocent new protegee Hannah Brown, vowing to make her a star in time for next year's Easter parade.


April 23: Rock and roll pioneer Roy Orbison was born on this date in 1936...

... he was only 52 when he died after a heart attack on December 6, 1988.

Roy Kelton Orbison was a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter, guitarist and a pioneer of rock and roll whose recording career spanned more than four decades. He was rarely seen on stage without his trademark black sunglasses.

Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly and country & western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis. His greatest success came with Monument Records in the early to mid 1960s when 22 of his songs placed on the US Billboard Top Forty. His many hits included "Ooby Dooby," "Only the Lonely," "In Dreams," "Oh, Pretty Woman," "Crying," "Running Scared" and "You Got It."

He was known for his smooth, but powerful tenor voice, which could jump three octaves with seemingly little effort. The combination of Orbison's voice and complex musical arrangements led many commentators to refer to his music as operatic, dubbing him "the Caruso of Rock."

In 1988, he, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan formed the super group Traveling Wilburys who recorded two albums, but sadly Roy had died before the 2nd album.


 EssentialRoy Orbison - Black & White Night (DVD & DVD Audio)Roy Orbison - 50 All Time Greatest HitsCollection

Orbison was a member of the second class entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He was introduced by longtime admirer Bruce Springsteen. The same year he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone placed Orbison at number 37 in their list of The Greatest Artists of All Time, and rated him number 13 in their list of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time in 2008. In 2002, Billboard magazine listed Orbison at number 74 in the Top 600 recording artists.

In 1989, he was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.


April 23: Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark was born on this date in 1960...

... he died on January 8, 1991 at the age of 30.

(Video at end of post)

Stephen Maynard Clark was born and raised in Hillsborough, the north-western suburb of Sheffield, England. From an early age he showed interest in music—his mother even took him to a concert to see The Shadows perform when he was six. At eleven, his father gave him a guitar, insisting that Steve learn to play the instrument.

Clark primarily used Gibson guitars during his time with Def Leppard. He occasionally used other guitars, such as a Fender Stratocaster in the "Love Bites" video. This Fender Strat was given to Steve by Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page.

Before joining Def Leppard in 1978, Clark played cover songs with his small band, Electric Chicken, in Sheffield. Around that time, he met Pete Willis, Def Leppard's original guitarist/founder. According to Joe Elliott in Behind the Music, Clark auditioned for Def Leppard by playing all of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird" without accompaniment.

While a guitarist for Def Leppard, he contributed to the band's music and lyrics. Clark and Pete Willis shared lead guitar duties, and Clark was nicknamed as "The Riffmaster" according to Joe Elliott in VH1's Classic Albums series featuring Def Leppard's Hysteria. When Willis was asked to leave Def Leppard, guitarist Phil Collen was recruited into the band.

Clark contributed to half of the songs on the band's 1992 album Adrenalize just prior to his death. The song "White Lightning" on Adrenalize was written about Clark, because his bandmates nicknamed him "White Lightning" for his preference of wearing white clothes on stage.

On January 8, 1991, Clark was found dead on his couch by his girlfriend Janie Dean. The autopsy revealed he had died from an overdose of codeine and had Valium, morphine and a blood alcohol level of .30, three times the British legal driving limit. There was no evidence of suicidal intent. Daniel Van Alphen, Clark's drinking companion the night before, testified that the two went to the local pub and returned to the guitarist's home at midnight to watch a video. At the time of his death, Clark was on a six-month leave of absence from Def Leppard.

Tesla, who opened for Def Leppard on the Hysteria tour, recorded a tribute to Steve Clark on their Psychotic Supper album, called "Song & Emotion (To Our Friend, Steve 'Steamin' Clark.)"

In 2007 Clark was ranked #11 on Classic Rock Magazine's "100 Wildest Guitar Heroes."


Def Leppard are an English rock band formed in 1977 in Sheffield as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. The band's strongest commercial success came between the early 1980s and the early 1990s.

Their 1981 album High 'n' Dry was produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who helped them begin to define their style, and the album's stand out track "Bringin' On the Heartbreak" became one of the first metal videos played on MTV in 1982. The band's next studio album Pyromania in 1983, with the lead single "Photograph," turned Def Leppard into a household name. In 2004, the album ranked number 384 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Def Leppard's fourth album Hysteria released in 1987, topped the U.S and UK album charts. As of 2009 it has 12x platinum sales in the United States, and has gone on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide. The album spawned seven hit singles, including the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number one "Love Bites," alongside "Pour Some Sugar on Me," "Hysteria," "Armageddon It," "Animal" and "Rocket."

Their next studio album Adrenalize was their first following the death of Steve Clark. It reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and UK Album Chart in 1992, and contained several hits including, "Let's Get Rocked" and "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad."
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Vault: Greatest Hits