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BIOGRAPHIES

Flick of the Finger band and artist biographies from some of the worlds most prolific Rock n' Roll greats! Read up on all you need to know and more...

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Cat Stevens

For the balance of the 1970s Cat Stevens was a trans-Atlantic superstar whose soft, romantic, hooky, and often-mystical singles were Top Ten mainstays. After eight gold albums in a row, the commercially and critically lauder singer/songwriter’s star began to fade. By the late-1970s, following a near-drowning experience, Stevens converted to Islam and changed his name to Yusef Islam dropping out of music throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s.… Keep Reading

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Carl Perkins

One of the architects of rock & roll, Carl Perkins is best known as the writer and original singer of the rockabilly anthem “Blue Suede Shoes” (#2, 1956). Along with Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins was one of the seminal rockabilly artists on Sam Phillips’ Sun label, but a series of bad breaks, followed by personal problems, undermined his solo career. Despite that, Perkins persevered,… Keep Reading

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Captain Beefheart

The irregular rhythms, grating harmonies, and earthy, surreal lyrics of Captain Beefheart’s songs and his blues-inflected seven-and-a-half-octave vocals (or, depending on who you believe, three-octave; the voice is impressive no matter what) suggest a near-chaotic improvised blend of Delta blues, avant-garde jazz, 20th-century classical music, and rock & roll. Actually, Beefheart’s repertoire is a sort of modern chamber music for rock band, since he plans every note and teaches the… Keep Reading

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Can

European art-rock band Can was one of the first groups to use electronic “treatments” of instruments, and it pioneered an exploratory postpsychedelic-rock style that would later influence Amon Duul, Ash Ra Temple, and the generations of new-wave, techno, experimental postrock, and ambient artists that followed. Can’s sound was based on repetitive, trance-inducing rhythms overlaid with atmospheric noise and sudden bursts of distorted electronic effects, with instruments often unrecognizable in the… Keep Reading

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Bono

With his soaring voice, larger-than-life personality, and ostentatious stage performances — he has climbed the scaffolding at concerts and assumed alter egos like the Fly and Mirror Ball Man — Bono not only helped steer the course for post-Eighties rock & roll, but also became pop music’s global ambassador. Away from the studio and stage, the U2 frontman has helped raise awareness of social causes ranging from world hunger and… Keep Reading

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Bon Jovi

Like an American Def Leppard with a Bruce Springsteen fixation, Bon Jovi used good hooks, pumped-up production and stadium-sized passion to forge the pop-metal alloy that made them one of the dominant mainstream rock bands of the Eighties. As a working-class teenager, John Francis Bongiovi, Jr. (born March 2nd, 1962 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey) showed little interest in school, preferring to sing with his friend David Bryan Rashbaum in… Keep Reading

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Bob Marley

The first major rock artist to come out of a Third World country, Bob Marley did more than anyone else to popularize reggae around the globe. He was a gifted songwriter who could mix protest music and pop as skillfully as Bob Dylan, and his songs of determination, rebellion, and faith became important parts of the rock and pop canon. Thirty years after Marley’s death, hits like “No Woman No… Keep Reading

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Blondie

Blondie started as an ironic update of trashy 1960s pop. But by the end of the 1970s, they were far and away the most commercially successful and adventurous survivors of the New York punk scene, having released three platinum albums (Parallel Lines, Eat to the Beat, and Autoamerican). In bleached-blond lead singer Deborah Harry, new wave’s answer to Marilyn Monroe, the group had an international icon. The group’s repertoire, written… Keep Reading

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Bjork

The biggest rock band to emerge from Iceland, the Sugarcubes drew notice for their offbeat songs and singer Björk Gudmundsdóttir, an elfin womanchild with a powerful, keening voice. Björk, whose stepfather had been in an Icelandic rock band, recorded her first album at age 11, and later joined Theyr, a legendary Icelandic hard-rock band whose drummer was Siggi Baldursson. Einar Örn Benediktsson launched Gramm Records, and with Bragi Ólafsson formed… Keep Reading

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Beastie Boys

Beastie Boys were the first big white rap group, and they have stayed popular — at times hugely popular — for nearly a quarter century. After emerging from New York’s hardcore punk underground in the early Eighties, the trio crossed over into the mainstream in 1986 with their first full-length album, Licensed to Ill, the first rap album to reach Number One. Featuring “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to… Keep Reading

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Bauhaus

Resembling a convention of the undead and playing songs distinguished by spare, atmospheric guitars, sonorous, death-rattle vocals, and deliberate tempos, Bauhaus was the progenitor of gothic rock. Its founding members have gone on to pursue various other projects in the realm of underground rock. In 1978 brothers David and Kevin Haskins formed the Craze with Daniel Ash, an old school friend. With the addition of vocalist Peter Murphy they became… Keep Reading

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Barenaked Ladies

After a decade of mainstream success in their native Canada, the Barenaked Ladies finally hit big in America with their fifth album, Stunt, and its #1 smash, “One Week.” A deliberately silly hybrid of pop and “rap,” the song and its accompanying video were unavoidable during the summer of 1998, establishing the Ladies as the biggest Canadian cross-over act since Alanis Morissette and Sarah McLachlan. Cofrontmen and childhood friends Steven… Keep Reading

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Axl Rose

For the past decade and a half, Axl Rose has ranked among music’s most sensationalized sideshow attractions. But as with his fellow Indiana-native Michael Jackson — with whom both his lyrics and lifestyle always shared a certain palpable paranoia, apparently traceable back to an intensely traumatic childhood — nobody would care about him if he hadn’t once been one of the most aurally and visually exciting performer of his day.… Keep Reading

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Arcade Fire

With their cathedrals of sound, this Montreal collective built a fiercely loyal fan base in the 2000s, a following that counted rock heroes like David Byrne and David Bowie as members. The band’s sound — a mix of slashed strings, blaring brass, pounded percussion, and Win Butler’s spooked croon — was smart and dramatic enough to earn Springsteen comparisons, and the group’s two world-class albums from the decade (2004’s Funeral… Keep Reading

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Anthrax

Anthrax began as an average posthardcore thrash band but eventually developed its own distinct sound by blending rap’s street sense with heavy metal’s brute force. The band hit a career height in 1991 when it joined forces with rap group Public Enemy for a recording and video of the latter’s rallying cry, “Bring the Noise.” Two years later the band inked a reported $10 million, five-album deal with Elektra. Anthrax… Keep Reading

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Animal Collective

The strange, shimmering star at the center of the early 2000s psych-pop revival, Animal Collective garnered both critical plaudits and rabid, devoted acolytes by blending Brian Wilson-esque vocal harmonies with spaced-out instrumentation, tribal percussion and odd ribbons of sound. As their name implies, the group is more a loose aggregation of performers rather than a standard rock band. Each of the members assumes a kind of nom de psych under… Keep Reading

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Amy Winehouse

British diva Amy Winehouse scored legions of fans with her 2006 album, Back to Black, which showed off her brassy, sweet-and-sour voice and taste for meticulously retro soul music. But Winehouse soon made headlines for the wrong reasons. Suddenly, “Rehab,” a booming hit single about how she refused her handlers’ requests to get sober, didn’t seem so funny. The London-born singer had a rebellious steak from an early age. Expelled… Keep Reading

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Alice Cooper

Between 1950s showman Screamin’ Jay Hawkins emerging from a coffin and Kiss’ Gene Simmons spitting “blood” in the 1970s, no one defined shock rock like Alice Cooper. Cooper used violent (and vile) theatrics — simulated executions, the chopping up of baby dolls, and draping himself with a live boa constrictor —and explicit lyrics to become a controversial yet hugely popular figure in the early-and-mid 1970s. After a decade of fluctuating… Keep Reading

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Al Green

To a greater extent than even his predecessors Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, Al Green embodies soul music’s mix of sacred and profane. He was one of the Seventies’ most popular vocalists, selling over 20 million albums. His wildly improvisational, ecstatic cries and moans came directly from gospel music, and in the late-1970s he returned to the Baptist church as a preacher. In the 2000s, Green returned to secular music… Keep Reading

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Albert King

Albert King’s mammoth physical presence —he weighed more than 250 pounds and stood 6-foot-4 —was reflected in his harsh, imposing vocals and biting, influential blues style. He bought his first guitar for $1.25 sometime around 1931 (he later played a left-handed Gibson Flying V), and his first inspiration was T-Bone Walker. For a long while he had to work nonmusic jobs to survive (including bulldozer operator and mechanic), but in… Keep Reading

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