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Biographies - page 5

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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Les Paul

Though he had a long and successful pop-jazz career, both with and without singer Mary Ford (born Colleen Summer, July 7, 1928, Pasadena, California; died September 30, 1977), guitarist Les Paul was of paramount importance to rock & roll as the creator of the solid-body electric guitar and as a pioneer in modern recording techniques such as electronic echo and studio multitracking. Having learned harmonica, guitar, and banjo by age… Keep Reading

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Lou Reed

As the lead singer and songwriter of the Velvet Underground in the 1960s, Lou Reed helped invent punk rock and while writing about femme fatales, black angels and heroin. In the process, he also brought a stormy dissonance to the foreground, helping to expand the vocabulary of the electric guitar. For the next 40 years, during periods both inspired and hollow, Reed tried his hand all sorts of artsy and… Keep Reading

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Linkin Park

Much of the nü-metal of the late-1990s and early-2000s staked its claim on being as oafish as possible, but Linkin Park were the nü-metal group you could bring home to mom — and still play while hanging out with your frat-bound friends — they were sensitive and smart, but they still yelled. They formed in 1996, in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills, around the core of high school… Keep Reading

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Little Richard

Pounding the piano, howling his lyrics and screaming in a wild falsetto, Little Richard & 8212; the so-called Quasar of Rock &8212; was integral to the birth of rock & roll. His unhinged performance style, mascara-coated eyelashes, and high pompadour were exotic and androgynous, and in many ways he personified the new pop music genre’s gleeful sexuality and spirit of rebellion. In his own way &8212; and as he is… Keep Reading

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Queen

The epitome of pomp-rock in the Seventies and Eighties, Queen rocked radio and sports stadiums alike with booming, highly produced anthems like “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You.” Onstage, the English quartet used elaborate sets smoke bombs, and flashpots — none of which were quite as captivating as the band’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury, whose preening and over-the-top vocals helped make Queen wildly popular. Queen’s roots go… Keep Reading

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Franz Ferdinand

With their foppish good looks, skinny trousers and sly, sexy post-punk tunes, Franz Ferdinand were one of the U.K.’s best pop exports in the 2000s, four suave Scotsmen who helped indie kids learn to dance. The Scottish quintet first scored a minor U.S. hit with “Take Me Out,” which combined a spiky riff with a shout-along chorus, and subsequent singles — including the blatantly homoerotic rocker “Michael” — only upped… Keep Reading

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Fleetwood Mac

The only thing about Fleetwood Mac that hasn’t changed since the band formed in 1967 is the rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John “Mac” McVie — fitting, since the band is named after those two. Through the Seventies, the band’s personnel and style shifted with nearly every recording as Fleetwood Mac metamorphosed from a traditionalist British blues band to the maker of one of the best-selling pop albums ever,… Keep Reading

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Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy emerged in the 2000s as the biggest band in emo-pop. The Chicago quintet attracted tons of teenagers (most of them girls) to their shout-along tunes, which mixed snarky humor and big, deep-feeling choruses. As the decade wore on, Fall Out Boy continued to find new ways to market themselves — from Myspace ads to an FOB-branded video game — as the group began to sell out arenas.… Keep Reading

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The Small Faces

The Small Faces got their name for two reasons: they were small, each under five-foot-six-inches tall, and they were “faces,” as in the Who’s “I’m the Face,” a declaration of British Mod-era hipness. When the Small Faces first hit the British singles charts in 1965 with “Whatcha Gonna Do About It?” (recorded six weeks after the band formed), they were seen as East London’s answer to West London’s the Who.… Keep Reading

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Gang of Four

The English-born Gang of Four played dissonant, dub-reggae-influenced, atonal funk with political lyrics. The band was extremely influential in the U.K. and a solid concert draw in the U.S. The group started at art school in Leeds in 1977, naming itself after a Chinese Communist political faction associated with Mao Tse-Tung’s widow. Gang of Four released its debut EP, Damaged Goods, on the independent Fast Product label. Touring and the… Keep Reading

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Graham Parker

One of the most critically acclaimed graduates of the mid-1970s British pub-rock scene, singer/songwriter Graham Parker was compared to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen for the best of his angry, eloquent songs. Yet the commercial success he always seemed to deserve remained, for the most part, just outside his grasp. Until 1975, Parker lived off a succession of odd jobs, including gas-station attendant and breeder of mice and guinea pigs… Keep Reading

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Buddy Holly

With his signature vocal hiccup and hits like “That’ll Be the Day,” “Rave On,” “Peggy Sue” and “Not Fade Away,” Buddy Holly was a rock & roll pioneer, as well as one of the genre’s first great singer-songwriters. He used the recording studio for doubletracking and other advanced techniques, and popularized the two guitars, bass, and drums lineup. Holly’s playful, mock-ingenuous singing, with slides between falsetto and regular voice, was… Keep Reading

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Bruce Springsteen

For nearly four decades Bruce Springsteen has been a working-class hero: a plainspoken visionary and a sincere romantic whose insights into everyday lives — especially in America’s small-town heartland — have earned comparisons to John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie. His belief in rock’s mythic past (and its potential) revitalized pop music and made Springsteen a superstar in the Eighties. He maintained his enormous popularity into the 21st century, when he… Keep Reading

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Bob Dylan

For almost 50 years, Bob Dylan has remained, along with James Brown, the most influential American musician rock & roll has ever produced. Inscrutable and unpredictable, Dylan has been both deified and denounced for his shifts of interest, while whole schools of musicians took up his ideas. His lyrics — the first in rock to be seriously regarded as literature — became so well known that politicians from Jimmy Carter… Keep Reading

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Billy Idol

When his punk band, Generation X, broke up in 1981, oft-sneering singer Billy Idol moved to New York City and made the transformation from scrawny punk-rocker to slightly less scrawny new-waver. Released in 1981, his first solo-career EP, Don’t Stop (Number 74, 1983), contained two hits, though it would take some time for either of them to pay off: His cover of Tommy James and The Shondells’ “Mony Mony” (Number… Keep Reading

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Black Sabbath

Mixing bone-crushing volume with Ozzy Osbourne’s keening, ominous pronouncements of gloom and doom, Black Sabbath were the heavy-metal kings of the 1970s. Often reviled by mainstream rock critics and ignored by radio programmers, the group still managed to sell over 8 million albums before Osbourne departed for a solo career in 1979. The four original members, schoolmates from a working-class district of industrial Birmingham, England, first joined forces as the… Keep Reading

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Bad Company

The members of Bad Company were stars before their first concert in March 1974. Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke had been members of Free, Mick Ralphs had been Ian Hunter’s main sidekick in Mott the Hoople, and Boz Burrell had played with King Crimson. Their self-titled debut album, recorded in only 10 days with a minimum of overdubs in Ronnie Lane’s mobile studio, eclipsed all that by going Number One… Keep Reading

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The Beatles

No band has influenced pop culture the way the Beatles have. They were one of the best things to happen in the twentieth century, let alone the Sixties. They were youth personified. They were unmatched innovators who were bigger than both Jesus and rock & roll itself: During the week of April 4, 1964, the Beatles held the first five slots on the Billboard Singles chart; they went on to… Keep Reading

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Radiohead

Radiohead were one of the most innovative and provocative bands of the 1990s and 2000s, five very serious guys who developed their own sound and always tried really, really hard. The band, who were also the biggest art-rock act since Pink Floyd, began as purveyors of a swooning, from-the-gut sound that Alicia Silverstone aptly labeled as “complaint rock” in the film Clueless. But albums like 1997’s space-rock opera OK Computer… Keep Reading

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Smashing Pumpkins

Arriving on the national scene a couple years after Nirvana and Pearl Jam, the Smashing Pumpkins made music that was bigger, shinier and more stuffed with sounds than most alt-rock competitors. Their dense, layered sound and dynamic songwriting, alternately angst-ridden and dreamy, made the Pumpkins a chart-topping success in the Nineties. Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan grew up in a Chicago suburb with his guitarist father and moved to Florida at… Keep Reading

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