Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
"It's amazing to hear, as a voice matures and then starts to decline, what kind of emotion is still conveyed by a really good vocalist."
It's Friday night. Time to unwind with our regular Friday night feature on This Just In.
The weekend has finally arrived.
The sun has set.
The evening sky has erupted.
Let's put controversy and provocative blogs aside for the rest of this work week and smooth our way into Saturday and Sunday.
We haven’t done this in awhile. Tonight our focus is on female vocalists, veteran singers who’ve been entertaining for many years.
Eva Boyd was only 16 years old when she babysat for the daughter of songwriting team Carole King and Gerry Goffin. She earned $35/week.
One day King concocted a melody that Boyd and King’s daughter danced to. King thought it sounded like a locomotive.
King and Goffin wrote a song and took Boyd to a studio to sing for a demo, hoping Dee Dee Sharp would eventually record the song about a new dance. But producer Don Kirshner was happy with Boyd’s rendition.
Boyd became Little Eva, the Loco-Motion hit #1, and King and Goffin lost their babysitter.
A remake would later become a hit in the 70’s for Grand Funk Railroad and the late 80’s for Kylie Minogue.
Wisconsin law specifically states that you are not legally married if this is not played at your wedding.
Next up, speaking of Australian women...
Best known for her role playing the squeaky clean Sandy in the movie musical Grease, Olivia Newton-John began singing in her teens and performed in clubs and on television.
Her fame skyrocketed in the US with the song "Let Me Be There" that won her the Grammy Award for Best Country Female Vocal Performance - her first. The hits and awards kept coming on both the pop and country charts.
Long before singing the Great American Songbook became phenomenally popular, Newton-John was doing it on the American Music Awards in the mid-70's.
The incomparable Irving Berlin wed Dorothy Goetz in 1912. She would die months after their honeymoon when she contracted typhoid fever. Berlin's sadness came through in his ballad "When I Lost You." Then in 1925, Berlin fell in love with heiress Ellin Mackay. Her father opposed the relationship and sent Mackay packing to Europe. Berlin then wrote songs about his grief. Here on the American Music Awards, Newton-John stunningly, beautifully performs two of those Berlin greats.
That was live. No pre-recorded taping. No lip-synching. Entertainers of today should take note. Absolutely wonderful.
It’s hard to imagine possessing the talent of the likes of Olivia Newton-John or Kylie Minogue and being afraid to perform in front of a live audience. That fear gripped our next female vocalist.
People.com writes this about one of the great female singers of the 70’s, Carly Simon:
“Incapacitated by panic attacks onstage since she was a child (‘I was such a terrible stutterer that my older sister gave me nonspeaking parts in family plays’), she was persuaded by record company executives to make a rare concert tour in 1981. Offstage, her life was being shredded. "James (Taylor, her then-husband) and I were splitting up, Ben (her son) had just had a malfunctioning kidney removed in a very serious operation, and I'd lost 25 lbs. because of stress,’ she recalls. One night in Pittsburgh, panic hit. ‘I fell to pieces onstage in front of everybody. I became so anxious that I started having heart palpitations.’ After the first song, she decided to take the audience into her confidence. ‘I said, you can see I'm in trouble up here, and they said, Stay with it.' When it didn't get any better after another song, I suggested that I might feel better if some of them came onstage with me. Fifty people came up, massaging my arms and legs and saying, 'We love you.' The outpouring was enough to get her through the first show, but before the second one started, she collapsed backstage. Says her sister Lucy, 44, who was with her that night: ‘I told Carly, 'There's no reason to have to put yourself through that ordeal ever again.'
“With the help of a therapist and friends like her former New York neighbor John Travolta, who flew from California to be with her when Ben had his surgery, Simon recovered from this dark phase over the next few months.”
Another online report says Simon, a superstar, ducked live audiences to avoid rejection.
Simon looks totally confident in this next video before a concert crowd with James Taylor. The two had an infectious hit in 1973-74, a re-make of a tune that was an adaptation of “Hush Little Baby.”
Hush, little baby, don't say a word.
Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird won't sing,
Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring
The year is 1979. Carly Simon has no fear onstage with James Taylor (they would divorce 4 years later) at the No Nukes Concert at Madison Square Garden.
That’s it for this week. We do this every Friday to demonstrate that despite what pop culture tries to pass off as art, there’s plenty of really good music around.
Have a great weekend.
By the way...
Have you noticed the trend tonight?
All three female vocalists featured in the videos were diagnosed with breast cancer, and beat it.
Remember, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
We close with a very talented lady who fought, but eventually succumbed to, this deadly disease.
Dusty Springfield died in March of 1999. She was 59.