Arguably a much underrated artist, Maria Mena is a Norwegian singer named after the character “Maria” in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. Her father played in several bands in Oslo, which influenced her to write and record her own music.To date she has released seven studio albums. Internationally she is best known for songs like You’re the Only One, Just Hold Me and All This Time which charted in multiple countries. Earlier this year Maria auditioned for a role in the Norwegian TV series Etterglød (Afterglow). She was not cast but offered to record a song for the soundtrack. That song, called It Was Love, is new this week on RadiJohan.
Swedish rock band “Roulette” formed in 1985 in “Sundsvall” and quickly became one of the most popular bands in their hometown. They had a couple of hits on local radio stations and played in pubs and festivals around Sweden. A bumpy ride followed their Swedish breakthrough and it appears a lack of promotional support ultimately lead to a hiatus.”
In 2008 Roulette released a “best of” album called Better Late Than Never before returning in 2019 with new material on the album Now! which received many great reviews. Recently the band headlined “Scandirock Melodic” in Gothenburg, and played at “Sabaton Open Air” receiving a 9/10 review for their live performance.
Roulette’s latest single Ready For Friday Night, an up-tempo rocker, is new this week on RadiJohan.
The Safety Dance is a song released in 1982 by Canadian band “Men Without Hats.” Lead singer “Ivan Doroschuk” has explained that it was a protest song against bouncers who prohibited dancers from “pogo-ing” to 1980’s new wave music in clubs when disco was declining and new wave was coming onto the music scene. Ivan wrote The Safety Dance after he had been kicked out of a club for pogo dancing. The song became a top 10 hit in numerous countries, was a number 1 in South Africa and has been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
English melodic hard rock band “TEN” were formed in 1995. The band’s early albums, such as The Name Of The Rose, The Robe, Spellbound, and Babylon, established the Manchester band as pillars in the melodic hard rock genre. To date they have released 15 studio albums and number 16, Something Wicked This Way Comes, is due for release on 20th January 2023. The new album’s first single, The Tidal Wave, is new this week on RadiJohan.
Terry Hall, the lead singer of British Ska group “The Specials,” has died. He was 63 years old. The band reported this on Twitter describing him as “a great man and father” and “a very sincere soul”. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Terry, our beautiful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists in this country,” the band wrote. Hall died after a short illness.
He began his musical career with the punk group “Squad” in his hometown of Coventry. He later continued with “The Specials,” founded in 1977. The band’s debut single, Gangsters (1979), was immediately well received by the general public and reached number 6 in the UK charts. The Specials’ biggest success came in 1981 with the number 1 hit Ghost Town, a song was about urban decay and unemployment. Ghost Town received a lot of attention during the many riots over racism that broke out between young black people and the police in the United Kingdom that year.
After Ghost Town was released Hall left the band to start a new group called “Fun Boy Three” with two of his Specials band mates. In 1992, Hall joined forces with “Dave Stewart,” most famous for his role as one half of “Eurythmics.” The duo took on the name “Vegas” and released Vegas, a slick electronic pop album which spawned the moderately successful single Possessed.
Earlier this year Hall was still performing with “The Specials” who had reformed in 2008.
“Jason DeFord” grew up in Nashville Tennessee and, under the name “Jelly Roll” has been making music for many years now. He started out in hip hop, went into rock, and more recently strayed into country music. Jelly Roll was the name his mother gave him when he was a young, “chubby kid” and it stuck. He considers himself a songwriter as well as a singer which is his reason for not sticking to one genre of music. He has a somewhat sordid past that includes incarceration. He has however managed to turn his life around and is now using his music to help others who struggle. Jelly Roll’s new single She is about the struggle of addiction.
“‘she’ is about talking about the elephant in the room and addressing head-on the heroin and fentanyl epidemic that is sweeping the nation; the pharmaceutical pill problem that is sweeping the nation and has been for a long time. And I feel like it’s an artist’s responsibility to speak for those who sometimes can’t always speak for themselves.“
The song was originally written and recorded by South African musician “Solomon Linda” under the title Mbube. It was adapted and covered internationally by many artists in the 1950’s and 1960’s. When “The Tokens” recorded the song in 1961 they added a few comprehensible lines in English and called it The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Initially released as a B-side it quickly became clear the song was no mere novelty, but a huge hit. The Tokens’ version included backup Soprano vocals by “Anita Darian” who had a classically-trained voice with a four-octave range. It rocketed to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 this week in 1961 and remained there for three weeks. The song has endured thanks to its constant use in movies and TV, and also because of many cover versions.
British Rockers “Cats In Space” have released the third single from album of the year contender Kick Start The Sun. The Special duet version of 1,000,000 Miles, which features Julie Maguire from UK band “Space Elevator,” was voted “single of the week by readers of “Classic Rock Magazine” and is new this week on RadiJohan.