Portrait of the Spice Girls photographed in February 1997 .;  (Photo by Ray Burmiston/Photoshot/Getty Images)

The Spice Girls

The Spice Girls was a British Pop and R’n’B girls’ band.. It was the most famous group of the 90’s with one hundred million albums sold today.

The girls’ band has not always been as it is known today.

At the beginning, the manager Chris Herbert created the band by means of auditions. Five girls were selected but one of them was replaced by Emma Bunton.

From then on, Geri, Melanie C. , Victoria, Emma, and Melanie B. lived together, worked together : they did everything together. The goal was to create an alchemy and a team spirit between the girls.

The first name of the group was « Touch » but the girls changed it for « Spice Girls » which was more representative of their personality.

Quickly they stopped working with Chris because of their divergence of opinion. They were not afraid to fire their manager to remain who they were. It showed the importance of the « Be yourself » philosophy that they claimed just like the « Girl Power ». This state of mind was their strength and the origin of their success,

They recorded 4 albums : Spice, Spice World, Forever and Greatest Hits. Their songs could be very different. Some were rythmical, others were soft and put us in a good mood. The most famous of all is « Wannabe ». This song breaks the image of the weak woman waiting for her prince charming. We can note that with the lyrics :

«I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want »

« If you really wanna get with me, better make it fast »

«  If you really bug me then I’ll say goodbye »

Wannabe proved that women could be uninhibited and sexy.

In the band, each girl had a strong personality so fans gave them nicknames :Geri was Ginger Spice ; Emma was Baby Spice ; Melanie B. was Scary Spice ; Melanie C. wad Sporty Spice and Victoria was Posh Spice.

The Spice Girls became a global phenomenon : There were huge sales of by-products, the release of a film, partnerships of all kinds : It was the Spicemania !

Sadly, when you have Spice Girls with spicy personalities, the atmosphere is explosive and the band had to split but they reunited several times till today.

The band was so much emblematic of the history of British Pop that they got back together for the time of a performance at the Olympics Games of London in 2012.

To conclude, the Spice Girls transgressed the established order, they broke the image of quiet traditional women and marked their generation by their texts, their personality and their style.

Justine B. 2nd4 and Laura W. 2nd1

beatles

The Beatles

The Beatles were a famous British rock band. They came from Liverpool which is in England. The band was composed of four members : John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. They were not only a rock band, they had many inspirations that can explain the diversity of the  different music styles in their albums. They played pop music as well as rock’n roll, Indian music or hard rock.

Their history began in 1956 in Liverpool when John Lennon, along with some school friends created  » The Quarrymen », a music band where the future Beatles’ members Lennon, McCartney and Harrison made their debuts. They were pretty much successful but tensions between the members destroyed the band. So finally, Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Pete Best, a drummer, were the only one left.
They created a new band : The Beatles.
Because of the advice of a producer and the lack of friendship toward Pete Best, they excluded him and replace him by Richard Starkey aka Ringo Starr.
Then they did not have a really big success, it was when they joined the EMI label that they became rockstars. They were demigods for their fans. « The fab four » as people called them were going from one success to another. They were at the top of the charts, they were literally dominating the hit-parades, and their concerts were always sold out. The Beatles were the first band to perform in a stadium. The reaction of the public in every concert was unebelieveable: it was close to hysteria. People even sold tissues and pillows that they used. In Manila, the capital of the Philippines, they avoided a lynching. When they arrived, they ignored a reception organized for them by the Filipino dictator’s wife. The group said that nobody invited them, but the Filipino were still mad. They received death threats. After the concert done, they didn’t have any police protection for their departure. A crowd was waiting for them at the airport, and they attacked the Beatles. Finally they reached their airplane and came back home.

In 1966, the Beatles stopped perfoming live because in addition of being bored of the concerts and the lack of security, the Beatles were becoming more ambitious about their music and worked on creative techniques that could not be played live.

Today they are still the artists who sold the most records in the world. The Beatles have made a great impact on music by trying things that were new and different. They were experimenting with different types of music style and instruments. It encouraged other musicians to do the same like Nirvana, The Beach Boys, Billy Joel and many others.

Atfer the death of their manager Brian Epstein caused by an overdose, the Beatles were on their own. Indeed, the manager was a kind of leader (the 5th member), he was the one who handled the group’s finance and settled the dispute between the members. The Beatles struggled at managing their issues. With him, it was also the group cohesion which disappeared. Among the members, it was John Lennon who was the most affected by B.Epstein’s death as he was very close to him. Seeing the damages caused by this death, Paul McCartney attempted to replace him, he took the position of leader and he progressively imposed his domination. But his authority was contested by the other members. As Harrison matured, he became a good song-writer, nevertheless his song kept being rejected by Lennon and McCartney. Gradually, the competition about who would be the most represented in the albums grew. The appearance of Yoko Ono in Lennon’s life complicated the relationships between the members. Yoko Ono settled in the Beatles’ studio, the famous Abbey road studio and took part in the beatles’ life. She openly made comments, suggestions and emited criticisms. On top of that, there was also the fact that their public reputation was deteriorated by their use of drugs and the « more popular than Jesus » scandal. In 1966, during an interview, Lennon  stated « we’re more popular than Jesus » then he added « Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary ». Another story affected the Beatles’ popularity. During their American tour, they are believed to have paid four prostitutes, one for each of them. They were waiting for them at their hotel. All thoses factors led to the break down of the Beatles.

Bryann K. and Juliette D. 2nd4

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Queen

We’re going to talk about the famous rock band : Queen, which appeared in 1970 and ended with the leader’s death in 1991. Nowadays, the band still exists with Adam Lambert who has replaced former singer Freddie Mercury.

The group was composed of : Freddie Mercury as the lead singer, pianist and composer of the songs. Brian May, (best) guitarist (ever ;). John Deacon who plays guitar and bass and who also composes. And finally, Roger Taylor, the drummer. Those three were also the choristers. The name was found by Freddie Mercury himself. Short, so easy to remember and meaning Queen of course but also homosexual in British slang. The name is really interesting because Freddie Mercury was homosexual, it was a kind of innuendo (the title of Queen’s last studio album released in 1991)

They had to wait until 1974 to know their real success thanks to their album : «Sheer Heart Attack». This album won a gold record. In 1980, Queen released their really famous album called «The Game». In this album, they are using some synthesizers for the first time, knocking down their own tradition.

At the «Rock in Rio» festival in 1985, Queen succeeded in filling up all the places by opening and closing the event.

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The band has made two original soundtracks ; one for the movie «Flash Gordon» by Mike Hodges in 1980 and one for «Highlander» by Russel Mulcahy in 1986.The song «Princes of the Universe» has also been used for the opening of the series Highlander. Queen had its own season in the TV show «That’70s Show», meaning that the season’s eight episodes were named with Queen’s songs. In all the songs Queen have composed, we can remember ; «We Will Rock you» by Brian May, which led to many covers and specially by the group KCPK for the publicity of the French mineral water «Evian». The second song is «We Are The Champions» by Freddie Mercury which became a sport anthem. Those two songs were number one in the United States of America and it is thanks to this album «News Of The world» that the band became famous in France too.

They are considered as «the best British group of all times» ahead of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. It was admitted that Queen has contributed to many styles of music like  heavy metal, arena rock, progressive rock, glam rock or pop rock. So they were quoted many times as a reference by many other artists such as Guns N’Roses, Metallica, Muse, Mika, Nirvana, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson or Smashing Pumpkins. We know that Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury were close at the beginning of the 80’s and Jackson quoted the album «Hot Space» like a huge influence in the creation of his well-known song «Thriller». Originally, Mercury was actually supposed to appear in the video clip.

We can also remember all the prizes that Queen received, for example ;

  • In the United Kingdom : in 1989, award for the «best group of the 80’s» during the «Independent Television Awards».

  • International tribute :  in 2002, the band got their own star on the famous «Hollywood Walk of Fame»

In 2003, Queen became the only band in the world to enter the «Songwriters Hall of Fame».

  • International popularity polls : in 1975, they were designated by the «Sounds Reader’s Poll Awards» as the best band, the best album («A Night at the Opera») and the best single («Bohemian Rhapsody»).

In 2009, Freddie Mercury was elected as the «Ultimate God of Rock» by OnePoll on a list of over 4000 rock stars. Thus, he outdistanced Elvis Presley by few votes.

On the 24 november 1991 marks the end of an era with Freddie Mercury’s death at the age of 45 years old. On april 20th 1992, a concert was given at Wembley in the memory of Mercury called the «Freddie Mercury Tribute». Over 10 rock icones were there, singing Queen’s songs with the three other members. George Michael, Elton John, Guns N’Roses, David Bowie, Metallica, Liza Minneli were there. This concert entered the Guiness Book of Records as «the biggest charitable rock concert» and enabled to collect about 20 millions dollars of donation against AIDS, since Freddie Mercury unfortunately died because of AIDS.

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 Angelica M. and Julie M. 2nd4

Elvis_web-fbc2c67686

Elvis Presley VS David Bowie

« Hey, are you okay? »

« No, not at all, I’m so stressed, I don’t want to do my presentation »

« Me neither, it’s so stressful,… Oh my presentation is awful. »

« Mine too, I’m not confident at all. It’s break time! I should train again. »

« Which celebrity did you choose? »

« I chose David Bowie »

« Wow, I love him, I was about to choose him but I prefer Elvis so I chose Elvis Presley! »

« What? You prefer Elvis Presley to David Bowie. This is the craziest thing of the day or maybe the week I’ve ever heard »

« I totally think that Elvis is the best one! Don’t you agree ? »

« You’re wrong! David Bowie is an icon, your singer is from the Stone Age, no one remembers him! »

« The two of us know about him, he is one of the most significant icons of the 20th century and we still remember him. Plus, he died in 1977, it’s not that long ago. When did David die? »

« He died in January, on the 10th 2016, last year, he had a great life, and he died when he was 69. »

« Elvis lived only 42 years, but that was enough to make him a star, an incredible singer, musician and actor. Yeah, he wasn’t only a singer. »

« David wasn’t only a singer, he was also a songwriter, an actor and a producer, and he was a bit of a painter too. »

« You got me on that one! David is English, right? »

« Yes, he was born in London, in 1947 but he died in New York. How about Elvis? »

« Elvis was born in Mississippi, in 1935 and died in Tennessee. For your information, his death wasn’t common, he died on his toilets, but it was the first story, because he was found lying down on the floor next to his toilets, when in reality he fell out of his barber’s chair, he died because of a cardiac arrest! »

« Wow, I didn’t know that’s crazy, and a little strange. »

« Yes, he was really unique; he also has a special nickname. Did you know he is called the king of Rock and Roll? »

« No, but it’s super cool! I’ve got a cool story about David too, there is a restaurant where he used to go often and he arranged with the director a special routine for him. Each time, he would go into the restaurant, he waved at the waitress and the team would immediately prepare his favourite sandwich: a sandwich and a beer. There’s something else I really like about David Bowie he could sing several styles of music like electro, pop or rock and he recorded many albums! He first became famous with that song I particularly enjoy: Space Oddity »

« Yes, but you can’t compare Space Oddity and Blue Suede Shoes, he invented Rock‘n Roll with that song, everything started with that song. The way he sings is incredible, and it’s something new. »

« Have you forgotten about “Let’s Dance”? This song is the best song he ever made. It was a huge success, the biggest success of his career. All his concerts were stunning and took place in big stadiums. He was and still is a beloved star. »

« Well, this song was incredible, you’re right but not as much as “Hound Dog”. This song revealed him to the whole world, and revealed his famous dance move, and he shows us legendary stage skills. »

« I don’t know if you remember about the band Tin Machine, but it was his band. They created it in 1988, and for sure, the song “Under the god” they released together was so cool. David wrote it conveying  special messages. »

« I know a song which is very cool, hum… no, not cool, and I will say it’s my favourite song of all time, it’s a dazzling song. “Can’t help falling in love”, he sang it for a movie. He acted in many movies, in fact; he didn’t like playing in that one. »

« Oh, I love this song too. David must have been proud of his career, he has his own star on the Walk of Fame, and this is unbelievable. »

« Elvis has got one too. But you convinced me, David Bowie is a legend, and I’d have loved to go to one of his concert and he is an icon of pop/rock music. »

« Are you kidding me I was about to say you were right! Elvis is more important than David! He was a real actor not only a singer! »

« We’re going around  in circles! David wasn’t only a singer, you’ve just told me that! »

« Well… In fact, I have a solution they’re both awesome, in their own styles »

« You mean Elvis Presley is the best in Rock and Roll »

« He is the “King » !  »

« And David Bowie is the Best musician in a pop/rock style. I totally agree with this idea! »

« Yes, it’s exactly that. We worked this out! »

« Amazing! Oh no, time to go! I think we’re ready for our presentation! »

« I hope so! Let’s go! »

 

Pauline G. and Justine P. 2nd10

the clash

The Clash

« The Clash » is a pop rock band. It is one of the most important bands in rock history. This group began its career in 1976 and ended it in 1986. The 4 main musicians of this band are Joe Strummer and Mick Jones who were both on guitar and vocals, as well as Paul Simonon the bassist and Topper Headon the drummer. There are also other equally important members, Keith Levene and Terry Chimes.

In 1976, The band was born in a London suburb, in Ladbroke Grove. The band was led by Mick Jones, singer and guitarist. To form a band, he decided to recruit Joe Strummer, a singer and guitarist who, at that time, was the leader of a band called “The 1010’ers “and recruited three other people including Paul Simonon, Keith Levene and Topper Headon, who were the first members of the band.

You should also know that the band was born thanks to a concert of  » the Sex pistols ». Joe Strummer attended their concert and was seduced by pop rock after which Joe joined the band « The Clash ».

They composed their first album in 1977 entitled The Clash and it was with the hit « White Riot » that they started to be known in the UK.

In 1978 they released a new album entitled « Give’ em enough hope » which reached the second place on the British charts.

In 1979, they continued to release many other famous songs like « Train in vain »or « Clampdown »

Unfortunately, tensions started to rise in the band especially between Jones and Strummer who had trouble collaborating with other musicians, and yet, they released a new album entitled « Combat Rock » . Because of the growing tensions many members left the band like Terry Chimes and Keith Levene then other musicians joined him.

The Clash adventure ended quite quickly in 1985, when Strummer dissolved the band. Strummer died 17 years later at the age of 50 after a heart attack.

As for Mick Jones, he became a producer and Paul Simonon played in some bands such as « The good, the bad and the queen ».

 

Steven C. and Tephan B. 2nd10

 

 

 

johnny-clegg-250

Johnny Clegg

We are going to tell you the story of an English speaking artist who was born in 1953 in Manchester in the United Kingdom. He is often called the “WHITE ZULU” and is better known as « Johnny Clegg ». It is not a stage name from his real name, Jonathan Clegg is his real name. He is an author, a composer and a singer.

This great artist has Lithuanian and Polish Jewish origins. Johnny has known his father only for 6 months. He lived with his mother in South Africa after spending some times in Israel but always in an environment which was isolated from the African culture.

Johnny was still a child when he became the friend of his family’s driver’s son. This black child taught him how to speak the Ndebele language. This was key to bring him closer to the Zulu culture.

The myth is rather funny because this is the son of his driver who did not belong to the same social class as Johnny’s middle-class family, who taught him the first steps of traditional  South-African dance moves that enabled him to start his career.

At the age of 14, he decided to run away and did not have any project.  When he was 15, he started to play the guitar which enabled him to meet a Zulu musician playing in the street, called Mntonganazo Mzila. 

A little later He met another person called Sipho  who improved his guitar skills, and taught him dance, language and also Zulustick combat. In parallel, Johnny taught Sipho Celtic music and Rock’n’roll.

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Together, they secretly did a tour of all the migrant workers’ homes. During Apartheid period, this improbable association caused a strong artistic and political agitation, among those who condemned this multi-culturality but also those who encouraged it.

In 1976, Johnny and Sipho obtained their first record contract, and they released their first album « Woza Friday » which surprised the whole country .

It is at this moment that Johnny Clegg to mix together English words and Western melodies with Zulu music.

In 1979, the duet changed its name to become Juluka with a first album,  that was censored in South Africa because of Apartheid. Their second album, African Litany, was their first large national success, with their famous song  « Impi« .

In 1985, the Juluka adventure ended with the departure of Sipho, who decided to go back to his community to bring assistance. Then, Johnny decided to create his second band called « Savuka ».

The first album of Savuka, « Third World Child« , was a very large success, with more than two millions copies sold in the world with the very famous song « Asimbonanga » (a song dedicated to Nelson Mandela, which was imprisonned in Robben Island closed to the Cap). With this music, He decided to leave South Africa and to start a worldwide tour to defend the cause of Mandela, which thanked him a lot later.  « Scatterlings of Africa« , another famous song was used for the original soundtrack of the famous movie Rain Man (with Tom Cruise). Another famous song called « Shadow Man »  enabled Johnny Clegg to prepare another world tour, sharing the scene with others artists like Steve Winwood in the United States and George Michael in Canada. 

In 1988, he was the biggest record seller in France.

Several French singers dedicated songs to him like Renaud and Serge Gainsbourg.

Since May 2010, Johnny Clegg has been an honored citizen of a small French town named Équeurdreville-Hainneville.

Up to 2014, he did many concerts and recorded several albums. 

In April 2017, Johnny Clegg announced that he was suffering from cancer, detected in 2015. 

He has started a Final Journey World Tour scheduled in many countries, and yet, we hope that this tour will not be the conclusion of his career.

APARTHEID – Systematic mode of segregation which existed in South Africa between Whites and Blacks up to 1991.

Thaïs D. and Léa D.S. 2nd10

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Pink Floyd

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Pink Floyd is a progressive and psychedelic rock band formed back in 1965 in England, London and they are one of the biggest band of all time.

As for the genres, progressive rock, also known as prog rock, is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom and the United States throughout the mid to late 60s.

As for psychedelic rock, it is a genre centered around perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs, just like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Deep Purple.

Back to the group, Pink Floyd is, or at least was composed of 5 members : David Gilmour, Syd Barett, Nick Mason, Richard Wright and Roger Waters. There were two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer and a keyboardist.

Unfortunately, two of them passed away both because of a disease, and one of them left because he thought that there wasn’t any purpose in continuing the group anymore, and he was also afraid that whatever they’ll do in the future it will tarnish the name of the band.

They are really huge artists and are well known on a global scale as I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard of them at least once in your life and probably already encountered this image before. ( “The Dark Side of The moon” album cover )

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This album of theirs is actually the third best-selling album of all time, right behind Back in Black of AC/DC and Thriller of Michael Jackson.

This album, along with three other albums : Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall are part of some kind off a phase from 1973 to 1979. This so-called phase is considered as the very peak of their career.

They also sold a total of about three hundred millions of albums all around the world, ranking them as the 7th best-selling artist of all time.

They were one of the most influential band of the 70s and when you get used to their style, you’re quite likely to start hearing it in other people’s songs.

Pink Floyd was essentially the first band to see widespread success using keyboard as a primary instrument. It added another layer to their music that wasn’t just drums, a guitar and a bass.

It pushed the use of keyboards in songs which eventually led to the electronic style of the next decade, inspiring many others like Airbag, Porcupine Tree and RPWL. (which are not 70s artists)

They also are one of the firsts to make heavy use of sound effects in their music because nobody really used actual sound clips in their songs like Pink Floyd and of course at the time, things like samplers and launchpads did not exist so they were the first high-profile rock band that combined sound effect with real instruments.

Furthermore, they kind off single handedly launched space rock alongside King Crimson, which is also a subgenre of rock music.

Their use of multimedia performances filled the gaps between the generations, connecting the different audiences and spreading a message of love and peace, leading to the rise of hippiedom as it was the period of the Vietnam war.

And so, not only they influenced a genre of music, one which evolved with increased audience expectations of liveliness as well as counterculture ideals of revolution, but they also had a great impact on society with for example the song “Another Brick in The Wall”, calling the society out to act and think like actual human beings instead of just being bricks completely destitute of any possible thought.

However, being artists does not mean being saints and behave like goody two shoes as they were involved several times in either drug scandals or cheating scandals.

A perfect example would be the scandal about the keyboardist Richard Wright.

According to his ex-wife, he cheated on her with one of his groupie and even impregnated her while she, on her side, was dealing with her fourth miscarriage and was utterly devastated. She also added that it wasn’t the first time he’s had an affair with a fan.

And so, even though they got into a lot of drama that are way too many and long to tell, and though things went a bit downhill between the members to the point where for some reasons, they sued each other, they didn’t go down at unknowns, they went down as one of the most legendary band of all time.

The End.

A/N: One of our indwelling human flaws

Is our impending tendency

To consign happiness

To a nebulous future

That we rarely grasp,

In pursuit of which we

Fail to process joys

And blessings of

The present.

Audrey O. 2nd4

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Bob Marley

 

His real name was Robert Nesta Marley. He was born in Nine Mile in Jamaica the 6 February 1945and died in Miami the 11 May 1981. When he was 18 years old he created a group called the Wailers with Tosh, Braithwaite, Kelso, Wailer and Smith. Their single “Simmer down” for the Coxsone Label became the first Jamaican single in February 1964 selling at approximately 70000 copies. This first single made them famous.

Marley was a rasta who helped popularize Rastafarianism. He was a pot-smoker and a militant follower and advocate of Rastafarianism. The singer became a symbol of rasta values and beliefs.

One day Marley was a victim of an assassination attack. Some guys entered his house and shoot him and his wife. Rita was shot in the head and Marley was shot in the arm, in the chest and had 5 bullets in the left leg. Miraculously his wife did not die. 2 days later he made his concert called smile Jamaica. His presence was considered as a symbol against violence.

Marley also participated to the creation of Reggae music. Reggae appeared in the 60’s. It’s an afro-Caribbean style created in Jamaica and it’s also an evolution of rocksteady and ska. It comes from the traditional musics such as Mento and Calypso but it was also influenced by Rhythm and blues, Jazz and Soul music which made it a very blended style.

In fact, at the beginning he was a welder but he was not very gifted for that and one day he almost lost an eye. After that he decided to launch into music. Finally, he became the famous musician we all know, so fortunately he was not that good as a welder, otherwise he would never have been famous.

Mathilde N. and Myriam B-P. 2nd4

agit8

Protest songs !

Dans le cadre du projet « Zebrock / Hair », les élèves de 2nde media du lycée Blaise Pascal ont étudié en cours d’anglais le contexte historique et culturel des années 60 aux Etats-Unis, afin d’être en mesure d’appréhender l’engagement et le message des chansons protestataires de l’époque. Cette séquence a été clôturée par la tâche finale présentée ici et réalisée par groupes de 2 élèves, à savoir la réalisation d’une chronique radio sur la chanson contestataire de leur choix, sans limite chronologique. Des grands classiques comme « Strange fruit » ou « Born in the USA » font partie de cette shortlist, mais aussi deux chansons de Beyonce dont les élèves considèrent les chansons aux thèmes parfois engagés comme flirtant avec la chanson contestataire dans une revendication plus sociale que politique. Il est de ce fait intéressant de voir l’évolution de la notion de « protest song » dans l’esprit des adolescents.