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AC/DC  

Robert Walser

Australian heavy metal band. Formed in Sydney in 1973 by the brothers Angus Young (b Glasgow, Scotland, 31 March 1955; guitar) and Malcolm Young (b Glasgow, Scotland, 6 Jan 1953; d Elizabeth Bay, Australia, 18 Nov 2017; guitar), its best-known line-up stabilized in 1975 with Mark Evans (b Melbourne, 2 March 1956; bass), Phil Rudd (b Melbourne, 19 May 1954; drums), and Bon Scott (Ron Belford Scott; b Kirriemuir, Scotland, 9 July 1946; d East Dulwich, London, 19 Feb 1980; vocals). Cliff Williams (b 14 Dec 1949) replaced Evans in 1977, and upon Scott’s death, he was replaced by Brian Johnson (b 5 Oct 1947). By 1976, they were Australia’s leading rock band and decided to move to London in the hope of broader success, which they achieved in the UK and the USA by the end of the decade. They are known for crude, rowdy, and sometimes juvenile lyrics that celebrate excess, transgression, and communal bonding, delivered through very hoarse, sometimes screaming, vocals. Their music is blues-based, displaying few of the Baroque influences that strongly affected most heavy metal bands. It is usually built around riffs that are primarily chordal and rhythmic rather than melodic. Their ensemble work is both forceful and precise, featuring effective use of the two guitars for complementary rhythm parts. Their most popular and critically respected album is ...

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Jonas Westover

Australian pop group formed by Barry (b Douglas, Isle of Man, 1 Sept 1946), Robin (b Douglas, Isle of Man, 22 Dec 1949; d London, England, 20 May 2012), and Maurice Gibb (b Douglas, Isle of Man, 22 Dec 1949; d Miami Beach, FL, 12 Jan 2003). They were raised in Manchester, England, until 1958, when the family moved to Brisbane, Australia, where the brothers formed a trio called the Rattlesnakes. They soon began writing their own music, often composed by Barry, and attracting media attention. In 1963 the group signed a deal to record singles as the Bee Gees with Festival Records and two years later released their first album. After moving to Polydor Records, they released two songs, “New York Mining Disaster 1941” and “To Love Somebody,” which became hit singles. Both were included on the album Bee Gees 1st (Polydor, ...

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Michael Webb

(Tok Pisin for ‘bamboo band’).

Both a struck aerophone (alternatively, an idiophone) comprising a set of three or five tuned bamboo tubes, and the name for an ensemble including these instruments. It was featured in popular music in the Solomon Islands (its place of origin) and parts of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu for several decades from the 1970s. The primary instrument is derived from the handheld tuned stamping tube, and comprises a set of 7- to 9-cm-diameter bamboos, open at both ends and graduated in lengths of up to 2 metres, arranged in raft form. A band will include at least three sets; each set is commonly tuned (to a guitar) 1–3–5–6–8 (or 1–3–5), usually in a low register, to sound one of the three primary chords in a given key. With flexible paddles players vigorously slap in succession one open end of each bamboo in a boogie-woogie rhythmic-melodic pattern that outlines a triad; sets alternate according to changes in harmony. The ensemble includes guitars and accompanies harmonized singing. A related Solomon Islands ensemble without guitars yet employing Westernized tuning, involves multiple sets of panpipes, ‘pantrumpets’, and the rack-mounted bass ...

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Jeffrey Holmes

(b Auckland, New Zealand, April 23, 1947). American pianist, composer, and arranger of New Zealand birth. He was classically trained but developed a voracious appetite for jazz as a teenager and enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in 1966 to study composition and arranging. On weekends he traveled to New York for lessons with lennie Tristano. He toured with Woody Herman from 1969 to 1972, which garned him a Best Arranger award from Downbeat and two Grammy writing nominations. After moving to Los Angeles, he spent ten years as Nelson Riddle’s pianist and also worked with David Rose, Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini, and Irene Kral. From 1987 he has played alongside Charlie Haden in the ensemble Quartet West. His albums as a leader include trio, duo, and solo settings. He has also collaborated with Michael Feinstein and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Broadbent’s arrangements, and his string writing in particular, are lush and inventive; this work, which has garnered two Grammy awards, has graced projects with prominent artists such as Mel Tormé, Scott Hamilton, Natalie Cole, and Diana Krall....

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Jonas Westover

(b Cambridge, England, Sept 26, 1948). English singer and actress. Raised in Australia, where she began singing as a teenager, she is best known for her hits of the 1970s and early 1980s. She made her way from local television and radio appearances to national television contests, including “Sing, Sing, Sing,” which won her a trip to England and the opportunity to begin recording. Newton-John’s first album, If Not for You (Festival, 1971), brought her some attention in the UK and Australia, but it was not until the single “Let me be there” (1973) that she became known in the United States. If You Love Me, Let Me Know (MCA, 1974) included the song that was to become Newton-John’s signature number, “I honestly love you,” and garnered two Grammy awards for the singer, including Record of the Year. A string of chart-topping singles followed, making Newton-John well known before she took the iconic role as Sandy in the movie adaptation of ...

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Jonas Westover

(b Melbourne, Australia, Oct 25, 1941). Australian singer and actress; naturalized American in 1974. She found fame in the 1970s with several hits that reached number one on the Billboard charts, including the feminist anthem “I Am Woman,” “Delta Dawn,” and “Angie Baby.” Born to a musical family, she joined her parents in vaudeville as a singer and dancer. Following a successful appearance on the Australian television program Bandstand, she won a chance to travel to America in 1966. Reddy began her career in the United States as a nightclub singer; after several years of struggling in the late 1960s, she managed to record a song called “One Way Ticket” for Mercury Records that brought her some recognition. Her first major hit, “I Am Woman,” became her signature song after it appeared in 1972, garnering her a Grammy award for Best Female Pop Vocal Artist. A string of folk-infused pop singles were hits throughout the world including “Leave me alone (ruby red dress),” “Keep on Singing,” “You and Me against the World,” and “Somewhere in the Night.” Her success led to television and film appearances over the course of the next two decades; she also made a few forays into stage acting. Reddy, who last performed in ...

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John C. MacInnis

(b London, England, Dec 27, 1911; d Batemans Bay, Australia, Oct 18, 2006). American English singer, comedienne, and musical parodist. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, she aspired to a career as an opera singer. She performed in several opera productions in the UK and sang for the BBC in the 1930s. Initial successes as a musical parodist began in 1940 after Russell moved to Toronto, Canada, with her mother and especially after her famous recital at Town Hall, New York, in 1951.

Through the 1950s Russell performed and recorded extensively. She appeared in opera productions (e.g. New York City Opera, Hansel and Gretel, 1953) and on Broadway (e.g. Anna Russell’s Little Show, 1955). She often styled herself as a mock-music appreciation teacher; for example, she instructed audiences on “How to Write your own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera,” comically explained the plots of famous works like Wagner’s ...

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David B. Pruett

(Lionel )

(b Whangarei, North Island, New Zealand, Oct 26, 1967). country recording artist of New Zealand birth. As one of few Australians to appear atop the American country music charts, Keith Urban first attained widespread commercial success in the United States in the late 1990s. Urban grew up in Australia listening to American rock, pop, and country, and such Australian country artists as Reg Lindsay and Slim Dusty. Already a successful artist with EMI Australia, having four number-one hits to his name, Urban moved to Nashville in 1992, eventually fronting his own group, the Ranch, which released its self-titled, debut album with Capitol Records in 1997. Within a year, the Ranch had disbanded, but Urban continued with Capitol as a solo artist, releasing a self-titled album that produced his first number-one song in the United States, “But for the Grace of God” (1999), and achieved platinum certification. His second album, ...