Reviewing ABC’s Greatest Hits Part 4: 1990-1995

Missed our review of Greatest Hits episode 3? Check it out right here!

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS OF ARTISTS AND SONGS PERFORMED.

The fourth episode of ABC’s summer series, Greatest Hits, aired on Thursday, July 21. This time, music from 1990 to 1995 was featured. The show seemed to give us only a sampling of the music of the early 90s. With many genres popping up during this time, this episode seemed to graze over a majority of them.

En Vogue and June’s Diary. July 21, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

En Vogue and June’s Diary. July 21, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

The episode started off with R&B/pop group En Vogue, who were joined by new supergroup June’s Diary to perform “Free Your Mind” from their 1992 album Funky Divas.

This was a good pairing of past and present pop groups, but it was the strangest pairing we have seen on the show so far.

June’s Diary was formed on the BET reality show “Chasing Destiny,” and has only been around since the start of the summer.

At the same time, having these two groups together was almost a passing of the torch in the pop group genre. The performance had a sound reminiscent of Beyonce and the Spice Girls.

The next act was soul/R&B singer Seal (shown above), who performed his hit “Kiss From A Rose” from “Batman Forever.” Though the song sounded great, it seemed that Seal was holding back his voice when his sang. Normally loud, he was quiet and subdued during the performance.

Montell Jordan. July 21, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Montell Jordan. July 21, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Following Seal was Montell Jordan, who sang the popular “This Is How We Do It” from his 1995 album of the same name. Jordan had great energy on stage, and got the audience singing and dancing along.

(An aside: Huge props to Arsenio Hall for bringing up the ‘95 Bulls in his introduction of the song!)

LBT

Top: Little Big Town. July 21, 2016. Photo Credit: Byron Cohen and ABC; Bottom: Oasis. Photo Credit: Feelnumb.

Top: Little Big Town. July 21, 2016. Photo Credit: Byron Cohen and ABC; Bottom: Oasis. Photo Credit: Feelnumb.

Next to take the stage was country group Little Big Town, who sang “Wonderwall” by Oasis. This was hyped as a unique rendition of the song, as Little Big Town promised to give the song a country twist.

When performed, however, it did not seem to have any hint of country, and was more quiet and subdued than expected. It sounded more like something you would hear late at night in an Adult Swim bumper. Nevertheless, it sounded pretty cool.

Bonnie Raitt and Andra Day. July 21, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Bonnie Raitt and Andra Day. July 21, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Blues and folk singer Bonnie Raitt followed Little Big Town, who sang “Love Sneakin’ Up On You” with soul/R&B singer Andra Day. We thought that this combo wouldn’t be good, mainly because Day is more poppy in style, while Raitt is folk-to-the-bone.

Surprisingly, the song turned out well. It had a butt-kicking country feel to it, which Day worked with nicely. Afterward, Day thanked Raitt for being an inspiration to her and her contributions to music, and they sang Day’s hit “Rise Up.”

Alessia Cara

Top: Alessia Cara. July 21, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC; Bottom: U2. Photo Credit: Brainz.

Top: Alessia Cara. July 21, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC; Bottom: U2. Photo Credit: Brainz.

The next act was R&B/pop singer Alessia Cara, who sang “One” by U2, from their 1991 album “Achtung Baby.”

In the original track, Bono’s singing was smooth and clear. When “One” was sung here, Cara’s singing sounded like a mix between modern pop and rap. Her articulation was rather mucky, and she seemed pretty quiet. Even though the renditions are meant to have a flair, something different from the original, Cara’s performance did not seem up to par with this show’s other performances.

Boyz II Men. July 21, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Boyz II Men. July 21, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

R&B group Boyz II Men ended the night with “Motownphilly” from their debut album “Cooleyhighharmony.” The song had a nice funk beat, mixed with some R&B and rap, much unchanged since 1991. The group sounded as fresh as ever, overlooking one member being a little quieter than the others (or was it his microphone?). It was a nice and positive ending to a fun episode.

This episode featured a little bit of everything from the early 90s – pop, rock, R&B, country, among others – but it seemed to be only a sampling of everything. The show did not dig deeper into any specific genre, but rather just skimmed the surface of what the early 90s was.

We really wanted to hear more.

There were many aspects in this episode that left us scratching our heads. First, why was June’s Diary, a group only around for a couple months, formed from a reality show, and only one single to their name so far, on the same stage as En Vogue, a group that has been around since 1989, and has twenty-four singles? If June’s Diary had a little more experience and exposure in the music listener’s world and some more popular songs, then this pairing would be neat to see.

Plus, why was Alessia Cara picked to perform U2’s “One”? Her singing style did not go along well with the style of the song. We understand that she may have been putting her own style on the song, which is absolutely okay, but she also should have incorporated U2’s original style into her performance, too.

It was awesome to see 90s rock get some representation on the show, but we wanted more. We wanted to see bands like the Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M., maybe even some sort of representation of Nirvana (maybe an appearance from Dave Grohl, lead singer of the Foo Fighters and former drummer for Nirvana?).

90s hip-hop and rap got a little bit of representation, too, but we missed the big names in the east coast vs. west coast rap rivalry of the 90s, like Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G., and N.W.A., among others.

ABC made a lot of confusing decisions regarding this episode, yet it was still enjoyable. Hopefully, next week will not leave us asking why, but have us saying “wow!”

Final rating:

LPLPLPLP

4 LPs (out of 5)

Predictions: Next week’s show will feature music from 2000 to 2005, a period that still feels like yesterday to many of us.

We are hoping to hear some pop-punk, the genre that made the early 2000s. Bands like Green Day, blink-182, Sum 41, and many, many, MANY more. To quote the intro to the Pop-Punk Power Hour (every Friday from 3-4 PM on FM89!), “we would literally die for pop-punk!”

Fifth Harmony is confirmed to appear on the show, and they will be singing some hits from Destiny’s Child. We may also see more of the female pop singers and groups, like Britney Spears and the Spice Girls.

Visit your online home for pure rock WONC.org next week for our review of episode five of Greatest Hits!

Featured photo courtesy of ABC.

Reviewing ABC’s Greatest Hits Part 3: 1985-1990

Missed our last review? Check out part two here!

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS ARTIST AND SONG SPOILERS.

Onto the next one! ABC aired the newest episode of its six-week special series Greatest Hits on Thursday, July 14. This time, we took a look back at the best of music between 1985 and 1990.

This episode promised an appearance of probably the biggest genre of the period: hair metal-rock. The show would deliver on this promise, but in a lighter way than we expected. There were also some notable absences in the show’s lineup. Despite this, the night was still very fun for all.

The night started off with Poison lead singer Bret Michaels who sang “Nothin’ But A Good Time” from Poison’s 1988 album “Open Up and Say…Ahh!” Due to his recent medical problems, Michaels was rather stiff on stage, but had a ton of energy and wonderful singing that more than made up for it. Michaels had the audience pumped for the rest of the show. He has not skipped a beat since the hard rocking late 80s.

Chicago and Aloe Blacc. July 14, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Chicago and Aloe Blacc. July 14, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Michaels was followed by local band Chicago. They brought along R&B singer Aloe Blacc to sing “Look Away” and “You’re the Inspiration” from their 1988 self-titled album.

The band has aged some since the late 80s, but their performance did not reflect that. The song got the audience swaying to the music. The addition of Blacc and Robert Lamm sharing lyrics gave these song some soul.

Miguel

Top: Miguel. July 14, 2016. Photo Credit: Byron Cohen and ABC; Bottom: Steve Winwood. Photo Credit: Rob Vehorst.

Top: Miguel. July 14, 2016. Photo Credit: Byron Cohen and ABC; Bottom: Steve Winwood. Photo Credit: Rob Vehorst.

The next act to take the stage was R&B and hip-hop singer Miguel, who performed Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love.” The song is known for having a dance feel to it, but Miguel’s singing gave the song more of a Latin beat. He got the audience dancing to the beat, and nearly started a dance party when he walked into the crowd. Miguel seemed to renew the song, and gave it more of a kick.

Wilson Phillips. July 14, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Wilson Phillips. July 14, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Following Miguel was pop vocal group Wilson Phillips, who performed “Hold On” from their 1990 self-titled album. The group, consisting of the daughters of The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, still had great harmonizing with this song, and made the song sound upbeat. The song also sounded hopeful, to go along with the lyrics. Even twenty-six years after the release, the song still sounded great.

Grace Potter

Top: Grace Potter. July 14, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC; Bottom: Jon Bon Jovi. Photo Credit: Scott Gries, Getty Images.

Top: Grace Potter. July 14, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC; Bottom: Jon Bon Jovi. Photo Credit: Scott Gries, Getty Images.

Blues rock singer, Grace Potter, of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, took the stage next to perform the Bon Jovi classic “You Give Love A Bad Name.”

Being used to hearing Jovi singing the song, it was rather strange, yet unique to hear a female voice on the track instead of the New Jersey rocker we have all come to know. The performance did not sound as well as we hoped. Potter sounded a tad out-of-tune at a few points in the song, and the guitars did not sound as hard and driving as they did on the original track. It felt like the band was purposely holding back some power with this song.

Foreigner and Nate Ruess. July 14, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Foreigner and Nate Ruess. July 14, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Next up was Foreigner and Fun. singer Nate Ruess, who performed another classic: “I Want To Know What Love Is.”

When listening to their performance, it seemed to us that lead singer Mick Jones and Ruess had similar vocal ranges when they sang. In a way, it almost felt like a younger and older Jones singing together, which sounded really cool. The song still sounded rocking, even though the album it was on (Agent Provocateur) was released in 1984, but we cannot fault them for this.

Kenny Loggins made his second appearance on Greatest Hits to sing his classic “Danger Zone” from the 1986 film Top Gun. Like his performance of “Footloose” a couple of weeks ago, the song was a few beats slower, but it still had that driving, high-octane feel that it had all this time.

It still felt the “need for speed” that Tom Cruise did in the film. Though Loggins sounded great, the guitar sounded very subdued, and not as hard and harsh. The quick five-note bass intro also seemed to be missing from the song.

Bret Michaels returned to the stage to finish the show with another Poison hit, the power ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Even all these years later, the song still sounded great, and it gave the audience the feels. Michaels kept up his energy from the top of the show, and ended this week’s episode right.

The music in this episode seemed a little toned down from the last two episodes. It had more of an easy listening format, rather than a hard, loud feel like the show has been so far. Why is that? Some artists, like Wilson Phillips and Foreigner, are known for some quiet music, so we can understand that. Others, like Kenny Loggins and Bon Jovi, are famous for their hard rock style. If the show wanted to have quiet music, then there should have been other softer acts in place of Loggins, Grace Potter, and Bret Michaels.

Also, where was everyone? A lot of big names in the late 80s were missing. It was awesome to see some representation of hair metal, but it seemed to scratch the surface. Where were bands like Def Leppard and AC/DC? Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, also headlining names in this era, were barely mentioned, and there was nothing about the late Prince.

We could understand if the acts themselves could not attend because of touring or other commitments, but why was there not even a modern artist there to sing one of their songs?

It seemed that ABC was really holding back on this episode.

Final rating:

LPLPLP1/2

3 ½ LPs (out of 5)

Predictions: Next week’s show will highlight music between 1990 and 1995. We really want to see some grunge rock bands, like Soundgarden, R.E.M., and the Smashing Pumpkins. Since the whole band cannot make it, we would like to see someone else perform Nirvana. The 90s was also famous for the intense rivalry between east and west coast rap, so we might see a tribute to some of the big names, like Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., and N.W.A.

We will end this review with a great quote from Bret Michaels during this episode:

“Music is all what you need it to be to fit your life, and to me, life without music would truly suck.”

Be on the lookout for our review of episode four of Greatest Hits!

Featured photo courtesy of Byron Cohen, ABC, and Tribune News Service.

Reviewing ABC’s Greatest Hits Part 2: 1995-2000

 

Missed our review of episode one of Greatest Hits? Check it out here!

WARNING: SPOILERS OF ARTISTS AND SONGS AHEAD.

The nostalgic 90’s and early 2000’s was brought back to life on the last episode of Greatest Hits on ABC.

The show started with a cold open featuring Arsenio Hall and Kelsea Ballerini, and R&B group All-4-One (seen above). Hall claimed that he was a part of the group for a short time in the 90s, but was given the boot because of “creative differences.”

In reality, he was kicked out because he could not sing, and this was very obvious when he tried singing a portion of All-4-One’s hit “I Swear” from their self-titled debut album.

Although the segment was a somewhat humorous start to the show (even though we could see the punchline coming from a mile away), there was just one problem: All-4-One’s first album came out in 1994. The inclusion of this song on a show featuring music between 1995 and 2000 skid the surface of acceptance.

The Backstreet Boys and Meghan Trainor. July 7, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

The Backstreet Boys and Meghan Trainor. July 7, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Not counting All-4-One, the first act of the show was probably THE act of the 90s, the Backstreet Boys, who sang their classic, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).”

The song sounded more mature coming from the group, but it still kept the 90s-boy-band charm that wooed fans then and today. Their performance also had a rock concert feel to it, with bright lights and some pyrotechnics. It reminded us a little bit of Kiss.

The Backstreet Boys put on a great performance that left their fans screaming for more (and they would, but more on that later).

Coolio and CeeLo Green. July 7, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Coolio and CeeLo Green. July 7, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

The next act to take the stage was rapper Coolio, who was joined by CeeLo Green for “Gangsta’s Paradise.” The energetic song had flow, but Coolio’s microphone was muffled throughout the performance, which made his lyrics barely understandable.

Green’s singing gave this rather gritty song a little soul, and the choreography from the hoodlum dancers in the background was a nice touch.

Jewel and Tori Kelly. July 7, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Jewel and Tori Kelly. July 7, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Following Coolio and CeeLo was country singer, Jewel and pop singer, Tori Kelly. They sang “You Were Meant For Me” from Jewel’s debut album, Pieces of You.

Jewel and Kelly are both known to have smooth singing voices, so having these two paired up was fantastic. They had near-perfect harmonizing throughout the song, and it was a beautiful touch to this love song.

LL Cool J and Wiz Khalifa. July 7, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

LL Cool J and Wiz Khalifa. July 7, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Next up was rapper, actor, and Lip Sync Battle host LL Cool J, who sang “Loungin’” with one of his most famous fans, Wiz Khalifa. LL did not lose a beat since the late 90s, and his performance with Khalifa had the whole crowd singing and beat bouncing along.

“Loungin’” would quickly transition into Khalifa’s recent hit, “We Dem Boys,” a favorite of LL’s.

Both rappers traded lyrics back and forth, which made for an amazing duet between past and present hip-hop. The audience loved the performance so much that there were a couple of times that their singing could be picked up by ABC’s cameras.

Hanson and Echosmith. July 7, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Hanson and Echosmith. July 7, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Hanson would take the stage next to sing two songs of their own. The first was an acoustic version of their hit “MmmBop” from their 1997 album Middle of Nowhere.

The band has grown up much since the late 90s, and the song, like the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody,” sounded more mature. However, the harmonization sounded better than before.

Indie-pop band Echosmith joined the now grown-up band to sing “Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin’” from Hanson’s album Shout It Out. The song, an argument between an ex-boyfriend and girlfriend, was sung as a duet between the two bands, which was rather fitting. The guitar and organ solos in the middle of the song sounded very soulful, and reminded me of George Harrison’s and Billy Preston’s work on The Beatles’ last album, Let It Be.

The song sounded awesome…except that Shout It Out was released in 2010, way beyond the timeframe of the episode.

The Backstreet Boys came back (alright!), and were joined by pop singer Meghan Trainor to sing another classic, “I Want It That Way,” to finish the show. The inclusion of a female voice in the song was very unique, and it made the song fresh and new.

The audience once again loved the performance, and their singing was very audible at one point. Trainor sounded outstanding with the boy band, and it even left us wanting to hear more. If any of this episode’s pairings should expand beyond the show and do more collaboration or go on tour, it should definitely be Meghan Trainor and the Backstreet Boys. Just imagine them singing “All About That Bass.” Come to think of it, you do not need to. Just watch this!

Episode two of Greatest Hits left us with more questions than answers about the overall goal of the series. At the top of the show, Arsenio Hall talked about how all of the performing artists were paired with popular artists of today, and merging yesterday with today.

Is this supposed to be the show’s goal? If so, then why was Pitbull the only modern artist featured in the series premiere?

Some of these songs were fun to hear again, but the ball was dropped on double-checking some release dates.

If the show wanted to stick to strictly music from 1995 to 2000, then All-4-One should have been asked to use another song for the cold open, and “Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin’” should not have been performed, since it was released way later than the 1995-2000 period.

One big genre was missing from this episode: grunge rock. This was immensely popular in the 90s. Where was Soundgarden, the Smashing Pumpkins, or R.E.M? They were at the peak of their popularity during this time. Although rap had good representation in this show, we did not see any dedications to the most popular rappers, like Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., or N.W.A.

Maybe we’ll see them in the 1990-1995 show.

Final rating:

LPLPLP1/2

3 1/2 LPs (out of 5)

Predictions: Next week’s episode will focus on the greatest hits from 1985-1990. It has been confirmed that Bret Michaels of Poison will perform. We think that more of the hair metal bands will make an appearance, like Def Leppard and Bon Jovi. We also might see appearances from more of the era’s popular artists, like Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. Prince was also very popular during this time, so it would be nice to see a tribute to him.

Keep it locked on WONC.org next week for episode three of Greatest Hits!

Featured photo courtesy of Byron Cohen and ABC.

Reviewing ABC’s Greatest Hits Part 1: 1980-1985

Written by Peter Schiller

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS OF ARTISTS AND SONGS. 
Last Thursday, ABC premiered a new series called Greatest Hits. It features the very best of music from different eras. This six-week event is hosted by comedian Arsenio Hall and country singer Kelsea Ballerini.

The series premiere showcased music between 1980 and 1985, with many recognizable faces from those years taking the stage to perform their most popular songs once again.

Although the show was rather enjoyable, it was unclear  what the overall goal of the show was. Was it to showcase the greatest hits of the early 80’s? Or  was there another agenda?

Kenny Loggins

Kenny Loggins. Jun. 30, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

The first act to take the stage was Kenny Loggins. He performed his classic song “Footloose” from the classic movie of the same name. Loggins still had tons of energy and “tore up the town” like he did in 1984, with some backup singers helping out with the call-and-response “cut footloose” in the middle of the song. Loggins put on a solid performance that had the whole audience clapping and dancing along.

Jason Derulo

MJ_2

Top: Jason Derulo. Jun. 30, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC; Bottom: Michael Jackson. Photo Credit: Carrie Stern, Dance Heritage Coalition.

Next was hip-hop singer and dancer Jason Derulo. He performed “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson while performing a choreographed dance. This was probably the best act of the show, with Derulo breaking out some of the late King of Pop’s moves, like his spin and the trademark moonwalk, along with the insertion of some of Jackson’s vocal grunts and shouts throughout the song. Many other flourishes in the performance, like some quick blasts of pyrotechnics, made Derulo’s performance a very special and fitting tribute to Michael Jackson.

GREATEST HITS - "Greatest Hits - Episode 1" - The series premiere episode will kick off the six-week music event with chart toppers from 1980-1985, with performances by Pitbull, REO Speedwagon, Ray Parker, Jr., Jason Derulo, Kenny Loggins, Kim Carnes, Rick Springfield and Kool & The Gang. The episode will showcase some of the greatest hits from the early '80s, including a duet with REO Speedwagon and Pitbull, and a special tribute to Michael Jackson performed by Jason Derulo. Hosted by actor and comedian Arsenio Hall and country music star Kelsea Ballerini, "Greatest Hits" will air THURSDAY, JUNE 30 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Greg Gayne) RAY PARKER JR.

Ray Parker Jr. Jun. 30, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Following Jason Derulo was Ray Parker Jr. He emerged from a model of the Ghostbusters’ car (including that weird clown/European siren) from the first two and upcoming films to sing the title song. Accompanied by backup Ghostbuster dancers, Parker led the audience in a rendition of “Ghostbusters,” which actually turned out to be pretty good. Happily, no dancers were slimed in the making of that segment of the show.

Rick Springfield

Rick Springfield. Jun. 30, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Rick Springfield walked onstage after “Ghostbusters” to sing his hit single “Jessie’s Girl” from his 1981 album Working Class Dog. Other than a few minor vocal problems, Springfield proved that he could still rock all these years later, yelling the chorus and heavily strumming his guitar. At the end of the song, he pulled off a successful guitar toss and catch, which I was very impressed that he could still do.

REO and Pitbull

Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon and Pitbull. Jun. 30, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Springfield was followed by University of Illinois alumni REO Speedwagon, who performed two songs. Their first song was “Keep On Loving You” from their 1980 album Hi-Infidelity. The song’s pitch was a little lower than normal, but the band more than made up for it in their on-stage performance.

Surprise guest Pitbull joined the seasoned band for their second song. Pitbull performed his song “Messin’ Around,” which included the chorus of REO’s song, “Take it on the Run”.

It was strange to hear this song performed in a show dedicated to music between 1980 and 1985. It was even more surprising to hear Kevin Cronin singing much of Pitbull’s lyrics, along with the chorus.

Although the song sounded great, it really seemed out of place in the show.

GREATEST HITS - "Greatest Hits - Episode 1" - The series premiere episode will kick off the six-week music event with chart toppers from 1980-1985, with performances by Pitbull, REO Speedwagon, Ray Parker, Jr., Jason Derulo, Kenny Loggins, Kim Carnes, Rick Springfield and Kool & The Gang. The episode will showcase some of the greatest hits from the early '80s, including a duet with REO Speedwagon and Pitbull, and a special tribute to Michael Jackson performed by Jason Derulo. Hosted by actor and comedian Arsenio Hall and country music star Kelsea Ballerini, "Greatest Hits" will air THURSDAY, JUNE 30 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Byron Cohen) KIM CARNES

Kim Carnes. Jun. 30, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

Rock/country singer Kim Carnes was up next to perform with “Bette Davis Eyes” from her 1981 album Mistaken Identity. Carnes is known to have a semi-raspy voice in some of her songs, but her voice seemed a little raspier than normal when she performed on the show. Nonetheless, she still serenaded the audience with some of the charm. At the same time, the song is not as well-known as some of the other songs performed during this episode, so it seemed a little out-of-place.

KOOL & THE GANG

Kool and the Gang. Jun. 30, 2016. Photo Credit: ABC.

To finish the night, Kool and the Gang performed their party classic “Celebration.” Even all these years later, and ignoring a couple of minor pitch problems, the song still got the audience singing, dancing, and clapping along. It was a very fitting end to episode one of Greatest Hits.

Wrap-Up

When we first heard about the show, our thoughts were that it would be exactly that: the greatest hits of a time period. However, Arsenio Hall stated at the top of the show that the performing artists and the songs performed represented all that made up the early 80s. Which is it?

If it truly is the latter rather than the former, then we could understand the selection of artists and songs.

On the other hand, if these songs are truly meant to be the greatest hits between 1980 and 1985, then ABC could have done a little better with selecting artists and songs. There is no doubt that Footloose and Ghostbusters were great movies during that time, but their title tracks did not define the early 80s. “Ghostbusters” is essentially a one-hit wonder, since it seems to be the only well-known song by Ray Parker Jr.

Pitbull’s “Messin’ Around” really had no business being in the show, despite the use of the REO Speedwagon chorus. If anything, REO should have just performed “Take it on the Run” by itself.

Although the performances were great, there are some artists that ABC missed. Madonna was increasing in popularity during this time, with hits such as “Like a Virgin.” Hard rock bands like AC/DC and Queen began to emerge, and Cyndi Lauper and Prince also started to become popular. A possible tribute for the Prince of rock would have been interesting to see, like Jason Derulo did for Michael Jackson.

Hopefully, we’ll see some or all of these artists in the 1985-1990 show.

Final rating:

LPLPLPLP

Four LPs (out of five)

Predictions: Next week’s show will feature music between 1995 and 2000. It has already been confirmed that the Backstreet Boys will perform. We hope to see grunge and indie bands of the time like Oasis, The Smashing Pumpkins, 311, and the Foo Fighters perform. I think that some rappers and hip-hop artists may make an appearance, like Busta Rhymes and Mase. We would also like to see tributes to Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.

Boy band *NSYNC also had some popularity in the late 90s, so they too might make an appearance. If not the whole group, then at least Justin Timberlake might come.

Stay on the watch next week for our review of episode two of Greatest Hits!

Featured photo courtesy of ABC.

Fueling Dreams of The Future with Dylan McDonald and the Avians

Written by Blane Erwin

Riding up to Naperville, IL, everyone slept behind Dylan McDonald as he talked with Blane Erwin and Lizzie Baumgartner about his band, Dylan McDonald and the Avians. He also discussed touring, inspirations, and his life with a Grammy award-winning father.

With psychedelic-Beatles-esque tones mixed with modern riffs, McDonald’s band stands strong on its own.  They’re currently working on their third album.

They have a show in Naperville at Frankie’s Blue Room on July 8th at 7:00 PM. This will be their only solo show on their tour before they join with McDonald’s father, Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, back on tour.

Missed the interview with McDonald? Don’t worry! You can listen here!

2016 Chicago Summer Music Festival Preview

Summer in Chicago is a beautiful thing.

Hanging out by Lake Michigan, cheering and rooting for (or against) the Cubs and the White Sox, the beautiful, long nights. And probably the best of all: rocking out at some of Chicago’s greatest music festivals.

These festivals feature bands from all over the world, whether they are local bands that are only known by a handful of people, or bands that have become household names and sell millions of dollars in albums, this summer is soaked in festivals in the Windy City.

And FM89 has the very latest on it all!

Taste of Chicago

When: July 6-10

Where: Grant Park

Taste of Chicago (commonly known as “The Taste” by Chicagoans) is very popular throughout the midwest for its lineup of local artists by day, headliners by night, and the very best of the city’s cuisine all in-between. The “Taste” started in 1980, when some of Chicago’s restaurant owners came to former mayor Richard M. Daley with the idea of a food festival on the Fourth of July on Michigan Avenue. However, the festival would move to Grant Park the following year to accommodate festival-goers. Last year, nearly 1.5 million people attended the “Taste.”

Weezer. Jul. 8, 2015. Photo Credit: Erin Hooley, Chicago Tribune and City of Chicago.

Weezer. Jul. 8, 2015. Photo Credit: Erin Hooley, Chicago Tribune.

The Roots, KONGOS, The Decemberists, Billy Idol, and The Isley Brothers will headline this year. There will also be many local artists taking the stage during the day, such as country duo Elk Walking, hip-hop artist Z-Verse, rock group King Mixer, surf pop group Impulsive Hearts, R&B singer Nola Ade, and many more.
Wanna rock out and get your grub on? Check out the “Taste’s” site for the latest.

Summerfest

When: Now through July 3; July 5-10

Where: Henry Meier Festival Park in Milwaukee, WI

Summerfest is known as “The World’s Largest Music Festival,” and it’s only a couple-hour drive from Chicago.

Their two-week lineup features bands for all ages and those who like a little variety in their life. Rock legends (and soon-to-be legends) will headline each night of this year’s Summerfest, such as Sir Paul McCartney, Sting and Peter Gabriel, Weezer and Panic! At the Disco, and Chicago-rocker Rise Against, whose only close-to-home show is at Summerfest!

Non-rockers also headlining are country star Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, pop princess Selena Gomez, and Pitbull.

Summerfest Entrance. June 6, 2016. Photo Credit: Jessie Marsala.

Summerfest Entrance. June 6, 2016. Photo Credit: Jessie Marsala.

 The festival was invented by Henry Meier in 1968 in over thirty locations throughout the city of Milwaukee. However, many events took place besides the music, like a film festival, an air show, and a pageant.

This tradition still continues today at Festival Park, yet there is more focus on music. Over 770,000 people attended last year’s Summerfest.

For all the details from our neighbors to the north, check out the official website for Summerfest.

Pitchfork Music Festival

When: July 15-17

Where: Union Park

The Pitchfork Music Festival features some of the best in alternative rock, hip-hop, and EDM, while raising awareness and support for all local artists (not just in music). The festival popped-up in 2005 as the Intonation Music Festival. It was originally two days instead of three. Performers such as Tortoise, The Decemberists, and Les Savy Fav took the stage that year.

Pitchfork 2016 will be headlined by dream pop band Beach House, indie artist Sufjan Stevens, and alternative R&B singer FKA Twigs.

Many other artists will take the stage that weekend, such as Carly Rae Jepsen, psychedelic rock group Super Furry Animals, emo band The Hotelier, and Chicago’s own Twin Peaks. Outside of the music, there will be record, craft, and book fairs all in support of Chicago’s artists.

Visit Pitchfork’s website for all the details on this year’s festival.

Chicago Open Air

When: July 15-17

Where: Toyota Park in Bridgeview

The home of the Chicago Fire plays home to the inaugural Chicago Open Air music festival. The very first lineup features the best in metal, both past and present.

German heavy metal band Rammstein are back after a five year hiatus and are headlining the festival’s debut onto the Chicago concert scene. Chicago natives Disturbed and masked-rockers Slipknot are also performing.

More metal greats will grace the stages at Toyota Park that weekend such as Of Mice and Men, Drowning Pool, Alter Bridge, Miss May I, Marilyn Manson, and We Came as Romans. With all that is happening both inside and outside the festival (Gourmet Man Food, anyone?), this festival is going to be a rager.

Wanna thrash (and try some of that man food)? Check out the official site for more info.

Vans Warped Tour

When: July 23

Where: Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park

Vans Warped Tour features many familiar (and some not-so-familiar) faces in the world of punk rock. The first tour was in 1995 and not only attracts rock fans, but skaters too (considering that many pro skaters wear Vans), and a half-pipe is brought along to many tour locations.

Tinley Park is the twentieth stop on this year’s tour.

George Shrouder of Youth in Revolt. July 25, 2015. Photo Credit: Sam Attebery.

George Shrouder of Youth in Revolt. July 25, 2015. Photo Credit: Sam Attebery.

There will be a multitude of headliners, like post-hardcore band Falling in Reverse, metalcore band Atreyu, Against the Current, and many more. Other acts include Good Charlotte, State Champs, I See Stars, Sum 41, and a plethora of other rockers in this one-day extravaganza. Good Charlotte and Sum 41, both big names in the early 2000s’ pop-punk revolution are back on the road after brief hiatus’s. 
For more information on the Warped Tour’s stop in Tinley Park and to see where the tour’s heading next, visit their website.

Lollapalooza

When: July 28-31

Where: Grant Park

Lollapalooza (or fondly called by many, Lolla) is one of the most popular summer festivals in Chicago. It features a variety of genres from rock to indie EDM.

Lolla originally started as a touring music festival in 1991 by Perry Farrell, the lead singer of Jane’s Addiction, but eventually stayed in Grant Park. Despite the rain on the final day at last year’s Lolla, it drew-in about 300,000 people to Grant Park.

On it’s 25th anniversary, Lolla announced an extra day of the festival.  

Radiohead is back after a five year silence to headline. As well as The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ellie Goulding and LCD Soundsystem are headlining. Other artists taking the stage are Halsey, Bastille, PVRIS, The 1975, M83, Two Door Cinema Club, and Foals. EDM favorites Flume, Disclosure, Die Antwoord, Grimes, and Cashmere Cat will also be making an appearance.

Unfortunately, Lolla is sold out! But you can still check out their site for more info.

North Coast Music Festival

When: September 2-4

Where: Union Park

North Coast showcases many acts in the genres of indie-rock, hip-hop, and EDM. The festival started in 2010, with The Chemical Brothers, progressive rock group Umphrey’s McGee, and Chicago-rapper Lupe Fiasco performing.

Urchicago called it “one of the highlights of the year” and “definitely a festival to keep an eye on in the years to come.”

This year, EDM duo Odesza, Bassnectar, and Zedd are headlining. Another headliner, Grouplove,  are returning to touring life and plan to release a new album, “Big Mess.”

If you’re a little more rock n’ roll than electronic, The Revivalists, Allan Rayman, and Matt & Kim will also take the stage during the Labor Day weekend festival. Plus, if you missed your chance at Mamby, you can dance in a silent disco at North Coast to a wide variety of DJs mixing their latest beats.

Check out North Coast’s official website for more details and the full lineup of artists.

2016 Ravinia Festival Season

When: Now through September 11

Where: Ravinia Festival in Highland Park

You are probably wondering why we included this in our summer preview.

Some may think that Ravinia is too fancy, or it only hosts classical concerts. Wrong!

Even though Ravinia is the summer residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and they hold many jazz and classical concerts, many famous rockers have played concerts here in many past seasons, such as Bob Dylan, Train, and Steely Dan.

The 2016 Ravinia season is packed with many familiar faces in rock, such as Chris Cornell, Duran Duran, and O.A.R. Other genres will serenade Ravinia’s pavilion and lawn, like country star Kenny Rogers, Motown legend Diana Ross, and crooner Tony Bennett. If you are feeling in the mood for some classical music, the Emerson String Quartet, pianist Manahem Pressler, and Yo-Yo Ma will also perform throughout the season, as well as the CSO.
Check out the Ravinia Festival’s website for their full, chock-filled lineup.

Riot Fest and Carnival

When: September 16-18

Where: Douglas Park

Gwen Stefani of No Doubt. Sep. 11, 2015. Photo Credit: Jessie Marsala.

Gwen Stefani of No Doubt. Sep. 11, 2015. Photo Credit: Jessie Marsala.

Riot Fest is nearly as popular as Lolla is, with rock and hip-hop acts being the main attraction.

The very first Riot Fest was in 2005, but took place at multiple locations throughout Chicago over a three-day weekend. Bands like Weezer, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Fun. performed during the first run. Riot Fest has relocated (more than once) to one venue only. Originally, the fest took place in Humboldt Park, but was moved to Douglas Park last year, due to community protest.

This year’s lineup has reunited the original Misfits, along with the very-sad Morrissey, and Riot Grrrl staple Sleater-Kinnley. Other acts include Jimmy Eat World, rapper Nas, Fitz and the Tantrums, Rob Zombie, and so much more.

To find out how to mosh, visit their site.

 

Written by Lily Yood and Peter Schiller

Featured Photo by Cassie Fenwick.

 

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