Tag Archives: 1991

Liner Notes: In Memory of Frankie Knuckles 1955-2014

Browse & purchase this albumThe Whistle Song Frankie Knuckles (1991)
Born Francis Nicholls, this American DJ, producer & remixer helped birth house music out of the ashes of disco. His DJ work at underground clubs in Chicago in the late 70’s & early 80’s laid the groundwork for techno & other variations of house music. As house music gained mainstream acceptance in the UK in the late 80’s, Knuckles turned more to remixing & production work, forming DefMix Productions with fellow DJ David Morales. While working with artists like Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, & Luther Vandross, they redefined how dance mixes were produced & recorded and spawned a new generation of DJ/remixers who would come to define electronic dance music (EDM). Knuckles was recognized with the inaugural Grammy Award for Remixer of the Year, Non-Classical, in 1997. And in 2005, he was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame. Health issues started slowing him down in 2008, but Knuckles continued to make appearances at clubs & festivals. Knuckles passed away yesterday at age 59.

Whatever Happened To… Mr. Big?

Browse & purchase this albumTo Be With You – Mr. Big (1991)
This American band broke through with this international hit from their sophomore album. While they started fading from American audiences in the mid-90’s, Mr. Big became a huge success in Asia (Japan, in particular). The band withstood some line-up changes in the late 90’s, but then disbanded in 2002 after releasing their sixth studio album. Band members went on to work on multiple solo project and new bands. In 2009, the original members re-formed Mr. Big and toured extensively throughout Asia. Their latest album came out in 2011, and they toured internationally to support it. Several band members continue to work on side projects.

Whatever Happened To… Right Said Fred?

Browse & purchase this albumI’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred (1991)
This English group, founded by brothers Richard & Fred Fairbrass, rocketed to fame when this debut hit landed at #1 around the world. In the US, they quickly faded thereafter, but they sustained more of a fan base in Europe (specifically, Germany & Austria). They’ve continued to put out albums over the years; their latest, a greatest hits collection, came out in 2009.  They’ve been involved with reality television, and a year ago, they released an online-only single. They continue to make occasional appearances for charity & special events.

Whatever Happened To… The Black Crowes?

Browse & purchase this albumShe Talks to Angels – The Black Crowes (1991)
This American band wasted no time when they hit it big with their debut album. Their success continued throughout the 90’s, but they went on hiatus in 2002. Front-man Chris Robinson released a solo effort shortly thereafter and toured with his band. Meanwhile guitarist (& Chris’s brother) Rich Robinson tried to launch a band but wasn’t able to without the support of a label; therefore, he released his own solo effort in 2004. The Crowes ended their hiatus in 2005 and toured extensively. Despite some line-up changes, they released their come-back record in 2008 to great commercial success. A couple records followed, but the band went on hiatus again in 2011 following a farewell tour. Chris again branched out, forming the band Chris Robinson Brotherhood this time around. They put out an album in 2012, and later that year, the Crowes announced the end of their second hiatus by scheduling UK & US tours well into 2013.

Whatever Happened To… Divinyls?

I Touch Myself – Divinyls (1991)
This Australian band, led by vocalist Christina Amphlett & guitarist Mark McEntee, encountered mixed reception from US audiences due to the provocative nature of this track’s lyrics and video. And disagreements with their label led to future releases not being available in the US. Their long-awaited follow-up finally surfaced in 1996 (in Australia), but the band split-up the next year. Amphlett went on to work in Australian musical theater, contributed to music side-projects, and published an autobiography. McEntee also contributed to music side-projects, but has run a clothing label with his girlfriend, too. Divinyls re-united in 2006, following their induction into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame. They recorded a new album in 2007, but only a single from it saw the light of day. Amphlett announced she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and Divinyls split again in 2009. No word yet on the status of the last unreleased Divinyls album.

Whatever Happened To… Massive Attack?

Unfinished Symphony – Massive Attack (1991)
This British trio, originally comprised of Robert “3D” Del Naja, Grant “Daddy G” Marshall, and Andy “Mushroom” Vowles, made an impressive showing with their critically-acclaimed debut album. Their subsequent work has gotten even more popular in Europe, and their last couple albums even charted in the US. They’ve endured some line-up changes (with Del Naja & Marshall now rounding out a duo). Their most recent (and fifth) studio album came out in 2010.

Whatever Happened To… Tom Cochrane?

Life is a Highway – Tom Cochrane (1991)
This Canadian singer-songwriter had already experienced a successful, distinguished career as front-man of the band Red Rider when this track thrust his solo career into high gear. While probably considered a one-hit wonder in the US, he remained prolific – and popular – in his native Canada throughout the remainder of the 90’s. He reunited with his band-mates from Red Rider in 2002, and they continue to perform occasionally. Cochrane was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2003 and released his most recent solo album in 2006.

Whatever Happened To… EMF?

Unbelievable – EMF (1991)
This British band came out of nowhere to land this hit from their debut album. And then quietly went away, at least in the US. In their native UK, they maintained more of a presence until disbanding in 1995. Members went on to form or work with various bands. EMF reunited in 2001 and released a greatest hits compilation. They were ready to write and record new material when bassist Zac Foley died of a drug overdose in early 2002, effectively ending their reunion. They reunited again in 2007 to perform occasionally at festivals and special events before calling it quits again in 2009. Guitarist Ian Dench has since maintained the highest profile: He’s won an Ivor Novello Award and has been nominated twice for Grammy Awards, for his songwriting and production efforts.

Whatever Happened To… Extreme?

Hole Hearted – Extreme (1991)
This American band disbanded in 1996. Vocalist Gary Cherone joined Van Halen until 1999 before launching a new band, Tribe of Judah, in 2001 with fellow former Extreme members (bassist Pat Badger and drummer Mike Mangini). Guitarist Nuno Bettencourt pursued a solo career before launching a new band of his own. Extreme reunited in 2004 and released their most recent studio album in 2008. They’re reportedly working on a new album, but no release date has been announced.

Whatever Happened To… FireHouse?

Love of a Lifetime – FireHouse (1991)
This American band found their greatest commercial success in the US during the early 90’s, and they released their most recent studio album in 2004. While they may have faded on this side of the Pacific, they’ve built a following in several south Asian countries. They’re currently touring the US.