2016 Moondog Coronation Ball
The 2016 Moondog Coronation Ball will feature musical legends Michael McDonald, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, The Spinners, and Donnie Iris and The Cruisers.
From ‘70s-era Doobie Brothers classics such as “What A Fool Believes” and solo hits like “I Keep Forgettin’” through two highly-acclaimed Motown albums, genre-busting guest spots and innovative concept shows, the five-time Grammy Award winning Michael McDonald is both timeless and ever-evolving.
After moving from his hometown of St. Louis to Los Angeles in the early ‘70s, McDonald honed his talent as a session musician and singer before being invited to join Steely Dan. Over the course of four classic albums, from Katy Lied to Gaucho, McDonald became an integral part of the group’s sound, singing background vocals on FM staples like “Black Friday” and “Peg.”
In the mid-‘70s, McDonald joined The Doobie Brothers, helping the band redefine their funky R & B sound as a singer, keyboardist and songwriter on such Top 40 singles as “Takin’ It To The Streets,” “It Keeps You Runnin’,” “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes.”
His distinct vocal style also made him one of the world’s most sought-after session singers. Beyond his hits with The Doobies, McDonald has lent his voice to records by an A-Z of artists, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Vince Gill and Grizzly Bear. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, his solo career zoomed from success to success on the wings of evergreen hits like “Sweet Freedom,” “On My Own” (a duet with Patti LaBelle) and the Grammy-winning duet with James Ingram “Yah Mo B There.”
Continuing to explore new vistas, McDonald released his Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling pair of Motown albums in 2003. Then in 2005, he partnered with Hallmark for a special Christmas album, Through The Many Winters, which sold 500,000 copies in its first two weeks.
In 2008 McDonald released the acclaimed crossover album Soul Speak (which hit three different charts simultaneously), and in 2011 received an honary doctorate from Berklee School of Music. Recently he and co-horts Donald Fagen and Boz Scaggs an 11-piece soul supergroup who tour as The Dukes Of September, released their first live DVD. McDonald continues to tour extensively as a solo artist, with symphonies, altruistic events and plans to tour this summer with Toto.
With a career that encompasses five Grammys, numerous chart successes, personal and professional accolades, as well as collaborations with some of the world’s most prominent artists, Michael McDonald remains an enduring force in popular music.
Creedence Clearwater Revisited
Creedence Clearwater Revival founding members and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford have been on quite a ride. 45 years ago Creedence Clearwater Revival headlined the Saturday night slot at the legendary Woodstock Music Festival. Also that year, three Creedence Clearwater Revival albums simultaneously perched in the top 10 of the rock music charts and had four top 3 singles. The accolades keep coming. Earlier in 2014, The Recording Academy® recognized Stu and Cosmo’s work in Creedence Clearwater Revival by inducting the album Cosmo’s Factory recordings into the GRAMMY® Hall Of Fame and Creedence Clearwater Revival ’s 1969 recording “Fortunate Son” was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.
Following their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cosmo and Stu launched their Creedence Clearwater Revisited project in 1995 to once again perform live in concert the hit songs — touchstones of a generation. Since then, the legendary rhythm section has been thrilled by the outpouring of affection for their new band. World tours and a platinum selling album Recollection followed. The astounding response to the band has been driven in part by new generations of fans that, as Cosmo says, “weren’t even born when the music came out.”
While, as udiscovermusic.com recently commented, it is the “rhythm section Doug Clifford’s drums and Stu Cook’s bass that is a hallmark of Creedence Clearwater Revival,” the boys did not take assembling the rest of the new group’s players lightly. As fans around the world can attest, Stu and Cosmo found the right players. Lead singer/rhythm guitar player John Tristao, a powerful tenor with the energy and charm to motor the classic songs, initially rose to prominence as lead singer for the band People when their hit “I Love You” bulleted into the top ten. As a guitarist, song writer, producer and performer, Kurt Griffey has recorded and toured with notable musicians including members of the Eagles, Foreigner, the Moody Blues, Wings, Lynyrd Skynryd, Santana and Journey. Talented multi-instrumentalist Steve Gunner rounds out the group. As Cosmo puts it, “Gun provides live all the overdubs that were on the records. – keyboard, acoustic guitar, percussion, harmonica and the high harmonies.”
Most often thought of as a Motown recording act, the classic group sound of legendary R&B recording artists, The Spinners has never lost its universal appeal. Throughout the years they have sold millions of records and topped both the Pop and R&B charts with smash hits like “I’ll Be Around” and “Then Came You.” Today, original member Henry Fambrough is joined onstage by lead singer Charlton Washington, high tenor Marvin Taylor, tenor Ronnie Moss, and bass singer Jessie Peck; a soul-infused 5-piece band, led by Keith Ferguson, backs them up. After a brief time at Motown, The Spinners signed to Atlantic Records in 1972. There, under the helm of producer and songwriter Thom Bell, The Spinners charted five top 100 singles (and two top tens) from their first post-Motown album, Spinners (1972), and went on to become one of the biggest soul groups of the 1970s. A partial list of their hit singles on Atlantic include “Mighty Love,” “Then Came You,” “I’ll Be Around,” “One Of A Kind (Love Affair),” “Games People Play,” and “Could It Be.” In 1979, The Spinners completed their first collaboration with producer Michael Zager, and by early 1980, the single, “Working My Way Back to You,” was topping Pop and R&B charts giving the group its 12th gold record. The Love Trippin’ album’s release included “The Cupid Medley,” one of the fastest selling records in The Spinners’ career.
The Spinners have six Grammy nominations and have performed twice during the awards ceremony. Inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999, they have also been awarded the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Award for their contribution to the genre. The group has performed for presidents, received a star on the Hollywood “Walk of Fame,” and has appeared in numerous network and cable television specials paying tribute to the music of the 70’s. In September 2011, 57 years after forming in Detroit and 50 years after "That's What Girls Are Made For" That's What Girls Are Made For", the group was announced as one of 15 final nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, their first nomination. Today, this legendary R & B group maintains an active touring schedule, performing for fans of all ages in sold out houses around the world.
Donnie Iris and The Cruisers
Born and raised in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Donnie Iris is an accomplished singer and possibly one of the leading perfectionists in the American hard rock idiom - his first hit record, 1981’s ‘Ah! Leah!’ was completed only after 80 vocal overdubs.
Iris, a child prodigy, was formerly the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for Pittsburgh rock group the Jaggerz, and had also toured with the R&B band Wild Cherry. He formed the Cruisers at the turn of the 80s with co-songwriter and producer Mark Avsec (keyboards; ex-Wild Cherry), Marty Lee (guitar), Albritton McClain (bass) and Kevin Valentine (drums). ‘Ah! Leah!’ was included on the band’s debut, Back On The Streets, which was originally released on the small Midwest Records label in 1980.
In 1982 Iris charted in the US Top 40 once more with ‘Love Is Like A Rock’ and for a final time later that year with ‘My Girl’. Despite a reduced commercial profile, Iris’ albums continued to inspire his devoted American audience with their consummate musicianship and sharply observed lyrics. Following the end of his major label contract with MCA Records, Iris and the Cruisers released one more album for the HME label before splitting up in the mid-80s.
Iris and Avsec reunited in the early 90s with a new look Cruisers, featuring Lee, Scott Alan (bass) and Steve McConnell (drums). Footsoldier In The Moonlight was tamer sounding than their earlier material, and featured Avsec originals alongside cover versions of material by Marvin Gaye (‘Mercy Mercy Me’), Cab Calloway (‘Minnie The Moocher’) and Van Morrison (‘Gloria’). McClain and Valentine returned to the fold on 1997’s Poletown, which was comprised solely of Avsec originals. The following year’s live album featured Iris, Avsec, Lee, Paul Goll (bass) and Tommy Rich (drums).
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