Barney the Dinosaur: More Influential Than Nirvana?

Categories: TV Party

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Barney the Dinosaur: A giant musical influence
One question I've tried to avoid asking musicians I get to chat with is, "Who are your musical influences?"

It's trite. And if you really love music, you can figure out the answer to this question at least eight out of ten times.

But the biggest reason I don't ask is because I know the answer will sometimes be dishonest. And the reason it will be dishonest is because most of them will forget or fail to mention their earliest musical influences: the cartoons and kids' TV shows they grew up watching.


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Five Fictional Musicians We'd Like to See Onstage

Categories: TV Party, Whatever

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Yes, that's Dr. Gregory House on piano...and harmonica!
Ricky Gervais is a man on a mission. After seeing his own musical dreams go up in smoke back in the '80s, when the failure of his little-known New Wave group Seona Dancing thrust him towards comedy, Gervais wants to make the musical dreams of his fictional character David Brent (from the UK version of The Office) a reality.

That means playing rock shows with Brent's band Foregone Conclusion. No, that's not a joke. You can really go see Gervais in London playing David Brent fronting a rock band. That got me to thinking, though. While I'd rather hear Gervais tell jokes than sing, I came up with a few fictional musicians I'd actually like to see onstage.


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The 10 Best Original Songs in Doctor Who

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Of course the main theme of Doctor Who has reached the same status as Star Wars and Star Trek when it comes to fame and recognizability. That's all well and good and as it should be, but from almost the very beginning the show has also snuck original song pop-song compositions into episodes that you may not have even noticed were specifically crafted for The Doctor.

Today we explore the ten best original songs that have appeared in 50 years of space and time.


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10 Silly Predictions for Sunday's Grammy Awards

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Photo by Nora Lezano/Courtesy of Nasty Little Man
Queens of the Stone Age: probably not playing "Rihannon"
This Sunday the music business will celebrate its equivalent of Oscar night when the 56th annual Grammy Awards are handed out at L.A.'s Staples Center. Basically it combines two high-school traditions, the prom and the talent show, but the Grammys are always worth watching -- if nothing else, the outfits are a lot more interesting than the Oscars, and someone is almost guaranteed to go off-script (aka "The Kanye Conundrum"). Thus it's about the only time of year the likes of Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight pay any attention to the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Queens of the Stone Age and Gary Clark Jr., who have all been announced as first-time performers.

They're hardly the only ones, too. The other big reason to watch the Grammys is that the ratio of performances to actual awards presented is approximately 3:1, so occasionally there's some great stuff on there. Adele in 2012 comes to mind; so does last year's bizarre medley by host LL Cool J, Chuck D, Tom Morello, Travis Barker and DJ Z-Trip that climaxed in a Beastie Boys tribute of "No Sleep Til Brooklyn."


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Saturday Night Live's 12 Best Holiday Musical Guests

Categories: Holidaze, TV Party

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Photo by Wally Gobetz/Flickr Commons
Watching the Saturday Night Live Christmas special last week, I was reminded how the show has revered -- and skewered -- the holiday season over the years. From Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song" to Alec Baldwin's "Schweddy Balls," the show's churned out enough holiday-themed material to keep us laughing for 12 days of Christmas, or at least "eight crazy nights."

Those December episodes have also featured some incredible music. With more than a few dozen to choose from, it was easy picking 12 SNL musical guests who made our holidays merry and bright.


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The Charlie Brown Christmas Music Is Still Awesome

Categories: Holidaze, TV Party

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When my kids were young, I didn't force them to play T-ball or try dance class or even go to school regularly. One thing I insisted upon was them sitting with me at holiday time to watch the Peanuts specials I eagerly awaited each year as a boy.

I know they found Charlie Brown's blockheadedness boring. My daughter asked why she had to miss Lizzie Maguire to watch Snoopy when we had the Peanuts specials on video and could watch them any time we wanted.

"Because, this is how you watch TV," I explained. "You wait all year for a special you've seen 20 times before to run again and watch it a 21st time."

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Voice Champ Danielle Bradbery Lights Up City Hall Tonight

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Photos courtesy City of Houston
Danielle Bradbery singing on NBC's The Voice
This time last year, Danielle Bradbery was a 16-year-old student at Cy Ranch High School who loved dancing and riding horses and hadn't done much singing outside her own bedroom. Then her family entered her into the Dallas auditions for NBC's high-rated singing show The Voice -- without asking her first.

"They were like, 'Let's just see what happens' and I was like, 'Okay,' says Bradbery by phone, on a break from doing radio promos somewhere in Ohio. "I was really scared. I was like, 'Wait a second... I don't know if I can do this. Y'all are just throwing me out there like that.'"

This evening Bradbery will perform at City Hall -- part of Mayor Annise Parker's official Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting -- as the reigning Voice champion, the youngest in the show's history. She's still not old enough to vote, but soon will be confronted with options like which tour to join once she gets off the road with Brad Paisley.


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The Top Five Stunt Queen Antics From Last Night's MTV VMAs

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Can we just rename last night's MTV VMAs the MTV JTMAs? Cause really, now. Mr. Justin Timberlake dominated that stage the entire night, even with Lady Gaga warbling off-key and Miley Cyrus grabbing at her crotch every two seconds. It was teh impressive.

JT performed a medley of what seemed to be every darn hit out of his catalog, and even pulled off that rumored 'NSync reunion, albeit momentarily. The beautiful thing about Mr. Timberlake is that even with the near twenty minute set, he managed to pull off some flawless vocals and dancing, which really led us to believe the dude can do anything and should be schooling all the young'uns on how this pop star thing is done. He's a pro, and he deserved those moon men he received.

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Can't Look Away: The Top 10 MTV VMA Shenanigans

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We're looking forward to Sunday's Video Music Awards, because despite MTV's relative lameness these days, the VMA shenanigans still can't be topped. Musicians come out sporting some of their worst behavior, resulting in a room full of egos and alcohol that generally leads to some pretty awesome antics.

In anticipation of Sunday's shenanigans, we've compiled a list of the ten most jaw-dropping VMA moments thus far. Here's to hoping someone can drink more alcohol than Kanye or wear something skimpier than Rose McGowan, cause those hot messes will be hard to one-up.


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The Cosby Show's Five Greatest Musical Guests

Categories: TV Party

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I'm not sure if you're aware, especially if you're younger and only know him from Family Guy jokes, but Bill Cosby is one of the funniest comedians ever to tell a joke. His 1983 special Bill Cosby: Himself is one of the all-time great and influential stand-up comedy films, and his '80s NBC show is regarded as one of the greatest, most progressive sitcoms of all time.

So it's a pretty big deal that last week the 76-year-old Cosby announced his first special since Himself, to be aired on Comedy Central in November. To celebrate, I thought I'd take a look back at one of my favorite things about The Cosby Show: the myriad musical guests that abounded on the show throughout its long run, something even The Simpsons took a jab at.


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