Squeeze the Day for 12/29

Erykah Badu and Eddie Griffin at Music Hall, plus This Day in Music with Marianne Faithfull and TLC

click to enlarge Erykah Badu (Photo: www.erykah-badu.com)
Erykah Badu (Photo: www.erykah-badu.com)

Music Tonight: Comedian Eddie Griffin and Neo Soul goddess Erykah Badu bring their “Laugh & Love Tour” to Music Hall tonight for an 8 p.m. performance. Tickets are $62.50. Badu live shows can be hit and miss — a review from The Baltimore Sun of a show earlier this month said Badu “tortured” the audience, taking the stage 45 minutes late and offering clumsy arrangements, weak new songs and numerous attempts to DJ that, according to the reviewer, were disastrous. On the other hand, a review from The L.A. Times called her a “superhero” and lauded her Cannabinoids backing band in a review of a show just days later in Los Angeles, writing “Just as Miles Davis is the embodiment of jazz even as he transcends the genre, and Aretha is the Queen of Soul while demolishing genre categorization, Badu’s artistic questing has led her to continually push hip-hop from the inside.” So roll the dice — if it’s a clunker, at least you’ll have the always-reliable Griffin to keep you laughing. And if it’s great, it could be downright transcendent. Either way, you’ll have something cool to talk about at your New Year’s Eve parties this weekend. —-

Momentous Happenings in Music History for December 29

On this day in 1994, Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes of the Pop group TLC enetered a guilty plea to charges of arson after setting fire to (and burning to the ground) the mansion owned by her boyfriend, NFL star Andre Rison. He must have been a scrub. And TLC made it fairly explicit that they “don’t want no scrub” (wait, that’s a double negative, meaning they do want scrubs? So confusing!).

Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a Dec. 29 birthday include: accomplished British Rock drummer (Rainbow, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy) Cozy Powell (1947); brief Broadway star and one hit wonder (“If I Can’t Have You”) Yvonne Elliman (1951); Pat Benatar’s longtime professional and personal partner Neil Giraldo (1955); Jesus and Mary Chain lead singer Jim Reid (1961); Toad the Wet Sprocket frontman Glen Phillips (1970); and British singer/actress Marianne Faithfull (1946).

Faithfull’s life and career have been marked by dramatic highs and lows. After her first big single, a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “As Tears Go By,” and a few other chart-denters, Faithfull left her new husband for Mick Jagger and they became a power couple in the Swinging London scene of the mid-’60s. She also began dabbling in drugs, which grew into full-blown addiction quickly. By 1970, she had split from Jagger and reportedly lived on the street for a couple of years.

In 1979, Faithfull began to get her career back on track, releasing Broken English, a critically acclaimed return inspired by the Punk uprising. It also showcased her “new” voice, now a huskier, fractured instrument thanks to years of cocaine and alcohol abuse (and smoking). It worked for Faithfull, though, and became her trademark.

Faithfull has continued to release albums to varying acclaim since cleaning up. Early this year, Faithfull’s 18th album, Horses and High Heels, was released.

In honor of Faithfull surviving to reach her 65th birthday, here’s her appearance on the shelved (but released years later) Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus TV special when she was a mere 22 years old.