“Houston’s Legendary Theatre in the Round” 7326 Southwest Freeway (Between Bellaire and Fondren) Houston, Texas 77074 BOX OFFICE TICKET REQUEST LINE: 713-772-5900 Box Office Hours: Monday through Friday 10am to 6pm Day of Show: 5pm to 10:00pm See more and buy tickets at: www.arenahouston.com
The only group in history to continue making the contemporary pop and R&B charts four decades after their very first recording, The Isley Brothers are a musical institution whose unmistakable sound has been the major influence for countless superstars of the 80’s and 90’s. Over the last decade, the group’s music has been sampled by everyone from Ice Cube to Boss, while their compositions have been pop and R&B standards with recordings by artist as diverse as Whitney Houston, The Doobie Brothers, and Rod Stewart. Much loved by their peers, fellow artists and producers alike, inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and recipients of a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, The Isley Brothers have earned a legendary place in the world of popular music on a global scale. Born in Cincinnati and raised amid gospel music, the Isley Brothers began performing together in the ’50s. They first made waves in 1959 with “Shout” but fully broke through in 1962 with the Top 20 hit “Twist And Shout” (later made hugely famous by the Beatles). Their renown was cemented with the indelible “It’s Your Thing,” which topped the R&B charts and rose to No. 2 on the Top 40, earning gold certification in the process. 1973’s “That Lady (Part I),” a No. 6 chart entry, also shone gold, as did 1975’s “Fight The Power (Part I),” an R&B No. 1 and Top 40 No. 4. The Isley Brothers are of the rarest breed in the history of recorded music, maintaining a special and vital place for nearly fifty years.
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John Kay and Steppenwolf
Sunday, May 7, 8:30 PM
One of the greatest rock rebel anthems of the sixties was John Kay and Steppenwolf’s iconic hit “Born To Be Wild,” that gave the world the term: Heavy Metal. An innovator on Rock’s rugged side, John Kay brought us seven Top 40 rock classics, including “MAGIC CARPET RIDE” and “ROCK ME.” With over 20 million records sold and 28 albums to his credit, his hits have been featured in 27 motion pictures and 29 TV programs. In the chaotic world of rock ‘n’ roll, in which the lifespan of most bands can be measured in terms of a few years or a few months, John Kay and Steppenwolf have emerged as one of rock’s most enduring and respected bands, delivering hard-hitting, personally-charged music for more than three decades. In the late 1960s, Steppenwolf embodied that era’s social, political and philosophical restlessness, building an impressive body of edgy, uncompromising rock ‘n’ roll that retains its emotional resonance more than three decades after the band’s formation. Such Steppenwolf standards as “Born to Be Wild,” “Magic Carpet Ride,” “Rock Me” and “Monster” stand among Rock’s most indelible anthems. At last count, the band’s worldwide record sales exceed 25 million units. Its songs remain fixtures on classic-rock radio, and have been licensed for use in countless motion pictures and television programs. Steppenwolf’s punchy style helped to establish the fundamentals of the hard-rock sound that would flourish in the 1970s. Steppenwolf emerged as one of the few bands of the late ’60s to successfully straddle the pop-oriented AM mainstream and the hip FM underground, scoring substantial success on both the single and album charts without tailoring its approach to pander to either constituency. “Born to Be Wild”-written by ex-Sparrow member Dennis Edmonton, aka Mars Bonfire-became Steppenwolf’s first major hit, and was subsequently featured prominently (along with the band’s pointed reading of Hoyt Axton’s anti-hard-drug composition “The Pusher”) in the seminal ’60s film Easy Rider, cementing Steppenwolf’s status as counterculture icons as well as earning the group a hardcore biker following. “Our philosophy was ‘Hit ’em hard, make your point and move on.'” Steppenwolf’s aggressive image co-existed with a thoughtful lyrical stance that challenged mainstream values and counterculture platitudes alike. “That idea of speaking your mind in the lyrics is something I had picked up in the folk-music community, and from growing up in post-World War II Germany,” Kay states. “We didn’t see why you couldn’t have music that worked on a gut level but still offered some food for thought.”
Saturday – May 20, 8:30 PM
Billy Ocean is the biggest black recording star Britain has ever produced, one who has sold over 30 million records in his lifetime. He has collected a pile of Gold and Platinum records across the world and hit the number one spot worldwide on pop charts including the USA, Australia, Germany, Holland, and the UK. Billy has achieved extraordinary success as both an artist and a songwriter. Born in Trinidad, Billy settled in London’s East End when just seven years old. The calypso crazy kid soon got turned on to soul singers like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, as well as pop groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, leading him to spend much of his study time in the music room. He got his first break when he signed to GTO records, for whom his second single was the Motown-ish “Love Really Hurts Without You,” which reached No. 2 in the UK charts and No. 12 in the US. Two top twenty singles followed; “Love on Delivery” and “Stop Me,” then “Red Light Spells Danger” became a smash in both the UK and the US. Billy changed record labels and his move to Jive Records provided instant success, with the million selling American number one single “Caribbean Queen “(for which Billy won a Grammy for best R&B Vocal), followed by “Loverboy,” and “Suddenly,” which became the first of Billy’s killer ballads. Billy provided the theme song to the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner/Danny Devito movie “Jewel of the Nile,” “When the Going Gets Tough.” After huge worldwide success and with a young family at home, Billy decided to take a break to spend some well earned time with them. In 2007, with the kids all grown up, Billy went back out to perform his hits again, this time with his daughter Cherie on backing vocals.
Ann Wilson of Heart
Sunday – June 4, 8:00 PM
“The stage is a magical place where I can be beautifully in and out of control, where I can build a fire and then jump into it,” says the esteemed and pioneering Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend Ann Wilson, who’s known for her force-of-nature vocals. In a time when the Rock n’ Roll industry was dominated by men, Wilson created a truly impressive career as the lead singer of Heart. The group released their first album in 1976, containing two hit singles, “Crazy on You”and “Magic Man,” rising up to No. 7 on the Billboard Charts. Their second album, “Little Queen,” featured their hit single “Barracuda,” which led to the Wilson sisters’ cover on Rolling Stone magazine. After selling over 30 million records, having four Grammy nominations, and numerous singles in the top 40, Heart was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012. Only a year later Heart was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. After four decades rockin’ out with Heart, Wilson has decided to build on her personal career with a solo tour, which kicked off in her home town of Seattle. “This tour coming up people can expect to see some Heart songs, amazing covers, and new songs that I’ve written,” Wilson says. “They’ll see things that really influenced me and they’ll see me stretching out as a singer and improving, hopefully … It’ll be interesting and fun.”
The Temptations and The Four Tops
Saturday – November 11, 8:30 PM
By popular demand following a wildly successful appearance last fall, the Arena Theatre is bringing back these legends of Motown.
The Emperors of Soul. Recognizable to a man, this unique blend of voices and blade-sharp choreography (“The Temptation Walk”!) is one of the defining legacies of Motown Records. The group has thirty-seven Top 40 hits to their credit, including fifteen Top 10 tunes and a quartet which soared to No. 1. On the R&B charts? They have fifteen No. 1 singles, and seventeen No. 1 albums. The titles alone summon memories beyond measure: “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” “I Wish It Would Rain,” “Cloud Nine,” “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me),” “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone.” For always, the Temptations are sunshine on a cloudy day.
The Four Tops
One of the premier soul groups of all time, the Four Tops were a mainstay of the Motown sound. Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson, and Lawrence Payton were boyhood friends in Detroit who gave it a go at a friend’s birthday party in 1954 and found they were pretty good at it. As the Four Tops, they were unable to find a radio audience until they met up with Berry Gordy, Jr. and his hot Motown label. In 1964 Motown songwriting stars Holland, Dozier, and Holland came up with a song for the Tops called “Baby I Need Your Lovin’.” Its charting in August went to number 11 Pop and R&B. Their first monster hit, “I Can’t Help Myself” (“Sugar Pie Honey Bunch”) was followed by “The Same Old Song,” and hits like “Something About You,” “Shake Me, Wake Me,” “Bernadette,” and “Walk Away Renee.”
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