Posts By Mark Graham

by (@unclegrambo)

VH1′s 40 Champions Of Cute [COMPLETE LIST]

Of all the gifts the internet has bestowed upon us, what’s better than heartwarmingly cute clips of babies, kittens and puppies? Nothing, that’s what. They brighten our browser histories and our days. Now VH1 has compiled the best of the best in the world of adorable, the 40 Champions of Cute.

In case you missed the debut of our two-hour festival of cute overload, you can either check our complete schedule of future showtimes or just delve right with our complete list of the 40 Champions of Cute below!

1) WORLD’S CUTEST SMOOCH [Watch]
This lil’ boy will never forget his first kiss—partly because it was caught on camera and watched the world over.

2) MARU [Watch]
All Maru the cat needs to have fun is a big old box.

3) GUILTY DOG [Watch]
When a naughty pooch is nailed for getting into the cat treats, the shame is very very real.

4) SAMBA BABY [Watch]
Hips don’t lie—this diapered dude has unbelievable moves.

5) STUCK BEHIND THE COUCH [Watch]
Help! I’m trapped behind the couch and I can’t get out!

6) CONNIE’S GOT TALENT [Watch]
A little girl knocks ‘em dead on America’s Got Talent.

7) SURPRISED KITTENS [Watch]
Cats really can act surprised. So sayeth the internet.

8) KID CRUNK [Watch]
This kid knows how to move it move it.

9) IF KITTENS COULD TALK [Watch]
What’s better than cat pictures? A cutie narrating them.

10) LAUGHING BABY [Watch]
This baby who laughs at the sound of ripping paper just might be insane.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Go Behind The Scenes At Austin City Limits With Foster The People

It’s been an immense joy to watch the rise of Foster The People over the last few months. Since we added them our roster of You Oughta Know artists back in June, the band has exploded in popularity and become arguably the most popular debut artist of the year 2011. The guys were cool enough to let us tail them for a day at the Austin City Limits Festival last weekend, and we’re psyched to share with you the video and photgraphic evidence from our encounter with the current #1 artist on Spotify.

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by (@unclegrambo)

VH1′s 40 Champions Of Cute Debuts This Sunday Night At 8 P.M.

Be prepared for a cute overload this weekend when we air the latest installment in our ongoing series, The Greatest. On Sunday night, September 25, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, we’re psyched to debut our list of the 40 Champions Of Cute. Yes, that’s right, two straight hours of videos featuring kittens, babies and puppies, sometimes all at the same time)! We guarantee that if you watch this before you go to bed on Sunday night, you’ll go to sleep with a smile on your face. (We can’t guarantee the same for when your alarm clock goes off on Monday morning, though.)

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by (@unclegrambo)

Austin City Limits Recap: More Photos From The Last Major Music Festival Of 2011

Earlier this week, we shared a handful of snaps with you that our own Julie Ruiz took last weekend at the Austin City Limits Festival, deep in the heart of Texas. Well, we just got a look at some of the black-and-white outtakes of artists like Kanye West, Arcade Fire, Cee Lo Green and Sara Bareilles and couldn’t resist the urge to share them with you.

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[Photo: A Horse With No Name Photography]

by (@unclegrambo)

Shearer’s Spotlight: The Top 3 Ways That Nirvana’s Nevermind Impacted The Music World

Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT. Also, don’t forget to tune into VH1 Classic tonight at 11 p.m. to see the never-before-seen footage of Nirvana: Live At The Paramount, shot in Seattle way back in 1991.

This Tuesday, Sept. 27, the 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Nirvana’s breakthrough album, Nevermind, will be released. For a band that took pride in appearing to be normal everyday schmoes, a multi-CD/DVD deluxe package feels a tad extravagant, but considering the impact the album made on the music industry, it also feels very appropriate, if not long overdue.

For those too young to remember, here are three ways Nevermind impacted the world of mainstream music:

1) Made Mainstream Rock Less Homophobic
In one of the most confusing paradoxes in music history, mainstream rock n’ roll in the 1980s was dominated by misogynistic guys who liked to wear makeup. Nirvana—with its Pacific Northwest feminist sensibilities—helped put a halt to this way of thinking, especially when Kurt Cobain mockingly appeared on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball wearing an evening gown. Interviews with openly gay magazines and really dressing like girls for their “In Bloom” music video—while Kurt and Krist playfully grinded on one another—helped prove that mainstream rock didn’t need to be macho, to be good.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Five Things That Make The X Factor Better Than American Idol

After months worth of hype and countless reports of behind-the-scenes drama, Fox finally debuted the American version of the hit international show The X Factor last night. Despite endless amounts of promotion of the debut, which featured the much anticipated reunion of Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul, the show started off modestly in the ratings. 12.1 million viewers tuned in last night, which is a far cry from American Idol‘s 2011 premiere numbers (21.6MM viewers). Simon has stated all along that his primary goal for the show is for it to beat American Idol and, well, it just might end up doing that over time. It certainly worked very hard last night to differentiate itself from the 800 lb. gorilla of the reality singing competition genre. Here are the Five Ways That Make X-Factor Better Than American Idol:

1) Simon Vs. L.A. Reid Is The New Simon Vs. Paula
With its original, three-person panel of judges, American Idol got a lot of mileage from—and won themselves a lot of fans by—focusing on the tense relationship between Simon and Paula. Like many great television couples of the past, the two bickered constantly, but over time, their relationship evolved from an antagonistic one into a more of a brother/sister dynamic. However, now that Simon has got a true titan of the music industry like L.A. Reid sitting opposite him at the judge’s table, there are bound to be some testosterone-laden, mano y mano flareups. Last night’s ep featured one such moment, where the two went toe-to-toe over a young black woman named Simone Battle who had the body of a Pussycat Doll and, well, the voice of a Pussycat Doll (which is to say, not much of a voice at all). Simon thought she had the talent (meaning: body) to become a “star,” while L.A. Reid—who famously told P!nk, “You’ll be a pop star, All you have to change is everything you are”—didn’t think she had the pipes to move along in the competition. Simon came out on top of that battle, but who will win the war?

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by (@unclegrambo)

R.E.M.emories: VH1 Staffers Reflect Back On Their Favorite Songs From The R.E.M. Catalog

R.E.M.‘s announcement earlier today that they’re “calling it a day as a band” after 31 years together hit the VH1 offices even harder than that earthquake did a few weeks back. As a means of aiding everyone accelerate through their own personal Kübler-Ross grief cycle, we reached out to a number of VH1 staffers and asked them to share their favorite R.E.M. memories. We sincerely hope that this feature is as instrumental in helping you reach your own personal Acceptance stage as it was for us. And if you have your own memories, please share them below in our comments section; we’d love to hear them!

“BEGIN THE BEGIN” (LIFE’S RICH PAGEANT, 1986) by TOM CALDERONE, PRESIDENT (@tomcalderone)
I was the program director of my college radio station, Buffalo State College’s WBNY, when Murmur came out. “Radio Free Europe” was the single, and R.E.M. was opening for the English Beat and Squeeze; that’s kind of what the pecking order was for them at the time. One day, their label called and said, “Hey, we’re selling a lot of records in Buffalo, and you’re the only radio station playing them, we want to have them come play Buffalo.” We said “Great!” So they played this place called the Lackawanna Sky Room. They told us, “We don’t really have much to play, we could use an opening act.” So we offered to help. At the time, the Goo Goo Dolls were so metal that it wasn’t the right call, but there was this other little band from Jamestown called the 10,000 Maniacs. We suggested them, explaining to them that this Natalie Merchant girl, she’s great, and the band’s really cool, and you guys will get along. That’s how the friendship between the bands began, back at the Lackawanna Sky Room. They were the nicest guys, incredibly giving to the college radio stations all across the country.

My favorite song by R.E.M. is “Strange,” which is actually a Wire cover. Of their originals, “Begin The Begin” is my probably my fave. It had a really cool edge to it, and sounded a little bit different than what they normally had done. It recently came to life to me again, about a year and a half or so ago, when The Decemberists did it live with Peter Buck on stage. I thought to myself, ‘I forgot how good that song was!’, so I revisited it again. Of their later material, “Crush With Eyeliner” was my favorite.

“EVERYBODY HURTS” (AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE, 1992) by SANDY ALOUETE, SVP MUSIC & TALENT RELATIONS
One of my former boyfriends was hellbent on buying the identical neon star from the cover of Automatic For The People, and he finally tracked one down outside of an abandoned motel in upstate NY. I loaned him the money to have it professionally cut down, I housed it for him in my parents’ garage until he could clear out enough space in his Greenpoint apartment/recording studio, and then not long after he got the star, we broke up. Did I ever get the money back? Nope. Shouldn’t I by rights take the neon star for my very own? Yep. EVERYBODY HURTS.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Video Premiere: Fitz And The Tantrums, “Don’t Gotta Work It Out”

Fitz And The Tantrums are putting in WORK to get the word out about their fantastic debut LP, Picking Up The Pieces. Since being named our You Oughta Know artist back in April, the funky soul revivalists have been touring relentlessly, earning kudos from industry insiders like Bob Lefsetz and winning scads of new fans at festivals like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. We have no idea when they found themselves with enough time to shoot another music video, but lo and behold, we just got our mitts on the brand new “Don’t Gotta Work It Out” video.

The video begins with a curious homage to Pulp Fiction (or maybe Repo Man?), as lead singer Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick stumbles onto a briefcase of indeterminate origins and opens it up, resulting in him being bathed in golden light. He then proceeds to walk/jog through a series of urban alleyways in search of vocalist Noelle Scaggs and the rest of the Tantrums, while lens flares invade the frame at a clip that would make even J.J. Abrams blush. Along the way, a slew of feathers begin floating down through the atmosphere, which makes us think that either Sully Sullenberg was in the vicinity exacting more revenge on the geese population or there was an explosion at a nearby down pillow factory. Just when we think we might have an idea where this video might be going, Fitz falls to his knees in an alleyway and gets drenched by a raincloud that only has eyes for him.

So, what does it all mean? Well, even after watching it a few times, we’d be hard pressed to explain the video treatment, but we are certain of one thing: This song is totally boss.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Pulsating Synths And Eighties-Tinged Electro Propel The Drive Soundtrack Into The iTunes Top Five

When was the last time you actually purchased a movie soundtrack? In the last five years, only three motion picture soundtrack albums have wiggled their way into the Billboard Top Ten: Hannah Montana: The Movie (which peaked at #1 in 2009), Walk The Line (#3 in 2006) and Crazy Heart (#6 in 2010). It’s not that there haven’t been any good soundtracks during this period of time, it’s more that the ease of purchasing singles through outlets like Amazon and iTunes have eliminated the need for consumers to purchase 11 tracks of filler just to get the one song they really want to hear. Enter Drive.

This film, which stars Ryan Gosling as the coolest getaway driver in the history of cinema, opened with $11 million at the box office this weekend, good for a third-place finish. The film is a highly stylish piece of pure cinema, which eschews boring things like story and character development in favor of moody, kinetic cinematography and a killer soundtrack. Regarding the latter, consumers have taken note and flocked to the iTunes store in droves to purchase the Drive soundtrack, pushing it all the way up to #4 on this morning’s charts.

The soundtrack, which features an awesomely-curated mix of electro bands like Desire and Kavinsky (featuring Lovefoxx) as well as an original score by former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Cliff Martinez, recalls the synth-heavy scores of eighties classics like Jan Hammer‘s score for Miami Vice, Wang Chung‘s for To Live And Die In L.A. and Tangerine Dream‘s for Thief. The standout single on the soundtrack, which serves as the film’s de facto “love theme,” is this collaboration between French electro outfit College and Canadian chillwavers Electric Youth, “A Real Hero.”

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by (@unclegrambo)

VH1′s 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments [COMPLETE LIST]

VH1 debuted the latest countdown in our long-running The Greatest series, the 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments, this evening. If you missed it, don’t worry; it will rerun tomorrow night, Monday, September 19, at midnight. If you’re looking for the complete list, look no further. Here are the 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments … so far!

40) Nicki Minaj gets butt slapped by Regis Philbin
39) Wyclef runs for president of Haiti
38) 50 Cent shockingly thin Twitter pics
37) Lil Wayne goes to prison and gets grillz removed
36) Redman’s shocking Cribs episode [WATCH]
35) Cam’ron’s anti-snitching 60 Minutes interview
34) Dr. Dre’s shocking transformation at VMAs
33) Sir Mix-A-Lot’s raunchy “Put ‘Em on the Glass” video
32) Lil Mama crashes stage during Jay-Z and Alicia Keys VMA performance
31) Suge Knight knocked out

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