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Classic Movies & TV - The Five Heartbeats Tags: classic movies tv five heartbeats word life production featured blog

The Five Heartbeats is a 1991 musical drama film directed by Robert Townsend, who co-wrote the script with Keenan Ivory Wayans. Distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film's main cast includes Townsend, Michael Wright, Leon Robinson, Harry J. Lennix, Tico Wells, Harold Nicholas of the Nicholas Brothers, and Diahann Carroll. The plot of the film (which is loosely based on the lives of several artists: The Dells, The Temptations, Four Tops, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Frankie Lymon, Sam Cooke and others)follows the three decade career of the R&B vocal group The Five Heartbeats. The film depicts the rise and fall of a Motown inspired soul act through the eyes of the film's main protagonist, Donald "Duck" Matthews (portrayed by Townsend), who serves as a narrator throughout the film. However, a majority of the cinema is presented in a consecutive time line as opposed to traditional flash backs.

The film was released to most North American audiences March 29, 1991 however it was not made available to audiences in other continents until 2002 when a DVD was released prior to another DVD release in 2006 for the film's 15th anniversary. The movie received mixed reviews from critics.

In the early 1990s, Donald "Duck" Matthews browses a Rolling Stone magazine, noticing an article questioning the recent exploits of The Five Heartbeats, The Temptations, and The Four Tops and why the groups disbanded.

In a flashback, Donald Matthews, Anthony "Choir Boy" Stone, J.T. Matthews and Terrence "Dresser" Williams are preparing to perform at a music contest. They are forced to prepare to sing both their vocals and those of other members since Eddie King Jr. and Bobby, the lead singers, are missing. Bobby and Eddie cheat while gambling. Bobby is shot in the leg, but Eddie arrives at the contest and performs with the Heartbeats.

The group loses to Flash and the Ebony Sparks but pleases the crowd and is noticed by music producer Jimmy Potter. Jimmy offers to manage the group; to prove he has their best interests at heart he promises them $100 from his own pocket if they do not win first prize the next month. After a more polished performance the group still loses. Jimmy pays the group, and they sign a contract with him. Jimmy brings in Ernest "Sarge" Johnson as the group's choreographer. After vigorous training Sarge and Jimmy feel the Heartbeats are ready to perform in a larger competition.

Bird, lead singer of Bird and The Midnight Falcons witnesses the Heartbeats rehearsing their routine and is concerned his group could lose; he asks his girlfriend to invite her friends and boo The Heartbeats while cheering The Midnight Falcons. The announcer, Bird's cousin, forces The Heartbeats to use a piano player they are unfamiliar with. He also claims that The Heartbeats believe themselves to be better than the other groups.

The Heartbeats perform "A Heart Is a House for Love". Duck grows frustrated with the house piano player's butchering of the music and takes over the piano. Eddie leads the group in a number that results in Bird's girlfriend fainting in Eddie's arms. Watching in the audience is Flash, leader of the Ebony Sparks. The Heartbeats win the contest with a standing ovation and the interest of Big Red, who owns Big Red Records. Big Red offers them a deal, but Jimmy and his wife Eleanor, aware of Big Red's corrupt operations, decline. The group searches for a record company they can trust, but the only ones that will sign them are Caucasian operated and insist that their songs be covered by a white group named The Five Horsemen, giving the Heartbeats only minor song writing credit, thus forcing them to sign with Big Red.

The group goes on the road. Choir Boy's father is concerned he will forget where he comes from, Dresser has a girl back home, Eddie's father is waiting for him to fail and J.T. and Duck have a family depending on them. The travel is marked by racism and poor living conditions. Dresser's girlfriend visits at the same time as the record rep from Big Red. Dresser finds out his girlfriend is pregnant and they are faced with their first album cover having white people on the cover. Despite their problems, the group becomes successful.

Throughout the mid to late 1960s The Five Heartbeats receive numerous awards, charting several hits, and being featured on magazine covers. Eddie abuses alcohol and cocaine, causing him to miss rehearsals and performances as well as losing his girlfriend. Eddie becomes paranoid and attempts to blackmail the other Heartbeats and Jimmy using his new deal with Big Red, along with buying Jimmy out of his contract. Jimmy threatens to go to authorities with information about bootlegged LPs, cooked books and payola that could have Big Red arrested, leading Red to have Jimmy killed. In the wake of the murder, the group learns that Eddie's deceit was behind the argument between Jimmy and Big Red. The group gets together to talk and includes Bird, whom Red beat up when he questioned his bookkeeping, to put Big Red away. Big Red is convicted of Jimmy's murder and the group moves to a new record label, but, despite Duck's pleas, Eddie leaves the group in disgrace.

The Heartbeats add former rival Flash as their lead singer, which angers J.T. due to their rivalry over women. Duck has gained the attention of Tanya Sawyer, whom he lusted after since meeting her in Jimmy's living room years ago. After their engagement, he suspects she is having an affair. After she leaves the house, he follows her to a hotel. The doorman asks for his autograph and marvels at the fact that he is the second Heartbeat the doorman has seen that night; his brother is already upstairs. Duck realizes Tanya is cheating on him with his brother. As Duck leaves, his fiancee and brother fight. Tanya has been trying to break things off, but he insists that she break things off with Duck. Tanya refuses, insisting she loves Duck. At an awards ceremony celebrating their success, Flash announces he is leaving the group. Duck reveals that he knows about Tanya and J.T., and that he, too, is no longer a Heartbeat.

 

Several years later, Duck receives a letter from Choir Boy, who returned to his father's church. He asks Duck to come to a service. When he enters the church Choir Boy's father is speaking then the choir starts singing and Eddie and Baby Doll step up to sing lead. After the service Duck reunites with Eddie, Choir Boy and Baby Doll. Eddie is clean, sober and married to Baby Doll, and also manages a group. He asks Duck to write songs for them, to which he agrees. He urges Duck to contact J.T. Duck finds J.T. in a park with a wife (an old girlfriend with whom he shared a bathroom sex scene at the beginning of the movie) and two children, including a son affectionately named "Duck". The brothers reconcile.

In the early 1990s, Flash has transitioned from doo wop to pop, as the lead singer of Flash and The Five Horsemen. The Heartbeats are disappointed by the music and aspire to show their families how they performed at the peak of their career. At first Eddie declines to join the other Heartbeats but Eleanor Potter, coming to terms with her husband's death, forgives Eddie.

The Five Heartbeats reunite at the end in front of their families and friends, trying graciously to remember their old moves.

The Five Heartbeats

Robert Townsend as Donald "Duck" Matthews: Duck hails from a poor family. He is The Five Heartbeats' co-founder and brother of fellow Heartbeat's member J.T. Matthews, and originally was only the composer and musician for the group. He is a permanent vocalist after Bobby disappears. He serves as the movie's narrator, with the film beginning as he reminisces about the group's career.

Leon as J.T. Matthews: J.T. is the older brother of Duck.

Michael Wright as Eddie King, Jr. : (Because of a thick southern drawl, this is often heard as Eddie Kane) Eddie comes from an area that features predominantly poor individuals, his own father believing his attempts to start a career in the music industry will be unsuccessful. Similar to David Ruffin, Eddie is the lead vocalist of the band and falls into a life of drugs that eventually leads to his expulsion from the group as well as emotional trauma. Eddie is one of the founding members of The Heartbeats and serves as the crowd pleaser whose voice leads to success in many of their performances.

Tico Wells as Anthony "Choir Boy" Stone: Stone is given the nickname "Choir Boy" (much to his chagrin) for his past as a choir boy in his father's church. Similar to Eddie, Stone's father does not support his decision to become a music artist fearing rock and jazz are "the devil's music."

 Harry J. Lennix as Terrence "Dresser" Williams: The original choreographer of The Heartbeats, Dresser serves as the groups bass singer and one of the founding members. He is replaced by Ernest "Sarge" Johnson as the choreographer after Sarge out-dances Dresser.

 

Other characters

 

Hawthorne James as Big Red Davis: Corrupt owner of the first record label The Five Heartbeats are signed to.

Chuck Patterson as Jimmy Potter: The Heartbeats' manager, Jimmy is responsible for giving the group the opportunity to perform at more publicized events and receive training from Ernest "Sarge" Johnson.

 Diahann Carroll as Eleanor Potter: Jimmy Potter's wife, Eleanor along with her husband are the original supporters of The Five Heartbeats.

 John Canada Terrell as Michael "Flash" Turner: Lead singer of Flash and the Ebony Sparks, the Heartbeats' only competition. When Eddie goes into a downward spiral, Flash is brought in as the new lead singer.

 Roy Fegan as Bird: Bird is the lead singer of Bird and The Midnight Falcons. Early in the film the character attempts to defeat The Five Heartbeats in a vocal contest. After Big Red orchestrates the murder of Jimmy Potter, Bird joins members of the Heartbeats in testifying against Red and helps to convict him of the murder.

 Harold Nicholas of The Nicholas Brothers as Ernest "Sarge" Johnson: Johnson is The Five Heartbeat's choreographer. He choreographs the dance moves for the group. Sarge is last seen in the hospital on his birthday.

Troy Beyer as Baby Doll: Eddie's girlfriend, who leaves him after he abuses drugs and alcohol. She later marries Eddie and they are shown singing together in a choir.

Theresa Randle as Brenda: - Dresser's girlfriend, who later becomes his wife. She and Dresser have a daughter named Monica.

Lamont Johnson as Bobby Cassanova: Bobby and Eddie are the original co-lead singers of the group. Bobby is only seen in the movie's opening scenes when he and Eddie are caught cheating at a high stakes poker game. Bobby gets shot in the leg and is replaced by Eddie as the lead singer.

Carla Brothers as Tanya Sawyer: Tanya and Duck were set to be wed, but Duck's suspicion about Tanya and Choir boy had him follow her to a motel only to find out that his brother J.T. was the one seeing her. This led Duck to estrange himself from the Heartbeats and his Brother for years.

Tressa Thomas as "Duck's Little Sister:" Clara Matthews, Duck's little sister, was also his muse, often helping him compose and arrange songs for the group as they did household chores. She was instrumental in arranging the vocals for "We Haven't Finished Yet".

Other bands

 

Bird and The Midnight Falcons portrayed by actors Roy Fegan, Gregory Alexander, Roger Rose, Jimmy Woodard: The group The Five Heartbeats compete against in their second onscreen performance. The Midnight Falcons attempt to cheat by ordering their girlfriends to deliberately cheer against The Heartbeats.

 Flash and the Ebony Sparks portrayed by John Canada Terrell, Ron Jackson, Recoe Walker and Wayne "Crescendo" Ward: The Ebony Sparks defeat The Five Heartbeats in singing competitions—many of which are rigged—prior to their mainstream popularity. Flash later becomes the lead singer for the Five Heartbeats.

Production

After writing (along with Keenan Ivory Wayans), producing, directing, and starring in his first film Hollywood Shuffle, Robert Townsend had attained near-cult status among independent filmmakers due to his dedication to that film—a project which caused him to max out all his credit cards and spend nearly $100,000 of his own money raised through savings and various acting jobs in order to produce the film. When writing Townsend's first feature-length film The Five Heartbeats, Townsend and Wayans kept comedy an important aspect of the film, but also explored complex characters in a more dramatic way.  After extensive research with R&B singing group The Dells, who were renowned for their four-decade career, Townsend used his film to depict a similar story, following the lives of three friends who aspire to musical stardom. Given the setting of the film, he was able to tie in other elements, such as race relations, as well. Due to the production's budgetary constraints, Townsend used little-known actors of the time, with the exceptions of Leon Robinson, Diahann Carroll and Harold Nicholas of The Nicholas Brothers.

Promotion

To promote the film prior to its release, Townsend, along with the other actors who portrayed the fictional musical quartet The Five Heartbeats (Leon Robinson, Michael Wright, Harry J. Lennix, and Tico Wells) performed in a concert with real-life Soul/R&B vocal group The Dells, one of many groups that inspired the film. The Dells sang and recorded the vocals as the actors lip synced.

Soundtrack

The Five Heartbeats

(Music from the Motion Picture)

Soundtrack album by Various Artists

Released             April 2, 1991

Genre   Pop, Soul

Label     Capitol

A soundtrack for the film was released by Virgin Records, featuring original music by various artists. Both "Nights Like This" and "A Heart Is a House for Love" became top 20 hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart. Many of the tracks are credited to fictional characters in the film as opposed to the actual vocalists.

   A Heart Is a House for Love - The Dells

    We Haven't Finished Yet - Patti LaBelle, Tressa Thomas, Billy Valentine

    Nights Like This - After 7

    Bring Back the Days - U.S. Male

    Baby Stop Running Around - Bird & The Midnight Falcons

    In the Middle - Dee Harvey

    Nothing But Love - The Dells with Billy Valentine

    Are You Ready for Me - Dee Harvey

    Stay in My Corner - The Dells

I Feel Like Going On - Andre Crouch (Eddie, Baby Doll and the L.A. Mass Choir)

Reception

The film grossed approximately $8,500,000 after being released in 862 theaters throughout North America. However, despite the film's moderate success, it was not well received by a majority of critics. On Rotten Tomatoes The Five Heartbeats accumulated an average of 38%, although only 16 reviews were counted (6 of which were positive, the remaining 10 negative).

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times commented that:

“at feature length, Townsend shows a real talent, and, not surprisingly, an ability to avoid most cliches, to go for the human truth in his characters...by the end we really care about these guys...There is one obligatory scene showing racial prejudice against the group, and it seems a little tacked on, as if the only purpose of the Southern trip was to justify the scene.     ”

Due to the nature of the film, music montages were often used to progress the plot; critics considered this a major flaw.

The numerous musical performances in the film were highly acclaimed. All Music complimented the Dells' lead singer Marvin Junior (who provided the singing voice for fictional character Eddie King, Jr.) stating that he was "one of the most underrated voices in pop music."Tressa Thomas' performance of "We Haven't Finished Yet," in particular, was given favorable attention by critics. The film received an ASCAP award for Most Performed Songs in a Motion Picture for the song "Nights Like This."

DVD releases

A DVD was released for the film in 2002, a special edition was also released in 2006 for the film's 15th Anniversary which includes additional content.

 

9 to 5 - Classic Movies and Television Tags: nine five classic movies television word life production new quality entertainment

9 to 5 is a 1980 American comedy film written by Patricia Resnick and Colin Higgins, directed by Higgins, and starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Dabney Coleman. The film concerns three working women living out their fantasies of getting even with, and their successful overthrow of, the company's autocratic, "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" boss.

9 to 5 was a hit, grossing over $3.9 million in its opening weekend in the U.S.  and is the 20th highest-grossing comedy film.  As a star vehicle for singer Parton, it launched her permanently into mainstream popular culture. Although a television series based on the film was less successful, a musical version of the film (also titled 9 to 5), with new songs written by Parton, opened on Broadway on April 30, 2009.

9 to 5 is number 74 on the American Film Institute's "100 Funniest Movies" and is rated "82% fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes.

Judy Bernly (Jane Fonda) is forced to find work after her husband, Dick (Lawrence Pressman), squanders their savings, loses his job and runs off with his secretary. Judy finds employment as a secretary at Consolidated Companies, a very large corporation. The senior office supervisor is the feisty widow, Violet Newstead (Lily Tomlin). Violet shows Judy the place, whilst warning her about the two higher-ups. The first is the sleazy, selfish Franklin Hart, Jr (Dabney Coleman); the latter is the crisp but equally obnoxious Roz Keith (Elizabeth Wilson), Hart's executive assistant and resident snitch. Violet reveals to Judy that Hart is supposedly involved with his buxom secretary, Doralee Rhodes (Dolly Parton); in reality the married Doralee refuses his advances, but Hart leads other staff to believe that they are having an affair.

Hart exploits and mistreats his subordinates regularly. He takes credit for Violet's efficiency proposals, whilst refusing to promote her on the basis that, "clients would rather deal with men when it comes to figures". He cruelly yells at and threatens Judy on her first day after an equipment malfunction. He sexually harasses Doralee, and spreads false rumors that they are having an affair, damaging her credibility with coworkers. Finally, Hart casually fires a worker named Maria over an overheard discussion on salaries.

When Violet discovers that another promotion she was hoping for has instead gone to a man, she confronts Hart about his manipulations and sexism. She then references Hart's claims of his purported affair with Doralee (which Doralee enters the room just in time to hear) before storming out. Doralee, previously unaware of the rumors and now realizing why her coworkers have been cold to her, informs Hart that she keeps a gun in her purse and warns him that, up until she just learned about the rumors, she'd been forgiving and forgetting what Hart has previously done, because of the way she was brought up, and if he ever makes another indecent reference about her, she will change him "from a rooster to a hen with one shot". She also angrily leaves the office.

 

Judy, upset that Maria has just been fired over a trivial infraction, wants to inform Violet and is told that Violet is at a local bar "getting drunk". She joins Violet and Doralee, and the three women drown their sorrows together before going to Doralee's house. There, the beginning of the their friendship forms over dinner and smoking some marijuana that belongs to Violet's son. They fantasize about getting revenge on Mr Hart, with Judy wanting to shoot him execution style, Doralee wanting to rope him, and Violet wanting to poison him.

The following day, a mix-up leads Violet to accidentally spike Hart's coffee with rat poison (a nod to her fantasy the previous night). However, before he can drink any of the tainted coffee, Hart accidentally knocks himself unconscious by falling from a faulty office chair. On hearing he has been rushed to the hospital, Violet, realizing her error, panics, thinking it's due to the poison. After they arrive at the hospital, the three mistake a dead police witness for their boss. Violet, in a state of panic and desperation, steals the body of the deceased man and stashes it in the trunk of her car, convincing Doralee and Judy to join her, and the three drive off, planning to somehow dispose of the body so that there can be no autopsy. After a car accident, they discover they've stolen the wrong body, so they smuggle it back into the hospital.

Hart turns up alive the next morning, much to the shock of Violet, Doralee and Judy. During a break in the ladies' room, the three speculate on what could have happened and then vow to forget the night's troubles, but Roz, hiding in one of the stalls, overhears them and relates the conversation to Hart. He confronts Doralee with the information he has just learned, and demands that she spend the night at his house or he'll have all three of them prosecuted for attempted murder. Hart refuses to believe it was an accident, so the three kidnap him, with Judy firing at him with Doralee's gun (much as she had done in her fantasy), and Doralee tying his hands and legs with a phone cord (similarly to what she had done in her fantasy). Unsure of how to prevent Hart from alerting authorities, the three bring him to his Tudor-style mansion, keeping him prisoner in his bedroom while they decide to try to find something with which to blackmail him so that he won't have them arrested. The ladies discover that he's been selling Consolidated property behind their backs and keeping the profits for himself. To prove the crime, they need to wait several weeks for the accounting documents to arrive. In the meantime, the women fashion a special bondage device to allow Hart to move around, but keep him confined to his home.

Since Doralee is able to forge Hart's signature without difficulty, the three women use the occasion of their boss's absence to effect numerous changes around the office, in his name. These include allowing flexible hours, a job-sharing program that allows people to work part-time, and a daycare center in the building (while Maria, the woman whom Hart had fired, is allowed to return). All the while they conceal the true reason for his disappearance. As it turns out, Hart is so feared and/or hated around the office that nobody questions his absence, with the exception of Roz, whom Violet, under the pretext of the company, sends to an overseas language school.

One night, Judy discovers a prowler outside Hart's home. It turns out to be her ex-husband Dick, whose marriage to Liza lasted only a week. He tries to get Judy to come back to him until he finds Hart bound and gagged in the upstairs bedroom and believes, erroneously, that Judy has gotten into perverted sex games. Judy sends him away, admitting that she's into everything, even smoking pot, and that his departure was the best thing that ever happened to her.

Hart's adoring wife (the feeling is clearly one-sided) Missy (Marian Mercer) returns from vacation early, putting the ladies' plan in jeopardy. While still pretending to be the women's prisoner, Hart scrambles to replace the property he stole from Consolidated. He then takes Doralee's gun and directs the three women back to the office at gunpoint. Hart is appalled by the changes which have been made in his absence, even though all his employees are delighted with them. Before he can have the three women arrested, Hart receives an unexpected visit from Russell Tinsworthy (Sterling Hayden), the Chairman of the Board.

Mr Tinsworthy has arrived to congratulate Hart for increases in productivity, which are due to the changes the three women have instituted in his name. Hart is only too happy to take credit for everything the ladies have done. Tinsworthy is so impressed that he recruits Hart to work at Consolidated's Brazilian operation for the next few years. Hart is not pleased by this development, but has no choice in the matter. Moments after Tinsworthy and Hart depart, Roz returns from language school and is stunned to discover Violet, Judy and Doralee celebrating in Hart's office, and realizing that she has to report to them.

A post-credits montage reveals the fate of the major characters. Violet was promoted to Vice President. Judy fell in love and married the Xerox representative. Doralee left Consolidated and became a country and western singer. Hart was abducted by a tribe of Amazons in the Brazilian jungle and was never heard from again.

Source: Wikipedia

Classic Hip Hop legends - Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
Category: Classic Hip Hop
Tags: grandmaster flash furious five rock hall fame word life production.classic hip hop feature weekly

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five fomented the musical revolution known as hip-hop. Theirs was a pioneering union between one DJ and five rapping MCs. Grandmaster Flash (born Joseph Saddler) not only devised various techniques but also designed turntable and mixing equipment. Formed in the South Bronx, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were one of the first rap posses, responsible for such masterpieces as “The Message,” “Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel” and “White Lines.” The combination of Grandmaster Flash’s turntable mastery and the Furious Five’s raps, which ranged from socially conscious to frivolously fun, made for a series of 12-inch records that forever altered the musical landscape.

Flash, along with DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, pioneered the art of break-beat deejaying – the process of remixing and thereby creating a new piece of music by playing vinyl records and turntables as if they were musical instruments. Disco-era deejays like Pete “DJ” Jones, an early influence on Grandmaster Flash, spun records so that people could dance. Turntablists took it a step further by scratching and cutting records, focusing on “breaks” – what Flash described as “the short, climactic parts of the records that really grabbed me” — as a way of heightening musical excitement and creating something new.

Flash’s days as a deejay date back to 1974, when he and other deejays who were too young to get into discos began playing at house parties and block parties in their South Bronx neighborhoods. Flash worked briefly with Kurtis Blow, but Cowboy became the first MC to officially join Grandmaster Flash in what would become the Furious Five. Cowboy’s rousing exhortations, including now-familiar calls to party, like “Throw your hands in the air and wave ‘em like you just don’t care!,” became essential ingredients of the hip-hop experience.

Grandmaster’s squadron of MCs expanded to include Kidd Creole, Melle Mel, Mr. Ness (a.k.a. Scorpio) and Raheim, in that order. Melle Mel, one of the most phonetically and rhythmically precise rappers in the genre – and the authoritatively deep voice who delivered the anti-cocaine rap “White Lines” – recalled the early days of hip-hop: “Disco was for adults, and they wouldn’t let the kids in. That forced us to go out on the streets and make our own entertainment.”

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five issued their first record, “Superrappin’,” on the Enjoy label in 1979. They then signed to Sylvia Robinson’s New Jersey-based Sugarhill label, where they made the R&B charts with a 12-inch single called “Freedom,” which ran for more than eight minutes. Various combinations of Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel and the Furious Five placed 10 records in the charts during a three-year span from 1980 to 1983. These included Grandmaster Flash’s dizzying turntable showcase, “Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel,” and the group’s acknowledged masterpiece, “The Message.” The latter offered a series of unflinchingly honest and discomfiting observations about life in the ghetto, with lead rapper Melle Mel returning to the same weary conclusion: “It’s like a jungle sometime, it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.”

As Rolling Stone observed, “’The Message’ was [the first record] to prove that rap could become the inner city’s voice, as well as its choice.” This slice of unvarnished social realism sold half a million copies in a month, topped numerous critics’ and magazines’ lists of best singles for 1982, and cemented Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s place in hip-hop’s vanguard. “I ask myself to this day, ‘Why do people want to hear this?’” Grandmaster Flash wondered of “The Message” in 1988. “But it’s the only lyric-pictorial record that could be called ‘How Urban America Lived.’”

In 1984, disagreements over business matters, including a lawsuit with Sugarhill, caused the group to split into two factions, and their commercial momentum was lost. However, they reunited in 1987 for a charity concert hosted by Paul Simon at Madison Square Garden in New York. The result was another album, On the Strength, released in 1988. On the Strength contained another example of Grandmaster Flash’s turntable genius (“This Is Where You Got It From”) and a history lesson for those who didn’t understand hip-hop’s roots and longevity (“Back in the Old Days of Hip-Hop”). In the ensuing years, Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel have made records under their own names, and numerous anthologies have been released, including Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel and the Furious Five: The Definitive Groove Collection.

Source: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

5 medication-free strategies to help prevent heart disease Tags: five strategies prevent heart disease health mental wellness word life production feature blog

Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but that doesn't mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take.

You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. Here are five heart disease prevention tips to get you started.

1. Don't smoke or use tobacco

Smoking or using tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack. When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes also are risky, as is exposure to secondhand smoke.

In addition, the nicotine in cigarette smoke makes your heart work harder by narrowing your blood vessels and increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This increases your blood pressure by forcing your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen. Even so-called "social smoking" — smoking only while at a bar or restaurant with friends — is dangerous and increases the risk of heart disease.

Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke than are those who don't do either. This risk increases with age, especially in women older than 35.

The good news, though, is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within just one year. And no matter how long or how much you smoked, you'll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.

2. Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week

Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater.

Physical activity helps you control your weight and can reduce your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It also reduces stress, which may be a factor in heart disease.

Try getting at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. However, even shorter amounts of exercise offer heart benefits, so if you can't meet those guidelines, don't give up. You can even break up your workout time into 10-minute sessions.

And remember that activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward your total. You don't have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but you can see bigger benefits by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.

3. Eat a heart-healthy diet

Eating a special diet called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan can help protect your heart. Following the DASH diet means eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, which can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Limiting certain fats you eat also is important. Of the types of fat — saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat — saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels.

Major sources of saturated fat include:

  • Red meat
  • Dairy products
  • Coconut and palm oils

Sources of Trans fat include:

  • Deep-fried fast foods
  • Bakery products
  • Packaged snack foods
  • Margarines
  • Crackers

Look at the label for the term "partially hydrogenated" to avoid trans fat.

Heart-healthy eating isn't all about cutting back, though. Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart disease, but also may help prevent cancer.

Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, may decrease your risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure. Some fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are a good natural source of omega-3s. Omega-3s are present in smaller amounts in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, soybean oil and canola oil, and they can also be found in supplements.

Following a heart-healthy diet also means drinking alcohol only in moderation — no more than two drinks a day for men, and one a day for women. At that moderate level, alcohol can have a protective effect on your heart. More than that becomes a health hazard.

4. Maintain a healthy weight

As you put on weight in adulthood, your weight gain is mostly fat rather than muscle. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

One way to see if your weight is healthy is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), which considers your height and weight in determining whether you have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat. BMI numbers 25 and higher are associated with higher blood fats, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The BMI is a good, but imperfect guide. Muscle weighs more than fat, for instance, and women and men who are very muscular and physically fit can have high BMIs without added health risks. Because of that, waist circumference also is a useful tool to measure how much abdominal fat you have:

Men are considered overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (101.6 centimeters, or cm)

Women are overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (88.9 cm)

Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Reducing your weight by just 10 percent can decrease your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of diabetes.

5. Get regular health screenings

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But without testing for them, you probably won't know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether you need to take action.

Blood pressure. Regular blood pressure screenings start in childhood. Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. You may need more-frequent checks if your numbers aren't ideal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury.

Cholesterol levels. Adults should have their cholesterol measured at least once every five years starting at age 20. You may need more frequent testing if your numbers aren't optimal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Some children may need their blood cholesterol tested if they have a strong family history of heart disease.

Diabetes screening. Since diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease, you may want to consider being screened for diabetes. Talk to your doctor about when you should have a fasting blood sugar test to check for diabetes. Depending on your risk factors, such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes, your doctor may recommend first testing you for diabetes sometime between ages 30 and 45, and then retesting every three to five years.

Source: Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-disease-prevention/WO00041

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