Send a Message
|Thurs, May 17, 2012 at 4:55 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LaDonna Adrian Gaines, aka, Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco, has died at the age of 63 in Florida after a battle with cancer, the Associated Press confirmed with the singer's family Thursday morning.
Summer was a five-time Grammy Award winner, the first artist ever to score three back-to-back No. 1 double albums, and was nominated--but not chosen--for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
Summer was born Ladonna Adrian Gaines on December 31, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts to parents Andrew a butcher and Mary Gaines a schoolteacher and was one of seven children. She and her family were raised in the Boston suburb of Dorchester.
She is survived by her adult daughters Mimi (by her first husband, actor Helmuth Sommer), Brooklyn and Amanda (by second husband Bruce Sudano).
|Wed, May 16, 2012 at 7:14 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Chuck Brown, godfather of go-go, the genre of music that has soundtracked life in black Washington for more than three decades, died May 16 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He was 75.
Mr. Brown had been hospitalized for pneumonia and died of complications from sepsis.
Brown's musical career began in the 1960s playing guitar with Jerry Butler and The Earls of Rhythm, Brown's early hits include "I Need Some Money" and "Bustin' Loose". "Bustin' Loose" is the Washington Nationals baseball team home run celebration song and Nelly created a rendition of it for his 2002 number one hit "Hot in Herre."
Brown resided in Brandywine, Maryland. He had 2 sons, Wiley, a musician and football player at Virginia Tech and Nekos Brown, who played a defensive end/linebacker for the Virginia Tech football team. While his son was in college, Brown scheduled concerts and other appearances around the Hokies home schedule to ensure that he would never miss a game, and became a fixture at Lane Stadium.
Mr. Brown limited his performing time but still took the stage as often as possible. He would often comment on his golden years in rhyme.
"I'm not retired because I'm not tired. I'm still getting hired, and I'm still inspired," he said in 2006. "As long as I can walk up on that stage, I want to make people happy. I want to make people dance.
|Fri, January 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Etta James, whose assertive, earthy voice lit up such hits as "The Wallflower," "Something's Got a Hold on Me" and the wedding favorite "At Last," has died, according to her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon. She was 73.
She died from complications from leukemia with her husband, Artis Mills, and her sons by her side, De Leon said.
She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, and also suffered from dementia and hepatitis C. James died at a hospital in Riverside, California. She would have turned 74 Wednesday. " This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world," De Leon said. "She was a true original who could sing it all -- her music defied category. "I worked with Etta for over 30 years. She was my friend and I will miss her always."
2003: Etta James reflects on her career 2008: Etta James at 'Cadillac Records'The powerhouse singer, known as "Miss Peaches," lived an eventful life. She first hit the charts as a teenager, taking "The Wallflower (Roll With Me, Henry)" -- an "answer record" to Hank Ballard's "Work With Me, Annie" -- to No. 1 on the R&B charts in 1955. She joined Chess Records in 1960 and had a string of R&B and pop hits, many with lush string arrangements. After a mid-decade fade, she re-emerged in 1967 with a more hard-edged, soulful sound.
Throughout her career, James overcame a heroin addiction, opened for the Rolling Stones, won six Grammys and was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Despite her ups and downs -- including a number of health problems -- she maintained an optimistic attitude.
"Most of the songs I sing, they have that blue feeling to it. They have that sorry feeling. And I don't know what I'm sorry about," she told CNN's Denise Quan in 2002. "I don't!"
Through it all, she was a spitfire beloved by contemporaries and young up-and-comers. "Etta James is unmanageable, and I'm the closest thing she's ever had to a manager," Lupe DeLeon, her manager of 30-plus years, told CNN in admiration. British songstress Adele named James as one of her favorite singers, along with Aretha Franklin. "If you were to look up the word singer in the dictionary, you'd see their names," Adele said in an interview.
Etta James was born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles to a teen mother and unknown father. (She suspected her father was the pool player Minnesota Fats.) Her birth mother initially took little responsibility and James was raised by a series of people, notably a pair of boardinghouse owners. But she was recognized from a young age for her booming voice, showcased in a South Central Los Angeles church.
In 1950, her mother took her to San Francisco, where James formed a group called the Peaches. Singer Johnny Otis, best known for "Willie and the Hand Jive," discovered her and had her sing a song he wrote using Ballard's tune as a model. "The Wallflower," with responses from "Louie Louie" songwriter Richard Berry, made James an R&B star.
Her signing to Chess introduced her to a broader audience, as the record label's co-owner, Leonard Chess, believed she should do pop hits. Among her recordings were "Stormy Weather," the Lena Horne classic originally from 1933; "A Sunday Kind of Love," which dates from 1946; and most notably, "At Last," a 1941 number that was originally a hit for Glenn Miller.
James' version of "At Last" starts out with swooning strings and the singer enters with confident gusto, dazzlingly maintaining a mood of joy and romance. Though the song failed to make the Top 40 upon its 1961 release -- though it did hit the R&B Top 10 -- its emotional punch has long made it a favorite at weddings.
James' career suffered in the mid-'60s when the Britis
|Tue, January 17, 2012 at 9:49 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Jimmy Castor, a funk and soul saxophonist, singer and songwriter whose tune, "It's Just Begun," was sampled by hip hop artists died of apparent heart failure in a Las Vegas hospital, family members said Tuesday. He was 71.
Castor formed the Jimmy Castor Bunch in 1972 and signed with RCA releasing several successful albums and singles. The group reached the peak of their commercial success in 1972 with the release of their album, It's Just Begun, which featured two hit singles: the title track and "Troglodyte (Cave Man). Castor continued the trend in 1975 with "The Bertha Butt Boogie" and later recorded "E-Man Boogie," "King Kong," "Bom Bom," and "Potential."
Many of the group's tunes have been heavily sampled in films and in hip-hop. Most notably are the saxophone hook and groove from "It's Just Begun" and the spoken word intro and groove from "Troglodyte" (namely, "What we're gonna do right here is go back...").
|Tue, December 27, 2011 at 5:31 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
The sudden death of rapper Heavy D last month was caused by a pulmonary embolism following a long flight, according to a medical examiner's report released Tuesday.
Heavy D. AKA Dwight Arrington Myers, was found unconscious in the walkway of his Beverly Hills home on Nov. 8 and was later pronounced dead at a Los Angeles hospital. He was 44.
Craig Harvey, chief of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, said a blood clot formed in Myers' lung, most likely "during an extended airplane ride," according to the Los Angeles Times. Myers had flown home from London shortly before his death. Myers also suffered from deep leg vein thrombosis and heart disease, Harvey said.
While Harvey said the rapper had been treating himself with cough syrup, the coroner added the medication "was not contributory" to Myers' death.