Archive for the ‘Music’ Category


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Buffy Sainte-Marie, (born February 20, 1941) is a Canadian-American Cree singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist, and social activist. Throughout her career in all of these areas, her work has focused on issues of Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Her singing and writing repertoire also includes subjects of love, war, religion, and mysticism.
She founded the Cradleboard Teaching Project, an educational curriculum devoted to better understanding Native Americans. She has won recognition and many awards and honours for both her music and her work in education and social activism.
Personal life
She was born Beverly Sainte-Marie in 1941 on the Piapot Cree First Nations Reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada. She was orphaned and later adopted, growing up in Wakefield, Massachusetts with parents Albert and Winifred Sainte-Marie, who were related to her biological parents. She attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, earning degrees (BA 1963 and PhD 1983) in teaching and Oriental philosophy. and graduating in the top ten of her class.
In 1964 on a return trip to the Piapot Cree reserve in Canada for a Powwow she was welcomed and (in a Cree Nation context) adopted by the youngest son of Chief Piapot, Imu Piapot and his wife, who added to Sainte-Marie’s cultural value of, and place in, native culture.
In 1968 she married surfing teacher Dewain Bugbee of Hawaii; they divorced in 1971. She married Sheldon Wolfchild from Minnesota in 1975; they have a son, Dakota “Cody” Starblanket Wolfchild. That union also ended and she married, thirdly, to Jack Nitzsche in the early 1980s, but her current partner is Chuck Wilson (since 1993). She currently lives on Kauai.
She became an active friend of the Bahá’í Faith by the mid-1970s when she is said to have appeared in the 1973 Third National Baha’i Youth Conference at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and has continued to appear at concerts, conferences and conventions of that religion since then. In 1992, she appeared in the musical event prelude to the Bahá’í World Congress, a double concert “Live Unity: The Sound of the World” in 1992 with video broadcast and documentary. In the video documentary of the event Sainte-Marie is seen on the Dini Petty Show explaining the Bahá’í teaching of Progressive revelation. She also appears in the 1985 video “Mona With The Children” by Douglas John Cameron.
Career
Sainte-Marie played piano and guitar, self-taught, in her childhood and teen years. In college some of her songs, “Ananias”, the Indian lament, “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone” and “Mayoo Sto Hoon” (in Hindi) were already in her repertoire.
1960s
By 1962, in her early twenties, Sainte-Marie was touring alone, developing her craft and performing in various concert halls, folk music festivals and Native Americans reservations across the United States, Canada and abroad. She spent a considerable amount of time in the coffeehouses of downtown Toronto’s old Yorkville district, and New York City’s Greenwich Village as part of the early to mid-1960s folk scene, often alongside other emerging Canadian contemporaries, such as Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell (she also introduced Joni to Eliot Roberts, who became Joni’s manager).
She quickly earned a reputation as a gifted songwriter, and many of her earliest songs were covered, and often turned into chart-topping hits, by other artists including Chet Atkins, Janis Joplin and Taj Mahal. One of her most popular songs, “Until It’s Time for You to Go”, has been recorded by artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Michael Nesmith, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra, Roberta Flack, Françoise Hardy, Cher, Maureen McGovern, and Bobby Darin, while “Piney Wood Hills” was made into a country music hit by Bobby Bare. Her vocal style features a frequently recurring, insistent, unusually sustained vibrato, one more prominent than can be found in the music of any other well-known popular music performer.
In 1963, recovering from a throat infection Sainte-Marie became addicted to codeine and recovering from the experience became the basis of her song “Cod’ine”, later covered by Donovan, Janis Joplin, The Charlatans, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Man, the Litter, The Leaves, Jimmy Gilmer, Gram Parsons, Charles Brutus McClay, The Barracudas (spelt “Codeine”), The Golden Horde, and more recently by Courtney Love. Also in 1963 Sainte-Marie witnessed wounded soldiers returning from Vietnam at a time when the U.S. government was denying involvement – this inspired her protest song “Universal Soldier” which was released on her debut album, It’s My Way on Vanguard Records in 1964, and later became a hit for Donovan. She was subsequently named Billboard Magazine’s Best New Artist. Some of her songs such as “My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying” (1964, included on her 1966 album) addressing the mistreatment of Native Americans created a lot of controversy at the time.
In 1967, Sainte-Marie released the album Fire and Fleet and Candlelight, which contained her interpretation of the traditional Yorkshire dialect song “Lyke Wake Dirge”. Sainte-Marie’s other well-known songs include “Mister Can’t You See”, (a Top 40 U.S. hit in 1972); “He’s an Indian Cowboy in the Rodeo”; and the theme song of the popular movie Soldier Blue. Perhaps her first appearance on TV was as herself on To Tell the Truth in January 1966. She also appeared on Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Quest with Pete Seeger in 1965 and several Canadian Television productions from the 1960s through to the 1990s, and other TV shows such as American Bandstand, Soul Train, The Johnny Cash Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson; and sang the opening song “The Circle Game” (written by Joni Mitchell) in Stuart Hagmann’s film The Strawberry Statement (1970).
In the late sixties, Sainte-Marie used a Buchla synthesizer to record the album Illuminations, which did not receive much notice. “People were more in love with the Pocahontas-with-a-guitar image,” she commented in a 1998 interview.
1970s
In late 1975, Sainte Marie received a phone call from Dulcy Singer, then Associate Producer of Sesame Street, to appear on the show. According to Sainte-Marie, Singer wanted her to count and recite the alphabet like everyone else, but instead, she wanted to teach the show’s young viewers that “Indians still exist”. Sainte-Marie had been invited earlier that year to appear on another children’s TV show which she would not name, but turned the invitation down since the program ran commercials for G.I. Joe war toys.
Sainte-Marie regularly appeared on Sesame Street over a five-year period from 1976 to 1981, along with her first son, Dakota Starblanket Wolfchild, whom she breast-fed in one episode. Sesame Street even aired a week of shows from her home in Hawaii in December 1977; where Sainte-Marie and her family were joined by Bob (Bob McGrath), Maria (Sonia Manzano), Mr. Hooper (Will Lee), Olivia (Alaina Reed Hall, who was Sainte-Marie’s closest friend from the Sesame Street cast), Big Bird and Oscar (both portrayed by Caroll Spinney).
In 1979 the film Spirit of the Wind, featuring Sainte-Marie’s original musical score including the song “Spirit of the Wind”, was one of three entries that year at Cannes, along with The China Syndrome and Norma Rae. The film is a docudrama of George Attla, the ‘winningest dog musher of all time,’ as the film presents him, with all parts played by Native Americans except one by Slim Pickens. The film was shown on cable TV in the early 1980s and was released in France in 2003. Sainte-Marie’s musical score has been described as ‘inspiring’, ‘haunting’, and ‘perfection’.
1980s
Sainte-Marie began using Apple Inc. Apple II and Macintosh computers as early as 1981 to record her music and later some of her visual art. The song “Up Where We Belong” (which Sainte-Marie co-wrote with Will Jennings and musician Jack Nitzsche) was performed by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes for the film An Officer and a Gentleman. It received the Academy Award for Best Song in 1982. The song was later covered by Cliff Richard and Anne Murray on Cliff’s album of duets, Two’s Company.
In the early 1980s one of her native songs was used as the theme song for the CBC’s native series Spirit Bay. She was cast for the TNT 1993 telefilm The Broken Chain. It was shot entirely in Virginia. In 1989 she wrote and performed the music for Where the Spirit Lives, a film about native children being abducted and forced into residential schools.
1990s
Sainte-Marie voiced the Cheyenne character, Kate Bighead, in the 1991 made-for-TV movie Son of the Morning Star, telling the Indian side of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where Lt. Col. George Custer was killed.
In 1992, after a sixteen-year recording hiatus, Sainte-Marie released the album Coincidence and Likely Stories. Recorded in 1990 at home in Hawaii on her computer and transmitted via modem through the early Internet to producer Chris Birkett in London, England, the album included the politically charged songs “The Big Ones Get Away” and “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” (which mentions Leonard Peltier), both commenting on the ongoing plight of Native Americans (see also the book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.) Also in 1992, Sainte-Marie appeared in the television film The Broken Chain with Pierce Brosnan along with fellow First Nations Bahá’í Phil Lucas. Her next album followed up in 1996 with Up Where We Belong, an album on which she re-recorded a number of her greatest hits in more unplugged and acoustic versions, including a re-release of “Universal Soldier”. Sainte-Marie has exhibited her art at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Emily Carr Gallery in Vancouver and the American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In 1969 she started a philanthropic non-profit fund Nihewan Foundation for American Indian Education devoted to improving Native American students participation in learning. She founded the Cradleboard Teaching Project in October 1996 using funds from her Nihewan Foundation and with a two-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan. With projects across Mohawk, Cree, Ojibwe, Menominee, Coeur D’Alene, Navajo, Quinault, Hawaiian, and Apache communities in eleven states, partnered with a non-native class of the same grade level for Elementary, Middle, and High School grades in the disciplines of Geography, History, Social Studies, Music and Science and produced a multimedia curriculum CD, Science: Through Native American Eyes.
2000s
In 2000, Sainte-Marie gave the commencement address at Haskell Indian Nations University. In 2002 she sang at the Kennedy Space Center for Commander John Herrington, USN, a Chickasaw and the first Native American astronaut. In 2003 she became a spokesperson for the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network in Canada.
In 2002, a track written and performed by Sainte-Marie, entitled “Lazarus”, was sampled by Hip Hop producer Kanye West and performed by Cam’Ron and Jim Jones of The Diplomats. The track is called “Dead or Alive”. In June 2007, she made a rare U.S. appearance at the Clearwater Festival in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.
In 2008, a two-CD set titled Buffy/Changing Woman/Sweet America: The Mid-1970s Recordings was released, compiling the three studio albums that she recorded for ABC Records and MCA Records between 1974 and 1976 (after departing her long-time label Vanguard Records). This was the first re-release of this material. In September 2008, Sainte-Marie made a comeback onto the music scene in Canada with the release of her latest studio album Running For The Drum. It was produced by Chris Birkett (producer of her 1992 and 1996 best of albums). Sessions for this latest project commenced in 2006 in Sainte-Marie’s home studio in Hawaii and in part in France. They continued until spring 2007.
Censorship
Sainte-Marie claimed in a 2008 interview at the National Museum of the American Indian that she had been blacklisted and that she, along with Native Americans and other native people in the Red Power movements, were put out of business in the 1970s.
“I found out 10 years later, in the 1980s, that President Lyndon B. Johnson had been writing letters on White House stationery praising radio stations for suppressing my music”, Sainte-Marie said in a 1999 interview at Diné College given to Brenda Norrel, a staff writer with Indian Country Today … “In the 1970s, not only was the protest movement put out of business, but the Native American movement was attacked.” According to Norrel, this article was initially censored by Indian Country Today, and finally published only in part in 2006.
Awards and honors
In 1997, Sainte-Marie won a Gemini Award for her 1996 variety special, Up Where We Belong.
In 1983–4, the song “Up Where We Belong” (music by Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte-Marie; lyrics by Will Jennings) from An Officer and a Gentleman won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Film Award for Best Original Song.
In 2010, she received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.
Honorary degrees
In 1996 she received an honorary Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa degree from the University of Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. She then gave the convocation address to the administration, education, and engineering graduates. As part of the address, Sainte-Marie sang a song about the Canadian Indian residential school system.
In 2007 she received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. On 13 June 2008, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada, an honorary Doctor of Music from The University of Western Ontario on June 10, 2009, in London, Ontario, and an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the Ontario College of Art & Design on June 4, 2010, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. On May 23, 2012 she received an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia.

 


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Morna Anne Murray (born June 20, 1945), known professionally as Anne Murray, is a Canadian singer in pop, country, and adult contemporary music whose albums have sold over 54 million copies worldwide as of 2012.

Murray was the first Canadian female solo singer to reach No. 1 on the U.S. charts, and also the first to earn a Gold record for one of her signature songs, “Snowbird” (1970). She is often cited as the one who paved the way for other international Canadian success stories such as Alanis Morissette, Nelly Furtado, Céline Dion, Sarah McLachlan, and Shania Twain. She is also the first woman and the first Canadian to win “Album of the Year” at the 1984 Country Music Association Awards for her 1983 album A Little Good News.

Murray has received four Grammys, a record 24 Junos, three American Music Awards, three Country Music Association Awards, and three Canadian Country Music Association Awards. She has been inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Juno Hall of Fame, and The Songwriters Hall of Fame. She is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame Walkway of Stars in Nashville, and has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles and on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto.

In 2011, Billboard ranked her 10th on their list of the 50 Biggest AC Artists Ever.

Early life

Morna Anne Murray was born in the coal-mining town of Springhill, Nova Scotia. Her father, James Carson Murray, was the town doctor. Her mother, Marion Margaret (née Burke) Murray, was a registered nurse who focused her life on raising her family and community charity work. Murray has five brothers. Murray’s father died in 1980 at the age of 72 from complications from leukemia. Her mother died April 10, 2006, at the age of 92 after suffering a series of strokes during heart surgery.

After expressing an early interest in music, she studied piano for six years. By 15 she was taking voice lessons. Every Saturday morning, she took a bus ride from Springhill to Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, for singing lessons. One of her earliest performances was of the song “Ave Maria” at her high school graduation in 1962. Following high school, Murray attended Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax for one year. She later studied Physical Education at University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. After receiving her degree in 1966 she taught physical education at a high school in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, for one year.

Career

Early years

In 1965, Murray appeared on the University of New Brunswick student project record “The Groove” (500 pressed). She sang two songs on the record – “Unchained Melody” and “Little Bit of Soap”. On the label her name was misspelled “Anne Murry”. While there, she was encouraged to audition for the 1960s CBC musical variety television show Singalong Jubilee, but was not offered a singing position. Two years later she received a call from Singalong Jubilee co-host and associate producer, Bill Langstroth, and was asked to return for a second audition. Following that second audition, Murray was cast for the show.

After a summer of singing in local venues across the Maritimes, Murray began teaching physical education at a high school in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. After one year of teaching, she was offered a spot on the television show Let’s Go, and returned to Singalong Jubilee. As a regular member of the “Singalong Jubilee” cast, Murray appeared on the Singalong Jubilee Vol. III soundtrack and Our Family Album – The Singalong Jubilee Cast records released by Arc Records. The show’s musical director, Brian Ahern, advised Murray that she should move to Toronto and record a solo album. Her first album, What About Me, was produced by Ahern in Toronto and released in 1968 on the Arc label.

Success

Anne Murray’s debut album was on the Canadian Arc label, titled What About Me (Arc AS 782). The lead single, the title cut, was written by Scott McKenzie and was a sizable Canadian radio hit. The project was produced by Brian Ahern, and covered songs by Joni Mitchell, Ken Tobias, and John Denver. After a year-long stint on Arc, Murray switched to Capitol Records in 1969 to record her second album, This Way Is My Way, which was released in the fall of 1969. It featured the single that launched her career, “Snowbird”, which became a No. 1 hit in Canada. “Snowbird” became a surprise hit on the U.S. charts as well, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. It was also the first of her eight No. 1 Adult Contemporary hits. “Snowbird” was the first Gold record ever given to a Canadian artist in the United States (RIAA certified Gold on November 16, 1970). As one of the most successful female artists at that time, she became in demand for several television appearances in Canada and the United States, eventually becoming a regular on the hit U.S. TV series The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.

After the success of “Snowbird”, she had a number of subsequent singles that charted both pop and country simultaneously. During the 1970s and 80s, her hits included Kenny Loggins’s “Danny’s Song” (1972) (peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100) and “A Love Song” (1973); “He Thinks I Still Care” and her Top 10 cover of The Beatles’ “You Won’t See Me” (1974); her all-time biggest Hot 100 hit “You Needed Me” (1978) — though, the biggest hit of her career (and her personal favorite) peaked at No. 4 country and No. 3 AC; “I Just Fall in Love Again”, “Shadows in the Moonlight”, and “Broken Hearted Me” (1979); her revival of The Monkees’ 1967 No. 1 hit “Daydream Believer” and “Could I Have This Dance” from the Urban Cowboy motion picture soundtrack (1980); “Blessed Are the Believers” (1981); “Another Sleepless Night” (1982); “A Little Good News” (1983); 1984’s “Just Another Woman in Love” and “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do” (a duet with Dave Loggins of 1974’s “Please Come to Boston” fame and cousin of Kenny Loggins); and “Time, Don’t Run Out On Me” (1985).

She performed “O Canada” at the first American League baseball game played in Canada on April 7, 1977, when the Toronto Blue Jays played the Chicago White Sox at Exhibition Stadium. She reprised the Canadian national anthem prior to Game 3 of the 1992 World Series at the SkyDome. Following the last game at Maple Leaf Gardens, she concluded the arena’s closing ceremony by singing “The Maple Leaf Forever” at center ice wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey.

Murray was a celebrity corporate spokeswoman for The Bay, and she also did commercials and sang the company jingle (“You Can Count on the Commerce”) for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).

Murray’s last Hot 100 hit was “Now and Forever (You and Me)” from 1986; it also was her last No. 1 on both the American and Canadian country chart. Her last charting single in the U.S. was 1991’s “Everyday”, which appeared in Billboard’s Country Singles chart, and her last charting single in Canada was 2000’s “What a Wonderful World”.

1990s to present

In 1996, Murray signed on with a new manager, Bruce Allen, who also has managed careers for Bryan Adams, Michael Bublé, Martina McBride, and Jann Arden. She recorded her first live album in 1997 and in 1999, she released What a Wonderful World, a platinum inspirational album, which went to No. 1 Contemporary Christian, No. 4 Country and No. 38 pop. She released Country Croonin’ in 2002, the follow-up to her successful 1993 album, Croonin’. In 2004, she released I’ll Be Seeing You in Canada only, which features a collection of songs from the early 20th century through to the mid-1940s. The American version, titled All of Me, features a bonus disc containing many of her hit singles, followed in 2005. The album is dedicated to her friend Cynthia McReynolds who died of cancer.

On December 26, 2004, Murray joined other Canadian music stars in the Canada for Asia Telethon, a three-hour, tsunami relief concert broadcast on CBC Television (January 13, 2005) to support CARE Canada’s efforts. Bryan Adams and Murray closed the show with a duet, “What Would It Take”.

Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends was released in November 2007 in Canada and January 2008 in the U.S. The album comprised seventeen tracks that included many of Murray’s biggest hits over her four-decade career, re-recorded as duets with other established, rising, and – in one case – deceased female singers. These artists included Céline Dion, Shania Twain, k.d. lang, Nelly Furtado, Jann Arden, Québec’s Isabelle Boulay, Murray’s daughter Dawn Langstroth, Olivia Newton-John, Emmylou Harris, Martina McBride, Shelby Lynne, Amy Grant, Carole King, the Indigo Girls, Irish sextet Celtic Woman, Dusty Springfield, and Sarah Brightman. The duet with soprano Brightman was of her 1970 hit song, “Snowbird”.

Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends was recorded in four cities – Toronto, Nashville, New York and Los Angeles. According to Billboard magazine, the album reached No. 2 on the Canadian pop album charts and was certified Double Platinum in Canada after merely two months, representing sales of over 200,000 units. The album was the second-highest debuting CD on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart for the week ending February 2, 2008. It entered the chart at No. 42, making it her highest-charting U.S. CD release since 1999’s What a Wonderful World, which peaked at No. 38 on the Top 200 and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Also for the week ending February 2, 2008, the CD debuted at No. 8 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and at No. 3 on its Top Internet Albums chart. Murray was nominated for the 2008 Juno Award for Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year.

Murray’s album What a Wonderful World was re-released in July 2008 in North America as a 14-song package. A new Christmas album, titled Anne Murray’s Christmas Album with bonus DVD was released in October 2008. Sony BMG Music also released an Elvis Presley Christmas album, titled Elvis Presley Christmas Duets, on October 14, 2008 featuring a virtual duet of “Silver Bells” with Murray.

On October 10, 2007, Murray announced that she would embark on her final major tour. She toured in February and March 2008 in the U.S., followed by the “Coast-to-Coast – One Last Time” tour in April and May in Canada. Murray’s final public concert was held at the Sony Centre in Toronto on May 23, 2008.

On August 25, 2008 Murray appeared on the popular TV program Canadian Idol as a mentor. On February 12, 2010, Murray was one of the eight Canadians who carried the Olympic flag during the opening ceremonies of the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Television

Murray has had five highly rated US specials on CBS (over 40 million viewers each) and several Canadian specials on CBC including Anne Murray in Nova Scotia, Intimate Evening with Anne Murray, Anne Murray RSVP, A Special Anne Murray Christmas, Legends & Friends, Greatest Hits II, What A Wonderful World, Ladies Night Show, Anne Murray in Walt Disney World and Anne Murray’s Classic Christmas. Her 2008 television special, Family Christmas, garnered a 43 per cent share on CBC with 4.2 million viewers.

She has appeared on Solid Gold, Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Dean Martin Summer Show, Singalong Jubilee, Dinah!, The Today Show, Dolly!, The Mike Douglas Show, Christmas in Washington, Boston Pops, The Helen Reddy Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, CNN, Perry Como’s Christmas in New Mexico, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, Night of a 100 Stars, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, The Pat Sajak Show, Royal Canadian Air Farce and Good Morning America. Her 2005 CBC special Anne Murray: The Music of My Life broke ratings records for a Thursday night, with more than 7 million Canadian viewers tuned in.

Personal life

In 2009, Murray released her autobiography, All of Me, and embarked on a 15-city book signing tour, starting in Nashville on October 27, 2009 and ending in Ottawa on November 24, 2009. The tour also included a special In Conversation interview with Michael Posner at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto on October 30, 2009.

Marriage and children

Murray married music producer Bill Langstroth in 1975. They have two children – William (born 1976) and Dawn (born 1979), a singer/songwriter and artist who has recorded with her mother a number of times, including the duet “Let There Be Love” in 1999 for Murray’s What a Wonderful World album. Murray and Dawn were featured in a mother-daughter duet of “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do” on Murray’s hit 2008 U.S. CD (released in late 2007 in Canada), Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends. Murray and Langstroth separated in 1997 and divorced the following year. Langstroth died in May 2013.

In January 1998, Murray and her daughter Dawn performed at a benefit concert for Sheena’s Place, an eating disorder treatment center in Toronto. Murray and her daughter have spoken publicly about Dawn’s struggle with anorexia nervosa, which developed when Dawn was 10 years old. Dawn has since sought treatment and continues to pursue a career in music.

Philanthropy

Murray has always kept ties with her hometown, Springhill, Nova Scotia, located about an hour south of Moncton, New Brunswick, and two hours north of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Anne Murray Centre, located in Springhill, houses a collection of memorabilia from both her personal life and professional career in a series of displays. The Anne Murray Centre, which opened on July 28, 1989, is a registered Canadian charity. As a non-profit association, all the revenue generated from its operation is used to provide employment for local people and for its ongoing maintenance. The Anne Murray Centre aims to foster tourism in the area and promote awareness of the music of Nova Scotia and Canada.

Murray was involved in the construction of the Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre in Springhill, Nova Scotia. She served as the honorary chair of the fundraising campaign to replace the town arena that collapsed after a peewee hockey game in 2002. Named for her parents, the Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre sports an NHL-size ice sheet with seating for 800 people, a walking track, multi-purpose room, community room with seating for up to 300, and a gym. The Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre has become an integral part of the Springhill community since opening on September 15, 2004.

Murray has also been involved in a variety of charitable organizations. In addition to being the Honorary National Chairperson of the Canadian Save The Children Fund, she has served as a spokeswoman for many charities throughout her career – most recently Colon Cancer Canada. On May 20, 2009, Colon Cancer Canada launched the inaugural Anne Murray Charity Golf Classic. Over $150,000 was raised through the event.

Murray has been a public supporter of Canadian environmentalist and geneticist David Suzuki’s Nature Challenge.

Hobbies

A longtime golf enthusiast, Murray made history in October 2003 at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, by becoming the first woman to score a hole-in-one on the 108-yard, par 3, 17th hole at the Kaluhyat Golf Club. On May 11, 2007, Golf For Women magazine named Murray the world’s best female celebrity golfer, noting her 11 handicap.

Discography

Since 1968, Murray has had 32 studio albums (15 of which have gone multi-platinum, platinum, or gold in the U.S.) and 15 compilation albums.

Awards and honours

Anne Murray is the winner of four Grammys (including one in the pop category), three American Music Awards, three CMA Awards, and a record 24 Juno Awards.

Murray was ranked No. 24 in Country Music Television’s 40 Greatest Women of Country Music in 2002.

Murray is a Companion of the Order of Canada, the second highest honor that can be awarded to a Canadian civilian. She was a recipient of the Order of Nova Scotia in its inaugural year.

In 2006, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame chose her and Leonard Cohen as recipients of the Legacy Award for their contributions to and support of the Canadian songwriting industry. Murray was recognized for her support of Canada’s songwriters, through her performances and her recordings.

On June 29, 2007, Canada Post issued the limited edition Anne Murray stamp. She was recognized along with three other Canadian recording artists: Paul Anka, Gordon Lightfoot, and Joni Mitchell.

In popular culture

On February 17, 2013, Family Guy devoted the “Chris Cross” episode to Murray. In the episode, Stewie and Brian become obsessed with Murray’s music. Murray also appears in animated form contributing her voice. She is also named prominently in the song Blame Canada from the movie South Park.

 


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Sebastian Philip Bierk (born April 3, 1968), known professionally as Sebastian Bach, is a Canadian heavy metal singer who achieved mainstream success as frontman of Skid Row from 1987 to 1996. Since his departure from Skid Row, he has had many television roles, acted in Broadway plays, and leads a successful solo career.
Career
Kid Wikkid (1983–1985)
The members of Kid Wikkid were stationed in Peterborough. Upon hearing of the band and unaware of their ages, 14 year old Bach auditioned for the group, and was successfully hired. Kid Wikkid moved back to Toronto, and Bach’s dad eventually allowed Bach to move in with his Aunt Leslie. The event was recorded twice in the Peterborough newspaper.
Skid Row (1987–1996)
Skid Row initially formed in the late eighties with lead singer Matt Fallon. They began playing at various New Jersey clubs. Fallon would soon leave the band in 1987, leaving Skid Row without a singer. Bach was spotted singing at rock photographer Mark Weiss’s wedding at the age of 18 and the members asked him to join in early 1987. He sent them a demo of him singing “Saved By Love.” They loved it and flew him to New Jersey where they began playing gigs. Sebastian also recorded demos with Bon Jovi & Sabo’s friend Jack Ponti. (The song “She’s on Top” later came out on Jack Ponti Presents Vol. 1)
In 1991, Bach was criticized for performing wearing a T-shirt reading “AIDS Kills Fags Dead.” Later he claimed he wore it without reading it first; it had been thrown to him by a fan. Although he made light of the incident in his original apology (stating that he would’ve been offended by someone mocking his grandmother’s then-recent death with a “Cancer Kills Grandmas Dead” shirt), Bach has since repeatedly apologized for and disavowed the statement, “That was really stupid and wrong for me to wear that for one half-hour in my life. What nobody brings up is in 2000, when I was in Jekyll & Hyde, and at an auction for Broadway Cares, I donated $12,000 of my own money to fight AIDS.”
In 1990, Bach performed with Guns N’ Roses and Metallica, on the same stage, at a party held by RIP Magazine, the improvised name for the band was: The Gak. In 1992, he sang the Canadian National Anthem at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in San Diego, California.
Bach was eventually fired when he booked a show where Skid Row would have opened for KISS in 1996. Other band members told Bach that Skid Row was too big to be an opening act and that they were not going to do the show. Bach then left a message on a bandmate’s answering machine telling him that you are never too big to open up for KISS, and subsequently left the band. Ironically enough, four years later, Skid Row was one of the opening acts for the 2000 Kiss Farewell Tour, without Bach.
Broadway and other projects (1996–2006)
In 1996, Bach formed a rock band called The Last Hard Men, with Frogs guitarist Jimmy Flemion, The Breeders lead guitarist Kelley Deal, and Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. The group recorded a full-length, self-titled album for Atlantic Records, who then opted not to release it. In 1998 it was released on Kelley Deal’s label, Nice Records, with no fanfare and a very limited pressing of 1000 CDs. This run may have been sold via mail order only. The album has since been re-released and can be purchased commercially.
In 1999 Bach released his debut solo album Bring ‘Em Bach Alive!, his first release after his departure from Skid Row. The album was mainly a live album composed of Skid Row songs of Bach’s era; however it also included five new original solo tracks (studio recordings).
In 2000, Bach began performing in Broadway productions. He made his Broadway debut with the title role in Jekyll & Hyde in April 2000. Although originally only contracted through early September, Bach received good reviews and was asked to extend until October 15. Replacing him was David Hasselhoff, whom Bach mentored slightly during rehearsals. He also appeared as Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show in 2001. On November 28, 2001 Bach appeared at New York Steel, a benefit concert held in response to 9/11. He appeared early in the show, left to perform on Broadway, and returned at the end when all performers gathered for a final song.
In early 2002, he became the host of VH1’s Forever Wild. In October that same year, Bach was signed to perform in the national touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar, playing the title role alongside JCS veteran Carl Anderson (who reprised his familiar role from Broadway and film of Judas Iscariot). He has said if he ever did the show again, he would like to try the role of Judas next time. A DVD video of live performances called Forever Wild was released in June 2004. That same year, he reprised the title role(s) in another showing of Jekyll and Hyde.
Sometime in 2003, Bach tried out for Velvet Revolver before the band found Scott Weiland, but was turned down because, according to Slash, “We sounded like Skid Roses!” From 2003 to 2007, Bach had a recurring role on the WB television show Gilmore Girls as “Gil”, the lead guitarist in Lane Kim’s band, Hep Alien. Members of Bach Tight Five (a project initiated by Bach in 2004, but shortly dissolved thereafter) lived with Bach and his family as documented on VH1’s I Married …Sebastian Bach, one of the “I Married …” series. Stars also included Dee Snider, of the rock band Twisted Sister.
In 2005, Bach cooperated with Henning Pauly to be the singer on the Frameshift album called An Absence of Empathy, which was released in April 2005. He was recommended to Henning by Dream Theater’s James LaBrie whom Bach is very close friends with.
On May 12 and May 14, 2006 at the Guns N’ Roses’ warmup show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, Bach joined Axl Rose on stage for the song “My Michelle”….. He joined Rose and gang for a third time the following night (May 15) to sing “My Michelle” once again. He also joined them for their Pre-Download Festival show in the Apollo Hammersmith, London, singing My Michelle. Rose introduced Bach by saying that the two had rekindled their friendship in the previous week after 13 years of not speaking. On June 4, 9 & 11 he again joined Rose on stage at the 2006 Gods of Metal Festival (Milan), Download Festival in RDS Dublin and in Donington, respectively. He also appeared on several other tour dates during GN’R’s European tour. On September 23, 2006, he joined Axl on stage once again at KROQ-FM’s Inland Invasion festival in California for a rendition of “My Michelle”. On July 30, 2006, Bach filled in for an ailing Axl Rose for “Nightrain” and the encore “Paradise City”.
SuperGroup and Angel Down (2006–2010)
Bach starred with Ted Nugent, Evan Seinfeld, Jason Bonham and Scott Ian on the VH1 show Supergroup in May 2006. The musicians formed a band called Damnocracy for the reality show, during which they lived in a mansion in Las Vegas for twelve days and created music.
Bach announced a partnership record label with EMI to jointly create a label owned by Bach, including his album Angel Down, which was released on November 20, 2007. Bach also recorded backing vocals for the track “Sorry” on Guns N’ Roses’ long-delayed Chinese Democracy, which was released on November 23, 2008. He spent the summer of 2008 playing with Poison and Dokken. He also did a solo Australian tour in May & has been working on new songs with Jamey Jasta from HATEBREED, for the follow-up to his Angel Down CD.
Sebastian Bach was the winner of the second season of the CMT reality show, Gone Country.”
Kicking & Screaming and Sterling’s departure (2010–2012)
Bach toured as an opening act for GNR’s “Chinese Democracy Tour” 2009–2010, and performed “My Michelle” with Axl Rose in Quebec City on February 1, 2010. On January 5, 2011, he was featured on NBC’s Jimmy Fallon Show in a live performance and a subsequent video of “We Are The Ducks”, a power ballad written for University of Oregon Ducks, set to play in the BCS national championship game Monday, January 10, 2011.
In spring 2011, Bach was interviewed by British metal band Asking Alexandria in the March/April issue of Revolver. The band are fans of Skid Row and covered two of their songs the preceding year of the interview. Bach also filmed in their music video “Closure”.
Sebastian has also provided the voice of Prince Triton, King Neptune’s rebellious son, in SpongeBob SquarePants in the episode, SpongeBob and the Clash of Triton, which premiered in early July 2010. In June 15, 2011, Sebastian revealed the title of his solo album would be Kicking & Screaming. In July 8, 2011 track list, cover art and title of the first single were revealed. It was released September 27, 2011 for North America and worldwide and September 23, 2011 for Europe on Frontiers Records.
On August 13, 2012, Nick Sterling was fired by Bach after refusing to sign an agreement to appear on an undisclosed TV show. Nick also broke rules set by Bach with regards to drinking before shows. Bach also stated in a radio interview that Nick is not allowed in Canada due to an alcohol-related incident. “Nick got into some legal trouble, having to do with alcohol, down in Arizona. Where he lives.” He was replaced later by Jeff George.
Recent events (2013–present)
On April 30, 2013, Bach confirmed via Twitter that a new studio album was in the works. He went on to say that Bob Marlette would be returning as producer. Bach had collaboration work for the upcoming album with John 5, Duff McKagan, and Steve Stevens. On January 13, 2014 the solo album entitled Give ‘Em Hell was announced with prospective release date of April 22, 2014. Electronic music producers Dada Life have announced Sebastian Bach as the vocalist on the upcoming rerelease of their single Born to Rage.
Give ‘Em Hell (2014)
Give ‘Em Hell is the upcoming fifth solo studio album from Sebastian Bach, scheduled to be released on April 22, 2014, by Frontiers Records.
Personal life
Bach lived in Lincroft, New Jersey. In August 2011 his New Jersey home was damaged by Hurricane Irene and declared uninhabitable. Several Kiss and Skid Row artifacts, including Skid Row master tapes, were destroyed but his father’s art, comic books, and the KISS gargoyles from their 1979 tour were salvaged. Currently he lives in a home in Beverly Hills.

 


marian-anderson

Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897 – April 8, 1993) was an African-American contralto, best remembered for her performance on Easter Sunday, 1939, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C..

Overcoming the odds of poverty, racism and the loss of her father at a young age, she persevered to become one of the most beloved singers of her day.

Experiencing firsthand the scourge of racism in America and saddened by racial inequalities, she did not take the role as an active, aggressive opponent of racism. Rather, she chose to educate and enlighten her listeners through the example of her own life. She maintained her dignity and grace, allowing those qualities to fight the ignorance of which prejudice is born.

Anderson became a great advocate and role model for African-American musicians, never seeming to give up hope for the future of both her people and her country.

Childhood and Education

Marian Anderson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Throughout her life she gave her birth date as February 17, 1902, but her death certificate records her birth date as February 27, 1897 and there is photograph taken of her as an infant that is dated 1898. She was the oldest of three daughters born to John and Anna Anderson. Her father was a loader at the Reading Terminal Market, while her mother was a former teacher, having taught in Virginia. In 1912, her father suffered a head wound at work and died soon after. Marian and her two sisters, along with their mother moved in with her father’s parents. Her mother found work cleaning, laundering, and scrubbing floors.

At the age of six, Marian joined the junior choir at the Baptist Church in which her father was very active. Soon she was nicknamed “The Baby Contralto.” When Marian was eight years old her father had bought a piano from his brother, but they could not afford to pay for lessons. This however, did not deter Marian and she began teaching herself to play.

Marian joined the senior choir at her church when she was 13 years old. She soon began visiting other churches, through which she became well-known for her vocal abilities. She began accepting invitations to sing, sometimes performing at three different places in a single night. She eventually summoned the confidence to request five dollars per performance.

At the age of 15, Marian began voice lessons with Mary Saunders Patterson, a prominent black soprano. Shortly thereafter, the Philadelphia Choral Society held a benefit concert, providing $500 for her to study for two years with leading contralto Agnes Reifsnyder.

Marian attended William Penn High School until her music vocation arose. She transferred to South Philadelphia High School, focusing on music and singing frequently at assemblies, graduating at age 18. She applied for admission to a local music school, but was coldly rejected because of her color. Reflecting on that experience, Marian later stated:

“I don’t think I said a word. I just looked at this girl and was shocked that such words could come from one so young. If she had been old and sour-faced I might not have been startled. I cannot say why her youth shocked me as much as her words. On second thought, I could not conceive of a person surrounded as she was with the joy that is music without having some sense of its beauty and understanding rub off on her. I did not argue with her or ask to see her superior. It was as if a cold, horrifying hand had been laid on me. I turned and walked out.”

Her former high school principal enabled her to meet Guiseppe Boghetti, a much sought-after teacher. He was reportedly moved to tears during the audition, when Marian performed “Deep River.”

Career and Acclaim

Anderson began to tour regionally, focusing on black colleges and churches in the South. In 1919, at the age of 22, she sang at the National Baptist Convention. Gaining knowledge and confidence with each performance, on April 23, 1924, she dared her first recital at New York’s Town Hall. However, she was uncomfortable with foreign languages and critics found her voice lacking. This discouraging experience nearly caused her to end her vocal career.

However, her confidence was soon bolstered when, while studying under Boghetti, she was granted the opportunity to sing at the Lewisohn Stadium in New York by entering a contest sponsored by the New York Philharmonic Society. She entered the Lewisohn Stadium competition in 1925. She came in first among 300 rivals and sang in New York’s amphitheater with the accompaniment of the Philharmonic Orchestra. The success of this concert gained her the attention of Arthur Judson, an important impresario, who put her under contract.

In 1926, Marian toured the East Coast and Southern states, adding songs to her repertoire. She performed a solo recital at Carnegie Hall on December 30, 1928. A New York Times critic wrote: “A true mezzo-soprano, she encompassed both ranges with full power, expressive feeling, dynamic contrast, and utmost delicacy.” However, Ms. Anderson’s popularity was not catching on with mainstream America; she was still performing mainly for black audiences.

The National Association of Negro Musicians awarded Marian a scholarship to study in Britain. On September 16, 1930, she performed at London’s Wigmore Hall. She returned only briefly to the United States. A scholarship was granted to Marian from the Julius Rosenwald Fund, which allowed her to broaden her training to include England, France, Belgium, Holland, the former Soviet Union, and Scandinavia.

Anderson was intent on perfecting her language skills (as most operas were written in Italian and German) and learning the art of lieder singing. At a debut concert in Berlin, she attracted the attention of Rule Rasmussen and Helmer Enwall, managers who arranged a tour of Scandinavia. Enwall continued as her manager for other tours around Europe.

In 1935, Anderson’s performance at the Salzburg festival earned her worldwide recognition and a compliment from the Italian conductor, Arturo Toscanini, who told her, “a voice like yours is heard only once in a hundred years.”

The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius dedicated his Solitude to her. In 1935 impresario Sol Hurok took over as her manager and was with her for the remainder of her performing career.

Controversy and Victory

In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused to allow Anderson to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall because of her race. The District of Columbia, then under the control of the Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, also banned her for the same reason, from using the auditorium of a white public high school. As a result of the furor which followed, thousands of DAR members, including the President’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, resigned.

Ironically, neither Eleanor Roosevelt nor her husband, Franklin Roosevelt, had used their influence in a similar way when the school board turned down Anderson.

Finally, at the suggestion of Walter White, the executive secretary of the NAACP, Secretary of Interior Harold L. Ickes organized an open air concert for Anderson on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The concert, which commenced with a dignified and stirring rendition of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” attracted an integrated crowd of 75,000 and a much larger radio audience.

In 1943, Anderson sang at the invitation of the DAR to an integrated audience at Constitution Hall as part of a benefit for the American Red Cross. By contrast, the federal government continued to bar her from using the high school auditorium in the District of Columbia.

On January 7, 1955, Anderson broke the color barrier by becoming the first African-American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera. On that occasion, she sang the part of Ulrica in Giuseppe Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera. The occasion was bittersweet as Anderson, at age 58, was no longer in her prime vocally.

In 1958, Anderson was officially designated delegate to the United Nations, a formalization of her role as “goodwill ambassador” of the U.S. she played earlier, and in 1972 she was awarded the United Nations Peace Prize.

Later Life

After an extensive farewell tour, Marian Anderson retired from singing in 1965. However, she continued to appear publicly, narrating Copland’s “A Lincoln Portrait,” including a performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Saratoga in 1976, conducted by the composer.

Her achievements were recognized and honored with many prizes, including the Kennedy Center Honors in 1978 and a Grammy Award for ‘Lifetime Achievement’ in 1991. She received approximately fifty honorary doctoral degrees, beginning in 1938 with a Doctor of Music degree awarded by Howard University, and including degrees from Fordham University, Harvard University, Temple University, University of Bridgeport, and Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea.

In 1993, Anderson died of natural causes at the age of 95 in Portland, Oregon at the home of her nephew, the conductor James DePreist. She is interred at Eden Cemetery, a historic African-American cemetery located in Collingdale, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, near her hometown of Philadelphia.

Legacy

Racism in the United States played a large role in Miss Anderson’s life and career. During her tours she experienced racial prejudice on a daily basis, being denied access to lodging facilities and restaurants. Recognizing the unique position she held, she chose not to respond to injustices as an active, aggressive opponent of racism. She believed that the greatest role she could play would be as a model of integrity, enlightening her listeners through the example of her own life and actions. She became a great advocate and role model for African-American musicians. She believed that the life of her people would improve as the ideals of her country would slowly transform the system.

The 1939 documentary film, Marian Anderson: the Lincoln Memorial Concert was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

On January 27, 2005, a commemorative U.S. postage stamp honored Marian Anderson with her image on the 37¢ issue as part of the Black Heritage series. Anderson is also pictured on the $5,000 Series I United States Treasury Savings Bond.

Anderson is a recipient of the Silver Buffalo Award, the highest adult award given by the Boy Scouts of America.

Sam Cooke

Posted: April 19, 2013 in Bio, Entertainment, Music
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 Sam+Cooke+cooke_l

Sam Cooke (January 22, 1931 – December 11, 1964) was a popular and influential American gospel, R&B, soul, and pop singer, as well as songwriter and entrepreneur. Indeed, musicians and critics today recognize him as one of the originators of soul music and among the most influential singers in postwar American popular music.

James Brown is known as the “Godfather of Soul,” yet Cooke’s status as the “King of Soul” perhaps best reflects his stature and legacy. He had 29 Top 40 hits in the United States between 1957 and 1965, including major hits like “You Send Me,” “Chain Gang,” “Wonderful World,” and “Bring It On Home To Me.” His elegiac ballad “A Change is Gonna Come,” recorded in 1963 and released just after his death in 1964, has come to be regarded as one of his greatest and most socially conscious compositions, although overshadowed on the charts by the emergence of the Beatles.

Cooke was among the first modern black performers and composers to set the precedent of attending to the business side of his musical career by founding both a record label and a publishing company. He also took an active part in the Civil Rights Movement, refusing to perform to segregated audiences and seeking through his song-writing and singing to bridge gaps between blacks and whites. Sam Cooke died in compromising circumstances at age 33, just as he was approaching his creative zenith. A consummate artist, Cooke was a unifying voice whose broad appeal in an increasingly polarized society was tragically cut short.

Biography

Sam Cooke was born Samuel Cook in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He was one of eight children of Annie Mae and Rev. Charles Cook, a Pentecostal minister. The family moved to Chicago in 1933. Cooke began his musical career with his siblings in the Singing Children, followed by a turn in his teenage years as a member of the gospel group, the “Highway QCs”. In 1950, at the age of 19, he joined The Soul Stirrers and achieved significant success and fame within the gospel community. For six years he was the reigning voice of gospel; Cooke would have been famous for his role in the Soul Stirrers, even if he had not crossed over to pop.

Solo career

There was a considerable taboo against gospel singers performing secular music. Cooke’s first pop single, “Lovable” (1956), was released under the alias “Dale Cooke” to avoid offending his group and alienating his gospel fan base. However, the alias failed to hide Cooke’s unique and distinctive vocals. No one was fooled. Art Rupe, the head of Specialty Records, gave his blessing for Cooke to record secular music under his real name, but was unhappy about the type of music Cooke and his producer, Bumps Blackwell, were making. Rupe expected Cooke’s secular music to be similar to that of another Specialty Records artist, Little Richard. When Rupe walked in on a recording session and heard Cooke covering Gershwin, he was quite upset.

After an argument between Rupe and Blackwell, Cooke and Blackwell left the label, and Cooke signed with Keen Records in 1957, after which Cooke burst onto the pop scene with the 1957 release of his million-selling single, “You Send Me.” The song’s innovative blend of Gospel, Pop, and R&B earned him the title of “The Man Who Invented Soul” and stayed on the charts an amazing 26 weeks, rising to #1 in both the Pop and R&B markets, spending six weeks on the Billboard R&B chart and three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart at #1. After the success of his second single, “I’ll Come Running Back to You,” Cooke created a publishing imprint and management firm. He then left Keen to sign with RCA Victor, where his first single was the famous, “Chain Gang,” which was followed by the singles “Sad Mood,” “Bring it on Home to Me” (with Lou Rawls on backing vocals), “Another Saturday Night” and “Twistin’ the Night Away.” Cooke released a critically acclaimed blues-inflected LP in 1963, “Night Beat.”

In all he had 29 top 40 hits on the pop charts, and an amazing 34 Top 40 R&B hits over his eight-year pop career, with most like “You Send Me” and “I’ll Come Running Back to You” written by Cooke himself. Cooke also wrote and recorded such classics as “Chain Gang,” “Only Sixteen,” “Cupid,” “Wonderful World,” “Having a Party,” and “A Change is Gonna Come,” and was among the original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1986. Cooke was known for having written many of the most popular songs of all time in the genre, yet, in spite of this, is often unaccredited for many of them by the general public.

Social and political stands

Sam Cooke is remembered as a pioneer both socially and musically. Blessed with a keen sense of vision and foresight, Sam Cooke was one of the first artists to capitalize on the crossover appeal of popular music by intentionally recording songs that targeted both the black and white markets. In addition to being an accomplished singer, songwriter, and producer, he was remembered as the first artist to take a political stand and refuse to sing to segregated audiences.

He recognized the politics of the music industry early in his career. At a time when record labels often left even the most talented and successful artist broke and penniless, Sam Cooke was one of the first artists, black or white, to buck the system and demand ownership of his career. He signed an unprecedented deal with RCA, in 1960, after coming to the agreement that they let him retain control of the copyrights to his music. He was the first African-American artist to own a record label, and he established his own management company and music publishing company as well.

Record labels

In addition to his success in writing his own songs and achieving mainstream fame — a truly remarkable accomplishment for an R&B singer at that time—Cooke continued to astonish the music business in the 1960s with the founding of his own label, SAR Records, which soon included The Simms Twins, The Valentinos, Bobby Womack, and Johnnie Taylor. Yet, his legacy as a record company owner and record producer has been relatively ignored.

Cooke and fellow musician and friend, J. W. Alexander, started the SAR and Derby labels in 1957. Along with the record company, they had their own music publishing companies: Kags Music Co. (BMI) and Malloy Music Co.(ASCAP)The SAR label was geared for the rhythm ‘n’ blues market, while its companion label, Derby, was pop-oriented. The two record labels showcased the skills of Cooke and Alexander as songwriters and producers; they did most of the production and a great deal of the songwriting on everything they recorded.

The label can’t be properly understood without understanding how strong the gospel connection was with almost every artist on the label. In a much smaller and more intimate fashion, SAR was a kind of family-affair record company: Close friends and long-term associates from their years on the gospel circuit were called in by Cooke and Alexander to record for the label.

It was dissolved shortly after Cooke’s death in 1964. The rights to the recordings and the publishing were bought up shortly thereafter by Allen Klein, who was Cooke’s last manager. Fifty-seven singles and Four LPs were issued on the Sar label, and 11 45s and two LPs on Derby Records.

Death

Cooke died under precarious circumstances at the young age of 33 on December 11, 1964 in Los Angeles. He was shot to death; the court verdict was justifiable homicide, though many believe that crucial details did not come out in court or were buried afterward. The details of the case involving Sam Cooke’s death are still in dispute.

Posthumous releases followed, many of which became hits, including “A Change Is Gonna Come,” an early protest song which is generally regarded as his greatest composition. After Cooke’s death, his widow, Barbara, married Bobby Womack. Cooke’s daughter, Linda, later married Bobby’s brother, Cecil Womack.

How it happened

The official police record states that Cooke was shot to death by Bertha Franklin, the manager of the Hacienda Motel, where Cooke had checked in earlier that evening. Franklin claimed that Cooke had broken into the manager’s office/apartment in a rage, wearing nothing but a shoe and an overcoat (and nothing beneath it) demanding to know the whereabouts of a woman who had accompanied him to the motel. Franklin said that the woman was not in the office and that she told Cooke this, but the enraged Cooke did not believe her and violently grabbed her, demanding again to know the woman’s whereabouts. According to Franklin, she grappled with Cooke, the two of them fell to the floor, and she then got up and ran to retrieve her gun. She said that she then fired at Cooke in self-defense because she feared for her life. According to Franklin, Cooke exclaimed, “Lady, you shot me,” before finally falling, mortally wounded.

According to Franklin and to the motel’s owner, Evelyn Carr, they had been on the phone together at the time of the incident. Thus, Carr claimed to have overheard Cooke’s intrusion and the ensuing confrontation and gunshots. Carr called the police to request that they go to the motel, informing them that she believed a shooting had occurred.

Court investigation and verdict

A coroner’s inquest was convened to investigate the incident. The woman who had accompanied Cooke to the motel was identified as Elisa Boyer, age 22, who had called the police that night shortly before Carr did. Boyer had called the police from a phone booth near the motel, telling them she had just escaped from being kidnapped.

Boyer told the police that she had first met Cooke earlier that night and had spent the evening in his company. She claimed that after they left a local nightclub together, she had repeatedly requested that he take her home, but that he instead took her against her will to the Hacienda Motel. She claimed that once in one of the motel’s rooms, Cooke physically forced her onto the bed and she was certain he was going to rape her. According to Boyer, when Cooke stepped into the bathroom for a moment, she quickly grabbed her clothes and ran from the room. She claimed that in her haste, she had also scooped up most of Cooke’s clothing by mistake. Boyer said that she ran first to the manager’s office and knocked on the door seeking help. However, she said that the manager took too long in responding, so, fearing Cooke would soon be coming after her, she fled the motel altogether before the manager ever opened the door. She claimed she then put her own clothing back on, stashed Cooke’s clothing away and went to the phone booth from which she called police.

Boyer’s story is the only account of what happened between the two that night. However, her story has long been called into question. Due to inconsistencies between her version of events and details reported by other witnesses, as well as other circumstantial evidence (for example, cash Cooke was reportedly carrying that was never recovered, and the fact that Boyer was soon after arrested for prostitution), many people feel it is more likely that Boyer went willingly to the motel with Cooke, and then slipped out of the room with Cooke’s clothing in order to rob him, rather than in order to escape an attempted rape.

Ultimately though, such questions were beyond the scope of the investigation. Its purpose was simply to establish the circumstances of Franklin’s role in the shooting, not to determine what had explicitly happened between Cooke and Boyer before the shooting.

Two points combined to make Franklin’s explanation valid. 1) Boyer’s leaving the motel room with almost all of Cooke’s clothing in tow (regardless of exactly why she did so) combined with the fact that 2) tests showed Cooke was inebriated at the time, provided a plausible explanation for Cooke’s bizarre behavior and state of dress, as reported by Franklin. This explanation, together with the fact that Carr’s account of what she said to have overheard corroborated Franklin’s version of events, was enough to convince the coroner’s jury to accept Franklin’s explanation that it was a case of justifiable homicide. And with that verdict, authorities officially closed the case on Cooke’s death.

Dispute

However, some of Cooke’s family and supporters have rejected not only Boyer’s version of events, but also Franklin’s and Carr’s. They believe that there was a conspiracy from the start to murder Cooke, that this murder did in fact take place in some manner entirely different from the official account of Cooke’s intrusion into Franklin’s office/apartment, and that Franklin, Boyer and Carr were all lying to provide a cover story for this murder.

My brother was first class all the way. He would not check into a $3 a night motel; that wasn’t his style (Agnes Cooke-Hoskins, sister of Sam Cooke, attending the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2005 tribute to Cooke).

In her autobiography, Rage To Survive, singer Etta James claimed that she viewed Cooke’s body in the funeral home and that the injuries she observed were well beyond what could be explained by the official account of Franklin alone having fought with Cooke. James described Cooke as having been so badly beaten that his head was nearly decapitated from his shoulders, his hands were broken and crushed and his nose was mangled.

Nevertheless, no solid, reviewable evidence supporting a conspiracy theory has been presented to date. Cooke was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale, California.

Legacy

Cooke’s influence has been immense: Even people who have never heard one of his records have still heard his voice and phrasing if they have listened to any Rod Stewart or Southside Johnny. Other rock artists with a notable Cooke heritage include The Animals, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, Van Morrison, James Taylor, the Beatles (particularly John Lennon), John Mayer, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Marriot, Terry Reid, Steve Perry, and numerous others, while R&B and soul artists indebted to Cooke include Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Lou Rawls, Al Green, and many more. Shortly following his passing, Motown Records released We Remember Sam Cooke, a collection of Cooke covers recorded by The Supremes.

In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #16 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

“Wonderful World”

“Wonderful World” was a featured song in the film National Lampoon’s Animal House, the one song in that film that was not a “party” song. The song was also featured in the film Hitch starring Will Smith, Eva Mendes, and Kevin James.  After being featured prominently in the 1985 film Witness (starring Kelly McGillis and Harrison Ford), the song gained further exposure and became a hit in the United Kingdom, reaching Number 2 in re-release.

“Wonderful World” was also covered for many years by the Jerry Garcia Band.

The well-known verse of “Wonderful World”—”Don’t know much about [history, geography, and so on]”—provided the inspiration for titles of several books authored by writer Kenneth C. Davis. Davis’ books explored both basic and lesser-known facts about those subjects.

Cultural reference

Tupac Shakur mentions Cooke in his song “Thugz Mansion” “Drinkin’ peppermint schnapps with Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke, then a girl named Billie Holliday sang, sitting there kickin’ it with Malcom [X.], ’til the day came.”

 


phil-spector

Phillip Harvey “Phil” Spector (born Harvey Phillip Spector, December 26, 1939) is an American record producer and songwriter.

The originator of the “Wall of Sound” production technique, Spector was a pioneer of the 1960s girl-group sound and produced and wrote or co-wrote more than twenty-five Top 40 hits from 1960 to 1965. Among his famous girl groups are the Ronettes and the Crystals. After this initial success, Spector later worked with artists including Ike and Tina Turner, John Lennon, George Harrison, and the Ramones with similar acclaim. He produced the Beatles’ album Let It Be, and the Grammy Award–winning Concert for Bangladesh by former Beatle George Harrison. In 1989, Spector was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer. The 1965 song “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”, produced and co-written by Spector for the Righteous Brothers, is listed by BMI as the song with the most U.S. airplay in the 20th century.

In 2009, Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in his Alhambra, California home. He is serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life.

Early childhood

Spector was born on December 26, 1939, to a lower-middle-class Jewish family in the Bronx in New York City. His grandfather was an immigrant from Russia with the surname Spekter, which he anglicized to Spector after immigrating. Spector’s father committed suicide on April 20, 1949.In 1953, his mother moved the family to Los Angeles, California.

Musical career

Teenage performer and lyricist

In Los Angeles, Spector got involved with music, learning the guitar. At 16, he performed Lonnie Donegan’s version of the traditional song “Rock Island Line” at a talent show at his high school, Fairfax High School. While at Fairfax, he joined a loosely knit community of aspiring musicians, including Lou Adler, Bruce Johnston, Steve Douglas, and Sandy Nelson, the last of whom played drums on Spector’s first record release, “To Know Him Is to Love Him”.

The Teddy Bears

With three friends from high school, Marshall Leib, Harvey Goldstein, and singer Annette Kleinbard, Spector formed a group, the Teddy Bears. During this period, Spector also began visiting local recording studios, and he eventually managed to win the confidence of record producer Stan Ross, coowner of Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, who began to tutor the young man in record production and who exerted a major influence on Spector’s production style. By early 1958, Spector and his bandmates had raised enough money to buy two hours of recording time at Gold Star. With Spector producing, the Teddy Bears recorded the Spector-penned “Don’t You Worry My Little Pet”, which helped them secure a deal with Era Records. At their next session, they recorded another song Spector had written — this one inspired by the epitaph on Spector’s father’s tombstone. Released on Era’s subsidiary label, Dore Records, “To Know Him Is to Love Him” went to #1 on Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1958, selling over a million copies by year’s end. It was the seventh number one single on the newly formed chart. Following the success of their debut, the group signed with Imperial Records, but their next single, “I Don’t Need You Anymore” only reached #91. While several more recordings were released, including an album The Teddy Bears Sing!, the group never again charted in the Hot 100. The Teddy Bears went their separate ways in 1959.

Record producer

After the split, Spector’s career quickly moved from performing and songwriting to production. While recording the Teddy Bears’ album, Spector had met Lester Sill, a former promotion man who was a mentor to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. His next project, the Spectors Three, was undertaken under the aegis of Sill and his partner, Lee Hazlewood. In 1960, Sill arranged for Spector to work as an apprentice to Leiber and Stoller in New York. Ronnie Crawford would become Spector’s first true recording artist and project as producer. Spector quickly learned how to use a studio. He co-wrote the Ben E. King Top 10 hit “Spanish Harlem” with Jerry Leiber and also worked as a session musician, most notably playing the guitar solo on the Drifters’ song, “On Broadway”. His own productions during this time, while less conspicuous, included releases by LaVern Baker, Ruth Brown, and Billy Storm, as well as the Top Notes’ original version of “Twist and Shout”.

Leiber and Stoller recommended Spector to produce Ray Peterson’s “Corrina, Corrina”, which reached #9 in January 1961. Later, he produced another major hit for Curtis Lee, “Pretty Little Angel Eyes”, which made it to #7. Returning to Hollywood, Spector agreed to produce one of Lester Sill’s acts. After both Liberty Records and Capitol Records turned down the master of “Be My Boy” by the Paris Sisters, Sill formed a new label, Gregmark Records, with Lee Hazlewood and released it. It only managed to reach #56, but the follow-up, “I Love How You Love Me”, was a hit, reaching #5.

Philles Records

In late 1961, Spector formed a new record company with Lester Sill, who by this time had ended his business partnership with Hazlewood. Philles Records combined the names of its two founders. Through Hill and Range Publishers, Spector found three groups he wanted to produce: the Ducanes, the Creations, and the Crystals. The first two signed with other companies, but Spector managed to secure the Crystals for his new label. Their first single, “There’s No Other (Like My Baby)” was a success, hitting #20. Their next release, “Uptown”, made it to #13. (Spector’s production of The Ducanes was issued on Goldisc and The Creations on Bigtop.)

Spector continued to work freelance with other artists. In 1962, he produced “Second Hand Love” by Connie Francis, which reached #7. In the early 1960s, he briefly worked with Atlantic Records’ R&B artists Ruth Brown and LaVerne Baker. Ahmet Ertegün of Atlantic paired Spector with Broadway star Jean DuShon for “Talk to Me”, the B-side of which was “Tired of Trying”, written by DuShon.

Spector briefly took a job as head of A&R for Liberty Records. It was while working at Liberty that he heard a song written by Gene Pitney, for whom he had produced a #41 hit, “Every Breath I Take”, a year earlier. “He’s a Rebel” was due to be released on Liberty by Vikki Carr, but Spector rushed into Gold Star Studios and recorded a cover version using Darlene Love and the Blossoms on lead vocals. The record was released on Philles, attributed to the Crystals, and quickly rose to the top of the charts.

By the time “He’s a Rebel” went to #1, Lester Sill was out of the company, and Spector had Philles all to himself. He created a new act, Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, featuring Darlene Love, Fanita James (a member of the Blossoms), and Bobby Sheen, a singer he had worked with at Liberty. The group had hits with “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” (#8), “Why Do Lovers Break Each Other’s Hearts?” (#38), and “Not Too Young To Get Married” (#63). Spector also released solo material by Darlene Love in 1963. In the same year, he released “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes, which went to #2.

Although predominantly a singles label, Philles released a few albums, one of which is the perennial seller A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records in 1963.

“I enjoyed all the records very much. I made them all from the heart. I made them all with art in mind, and all to reveal a picture of where I was when I made them.”

—Phil Spector,1968 Pop Chronicles interview.

The Wall of Sound

Spector’s trademark during that era was the so-called Wall of Sound, a production technique yielding a dense, layered effect that reproduced well on AM radio and jukeboxes. To attain this signature sound, Spector gathered large groups of musicians (playing some instruments not generally used for ensemble playing, such as electric and acoustic guitars) playing orchestrated parts — often doubling and tripling many instruments playing in unison — for a fuller sound. Spector himself called his technique “a Wagnerian approach to rock & roll: little symphonies for the kids”.

While Spector directed the overall sound of his recordings, he took a relatively hands-off approach to working with the musicians themselves (usually a core group that became known as the Wrecking Crew, including session players such as Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel, Steve Douglas, Carol Kaye, Roy Caton, Glen Campbell, and Leon Russell), delegating arrangement duties to Jack Nitzsche and having Sonny Bono oversee the performances, viewing these two as his “lieutenants”. Spector frequently used songs from songwriters employed at the Brill Building (Trio Music) and at 1650 Broadway (Aldon Music), such as the teams of Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Spector often worked with the songwriters, receiving co-credit and publishing royalties for compositions.

Despite the trend towards multichannel recording, Spector was vehemently opposed to stereo releases, claiming that it took control of the record’s sound away from the producer in favor of the listener. Spector was more concerned with the overall collage of sound than with the recording fidelity or timbral quality. Sometimes a pair of strings or horns would be double-tracked multiple times to sound like an entire string or horn section. But in the final product the background sometimes could not be distinguished as either horns or strings. Spector also greatly preferred singles to albums, describing LPs as “two hits and ten pieces of junk”, reflecting both his commercial methods and those of many other producers at the time.

The first time Spector put the same amount of effort into an LP as he did into 45s was when he utilized the full Philles roster and the Wrecking Crew to make what he felt would become a hit for the 1963 Christmas season. A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records arrived in stores the day of the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Despite its initially poor reception, selections from the album are now Yuletide mainstays on radio stations, and the album has since been a regular seller during the holiday season.

The mid-Sixties

In 1964, The Ronettes appeared at the Cow Palace, near San Francisco. Also on the bill were The Righteous Brothers. Spector, who was conducting the band for all the acts, was so impressed with Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield that he bought their contract from Moonglow Records and signed them to Philles. In early 1965, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”, became the label’s second #1 single. Three more major hits with the group followed: “Just Once in My Life” (#9), “Unchained Melody” (#4, originally the B side of “Hung On You”) and “Ebb Tide” (#5). Despite having hits, he lost interest in producing the Righteous Brothers, and sold their contract and all their master recordings to Verve Records. However, the sound of the Righteous Brothers’ singles was so distinctive that the act chose to replicate it after leaving Spector, notching a second #1 hit in 1966 with the Bill Medley-produced “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration”.

The Spector-produced recording of “Unchained Melody” had a second wave of popularity 25 years after its initial release, when it was featured prominently in the 1990 hit movie Ghost. A re-release of the single re-charted on the Billboard Hot 100, and went to number one on the Adult Contemporary charts. This also put Spector (as a producer) back on the U.S. Top 40 charts for the first time since his last appearance in 1971 with John Lennon’s “Imagine”, although he did have U.K. top 40 hits in the interim with the Ramones.

Spector’s final signing to Philles was the husband-and-wife team of Ike and Tina Turner in 1966. Spector considered their recording of “River Deep – Mountain High”, to be his best work, but it failed to go any higher than #88 in the United States. The single, which was essentially a solo Tina Turner record, was more successful in Britain, reaching #3.

Spector subsequently lost enthusiasm for his label and the recording industry. Already something of a recluse, he withdrew temporarily from the public eye, marrying Veronica “Ronnie” Bennett, lead singer of the Ronettes, in 1968. Spector emerged briefly for a cameo as a drug dealer in the film Easy Rider, in 1969. (Spector, in 1967, appeared as himself in an episode of I Dream of Jeannie.)

Comeback

In 1969, Spector made a brief return to the music business by signing a production deal with A&M Records. A Ronettes single, “You Came, You Saw, You Conquered” flopped, but Spector returned to the Hot 100 with “Black Pearl”, by Sonny Charles and the Checkmates, Ltd., which reached #13. In 1970, Allen Klein, manager of the Beatles, brought Spector to England. While producing John Lennon’s hit solo single “Instant Karma!”, which went to #3, Spector was invited by Lennon and George Harrison to take on the task of turning the Beatles’ abandoned “Get Back” recording sessions into a usable album. He went to work using many of his production techniques, making significant changes to the arrangements and sound of some songs. The resulting album, Let It Be, was a massive commercial success and topped the US and UK charts. The album also yielded three #1 singles: “Get Back”, “The Long and Winding Road” and “Let It Be”. His overdubbing of “The Long and Winding Road” infuriated its composer, Paul McCartney, especially since the work was allegedly completed without his knowledge and without any opportunity for him to assess the results. In 2003, McCartney spearheaded the release of Let It Be… Naked, which stripped the songs of Spector’s input.

Lennon and George Harrison were satisfied with the results, and Let It Be led to Spector co-producing albums with both ex-Beatles. For Harrison’s multiplatinum album All Things Must Pass (#1, 1970), Spector provided a cathedral-like sonic ambience, complete with ornate orchestrations and gospel-like choirs. The LP yielded two major hits: “My Sweet Lord” (#1) and “What Is Life” (#10). That same year, Spector co-produced John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band (#6) album. In 1971, Spector was named director of A&R for Apple Records. He held the post for only a year, but during that time he co-produced the single “Power to the People” with John Lennon (#11), as well as Lennon’s chart-topping album, Imagine. The album’s title track hit #3. With Harrison, Spector co-produced Harrison’s “Bangla-Desh” (a #23 hit) and wife Ronnie Spector’s “Try Some, Buy Some” (#77). That same year Spector recorded the music for the #1 triple album The Concert For Bangladesh. The album later won the “Album of the Year” award at the 1972 Grammys. Despite being recorded live, Spector used up to 44 microphones simultaneously to create his trademark Wall of Sound.

Lennon retained Spector for the 1971 Christmas single “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and the poorly reviewed 1972 album, Some Time In New York City (#48). Similar to the unusual pattern of success that Spector’s A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records experienced, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” also stalled in sales upon its initial release, only later to become a fixture on radio station playlists during the holiday season. In 1973, Spector participated in the recording sessions for what would be Lennon’s Rock ‘n’ Roll album (#6). It was during these sessions that Spector’s relationship with Lennon became strained; some versions claim that the producer suffered a breakdown in the studio, brandishing a gun and disappearing with the Rock ‘n’ Roll tapes, although Spector biographer Dave Thompson places most of the blame on the out-of-control behavior of Lennon and his entourage. After several months, Lennon retrieved the tapes and finished the album himself. In the years following the debacle, however, Spector maintained contact with Lennon, and the former Beatle had planned on recording with him again.

Later years

As the 1970s progressed, Spector became increasingly reclusive. The most probable and significant reason for his withdrawal, recently revealed by biographer Dave Thompson, was that in 1974 he was seriously injured when he was thrown through the windshield of his car in a crash in Hollywood. According to a contemporary report published in the New Musical Express, Spector was almost killed, and it was only because the attending police officer detected a faint pulse that Spector was not declared dead at the scene. He was admitted to the UCLA Medical Center on the night of March 31, 1974, suffering serious head injuries which necessitated several hours of surgery with over 300 stitches to his face and more than 400 to the back of his head. His head injuries, Thompson suggests, were the reason that Spector began his habit of wearing outlandish wigs in later years.

The 1974 accident took place shortly after Spector had established the Warner-Spector label with Warner Bros. Records, which undertook new recordings with Dion, Cher, Harry Nilsson and others, as well as several reissues. A similar relationship with Britain’s Polydor Records led to the formation of the Phil Spector International label in 1975. After a pair of failed singles with Cher, Spector produced Dion’s Born to Be with You. The majority of Spector’s classic Philles recordings had been out of print in the U.S. since the original label’s demise, although Spector had released several Philles Records compilations in Britain. Finally, he released an American compilation of his Philles recordings in 1977, which put most of the better known Spector hits back into circulation after many years.

Spector began to reemerge in the late 1970s, producing and co-writing a controversial 1977 album by Leonard Cohen, entitled Death of a Ladies’ Man. The album angered many devout Cohen fans who preferred his stark acoustic sound to the orchestral and choral wall of sound that the album contains. The recording of the album was fraught with difficulty. After Cohen had laid down practice vocal tracks, Spector reportedly mixed the album in “secret” studio sessions, literally locking Cohen, who usually took a strong role in the mixing, out of the studio. Cohen said Spector once threatened him with a crossbow, a claim, according to newspaper reports, others would make about their dealings with Spector. Cohen has remarked that the end result is “grotesque”, but also “semi-virtuous”. Cohen, however, still includes a reworked version of the track “Memories” in live concerts. Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg also participated in the background vocals on “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On”, which is the second time Spector indirectly “produced” Dylan – the first being Dylan’s live recordings on The Concert For Bangladesh.

Spector also produced the much-publicized Ramones album End of the Century in 1980. As with his work with Leonard Cohen, End of the Century received criticism from Ramones fans who were angered over its radio-friendly sound. However, it contains some of the best known and most successful Ramones singles, such as “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”, “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” and their cover of a previously released Spector song for the Ronettes, “Baby, I Love You.” Guitarist Johnny Ramone later commented on working with Spector on the recording of the album, “It really worked when he got to a slower song like ‘Danny Says’ — the production really worked tremendously. For the harder stuff, it didn’t work as well.”

Rumors had circulated for years that Spector had threatened members of the Ramones with a gun during the sessions. Johnny Ramone remembered a meeting at Spector’s home in which the producer became upset when they tried to leave. “And then he reaches into his jacket pocket and well, he pulls out a gun, puts it on the table right in front of us, and says, ‘You guys don’t really have to go yet, do you?'” Drummer Marky Ramone recalled in 2008, “They (guns) were there but he had a license to carry. He never held us hostage. We could have left at any time”.

Since 2000

Spector remained inactive throughout most of the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. He attempted to work with Céline Dion on her album Falling Into You, but that fell through. His most recent released project has been Silence Is Easy by Starsailor, released in 2003. He was originally supposed to produce the entire album, but was fired owing to personal and creative differences — however, one of the two Spector-produced songs on the album was a UK top 10 single.

Spector produced singer-songwriter Hargo’s track, “Crying For John Lennon”, which originally appears on Hargo’s 2006 album In Your Eyes, but on a visit to Spector’s mansion for an interview for the John Lennon tribute movie, Strawberry Fields, Hargo played Spector the song and asked him to produce it. Spector and former Paul McCartney drummer Graham Ward produced it in the classic Wall of Sound style on nights after his first murder trial.

In December 2007, the song “B Boy Baby” by Mutya Buena and Amy Winehouse featured melodic and lyrical passages heavily influenced by the Ronettes song “Be My Baby”. As a result, Spector was given a songwriting credit on the single. The sections from “Be My Baby” are sung by Winehouse, not directly sampled from the mono single. Winehouse referenced her admiration of Spector’s work and often performed Spector’s first hit song, “To Know Him Is to Love Him”.

Also in December 2007, Spector attended the funeral of Ike Turner, whose former wife, Tina Turner, he previously produced in 1966 (only Tina was recorded, but the record label still read “Ike and Tina Turner”). While delivering a eulogy, Spector lashed out at Tina and stated that “Ike made Tina the jewel she was. When I went to see Ike play at the Cinegrill in the 90s…there were at least five Tina Turners on the stage performing that night, any one of them could have been Tina Turner.” Spector lashed out at Oprah Winfrey for promoting Tina Turner’s autobiography that “demonized and vilified Ike.”

In mid-April 2008, BBC 2 broadcast a special entitled Phil Spector: The Agony and The Ecstasy. It consists of Spector’s first screen interview — breaking a long period of media silence. During the conversation, images from the murder court case are juxtaposed with live appearances of his tracks on television programs from the 1960s and 1970s, along with subtitles giving critical interpretation of some of his song production values. While he does not directly try to clear his name, the court case proceedings shown try to give further explanation of the facts surrounding the murder charges that were leveled against him. He also speaks about the musical instincts that led him to create some of his most enduring hit records, from “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” to “River Deep, Mountain High”, as well as the Beatles album Let It Be, along with criticisms he feels he has had to deal with throughout his life.

Influence

Many producers have tried to emulate the Wall of Sound, and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys—a fellow adherent of mono recording—considered Spector his main competition as a studio artist, going so far as to name the acclaimed Pet Sounds album using Spector’s initials.[26] Bruce Springsteen emulated the Wall of Sound technique in his recording of “Born to Run”. Shoegazing, a British musical movement in the late 1980s to mid-1990s, was heavily influenced by the Wall of Sound. In 1973, British band Wizzard, led by Roy Wood, had three heavily Spector influenced hits with “See My Baby Jive” (UK #1), “Angel Fingers” (UK #1) and “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” (UK #4), the latter becoming a perennial Christmas hit.

For his contributions to the music industry, Spector was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. In 1997, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him #63 on their list of the “Greatest Artists of All Time”.

Spector’s early musical influences included Latin music in general, and Latin percussion in particular. This is keenly perceptible in many if not all of Spector’s recordings, from the percussion in many of his hit songs: shakers, güiros (gourds) and maracas in “Be My Baby,” and the son montuno in “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” heard clearly in the song’s bridge played by session bassist Carol Kaye, while the same repeating refrain is played on harpsichord by keyboardist Larry Knechtel. Spector would visit Spanish Harlem clubs and schools to hone his listening and practical skills.

The Beach Boys paid tribute to Spector in the lyrics of their song “Mona”: “Come on/Listen to ‘Da Doo Ron Ron,’ now/Listen to ‘Be My Baby’/I know you’re gonna love Phil Spector”.

The character of Ronnie “Z-Man” Barzell in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, a 1970 Russ Meyer film, is based upon Spector, though neither Meyer nor screenwriter Roger Ebert had met him.

In Brian De Palma’s film Phantom of the Paradise (1974), the villainous character Swan (played by Paul Williams) was supposedly inspired by Spector. A music producer and head of a record label, Swan was named “Spectre” in original drafts of the film’s screenplay.

The character of Harv Stevens in the 2009 independent short film A Reasonable Man was reportedly based on Phil Spector. The film examines his relationship with John Lennon.

Murder of Lana Clarkson

On February 3, 2003, actress Lana Clarkson was found dead in Spector’s mansion (Dupuy’s Pyrenees Castle) in Alhambra, California. Her body was found slumped in a chair with a single gunshot wound to her mouth with broken teeth scattered all over the carpet. Spector stated that Clarkson’s death was an “accidental suicide” and that she “kissed the gun”. The emergency call from Spector’s home, made by Spector’s driver Adriano de Souza, quotes Spector as saying, “I think I’ve killed someone”. De Souza also said he saw Spector come out the back door of the house with a gun in his hand.

According to documents filed by the prosecution, Spector had previously pulled a gun on four women he dated. In each case, he had been drinking and “was romantically interested in the woman, but grew angry after the woman spurned him”. The prosecution alleged that on each occasion, he pointed a gun at the woman to prevent her from walking out. The prosecution argued that the testimony of the other women was important in order to demonstrate a “common plan or scheme”.

The defense sought to prevent the women from providing such testimony. Though the law in California and other states generally forbids the introduction of evidence showing a defendant’s previous transgressions, the judge sided with the prosecutors and ruled that the testimony of the other women “can be used to show lack of accident or mistake”.

First trial

Spector remained free on $1 million bail while awaiting trial. The trial began on March 19, 2007. Presiding Judge Larry Paul Fidler allowed the trial to be televised. At the start of the trial, the defense’s forensic expert Henry Lee was accused of hiding crucial evidence which the District Attorney’s office claimed could prove Spector’s guilt. On September 26, 2007, Judge Fidler declared a mistrial because of a hung jury (10 to 2 for conviction).

During the trial, defense expert Vincent DiMaio asserted that Spector may be suffering from Parkinson’s disease, stating: “Look at Mr. Spector. He has Parkinson’s features. He trembles”.

Before and during the first trial, Spector went through at least three sets of attorneys. Defense attorney Robert Shapiro represented Spector at the arraignment and early pretrial hearings and achieved his release on $1 million bail. Bruce Cutler represented him during the 2007 trial, but withdrew on August 27, 2007, claiming “a difference of opinion between Mr. Spector and me on strategy”. Attorney Linda Kenney Baden then became lead lawyer for closing arguments.

In December 2003, Donté and Gary Spector spoke to the Mail claiming they were abused as children. Donte Spector said: “For years, we were just caged animals to be let out for Dad’s amusement”.

Second trial

The retrial of Spector for murder in the second degree began on October 20, 2008, with Judge Fidler again presiding; this time it was not televised. The case went to the jury on March 26, 2009, and nineteen days later, on April 13, the jury returned a guilty verdict. In addition, he was found guilty of using a firearm in the commission of a crime. Spector was immediately taken into custody and was formally sentenced on May 29, 2009, to 19 years to life in the California state prison system.

The California Court of Appeal affirmed Spector’s conviction in May 2011 and denied his request for a rehearing of the appeal shortly thereafter. On August 17, 2011 the California Supreme Court refused to review the Court of Appeal’s decision to affirm his conviction. (S193961 Petition for review denied.)

Spector’s attorneys filed a petition pursuing judicial review of the conviction by the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing that his constitutional due process rights were violated when prosecutors used the trial judge’s comments about an expert’s testimony, effectively making the judge a witness for the prosecution. Spector’s attorney Dennis Riordan, argued the constitutional right to confront witnesses did not permit the prosecution to introduce at trial a videotape of statements made by the judge at a pretrial hearing that never were subjected to cross examination. The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

Spector is serving his sentence at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison (SATF) in Corcoran, California. He will be 88 years old before becoming eligible for parole.

Film

Phil Spector, a 2013 HBO film written and directed by David Mamet and starring Al Pacino and Dame Helen Mirren, depicted a fictionalized account of the murder and trials. The film drew criticism both from Clarkson’s family and friends, who charged that the suicide defense was given more merit than it deserved; and from Spector’s wife, who argued that Spector was portrayed as a “foul-mouthed megalomaniac” and a “minotaur”.

Family

Spector’s first marriage was to Annette Merar, lead vocalist of the Spectors Three, a 1960s pop trio formed and produced by Spector.

Spector’s second marriage was to Veronica Bennett, later known as Ronnie Spector. Ronnie was the lead singer of the girl group, the Ronettes (another group Spector managed and produced). Their marriage lasted from 1968 to 1974.

On September 1, 2006, Spector married his third wife, Rachelle Short. Although there is a 41-year age difference, Short is quoted as saying “I like the way he looks.” “He’s boyish and cute, witty, smart and we are so much alike even though we are generations apart. We share common interests, a love of music, people, life, old films, a strong work ethic, even certain mannerisms.”  Spector met Short at a Hollywood restaurant in 2003, where she was working, shortly after his arrest in the shooting of Lana Clarkson. Short (an aspiring singer) went to work for Spector’s personal assistant, Michelle Blain as her assistant. By the time they were married (Sept 2006), she was running his business.

Children

Adopted:

  • Donté Phillip Spector – born March 23, 1969; adopted by both Phil and his second wife Ronnie, at age eight months.
  • Louis Phillip Spector (twin) – born May 12, 1966.
  • Gary Phillip Spector (twin) – born May 12, 1966; both were brought home at age five ½ (December 1971) but not adopted by Phil Spector until they were age nine (1975).

With then-girlfriend Janis Zavala:

  • Nicole Audrey Spector (twin) – born October 18, 1982
  • Phillip Spector, Jr. (twin) – born October 18, 1982, died of leukemia on December 25, 1991.

 


bud_index_at_piano

Earl Rudolph “Bud” Powell (September 27, 1924 – July 31, 1966), born in New York City, was one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz. Along with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie he was instrumental in the development of bebop, and his virtuosity as a pianist led many to call him “the Charlie Parker of the piano.”

Life

Powell’s grandfather was a flamenco guitarist, and his father was a stride pianist. The family lived in New York City. His older brother William played the trumpet, and by the age of fifteen Powell was playing in his brother’s band. Powell had learned classical piano from an early age, but by the age of eight was interested in jazz, playing his own transcriptions of Art Tatum and stride pianists Fats Waller and James P. Johnson. Younger brother Richie was also an accomplished pianist, as was school friend Elmo Hope. Thelonious Monk was an important early teacher and mentor, and a close friend throughout Powell’s life, dedicating the composition “In Walked Bud” to Powell. In the early forties Powell played in a number of bands, including that of Cootie Williams, and in 1944 his first recording date was with Williams’ band. This session included the first ever recording of a tune by Monk, “‘Round Midnight.” Monk also introduced Powell to the circle of bebop musicians starting to form at Minton’s Playhouse, and other early recordings included sessions with Frank Socolow, Dexter Gordon, J. J. Johnson, Sonny Stitt, Fats Navarro and Kenny Clarke. In the early years of bebop, Powell and Monk, as the first great modern jazz pianists, towered over their contemporaries, Al Haig, Ralph Burns, Dodo Marmarosa, and Walter Bishop, Jr.

Instrumental techniques

Powell soon became renowned for his ability to play accurately at fast tempos, inspired bebop soloing, and his comprehension of the ideas that Charlie Parker had suddenly unearthed from the piece Cherokee and other song-forms. Powell’s solos, conceived in emulation of and rivalry with Parker, are instantly recognizable and descriptive, with frequent arpeggiations punctuated by chromaticism. They are nonetheless progressive-sounding, reaching for the heights of the harmonic series, beyond the confines of classical harmony to the extent possible within the piano keyboard. Powell’s lines form series of brief, carefully phrased statements. They move confidently whether fully resolved or not, through moments of eloquence and near awkwardness. Powell adhered to a simplified left-hand “comping” recalling stride and pianist Teddy Wilson. The comping often consisted of single bass notes outlining the root and fifth. He also used a tenth, which he was able to reach easily due to his very large hands, with the minor seventh included.

From 1949, in Jazz News, we hear “Bud’s left hand gives his playing a fullness and sureness that no other be-bop pianist has, Bud is also sufficiently independent from the tempo to be able to improvise fast, complicated phrases in the manner of Charlie Parker, phrases that always land on their feet with amazing precision. Bud Powell has enormous inspiration, in all his solos we recognize the sound of a great musician and the true class of someone who has something to say and says it well.”

Influences on Bebop and Jazz

Powell freed the right hand for continuous linear exploration, and facilitated in the left a statement of the harmonies typical of bebop. When Art Tatum questioned Powell’s neglect of the left hand, the younger player responded audaciously in a subsequent tune by soloing with his left hand. Powell’s favoring the treble was not to avoid integrating the hands, which is essential to both a solo and accompanying technique. With his polar division of the keyboard, however, Powell was most responsible for permanently establishing the piano on an equal improvisatory footing with the horns and bass. These formed the basic small ensembles that have dominated jazz since the swing era. Before Powell, Art Tatum and Earl Hines had also somewhat explored independent homophony closely resembling later piano playing. On his music, during an interview, Bud said, “I wish it had been given a name more in keeping with it’s seriousness of purpose.” In another he added, that he, by chance, carried the same label as Charlie Parker, the label, ‘bop’…” Jay McShann said in an interview, “No, Bird has never played bebop. Bebop is only a term that they stuck onto his music. Bird was playing the blues. All of his music is based on the blues.” Miles Davis announced, “Bebop? That’s a word invented by white people.” Bud Powell brought a sensitivity and a beauty to such an intricate style. From Francis Paudras on seeing Powell in Paris, “He seemed to me a sort of alchemist, blending matchless craftsmanship with unbounded inspiration and topping it off with impeccable taste. Never had any artist or musician given me the impression of such concentration, such a headlong rush toward perfection. Each evening was an awed communion, like a religious experience.”

Powell’s leadership and personal problems

Powell’s first session as a leader was in a trio with Curly Russell and Max Roach, recorded in 1947 but not released until two years later, by Roost. He also recorded a session with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Tommy Potter and Roach during this year. In 1945, at age twenty and already thought of by his peers as a great pianist, in an act of selfless bravado Powell took a beating from the police who were harassing his best friend and mentor Thelonious Monk. After suffering headaches and pain for a long period and unable to get relief, he was, in November 1947, admitted to Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, where he stayed for over a year, receiving electroconvulsive therapy which caused severe memory loss. The young Jackie McLean and Sonny Rollins became friendly with Powell on his release from the hospital, and Powell recommended McLean to Miles Davis. Powell suffered from mental illness throughout his life, possibly triggered by the beating from the police which certainly exacerbated his problems. He was also an alcoholic, and even small quantities of alcohol had a profound effect on his character, normally quiet and reserved, making him aggressive. Powell’s continued rivalry with Charlie Parker, essential to the production of brilliant music, was also the subject of disruptive feuding and bitterness on the band-stand, as a result of Powell’s troubled mental and physical condition.

However, in Jazz News (October 1949) Nicole Barclay claimed that, “Charlie Parker says Bud is a genius. Bud says the same thing about Parker and we think they’re both right.”

From Bill Evans, “He was so expressive, such emotion flowed out of him! It’s a feeling we sometimes get from Beethoven…It’s not that it’s beautiful in the sense of pretty or brilliant, it’s something else, something much deeper.”

“When people talk about the giants—Bird, Bud, Dizzy, and Miles—I think they underestimate Bud.”

“He was in a class by himself.”

Best recordings

It is generally agreed that his best recordings are those made prior to 1954, both for Blue Note Records and for Norman Granz (at Mercury Records, Norgran Records, Clef Records and later on Verve Records). The first Blue Note session, in August 1949, features Fats Navarro, Sonny Rollins, Powell, Tommy Potter and Roy Haynes, and the compositions Bouncing with Bud and Dance of the Infidels. The second Blue Note session was a trio with Russell and Roach, and includes Parisian Thoroughfare and Un Poco Loco, the latter selected by literary critic Harold Bloom for inclusion on his short list of the greatest works of twentieth-century American art. Sessions for Granz (more than a dozen) were all solo or trios, with a variety of bassists and drummers including Russell, Roach, Buddy Rich, Ray Brown, Percy Heath, George Duvivier, Art Taylor, Lloyd Trotman, Osie Johnson, Art Blakey and Kenny Clarke.

Powell recorded for both Blue Note and Verve throughout the fifties, interrupted by another long stay in a mental hospital from late 1951 to early 1953, following arrest for possession of marijuana. He was released into the guardianship of Oscar Goodstein, the owner of the Birdland nightclub. A 1953 trio session for Blue Note (with Duvivier and Taylor) included Powell’s composition Glass Enclosure, inspired by his near-imprisonment in Goodstein’s apartment. His playing after his release from hospital began to be seriously affected by Largactil, taken for the treatment of schizophrenia, and by the late fifties his talent was clearly in decline. In 1956 his brother Richie was killed in a car crash alongside Clifford Brown. This was a double blow for him. Three albums for Blue Note in the late fifties showcased Powell’s ability as a composer, but his playing was nowhere near the standard set by his earlier recordings for the label. After several further spells in hospital, Powell moved to Paris in 1959, in the company of Altevia “Buttercup” Edwards, a childhood friend.

French influences

In Paris, Powell worked in a trio with Pierre Michelot and Kenny Clarke. Buttercup was keeping control of his finances and also over-dosing him with Largactil, but he continued to perform and record—the 1960 live recording of the Essen jazz festival performance (with Clarke, Oscar Pettiford and on some numbers Coleman Hawkins) is particularly notable. In December 1961 he recorded two albums for Columbia Records under the aegis of Cannonball Adderley—A Portrait of Thelonious (with Michelot and Clarke), and A Tribute to Cannonball (with the addition of Don Byas and Idrees Sulieman—despite the title, Adderley only plays on one alternate take). The first album was released shortly after Powell’s death (with overdubbed audience noise), and the second in the late 1970s. Eventually Powell was befriended by Francis Paudras, a commercial artist and amateur pianist, and Powell moved into Paudras’s home in 1962. There was a brief return to Blue Note in 1963, when Dexter Gordon recorded Our Man in Paris for the label—Powell was a last-minute substitution for Kenny Drew, and the album of standards showed him to still be capable of playing well. In 1963 Powell contracted tuberculosis, and the following year he returned to New York with Paudras. The original agreement had been for the two men to go back to Paris, but Paudras returned alone, and Powell died hospitalized in 1966 after months of increasingly erratic behavior and self-neglect.

In 1986 Paudras wrote a book about his friendship with Powell, translated into English in 1997 as Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell (the title is derived from one of Bud’s compositions).

In it he says, “If this great exponent of Black American culture inspired me, a white European, it is simply because I think his music is of universal scope. The work of Bud Powell is not only a message of love of a black artist for black people, it is also a message of great beauty, hope and peace for all the peoples of the world.”

The book was the basis for Round Midnight, a fine film inspired by the lives of Bud Powell and Lester Young, in which Dexter Gordon played the lead role of an expatriate jazzman in Paris.