Tag: Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame

R.I.P. Artistic Genius and Musical Legend Aretha Franklin, 76, Forever the Queen of Soul

(photo via arethafranklin.net)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to nytimes.com, American singer, pianist, and composer Aretha Franklin died at her home in Detroit surrounded by family and loved ones at the age of 76. The cause was advanced pancreatic cancer. She is survived by her four sons, Ted White Jr., Kecalf Cunningham, Clarence Franklin, and Edward Franklin.

Franklin, who began her unparalleled music career singing at her father Rev. C.L. Franklin‘s New Bethel Baptist Church, became an international superstar and chart-topper in the 1960s with such classic songs as “Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You,” “Chain of Fools,” “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Respect,” and again in the 1980 and 1990s with “Jump To It,” “Freeway of Love,” “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me,” “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” and “A Rose Is Still A Rose.” Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won 18 competitive Grammys across multiple decades, was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1994, recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 1999, and was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

Aretha was also involved in civil rights activism and philanthropy during her lifetime. Franklin, who Elle Magazine noted had it written into her contract in the 1960s that she would never perform for a segregated audience, was glad that the song “Respect” became linked to feminist and civil-rights movements. She added that the line “you know I’ve got it” has a direct feminist theme. “As women, we do have it,” Franklin said. “We have the power. We are very resourceful. Women absolutely deserve respect. I think women and children and older people are the three least-respected groups in our society.”

According to Vanity Fair, though Franklin didn’t participate in civil disobedience herself, she lent very public support to at least one person who did. In 1970, famous feminist activist, scholar, and a then-avowed member of the Communist Party Angela Davis was arrested at the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge in Midtown Manhattan and incarcerated for 16 months for what were found to be wrongful kidnapping and murder charges. Jet magazine reported that Franklin was ready to cover Davis’s bond, “whether it was $100,000 or $250,000.” Davis was released on bail and cleared of her charges in 1972.

Locally, Aretha donated meals and hotel rooms to Flint residents at the onset of the city’s water crisis, last year she was honored with the dedication of Aretha Franklin Way in Detroit, and worked to renew and revitalize her hometown with projects and concerts.

To read more about Franklin’s life and music, coverage from the Detroit Free Press, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. To witness a touch of her genius, click below:

R.I.P Chuck Berry, 90; Musical Legend and Architect of Rock ’n’ Roll

article by Jon Pareles via nytimes.com

Chuck Berry, who with his indelible guitar licks, brash self-confidence and memorable songs about cars, girls and wild dance parties did as much as anyone to define rock ’n’ roll’s potential and attitude in its early years, died on Saturday. He was 90.

The St. Charles County Police Department in Missouri confirmed his death on its Facebook page. The department said it responded to a medical emergency at a home and Mr. Berry was declared dead after lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.

While Elvis Presley was rock’s first pop star and teenage heartthrob, Mr. Berry was its master theorist and conceptual genius, the songwriter who understood what the kids wanted before they knew themselves. With songs like “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene” and “Roll Over Beethoven,” he gave his listeners more than they knew they were getting from jukebox entertainment.

Chuck Berry (photo via nytimes.com)

His guitar lines wired the lean twang of country and the bite of the blues into phrases with both a streamlined trajectory and a long memory. And tucked into the lighthearted, telegraphic narratives that he sang with such clear enunciation was a sly defiance, upending convention to claim the pleasures of the moment. In “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “You Can’t Catch Me,” “Rock n Roll Music” and other songs, Mr. Berry invented rock as a music of teenage wishes fulfilled and good times.  (The Beach Boys reworked his “Sweet Little Sixteen” into “Surfin’ U.S.A.” Mr. Berry sued them and won a songwriting credit.)

Born Charles Edward Anderson Berry on Oct. 18, 1926, in St. Louis, he grew up in a segregated, middle-class neighborhood there, soaking up gospel, blues, and rhythm and blues, along with some country music.He spent three years in reform school after a spree of car thefts and armed robbery.

He received a degree in hairdressing and cosmetology and worked for a time as a beautician; he married Themetta Suggs in 1948 and started a family. By the early 1950s, he was playing guitar and singing blues, pop standards and an occasional country tune with local combos. Shortly after joining Sir John’s Trio, led by the pianist Johnnie Johnson, he reshaped the group’s music and took it over.

From the Texas guitarist T-Bone Walker, Mr. Berry picked up a technique of bending two strings at once that he would rough up and turn into a rock ’n’ roll talisman, the Chuck Berry lick, which would in turn be emulated by the Rolling Stones and countless others. He also recognized the popularity of country music and added some hillbilly twang to his guitar lines. Mr. Berry’s hybrid music, along with his charisma and showmanship, drew white as well as black listeners to the Cosmopolitan Club in St. Louis.

In 1955, Mr. Berry ventured to Chicago and asked one of his idols, the bluesman Muddy Waters, about making records. Waters directed him to the label he recorded for, Chess Records, where one of the owners, Leonard Chess, heard potential in Mr. Berry’s song “Ida Red.”

A variant of an old country song by the same name, “Ida Red” had a 2/4 backbeat with a hillbilly oompah, while Mr. Berry’s lyrics sketched a car chase, the narrator “motorvatin’” after an elusive girl. Mr. Chess renamed the song “Maybellene,” and in a long session on May 21, 1955, Mr. Chess and the bassist Willie Dixon got the band to punch up the rhythm.

“The big beat, cars and young love,” Mr. Chess outlined. “It was a trend and we jumped on it.”

The music was bright and clear, a hard-swinging amalgam of country and blues. More than 60 years later, it still sounds reckless and audacious.

To read full article, go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/18/arts/chuck-berry-dead.html

Tupac Shakur to be Inducted Into Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2017

Legendary rapper Tupac Shakur (photo via latimes.com)
Legendary rapper Tupac Shakur (photo via latimes.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson

According to latimes.com, late rapper Tupac Shakur is among the group of six inductees into  the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Along with Shakur, folk singer Joan Baez, British progressive rock band Yes, Seattle grunge band Pearl Jam, English pop-rock group Electric Light Orchestra and pop-rock band Journey were chosen to join the institution for 2017.

In addition, Nile Rodgers, Chic founding member, producer and guitarist, will be inducted as an honoree for the hall’s award for musical excellence.

April 7, 2017 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will be where the annual induction ceremony to induct new Hall members is held.  Tickets available to the public will go on sale in January.  The induction speeches and musical performances will be filmed for a highlights special scheduled to run on HBO after the event.

Chaka Khan, Janet Jackson, Tupac Shakur and Chic Among 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

(L-R) Chaka Khan, Tupac, Janet Jackson (Getty Images)
(L-R) Chaka Khan, Tupac, Janet Jackson (photo via eurweb.com)

article via eurweb.com

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for its 2017 induction ceremony today.  This year’s nominees include Tupac Shakur, in his first year of eligibility, Chaka KhanJanet Jackson, and 11-time nominee Chic.

Ballots to select the final 2017 inductees will be sent out to more than 800 artists, historians, and members of the music industry. The public will also get an opportunity to vote at rockhall.com. Public voting ends Dec. 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

To be considered for induction, an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination.

In addition to Tupac, this year also marks the first year of eligibility for fellow 2017 nominees Pearl Jam, Bad Brains, Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra, Jane’s Addiction, Joan Baez, Journey, and Steppenwolf.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2017 inductees will be announced at an unspecified date in December. The induction ceremony will be held at the Barclay’s Center in New York City in April 2017.

Read the full list of this year’s nominees include:

Bad Brains
Chaka Khan
Chic
Depeche Mode
Electric Light Orchestra
J. Geils Band
Jane’s Addiction
Janet Jackson
Joan Baez
Joe Tex
Journey
Kraftwerk
MC5
Pearl Jam
Steppenwolf
The Cars
The Zombies
Tupac Shakur
Yes

R.I.P. Musical Master, Genius and Unforgettable Legend Prince

Prince (photo via nytimes.com)
Prince (photo via nytimes.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Even though the news is minutes old, I’m sure you’ve all heard by now. I still can’t process it fully, and am having serious trouble accepting it, but after following TMZ, then Huffington Post, then Rolling Stone and the New York Times reports, I have to.   We all have to admit that it’s true – one of the best musicians ever to walk the Earth – Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson) has passed away at age 57.  Whether it was from complications due to his recent bout with the flu or some other reason – what really matters is that he is gone and the world has lost a genius and musical visionary.

While the grief over his passing will be palpable and far from short-lived, we wanted to take this moment to celebrate the legacy and artistry of the man who won an Academy Award, multiple Grammys, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and gave us “Purple Rain”, “Sign of the Times”, “Controversy”, “Dirty Mind”, “1999” and “LoveSexy” to name a few, and wish his singular spirit all the best on the next phase of his journey.

I have no idea how long the video below will remain up on YouTube, but while it is:

 

Kendrick Lamar Pays Homage To N.W.A At Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Event

Friday night (Apr. 8) was an evening to remember for the members of N.W.A.

Source: Kendrick Lamar Pays Homage To N.W.A At Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Event

R.I.P. Musical Legend and Earth, Wind & Fire Founder Maurice White

Maurice White
Maurice White, center, leads Earth Wind & Fire at the Forum in Inglewood, CA on Dec. 12, 1981. (Tony Barnard / Los Angeles Times)

article by Chris Barton via latimes.com

Maurice White, co-founder and leader of the groundbreaking ensemble Earth, Wind & Fire, died Thursday at his Los Angeles home. He was 74. His brother and bandmate, Verdine White, confirmed the news with the Associated Press.

The source for a wealth of euphoric hits in the 1970s and early ’80s, including “Shining Star,” “September” “Reasons” and “Boogie Wonderland,” Earth, Wind & Fire borrowed elements from funk, soul, gospel and pop for a distinctive sound that yielded six double-platinum albums and six Grammy Awards.

The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and although White had ceased touring with the group since a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in the ’90s, he remained behind the scenes as the act continued to tour, including a run of sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl in 2013.

“[Maurice White’s] unerring instincts as a musician and showman helped propel the band to international stardom, influencing countless fellow musicians in the process,” Recording Academy President Neil Portnow wrote in a statement. Earth, Wind & Fire are slated to receive lifetime achievement honors from the Grammys this year.

Born in Memphis, Tenn. on Dec. 19, 1941, Maurice White sang in his church’s gospel choir at an early age, but his interest quickly gravitated to the drums. He earned his first gig backing Booker T. Jones before the organist founded the MGs. He moved to Chicago in the early ’60s and studied composition at the Chicago Conservatory of Music and eventually found work as a session drummer for the Chess and OKeh labels, where he played behind Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.

“That’s where I learned about the roots of music,” White told the Chicago Tribune in 1990. “I learned about playing with feeling.”

After also backing jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis in the ’60s, White moved to Los Angeles in 1969 with a band called the Salty Peppers. The group failed to gain much traction, and White changed the group’s name in 1971 to Earth, Wind and Fire, a name rooted in astrology that reflected White’s spiritual approach to music.

“In the beginning,” White told the Tribune in 1988, “My message was basically trying to relate to the community. From that it grew into more of a universal consciousness; the idea was to give the people something that was useful.”

The group’s lineup evolved through the ’70s and eventually included vocalist Phillip Bailey and White’s brother Verdine, both of whom toured with the band into this decade. The band’s reach extended into movies as well in recording the soundtrack album for Melvin Van Peebles’ landmark 1971 film “Sweet Sweetback’s Badasss Song” and appearing in the 1978 film “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which yielded the band’s hit cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life.”

White’s hits with Earth, Wind & Fire spanned a particularly influential space between R&B, rock and disco that remains current. His music with Earth, Wind & Fire was prominently sampled by scores of hip-hop and pop acts in recent years, including Jay-Z and 2Pac. His mix of incandescent soulfulness and suave, funky arrangements informed recent bestselling albums by Daft Punk and Kendrick Lamar.

Remembrances of White came from all corners of the music world. On Twitter, Nile Rodgers, the Chic founder and record producer who was White’s peer in the ‘70s disco scene, wrote “RIP my soulful brother — You’re one of the most amazing innovators of all time.” Bootsy Collins, bassist of the funk mainstays Parliament-Funkadelic, wrote that White was a “legend, pioneer life long friend.”

To read more, go to: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-maurice-white-earth-wind-fire-dies-20160204-story.html

Times staff writer August Brown contributed to this report.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Honors Smokey Robinson at 20th Annual Music Masters Series

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R&B and soul legend William “Smokey” Robinson will be honored by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Case Western Reserve University during the 20thAnnual Music Masters™ series, presented by Klipsch Audio. Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of the sophomore class of inductees in 1987. The weeklong celebration, Nov. 2-7, 2015, will culminate with the Annual Music Masters concert on Sat., Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. EST at Playhouse Square’s State Theatre.

The tribute concert, presented by Klipsch Audio, on Nov. 7 will feature previously announced Inductees Dennis Edwards, Martha Reeves, and Mary Wilson, as well as the Robert Glasper Experiment.  New guests scheduled to perform include Avant, Avery*Sunshine, Bilal, JoJo, Eric Roberson, and Michelle Williams. Adam Blackstone (who has worked with artists such as Rihanna, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake) will serve as the tribute concert’s Musical Director.  Robinson will attend the tribute concert to accept the award but is not scheduled to perform.

Tickets to the Nov. 7 concert range from $30 – $100 and are available now at the Playhouse Square box office, by calling (216) 241-6000, or by visiting www.playhousesquare.org. A limited number of premium seating and VIP packages beginning at $300 are available by contacting the Rock Hall’s development office at (216) 515-1201 or development@rockhall.org by Fri., Oct. 30.

To open the tribute concert, Case Western Reserve will bestow an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Smokey Robinson, recognizing his many musical and cultural contributions, which extend from enduring songs to his leadership in the music industry. The university awards honorary degrees to recognize those who exemplify in their work the highest ideals and standards of excellence in any valued aspect of human endeavor, including scholarship, public service and the performing arts.

Additional events include:

JUST ANNOUNCED!  FREE with RSVP – Mon., Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. – “Smokey Robinson and the Sensual Black Avant-Garde” / Author Series with Jason King at the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives (2809 Woodland Avenue, Cleveland).  Reservations can be made through the Rock Hall website at https://tickets.rockhall.com or at the Rock Hall Box Office.

FREE with RSVP – Wed., Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. – An Evening with Members of the Music Masters tribute band in the Rock Hall’s Foster Theater.  This event will be streamed live at http://rockhall.com.

FREE – Thurs., Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. – Keynote Lecture “You Really Got a Hold On Me” by Dave Marsh at Case Western Reserve University’s Tinkham Veale University Center (11038 Bellflower Road, Cleveland OH).   Marsh, rock critic, historian, anti-censorship activist, talk show host, and “Louie Louie” expert, has written more than 20 books about rock and popular music, and edited that many more.  In this talk, Marsh will explore more than 50 years of listening to Smokey and why, in his opinion, Smokey Robinson is the best singer-songwriter ever.  This event is free and reservations are not required.  Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. This event will be streamed live at http://rockhall.com.

Sat., Nov. 7 from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. – Annual Music Masters Conference in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Foster Theater

The conference will celebrate Smokey Robinson’s impact on popular music, including a panel discussion on Smokey moderated by renowned author and Smokey Robinson autobiography co-author, David Ritz. Ritz will be joined by Harry Weinger, Vice President, A&R at Universal Music Enterprises; Jason King, Director of Writing, History & Emergent Media Studies at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music; and Andy Flory, Assistant Professor of Music at Carleton College. There will be a special Motown-inspired performance and master class with the youth of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland as well as interviews with special guests. Tickets are $25 ($10 lunch voucher included) and are available through the Rock Hall website at https://tickets.rockhall.com or at the Rock Hall Box Office.  Admission to the Museum is free with the purchase of a conference ticket. 

Sat., Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. – Annual Music Masters Tribute Concert at Playhouse Square’s State Theatre.  Tickets to the November 7 tribute concert range from $30 – $100 and are at the Playhouse Square box office, by calling (216) 241-6000, or by visiting www.playhousesquare.org.  A limited number of premium seating and VIP packages beginning at $300 are available by contacting the Rock Hall’s development office at (216) 515-1201 or development@rockhall.org by Friday, October 30.  

Special programming for teachers and students:

Tues., Nov. 3 – Digital Classroom: Launch of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles Education Unit

The Rock Hall’s award-winning education team will launch a special Smokey Robinson and the Miracles teaching unit as part of their Digital Classroom online curriculum on Tuesday, November 3. The Digital Classroom allows teachers and students to learn more about rock and roll history with lesson plans, listening guides, and exclusive content that can be used in classroom. To learn more, visit http://www.rockhall.com/digitalclassroom.

About Smokey Robinson:

Save for founder Berry Gordy, no single figure has been more closely allied with the Detroit-based recording empire known as Motown than William “Smokey” Robinson. In addition to leading the Miracles, Robinson served as a Motown producer, songwriter, talent scout and Gordy’s most trusted confidant and right-hand man.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles scored twenty-seven pop-soul hits at Motown between 1960 and 1971, including the classics “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Shop Around,” “Going to a Go-Go” and “I Second That Emotion.” The Miracles’ brightest moments on record – “Ooo Baby Baby,” “The Tracks of My Tears” and “The Tears of a Clown” foremost among them – still kindle memories for those who came of age in the Sixties. Continue reading “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Honors Smokey Robinson at 20th Annual Music Masters Series”

R.I.P. Grammy Award-Winning Blues Master and Musical Legend B.B. King

(Photo: Associated Press)

B. B. King, whose world-weary voice and wailing guitar lifted him from the cotton fields of Mississippi to a global stage and the apex of American blues, died Thursday in Las Vegas. He was 89.

His death was reported early Friday by The Associated Press, citing his lawyer, Brent Bryson, and by CNN, citing his daughter, Patty King.

Mr. King married country blues to big-city rhythms and created a sound instantly recognizable to millions: a stinging guitar with a shimmering vibrato, notes that coiled and leapt like an animal, and a voice that groaned and bent with the weight of lust, longing and lost love.

“I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions,” Mr. King said in his autobiography, “Blues All Around Me” (1996), written with David Ritz.

In performances, his singing and his solos flowed into each other as he wrung notes from the neck of his guitar, vibrating his hand as if it were wounded, his face a mask of suffering. Many of the songs he sang — like his biggest hit, “The Thrill Is Gone” (“I’ll still live on/But so lonely I’ll be”) — were poems of pain and perseverance.

The music historian Peter Guralnick once noted that Mr. King helped expand the audience for the blues through “the urbanity of his playing, the absorption of a multiplicity of influences, not simply from the blues, along with a graciousness of manner and willingness to adapt to new audiences and give them something they were able to respond to.”

B. B. stood for Blues Boy, a name he took with his first taste of fame in the 1940s. His peers were bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, whose nicknames fit their hard-bitten lives. But he was born a King, albeit in a sharecropper’s shack surrounded by dirt-poor laborers and wealthy landowners.

Mr. King went out on the road and never came back after one of his first recordings reached the top of the rhythm-and-blues charts in 1951. He began in juke joints, country dance halls and ghetto nightclubs, playing 342 one-night stands in 1956 and 200 to 300 shows a year for a half-century thereafter, rising to concert halls, casino main stages and international acclaim.

He was embraced by rock ’n’ roll fans of the 1960s and ’70s, who remained loyal as they grew older together. His playing influenced many of the most successful rock guitarists of the era, including Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. Continue reading “R.I.P. Grammy Award-Winning Blues Master and Musical Legend B.B. King”

R.I.P. Soul Singer and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Percy Sledge

Percy Sledge made “When a Man Loves a Woman” a timeless hit. (Photo Credit: James J. Kriegsmann)

His death was confirmed by Artists International Management, which represented him. Mr. Sledge had liver cancer, for which he underwent surgery in 2014, Mark Lyman, his agent and manager, said.  Mr. Sledge, sometimes called the King of Slow Soul, was a sentimental crooner and one of the South’s first soul stars, having risen to fame from jobs picking cotton and working as a hospital orderly while performing at clubs and colleges on the weekends.“I was singing every style of music: the Beatles, Elvis Presley, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Motown, Sam Cooke, the Platters,” he once said. “When a Man Loves a Woman” was his first recording for Atlantic Records, after a patient at the hospital introduced him to the record producer Quin Ivy. It reached No. 1 on the pop charts in 1966 and sold more than a million copies, becoming the label’s first gold record. (The Recording Industry Association of America began certifying records as gold in 1958.) Raw and lovelorn, the song was a response to a woman who had left him for another man, Mr. Sledge said. He called its composition a “miracle.”

An album of the same name was released that year, and three more studio albums for Atlantic followed in the 1960s: “Warm and Tender Soul,” “The Percy Sledge Way” and “Take Time to Know Her.”

While Mr. Sledge never again reached the heights of his first hit, “When a Man Loves a Woman” had many lives: as an early highlight of the Muscle Shoals, Ala., music scene; as a movie soundtrack staple in the 1980s, heard in “The Big Chill” and “Platoon”; and in a 1991 cover version by Michael Bolton, which also topped the Billboard chart and earned Mr. Bolton a Grammy.

Although the song, which ranks 53rd on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest of all time, is credited to two of Mr. Sledge’s early bandmates, the bassist Calvin Lewis and the organist Andrew Wright, who assisted with the arrangement, Mr. Sledge said of the melody, “I hummed it all my life, even when I was picking and chopping cotton in the fields.”

Continue reading “R.I.P. Soul Singer and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Percy Sledge”