Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 25: R&B singer Aaliyah died on this date in 2001...

... she was 22 years-old when she died in a plane crash.

Born in Brooklyn, New York Aaliyah Dana Haughton - best known by her stage name Aaliyah - was a R&B singer, dancer, fashion model and actress. She came into the public eye thanks to R&B singer R. Kelly.
She became famous during the mid-1990s with several hit records from the songwriting/production team of Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott and Timbaland, and Steve "Static" Garrett.

Aaliyah recorded several hit records, including five number one R&B hits, one number one pop hit, and seven top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, Aaliyah has sold over 24 million records worldwide during her career. The singer also modeled for Tommy Hilfiger and starred in two motion pictures before her death in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22.

(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

(Press album cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website):
One in a Million


Aaliyah's name is Arabic for the high and exalted. She grew up in Detroit, Michigan where she attended various schools including the Detroit High School for Fine and Performing Arts. Aaliyah signed with her uncle Barry Hankerson's Blackground label in 1993 and released her debut album, titled Age Ain't Nothing but a Number, in 1994.

The album went platinum within months, and featured the gold-selling singles "Back and Forth" and "At Your Best (You Are Love)," a cover of the 1976 Isley Brothers single. The album went on to reach double platinum status with sales of over two million copies in the U.S. and five million worldwide.

In 1997, Aaliyah appeared on the soundtrack album for the Fox Animation Studios animated feature Anastasia, singing the pop version of "Journey to the Past." The song was nominated for an Academy Award, and Aaliyah performed the song at the 1997 Academy Awards ceremony. Aaliyah became the youngest female recording artist to perform at the ceremony.

Aaliyah had a huge hit in 1998 with "Are You that Somebody," from the Dr. Dolittle soundtrack. Its video was the third most-played on MTV that year, and the song's success helped make Aaliyah a household name. The single was a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart.

In 2000, she co-starred with Jet Li in the martial-arts film Romeo Must Die, which debuted at number two at the box office. Aaliyah and Timbaland executive produced the film's soundtrack album and Aaliyah contributed four songs: "Are you Feelin' Me?," "I Don't Wanna," "Back in One Piece," a duet with DMX, and the international number one hit "Try Again."

"Try Again" became the first song in history to ever reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 based solely on the strength of its radio airplay, without any single sales factored in. After the huge success of "Try Again" at radio, a 12" maxi single was released. The radio-only single, "I Don't Wanna," peaked at number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number five on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles & Tracks chart.

In 2001, Aaliyah went to Australia to co-star with Stuart Townsend in the film Queen of the Damned, an adaptation of the Anne Rice novel of the same name. While filming Queen of the Damned, Aaliyah also recorded most of her third studio album, Aaliyah.

Aaliyah and former Beatle George Harrison made UK Chart History in January 2002 when they scored the first, and to this date only, back-to-back posthumous number one hits. Aaliyah's "More than a Woman", released on January 7 and topped the chart on January 13, was followed by Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," re-released on January 14 and topped the chart on January 20.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18: Scott McKenzie - "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" - died on this date in 2012...


A statement on McKenzie's Website says the 73-year-old battled Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disease that affects the nervous system, and had been in and out of the hospital since 2010.

 Born Philip Blondheim in Jacksonville, Florida, McKenzie grew up in North Carolina and Virginia, where he became friends with John Phillips. In the mid 1950s, he sang briefly with Tim Rose in a high school group called The Singing Strings, and later he, Phillips, Mike Boran and Bill Cleary formed a doo-wop band, The Abstracts. In New York, The Abstracts became The Smoothies and recorded two singles with Decca Records, produced by Milt Gabler.

In 1961 Phillips and McKenzie met Dick Weissman and formed The Journeymen, which recorded three albums for Capitol Records. TheJourneymen broke up in 1964, as McKenzie wanted to perform on his own. So Phillips formed the group The Mamas & the Papas with Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot and his wife, Michelle Phillips. The group soon moved to California. Two years later, McKenzie followed from New York and signed with Lou Adler's Ode Records.

Phillips wrote and produced "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)", McKenzie recorded in 1967. John Phillips played guitar on the recording and Michelle Phillips played bells. The bass line of the song was supplied by session musician Joe Osborn. It became a Top 10 hit in the United States and a number one in the UK and several other countries. It sold over seven million copies globally, and was awarded a gold disc.

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Anthology 1960-1970

McKenzie followed the song with "Like An Old Time Movie," also written and produced by Phillips, which was a minor hit. His first album, The Voice of Scott McKenzie was followed with an album called Stained Glass Morning. He stopped recording in the early 1970s and lived in Joshua Tree, California, and Virginia Beach.

In 1986, he started singing with a new version of The Mamas and the Papas. With Terry Melcher, Mike Love and John Phillips, he co-wrote the number 1 single for the Beach Boys, "Kokomo" in 1988.

By 1998, he had retired from the road version of The Mamas and Papas, and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.


For more about Scott, visit his Website at -


Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13: Jazz, country and blues guitarist and solid-body electric guitar pioneer, Les Paul died on this date in 2009….

born on June 9, 1915, he died on August 13, 2009 from complications from pneumonia.
Lester William Polsfuss was born June 9, 1915 in Waukesha, Wisconsin near Milwaukee. The Prussian family name was first simplified by his mother to Polfuss before he took his stage name of Les Paul. He also used the nicknames Red Hot Red and Rhubarb Red.

He first became interested in music at age eight when he began playing the harmonica. After an attempt at learning the banjo, he began to play the guitar. It was during this time that he invented a neck-worn harmonica holder, which allowed him to play the harmonica hands-free while accompanying himself on the guitar.By age thirteen, Paul was performing semi-professionally as a country-music singer, guitarist and harmonica player.

While playing at the Waukesha area drive-ins and roadhouses, Paul began his first experiment with sound. Wanting to make himself heard by more people at the local venues, he wired a phonograph needle to a radio speaker, using that to amplify his acoustic guitar.

At age seventeen, Paul played with Rube Tronson's Texas Cowboys, and soon after he dropped out of high school to join Wolverton's Radio Band in St. Louis, Missouri, on KMOX. Paul migrated to Chicago in 1934, where he continued to perform on radio. Paul formed a trio in 1937 with singer/rhythm guitarist Jim Atkins - older half-brother of guitarist Chet Atkins - and bassist/percussionist Ernie "Darius" Newton.

They left Chicago for New York in 1939, landing a featured spot with Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians radio show. Paul was dissatisfied with acoustic-electric guitars and began experimenting at his apartment in Queens, NY with a few designs of his own.

During that time, he created several versions of "The Log," which was nothing more than a length of common 4x4 lumber with a bridge, guitar neck and pickup attached. In 1945, Richard D. Bourgerie made an electric guitar pickup and amplifier for professional guitar player George Barnes. Barnes showed the result to Les Paul, who then arranged for Bourgerie to have one made for him.

While experimenting in his apartment in 1940, Paul nearly succumbed to electrocution. During two years of recuperation, he relocated to Hollywood, supporting himself by producing radio music and forming a new trio.

Paul met country-western singer Colleen Summers in 1945. They began working together in 1948, at which time she adopted the stage name Mary Ford. They were married in 1949. The couple's hits included "How High the Moon," "Bye Bye Blues," "Song in Blue," "Don'cha Hear Them Bells," "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise," and "Vaya con Dios." These songs featured Ford harmonizing with herself.

In 1965, Paul went into semi-retirement, although he did return to the studio occasionally. Paul's most-recognizable recordings from then through the mid-1970s were an album for London Records/Phase 4 Stereo, Les Paul Now, on which he updated some of his earlier hits; and, backed by some of Nashville's celebrated studio musicians, a meld of jazz and country improvisation with fellow guitar virtuoso Chet Atkins, Chester and Lester.

In 1987, Paul underwent heart surgery. He then returned to active live performance, continuing into his 80s even though he often found it painful to play the guitar because of arthritis in his hands. In 2006, at age 90, he won two Grammys at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards for his album Les Paul & Friends: American Made World Played.

For more about Les Paul, visit this Website: