Friday, April 26, 2013

April 26: Country music legend, George Jones died on this date in 2013…

... he was 81-years-old.

George Glenn Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas, Jones left home at 16 and headed for Jasper, Texas where he found work singing and playing on a local radio station. 

Jones  is know for his long list of hit records, his distinctive voice - and his marriage to Tammy Wynette. Throughout his long career, Jones made headlines often as much for tales of his drinking, stormy relationships with women, and violent rages as for his prolific career of making records and touring. His wild lifestyle led to Jones missing many performances, earning him the nickname "No Show Jones."

With the help of his fourth wife, Nancy, he has been sober for many years. Jones has had more than 150 hits during his career, both as a solo artist and in duets with other artists. The shape of his nose and facial features have given Jones the nickname "The Possum."
(Press an album cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website):

16 Biggest Hits: George Jones & Tammy WynetteEssential50 Years of Hits
For more about George, visit his Website at -


Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25: Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of TLC died on this date in 2002...

... she was 30 years-old when she died.

Lisa Nicole Lopes  - better known by her stage name Left Eye - was a member of the R&B girl group TLC and had embarked on a solo career. Lopes contributed her self-written raps to many of TLC's hit singles, including "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg," "What About Your Friends," "Hat 2 da Back," "No Scrubs," "Waterfalls," and "Girl Talk."

TLC started off as a female trio called Second Nature. The group was renamed TLC — derived from the first initials of its then three members — Tionne, Lisa and Crystal. Things didn't work out with Crystal Jones, and TLC's manager Perri "Pebbles" Reid brought in Damian Dame backup dancer Rozonda Thomas as a third member of the group.

To keep the "initial" theme of the band's name, Rozonda needed a name starting with C, and so became Chilli, which was coined by Lopes. Band mate Tionne Watkins became T-Boz, while Lopes was renamed Left Eye. Lopes celebrated her nickname by wearing a black mark; often a wrapped condom, in keeping with the group's promotion of safe sex–later evolving to a black stripe under the eye, and then an eyebrow ring in her left eyebrow.

The group's first album in 1992 was Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip. With three singles, it sold six million copies worldwide. In 1994, they released CrazySexyCool, which sold over fifteen million copies worldwide and cemented TLC as one of the biggest female groups of all time.

TLC's third album, FanMail, was released in 1999 and sold over ten million copies. During the recording of FanMail, a public conflict began amongst the members of the group. Lopes sent a message to Vibe magazine saying, "I've graduated from this era. I cannot stand 100 percent behind this TLC project and the music that is supposed to represent me."

In response to Lopes' comments, Watkins and Thomas stated to Entertainment Weekly that Lopes "doesn't respect the whole group" and "Left Eye is only concerned with Left Eye." In turn, Lopes sent a reply through Entertainment Weekly issuing a "challenge" to Watkins and Thomas to release solo albums and let the public decide who was the "greatest" member of TLC:

After Fanmail, Lopes began to expand her solo career. She became a featured rapper on several singles, including former Spice Girl Melanie C's "Never Be the Same Again," which went to #1 in 35 countries, including the UK. She was also featured on the first single from Donell Jones' second album, "U Know What's Up," and she sang "Space Cowboy" with *NSYNC on their 2000 album, No Strings Attached.

(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

(Press album cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website):

Eye-Legacy [Includes Bonus DVD]


Lopes also collaborated on "Gimme Some" by Toni Braxton from her 2000 release The Heat. In 2001 she appeared in two commercials for The Gap, one solo and the other with India.Arie, Liz Phair, and Sheryl Crow, where she was featured singing, rather than rapping.

Lopes was also the host of the short-lived MTV series, The Cut, a series on which a handful of would-be pop stars, rappers, and rock bands competed against each other and were judged.

About nine months before her death, Lopes appeared on the singers' edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire along with Joey McIntyre, Tyrese, Nick Lachey, and Lee Ann Womack. She dropped from a $125,000 question and won $32,000 for charity.

Lopes created "Left Eye Productions" to discover new talent. She helped the R&B trio Blaque to secure a record deal with Columbia Records. Their self-titled debut album was executive-produced by Lopes, who also made a cameo appearance on the album and in their music video "I Do." Lopes was also developing another new band called Egypt. 

Lopes spent much of her free time after the conclusion of TLC's first headlining tour supporting Fanmail recording her debut solo album, Supernova. It includes a song titled "A New Star is Born," which is dedicated to her late father.

Other tracks covered personal issues, including her relationship with NFL football player Andre Rison. In 1994, Lopes famously burned down Rison's Atlanta mansion, resulting in the loss of all his possessions. Among the album's twelve tracks was also a posthumous duet with Tupac Shakur that was assembled from the large cache of unreleased recordings done prior to his murder in 1996.

After numerous talks with Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight, Lopes severed her solo deal with Arista–remained contracted with the label as a member of TLC–and signed with Knight's Tha Row Records, intending to record a second solo album under her N.I.N.A. pseudonym (meaning New Identity Not Applicable.)

She was recording with David Bowie for the project, who she was also trying to get involved with the fourth TLC album. The project was also to include several songs recorded by and with Ray J. The album was cancelled after Lopes's death in April 2002.

On April 25, 2002, while driving a Mitsubishi Pajero in Honduras, Lisa Lopes allegedly tried to swerve around a truck, but there was another vehicle heading towards them in the opposite direction. To avoid a head-on collision, Lopes swerved all the way off the road. The vehicle rolled several times after hitting two trees, throwing Lopes and three others out of the windows. She died of neck injuries and severe head trauma.


Monday, April 22, 2013

April 22: Richie Havens - Freedom," "Here Comes the Sun" - died on this date in 2013...


... He died after suffering a heart attack. He was 72-years-old.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, at an early age Richard P. "Richie" Havens began organizing his neighborhood friends into street corner doo-wop groups. He performed with The McCrea Gospel Singers at 16.

At the age of 20, Richie left Brooklyn for the artistic stimulation of Greenwich Village. He had first gone there during the beatnik days of the 1950s to perform poetry, then drew portraits for two years and stayed up all night listening to folk music in the clubs. After a while, he began playing guitar.

Havens' reputation as a solo performer soon spread beyond the Village folk circles. After cutting 2 discs for Douglas Records, Havens signed on with manager Albert Grossman, and landed a record deal with the Verve Forecast label.

Verve released Mixed Bag in 1967, which featured tracks like "Handsome Johnny" (co-written by Havens and future Oscar-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr.), "Follow," and a cover of Bob Dylan’s "Just Like A Woman."

By 1969, he had released five more albums. Something Else Again became Havens' first album to hit the Billboard chart and also elevated Mixed Bag back onto the charts.

File:Richie Havens 1972 Hamburg.jpg
His Woodstock appearance proved to be a major turning point in his career. As the festival’s first performer, he held the crowd for nearly three hours - in part because he was told to perform a lengthy set because many artists were delayed in reaching the festival location - and called back for several encores.

Having run out of tunes, he improvised a song based on the old spiritual "Motherless Child" that became "Freedom." The subsequent Woodstock movie release helped Havens reach a worldwide audience. He also appeared at the Isle of Wight Festival in late August 1969.
(Press album cover for direct link to the Amazon Website):
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best Of Richie HavensThey Can't Hide Us Anymore


File:Richiehavens.jpgFollowing the success of his Woodstock performance, Richie started his own record label, Stormy Forest, and released Stonehenge in 1970. Later that year came Alarm Clock, which yielded the George Harrison- penned hit single "Here Comes the Sun," and became Havens's first album to reach Billboard’s Top 30 Chart.

Stormy Forest went on to release four more of his own albums: The Great Blind Degree, Live On Stage, Portfolio and Mixed Bag II.Havens also branched out into acting during the 1970s.

Increasingly, Havens devoted his energies to educating young people about ecological issues.

In the mid-1970s, he co-founded the Northwind Undersea Institute, an oceanographic children’s museum on City Island in the Bronx. That, in turn, led to the creation of The Natural Guard, an organization Richie describes as “a way of helping kids learn that they can have a hands-on role in affecting the environment. Children study the land, water, and air in their own communities and see how they can make positive changes from something as simple as planting a garden in an abandoned lot.”

During the 1980s and 1990s, Havens continued a world touring schedule and a steady release of albums. The release of 1993’s Resume, The Best Of Richie Havens included  his late 1960s and early 1970s recordings.

In 2003, the National Music Council awarded Richie the American Eagle Award for his place as part of America’s musical heritage, and for providing “a rare and inspiring voice of eloquence, integrity and social responsibility.”

File:Richie Havens.jpg
In 2000, Havens published They Can't Hide Us Anymore, an autobiography co-written with Steve Davidowitz. Havens has maintained his status as a folk icon, and continues to tour. In 2002, Havens released Wishing Well, followed by the 2004 album, Grace of the Sun.

On October 15, 2006, Havens was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.


For more about Richie, visit his Website at -


Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 20: Classic musical actress Deanna Durbin died on this date in 2013...

Born on December 4, 1921, she was 91-years-old when she passed away.  


Born Edna Mae Durbin in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1921, and raised  in Southern California, Deanna Durbin is a singer and actress who appeared in a number of musical films in 1930s and 1940s. She sang standards as well as operatic arias.

Durbin made her first film appearance in 1936 with Judy Garland in Every Sunday, and subsequently signed a contract with Universal Studios who changed her name to "Deanna." Her success as the ideal teenage daughter in films such as Three Smart Girls in 1936 helped save the studio from bankruptcy. In 1938 Durbin was awarded the Academy Juvenile Award.
In late 1936, Cesar Sturani, who was the General Music Secretary of the Metropolitan Opera, offered Deanna Durbin an audition. Durbin turned down his request because she felt she needed more singing lessons. Andrés de Segurola, who was the vocal coach working with Universal Studios (and himself a former Metropolitan Opera singer), believed that Deanna Durbin had an excellent opportunity to become an opera star.

As she got older, Durbin grew dissatisfied with the girl-next-door roles assigned to her, and attempted to portray a more womanly and sophisticated style. The film Christmas Holiday in 1944 when she was 23, and the whodunit Lady on a Train the following year, were not as well received as her musical comedies and romances had been.
She made her only Technicolor film in 1944, Can't Help Singing, featuring some of the last melodies written by Jerome Kern plus lyrics by E. Y. Harburg. A musical comedy in a Western setting, this production was filmed mostly on location in southern Utah.

(Continued below video and CDs and DVDs...)

HIGHLY Recommended (Press album covers for direct links to Amazon):
Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Pack (Three Smart Girls / Something In the Wind / First Love / It Started with Eve / Can't Help Singing / Lady on a Train)The Golden Voice of Deanna DurbinDeanna Durbin: The Music and Romance Collection: Mad About Music / That Certain Age / Three Smart Girls Grow Up / Because of Him / For The Love of MarySpring Parade


Between December 15, 1936 and July 22, 1947, Deanna Durbin recorded 50 tunes for Decca Records. While often re-creating her movie songs for commercial release, Durbin also covered independent standards, like "Kiss Me Again," "My Hero," "Annie Laurie," "Poor Butterfly," "Love's Old Sweet Song" and "God Bless America."
Durbin withdrew from Hollywood and retired from acting and singing in 1949. She married film producer-director Charles Henri David in 1950, and the couple moved to a farmhouse in the outskirts of Paris. Since then she has withdrawn from public life.
Over the years, Durbin resisted numerous offers to perform again, including two choice proposals by MGM, asking her to take the female lead in the screen version of Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate in 1953, and to costar with Mario Lanza in Sigmund Romberg's operetta, The Student Prince in 1954. As for stage shows, Durbin had been invited to play Kiss Me Kate 's Lilli Vanessi in London's 1951-52 West End production.

Reportedly, Alan Jay Lerner first had Deanna in mind to portray Eliza Doolittle in the 1956 Broadway cast of My Fair Lady. Suggestions that Durbin vocalize at the major Las Vegas casinos went unfulfilled.

Durbin-David has never identified herself with the public image that the media created around her. She speaks of the Deanna "persona" in the third person and considers the film character Deanna Durbin a by-product of her youth and not her true self. She granted only one interview in 1983, to film historian David Shipman, steadfastly asserting her right to privacy.
Her  husband of over 48 years, Charles David, died in Paris on March 1, 1999.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 17: Linda McCartney died on this date in1998 ...


... she was 56 years-old.
Linda Louise -Eastman McCartney, aslso known as Lady McCartney was an American photographer, musician and animal rights activist. She married Paul McCartney on March 12, 1969, and was a member of Wings.

McCartney wrote several vegetarian cookbooks, became a business entrepreneur (starting the Linda McCartney Foods company) and was a professional photographer, publishing Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era. McCartney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, and died from the disease in Tucson, Arizona.


Linda McCartney's World of Vegetarian Cooking: Over 200 Meat-free Dishes from Around the WorldLinda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an EraBand on the Run