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Tag: In Memoriam (91-100 of 323)

Donna Summer has died at 63

Donna Summer, a platinum recording artist and queen of the disco era, has passed away at the age of 63 after a long battle with cancer. Her publicist confirmed the news to

Born LaDonna Gaines in Boston on New Year’s Eve, 1948, she began her career as a session singer for the likes of Three Dog Night before a creative partnership with Italian producer and disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder led to her first hit, the breathy 1976 cultural lightning-rod “Love to Love You Baby.”

High-ranking singles like “I Feel Love” “MacArthur Park,” and “Heaven Knows” followed, and the 1978 anthem “Last Dance” earned the rising star her first Grammy award. 1979′s concept album Bad Girls yielded further smashes, including “Hot Stuff” and “Dim All the Lights,” and that year also saw the popular Barbra Streisand collaboration “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough).”

After searching for a new post-disco identity for several years, Summer found her stride again with “Love Is In Control (Finger on the Trigger)” and the title track of her 1983 album She Works Hard for the Money. Several followups, however (with the exception of the top-ten 1989 hit “This Time I Know It’s For Real”) failed to reach the gold and platinum status of her previous releases.

Her immersion in born-again Christianity in the mid-’80s also alienated some fans, as did her alleged statements about AIDS being a just punishment for homosexuality. She later denied those remarks, telling The Advocate in 1989,”I’ve lost a lot of friends who have died of AIDS…  people who ran my first album, who were really close to me, beautiful guys … I never said, ‘If you are gay, God hates you. Come on. Be real. I don’t understand that. Anybody who really knows me knows I wouldn’t say that.” READ FULL STORY

Chuck Brown, pioneer of go-go funk music, has died at 75

Chuck Brown, a singer and guitarist known as “the godfather of go-go,” passed away in Baltimore today. He was 75.

Go-go never quite gained national recognition on the charts, but it became a bona-fide phenomenon in the Washington D.C. area in the mid-’70s, with Brown at its (very funky) center. His career, which stretched across four decades and more than 20 albums, easily transcended the genre — to many in the region, he was a beloved figure and a source of local pride.

Brown also recorded the theme song for the Fox sitcom The Sinbad Show in the ’90s, and his early hit “Bustin’ Loose” is the home-run song for the Washington Nationals baseball team (you can hear elements of its distinctive melody and lyrics in Nelly’s 2002 chart topper “Hot in Here”). In 2009, a block in D.C. was renamed Chuck Brown Way in his honor.

Listen to Brown’s “Run Joe” below: READ FULL STORY

Rockers pay tribute to late bass legend Donald 'Duck' Dunn

Slash, Tom Petty, Bill Wyman, and Booker T. Jones have all paid tribute to legendary bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn, who passed away yesterday in Tokyo at the age of 70.

Slash wrote in a tweet that Dunn “was one of the greatest side & session, blues, R&B, Soul bassists of all time”; Petty tweeted that the Stax Records mainstay “will be dearly missed”; and a message on Wyman’s website described how the ex-Rolling Stones member was “saddened to hear of his friend’s passing, and Bill and Donald both were in touch daily. Bill has known Donald since the 1970s, and had been emailing Donald the day before his death.”

Finally, Dunn’s longtime collaborator Booker T. Jones has published a lengthy tribute to the Booker T. and the MGs bassist on his website, in which he says that he “can’t imagine not being able to hear Duck laugh and curse.”

You can read the full statement below. READ FULL STORY

Legendary Booker T. and the MGs bassist Donald 'Duck' Dunn dies in Tokyo at age 70

Legendary bassist and Booker T. and the MGs member Donald “Duck” Dunn died this morning in Tokyo at the age of 70. Dunn’s death was announced by his friend and fellow MG, guitarist Steve Cropper. “Today I lost my best friend, the world has lost the best guy and bass player to ever live” Cropper wrote on his website. “Duck Dunn died in his sleep Sunday morning May 13 in Tokyo Japan after finishing two shows at the Blue Note Night Club.”


Beastie Boy Ad-Rock remembers Adam Yauch on Tumblr

Beastie Boys founding member Adam “MCA” Yauch is gone but not forgotten. Soon after his death on Friday, dozens of celebrities mourned their fallen comrade on Twitter. And last night, Yauch’s bandmate Adam Horovitz — a.k.a. Ad-Rock — posted his own MCA remembrance on the hip-hop group’s official Tumblr page.

“as you can imagine, sh-t is just fkd up right now,” the post begins. “but i wanna say thank you to all our friends and family (which are kinda one in the same) for all the love and support.

“i’m glad to know that all the love that Yauch has put out into the world is coming right back at him,” it continues. Horovitz’s words are accompanied by a photo of a fist that bears a Sharpie-drawn tribute to Yauch. READ FULL STORY

Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch's musical legacy: Changing all games, all the time

Adam “MCA” Yauch’s death today leaves a Beastie-size hole in pop music. Though the trio were not the most prolific legends on the landscape (over the course of 25 years, they released only seven proper albums), their impact has been gigantic. Starting with 1986′s Licensed to Ill, the Beastie Boys rewrote the rules for commercial hip-hop, the mainstreaming of hardcore punk, the state of sampling, and the treatment of the old school.

Licensed to Ill, one of the early full-lengths released by influential hip-hop label Def Jam Records, is often referred to as the first rap album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart. That title is a little unfair, as those sales were powered by the wildfire success of “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)” — a track that many at the time considered more rock than rap.

The remainder of Licensed to Ill is pure mid-’80s hip-hop: grimy, tricky, and funny. The rhyme trading on “Fight for Your Right” was child’s play compared to the exchanges on “Hold It, Now Hit It,” “She’s Crafty,” and “Paul Revere.”  Though it is hard to believe now, the Beastie Boys’ race rarely came up — in part because hip-hop was a new genre, but also because they had the legitimate skills to counter criticism.

It helped that they kept pushing the form forward on subsequent releases. READ FULL STORY

Adam Yauch, founding member of the Beastie Boys, has died

Adam Yauch, a member of the seminal hip-hop trio the Beastie Boys, has died. He was 47 years old.

The Brooklyn-born musician known to fans as MCA was first treated for cancerous growths in his parotid gland and a lymph node in 2009 and subsequently underwent surgery and radiation therapy, which forced the delay of the Beastie Boys’ most recent album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. His illness has also kept the group off the road, and Yauch missed the group’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two weeks ago.

Yauch first met his musical comrade-in-arms Michael Diamond (a.k.a. Mike D) when he was still in high school; inspired by the manic punk energy of bands like Black Flag, the pair conceived the Beastie Boys as a noisy hardcore band. The group originally featured friends John Berry and Kate Schellenbach (the latter of whom later formed Luscious Jackson). The Polly Wog Stew EP gained them some attention, as did gigs opening for the likes of Bad Brains and the Misfits.

Berry departed the band and was replaced by Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock). Around the same time, the crew put together a song called “Cookie Puss,” which was based around a recorded prank phone call to Carvel. The song became an accidental sensation in New York’s underground dance scene, and the Beastie Boys began to build a reputation for blending humor and hip-hop in their sound. READ FULL STORY

The Killers' saxophonist Tommy Marth commits suicide


Tommy Marth, a saxophonist who played on the Killers’ second and third albums, was found dead of an apparent suicide on Monday in his Las Vegas home. He was 33 years old.

Though he was never a permanent member of the band, Marth was a key component in the Killers’ evolution from dance-friendly indie pop group into something grander. On 2006′s Sam’s Town and 2008′s Day & Age, he helped to create sweeping, E Street Band-esque desert soundscapes, and also toured with the band for Day & Age.

The Killers began a hiatus following the Day & Age tour, though they are working on a new album that should be out before the end of the year.

“Last night we lost our friend Thomas Marth,” Killers frontman Brandon Flowers said in a statement released on Tuesday. “Our prayers are with his family. There’s a light missing in Las Vegas tonight. Travel well, Tommy.”

Check out the video below of Marth during a performance of the Killers’ “Joy Ride” (from Day & Age) at the 2009 V Festival in England. READ FULL STORY

Levon Helm: A vintage EW interview with the late rock legend

In the early fall of 2007, I traveled to Woodstock, N.Y., to interview Levon Helm, the legendary Band drummer and vocalist who passed away last Thursday at the age of 71, following a long fight with cancer.

Helm was first diagnosed with the disease in 1996, and for a period he lost the ability to sing. But by the time we sat down to chat at his home-cum-studio complex, Helm had recovered much of his voice and was preparing to put out an album, Dirt Farmer, his first proper solo release in 25 years.

Helm was painfully thin but welcoming, full of life, and, in truth, not slow to vent his anger about perceived past grievances. While petting his two beloved dogs Lucy and Muddy, the drummer talked about his new collection and his illness. He then proceeded to wander down memory lane. The encounter remains one of my favorite interviews.

It isn’t every day you talk with someone who got inspired to become a musician after seeing Elvis in concert, who got booed while playing with Bob Dylan, who was documented by Martin Scorsese and didn’t care for the result, and who got to battle the Grim Reaper and lived to tell the tale. Now that Helm has finally lost that fight, it seems appropriate to recount just why his passing is such a sad event for so many people. READ FULL STORY

Remembering Levon Helm: A playlist

Levon Helm passed away Thursday, but his music lives on. The drummer and singer for the legendary band that needed no further moniker — The Band — brought a Southern twang and roots style to rock music that has influenced so many, from other major recording acts to legions of kids playing the drums in their parents’ basements.

In honor of the late master, we’ve put together an admittedly far-from-complete playlist of some of our Levon Helm favorites (and a few that he just lent his spirit to). Songs like “The Weight” and “Up on Cripple Creek” are classic The Band tunes, but we’ve also included some deep dives, like “Ain’t No More Cane” from The Basement Tapes with Bob Dylan and a few later tracks from Helm’s solo work, like “A Train Robbery” off his 2007 Dirt Farmer album. Check out the list below and suggest songs to add in the comments!

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