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Tag: In Memoriam (91-100 of 327)

Robin Gibb playlist: In memoriam


It has not been the best week for disco. In just a few short days, two of the artists most identified with the era both passed away after battles with cancer: Donna Summer, and Bee Gees co-founder Robin Gibb.

Unlike Summer, though, Robin Gibb’s voice isn’t exactly front-and-center on the songs most identified with the genre: “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep is Your Love,” and “Night Fever” all feature vocal harmonies with brother Barry Gibb singing lead. It was the group’s earlier, pre-disco work in the 1960s and early ’70s where Robin’s tender voice was best on display, on songs like “Massachusetts,” “Lonely Days,” “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” “I Started a Joke,” and “New York Mining Disaster 1941.” (In fact, Robin’s perceived lack of support as the group’s lead singer led Robin to split briefly with the Bee Gees in 1969 and try for a solo career that led to moderate success.)

Check out our playlist below for some of the best examples of Robin Gibbs’ singing — including a classic, “Sesame Street Fever.”  READ FULL STORY

Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb dies at age 62

Robin Gibb, who along with his brothers Maurice and Barry made up the Bee Gees, has died at age 62, according to a statement from his spokesperson which cited Gibb’s “long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery.” Gibb reportedly spent a week in a coma last month, after announcing he’d been fighting colon and liver cancer in an article in the London newspaper the Daily Mail.

Maurice, Robin’s fraternal twin, died at age 53 of complications due to a twisted intestine. Andy Gibb, the musical family’s youngest brother and solo artist, died of heart failure in 1988 at age 30.

The British-born, Australia-raised singer and his brothers rose to fame in the ’70s, thanks to the staggering popularity of disco. READ FULL STORY

Disco Queen Donna Summer endured even after the era faded

Like the King of Pop or the Queen of Soul, Donna Summer was bestowed a title fitting of musical royalty — the Queen of Disco.

Yet unlike Michael Jackson or Aretha Franklin, it was a designation she wasn’t comfortable embracing.

“I grew up on rock ‘n’ roll,” Summer once said when explaining her reluctance to claim the title. READ FULL STORY

Donna Summer playlist: In memoriam

Has there ever been a musical genre more maligned than disco? Along with hair metal and that random swing-dance revival, disco is often used as shorthand for empty froth that inspired terrible fashion choices and aged poorer than warm Gruyere.

But the legacy of the late Donna Summer, who passed away today at the age of 63, makes a pretty spectacular case for the greatness of her particular blend of funk, soul, R&B, and dance music. She essentially created the genre with her 1975 hit “Love to Love You,” and only elevated it from there.

Over the course of her career, Summer recorded a handful of stone-cold classics that defined the late 1970s for millions, including the memorably “Last Dance,” the smash “Hot Stuff,” the iconic “Bad Girls,” and her whimsical chart-topping hit “MacArthur Park.”

Summer probably had the best 1979 of any recording artist of the era. In addition to “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls,” she put three more singles in the top five: The sweet “Heaven Knows,” the epic “Dim All The Lights,” and the Barbara Streisand duet “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough).”

All told, Summer put 14 singles in the top 10, including four number one hits. Her body of work — including plenty of hits that transcended disco — is impressive, and she was moving bodies all the way through her final album Crayons in 2008 (see the adrenaline-packed gem “Stamp Your Feet”).

Give the EW playlist below a spin, and enjoy the best days of disco. READ FULL STORY

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

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