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Tag: In Memoriam (21-30 of 326)

Lou Reed and John Cale's 'Songs For Drella': Art's beating heart

Rock history is littered with band leaders who made game-changing contributions within the context of their groups, but struggled to make an impact on their own. For all the mind-blowing tunes he dealt out with the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger’s solo output is pretty embarrassing, and though some of his post-Talking Heads music has been legitimately wonderful, David Byrne has never been able to replicate the Heads’ collective magic.

Not Lou Reed. His work with the Velvet Underground is rightfully heralded as legendary, but his solo career was just as powerful and inspiring. Throughout his solo run, Reed felt free to explore all sides of his personality, from the theatrical glam of Transformer to the sweet subversive pop of Coney Island Baby to the brutal drone of Berlin. Not all of his dalliances were successful—not even contrarian hipsters cop to liking the notoriously unlistenable Metal Machine Music, and his Metallica tag-team Lulu is problematic at best—but he took bold chances and hit more than he missed. READ FULL STORY

Morrissey posts tribute to Lou Reed: 'He will always be pressed to my heart'

There are a lot of things Morrissey does not care for, but Lou Reed isn’t one of them. The Smiths frontman has expressed his reverence for Reed many times over the years, and yesterday he posted a short, moving tribute to his idol online.

Posted on True to You, a Moz fan site, the Pope of Mope wrote of the late Velvet Underground (and beyond) singer:

‘Oh Lou / why did you leave us this way?’

No words to express the sadness at the death of Lou Reed. He had been there all of my life. He will always be pressed to my heart. Thank God for those, like Lou, who move within their own laws, otherwise imagine how dull the world would be. I knew the Lou of recent years and he was always full of good heart. His music will outlive time itself.
 We are all timebound, but today, with the loss of liberating Lou, life is a pigsty.

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Velvet Underground's John Cale on Lou Reed: 'I've lost my school-yard buddy'

Though they founded the Velvet Underground together and collaborated on and off for nearly half a century, Lou Reed and John Cale had a relatively contentious relationship over the course of their intertwined careers. (As recently as earlier this year, Cale expressed consternation over Reed reviving their Andy Warhol tribute project Songs For Drella.)

But that was put aside following the news of Reed’s passing. Cale took to his Facebook page yesterday to express his thoughts on his former bandmate in the wake of his death. “The world has lost a fine songwriter and poet,” Cale wrote. “I’ve lost my ‘school-yard buddy.’”

Reed, Cale, Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker launched the Velvet Underground in the mid 1960s and produced two albums together—1967′s The Velvet Underground and Nico and 1968′s White Light/White Heat—before Cale was replaced by Doug Yule for the band’s 1969 self-titled album. Cale and Reed clashed over control of the band and its direction, with Cale always trying to pull more and more into the droning sounds of tracks like “Venus In Furs.”

Since leaving the Velvet Underground, Cale had a moderately successful solo career (his signature album, 1973′s Paris 1919, is a classic of the genre) and has also done well as a producer, primarily for late former VU chanteuse Nico.

In 1989, Reed and Cale came together following the death of mutual friend and mentor Andy Warhol. The pair had not spoken to one another for years before Warhol’s memorial service in 1987, and they reunited in 1990 to write a song cycle about Warhol called Songs For Drella. Though they didn’t tour, they did make a concert film shot by ace cinematographer Ed Lachman, which is hard to find but well worth seeing. Cale and Reed last worked together on the Velvet Underground reunion tour in 1993.

Reed passed away yesterday, October 27. The cause of death has still yet to be announced, though he had recently undergone surgery for a liver transplant.

The essential Lou Reed and Velvet Underground: Stream our Spotify playlist here

Lou Reed made music from the early 1960s right up until his death this weekend at age 71, so it’s hard to do his career justice in a single playlist. But the EW staff has compiled a list of 28 tracks from VU and his solo career that at least gives a snapshot of his musical legacy.

Check out our (nonlinear) list below, and share some of your own favorite tracks in the comments.
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Pogues guitarist Phil Chevron dies

Phil Chevron, guitarist of the Pogues, died in Dublin today at the age of 56, the AP reports. According to his manager, Chevron was being treated for head and neck cancer.

The Irish-born Chevron — born Philip Ryan — had been a member of the Celtic folk-punk band since the ’80s; his credits include the popular fan favorites “Thousands Are Sailing” and “Lorelei,” among others. Before joining the Pogues, he was already an important figure in the Irish punk scene thanks to the Radiators in Space, the band he started in 1976.

On the website pogues.com, the band released the following short statement: “After a long illness Philip passed away peacefully this morning. We all send our sincere condolences to his family.”

Kris Kross singer died of drug overdose, says medical examiner

Chris Kelly of the ’90s rap duo Kris Kross died of a drug overdose, a medical office investigator said Monday.

A toxicology screening revealed that Kelly, 34, had a mixture of drugs in his system when he was pronounced dead on May 1, said Betty Honey of the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office in Atlanta.

Paramedics found Kelly unresponsive on a living room couch at his Atlanta home and tried to resuscitate him. Kelly, known as “Mac Daddy,” was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Honey said she did not know which specific drugs Kelly had used before his death. However, a police report from the night of Kelly’s death said his mother told investigators her son used cocaine and heroin the night before he died and had a history of drug abuse. READ FULL STORY

Devo drummer Alan Myers dies of brain cancer

Alan Myers, the former longtime drummer for the band Devo, best known for “Whip It,” has died after a battle with brain cancer. He was 58.

Myers died Monday in Los Angeles, where he lived, Devo spokesman Michael Pilmer said Wednesday.

Myers was the band’s drummer from 1976 to 1985 during Devo’s heyday. The group was formed in Akron, Ohio, in the early 70s by Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale, and introduced themselves to the world in 1977 by making a spastic version of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.”

Casale told The Associated Press on Wednesday that without Myers, Devo never would have reached the heights it did, calling him the best drummer he has ever played with.
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Blues singer Bobby 'Blue' Bland dies at 83

Bobby “Blue” Bland, a distinguished singer who blended Southern blues and soul in songs such as “Turn on Your Love Light” and “Further On Up the Road,” died Sunday. He was 83.

Rodd Bland said his father died due to complications from an ongoing illness at his Memphis, Tenn., home. He was surrounded by relatives.

Bland was known as the “the Sinatra of the blues” and was heavily influenced by Nat King Cole, often recording with lavish arrangements to accompany his smooth vocals. He even openly imitated Frank Sinatra on the Two Steps From the Blues album cover, standing in front of a building with a coat thrown over his shoulder. READ FULL STORY

Country singer Slim Whitman dies at age 90

Country singer Slim Whitman, the high-pitched yodeler who sold millions of records through ever-present TV ads in the 1980s and 1990s and whose song saved the world in the film comedy Mars Attacks!, died Wednesday at a Florida hospital. He was 90.

Whitman died of heart failure at Orange Park Medical Center, his son-in-law Roy Beagle said.

Whitman’s tenor falsetto and ebony mustache and sideburns became global trademarks — and an inspiration for countless jokes — thanks to the TV commercials that pitched his records.

But he was a serious musical influence on early rock, and in the British Isles, he was known as a pioneer of country music for popularizing the style there. Whitman also encouraged a teen Elvis Presley when he was the headliner on the bill and the young singer was making his professional debut.
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Clarence Burke Jr, lead singer of the Five Stairsteps, dies

Clarence Burke Jr., lead singer of the group the Five Stairsteps that sang the 1970 hit “O-o-h Child,” has died. He was 64.

Burke died on Sunday — a day after his birthday — in Marietta, Ga., where he lived, said Joe Marno, his friend and manager.

The cause of his death was not disclosed.

Formed in Chicago in 1965, the Five Stairsteps included Burke, three of his brothers and a sister. They owed their name to their mother, who said that they looked like stairsteps when they stood beside each other in order of age, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Burke, the eldest brother, was the group’s producer and choreographer, played guitar and wrote many of the songs. He wrote the group’s first single, “You Waited Too Long.” He was not yet 17 when it rose to No. 6 on Billboard’s R&B charts in 1966.

Other hits included “World of Fantasy,” “Don’t Change Your Love,” and “From Us to You.”

However, the group’s biggest hit was 1970′s “O-o-h Child,” written by Stan Vincent. Its signature refrain croons “o-o-h child” and promises that “things are gonna get easier.”

The song has been covered many times and has repeatedly been used in movies and TV shows.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked it No. 402 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

The group disbanded in the late 1970s but the brothers briefly reformed as the Invisible Man’s Band and had a 1980 success with the dance single “All Night Thing.”

In recent years, Burke performed solo concerts and continued to record with family and friends, according to a family memorial.

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