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Legendary songwriter Gerry Goffin dies at 75

The songwriter Gerry Goffin, who alongside former wife Carole King wrote some of the most indelible songs of the ’60s, died of natural causes early Thursday morning at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75.

Goffin and King began their songwriting team soon after they were married in 1959, working out of New York City’s legendary Brill Building, which housed a number of influential songwriters (as well as musicians, producers, and assorted music industry professionals), who churned out hit songs at a factory-like pace in the years between rock and roll’s first wave of popularity and the rise of album-oriented radio in the ’70s. The Goffin-King credit appeared beside some of the era’s biggest hits, including “The Loco-Motion,” “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “Some Kind of Wonderful,” and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” the pair’s first No. 1 hit and most frequently recorded song. READ FULL STORY

Casey Kasem, famed radio DJ and voice actor, has died at 82

Casey Kasem, whose distinctive voice defined the interstitial sound of Top 40 radio for decades, has died. He was 82. The cause of death was not immediately released, though he had been ill for some time.

Kasem’s daughter Kerri tweeted the news Sunday morning, writing, “Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends. Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. The world will miss Casey Kasem, an incredible talent and humanitarian; we will miss our Dad.”

Kasem, born Kemal Amin Kasem to Lebanese immigrant parents in Detroit in 1932, began his radio career when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, working as a disc-jockey-announcer on the Armed Forces Radio Korea Network before returning to civilian life and taking DJ posts at stations in San Francisco and Oakland, California. After moving to Los Angeles, he began playing small supporting roles in a number of low-budget Hollywood films, and made his first forays into television voice-overs. That led to work on a number of animated shows, including the role of Shaggy on Scooby Doo, which he reprised in both films and on TV for five decades. READ FULL STORY

Frankie Knuckles, 'Godfather of House Music,' dies at 59

Frankie Knuckles, one of dance music’s most formative stars, has died of undisclosed causes. He was 59.

The Bronx-born Francis Nicholls went from a kid riding into the city to hit after-hours spots like Sanctuary and the Loft in the early days of disco to presiding over the Warehouse, the legendary Chicago club that birthed house music (the genre literally got its title from a diminutive of the club’s name).

Knuckles went on to become a prolific DJ, producer, and remixer (for the likes of Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and Toni Braxton), and held now-iconic residencies at clubs including his own Chicago spot Power Plant, London’s The World, and New York City’s Sound Factory. In 2004, Chicago named a street near the old Warehouse location Frankie Knuckles Way, and in 2005 he was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.

Knuckles suffered from Type II Diabetes, which may have contributed to his death.

The Stooges drummer Scott Asheton dies

Scott Asheton, the drummer for punk icons the Stooges, has died at 64. The immediate cause was not disclosed, but he had suffered a major stroke in 2011 after a live performance in France.

Aside from Iggy Pop, Asheton was the last remaining core member of the band; his older brother Ron, the guitarist, passed away in 2009, and bassist Dave Alexander died in 1975.

The Stooges’ initial run fit the punk-rock ethos of burning bright and fast: They released a trio of now-classic albums beginning with their self-titled debut in 1969 and followed by 1970′s Fun House and 1973′s Raw Power, before breaking up in 1974 in part because of Pop’s heroin addiction.

Scott went on to play drums in Fred “Sonic” Smith’s Sonic Rendezvouz, and later in Scot’s Pirates, Sonny Vincent’s Rat Race Choir, and his own band Rock Action. He rejoined the Stooges in 2003. The group was famously nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame seven times before finally being inducted in 2010 by fellow Michigan native Madonna.

Pop posted a message on his official Facebook page yesterday: READ FULL STORY

Devo guitarist Bob Casale has died -- REPORT

According to online reports, Bob Casale, guitarist for new wave icons Devo, has died at 61. The cause was complications stemming from heart failure. His brother Gerald, also a member of the band, confirmed the news on Twitter:

“As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning,” Gerald told TMZ. “He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer, and talented audio engineer — always giving more than he got.”

The Ohio-bred fivesome, formed in 1972, were known for their sardonic humor and signature flowerpot hats. Their early albums, including Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and Freedom of Choice made them underground heroes — and even mainstream stars for a brief moment in the early ’80s, thanks to new-wave classics like “Whip It” and “Girl U Want.”

Casale was predeceased in the band by drummer Alan Meyers, who passed away last June at age 58 following a battle with stomach cancer. Frontman and cofounder Mark Mothersbaugh, who went on to score a number of popular films and TV shows, has been in the news recently for his work in The Lego Movie, currently the no. 1 film in the country.

Jonas Brothers officially break up

A “deep rift” has now become a permanent one — the Jonas Brothers are no more. (Well, they’re still brothers, but no longer bandmates).

After abruptly cancelling their 19-date tour two days before its scheduled Pennsylvania kick-off due to “a big a disagreement over their music direction,” the trio has announced that they are officially no longer together. “It’s over for now,” Kevin Jonas, 25, told People magazine, and Joe, 24, calls the decision “unanimous.”

Youngest brother Nick, 21, said, “I was feeling kind of trapped. I needed to share my heart with my brothers …. It’s really hard to say ‘forever. We’re closing a chapter, for sure.”

Since 2006, the Jonas Brothers have released five albums and sold some 8 million copies; they also found success on television via the Disney series JONAS (later Jonas L.A.) and the 2008 TV movie Camp Rock and its sequel.

All three have pursued solo projects over the last several years — Nick released a 2010 album with his own band, Nick Jonas & The Administration, and starred in Broadway’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in 2012; Joe has made various guest appearances on television, and Kevin stars with his wife Danielle on the E! reality show Married to Jonas.

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.

READ FULL STORY

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.
READ FULL STORY

Music icon Lou Reed is dead at 71

Lou-Reed.jpg

Lou Reed, one of the most seminal figures of the rock era, has died of undisclosed causes at age 71, according to a report on Rolling Stone. He underwent a liver transplant in May, which may be connected to his cause of death.

From his early days with the Velvet Underground to his pioneering solo work, Reed became both a working legend and a totem of alternative culture and eternal, scowling cool. Born Lewis Allan Reed in Brooklyn in 1942, he studied journalism, film directing, and creative writing at Syracuse University and worked as a songwriter for a small record label before forming VU with original members John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker in 1964.

The Velvet Underground would essentially become the house band for Andy Warhol’s burgeoning downtown scene (he promoted them heavily, and paired them with German model/chanteuse Nico for a time), and though their 1967 debut The Velvet Underground & Nico hardly caused a ripple commercially, their sound  – steeped in drugs and sex and the darker edges of bohemian excess — was hugely influential. (Brian Eno is supposedly the one who said, “Only five thousand people ever bought a Velvet Underground album, but every single one of them started a band.”)
READ FULL STORY

Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for the Doors, has died at 74

Ray Manzarek, the founding keyboardist for the Doors, passed away this morning in Germany, according to a statement from his publicist. The cause was bile duct cancer.

As a member of the legendary rock band that formed in 1965 in Los Angeles and effectively ended with the death of frontman Jim Morrison in 1971 (though the group continued to perform and release music in other iterations for many years), Manzarek became an enduring symbol of the era — he was portrayed by Kyle McLachlan in the 1991 Oliver Stone biopic The Doors, and wrote a best-selling memoir about his experiences, Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors, in 1998.

The Doors sold more than 100 million albums worldwide on the strength of hits like “Hello, I Love You,” “Riders on the Storm,” “Light My Fire,” and “Break On Through to the Other Side.”

Manzarek is survived by his wife Dorothy, son Pablo, and three grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Manzarek’s name to www.standup2cancer.org.

More on EW.com:
Singer and producer Romanthony, best known for Daft Punk’s ‘One More Time,’ has died
KROQ’s annual Weenie Roast feat. the Black Keys, Vampire Weekend, Imagine Dragons and more: Watch the live stream here
George Michael injured in car crash

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