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Tag: Tributes (31-40 of 41)

Jet Harris, bassist of the Shadows, dies: He was one of the first to create melodic bass lines in rock

Terence “Jet” Harris, the original bassist for pioneering British rock group the Shadows, has died at age 71 after a two-year battle with cancer.

Jet Harris was with the Shadows from 1958 to 1962, a period that found the Shads blazing trails for instrumental rock as well as backing burgeoning star Cliff Richard (who had American chart success with the less-than-rockin’ “Suddenly” with Olivia Newton-John). In a statement to the UK press, Richard said that “Jet will always be an integral part of British rock ‘n’ roll history. Losing him is sad — but the great memories will stay with me. Rock on, Jet.”

Even if you don’t know the Shadows, you’ve undoubtedly heard their 1960 hit “Apache” before or it’s countless knock-offs. It was basically the foundation for all those surf rock tunes that pop up in Quentin Tarantino movies. “Apache” also lives on through a 1973 cover by the Incredible Bongo Band, which has popped up in innumerable hip-hop songs from the Sugarhill Gang to Missy Elliot. READ FULL STORY

Dr. Dre debuts 'I Need a Doctor' video, pays tribute to Eazy-E: See it here!

Another footnote to the Ruthless Records era has just been written. Dr. Dre debuted his new video for “I Need a Doctor,” the second single off his third—and, supposedly, final—album, Detox. And it does feel like a career-capper. Check it out: READ FULL STORY

Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum returns with a beautiful acoustic set at Chris Knox benefit show

neutral-milk-hotelImage Credit: Will WestbrookNone of the 500 or so people who bought $75 tickets for the Chris Knox benefit show held at N.Y.C.’s Le Poisson Rouge last night were quite sure what we were getting into. We knew that a motley group of musicians and comedians would take the stage to raise money for Knox, the New Zealand indie-pop hero who suffered a stroke last summer. One of them, stunningly, would be Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel — a man as private as he is brilliant, who has performed very, very rarely since 2001. (He’s pictured above, second from the left with the rest of Neutral Milk Hotel in 1998.) Beyond that? Zip. The event’s organizers refused to provide the performers’ order or start times beforehand. Mangum’s “very short acoustic set” could be coming at any time between 6:30 P.M. and 1 A.M.

Standing in line outside Le Poisson Rouge before the show, I wondered if Mangum wouldn’t turn up at the very end of the night, play “Sign the Dotted Line,” the stirring Knox cover he contributed to last year’s Stroke tribute CD, and disappear again. I found myself thinking of an old Jewish folk song, “Dayenu“: Seeing Mangum sing even just that one tune would have been enough for me. So I went downstairs and settled in for the first few performers. Some of them, like TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone and singer-songwriter Sharon van Etten, were quite good. Out of nowhere around 8:35 P.M., comic Rachel Feinstein ended her raunchy stand-up routine with a casual, “Okay, Jeff Mangum is next!” Suddenly the room got very loud. READ FULL STORY

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony: Eyewitness report

hall-of-fameImage Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images“The class of 2010 represents diversity!” So said Rock and Roll Hall of Fame head honcho Jann Wenner at the start of this year’s induction shindig, which was held Monday evening in New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Whether that was the sound of a man relishing rock’s rich pageant or making lemonade out of some collectively strange-tasting lemons is a debatable point. But there’s no doubt this year’s crop of inductees—Genesis, the Hollies, the Stooges, Jimmy Cliff, and ABBA—had very little in common, save a willingness to turn up and be feted by their musical peers at the annual celebration of rockitude.

The performances were as varied as the terpsichoreal stylings. Genesis, for example, didn’t play at all, leaving Phish to competently tackle chunks of the prog-rockers’ back catalog. Meanwhile, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff tore the place up with renditions of his classic tracks “You Can Get it if You Really Want,” “Many Rivers To Cross,” and a Wyclef Jean-assisted “The Harder They Come.” Cliff and his fabulous silver jacket even topped Iggy Pop, who, it is perhaps needless to note, went shirtless fronting the Stooges as they stormed through “Search and Destroy” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” ABBA were represented musically by Benny Andersson, who accompanied Faith Hill on piano for a version of “The Winner Takes It All,” and the Hollies sounded merely like an agreeable-ish wedding band, despite boasting the vocal talents of both Graham Nash and Adam Levine from Maroon 5.

Actually, attending the chicken dinner-featuring event was very much like going to someone’s nuptials, except that instead of the best man making a speech about the time the groom got an unfortunate rash in Amsterdam, Phish’s Trey Anastasio illuminated us on the excellence of Genesis’ complex time signatures. And that was by no means the end of the speechifying.  Steven Van Zandt took time out to note the current “spiritual bankruptcy” of the record business when he inducted the Hollies, Billie Joe Armstrong recited a lengthy list of the acts that had been inspired by the Stooges—one that concluded with “…and my own f—ing band”— and Iggy Pop himself appeared close to tears as he ruminated on his reformed combo’s “lovely, lovely, second act.”

Finally, Benny Andersson pointed out that while his native Sweden may not be steeped in blues music, it is steeped in being darned cold, which he claimed explains both the films of Ingmar Bergman and the more melancholic moments of ABBA’s own oeuvre. Thank you for the entertaining amateur psychology, Benny! And, of course, the music.

So, what do you think of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees? And who would you like to see get the nod in 2011? Let us know!

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Kim Burrell wows Whitney Houston with 'I Believe in You and Me' at BET Honors

Introducing Kim Burrell for a surprise tribute to Whitney Houston at the BET Honors, which aired last night, presenter Ne-Yo called her “one of Ms. Houston’s favorite voices on the planet.” He wasn’t kidding: Houston literally leaped out of her seat when she heard Burrell’s name. She stayed up through Burrell’s stirring performance of “I Believe in You and Me,” dancing in the aisles while she watched the gospel singer light up the stage. By the song’s end, Houston was mouthing the words “I love you” with what looked like tears in her eyes. It was a genuinely moving moment, given the personal trials Houston has surmounted in the past decade.

Did you watch the BET Honors last night? What were your favorite moments? Whether or not you tuned in, you can catch Burrell’s tribute to Houston below.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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“We Are the World” for Haiti benefit features Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Kanye West, Justin Bieber…
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Imelda May: Who was that singing with Jeff Beck at last night's Grammys?

The Grammy Awards took a brief detour to the middle of last century last night, when guitarist Jeff Beck led a cover of “How High the Moon” in honor of the late Les Paul. Lead vocals were handled by someone you might not have recognized, but who’s already a sizable star in her native Ireland and the U.K.: Rockabilly singer Imelda May.

The Dublin singer has released two albums, No Turning Back and Love Tattoo, the latter reaching No. 12 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers chart this past December. Check out a clip of May performing “Big Bad Handsome Man” on Ireland’s Late Late Show in 2009. Then let us know what you think: Does Imelda May have what it takes to break out in the U.S. like, say, Amy Winehouse did a couple years back? Were you familiar with her work before the Grammys?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Taylor Swift wins Album of the Year: Did the Grammys get it right?
Lady Gaga and Elton John: What did you think?
Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks’ Grammy duet: out of sight, or out of tune?
Grammys pay tribute to Michael Jackson with help from his kids: A fitting salute?
Grammys: the complete list of winners
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Stephen Gately: Why the Boyzone singer's death is the biggest story in the UK

I would imagine that many, if not most, readers had never heard of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately before the tragic announcement this weekend that he had died in Majorca at just 33. And I would guess that a lot of you would be surprised to discover how much space British newspapers such as The Sun, The Mirror, and even a conservative-minded broadsheet like The Telegraph are giving the story.

Nor is the extensive coverage of his death merely due to the fact that the Dublin-born singer was an openly gay pop star. It is hard to overemphasize quite how hugely, and enduringly, successful the Irish Boyzone and their British boy band rivals Take That have been in the UK and Ireland over the past two decades. I lived in England for the two bands’ first periods of success in the ’90s, and although in truth I was not a fan of either act, I couldn’t help but acquire through cultural osmosis a working knowledge of their hits and various personality traits. Pretty much everyone in the country, for example, could have told you Take That’s Robbie Williams was the band’s resident joker, but that it was the quintet’s chief songwriter Gary Barlow who was destined for solo success. (And thus the entire country had to eat its collective metaphorical hat when the former’s solo career ultimately easily eclipsed that of his former colleague.)

Take That were the first to crack the UK top ten with “It Only Takes A Minute,” their 1991 cover of the old Tavares song. Over the next five years they racked up an astonishing number of hits and no fewer than eight chart-topping singles. Meanwhile, Boyzone broke through in the UK with their 1994 version of the Osmonds’ “Love Me For A Reason,” and would themselves score a half dozen number ones over the next five years, including “Words,” “All That I Need,” “You Needed Me,” and “No Matter What.”

Take That split in 1996 and Boyzone followed suit in 2000, the year after Gately went public with his sexuality. In 2005, Take That reformed without Williams and continued their hit-making ways as if they had never gone away. In November 2007, Boyzone leader Ronan Keating announced that they too were getting back together, and last year they embarked on a wildly successful tour of the UK and Ireland. Their first reunion release, “Love You Anyway,” was, remarkably, their 17th single in a row to reach the British top five.

Given the fame of Boyzone, and the fact that Gately died at such young age, you can be sure this is story that will run for a while in the British press. Anyone still bewildered by the fuss, or anyone who wants to remind themselves what the group sounded like, should check out the clip of Boyzone performing “No Matter What” below.

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Jay-Z pays tribute to Michael Jackson

Rap’s foremost MC pays tribute to the King of Pop in British music magazine NME’s new issue, which is dedicated to lost musical icons. Jay-Z begins his written remembrance of Michael Jackson by trying to find some good in the legendary singer’s unexpected death.

“I think it gave Michael a chance to be celebrated for the genius he was without all the other stuff in the way,” Jay-Z writes, “and I don’t know if that would ever have happened had he been alive.”

Shawn Carter also mentions the little-known fact that Jackson sang on the remix of “Girls, Girls, Girls” back in 2001, which went mostly unnoticed because MJ wasn’t credited on the single. But take a listen to the song below—once you know what to expect, you can totally tell it’s Michael’s silky voice on the hook.

“I remember him calling me and him just talking about, you know, ‘syncopation’ and musician stuff like that,” Jay-Z says at the end of his piece. “The Michael Jackson I knew was just a musician who loved music.”

Did you know this was the real Michael, and not a sample? What other collaborations do you wish the King of Pop had lived to do?

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Jim Dickinson: An appreciation of the late, and very great, Memphis musician

If my desert island discs were made up just of music by acts who had worked with Jim Dickinson then I really wouldn’t complain. Never heard of the guy? Don’t feel bad. The Memphis-based session musician and producer, who died yesterday at the age of 67, was hardly a household name and released only a handful of solo albums, none of which were exactly blockbuster hits (though his 1972 solo debut, Dixie Fried, is a terrific collection of idiosyncratic blues whose title nicely summed up this larger-than-life character.) That doesn’t stop Dickinson being a legend, particularly to the many stars of several generations who benefited from his musicianship and his production skills.

This is a man who worked with Sam & Dave and Green On Red; with Bob Dylan and Mudhoney; Aretha Franklin and Big Star. Not impressed yet? Then, it is also worth mentioning that Dickinson played piano on the classic Rolling Stones lament “Wild Horses” (because, so legend has it, the band’s regular pianist, Ian Stewart, refused to play minor chords) and produced the Replacements’ great Pleased To Meet Me album. Meanwhile, the strength of the Dickinson musical genes is evident in the careers of his sons, and North Mississippi Allstars members, Luther and Cody.

Below, you can find a tiny sample of his work, including Bob Dylan’s epic track “Highlands,” on which Dickinson played keyboards. If the clips make you want to find out more, then check out his Zebra Ranch website. Amongst the material to be found there is a quote from producer Daniel Lanois in which he recalls how Dylan once told him, “If you’ve got Dickinson, you don’t need anybody else.” Sadly, the option of “getting Dickinson” has now disappeared, and the world of music is much poorer and less colorful for it.

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Jeff Mangum, Guided By Voices, Will Oldham join Chris Knox tribute

I’ve just learned via Pitchfork that Chris Knox, of lo-fi New Zealand oddballs Tall Dwarfs, suffered a stroke last month and is currently recuperating at home. “It looks like it could be a long recovery process, but Chris is still Chris,” writes a friend in a statement posted online. On the bright side, that same statement says that a tribute album titled Stroke is already in the works, with covers of Knox’s tunes by artists including Jeff Mangum, Will Oldham, Guided By Voices, Yo La Tengo, Lou Barlow, the Mountain Goats, Bill Callahan, and Jay Reatard.

That’s a pretty awesome list. But the name that’s really jumping out for me is that of Jeff Mangum, the intensely private genius behind Neutral Milk Hotel. It’s no secret that Mangum is a friend of Knox’s: One of his rare public performances since NMH went on hiatus ten years ago was a 2001 gig with Knox in Auckland under the name World of Wild Beards Incorporated. You can hear a great live recording of Knox and Mangum covering John Lennon’s “Mother” at that show below. (Side note: I saw these two share a bill four years later when Tall Dwarfs opened for the reunited Olivia Tremor Control, who featured guest vocals from Mangum. During the Dwarfs’ set, Knox raced through the audience and inadvertently shouldered me in the ribs. This did not hinder my enjoyment of the show in the slightest.)


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