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Archive for the ‘Pop’ Category

RIP, Al Jarreau (February 12, 2017) American Jazz Singer

Posted by themusicsover on February 12, 2017

Al Jarreau
March 12, 1940 – February 12, 2017

Al Jarreau was an internationally renowned jazz vocalist who, over the course of his career, earned seven Grammy’s while garnering over a dozen more nominations.  To this day, he’s the only vocalist to win a Grammy in three different categories – in his case, jazz, pop and R&B.  Born in Milwaukee, Jarreau spent much of youth singing at local church and school events.  He continued singing through high school and college where he performed with jazz trio which included George Duke.  By  the early ’70s, Jarreau was performing at top clubs in Los Angeles as well as  on TV shows like The Dinah Shore Show, The Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.  He signed with Warner Bros. Records in 1975 and went on to release 16 studio albums and several more live and compilation albums.  His debut, 1975’s We Got By was released to critical acclaim, and introduced him to new fans the world over.  1981 found Jarreau releasing what would become his best-selling album, Breakin’ Away.  Jarreau continued to record and tour through much of the rest of his life.  On February 8th, 2017, he cancelled his current tour and was hospitalized for exhaustion.  Four days later, February 12th, Al Jarreau, passed away at the hospital surrounded by this family and friends. He was 76. Cause of death was not immediately released.

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RIP, Buddy Greco (January 10, 2017) American Jazz Singer & Pianist

Posted by themusicsover on January 10, 2017

Armando “Buddy” Greco
August 14, 1926 – January 10, 2017

Buddy Greco was a popular jazz and traditional pop singer and pianist who first found fame during the 1960s.  Born in Philadelphia, Greco began learning to play the piano at the age of four.  Within just a few years, he was singing on local radio, and began performing on stage during his teen years. At just 16, Greco was hired by Benny Goodman who took him on the road.  He spent the next four years singing, playing the piano, and arranging music in Goodman’s Orchestra.  Greco signed to Columbia Records during the early ‘6os and went on to release numerous hit singles including “The Lady Is A Tramp,” which alone, sold over 1 million copies.  Throughout his career – which spanned more than 80 years, and up until his death – he recorded over 60 albums, appeared on television countless times, and toured the world over.  Closer to home, Greco was one of Las Vegas’ most popular draws for many years and eventually opened his own club in Palm Springs where you could likely see a celebrity or two before he closed it in 2009 to move to England.  Buddy Greco was 90 years old when he passed away on January 10, 2017.

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RIP, Debbie Reynolds (December 28, 2016) Iconic American Entertainer

Posted by themusicsover on December 28, 2016

Debbie Reynolds (Born Mary Francis Reynolds)
April 1, 1932 – December 28, 2016

Debbie Reynolds was an internationally revered star of stage, film and television.  She did however, make a mark on popular music as well.  Born in El Paso,  Texas, Reynolds moved with her family to Burbank, California as a child.  By the early ’50s, she was under contract with Warner Bros. for whom she starred in several musicals.  Her first hit record came in 1951 – “Aba Daba Honeymoon,” from the film, Two Weeks With Love.  The record reached #3 on the Billboard pop charts.  In 1957, Reynolds scored her biggest hit, “Tammy,” from Tammy and the Bachelor.  It spent five weeks atop the pop charts and was the biggest-selling record by any female that year. It earned Reynolds her first gold record.  In 1959, she signed to Dot Records in 1959 and continued to release hit records for the next couple of years.  On December 28, 2016, Reynolds, was rushed to a hospital after a 911 caller reported that she was having trouble breathing.  Debbie Reynolds passed away later that day of what initial reports were calling a stroke. She was 84.  Her daughter, actress and author Carrie Fisher, passed away the day before at the age of 60.

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RIP, George Michael (December 25, 2016) British Pop Star

Posted by themusicsover on December 26, 2016

George Michael (Born Georgios Panayiotou)
June 25, 1963 – December 25, 2016

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As one-half of the pop vocal duo, Wham!, George Michael rose to stardom during the mid-’80s. Formed with schoolmate, Andrew Ridgeley in 1981, Wham! released just three studio albums, but that was enough to sell over 25 million copies during their short run of five years.  Born in London, Michael began his musical journey busking Queen songs (and more) on the London Underground.  He also worked as a DJ for neighborhood school parties and at local clubs.  In 1981, he and Ridgeley formed Wham!, who went on to release several worldwide hits, including “Careless Whisper,” “Freedom,” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.”  After parting ways with Ridgeley in 1986, Michael launched an even more successful solo career.  His first “solo” single, “I Knew You Were Waiting,” a duet with Aretha Franklin, debuted at #1 in both the US and UK. He followed that with the album Faith in October of 1987.  The album sold over 25 million copies and was named Album of The Year at the 1989 Grammy Awards.  In all, Michael sold more than 100 million albums during his solo run and won two Grammys along with numerous other accolades.  George Michael was just 53 when passed away in his sleep on December 25, 2016.  Initial reports point to heart failure as the cause of death.

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RIP, Leonard Cohen (November 7, 2016) Canadian Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on November 7, 2016

Leonard Cohen
September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016

Photo by Takahiro Kyono

Photo by Takahiro Kyono

Leonard Cohen was a revered Canadian poet, author, and most famously, singer-songwriter.  Over a career that spanned almost 50 years, Cohen provided the dimly-lit smoky-bar soundtrack for people who needed hope, lost faith, felt despair, or longed for love. Initially planning a career as an author and poet, Cohen wanted to reach more people, so he switched gears and found himself singing and performing in New York City at the relatively late age of 33.  He quickly became an unlikely pop star – rugged baritone voice, simple chord structures, and a private, guarded life within a profession that celebrated extroversion. His career might have seemed over when upon the release of his most famous song, 1984’s “Hallelujah,” his label head reportedely told him, “Look, Leonard; we know you’re great, but we don’t know if you’re any good,” before dropping him.  But his songs eventually caught on, and younger generations of singer-songwriters borrowed them to include in their own canons.  “Hallelujah” alone was recorded by over 200 artists, including Bob Dylan, Justin Timberlake, k.d. lang,  John Cale, and most famously, Jeff Buckley.  In all, Cohen’s tunes have been covered by more than 2000. That list includes such greats as Johnny  Cash, Nick Cave, Willie Nelson, R.E.M., and Tori Amos. In 2008, at the age of 74, and facing financial ruin, Cohen embarked on an ambitious (and triumphant!) world tour that would last about three years before his health started to get the better of him. After getting well, he hit the road again doing a seemingly endless series of impassioned shows that ran north of three hours a piece.  That lasted through December of 2013, when he fell ill again.  But Cohen refused to be bound by his health and set out to record what would be the final two albums of his lifetime, 2014’s Popular Problems, and this year’s You Want it Darker, recorded in his home with him in a wheelchair and singing many of the sessions in physical pain.  That album was released just two weeks before his death, and served as a profound self-eulogy in much the same way as David Bowie‘s Lazarus.  It has been reported, thankfully, that exluding his last album, his late-life career revival earned him around $10 million. Leonard Cohen was 82 when he passed away on November 7, 2016.

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