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Posts Tagged ‘Janis Joplin’

Died On This Date (May 17, 2012) Donna Summer / Disco Icon

Posted by themusicsover on May 17, 2012

Donna Summer (Born LaDonna Gaines)
December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012

Donna Summer was a world-renowned American R&B singer who hit her stride during the disco era.  Unlike many of her contemporaries, Summer, with her mezzo-soprano vocal range, needed very little studio trickery for her vocals.  Coming of age in Boston during the early ’60s, Summer spent countless hours listening to records by and imitating the likes of the Supremes and Martha & the Vandellas. By then she had already been singing in church gospel groups.  As the ’60s rolled on, Summer discovered the powerhouse vocals of Janis Joplin, who, along with the early girl groups, influenced her own singing. Upon hearing Joplin sing on her Big Brother and the Holding Company records, she decided that’s what she wanted to do, so she joined her first band as lead singer, the psychedelic rock outfit, Crow.   That brought her to New York City where she focused on Broadway.  Her first role of significance was in the European company of Hair!. In 1975, Summer cut her first record, “Love To Love You Baby,” which although banned by most American radio stations due to its raw sexuality, became an instant smash in Europe.  From there it was a deal with Neil Bogart’s Casablanca Records who began pumping an extended version of the song to underground discos and Summer’s massive gay following was born.  She went on to release several albums that helped define the disco era and became the first artist to have three consecutive #1 albums that were two-record sets.  During the ’80s, Summer broke away from disco by adding a more rock sound to her records, and even though she had tracks on the soundtracks for the blockbuster films, Flashdance and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the decade was not terribly kind to her.  She continued to make records well into the 2000s – some faring better than others, but for the most part were very well received.  Throughout her career, Summer was recognized with five Grammy awards (17 nominations), three multi-platinum albums, 11 gold albums, an NAACP Image Award, and six American Music Awards.  Her songs have been covered (or sampled) by Sheena Easton, David Guetta, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and many more.  Donna Summer passed away after a long struggle with cancer on May 17, 2012.  She was 63.

What You Should Own

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On the Radio - Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 & 2 - Donna Summer

Posted in Disco, R&B, Singer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Died On This Date (December 2, 2011) Howard Tate / Soul Music Legend

Posted by themusicsover on December 2, 2011

Howard Tate
August 14, 1939 – December 2, 2011

Howard Tate was an American soul and gospel singer and songwriter who first found his audience during the ’60s and early ’70s.  With bluesy soul records like “Ain’t Nobody Home,” “Granny,” and “Stop,” Tate built a sizable following which included no less than Janis Joplin, who recorded his “Get It While You Can” on her Pearl album.  After retiring from the music business during the late ’70s, Tate fell into some hard times, and eventually found work as a drug and mental illness counselor and preacher.  In 2003, he mounted a much welcomed comeback with the release of the Grammy nominated Rediscovered which was produced by Jerry Ragavoy who died the same for Tate’s hits back in the 1960s.  Tate back in  A live album followed the following year, and in 2006 he released A Portrait Of Howard, produced by Steve Weisberg and featuring songs by Carla Bley, Lou Reed, and Nick Lowe.  Howard Tate died from complications of Multiple Myeloma and Leukemia on December 2, 2011.  He was 72.

Thanks to Steve Weisberg for the assist.

What You Should Own

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A Portrait of Howard - Howard Tate & The Steve Weisberg Orchestra

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Died On This Date (September 21, 2011) John Larson / The Ides Of March

Posted by themusicsover on September 21, 2011

John Larson
DOB Unknown – September 21, 2011

John Larson was a trumpet who is perhaps best remembered for his tenure in the ’60s rock band, the Ides of March, and more specifically, for his performance in their hit song, “Vehicle.”  Larson joined his fellow Chicago-area classmates in the band in 1968 and immediately contributed to their horn-driven sound which was not dissimilar to that of fellow rock band, Chicago, but with perhaps a bit more dirty soul.  When “Vehicle” came out in 1970, it quickly shot to #2 on the Billboard singles chart, and to this day is considered one of the greatest rock songs of its era.  The band’s fan base quickly grew and so did interest in them on the road.  They went on to tour with Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Janis Joplin, to name a few.  They also toured Canada as part of the legendary Festival Express which was filmed and made into a documentary of the same name in 2003.  The group split up in 1973, but reunited in 1990, with Larson on board for their entire run, until his final gig in 2010.  John Larson died of cancer on September 21, 2011.  He was 61.

Thanks Craig Rosen at Number 1 Albums for the assist.

What You Should Own

Vehicle - The Ides of March

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Died On This Date (July 23, 2011) Amy Winehouse / English Pop Singer, Member of 27 Club

Posted by themusicsover on July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse
September 14, 1983 – July 23, 2011

Member of the 27 Club

Amy Winehouse was an English singer-songwriter who burst on to the scene in 2006 and quickly built a legion of fans for her soulful and sultry songs that offered a mix of R&B, Jazz, Rock, Pop, and Soul.  During a relatively short and troubled life in front of the masses, Winehouse opened the door for such white neo-soul divas as Duffy and Adele.  Born in north London, Winehouse quickly took a shine to music and soon found herself being scolded by her teachers for constantly breaking out into a song during classes.  By 13, she had her first guitar, and within a year she was writing her own songs.  Shortly after that she was signed by Simon Fuller’s 19 Management.  Fuller of course, is of American Idol fame.  In October of 2003, Winehouse released her debut album, Frank, likely in a nod to one of her idols, Frank Sinatra.   The album was critically acclaimed and did well across the U.K., but it wasn’t until the release of 2006’s Back To Black and its instantly iconic first single, “Rehab,” that Winehouse’s popularity skyrocketed around the globe.  The album entered the U.S. charts at #7, and was the biggest selling album of the year in the U.K.  Back To Black and Winehouse won several Grammys that year, including Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist.  The album also sat in the Top 10 of most credible year-end best-of lists of 2006.  But the spotlight was harsh on Winehouse who was dealing with her own internal demons.  She admitted to struggling with eating disorders, depression and self harm, while abuse of illegal drugs contributing to a life that seemed to be quickly spiraling out of control.  There were also a handful of legal issues – drug related and otherwise, along with health problems that were keeping Winehouse’s often sadly frightening images in the media, no thanks to paparazzi who were documenting her fall from greatness.  On July 23, 2011, Amy Winehouse was found to be not breathing in her bed by her security guard who immediately called paramedics who were not able to revive her.  Cause of death was attributed to alcohol poisoning.  Like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and so many great 27 Clubbers before her, Winehouse was 27 when she passed away.

What You Should Own

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Back to Black - Amy Winehouse

Posted in Musician, Pop, R&B, Rock, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Died On This Date (July 23, 2011) Amy Winehouse / English Pop Singer, Member of 27 Club

Died On This Date (July 13, 2011) Jerry Ragovoy / Wrote Numerous Pop Hits

Posted by themusicsover on July 13, 2011

Jerry Ragovoy
September 4, 1930 – July 13, 2011

Photo by Fernando Leon

Jerry Ragovoy was a prolific hit songwriter who over a career that spanned some 50 years, wrote or co-wrote some of popular music’s most iconic songs.  As one of the most important songwriting figures in the Philadelphia and New York soul scenes of the ’60s, his songs have been enjoyed by millions.  His most famous tunes were “Time Is On My Side” (Irma Thomas, the Rolling Stones), “Cry Baby,” and “Piece Of My Heart” (Janis Joplin).  His songs have also been recorded by Garnet Mimms, Howard Tate, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Costello, the Yardbirds, the Small Faces, Dusty Springfield, Chaka Kahn, the Moody Blues, Barry White, Bonnie Raitt, and many more.  Ragovoy also produced several records throughout his career as well.  Those he worked with in that capacity include Dionne Warwick and Paul Butterfield.  Jerry Ragovoy died on July 13, 2011 of complications from an earlier stroke.  He was 80.

Thanks to Benji Isabel for the assist.

What You Should Own

Click to find at

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