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Posts Tagged ‘Prince’

RIP, Chuck Berry (March 18, 2017) Rock and Roll Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on March 18, 2017

Chuck Berry
October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017

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As one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, Chuck Berry refined the early sounds of rhythm and blues, added catchy teen-centric lyrics, and turned up the volume of his guitar.  By doing so, he became one of the most influential artists pop music has ever known. Launching his recording career during the mid ’50s, Berry created songs that not only became a part of  America’s fabric, but would be played on radios, at parties, in concerts, on television, and in movies for the next 60 years. His remarkable output included such unforgettable songs as  “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and “Rock and Roll Music.”  On stage, he stood head and shoulders above most of his peers by adding a showmanship that included dazzling guitar solos, and of course, that “duck walk” across the stage.  His direct influence is staggering –  the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Beach Boys, Michael JacksonBruce Springsteen, U2, Prince, Ted Nugent, Tom Petty, and George Thorogood  (to name just a very few) have all cited him as a significant influence or honored him in some way.  In 1986, Berry was deservedly part of the initial class inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he went on to receive countless accolades for the rest of his life.  And of course, a pop music-related “Best Of” list that does not include him or one of his records somewhere near the top, should be taken to the shredder.  Chuck Berry was 90 when he passed away in his home on March 18, 2017. Cause of death was not immediately released.

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Posted in Early Rock, Musician, R&B, Rock, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on RIP, Chuck Berry (March 18, 2017) Rock and Roll Pioneer

Died On This Date (April 21, 2016) Prince / Musical Genius

Posted by themusicsover on April 21, 2016

Prince Rogers Nelson
June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016

Photo by David Plastik - Click To Order Quality Prints - Discount code: 10OFF

Photo by David Plastik – Click To Order Quality Prints – Discount code: 10OFF

Prince was his given name, and that’s all he needed to become one of the most well-known, influential, innovative and gifted musicians, songwriters, singers, producers, and performers pop music has ever known.  Born and raised in the Minneapolis area, Prince would eventually come to represent what was known as the Minneapolis sound – a marriage of funk, rock, synth pop, new wave, and dance.  He released his first album, For You, in 1978 and what followed was an astonishing run of 39 albums over the course of 35 years.  Some double, and even triple, albums.  But it was 1984’s soundtrack to his film, Purple Rain, that first sent Prince into the stratosphere. It was his first album to top the Billboard album charts and went on to sell a staggering 13 million in the US alone. Purple Rain is often regarded as one of the top five greatest albums ever made – of any genre.  He was far from done though, as he went on to be recognized with 32 Grammy nominations, winning seven throughout his career.  In  all, Prince scored four #1 albums in the US, and an additional 12 landed in the Top 10.  As a performer, there were very few who could match him when it came to captivating his audiences.  That was put on international display when he did the Super Bowl Halftime show in 2007.  As torrential rains hammered the stage like no other time in Super Bowl history, Prince took the storm and made it his stage prop to gloriously add an exclamation point to his final song, “Purple Rain.”  Rumor has it that when the show’s director asked out of concern what they should do to protect him, the band, and the dancers from being electrocuted, Prince replied, “can you make it rain harder?”   Since 2014, Prince released four new albums, and legend has it that he has enough finished material in his vault to keep releases coming for years if not decades to come.  Whether they will ever see the light of day is debatable.  On April 21, 2016, Prince was found unconscious in an elevator within his studio complex, Paisley Park.  Attempts to revive him failed and he was pronounced dead on the scene.  He was just 57.  Cause of death was not immediately known, but foul play or suicide were not initially suspected.

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Posted in Funk, Gospel, Musician, Pop, R&B, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Died On This Date (April 23, 2013) James “Creeper” Vasquez / Minneapolis Funk Drummer

Posted by themusicsover on April 23, 2013

James Vasquez
September 13, 1954 – April 23, 2013

James-Creeper-DavisJames “Creeper” Vasquez was a Minneapolis drummer who cut his teeth playing in several funk and soul groups that populated the Twin Cities during the 1970s. During his late teens, Vasquez helped form Band of Thieves with Napoleon Crayton and Donald Breddlove.   It was Band of Thieves and such contemporaries as the Valdons that went on to influence the likes of Prince and Morris Day who introduced the Minneapolis funk and soul scene to a world-wide audience a decade later.  Band of Thieves released just one self-titled album before disbanding.  In 2012, Vasquez was all but retired from the music industry when Secret Stash Records released Twin Cities Funk & Soul: Lost Grooves From Minneapolis/St. Paul (1964-1979).  To celebrate the release, the label put together The Secret Stash Soul Revue which included Vasquez on drums.  He continued to play throughout the area with his former band mates until his passing.  On April 23, 2013, James Vasquez died of pancreatic cancer.  He was 58.

Thanks to Eric Foss at Secret Stash Records for the assist.

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Died On This Date (February 1, 2012) Don Cornelius / Creator & Host Of “Soul Train”

Posted by themusicsover on February 1, 2012

Don Cornelius
September 27, 1936 – February 1, 2012

Don Cornelius was the creator, writer, producer, and host of the extremely influential American dance program, Soul Train.  Launched in October of 1961 after Cornelius noticed a void of nationally broadcast television shows that catered to the African-American audience, Soul Train ran until March of 2006.  Cornelius hosted the program from its inception until 1993.  Soul Train has been praised for influencing countless African-American kids while bringing black music into the white neighborhoods.  Over the years, the show featured lip-synched performances by everyone from James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin, to Michael Jackson, Ice Cube and Prince.  Two popular segments of the show were the “Soul Train Scrabble Board” where two dancers tried to un-scramble letters to identify a significant person in African-American culture, and the oft-imitated “Soul Train Line” where the dancers formed two lines and then strutted their stuff with a partner down the middle.  In 1987, Cornelius launched the Soul Train Awards, a nationally broadcast program that honored the year’s best artists in R&B, Soul, Jazz and Hip-Hop.  The show ran until 2000.  Throughout the years, Cornelius was honored and/or parodied in countless sit-coms, rap songs, and films.   In the early hours of February 1, 2012, police responded to the home of Don Cornelius where they found him dead of what initially appeared to have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  He was 75.

Thanks to Bruce Kilgour at Slipped Disc Entertainment for the assist.

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Died On This Date (January 26, 2012) Clare Fischer / Legendary Arranger, Composer & Jazz Musician

Posted by themusicsover on January 26, 2012

Clare Fischer
October 22, 1928 – January 26, 2012

Clare Fischer was a pianist, composer and arranger who, besides having his own respectable career as a musician, arranged music for some of pop music’s biggest stars.  Fischer was still a child when he first started making music, and after graduating from college and serving in the Army, he pursued a career in music.  During the late ’50s, he took on his first gig of note as the pianist and arranger for popular vocal quartet, the Hi-Los.  It was his work with the group that helped establish them as a major influence on the likes of the Manhattan Transfer, Brian Wilson, and Quincy Jones.  It was around that time that he also arranged music for jazz greats Cal Tjader, Donald Byrd, and George Shearing among others.  Fischer began recording his own albums in 1962.  His output includes First Time Out, Surging Ahead, and Clare Fischer & Salsa Picante Present 2+2 , for which he won a Grammy.  Throughout his career, he was recognized with 11 Grammy nominations and two wins.   In 1985, Fischer began writing arrangements for Prince.  Albums on which they collaborated include Under A Cherry Moon and Graffiti Bridge.  Other artists he arranged for include Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, and Robert Palmer.  On January 26, 2012, Clare Fischer died as a result of a heart attack he suffered some three weeks prior.  He was 83.

Thanks to Ken McCullagh for the assist.

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Clare Fischer

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