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Posts Tagged ‘Queen’

Died On This Date (December 25, 2016) George Michael / 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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Died On This Date (July 12, 2013) Cory Monteith / Singer; Played Finn Hudson on “Glee”

Posted by themusicsover on July 13, 2013

Cory Monteith
May 11, 1982 – July 13, 2013

cory-monteithCory Monteith was a Canadian actor-come-singer who is best remembered for portraying popular high school quarterback/glee club stand-out, Finn Hudson, in Fox Television’s widely popular program, Glee.  Balancing the fine line between big-man-on-campus as the leading jock and social outcast as a member of the school’s glee club, Monteith brought compassion and idealism to a role that attempted to break down teenage stereotypes while examining social caste systems.  The show’s break-out first season of 2009 almost single-handedly  changed the focus of school vocal groups around the world by featuring choral treatments of and dynamic dance routines to some of pop music’s biggest hits.  The cast’s first hit, the pilot’s rousing version of Journey‘s “Don’t Stop Believin,” became an internet sensation and brought the song back to the top of the charts for the first time since it’s 1981 release while selling over a million copies.  Monteith provided co-lead vocals with cast mate and real life girlfriend, Lea Michele.  Other stand-out tracks that featured Monteith on lead or co-lead included Rick Springfield‘s “Jessie’s Girl,” the Doors‘ “Hello, I Love You,” and Queen‘s “Somebody To Love.”  On July 13, 2013, 31-year-old Cory Monteith, was found dead in a Vancouver, Canada hotel room.  According to official reports released on July 16th, , he died from an accidental overdose of heroin and alcohol.

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Died On This Date (April 26, 2011) Phoebe Snow / American Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on April 26, 2011

Phoebe Snow (Born Phoebe Laub)
July 17, 1952 – April 26, 2011

Phoebe Snow was an American singer-songwriter who is perhaps best remembered for her 1975 hit, “Poetry Man.”  Regularly exposed to music while growing up, Snow picked up the guitar at an early age.  She was still in her teens when she began playing at amateur nights throughout New York’s storied Greenwich Village folk clubs.  It was at one of these venues that Snow was discovered by an executive at Shelter Records who signed her and released her self-titled debut album,  Phoebe Snow in July of 1974.  The album included her Top 5 hit, “Poetry Man.”  The album ultimately reached #4 on the Billboard album charts and earned Snow a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, a cover of Rolling Stone, and several memorable appearances on Saturday Night Live.   In 1975, Snow gave birth to her severely brain-damaged daughter Valerie, but instead of placing her in a care facility like most, she opted to care for her herself, which she did until Valerie passed away in 2007.  Throughout Snow’s career, she released numerous critical and fan favorite albums and performed with a who’s who of pop royalty.  That list includes Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Joel, Queen, and Bonnie Raitt, to name just a few.    In 1997, Snow sang the Rosanne theme during the closing moments of the final episode, and years later, became perhaps the most unlikely person in history to sing at both Camp David (for President Bill Clinton), AND at Howard Stern’s wedding.  On January 19, 2010, Phoebe Snow suffered a brain hemorrhage and was placed in a medically induced coma.  She briefly regained consciousness but ultimately passed away on April 26, 2011.  She was 58.

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Died On This Date (June 25, 2006) Arif Mardin / Notable Producer & Arranger

Posted by themusicsover on June 25, 2010

Arif Mardin
March 15, 1932 – June 25, 2006

Born to a well-to-do family in Istanbul, Turkey, Arif Mardin, moved to the United States in 1958, having been awarded a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music.  After graduating, Mardin moved to New York City to break into the music business.  He took a job at Atlantic Records as assistant to fellow Turkish immigrant, Nesuhi Ertegun.  Within no time, Mardin became the label engineer and producer and eventually Sr. Vice President of the company.  Along with Tom Dowd and Jerry Wexler, he would be credited for creating the legendary “Atlantic Sound.”  Over his career he produced hits by a who’s who of popular music, and in doing so was awarded a dozen Grammys and over 40 gold and platinum records.  Artists that he produced include Barbra Streisand, the Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Queen, Aretha Franklin, Norah Jones, Willie Nelson, Dusty Springfield, and many more.  Arif Mardin died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 74.

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Died On This Date (May 5, 2010) Bob Mercer / Music Industry Veteran

Posted by themusicsover on May 5, 2010

Bob Mercer
October 17, 1944 – May 5, 2010

Bob Mercer is perhaps best remembered as the music industry veteran who helmed the wildly successful Now That’s What I Call Music! hit compilation series.  But to many of those with whom he worked, he was above all, a beloved mentor and motivator.   Since the Now series debuted in the United States in 1998, it has sold in the neighborhood of 77 million units combined.  What was fairly unique about the series at the time, at least in the US, was that the CDs collected the biggest current dor recent hits of the day, in a partnership with the major labels.  To many, the series would be a flop, but of course they were proven wrong over and over again.  During his career, Mercer also held executive positions at EMI UK (where he signed the Sex Pistols, Queen, and T. Rex to name a few), PolyGram’s TV division, and New Door Records.  Bob Mercer was 65 when he died of lung cancer on May 5, 2010.

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