Aretha Franklin

Prolific American singer and songwriter Aretha Louise Franklin sadly died on August 15 2018. She was born March 25, 1942. In Memphis, Tennessee.  Her father was an itinerant preacher originally from Shelby, Mississippi, while her mother was an accomplished piano player and vocalist. Her parents had three other children, and both C. L. and Barbara had children from outside their marriage. The family relocated to Buffalo, New York, when Aretha was two. Before her fifth birthday, C. L. Franklin permanently relocated the family to Detroit, Michigan where he took over the pastorship of New Bethel Baptist Church. Aretha’s parents had a troubled marriage due to stories of her father’s philandering and in 1948, the couple separated, with Barbara relocating back to Buffalo with her son, Vaughn, from a previous relationship.

Contrary to popular notion, her mother did not abandon her children; not only would Aretha recall seeing her mother in Buffalo during the summer, Barbara also frequently visited her children in Detroit. Aretha’s mother died on March 7, 1952, before Aretha’s tenth birthday. Several women, including Aretha’s grandmother Rachel and Mahalia Jackson, took turns helping with the children at the Franklin home. Aretha also learned how to play piano by ear. Aretha’s father’s emotionally driven sermons resulted in his being known as the man with the “million-dollar voice” and earning thousands of dollars for sermons in various churches across the country. His celebrity status led to his home being visited by various celebrities, among them gospel musicians Clara Ward, James Cleveland and early Caravans members Albertina Walker and Inez Andrews as well as Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke. Aretha attended Northern High School but later dropped out during her sophomore year.

Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father, C. L. Franklin, was minister. Just after her mother’s death, Franklin began singing solos at New Bethel, debuting with the hymn, “Jesus, Be a Fence Around Me”. Four years later, when Franklin was 14, her father began managing her, bringing her on the road with him during his so-called “gospel caravan” tours for her to perform in various churches. He helped his daughter sign her first recording deal with J.V.B. Records, where her first album, Songs of Faith, was issued in 1956. Franklin sometimes traveled with The Soul Stirrers during this time. At the age of 16, Franklin went on tour with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1960, at the age of 18, she embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but only achieving modest success.

In January 1961, Columbia issued Franklin’s first secular album, Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo. The album featured her first single to chart the Billboard Hot 100, “Won’t Be Long”, which also peaked at number 7 on the R&B chart. Mostly produced by Clyde Otis, Franklin’s Columbia recordings saw her recording in diverse genres such as standards, vocal jazz, blues, doo-wop and rhythm and blues. Before the year was out, Franklin scored her first top 40 single with her rendition of the standard, “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody”, which also included the R&B hit, “Operation Heartbreak”, on its b-side. “Rock-a-Bye” became her first international hit, reaching the top 40 in Australia and Canada. By the end of 1961, Franklin was named as a “new-star female vocalist” in Down Beat magazine. In 1962, Columbia issued two more albums, The Electrifying Aretha Franklin and The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin,

By 1964, Franklin began recording more pop music, reaching the top ten on the R&B chart with the ballad, “Runnin’ Out of Fools” in early 1965. She had two R&B charted singles in 1965 and 1966 with the songs “One Step Ahead” and “Cry Like a Baby” while also reaching the Easy Listening charts with the ballads “You Made Me Love You” and “(No, No) I’m Losing You”. By the mid-1960s, Franklin was netting $100,000 from countless performances in nightclubs and theaters. Also during that period, Franklin appeared on rock and roll shows such as Hollywood A Go-Go and Shindig!.

In November 1966,  Franklin signed to Atlantic Records. In January 1967, she traveled to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to record at FAME Studios to record the song, “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” in front of the musicians of the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section giving Franklin her first top ten pop single. The song’s b-side, “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”, reached the R&B top 40, peaking at number 37. In April, Atlantic issued her frenetic version of Otis Redding’s “Respect”, which shot to number one on both the R&B and pop charts. “Respect” became her signature song and was later hailed as a civil rights and feminist anthem.

She signed to Atlantic Records in 1967.IFranklin’s debut Atlantic album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, also became commercially successful, later going gold. Franklin scored two more top ten singles in 1967 including “Baby I Love You” and “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman”. In 1968, she issued the top-selling albums, Lady Soul and Aretha Now, which included some of Franklin’s most popular hit singles, including “Chain of Fools”, “Ain’t No Way”, “Think” and “I Say a Little Prayer”. In February 1968, Franklin earned the first two of her Grammys, including the debut category for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.[29] On February 16, 1968, Franklin was honored with a day in her honor and was greeted by longtime friend Martin Luther King, Jr. who gave her the SCLC Drum Beat Award for Musicians just two months before his death. In June 1968, she appeared on the cover of Time magazin

Franklin’s success expanded during the early 1970s in which she recorded top ten singles such as “Spanish Harlem”, “Rock Steady” and “Day Dreaming” as well as the acclaimed albums Spirit in the Dark, Young, Gifted & Black, and her gospel album, Amazing Grace, which sold over two million copies. In 1971, Franklin became the first R&B performer to headline Fillmore West, later releasing the live album Aretha Live at Fillmore West. Franklin’s career began to experience problems while recording the album, Hey Now Hey, which featured production from Quincy Jones. Despite the success of the single “Angel”, the album bombed upon its release in 1973. Franklin continued having R&B success with songs such as “Until You Come Back to Me” and “I’m in Love”, but by 1975 her albums and songs were no longer top sellers. After Jerry Wexler left Atlantic for Warner Bros. Records in 1976, Franklin worked on the soundtrack to the film Sparkle with Curtis Mayfield featuring the song, “Something He Can Feel”. Franklin’s follow-up albums  Sweet Passion, Almighty Fire and La Diva, bombed on the charts And she began experiencing problems with her record company by the mid-1970s, then her father was shot in 1979. So Franklin subsequently left Atlantic and signed with Arista Records, finding success with her part in the film The Blues Brothers and with the albums Jump to It and Who’s Zoomin’ Who?

In 1980, after leaving Atlantic Records, Franklin signed with Arista Records and  gave a command performance at the Royal Albert Hall in front of Queen Elizabeth. Franklin also made an acclaimed guest role as a waitress in the comedy musical, The Blues Brothers. Franklin’s first Arista album, Aretha, featured the No. 3 R&B hit, “United Together” and her Grammy-nominated cover of Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose”. The follow-up, 1981’s Love All the Hurt Away, included her famed duet of the title track with George Benson while the album also included her Grammy-winning cover of Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin'”. Franklin achieved a gold record—for the first time in seven years—with the album Jump to It. Its title track was her first top 40 single on the pop charts in six years.

In 1985, inspired by a desire to have a “younger sound” in her music, Who’s Zoomin’ Who? became her first Arista album to be certified platinum. The album sold well over a million copies thanks to the hits, “Freeway of Love”, the title track, and “Another Night”. The next ablum 1986’s Aretha album featured the hit singles “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, “Jimmy Lee” and “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me”, her international number-one duet with George Michael. Franklin provided vocals to the theme songs of the TV shows A Different World and Together. In 1987, she issued her third gospel album, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, which was recorded at her late father’s New Bethel church, followed by Through the Storm in 1989. Franklin’s 1991 album, What You See is What You Sweat, failed, howeverFranklin returned to the charts in 1993 with the dance song “A Deeper Love” and returned to the top 40 with the song “Willing to Forgive” in 1994

In 1998, Franklin won international acclaim for singing the opera aria “Nessun dorma”, at the Grammys of that year replacing Luciano Pavarotti. In 1998 she sang the Lauryn Hill-produced song, “A Rose Is Still a Rose”, Her final Arista album, So Damn Happy, was released in 2003 and featured the Grammy-winning song, “Wonderful”. In 2004, Franklin announced that she was leaving Arista her final album, Wasd the duets compilation album, Jewels in the Crown: All-Star Duets with the Queen, in 2007. Then in 2008 she issued the holiday album, This Christmas, Aretha, on DMI Records.

In 2006 Franklin performed The Star Spangled Banner with Aaron Neville and Dr. John for Super Bowl XL, held in Detroit. She later made international headlines for performing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at President Barack Obama’s inaugural ceremony with her church hat becoming a popular topic online. In 2010, Franklin accepted an honorary degree from Yale University. In 2011, under her own label, Aretha’s Records, she issued the album, Aretha: A Woman Falling Out Of Love. In 2014, Franklin was signed under RCA Records, controller of the Arista catalog and a sister label to Columbia via Sony Music Entertainment, and was working with Clive Davis. An album was planned with producers Babyface and Danger Mouse. On September 29, 2014, Franklin performed to a standing ovation, with Cissy Houston as backup, a compilation of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” on the Late Show with David Letterman. Franklin’s cover of “Rolling in the Deep” was featured among nine other songs in her first RCA release, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, released in October 2014 and she became the first woman to have 100 songs on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with the success of her cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”,

In 2015, Franklin performed “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman” at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors during the section for honoree Carole King, who co-wrote the song. During the bridge of the song, Ms. Franklin dropped her fur coat to the stage, for which the audience rewarded her with a mid-performance standing ovation. She returned to Detroit’s Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day 2016 to once again perform the national anthem before the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions. Seated behind the piano in a black fur coat and Lions stocking cap, this rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” lasted over four minutes and featured a host of improvisations by Franklin.

Over the years Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. Franklin has been honored throughout her career including a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which she became the first female performer to be inducted. She was inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In August 2012, Franklin was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Franklin is listed in at least two all-time lists on Rolling Stone magazine, including the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time; and the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

 

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Elvis Presley

Often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King”, Elvis Presley tragically died 16 August 1977 at the age of 42. He was born 8th January, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. At the age of 13 Presley moved to Memphis, Tennessee, with his family and began his career there in 1954, working with Sun Records owner Sam Phillips, who wanted to bring the sound of African American music to a wider audience. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was one of the originators of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country and rhythm and blues. Presley’s rise to national attention in 1956 transformed the field of popular music and had a huge effect on the broader scope of popular culture.

Presley’s first RCA single, “Heartbreak Hotel“, was released in January 1956, and was a number one hit. He became the leading figure of the newly popular sound of rock and roll with a series of network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized interpretations of songs, many from African American sources, and his uninhibited performance style made him enormously popular—and controversial. In November 1956, he made his film debut in Love Me Tender. He was Conscripted into military service in 1958, and relaunched his recording career two years later with some of his most commercially successful work. He staged few concerts however, and guided by Colonel Tom Parker, he proceeded to devote much of the 1960s to making Hollywood movies and soundtrack albums, most of them critically derided. In 1968, after seven years away from the stage, he returned to live performance in a celebrated comeback television special that led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of profitable tours. In 1973 Presley staged the first concert broadcast globally via satellite, Aloha from Hawaii, seen by approximately 1.5 billion viewers.

Presley is regarded as one of the most important figures of 20th-century popular culture. He had a versatile voice and unusually wide success encompassing many genres, including country, pop ballads, gospel, and blues. He is the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music. Nominated for 14 competitive Grammys, he won three, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. He has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame, and is regarded As the catalyst for the cultural revolution that was rock and roll, he was central not only to defining it as a musical genre but in making it a touchstone of youth culture and rebellious attitude. His name, image, and voice are instantly recognizable around the globe, and in In polls and surveys, he is recognized as one of the most important popular music artists and influential Americans.

“Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century”, said composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. “He introduced the beat to everything and he changed everything—music, language, clothes. It’s a whole new social revolution—the sixties came from it.” Bob Dylan described the sensation of first hearing Presley as “like busting out of jail”. A New York Times editorial on the 25th anniversary of Presley’s death observed, “All the talentless impersonators and appalling black velvet paintings on display can make him seem little more than a perverse and distant memory. But before Elvis was camp, he was its opposite: a genuine cultural force. … Elvis’s breakthroughs are underappreciated because in this rock-and-roll age, his hard-rocking music and sultry style have triumphed so completely.” Not only Presley’s achievements, but his failings as well, are seen by some cultural observers as adding to the power of his legacy.

His sudden death was contributed to by Prescription drug abuse And poor diet which severely compromised his health. Despite this Elvis Presley remains a supreme figure in American life, one whose presence, no matter how banal or predictable, brooks no real comparisons, The cultural range of his music has expanded to the point where it includes not only the hits of the day, but also patriotic recitals, pure country gospel, and really dirty blues. Elvis emerged as a great artist, a great rocker, a great purveyor of schlock, a great heart throb, a great bore, a great symbol of potency, a great ham, a great nice person, and a great American.

Madonna

American singer-songwriter, actress, author, director, entrepreneur and philanthropist Madonna Louise Ciccone was born August 16, 1958 in Bay City, Michigan. In 1977 she moved to New York City to pursue a career in modern dance and performed in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy. In 1982, Madonna signed with Sire Records (an affiliate of Warner Bros. Records) and her debut single, “Everybody”, was released in 1982, and the second, “Burning Up”, in March 1983. Madonna Asked boyfriend John “Jellybean” Benitez, To help Produce her eponymous debut album, Madonna. Benitez remixed most of the tracks and produced “Holiday”, which was her third single and her first international top-ten hit. The album contained upbeat synthetic disco,and was released in 1983 containing the hits “Holiday”, “Borderline” and “Lucky Star”. Madonna’s look, style of dressing, performances, and her music videos influenced young girls and women. Her style became one of the female fashion trends of the 1980s. Created by stylist and jewelry designer Maripol, the look consisted of lace tops, skirts over capri pants, fishnet stockings, jewelry bearing the crucifix, bracelets, and bleached hair.

Madonna achieved global recognition after the release of her second studio album, Like a Virgin, in 1984 Containing The title track, “Like a Virgin”. However it attracted controversy and many organizations who complained that the song and its accompanying video promoted premarital sex and undermined family values, and moralists sought to have the song and video banned. Madonna was also criticized for her performance of “Like a Virgin” at the first 1984 MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) when She appeared on stage atop a giant wedding cake, wearing a wedding dress and white gloves. The performance is noted by MTV as an iconic moment in VMA history. The next hit was “Material Girl” with a video inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s performance of the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.Madonna started dating actor Sean Penn. They married on her birthday in 1985.

In 1985 Madonna appeared as a club singer in The romantic drama Vision Quest, the soundtrack contained two new singles, “Crazy for You” and “Gambler”. She also played the title role in the 1985 comedy film Desperately Seeking Susan, containing the song “Into the Groove”. In 1985, Madonna embarked on The Virgin concert Tour, with the Beastie Boys as her opening act. She progressed from playing CBGB and the Mudd Club to playing large sporting arenas. She also released two more songs, “Angel” and “Dress You Up”. In July, Penthouse and Playboy magazines published a number of nude photos of Madonna, taken in New York in 1978. She had posed for the photographs as she needed money at the time, and was paid as little as $25 a session. The photographs were ultimately sold for up to $100,000. She referred to these events at the 1985 outdoor Live Aid charity concert, saying that she would not take her jacket off because “the media might hold it against me ten years from now.”

In June 1986, Madonna released her third studio album, True Blue, which was inspired by and dedicated to Sean Penn.and contained the songs “Live to Tell”, “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Open Your Heart”,”True Blue” and “La Isla Bonita”. Madonna also starred in the critically panned film Shanghai Surprise, for which she received her first Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress. She made also her theatrical debut in a production of David Rabe’s Goose and Tom-Tom; the film and play both co-starred Penn. In 1987 Madonna was featured in the film Who’s That Girl. She contributed four songs to its soundtrack, including “who’s that Girl?” and “Causing a Commotion”. In 1987 Madonna embarked on the Who’s That Girl World Tour. In 1987 she also released a remix album of past hits, titled You Can Dance. Madonna also filed for divorce from Penn in January 1989, citing irreconcilable differences.

In 1989, Madonna signed a deal with soft-drink manufacturer, Pepsi. In one of her Pepsi commercials, she debuted her song “Like a Prayer”. The corresponding music video featured many Catholic symbols such as stigmata and cross burning, and a dream of making love to a saint, leading the Vatican to condemn the video. Religious groups sought to ban the commercial and boycott Pepsi products. Pepsi revoked the commercial and canceled her sponsorship contract. “Like a Prayer” appeared on Madonna’s fourth studio album, Like a Prayer, which was co-written and co-produced by Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray and contained the songs “Like a Prayer”, “Express Yourself”, “Cherish”, In 1990 Madonna starred as Breathless Mahoney in the film Dick Tracy with Warren Beatty playing the title role.Her performance led to a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress. To accompany the film, she released the soundtrack album, I’m Breathless, which included songs inspired by the film’s 1930s setting. It also featured the songs “Vogue” and “Sooner or Later”, which earned songwriter Stephen Sondheim an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1991. In 1990, Madonna embarked on her Blond Ambition World Tour, Which caused controversy and generated strong negative reaction from religious groups for her performance of “Like a Virgin”, during which two male dancers caressed her body before she simulated masturbation. The Laserdisc release of the tour won Madonna a Grammy Award in 1992 for Best Long Form Music Video. In 1990 Madonna released the Greatest-hits compilation album,”The Immaculate Collection” Including new songs, “Justify My Love” and “Rescue Me” The album was certified diamond by RIAA and sold over 30 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling compilation album by a solo artist in history. Madonna again courted controversy in the video for “Justify My Love” which featured scenes of sadomasochism, bondage, same-sex kissing, and brief nudity. In 1990 Madonna Pulled out of Jennifer Lynch’s film, Boxing Helena. Madonna had an eight-month relationship with rapper Vanilla Ice; he ended their relationship because of Madonna’s Sex book. Her first documentary film Truth or Dare (known as In Bed with Madonna outside North America)[86] was released in May 1991 and Chronicled her Blond Ambition World Tour.

In 1992, Madonna Starred in the film A League of Their Own as Mae Mordabito, a baseball player on an all-women’s team. She also recorded the film’s theme song, “This Used to Be My Playground”. She also founded her own entertainment company, Maverick in 1992, consisting of a record company (Maverick Records), a film production company (Maverick Films), and associated music publishing, television broadcasting, book publishing and merchandising divisions. The deal was a joint venture with Time Warner.The first release from the venture was Madonna’s book, titled Sex. It consisted of sexually provocative and explicit images, photographed by Steven Meisel. The book again caused controversy and received strong negative reaction from the media and the general public.she also released her fifth studio album, Erotica, containing The singles: “Deeper and Deeper”, “Bad Girl”, “Fever”, “Rain” and “Bye Bye Baby”. Madonna also featured in the 1993 erotic thriller, Body of Evidence, a film which contained scenes of sadomasochism and bondage and also starred in the film Dangerous Game, which was described as “angry and painful, and the pain feels real.” in 1993, Madonna embarked on The Girlie Show World Tour, in which she dressed as a whip-cracking dominatrix surrounded by topless dancers. In Puerto Rico she rubbed the island’s flag between her legs on stage, causing outrage among the audience. in 1994, she caused further controversy on the Late Show with David Letterman, using profanity that required censorship on television, and handing Letterman a pair of her panties and asking him to smell it. The releases of her sexually explicit films, albums and book, and the aggressive appearance on Letterman all made critics question Madonna as a sexual renegade.

She later released the ballad “I’ll Remember” in an attempt to tone down her provocative image, which was recorded for Alek Keshishian’s film With Honors. She made a subdued appearance with Letterman at an awards show and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In 1994 Madonna released her sixth studio album, Bedtime Stories which Had a softer image to try to improve the public perception. It featured the songs, “Secret”, “Take a Bow”, “You’ll See”, “One More Chance”, and a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You”.Madonna started dating rapper Tupac Shakur, but it ended in 1994. Next year, the rapper revealed in a letter to the singer that he ended the relationship because she was white. She later became romantically involved with fitness trainer Carlos Leon. In 1996 Madonna starred in the musical Evita, Playing the title role of Eva Perón whom Madonna had always wanted to portray, so she asked director Alan Parker. She had vocal training and learned about the history of Argentina and Perón. During shooting she became ill several times due to the intense emotional effort required. After its release, Evita garnered critical appreciation and Madonna won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for the role. She released three singles from the Evita soundtrack album, including “You Must Love Me” (which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1997) and “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”. Madonna was later presented with the Artist Achievement Award by Tony Bennett at the 1996 Billboard Music Awards.

PART TWO

On October 14, 1996, Madonna gave birth to Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, her daughter with Leon. However Her relationship with Carlos Leon ended 1997. After Lourdes’s birth, Madonna became involved in Eastern mysticism and Kabbalah. She was also introduced to Jewish mysticism by actress Sandra Bernhard in 1997. Madonna’s seventh album, Ray of Light, was released in 1998 and She collaborated with electronica producer William Orbit to create a sound that could blend dance music with pop and British rock. Techno and rave was happening in the 90s and had a lot of different forms Such as very experimental, hard stuff like Aphex Twin and party stuff like Fatboy Slim. Ray of Light was honored with four Grammy Awards—including Best Pop Album and Best Dance Recording—and was nominated for both Album of the Year and Record of the Year Rolling Stone listed it among “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. It featured the songs, “Frozen” and “Ray of Light”. In 1999, Madonna recorded the single “Beautiful Stranger” for the film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, which earned her a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Madonna also starred in the 2000 film The Next Best Thing, and contributed two songs to the film’s soundtrack; “Time Stood Still” and a cover of Don McLean’s 1971 song “American Pie”.

In 2000 Madonna Collaborated with French producer Mirwais Ahmadzaï, and released her eighth studio album, Music, which featured elements from the electronica-inspired Ray of Light era. “Music”, “Don’t Tell Me”, and “What It Feels Like for a Girl” The music video of “What It Feels Like for a Girl” depicted Madonna committing acts of crime and vandalism, and was banned by MTV and VH1. In 1998 She met director Guy Ritchie, who would become her second husband, and gave birth to their son Rocco John Ritchie on August 11, 2000 in Los Angeles. Rocco however Madonna suffered complications from the birth due to her experiencing placenta praevia. He was christened at Dornoch Cathedral in Dornoch, Scotland, on December 21, 2000. Madonna married Ritchie the following day at nearby Skibo Castle. In 2001 Madonna embarked on Her fifth concert tour, titled Drowned World Tour, Visiting cities in the U.S. and Europe She also released her second greatest-hits collection, titled GHV2, to coincide with the home video release of the tour. Madonna then starred in the film Swept Away, directed by Ritchie And appeared in London in the West End play Up For Grabs at the Wyndhams Theatre (billed as ‘Madonna Ritchie’) in 2002. She also released “Die Another Day”, the title song for the James Bond film Die Another Day, in which she had a cameo role. The song was nominated for both a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Raspberry for Worst Song.

Following Die Another Day, Madonna collaborated with fashion photographer Steven Klein in 2003 for an exhibition installation named X-STaTIC Pro=CeSS in New York’s Deitch Projects gallery. It included photography from a photo shoot in W magazine, and seven video segments. Madonna also released her ninth studio album, American Life in 2003, which was based on her observations of American society. However the original music video was canceled as Madonna thought that the video, featuring violence and war imagery, would be deemed unpatriotic since America was then at war with Iraq. Madonna gave another provocative performance at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, while singing “Hollywood” with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Missy Elliott. Madonna sparked controversy for kissing Spears and Aguilera suggestively during the performance. Madonna provided guest vocals on Spears’ single “Me Against the Music”. Followed by the release of Remixed & Revisited which contained remixed versions of songs from American Life and included “Your Honesty”,

Madonna also signed a contract with Callaway Arts & Entertainment to be the author of five children’s books. Including The English Roses, which was about four English schoolgirls and their envy and jealousy of each other. In 2004 Madonna and Maverick sued Warner Music Group and Time Warner, claiming that mis management of resources and poor bookkeeping had cost the company millions of dollars In return, Warner countersued alleging that Maverick had lost tens of millions of dollars by itself. The dispute was resolved when the Maverick shares, owned by Madonna and Ronnie Dashev, were purchased by Warner. Madonna and Dashev’s company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Music. In 2004 Madonna embarked on the Re-Invention World Tour in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Which became the subject of her documentary I’m Going to Tell You a Secret. Madonna was also inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame as one of its five founding members, along with The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, and U2. Rolling Stone ranked her at number 36 on its special issue of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. In 2005, Madonna performed a cover version of the John Lennon song “Imagine” at Tsunami Aid and also performed at the Live 8 benefit concert in London in July 2005. Madonna also released Her tenth studio album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, which won a Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album and featured the song, “Hung Up”, which went on to reach number one in 40 and 41 countries respectively, earning a place in Guinness World Record. The song contained a sample of ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”, ABBA songwriter Björn Ulvaeus remarked “It is a wonderful track—100 per cent solid pop music.” The second single was “Sorry”.

In 2006 Madonna embarked on the Confessions Tour again causing controversy by using religious symbols, such as the crucifix and Crown of Thorns, in the performance of “Live to Tell”. This caused the Russian Orthodox Church and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia to urge all their members to boycott her concert. the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) announced officially that Madonna had sold over 200 million copies of her albums. While on tour Madonna participated in the Raising Malawi initiative by partially funding an orphanage in and traveling to that country. While there, she decided to adopt a boy named David Banda in October 2006. The adoption caused more controversy, because Malawian law requires would-be parents to reside in Malawi for one year before adopting, which Madonna did not do. Madonna also launched A clothing line titled M by Madonna, in collaboration with Swedish clothing retailer H&M, Consisting of leather trench coats, sequined shift dresses, cream-colored calf-length pants, and matching cropped jackets. H&M said the collection reflected Madonna’s “timeless, unique and always glamorous style.”

PART THREE

Madonna released the song “Hey You” for the Live Earth series of concerts. She also performed it at the London Live Earth concert. Madonna also produced and wrote I Am Because We Are, a documentary on the problems faced by Malawians which was directed by Nathan Rissman, who worked as Madonna’s gardener. She also directed her first film Filth and Wisdom which concerns three friends and their aspirations. In 2008, Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility. Madonna did not sing at the ceremony but asked fellow Hall of Fame inductees and Michigan natives The Stooges to perform her songs “Burning Up” and “Ray of Light”. In 2008 Madonna released her eleventh studio album, Hard Candy, Which had R&B and urban pop influences, and featured collaborations with Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams and Nate “Danja” Hills. It contained the song “4 Minutes” which became Madonna’s 37th top-ten hit and pushed Madonna past Elvis Presley as the artist with the most top-ten hits. At the 23rd Japan Gold Disc Awards, Madonna received her fifth Artist of the Year trophy from Recording Industry Association of Japan. Madonna also embarked on the Sticky & Sweet Tour; which became second highest-grossing tour of all time, behind The Rolling Stones’s A Bigger Bang Tour and remained the highest-grossing tour by a solo artist until Roger Waters’ The Wall Live in 2013. a book by Madonna’s brother Christopher “Life with My Sister Madonna,” was also published. In 2008 Madonna filed for divorce from Ritchie, citing irreconcilable differences. Madonna then decided to adopt a child from Malawi. The country’s High Court initially approved the adoption of Chifundo “Mercy” James; however, the application was rejected because Madonna was not a resident of the country. Madonna appealed, and on June 12, 2009, the Supreme Court of Malawi granted Madonna the right to adopt Mercy James.

In 2009 Madonna released her third greatest-hits album, Celebration, Containing the new songs “Celebration” and “Revolver” along with 34 hits. She also appeared at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, to pay tribute to deceased pop star Michael Jackson. In 2010 Madonna performed at the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earth quake Relief concert and released Her third live album, Sticky & Sweet Tour. It also became her 20th top-ten album on the Oricon Albums Chart, breaking The Beatles’ record for the most top-ten album by an international act in Japan. An episode of The American television show Glee also featured eight cover versions of Madonna songs. Madonna then released the 1980’s inspired Material Girl clothing line, which she designed with her daughter, Lourdes and opened a series of fitness centers around the world named Hard Candy Fitness. Madonna and MG Icon also released the second fashion brand called Truth or Dare by Madonna to include footwear, underclothing, and accessories.

In 2011 Madonna directed her second feature film, W.E., a biographical film about the affair between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. Co-written with Alek Keshishian it premiered at the 68th Venice International Film Festival in September 2011. Madonna contributed the ballad “Masterpiece” for the film’s soundtrack, which won her a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. In 2012 Madonna performed at Super Bowl XLVI halftime show,visualized by Cirque Du Soleil and Jamie King and featured special guests LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and Cee Lo Green. Madonna also released Her twelfth studio album, MDNA and collaborated with various producers including William Orbit and Martin Solveig. The song “Give Me All Your Luvin’”, also featured guest vocals from Minaj. However The subsequent MDNA Tour, featured controversial subjects such as violence, firearms, human rights, nudity and politics. Madonna won Top Touring Artist, Top Dance Artist and Top Dance Album At the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, and was named the top-earning celebrity of the year by Forbes. Madonna’s also released her fourth live album, MDNA World Tour, in 2013. Madonna’s Raising Malawi organization had also built ten schools to educate 4,000 children in Malawi

In 2013 Madonna Released a 17-minute film called secretprojectrevolution Working with photographer Steven Klein. The BitTorrent company was selected by Madonna to release the film as part of a Madonna bundle which consisted of the 17-minute film, its stills, a Vice interview, and a message from Madonna With the film she launched the Art for Freedom initiative, which helped to promote “art and free speech as a means to address persecution and injustice across the globe”. The website for the project has had over 3,000 art related submissions since its inception, with Madonna regularly monitoring and enlisting other artists like David Blaine and Katy Perry as guest curators. Madonna released thirteenth studio album, Rebel Heart, in 2015 collaborating with Avicii, Diplo and Kanye West, and also embarked on the Rebel Heart Tour throughout North America, Europe and Asia and Australia. Madonna became embroiled in a legal battle with Ritchie, over the custody of their son Rocco. The dispute started when Rocco decided to continue living in England with Ritchie when the Rebel Heart Tour had visited there, while Madonna wanted him to return with her. Madonna eventually decided to withdraw her application for custody, and appealed for a mutual discussion about Rocco, between herself and Ritchie. During 2014 Madonna visited her hometown of Detroit and contributed funds to three of the city’s organizations, to help eliminate poverty. Extending her business ventures, the singer premiered MDNA Skin in 2014, a range of skin care products in Tokyo, Japan.In 2016 Billboard named Madonna its Woman of the Year. Her “blunt and brutally honest” speech at the ceremony received widespread coverage in the media.

Her upcoming projects include co-writing and directing a film adaptation of Andrew Sean Greer’s novel, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. Tentatively titled Loved, the film would portray the protagonist’s relationship with her gay twin brother Felix . In November 2016, Madonna, who actively supported Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, performed an impromptu acoustic concert at Washington Square Park in support of Clinton’s campaign. Upset that Donald Trump won the election, Madonna spoke out against him at the Women’s March on Washington, a day after his inauguration. In 2017, Madonna also adopted four-year-old twin sisters from Malawi named Esther and Stella.

James Cameron

Canadian film director, film producer, deep-sea explorer, screenwriter, and editor James Cameron was born August 16, 1954. His first film was called Xenogenesis (1978). . He then became a production assistant on a film called Rock and Roll High School, though uncredited in 1979. While continuing to educate himself in film-making techniques, Cameron started working as a miniature-model maker at Roger Corman Studios. Making rapidly-produced, low-budget productions taught Cameron to work efficiently and effectively. He soon found employment as an art director in the sci-fi movie Battle Beyond the Stars (1980). He did special effects work design and direction on John Carpenter’s Escape from New York (1981), acted as production designer on Galaxy of Terror (1981), and consulted on the design of Android (1982). Cameron was hired as the special effects director for the sequel to Piranha, entitled Piranha II: The Spawning in 1981. The original director, Miller Drake, left the project due to creative differences with producer Ovidio Assonitis, who then gave Cameron his first job as overall director. The interior scenes were filmed in Italy while the underwater sequences were shot at Grand Cayman Island. While Filming in Jamaica, they had numerous problems plus adverse weather. James Cameron was fired after failing to get a close up of Carole Davis in her opening scene. Ovidio ordered Cameron to do the close-up the next day before he started on that day’s shooting. Cameron spent the entire day sailing around the resort to reproduce the lighting but still failed to get the close-up. After he was fired, Ovidio invited Cameron to stay on location and assist in the shooting. Once in Rome, Ovidio took over the editing when Cameron was stricken with food poisoning.

During his illness, he had a nightmare about an invincible robot hitman sent from the future to kill him, giving him the idea for The Terminator. After completing a screenplay for The Terminator, Cameron decided to sell it so that he could direct the movie. However, the production companies he contacted, while expressing interest in the project, were unwilling to let a largely inexperienced feature film director make the movie. Finally, Cameron found a company called Hemdale Pictures, which was willing to let him direct. Gale Anne Hurd, who had started her own production company, Pacific Western Productions, had previously worked with Cameron in Roger Corman’s company and agreed to buy Cameron’s screenplay for one dollar, on the condition that Cameron direct the film. Hurd was signed on as producer, and Cameron finally got his first break as director. Orion Pictures distributed the film. For the role of the Terminator, Cameron envisioned a man who was not exceptionally muscular, who could “blend into” a crowd. Lance Henriksen, who had starred in Piranha II: The Spawning, was considered for the title role, but when Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cameron first met over lunch to discuss Schwarzenegger playing the role of Kyle Reese, both came to the conclusion that the cyborgvillain would be the more compelling role for the Austrian bodybuilder; Henriksen got the smaller part of LAPD detective Hal Vukovich and the role of Kyle Reese went to Michael Biehn. In addition, Linda Hamilton first appeared in this film in her iconic role of Sarah Connor, and later married Cameron.The Terminator was a box office hit, breaking expectations by Orion Pictures executives that the film would be regarded as no more than a sci-fi film, and only last a week in theaters. It was a low-budget film which cost $6.5 million to make, cutting expenses in such ways as recording the audio track in mono. However, The Terminator eventually earned over $78 million worldwide.

He next began the film Aliens, the sequel to Alien, by Ridley Scott and cast Sigourney Weaver in the iconic role of Ellen Ripley. According to Cameron, the crew on Aliens was hostile to him, regarding him as a poor substitute for Ridley Scott. Cameron sought to show them The Terminator but the majority of the crew refused to watch it and remained skeptical of his direction throughout production. Despite this and other off-screen problems (such as clashing with an uncooperative camera man and having to replace one of the lead actors – Michael Biehn of Terminator took James Remar’s place as Corporal Hicks), Aliens became a box office success. It received Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Weaver, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound, and won awards for Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Visual Effects. In addition, the film and its lead actress made the cover ofTIME magazine as a result of its numerous and extensive scenes of women in combat – these were almost without precedent and expressed the feminist theme of the film very strongly.

Three years after filming Aliens Cameron followed up withThe Abyss (1989) Inspred by an idea he had during a high school biology class. It concerns oil-rig workers who discover otherworldly underwater creatures and stars Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Michael Biehn. it was considered to be one of the most expensive films of its time, and required cutting-edge effects technology. Because much of the film takes place underwater and the technology wasn’t advanced enough to digitally create an underwater environment, Cameron chose to shoot much of the movie “reel-for-real”, at depths of up to 40 feet (12 m). Following the success of The Terminator, there had always been talks about a sequel to continue the story of Sarah Connor and her struggle against machines from the future. Although Cameron had come up with a core idea for the sequel, and Schwarzenegger expressed interest in continuing the story, there were still problems regarding who had the rights to the story, as well as the logistics of the special effects needed to make the sequel.

Finally, in late-1980s, Mario Kassar of Carolco Pictures secured the rights to the sequel, allowing Cameron to greenlight production of the film, now called Terminator 2: Judgment Day. For the film, Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger reprised their roles as Sarah Connor and The Terminator, but this time as a protector. Unlike Schwarzenegger’s character—the T-800 Terminator which is made of a metal endoskeleton—the new villain of the sequel, called the T-1000, is a more-advanced Terminator made of liquid metal, and with polymorphic abilities. The T-1000 would also be much less bulky than the T-800. For the role, Cameron cast Robert Patrick, a sharp contrast to Schwarzenegger. Cameron explained, “I wanted someone who was extremely fast and agile. If the T-800 is a human Panzer tank, then the T-1000 is a Porsche.” Cameron had originally wanted to incorporate this advanced-model Terminator into the first film, but the special effects at the time were not advanced enough. The ground-breaking effects used in The Abyss to digitally depict the water tentacle convinced Cameron that his liquid metal villain was now possible. The movie, co-written by Cameron and his longtime friend, William Wisher, Jr. Was finished in one year. Like Cameron’s previous film, it was one of the most expensive films of its era, with a budget of about $100 million. The biggest challenge of the movie was the special effects used in creating the T-1000. Nevertheless, the film was finished on time, and released to theaters on July 3, 1991.

Terminator 2, or T2, as it was abbreviated, broke box-office records (including the opening weekend record for an R-rated film), earning over $200 million in the United States and Canada, and over $300 million in other territories, and became the highest-grossing film of that year. It won four Academy Awards: Best Makeup, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects. It was also nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing, but lost both Awards to JFK.James Cameron announced a third Terminator film many times during the 1990s, but without coming out with any finished scripts. Kassar and Vajna purchased the rights to the Terminator franchise from a bankruptcy sale of Carolco’s assets. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was eventually made and released in July 2003 without Cameron’s involvement. Jonathan Mostow directed the film and Schwarzenegger returned as the Terminator.Cameron reunited with the main cast of Terminator 2 to film T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, an attraction at Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan. It was released in 1996 and was a mini-sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The show is in two parts: a prequel segment in which a spokesperson talks about Cyberdyne, and a main feature, in which the performers interact with a 3-D movie.

Before the release of T2, Schwarzenegger came to Cameron with the idea of remaking the French comedy La Totale! Titled True Lies, with filming beginning after T2’s release, the story revolves around a secret-agent spy who leads a double life as a married man, whose wife believes he is a computer salesman. Schwarzenegger was cast as Harry Tasker, a spy charged with stopping a plan by a terroristto use nuclear weapons against the United States. Jamie Lee Curtis and Eliza Dushku played the character’s family, and Tom Arnold the sidekick.Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment signed on with Twentieth Century Fox for production of True Lies. Made on a budget of $115 million and released in 1994, the film earned $146 million in North America, and $232 million abroad. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.

Cameron’s next film concerned the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The picture featured a fictional romance story between two young lovers from different social classes who meet on board. Before production began, he took dives to the bottom of the Atlantic and shot actual footage of the ship underwater, which he inserted into the final film. Much of the film’s dialogue was also written during these dives. Subsequently, Cameron cast Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Gloria Stuart, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, Victor Garber, Danny Nucci, David Warner, Suzy Amis, and Bill Paxton as the film’s principal cast. Cameron’s budget for the film reached about $200 million, making it the most expensive movie ever made at the time. Titanic went on to gross more than $1 billion worldwide and remained the highest-grossing film since 1998, until Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar surpassed it in 2010. The CG visuals surrounding the sinking and destruction of the ship were considered spectacular. It received 14 Oscar nominations (tied with All About Eve) at the 1998 Academy Awards. It won 11 Oscars (also tying the record for most Oscar wins with Ben-Hur and later The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), including: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Original Dramatic Score, Best Original Song. Upon receiving the Best Director Oscar, Cameron exclaimed, “I’m king of the world!”, in reference to one of the main characters’ lines from the film. After receiving the Best Picture Oscar along withJon Landau, Cameron asked for a moment of silence for the 1500 men, women and children, who died when the ship sank. Titanic was re-released in 3D in April 2012, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the real ship.

Following Titanic Cameron began a project that took almost 10 years to make: his science-fiction epic Avatar (2009), This concerns a disabled ex-marine named Jake Sully who is stationed on the lush Planet Pandora and is asked to make contact with the planets indiginous Na’avi people by means of using an Artifically grown body known as an Avatar. Jake is asked to mediate between the locals and the human settlers concerning mining rights to a valuable mineral which can only be found on Pandora. After a while Jake begins to find the Na’avi way of life rather enjoyable and is horrified when the Military attack and decide to start using deadly force So he switches his allegiance and encourages the Na’avi to start fighting back. Following Avatar’s release Cameron was again nominated for Best Director and Film Editing again.

Between making Titanic and Avatar, Cameron spent several years creating many documentary films (specifically underwater documentaries) and co-developed the digital 3D Fusion Camera System. Described by a biographer as part-scientist and part-artist, Cameron has also contributed to underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies. On March 26, 2012, Cameron reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, in the Deep sea Challenger submersible. He is the first person to do this in a solo descent, and is only the third person to do so ever. Cameron Then moved to television and created Dark Angel, a superheroine-centered series influenced bycyberpunk, biopunk, contemporary superhero franchises, and third-wave feminism. Co-produced with Charles H. Eglee, Dark Angel starred Jessica Alba as Max Guevara, a genetically enhanced super-soldier created by a secretive organization.

Cameron’s work was said to “bring empowered female warriors back to television screens by mixing the sober feminism of his The Terminator and Aliens characters with the sexed-up Girl Power of a Britney Spears concert.” sadly low ratings in the second led to its cancellation. Cameron himself directed the series finale, a two-hour episode wrapping up many of the series’ loose ends. He has been nominated for six Academy Awards overall and won three for Titanic. In total, Cameron’s directorial efforts have grossed approximately US$2 billion in North America and US$6 billion worldwide. Not adjusted for inflation, Cameron’s Titanic and Avatar are the two highest-grossing films of all time at $2.19 billion and $2.78 billion respectively. In March 2011 he was named Hollywood’s top earner by Vanity Fair, with estimated 2010 earnings of $257 million

Danielle Steel

Prolific Best selling American romance novellist Danielle Steel was born August 14, 1947. in New York City. Her father, John Schulein-Steel, was a German-Jewish immigrant and a descendant of owners of Löwenbräu beer. Her mother, Norma da Camera Stone dos Reis, was the daughter of a Portuguese diplomat. She spent much of her childhood in France, where from an early age she was included in her parents’ dinner parties. Steel started writing stories as a child, and by her late teens had begun writing poetry. Raised Catholic, she thought of becoming a nun during her early years.A 1963 graduate of the Lycée Français de New York, she studied literature design and fashion design, first at Parsons School of Design and then at New York University.

In 1965 Steel married French-American banker Claude-Eric Lazard in 1965 at age 18. While a young wife, and still attending New York University, Steel began writing, completing her first manuscript at the age of 19. After the birth of their daughter Beatrix, Steel worked for a public-relations agency in New York called Supergirls. A client (Ladies’ Home Journal editor John Mack Carter) encouraged her to focus on writing having been impressed with her freelance articles. He suggested she write a book, which she did. She later moved to San Francisco, and worked as a copywriter for Grey Advertising. Steel and Lazard divorced. In 1972 and her first novel, Going Home, was published. The novel contained many of the themes that her writing would become known for, including a focus on family issues and human relationships. The heroine of Going Home was a divorced single mother.

While still married to Lazard, Steel met Danny Zugelder while interviewing an inmate in a prison near Lompoc, California, where Zugelder was also incarcerated. He moved in with Steel when he was paroled in June 1973, but returned to prison in early 1974 on robbery and rape charges. After receiving her divorce from Lazard in 1975, she married Zugelder in the prison canteen. She divorced him in 1978, however the relationship spawned Passion’s Promise and Now and Forever, the two novels that launched her career. Steel married her third husband, William George Toth, the day after her divorce from Zugelder was finalized. She was already 8​1⁄2 months pregnant with his child. With the success of her fourth book, The Promise, she became a participant in San Francisco high society while Toth, a former drug addict, was left out. They divorced in March 1981

Steel married for the fourth time in 1981, to vintner John Traina. Traina subsequently adopted Steel’s son Nick and gave him his family name. Together they had an additional five children, Samantha (April 14, 1982), Victoria, Vanessa a fashion stylist, Maxx and Zara. Steel became a near-permanent fixture on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestsellers lists. In 1989, she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having a book on the New York Times Bestseller List for the most consecutive weeks of any author—381 consecutive weeks at that time.  Since her first book was published, every one of her novels has hit bestseller lists in paperback, and each one released in hardback has also been a hardback bestseller. During this time Steel also contributed to her first non-fiction work. Having a Baby was published in 1984 and featured a chapter by Steel about suffering through miscarriage she also published a book of poetry, Love: Poems. Steel has also written a series of 10 illustrated books for young readers, known as the “Max and Martha” series, which aim to help children face real life problems: new baby, new school, loss of loved one, etc. In addition, Steel has authored the “Freddie” series. These four books address other real life situations: first night away from home, trip to the doctor, etc.

In 1993 Steel sued a writer who intended to disclose in her book that her son Nick was adopted by her then-current husband John Traina, despite the fact that adoption records are sealed in California. A San Francisco judge made a highly unusual ruling allowing the seal on Nick’s adoption to be overturned, although he was still a minor and the book was allowed to be published. Nicholas Traina, tragically committed suicide in 1997. Traina was the lead singer of San Francisco punk bands Link 80 and Knowledge. To honor his memory, Steel wrote the nonfiction book His Bright Light, about Nick’s life and death. Proceeds of the book, which reached the New York Times Non-Fiction Bestseller List were used to found the Nick Traina Foundation, which Steel runs, to fund organizations dedicated to treating mental illness. To gain more recognition for children’s mental illnesses, Steel has lobbied for legislation in Washington, and previously held a fundraiser every two years (known as The Star Ball) in San Francisco.

In 1998 Steel married for a fifth time, to Silicon Valley financier Thomas Perkins, but the marriage ended after four years in 2002. Steel has said that her novel The Klone and I was inspired by a private joke between herself and Perkins.In 2006, Perkins dedicated his novel Sex and the Single Zillionaire to Steel. In 2003 Steel opened an art gallery in San Francisco, Steel Gallery, exhibitting contemporary work together with paintings and sculptures of emerging artists. The gallery closed in 2007. She continues to curate shows a few times a year for the Andrea Schwartz Gallery in San Francisco. In 2002, Steel was decorated by the French government as an Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, for her contributions to world culture. She has also received the Induction into the California Hall of Fame, The. Distinguished Service in Mental Health Award” (first time awarded to a non-physician) from New York Presbyterian Hospital, Department of Psychiatry and Columbia University Medical School and Cornell Medical College, The “Outstanding Achievement Award” for work with adolescents from Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco. The “Service to Youth Award” for improving the lives of mentally ill adolescents and children from the University of San Francisco Catholic Youth Organization and St. Mary’s Medical Center, November 1999. The “Outstanding Achievement Award” in Mental Health from the California Psychiatric Association Distinguished Service Award” from the American Psychiatric Association and launched a new perfume, Danielle by Danielle Steel With Elizabeth Arden. Many of Steel’s novels have also been adapted for film and television.

Sir Walter Scott FRSE

Scottish historical novelist, playwright, poet and historian. Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet FRSE was born 15 August 1771 inCollege Wynd, Edinburgh, near the gates of theUniversity of Edinburgh (Old College). A childhood bout of polio in 1773 left him lame And had a significant effect on his life and writing. To alleviate his lameness he was sent in 1773 to live in the rural Scottish Borders at his paternal grandparents’ farm at Sandyknowe, adjacent to the ruin of Smailholm Tower, the earlier family home. Here he was taught to read by his aunt Jenny, and learned from her the speech patterns and many of the tales and folklore of the Scottish Borders. Scott sometimes travelled with his father from Selkirk to Melrose, where some of his novels are set. At a certain spot the old gentleman would stop the carriage and take his son to a stone on the site of the Battle of Melrose. His father was a member of a cadet branch of the Scotts Clan, and his mother descended from the Haliburton family, the descent from whom granted Walter’s family the hereditary right of burial in Dryburgh Abbey. Via the Haliburton family, Walter was a cousin of the pre-eminent contemporaneous property developer James Burton, who was a Haliburton who had shortened his surname, and of his son, the architect Decimus Burton. In 1775 he returned to Edinburgh, then went with his aunt Jenny to take spa treatment at Prestonpans, Bath in England, and they lived at 6 South Parade between 1775 and 1776.

In 1778, Scott returned to Edinburgh for private education and joined his family in their new house built as one of the first in George Square. In 1779 he began at the Royal High School of Edinburgh (in High School Yards). He was now well able to walk and explore the city and the surrounding countryside. His reading included chivalric romances, poems, history and travel books. He was given private tuition by James Mitchell in arithmetic and writing, and learned from him the history of the Church of Scotland with emphasis on the Covenanters. After finishing school he was sent to stay for six months with his aunt Jenny in Kelso, attending the local grammar school where he met James and John Ballantyne, who later became his business partners and printed his books.

In 1783 Scott began studying classics at the University of Edinburgh at the age of 12. In March 1786 he began an apprenticeship in his father’s office to become a Writer to the Signet. While at the university Scott had become a friend of Adam Ferguson, the son of Professor Adam Ferguson who hosted literary salons. Scott met the blind poet Thomas Blacklock, who lent him books and introduced him to James Macpherson’s Ossian cycle of poems. During the winter of 1786–87 the 15-year-old Scott saw Robert Burns at one of these salons, for what was to be their only meeting. When Burns noticed a print illustrating the poem “The Justice of the Peace” and asked who had written the poem, only Scott knew that it was by John Langhorne, and was thanked by Burn When it was decided that he would become a lawyer, he returned to the university to study law, first taking classes in Moral Philosophy and Universal History in 1789–90. After completing his studies in law, he became a lawyer in Edinburgh. As a lawyer’s clerk he made his first visit to the Scottish Highlands directing an eviction. He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1792. He had an unsuccessful love suit with Williamina Belsches of Fettercairn, who married Scott’s friend Sir William Forbes, 7th Baronet.

Scott became fascinated by the oral traditions of the Scottish Borders. He was an obsessive collector of stories, and developed an innovative method of recording what he heard at the feet of local story-tellers using carvings on twigs, to avoid the disapproval of those who believed that such stories were neither for writing down nor for printing. At the age of 25 he began to write professionally, translating works from German, his first publication being rhymed versions of ballads by Gottfried August Bürger in 1796. He then published an idiosyncratic three-volume set of collected ballads of his adopted home region, The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. This was the first sign from a literary standpoint of his interest in Scottish history. Due to his early polio infection, Scott had a pronounced limp. He was described in 1820 as tall, neither fat nor thin, with forehead very high, nose short, upper lip long and face rather fleshy, complexion fresh and clear, eyes very blue, shrewd and penetrating, with hair now silvery white. Scott enlisted as a volunteer in the 1st Lothian and Border yeomanry.

On a trip to the Lake District with old college friends he met Charlotte Charpentier (or Carpenter), daughter of Jean Charpentier of Lyon in France, and ward of Lord Downshire in Cumberland, an Episcopalian, Scott proposed and they were married on Christmas Eve 1797 in St Mary’s Church, Carlisle. After renting a house in George Street, they moved to nearby South Castle Street. They had five children, of whom four survived by the time of Scott’s death, most baptized by an Episcopalian clergyman. In 1799 he was appointed Sheriff-Depute of the County of Selkirk, based in the Royal Burgh of Selkirk.

After their third son was born in 1801, they moved to 39 North Castle Street. This remained Scott’s base in Edinburgh until 1826, when he could no longer afford two homes. From 1798 Scott had spent the summers in a cottage at Lasswade, where he entertained guests including literary figures, and it was there that his career as an author began. While working as Sheriff-Depute he stayed at a local inn. In 1804 he ended his use of the Lasswade cottage and leased the substantial house of Ashestiel, 6 miles (9.7 km) from Selkirk on the south bank of the River Tweed,

In 1796, Scott’s friend James Ballantyne founded a printing press in Kelso, in the Scottish Borders. Through Ballantyne, Scott was able to publish his first works, including “Glenfinlas” and “The Eve of St. John”, and his poetry then began to bring him to public attention. In 1805, The Lay of the Last Minstrel captured wide public imagination, and his career as a writer was established in spectacular fashion.
Over the next decade He published many other poems, including The Lady of the Lake, printed in 1810 and set in the Trossachs. Portions of the German translation of this work were set to music by Franz Schubert. One of these songs, “Ellens dritter Gesang”, is popularly labelled as “Schubert’s Ave Maria”. Beethoven’s opus 108 “Twenty-Five Scottish Songs” includes 3 folk songs whose words are by Walter Scott. The poem Marmion, was published in 1808. In 1809 Scott persuaded James Ballantyne and his brother to move to Edinburgh and to establish their printing press there. He became a partner in their business. As a political conservative, Scott helped to found the Tory Quarterly Review, a review journal to which he made several anonymous contributions. Scott was also a contributor to the Edinburgh Review, which espoused Whig views.

Scott was ordained as an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Duddington and sat in the General Assembly for a time as representative elder of the burgh of Selkirk. When the lease of Ashestiel expired in 1811, Scott bought Cartley Hole Farm, on the south bank of the River Tweed nearer Melrose, which was nicknamed “Clarty Hole”, (Ewwwww!🤣) and when Scott built a family cottage there in 1812 he named it “Abbotsford”. He continued to expand the estate, and built Abbotsford House in a series of extensions. In 1813 Scott was offered the position of Poet Laureate. He declined, and the position went to Scott’s friend, Robert Southey

Scott wrote and published his first novel, Waverley, in 1814. It was a tale of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Its English protagonist, Edward Waverley, like Don Quixote a great reader of romances, has been brought up by his Tory uncle, who is sympathetic to Jacobitism, although Edward’s own father is a Whig. The youthful Waverley obtains a commission in the Whig army and is posted in Dundee. On leave, he meets his uncle’s friend, the Jacobite Baron Bradwardine and is attracted to the Baron’s daughter Rose. On a visit to the Highlands, Edward overstays his leave and is arrested and charged with desertion but is rescued by the Highland chieftain Fergus MacIvor and his mesmerizing sister Flora, whose devotion to the Stuart cause, “as it exceeded her brother’s in fanaticism, excelled it also in purity”. Through Flora, Waverley meets Bonnie Prince Charlie, and under her influence goes over to the Jacobite side and takes part in the Battle of Prestonpans. He escapes retribution, however, after saving the life of a Whig colonel during the battle. Waverley (whose surname reflects his divided loyalties) eventually decides to lead a peaceful life of establishment respectability under the House of Hanover rather than live as a proscribed rebel. He chooses to marry the beautiful Rose Bradwardine, rather than cast his lot with the sublime Flora MacIvor, who, after the failure of the ’45 rising, retires to a French convent.

There followed a succession of novels over the next five years, each with a Scottish historical setting , including Tales of my Landlord and The Bride of Lammermoor. This was afictionalized version of an actual incident in the history of the Dalrymple family that took place in the Lammermuir Hills in 1669. The novel concerns the Wealthy Lucie Ashton and the nobly born but now dispossessed and impoverished Edgar Ravenswood exchange vows. But the Ravenswoods and the wealthy Ashtons, who now own the former Ravenswood lands, are enemies, and Lucie’s mother forces her daughter to break her engagement to Edgar and marry the wealthy Sir Arthur Bucklaw with tragic results. In 1821, French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix painted a portrait depicting himself as the melancholy, disinherited Edgar Ravenswood. The prolonged, climactic coloratura mad scene for Lucia in Donizetti’s 1835 bel canto opera Lucia di Lammermoor is based on events in the the Bride of Lammermuir.

Tales of my Landlord includes the now highly regarded novel Old Mortality, set in 1679–89 against the backdrop of the ferocious anti-Covenanting campaign of the Tory Graham of Claverhouse, subsequently made Viscount Dundee (called “Bluidy Clavers” but dubbed “Bonnie Dundee” by Scott). The Covenanters were presbyterians who had supported the Restoration of Charles II on promises of a Presbyterian settlement, but he had instead reintroduced Episcopalian church government with draconian penalties for Presbyterian worship. This led to the destitution of around 270 ministers who had refused to take an oath of allegiance and submit themselves to bishops, and who continued to conduct worship among a remnant of their flock in caves and other remote country spots. The relentless persecution of these conventicles and attempts to break them up by military force had led to open revolt. The story is told from the point of view of Henry Morton, a moderate Presbyterian, who is unwittingly drawn into the conflict and barely escapes summary execution.

In writing Old Mortality Scott drew upon the knowledge he had acquired from his researches into ballads on the subject for The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.[Scott’s background as a lawyer also informed his perspective, for at the time of the novel, which takes place before the Act of Union of 1707, English law did not apply in Scotland, and afterwards Scotland has continued to have its own Scots law as a hybrid legal system. A recent critic, who is a legal as well as a literary scholar, argues that Old Mortality not only reflects the dispute between Stuart’s absolute monarchy and the jurisdiction of the courts, but also invokes a foundational moment in British sovereignty, namely, the Habeas Corpus Act (also known as the Great Writ), passed by the English Parliament in 1679.

Scott’s next novel, Ivanhoe, is an entertaining escapist romance, with a political subtext which is set in 12th-century England during the era of the creation of the Magna Carta, which political conservatives like Walter Scott and Edmund Burke regarded as rooted in immemorial British custom and precedent. This novel was Based partly on Hume’s History of England and the ballad cycle of Robin Hood, Ivanhoe was quickly translated into many languages and inspired countless imitations and theatrical adaptations. Ivanhoe depicts the cruel tyranny of the Norman overlords (Norman Yoke) over the impoverished Saxon populace of England, with two of the main characters, Rowena and Locksley (Robin Hood), representing the dispossessed Saxon aristocracy and end up being captured and imprisoned by a Norman baron. Ivanhoe was published when the English Parliament, fearful of French-style revolution in the aftermath of Waterloo, had passed the Habeas Corpus Suspension acts of 1817 and 1818 and other extremely draconian measures.

Ivanhoe was also remarkable in its sympathetic portrayal of Jewish characters: Rebecca, considered by many critics the book’s real heroine, does not in the end get to marry Ivanhoe, whom she loves, but Scott allows her to remain faithful to her own religion, rather than having her convert to Christianity. Likewise, her father, Isaac of York, a Jewish moneylender, is shown as a victim rather than a villain. In Ivanhoe, which is one of Scott’s Waverley novels, religious and sectarian fanatics are the villains, while the eponymous hero is a bystander who must weigh the evidence and decide where to take a stand. Scott’s positive portrayal of Judaism, which reflects his humanity and concern for religious toleration, also coincided with a contemporary movement for the Emancipation of the Jews in England.

Scott’s fame grew as his explorations and interpretations of Scottish history and society captured popular imagination. Impressed by this, the Prince Regent (the future George IV) permitted Scott to search for the Crown Jewels (“Honours of Scotland”). Which had been hidden away, but had subsequently been used to crown Charles II. They were not used to crown subsequent monarchs, but were regularly taken to sittings of Parliament, to represent the absent monarch, until the Act of Union 1707. When they were stored in Edinburgh Castle, but the large locked box in which they were stored was not opened for more than 100 years, and stories circulated that they had been “stolen”. So In 1818, Scott and a small team of military men opened the box, and “unearthed” the honours from the Crown Room in the depths of Edinburgh Castle. A grateful Prince Regent granted Scott the title of baronet, and in March 1820 he received the baronetcy in London, becoming Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet.

After George’s accession to the throne, the city council of Edinburgh invited Scott, at the King’s behest, to stage-manage the 1822 visit of King George IV to Scotland. Scott created a spectacular pageant, designed not only to impress the King, but also in some way to heal the rifts that had destabilised Scots society. The King was dressed in tartan, and was greeted by his people, many of whom were also dressed in similar tartan ceremonial dress. This form of dress, proscribed after the 1745 rebellion against the English, became one of the seminal, potent and ubiquitous symbols of Scottish identity.

Although he continued to be extremely popular and widely read, Scott’s critical reputation declined in the last half of the 19th century as serious writers turned from romanticism to realism, and Scott began to be regarded as an author suitable for children. This trend accelerated in the 20th century. In his study Aspects of the Novel E. M. Forster harshly criticized Scott’s clumsy and slapdash writing style, “flat” characters, and thin plots. In contrast, the novels of Scott’s contemporary Jane Austen, once appreciated only by the discerning few (including, Scott himself) became more popular. Nevertheless, Scott’s importance as an innovator continued to be recognized. He was acclaimed as the inventor of the genre of the modern historical novel. Scott’s Waverley novels played a significant part in the movement (begun with James Macpherson’s Ossian cycle) in rehabilitating the public perception of the Scottish Highlands and its culture, which was formerly suppressed as barbaric, and viewed in the southern mind as a breeding ground of hill bandits, religious fanaticism, and Jacobite rebellions.

Scott served as chairman of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and was also a member of the Royal Celtic Society. His own contribution to the reinvention of Scottish culture was enormous. It is a testament to Scott’s contribution in creating a unified identity for Scotland that Edinburgh’s central railway station, opened in 1854 by the North British Railway, is called Waverley. The fact that Scott was a Lowland Presbyterian, rather than a Gaelic-speaking Catholic Highlander, made him more acceptable to a conservative English readers. At the time Scott wrote, Scotland was poised to move away from an era of socially divisive clan warfare to a modern world of literacy and industrial capitalism. Through novels such as Waverley Scott helped Scotland move on from the violent religious and political conflicts of the country’s recent past. Scott’s advocacy of objectivity and moderation and his strong repudiation of political violence on either side also had a strong, though unspoken, contemporary resonance when many conservative English feared a violent revolution in Britain. Scott’s involvement in King George IV’s visit to Scotland, in 1822, was a pivotal event intended to inspire a view of his home country that, in his view, accentuated the positive aspects of the past allowing a peaceful future. A revival of critical interest began from the 1960s. Postmodern tastes were more favourable to Scott’s work than Modernist tastes. Scott is now seen as an important innovator and a key figure in the development of Scottish and world literature, and particularly as the principal inventor of the historical novel.

Walter Scott sadly died on 21 September 1832. Scott was buried in Dryburgh Abbey, where his wife had earlier been interred. Nearby is a large statue of William Wallace, one of Scotland’s many romanticised historical figures. Abbotsford later gave its name to the Abbotsford Club, founded in 1834 in memory of Sir Walter Scott. All of his novels including Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Old Mortality, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor continue to remain popular and many have been adapted for film and television. Besides his extensive literary works and his political engagement, Scott was an advocate, judge and legal administrator by profession, and throughout his career combined his writing and editing work with his daily occupation as Clerk of Session and Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire. He was also A prominent member of the Tory establishment in Edinburgh, Scott was an active member of the Highland Society and served a long term as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1820–32).

Scott is memorialised at The Scott Monument on Edinburgh’s Princes Street and the Scott Monument in Glasgow’s George Square. During his lifetime, Scott’s portrait was painted by Sir Edwin Landseer and fellow Scots Sir Henry Raeburn and James Eckford Lauder. Scott is also commemorated on a stone slab in Makars’ Court, outside The Writers’ Museum, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, along with other prominent Scottish writers; quotes from his work are also visible on the Canongate Wall of the Scottish Parliament building in Holyrood. There is a tower dedicated to his memory on Corstorphine Hill in the west of the city and, as mentioned, Edinburgh’s Waverley railway station takes its name from one of his novels. The annual Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction was created in 2010 by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, whose ancestors were closely linked to Sir Walter Scott. At £25,000, it is one of the largest prizes in British literature.

The award has been presented at Scott’s historic home, Abbotsford House. Scott has been credited with rescuing the Scottish banknote. In 1826, there was outrage in Scotland at the attempt of Parliament to prevent the production of banknotes of less than five pounds. Scott wrote a series of letters to the Edinburgh Weekly Journal under the pseudonym “Malachi Malagrowther” campaigning to allow Scottish banks to issue their own banknotes. During and immediately after World War I there was a movement spearheaded by President Woodrow Wilson and other eminent people to encourage patriotism in American school children, especially immigrants, and to stress the American connection with the Literature of Great Britain and. Scott’s Ivanhoe continued to be required reading for many American high school students until the end of the 1950s. His influence on other European and American novelists is profound, and his reputation remains secure.

Stieg Larsson

Swedish journalist and writer “Stieg” Larsson was Born 15 August 1954. He is best known for writing the “Millennium series” of crime novels, which were published posthumously. Larsson lived and worked much of his life in Stockholm, in the field of journalism and as an independent researcher of right-wing extremism. He was the second best-selling author in the world for 2008, behind Khaled Hosseini. By December 2011, his “Millennium series” had sold 65 million copies; its last part, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, became the most sold book in the United States in 2010.Larsson’s first efforts at fiction writing were not in the genre of crime, but rather science fiction. An avid science fiction reader from an early age, he became active in Swedish science fiction fandom around 1971, co-edited with Rune Forsgren his first fanzine, Sfären, in 1972, and attended his first science fiction convention, SF•72, in Stockholm. Through the 1970s, Larsson published around 30 additional fanzine issues; after his move to Stockholm in 1977 he became active in the Scandinavian SF Society where he was a board member in 1978 and 1979, and chairman in 1980.

Between 1972 and 1974, he published a handful of early short stories in his first fanzines, while submitting others to other semi-professional or amateur magazines. SwedenHe was co-editor or editor of several science fiction fanzines, including Sfären and FIJAGH!; in 1978–1979 he was president of the largest Swedish science fiction fan club, Skandinavisk Förening för Science Fiction (SFSF). An account of this period in Larsson’s life, along with detailed information on his fanzine writing and short stories, is included in the biographical essays written by Larsson’s friend John-Henri Holmberg in The Tattooed Girl, by Holmberg with Dan Burstein and Arne De Keijzer, 2011.In early June 2010, manuscripts for two such stories, as well as fanzines with one or two others, were noted in the Swedish National Library (to which this material had been donated a few years earlier, mainly by the Alvar Appeltofft Memorial Foundation, which works to further science fiction fandom in Sweden). This discovery of what was called “unknown” works by Larsson also caused considerable excitement.

while working as a photographer, Larsson became engaged in far-left political activism. He became a member of Kommunistiska Arbetareförbundet (Communist Workers’ League), edited the Swedish Trotskyist journal Fjärde internationalen, journal of the Swedish section of the Fourth International. He also wrote regularly for the weekly Internationalen. Larsson spent parts of 1977 in Eritrea, training a squad of female Eritrean People’s Liberation Front guerrillas in the use of grenade launchers, but became ill and was forced to return to Sweden, Upon his return to Sweden, he worked as a graphic designer at the largest Swedish news agency, Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå. Larsson’s political convictions, as well as his journalistic experiences, led him to found the Swedish Expo Foundation, similar to the British Searchlight Foundation, established to “counteract the growth of the extreme right and the white power-culture in schools and among young people.” He also became the editor of the foundation’s magazine, Expo, in 1995.When he was not at his day job, he worked on independent research of right-wing extremism in Sweden. In 1991, his research resulted in his first book Extremhögern (Extreme Right). Larsson quickly became instrumental in documenting and exposing Swedish extreme right and racist organizations; he was an influential debater and lecturer on the subject, reportedly living for years under death threats from his political enemies. The political party Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) was a major subject of his research.

However soon after Larsson’s death, the manuscripts of three completed, but unpublished, novels – written as a series – were discovered. He had written them for his own pleasure after returning home from his job in the evening, and had made no attempt to get them published until shortly before his death. The first was published in Sweden in 2005 as Swedish: Män som hatar kvinnor – literally – Men who hate women. It was titled for the English-language market as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and published in the United Kingdom in February 2008. It was awarded the Glass Key award as the best Nordic crime novel in 2005. His second novel, Flickan som lekte med elden (The Girl Who Played with Fire), received the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award in 2006, and was published in the United Kingdom in January 2009. The third novel in the Millennium series, Luftslottet som sprängdes (“The air castle that was blown up”), published in English as The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, was published in the United Kingdom in October 2009, and the United States in May 2010. Larsson left about three quarters of a fourth novel on a notebook computer, now possessed by his partner, Eva Gabrielsson: synopses or manuscripts of the fifth and sixth in the series, which he intended to contain an eventual total of ten books, may also exist. Gabrielsson has stated in her book, “There Are Things I Want You to Know” About Stieg Larsson and Me (2011) that finishing the book is a task that she is capable of doing.

The Swedish film production company Yellow Bird has produced film versions of the Millennium series, co-produced with the Danish film production company Nordisk Film, which were released in Scandinavia in 2009. Larsson Sadly passed away on 9 November 2004 in Stockholm at the age of 50 of a heart attack after climbing seven flights of stairs to his office because the lift was not working. There were rumours that his death was in some way induced, because of death threats received as editor of Expo, but these have been denied by Eva Gedin, his Swedish publisher. Stieg Larsson is interred at the Högalid church cemetery in the district of Södermalm in Stockholm. Novellist David Lagencrantz has written further novels “The Girl in the Spiders Web” and “The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye” which is due for release in 2017, both of which continue the Millenium Saga and remain faithful to Steig Larsson’s original novels.