Ray Charles

American musical legend Ray Charles sadly died 10 June 2004 as a result of liver failure/hepatitis C at his home at the age of 73 years old.  Born September 23, 1930. His musical curiosity was first sparked when he heard boogie woogie played on an old upright piano. Charles started to lose his sight at the age of five & went completely blind by the age of seven, apparently due to glaucoma. He attended school at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine from 1937 to 1945,where he developed his musical talent. During this time he performed on WFOY radio in St. Augustine. In school, Charles was taught only classical music, but wanted to play the jazz and blues. While at school, he became the school’s premier musician.Charles was 15 When his mother died. He didn’t return to school, preferring instead, to play the piano for bands at the Ritz Theatre in LaVilla, earning $4 a night. He also played with a southern band called The Florida Playboys. This is where he began his habit of always wearing sunglasses, made by designer Billy Stickles. Charles had always played for other people, but he wanted his own band, so He decided to leave Florida and moved to Seattle in 1947 (where he first met and befriended a 14-year-old Quincy Jones, and soon started recording, first for the Down Beat label as the Maxin Trio with guitarist G.D. McKee and bassist Milton Garrett.

By fusing elements of rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings he became a pioneer in the genre of soul music and achieved his first hit with “Confession Blues” in 1949 and joined Swing Time Records where he recorded two more R&B hits, “Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand” in 1951 and “Kissa Me Baby”in 1952. In early 1953 . Charles began recording jump blues and boogie-woogie style recordings as well as slower blues ballads where he continued to show the vocal influences of Nat “King” Cole and Charles Brown. “Mess Around” became Charles’ first Atlantic hit in 1953 and he later had hits the following year with “It Should Have Been Me” and “Don’t You Know”. He also recorded the songs, “Midnight Hour” and “Sinner’s Prayer”. Late in 1954, Charles recorded his own composition, “I Got a Woman”, and the song became Charles’ first number-one R&B hit in 1955 and brought him to national prominence. The elements of “I Got a Woman” included a mixture of gospel, jazz and blues elements that would later prove to be seminal in the development of rock ‘n’ roll and soul music. He repeated this pattern throughout 1955 continuing through 1958 with records such as “This Little Girl of Mine”, “Drown in My Own Tears”, “Lonely Avenue”, “A Fool For You” and “The Night Time (Is the Right Time)”.Charles also recorded instrumental jazz albums such as 1957′s The Great Ray Charles. During this time, Charles also worked with jazz vibraphonist Milt Jackson, releasing Soul Brothers in 1958 and Soul Meeting in 1961 and reached the pinnacle of his success at Atlantic with the release of “What’d I Say”. Later in 1959, and released his first country song, a cover of Hank Snow’s “Movin’ On”, and had recorded three more albums for the label including a jazz record (later released in 1961 as The Genius After Hours), a blues record (released in 1961 as The Genius Sings the Blues) and a traditional pop/big band record (The Genius of Ray Charles).

RAY CHARLES IN CONCERT 1981 http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=40BpaypwA7o

In 1960 Charles received national acclaim and a Grammy Award for the Sid Feller- produced “Georgia on My Mind”, and also earned another Grammy for the follow-up “Hit the Road Jack”, and became one of the few black artists to crossover into mainstream pop. The 1962 album, Modern Sounds in Country and western Music and its sequel Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 2, also helped to bring country into the mainstream of music. He also had major pop hits in 1963 with “Busted” (US No. 4) and Take These Chains From My Heart. In 1965, Charles’ was arrested for a third time for heroin and After spending a year on parole, Charles reemerged on the charts in 1966 with a series of hits including “I Don’t Need No Doctor” , “Let’s Go Get Stoned”, “Crying Time” and “Here We Go Again”. However, Charles’ renewed chart success, proved to be short lived and by the late 1960s his music was rarely played on radio stations, although Charles’ 1972 album, Message from the People, was a hit and included his unique gospel- influenced version of “America the Beautiful” and His 1975 recording of Stevie Wonder’s hit, “Living for the City” later helped Charles win another Grammy.In 1977, he recorded the album, True to Life and In April 1979, Charles’ version of “Georgia On My Mind” was proclaimed the state song of Georgia and An emotional Charles performed the song on the floor of the state legislature. During the 1980′s Charles recorded a string of country albums and began having a string of country hits often with duet singers such as George Jones, Chet Atkins, B.J. Thomas, Mickey Gilley, Hank Williams, Jr. and lifelong friend Willie Nelson, for which he recorded the No. 1 country duet, “Seven Spanish Angels”.

He also made a return on the R&B charts with a cover of The Brothers Johnson’s “I’ll Be Good to You”, in collaboration with his lifelong buddy Quincy Jones and singer Chaka Khan, which hit number-one on the R&B charts in 1990 and won Charles and Khan a Grammy. Charles returned on the pop charts in another duet, with singer Billy Joel on the song, “Baby Grand” and in 1989, recorded a cover of the Southern All Stars’ “Itoshi no Ellie”, releasing it as “Ellie My Love”. Charles’ 1993 album, My World also became his first album in some time to reach the Billboard 200 and his cover of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You” gave him a charted hit on the adult contemporary chart as well as his twelfth and final Grammy he would receive in his lifetime. In 1980, he also made a cameo on the film, The Blues Brothers.Charles’ version of “Night Time is the Right Time” was also played during the popular “Cosby Show” episode, “Happy Anniversary” and In 1985, he appeared among a slew of other popular musicians in the USA for Africa charity recording, “We Are the World”. Charles also appeared at two Presidential inaugurations in his lifetime. In 1985, he performed for Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration, and in 1993 for Bill Clinton’s first. In 2003, Ray Charles also headlined the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C. where the President, First Lady, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice attended. In 2003 Charles performed “Georgia On My Mind” and “America the Beautiful” at a televised annual electronic media journalist banquet held in Washington, D.C. His final public appearance came on April 30, 2004, at the dedication of his music studio as a historic landmark in the city of Los Angeles.

His final album, Genius Loves Company, released two months after his death, consists of duets with various admirers and contemporaries: B.B. King, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, James Taylor, Gladys Knight, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall, Norah Jones, and Johnny Mathis. The album won eight Grammy Awards, including five for Ray Charles for Best Pop Vocal Album, Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for “Here We Go Again” with Norah Jones, and Best Gospel Performance for “Heaven Help Us All” with Gladys Knight; he also received nods for his duets with Elton John and B.B. King. The album included a version of Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow”, sung as a duet by Charles and Johnny Mathis; this record was played at his memorial serviceTwo more posthumous albums, Genius & Friends and Ray Sings, Basie Swings, were released. Genius & Friends consisted of duets recorded from 1997 to 2005 with his choice of artists. Ray Sings, Basie Swings consists of archived vocals of Ray Charles from live mid-1970s performances added to new instrumental tracks specially recorded by the contemporary Count Basie Orchestra and other musicians. Charles’s vocals recorded from the concert mixing board were added to new accompaniments to create a “fantasy concert” recording. The late great Frank Sinatra called Charles “the only true genius in show business” and Rolling Stone ranked Charles number ten on their list of “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” in 2004, and number two on their November 2008 list of “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”.

Tribute to Rik Mayall

imageI was sad to learn that English comedian, writer and Actor Richard Michael “Rik” Mayall sadly died on 9 June 2014. He was described as a truly brilliant comed ian with a unique stage presence whose “Fireball Comedy” and comic approach to sitcom had inspired a generation. born 7 March 1958 Mayall attended The King’s School, Worcester, After which went to the University of Manchester in 1976 to study drama, where he befriended his future comedy partner Ade Edmondson. There he also met Ben Elton, a fellow student, and Lise Mayer, with whom he later co-wrote The Young Ones. His comedy partnership with Adrian Edmondson, and over-the-top, energetic “post-punk” portrayal of characters, made him a pioneer of alternative comedy in the early 1980s. He appeared in numerous cult classic sitcoms, including The Young Ones, Blackadder, The New Statesman and Bottom, and on the big screen in the comedy films Drop Dead Fred and Guest House Paradiso. In the beginning Edmondson and Mayall gained their reputation at the Comedy Store, from 1980. Apart from performing in their double act, 20th Century Coyote, Mayall developed solo routines, using characters such as Kevin Turvey and a pompous anarchist poet named Rick. This led to Edmondson and Mayall, along with Comedy Store compere Alexei Sayle and other upcoming comedians, including Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, French and Saunders, Arnold Brown and Pete Richens, setting up their own comedy club called “The Comic Strip”. Mayall’s Kevin Turvey character gained a regular slot in A Kick Up the Eighties, first broadcast in 1981. He appeared as “Rest Home” Ricky in Richard O’Brien’s Shock Treatment, a sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He played Dentonvale’s resident attendant as the love interest to Nell Campbell’s Nurse Ansalong.

There was also a mockumentary based on the character entitled Kevin Turvey – The Man Behind The Green Door, broadcast in 1982. He also appeared in a bit role in An American Werewolf in London. His stage partnership with Edmondson continued in”The Dangerous Brothers”, hapless daredevils whose hyper-violent antics foreshadowed their characters in Bottom. Channel 4 offered the Comic Strip group six short films, which became The Comic Strip Presents…, which became known for its anti-establishment humour and parodies suchas Bad News on Tour, a spoof “rockumentary” starring Mayall, Richardson, Edmondson and Planer as a heavy metal band.

imageThe Young Ones, was a sitcom written by Mayall and then-girlfriend Lise Mayer, in the same anarchic vein as Comic Strip. Ben Elton joined the writers. In it Mayall played Rik, a pompous sociology student and Cliff Richard devotee. Despite the sitcom format, Mayall maintained his double-act with Edmondson, who starred as violent punk Vyvyan. Nigel Planer (as hippie Neil) and Christopher Ryan (as “Mike the cool person”) with additional material written and performed by Alexei Sayle. The show owed a comic debt to Spike Milligan. In 1986 Rik Mayall played the Detective in the video of “Peter Gunn” by Art Of Noise featuring Duane Eddy. Mayall returned to stand-up comedy, performing on Saturday Live—a British version of the American Saturday Night Live—first broadcast in 1985. He and Edmondson had a regular section as “The Dangerous Brothers”, and in 1985, Mayall debuted another comic creation -Lord Flashheart in the Blackadder II episode entitled “Bells”. A descendant of this character, Squadron Commander Flashheart, was also in the Blackadder Goes Forth episode “Private Plane” in which he was reunited with Edmondson, who played German flying ace Baron von Richthofen the “Red Baron”, Mayall also appeared in Blackadder: Back & Forth as Robin Hood. In 1986, Mayall joined Planer, Edmondson and Elton to star as Richie Rich in Filthy Rich & Catflap, which highlighted the “has been” status of light entertainment. 1987 saw Mayall co-star with Edmondson in the ITV sitcom Hardwicke House and score a number one hit when he and his co-stars from The Young Ones teamed with Cliff Richard to record “Living Doll” for the inaugural Comic Relief campaign. Mayall played Rick one last time in the stage-show and supported the Comic Relief and also gave a memorably crazed portrayal in Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine.

In 1987, Mayall played fictional Conservative MP Alan Beresford B’Stard in the sitcom The New Statesman and, in 1989 Mayall starred in a series of bit shows for ITV called Grim Tales, in which he narrated Grimm Brothers fairy tales while puppets acted the stories. In 1991, Edmondson and Mayall co-starred in the West End production of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, with Mayall playing Vladimir, Edmondson as Estragon and Christopher Ryan as Lucky. This inspired Bottom, which they said was a cruder cousin to Waiting for Godot and featured slapstick violence taken to new extremes. In 1993, following the second series, Mayall and Edmondson decided to take a stage-show version of the series on a national tour, Bottom: Live.

In 1991 Mayall starred alongside Phoebe Cates in Drop Dead Fred as a troublesome imaginary friend who reappears from a woman’s childhood. He also appeared in Carry On Columbus (1992) with other alternative comedians and provided the voice of the character Froglip, the leader of the goblins, in the 1992 animated film adaption of the 1872 children’s tale The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald. In 1993, he appeared in Rik Mayall Presents, for which he won a Best Comedy Performer award at that year’s British Comedy Awards, He also provided the voice for Little Sod in Simon Brett’s How to Be a Little Sod. In the early 1990s, he auditioned for the roles of Banzai, Zazu and Timon in The Lion King (1994); but the role of Zazu finally went to Rowan Atkinson.

In 1995, Mayall featured in a production of the play Cell Mates alongside Stephen Fry and From 1999, Mayall was the voice of the black-headed seagull Kehaar, in the first and second series of the animated television programme, Watership Down.In 2000, Mayall lent his voice to the PlayStation and Windows PC video game Hogs of War and appeared in the video production of Jesus Christ Superstar as King Herod. In 2001 Mayall gave an excellent dramatic performance as Lt Daniel Blaney in the episode “The White Knight Stratagem” from the series “Murder Rooms: The Mysteries of the Real Sherlock Holmes.” In 2002, Mayall starred as Professor Adonis Cnut in the ITV sitcom, Believe Nothing. Following 2003’s Bottom: Live tour, Bottom 5: Weapons Grade Y-Fronts, Edmondson told the Daily Mail that he no longer wished to work on Bottom claiming they were “too old” to continue portraying the characters. Edmondson added that since Mayall had recovered from his coma, he was slower on the uptake and it had become more difficult to work with him, citing as well that due to taking medication Mayall had been advised to stop drinking alcohol. However, Edmondson said that the pair remained very close friends.

Mayall voiced Edwin in the BBC show Shoebox Zoo. In September 2005, he starred in a new series for ITV, All About George. In 2006, Mayall reprised the role of Alan B’Stard in the play The New Statesman 2006: Blair B’stard Project, In which B’Stard leaves the floundering Conservatives and become a Labour MP. In 2007, following a successful two-month run in London’s West End at the Trafalgar Studios, a heavily re-written version toured theatres nationwide, However, Mayall succumbed to chronic fatigue and flu in May 2007 and withdrew from the show. Alan B’Stard was played by his understudy, Mike Sherman during his hiatus.

Mayall was cast as the poltergeist Peeves in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, he also played Winston the Butler in the filmEvil Calls: The Raven and  provided the voice of the Andrex puppy in the UK TV commercials for Andrex toilet paper, and narrated the Domestos adverts. He performed the voice of King Arthur in the children’s television cartoon series, King Arthur’s Disasters, alongside Matt Lucas from Little Britain who plays Merlin. In September 2009, Mayall played a supporting role in the British television programme Midsomer Murders, In April 2010, Motivation Records released Mayall’s England Football anthem “Noble England” for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which features an adapted speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V. In September 2010 he narrated an audio book, Cutey and the Sofaguard written by Christ Wade and In November 2010, Mayall provided narrative for five different characters for CDs accompanying children’s books published by Clickety Books. Then On 5 March 2011, Mayall appeared with Ade Edmonson on Let’s Dance For Comic Relief then In April 2011, Mayall again revived the character of Alan B’Stard to make an appearance in a satirical television advertisement for the No2AV campaign prior to the 2011 voting reform referendum in the UK. On 23 August 2012 the BBC announced that Edmondson and Mayall’s characters of Richie and Eddie would be returning in 2013 in Hooligan’s Island, and In September 2012 Mayall starred in The Last Hurrah, and In November 2012, Mayall narrated several children’s books on the Me Books app, such as The Getaway and Banana! by children’s illustrator and author Ed Vere. In October 2013 he also appeared in Channel 4 sitcom Man Down,

Jimmy Chamberlin(Smashing Pumpkins)

SP-mc-isimmy Chamberlin, the former drummer with alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins was born 10th Jine 1965. The Smashing Pumpkins were formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1988 with Billy Corgan on lead vocals, lead guitar and James Iha playing rhythm guitar, the band has also included Jimmy Chamberlin (drums), D’arcy Wretzky (bass), and currently includes Jeff Schroeder (rhythm guitar, backing vocals) Mike Byrne (drums), and Nicole Fiorentino (bass guitar, backing vocals) amongst its membership.Frontman Billy Corgan is the group’s primary songwriter—his grand musical ambitions and cathartic lyrics have shaped the band’s albums and songs, which all have a diverse, densely layered and guitar-heavy sound, containing elements of gothic rock, grunge, heavy metal, dream pop, psychedelic rock, progressive rock and shoegazer-style production, as well as full string arrangements and radiant orchestral chimes.

The Smashing Pumpkins broke into the musical mainstream with their second album, SIAMESE DREAM in 1993, which is Considered by many to be the best album in the Smashing Pumpkins catalogue of Alternative Rock, and was Produced by Butch Vig (who also produced Garbage, Sonic Youth and Nirvana’s Nevermind). It is full of Billy Corgan’s angsty lyrics , which have been variously described as “anguished, bruised reports from Billy Corgan’s nightmare-land” which are delivered in his signature breathy whine. while James Iha’s & Darcy Wretsky’s provide a suitably awesome guitar sound, which was reinforced by Jimmy Chamberlin’s power drumming.(Until he left), although current drummer Mike Byrne is pretty cool too.

Unfortunately in 2000, internal fighting, drug use, and diminishing record sales led to a break-up of the band. However In 2006, Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin reconvened to record a new Smashing Pumpkins album, the splendidly noisy “Zeitgeist” (One of the songs “Doomsday Clock” is also used in the first Transformers Movie).The band toured with a rotating lineup of between five and nine musicians through much of 2007 and 2008 before Chamberlin left the band again in early 2009. New drummer Mike Byrne and bassist/vocalist Nicole Fiorentino solidified a new lineup with Corgan and Schroeder, toured through much of 2010, I also think The latest albums Teargarden by Kaleidyscope and Oceania are both rather good too.

Kim Deal (Pixies)

Kim Deal from American Alternative Rock Band the Pixies was born on June 10th 1961 and lead guitarist Joey Santiago was born June 10th 1965. The Pixies were formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1986 and The group consists of Black Francis (vocals, rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Kim Deal (bass, vocals), and David Lovering (drums). While the Pixies found only modest commercial success in their home country, they were significantly more successful in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe. The group disbanded in 1993 under acrimonious circumstances but reunited in 2004.The band’s style of music contains elements of indie rock and surf rock. Black Francis is the Pixies’ primary songwriter and singer who is noted for his yowling delivery. He has typically written about offbeat subjects, such as extraterrestrials, surrealism and biblical violence.

The group has been described as a big influence on the alternative rock boom of the 1990s, though they disbanded before reaping any of the benefits this might have brought them. Avowed fan Kurt Cobain’s acknowledgment of the debt his band Nirvana owed to the Pixies, along with similar tributes by other alternative bands, helped the Pixies’ legacy and popularity grow in the years following their break-up, leading to sold-out tours following their reunion in 2004. Lead singer Black Francis a.k.a Frank Black has also released many solo albums since The Pixies split. Recently however, the Pixies reunited again and have released the Album Indie Cindy.

HRH Prince Philip

HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born this date 10th June in 1921. He is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II and is the United Kingdom’s longest-serving consort and also the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch. to mark the occasion , The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fires a salute in London’s Hyde Park, which is fired every year to herald the occasion and the event will be open to the public but is not customarily attended by members of the royal famil

.A member of the Danish-German House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Prince Philip was born in Greece into the Greek royal family, but his family was exiled from Greece when he was a child. After being educated in Germany, England and Scotland, he joined the British Royal Navy at the age of 18 in 1939. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth, his third cousin and the eldest daughter and heiress presumptive of King George VI, whom he had first met in 1934. During World War II he served with the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets. After the war, Philip was granted permission by George VI to marry Elizabeth. Prior to the official engagement announcement, he abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and became a naturalised British subject, adopting the surname Mountbatten from his British maternal grandparents.

After an official engagement of five months, as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten he married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. On his marriage, he was granted the style of His Royal Highness and the title of Duke of Edinburgh by the King, his father-in-law. Philip left active service, having reached the rank of Commander, when Elizabeth became Queen in 1952. The Queen, his wife, made him a Prince of the United Kingdom in 1957 and Lord High Admiral in 2011.Philip has four children with Elizabeth: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Through an Order in Council issued in 1960, descendants of Philip and Elizabeth not bearing royal styles and titles can use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, which has also been used by some members who do hold titles, such as Charles and Anne. A keen sportsman, Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He is a patron of over 800 organisations, and chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme for people aged 14 to 24 years.

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