Alexandre Dumas

-Count-Monte-CristoBest known for his historical novels of high adventure The French Author Alexandre Dumas was born 24 July 1802 and raised in poverty, Dumas father tragically died when he was four, and he faced discrimination because of his ethnic African ancestry, although he was more than three-quarters French. Through his father, who was born in Saint-Domingue, he was also the grandson of a French nobleman and a mixed-race slave. His mother was French.As a young man, Dumas’ aristocratic rank helped him acquire work with Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans. He began his career by writing plays, he also wrote numerous magazine articles and travel books; his published works totaled 100,000 pages.In the 1840s, Dumas founded the Théâtre Historique in Paris.

In 1851, Dumas left France for Belgium. After several years, he moved on to Russia for a few years, before going to Italy. In 1861 he founded and published the newspaper, L’ Indipendente, which supported the Italian unification effort. In 1864 he returned to Paris. Married, Dumas also had numerous affairs. He was known to have at least four illegitimate children, including a boy named Alexandre Dumas who also became a successful novelist and playwright, and was known as Alexandre Dumas, fils (son), while the elder Dumas became known as Alexandre Dumas, père (father).Prolific in several genres, His novels have been Translated into nearly 100 languages, these have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world. Many of his novels, including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Man in the Iron Mask, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne were originally published as serials. His novels have been adapted since the early twentieth century for nearly 200 films.

Dumas’ sadly passed away on 5 December 1870 and his last novel, The Knight of Sainte-Hermine, unfinished at his death, was completed by a scholar and published in 2005, becoming a bestseller. It was published in English in 2008 as The Last Cavalier. Many of Dumas’ novels have been adapted for screen and television numerous times, including The Man in the Iron Mask, the Count of Monte Christo and the Three Musketeers.

Slash (Guns’n’Roses, Slash’s Snakepit, Velvet Revolver, Apocalyptic Love)

British American Musician and Songwriter Slash, (Saul Hudson )was born 23 July 1965. he is best known as the lead guitarist with Guns’n’Roses. Guns’n’Roses formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1985. The classic lineup as signed to Geffen Records in 1986, consisted of vocalistAxl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler. Today, Axl Rose is the only remaining original member, in a lineup that comprises Use Your Illusion–era keyboardist Dizzy Reed, lead guitaristsDJ Ashba and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus, bassist Tommy Stinson, drummer Frank Ferrer, and keyboardist Chris Pitman. The band has released six studio albums to date, accumulating sales of more than 100 million records worldwide, inluding shipments of 45 million in the United States,making them one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.

GUNS’n’ROSES LIVE IN CHICAGO 1992 http://youtu.be/ztPWjlkqEtE

A year after its release, Guns N’ Roses’ debut album Appetite for Destruction (1987) reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, on the strength of the hit “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, their only single to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.The album has sold in excess of 28 million copies worldwide,including 18 million units sold in the United States, making it the best-selling debut album of all time in the U.S. The success of their debut was followed by the eight-song album G N’ R Lies (1988). The twin albumsUse Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II (1991) debuted at No. 2 and No. 1 on theBillboard 200 and have sold a combined 35 million copies worldwide,including 14 million units sold in the United States alone.The cover album “The Spaghetti Incident?” (1993) was the band’s last studio album to feature Slash and McKagan.

In 1991, Slash played lead guitar on the single “Give In To Me” off Michael Jackson’s album Dangerous, as well as in the intro for “Black or White” off the same album. In 1995, he played guitar on “D.S.”, a controversial song from Jackson’s HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I album, and in 1997 appeared on the song “Morphine” off the remix album Blood on the Dance Floor: History in the Mix. In 2001, Slash played on “Privacy” off Jackson’s final studio album, Invincible. Slash also played at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards with Jackson on “Black or White” (and the introduction of “Billie Jean”)—he would rejoin Jackson during the 2001 Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special concerts for “Black or White” and “Beat It”.

In 1991, Slash collaborated with Lenny Kravitz on “Always on the Run”, the lead single from Kravitz’ album Mama Said. In 1993, Slash appeared on the album Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix, performing “I Don’t Live Today” with Paul Rodgers and Band of Gypsys. Slash also guest appeared in Carole King’s 1994 live concert, which was captured on her Carole King – In Concert album. Slash and King appeared on David Letterman to promote the concert. In 1996, he collaborated with Marta Sánchez to record the flamenco-inspired song “Obsession Confession” for the Curdled soundtrack. Later that year, he played with Alice Cooper at Sammy Hagar’s club Cabo Wabo in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The show was released the following year as A Fistful of Alice. In 1997, Slash appeared alongside rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard and rock band Fishbone on Blackstreet’s rock remix of their single “Fix”; he also appeared in the accompanying music video. Also in 1997, he played on the single “But You Said I’m Useless” by Japanese musician J. That same year, he contributed music to the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown; several compositions by Slash’s Snakepit can be heard throughout the film. He also appeared on the Insane Clown Posse album The Great Milenko on the track Halls of Illusion.

After leaving Guns’n’Roses Slash formed Slash’s Snakepit, in 1994 a side project that featured his Guns N’ Roses band mates Matt Sorum and Gilby Clarke on drums and rhythm guitar respectively, as well as Alice in Chains’ Mike Inez on bass and Jellyfish’s Eric Dover on vocals. The band recorded Slash’s material originally intended for Guns N’ Roses, resulting in the release of It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere in February 1995. The album was critically praised for ignoring the then-popular conventions of alternative music, and fared well on the charts, eventually selling over one million copies in the US alone despite little promotion from Geffen Records. Slash’s Snakepit toured in support of the album with bassist James LoMenzo and drummer Brian Tichy of Pride and Glory, before disbanding in 1996. Slash then toured for two years with the blues rock cover band Slash’s Blues Ball.

In 1999, Slash regrouped Slash’s Snakepit with Rod Jackson on vocals, Ryan Roxie on rhythm guitar, Johnny Griparic on bass, and Matt Laug on drums. Their second album, Ain’t Life Grand, was released in October 2000 and embarked on an extensive world tour in support of AC/DC in the summer of 2000, followed by their own headlining theater tour. Slash disbanded Snakepit in 2002 and reunited with Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum for a Randy Castillo tribute concert. Realizing that they still had the chemistry of their days in Guns N’ Roses, they decided to form a new band together. Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin was initially involved, but left after the others decided to find a lead singer. Dave Kushner, who had previously played with McKagan in Loaded, then joined the band on rhythm guitar. For many months, the four searched for a lead singer by listening to offered demo tapes, a monotonous process documented by VH1. Eventually, former Stone Temple Pilots vocalist Scott Weiland joined the band.

In 2003, Velvet Revolver played several concerts during the summer and released their first single, “Set Me Free”. In June 2004, they released their debut album, Contraband, which debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. chart and sold two million copies, re-establishing Slash as a mainstream performer. A year-and-a-half-long tour followed in support of the album. In July 2007, Velvet Revolver released their second album, Libertad, and embarked on a second tour. During a show in March 2008, Weiland announced to the audience that it would be the band’s final tour; he left the band the following month to rejoin Stone Temple Pilots. Despite Weiland’s departure, Velvet Revolver did not officially disband.

In September 2008, Slash began production on his debut solo album. He described the process of recording by himself as “cathartic.” Slash’s wife Perla revealed that many different artists would appear on the album, saying, “It’s going to be Slash and friends, with everyone from Ozzy to Fergie.”The album, entitled Slash, featured an all-star roster of guest musicians, including Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold, Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead, Dave Grohl, Chris Cornell and Iggy Pop. To promote the album, Slash embarked on his first solo world tour with Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge—who also appeared on the album—on vocals, Bobby Schneck on rhythm guitar, Todd Kerns on bass, and Brent Fitz on drums. Slash second album, titled Apocalyptic Love, was released in 2012 and Slash also received award for “Best Guitarist Of The Year 2012” by Loudwires readers. In 2014. Slash embarked on a tour with Aerosmith and His third solo studio album, World on Fire, also billed as “Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators” was released on September 10, 2014

Raymond Chandler

imageProlific American Crime thriller writer and Screenwriter Raymond Chandler was born 23 July 1888. In Chicago Illinois. Among His best known novels are Farewell my Lovely and the Big Sleep and many of his novels have also been turned into films starring the late great Robert Mitchum. He became a crime thriller writer in 1932 when at the age of 44 he found himself redundant from his job at an oil company and due to his straitened financial circumstances during the Great Depression, Chandler turned to his latent writing talent to earn a living, teaching himself to write pulp fiction by studying the Perry Mason story formula of Erle Stanley Gardner. Chandler’s first professional work, “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot”, was published in Black Mask magazine in 1933; his first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939, featuring his famous Philip Marlowe detective character speaking in the first person.

His second Marlowe novel, Farewell, My Lovely (1940), became the basis for three movie versions adapted by other screenwriters, including 1944’s Murder My Sweet (which marked the screen debut of the Marlowe character), starring Dick Powell (whose depiction of Marlowe Chandler reportedly applauded). Literary success and film adaptations led to a demand for Chandler himself as a screenwriter. He and Billy Wilder co-wrote Double Indemnity (1944), based on James M. Cain’s novel of the same name. The noir screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award. Chandler’s only produced original screenplay was The Blue Dahlia (1946). Which gained Chandler’s second Academy Award nomination for screenplay. Chandler also collaborated on the screenplay of Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951), an ironic fantasy murder story based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel of the same title. However Chandler and Hitchcock did not get on very well. In 1946 the Chandlers moved to La Jolla, California, an affluent coastal neighborhood of San Diego, where Chandler wrote the final two Philip Marlowe novels, The Long Goodbye and his last completed work, Playback. The latter was derived from an unproduced courtroom drama screenplay he had written for Universal Studios.

Chandler’s final Marlowe short story, circa 1957, was entitled “The Pencil”. It later provided the basis of an episode for an HBO mini-series (1983–86) entitled Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, starring Powers Boothe as Marlowe. Four chapters of a novel, unfinished at his death, were also transformed into a final “Chandler” Philip Marlowe book, Poodle Springs, by mystery writer and Chandler admirer Robert B. Parker, author of the “Spenser” series, in 1989. Parker shares the authorship with Chandler, and subsequently wrote his own Marlowe sequel to The Big Sleep entitled Perchance to Dream.

Sadly After a successful and highly prolific writing career Chandler passed away on March 26 1959 at his home in La Jolla, California. However before he died he was elected President of the Mystery Writers of America and His crime thrillers continues to have an immense stylistic influence on many other crime fiction writers and American Popular Literature in general. He is considered to be one of the founding author of the Hard Boiled style of Detective Fiction. His protagonists Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade are considered to be the quintessential Private Detectives and have both been played by the late, great Humphrey Bogart. Many of Chandler’s novels such as Farewell my Lovely, Goodbye Sister and The Big Sleep are still considered important literary works.

John Rutsey (Rush)

Rush-Clockwork-Angels-The late John Rutsey, Canadian ex-drummer with rock band Rush) was born 23 July 1952. Rush were formed in August 1968, in the Willowdale neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario. The band is composed of bassist, keyboardist, an lead vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist and backing vocalist Alex Lifeson, and drummer, percussionist and lyricist Neil Peart. The band’s membership continually changed between 1968 and 1974, Neil Peart replaced original drummer John Rutsey in July 1974, two weeks before the group’s first United States tour, during which they played Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, which also became Rush’s very first radio broadcast and the concert is featured on the Album “ABC 1974″.The year after, Rush also played songs from the groups second album Fly by Night and would go onto play many more shows at Agora Ballroom. Since the release of the band’s self-titled debut album in March 1974, Rush have become known for their musicianship, complex compositions, and eclectic lyrical motifs drawing heavily on science fiction, fantasy, and philosophy.

Rush’s music style has changed over the years, beginning with blues-inspired heavy metal on their first album, then encompassing hard rock, progressive rock, and a period with heavy use of synthesizers. They have been cited as an influence by various musical artists, including Metallica Primus, and The Smashing Pumpkins, as well as progressive metal bands such as Dream Theater and Symphony X.Rush has won a number of Juno Awards, and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994. Over their careers, the members of Rush have been acknowledged as some of the most proficient players on their respective instruments, with each band member winning numerous awards in magazine readers’ polls. As a group, Rush possesses 24 gold records and 14 platinum (3 multi-platinum) records.

Rush are in third behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band. Rush also ranks 79th in U.S. album sales, with 25 million units. Although total worldwide album sales are not calculated by any single entity, as of 2004 several industry sources estimated Rush’s total worldwide album sales at over 40 million units. Rush’s latest album Clockwork Angels was released in 2012. It was their first album in five years since, 2007’s “SNAKES & ARROWS.” and is the band’s 20th studio album. The first single from the album was “Headlong Flight”, they also toured in support of the album.

Martin Gore (Depeche Mode, VCMG MG)

Martin Gore, The Keyboard Player and Guitarist with Depeche Mode and VCMG was born 23rd July 1961. Depeche Mode were formed in 1980 in Basildon, Essex. The group’s original line-up consisted of Dave Gahan (lead vocals), Martin Gore (keyboards, guitar, vocals, chief songwriter after 1981), Andy Fletcher (keyboards) and Vince Clarke (keyboards, chief songwriter 1980–81). Vince Clarke left the band after the release of their 1981 debut album, Speak & Spell, to record A Broken Frame, released the following year and subsequently joined the groups Yazoo and then Erasure and was replaced by Alan Wilder (keyboards, drums, occasional songwriter) with Gore taking over songwriting For Depeche Mode.

Depeche Mode’s last albums of the 1980s, Black Celebration and Music for the Masses, established them as a dominant force on the mainstream electronic music scene. A highlight of this era was the band’s concert at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, where they drew a crowd in excess of 60,000 people. In the new decade, Depeche Mode released Violator, catapulting them to massive mainstream success. The subsequent album, Songs of Faith and Devotion, and the supporting Devotional Tour exacerbated tensions within the band to the point where Alan Wilder quit in 1995, leading to intense media and fan speculation that the band would split. Now a trio once again, the band released Ultra in 1997, recorded at the height of Gahan’s near-fatal drug abuse, Gore’s alcoholism and seizures and Fletcher’s depression. The release of Exciter confirmed Depeche Mode’s willingness to remain together, the subsequent, and very successful, Exciter Tour being their first tour in support of an original album in eight years since the Devotional Tour, although the band had toured in 1998 to support The Singles 86>98 compilation album. Depeche Mode have had fifty songs in the UK Singles Chart and thirteen top 10 albums in the UK charts, two of which debuted at No. 1. Depeche Mode have sold over 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the most commercially successful electronic bands and one of the world’s best-selling bands. Q magazine calls Depeche Mode “the most popular electronic band the world has ever known”and included the band in the list of the “50 Bands That Changed the World!”.

Martin Gore has also collaborated with former bandmate Vince Clarke on the Album VCMG-Ssss And the latest Depeche Mode album Delta Machine was released recently. Depeche Mode have had 48 songs in the UK Singles Chart including “Enjoy the Silence” “Policy of Truth” “Personal Jesus“ “World in My Eyes””Never Let Me Down Again” and “Walking in My Shoes” twelve top 10 albums in the UK charts, two of which debuted at #1. According to EMI, Depeche Mode have sold over 100 million albums and singles worldwide, making them the most successful electronic band in music history. Q magazine calls Depeche Mode “The most popular electronic band the world has ever known” and included the band in the list of the “50 Bands That Changed The World!”. In 2010 Depeche Mode were ranked No. 98 on VH1′s list of the “100 greatest artists of all time”. Martin Gore has also released an Instrumental Solo Album entitled MG IN 2015.

Amy Winehouse

Talented but Troubled singer Amy Winehouse sadly died 23 July 2011. Born 14th September 1983 in London. She joined the Brit School and by 16 her otherworldly soul voice – deep, full and knowing but light and fresh and fragile at the same time – had won her a contract with Simon Fuller’s management company, which led to her being signed by Island Records. In 2003, she released her first album – The jazz-influenced entitled ‘Frank’,- it garnered much critical acclaim earning an Ivor Novello songwriting award, two Brit nominations and a spot on the shortlist for the Mercury Music Prize. It was also around this time that Amy met Blake Fielder-Civil and began an infamously tempestuous on-off relationship with him, involving drug and drink binges.

By 2006, after three years with Blake, rapid weight loss, an ever-expanding beehive hairdo and documented drug and drink problems, Winehouse released Back to Black, her breakthrough album, which made her a huge star across the world, fusing soul, jazz, doo-wop, it went on to win five Grammy awards, including song and record of the year for Rehab. Even back then, Winehouse’s performances were sometimes shambolic, and she admitted to being ‘a terrible drunk., her personal life Increasingly began to overshadow her career. She also acknowledged struggling with eating disorders and said that she had been diagnosed as manic depressive but refused to take medication. Soon accounts of her erratic behavior, canceled concerts and drink and drug-fueled nights began to appear forcing Winehouse’s managers to go to increasingly desperate lengths to keep the wayward star on the straight and narrow.

Sadly she was not able to follow up the success of Back to Black, Her rendition of The Zutons’ Valerie was a hit for producer Mark Ronson but sadly other recording projects with Ronson, came to nothing. Though she was often reported to be working on new material, fans got tired of waiting for the much-promised follow up to Back to Black. Her increasingly erratic behaviour also led to numerous run-ins with the law, it was also at this time that she broke up with Blake, going out with chef Alex Claire, but got back together with her former lover, whom she married in Miami. Unfortunately this renewed relationship with Blake led to more cancelled tours and hospital visits after overdosing on drugs.

A day after being told she had received three MTV Video Music Award nods, the singer was rushed to the University College London Hospital after one such overdose, which was initially dismissed as ‘exhaustion’. This prompted worried relatives to say ‘ they both need to get medical help before one of them, if not both of them, eventually dies.’Fielder-Civil also had many run-ins with the law, and was arrested on numerous occasions. with his excessive drinking and drug use leading to many stays in Hospital for Amy. In June 2008 after one of many hospital stays She left to perform at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday concert in Hyde Park, and at the Glastonbury festival the next day, where she received a rousing reception. Sadly though most of her performances were increasingly shambolic and she had pulled out of her European tour after she was jeered while appearing drunk on stage at her comeback gig in Serbia.She left the stage frequently, with her band having to improvise in her absence, and was said to have mumbled through parts of her songs.

Her excessive drinking and Drug Abuse were also taking their toll on her health too and in a bid to save her ailing health and desperate addiction problems, Winehouse most recently booked herself into rehab at The Priory in May where it was hoped finally to refocus the young singer. Winehouse, however, checked herself out after just one week. It appears that despite her prodigious talent She never found serenity through her music and her amazing natural talent, and turned to drugs, alchohol instead as a means of escaping her troubles, with tragic consequences. In just 27 years, Amy Winehouse has managed to leave behind her a soul legacy, Sadly, however, the immeasurably gifted singer is unlikely to be remembered for her singing but for her tempestuous relationship, excessive drinking, drug abuse and troubles with the Law.