John Entwistle (The Who)

The Late great English singer-songwriter, musician, producer and bass Player, John Entwistle, sadly died 27 June 2002. He joined the rock band the Who in 1964 alongside Roger Daltrey (lead vocals, harmonica and guitar), Pete Townshend and Keith Moon (drums and percussion). The Who became known for energetic live performances which often included instrument destruction. So far The Who have sold about 100 million records, and have charted 27 top forty singles in the United Kingdom and United States, as well as 17 top ten albums, with 18 Gold, 12 Platinum and 5 Multi-Platinum album awards in the United States alone. The Who rose to fame in the UK with a series of top ten hit singles, boosted in part by pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline, beginning in January 1965 with“I Can’t Explain”. The albums My Generation, A Quick One and The Who Sell Out followed, with the first two reaching the UK top five.

They first hit the US Top 40 in 1967 with “Happy Jack” and hit the top ten later that year with “I Can See for Miles”. Their fame grew with memorable performances at the Monterey Pop, Woodstock and Isle of Wight music festivals. The 1969 release of Tommy was the first in a series of top ten albums in the US, followed by Live at Leeds, Who’s Next, Quadrophenia, The Who by Numbers, Who Are You, and The Kids Are Alright. Moon died at the age of 32 in 1978, after which the band released two studio albums, the UK and US top five Face Dances and the US top ten It’s Hard, with drummer Kenney Jones, before disbanding in 1983. They re-formed at events such as Live Aid and for reunion tours such as their 25th anniversary tour and the Quadrophenia tours of 1996 and 1997. In 2000, the three surviving original members discussed recording an album of new material, but their plans temporarily stalled upon Entwistle’s death at the age of 57 in 2002. Townshend and Daltrey continue to perform as The Who, and in 2006 they released the studio album Endless Wire, which reached the top ten in the UK and US. They have also played Barnstorming sets at Glastonbury.

The Who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, their first year of eligibility; the display describes them as “Prime contenders, in the minds of many, for the title of World’s Greatest Rock Band.” Time magazine wrote in 1979 that “No other group has ever pushed rock so far, or asked so much from it.” Rolling Stone magazine wrote: “Along with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, The Who complete the holy trinity of British rock.” They received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1988, and from the Grammy Foundation in 2001, for creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording. In 2008 surviving members Townshend and Daltrey were honoured at the 31st Annual Kennedy Center Honours. That same year VH1 Rock Honours paid tribute to The Who and Jack Black of Tenacious D called them “the greatest band of all time.

Helen Keller Day

Helen Keller Day, is held yearly on 27 June to commemorate inspiring deafblind American author, political activist, and lecturer Helen Adams Keller, who was born June 27, 1880 and overcame her disability and made a huge impact onthe quality of life of deafblind people the world over. The story of how Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker. Her birthday on June 27 is commemorated as Helen Keller Day in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and was authorized at the federal level by presidential proclamation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, her 100th birthday. A prolific author, Keller was well-travelled and outspoken in her convictions. A member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned forwomen’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, and other radical left causes. She was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1971. Helen Keller was born with the ability to see and hear. At age 19 months she contracted an illness described by doctors as “an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain”, which might have been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness left her both deaf and blind. At that time, she was able to communicate somewhat with Martha Washington, the six-year-old daughter of the family cook, who understood her signs; by the age of seven, Keller had more than 60 home signs to communicate with her family.

In 1886, Keller’s mother, inspired by an account in Charles Dickens’ American Notes of the successful education of another deaf and blind woman, Laura Bridgman, dispatched young Helen, accompanied by her father, to seek out physician J. Julian Chisolm, an eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist in Baltimore, for advice. Chisholm referred the Kellers to Alexander Graham Bell, who was working with deaf children at the time. Bell advised them to contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind, the school where Bridgman had been educated, which was then located in South Boston. Michael Anagnos, the school’s director, asked former student 20-year-old Anne Sullivan, herself visually impaired, to become Keller’s instructor. It was the beginning of a 49-year-long relationship during which Sullivan evolved into governess and then eventual compaion.Anne Sullivan arrived at Keller’s house in March 1887, and immediately began to teach Helen to communicate by spelling words into her hand, beginning with “d-o-l-l” for the doll that she had brought Keller as a present. Keller was frustrated, at first, because she did not understand that every object had a word uniquely identifying it. In fact, when Sullivan was trying to teach Keller the word for “mug”, Keller became so frustrated she broke the doll. Keller’s big breakthrough in communication came the next month, when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on the palm of her hand, while running cool water over her other hand, symbolized the idea of “water”; she then nearly exhausted Sullivan demanding the names of all the other familiar objects in her world. Due to a protruding left eye, Keller was usually photographed in profile. Both her eyes were replaced in adulthood with glass replicas for “medical and cosmetic reasons”.

Starting in May 1888, Keller attended the Perkins Institute for the Blind. In 1894, Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan moved to New York to attend the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf, and to learn from Sarah Fuller at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf. In 1896, they returned to Massachusetts and Keller entered The Cambridge School for Young Ladies before gaining admittance, in 1900, to Radcliffe College, where she lived in Briggs Hall, South House. Her admirer, Mark Twain, had introduced her to Standard Oil magnate Henry Huttleston Rogers, who, with his wife Abbie, paid for her education. In 1904, at the age of 24, Keller graduated from Radcliffe, becoming the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She maintained a correspondence with the Austrian philosopher andpedagogue Wilhelm Jerusalem, who was one of the first to discover her literary talent. Determined to communicate with others as conventionally as possible, Keller learned to speak, and spent much of her life giving speeches and lectures. She learned to “hear” people’s speech by reading their lips with her hands—her sense of touch had become extremely subtle. She became proficient at using Braille and reading sign language with her hands as well Shortly before World War I, with the assistance of the Zoellner Quartet she determined that by placing her fingertips on a resonant tabletop she could experience music played close by

Keller went on to become a world-famous speaker and author. She is remembered as anadvocate for people with disabilities, amid numerous other causes. She was a suffragist, apacifist, an opponent of Woodrow Wilson, a radical socialist and a birth control supporter. In 1915 she and George Kessler founded the Helen Keller International (HKI) organization. This organization is devoted to research in vision, health and nutrition. In 1920 she helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Keller traveled to 40 some-odd countries with Sullivan, making several trips to Japan and becoming a favorite of the Japanese people. Keller met every U.S. President from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B. Johnson and was friends with many famous figures, including Alexander Graham Bell, Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain. Keller and Twain were both considered radicals at the beginning of the 20th century, and as a consequence, their political views have been forgotten or glossed over in popular perception. Keller was a member of the Socialist Party and actively campaigned and wrote in support of the working class from 1909 to 1921.

she supported Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debs in each of his campaigns for the presidency. Newspaper columnists who had praised her courage and intelligence before she expressed her socialist views now called attention to her disabilities. Keller joined the Industrial Workers of the World (known as the IWW or the Wobblies) in 1912, saying that parliamentary socialism was “sinking in the political bog”. She wrote for the IWW between 1916 and 1918. In Why I Became an IWW, Keller explained that her motivation for activism came in part from her concern about blindness and other disabilities:I was appointed on a commission to investigate the conditions of the blind. For the first time I, who had thought blindness a misfortune beyond human control, found that too much of it was traceable to wrong industrial conditions, often caused by the selfishness and greed of employers. And the social evil contributed its share. I found that poverty drove women to a life of shame that ended in blindness.The last sentence refers to prostitution and syphilis, the former a frequent cause of the latter, and the latter a leading cause of blindness. In the same interview, Keller also cited the 1912 strike of textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts for instigating her support of socialism.

Keller wrote a total of 12 published books and several articles.One of her earliest pieces of writing, at age 11, was The Frost King (1891). There were allegations that this story had been plagiarized from The Frost Fairies by Margaret Canby. An investigation into the matter revealed that Keller may have experienced a case ofcryptomnesia, which was that she had Canby’s story read to her but forgot about it, while the memory remained in her subconscious. At age 22, Keller published her autobiography, The Story of My Life (1903), with help from Sullivan and Sullivan’s husband, John Macy. It recounts the story of her life up to age 21 and was written during her time in college.Keller wrote The World I Live In in 1908, giving readers an insight into how she felt about the world. Out of the Dark, a series of essays on socialism, was published in 1913.When Keller was young, Anne Sullivan introduced her to Phillips Brooks, who introduced her to Christianity, Keller famously saying: “I always knew He was there, but I didn’t know His name!” Her spiritual autobiography, My Religion, was published in 1927 and then in 1994 extensively revised and re-issued under the title Light in My Darkness. It advocates the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg, the Christian revelator and theologian who gives a spiritual interpretation of the teachings of the Bible and who claims that the second comingof Jesus Christ has already taken place. Adherents use several names to describe themselves, including Second Advent Christian, Swedenborgian, and New Church

Keller suffered a series of strokes in 1961 and spent the last years of her life at her home.On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the United States’ two highest civilian honors. In 1965 she was elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame at the New York World’s Fair. Keller devoted much of her later life to raising funds for the American Foundation for the Blind. She died in her sleep on June 1, 1968, at her home, Arcan Ridge, located in Easton, Connecticut, a few weeks short of her eighty-eighth birthday. A service was held in her honor at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and her ashes were placed there next to her constant companions, Anne Sullivan and Polly Thompson

Ford Madox Ford

English novelist, poet, critic and editor Ford Madox Ford sadly died inDeauville, France, on 26 June 1939. He was born 17 December 1873. He used the name of Ford Madox Hueffer and in 1919 changed it to Ford Madox Ford (allegedly, in the aftermath of World War I because “Hueffer” sounded too German in honour of his grandfather, the Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown, whose biography he had written. In 1894 he married his school girlfriend Elsie Martindale and together they had two daughters Christina (born 1897) and Katharine (born 1900).

Between 1918 and 1927 he lived with Stella Bowen, an Australian artist twenty years his junior. In 1920 they had a daughter, Julia Madox Ford One of his most famous works is The Good Soldier (1915), a novel set just before World War I which chronicles the tragic lives of two “perfect couples” using intricate flashbacks. In the “Dedicatory Letter to Stella Ford”, his wife, that prefaces the novel, Ford reports that a friend pronounced The Good Soldier “the finest French novel in the English language!” Ford pronounced himself a “Tory mad about historic continuity” and believed the novelist’s function was to serve as the historian of his own time.

Ford was involved in British war propaganda after the beginning of World War I. He worked for the War Propaganda Bureau, managed by C. F. G. Masterman, with other writers and scholars who were popular during that time, such as Arnold Bennett, G. K. Chesterton, John Galsworthy, Hilaire Belloc and Gilbert Murray. Ford wrote two propaganda books for Masterman, namely When Blood is Their Argument: An Analysis of Prussian Culture (1915), with the help of Richard Aldington, and Between St Dennis and St George: A Sketch of Three Civilizations (1915).After writing the two propaganda books, Ford enlisted at 41 years of age into the Welch Regiment on 30 July 1915, and was sent to France, His combat experiences and his previous propaganda activities inspired his tetralogy Parade’s End (1924–1928), set in England and on the Western Front before, during and after World War I.

Ford also wrote dozens of novels as well as essays, poetry, memoirs and literary criticism, and collaborated with Joseph Conrad on three novels, The Inheritors (1901), Romance (1903) and The Nature of a Crime (1924, although written much earlier). During the three to five years after this direct collaboration, Ford’s best known achievement was The Fifth Queen trilogy (1906–1908), historical novels based on the life of Katharine Howard, which Conrad termed, at the time, “the swan song of historical romance.”His poem,Antwerp (1915), was praised by T.S. Eliot as “the only good poem I have met with on the subject of the war”.Ford’s novel Ladies Whose Bright Eyes (1911, extensively revised in 1935) is, in a sense, the reverse of Twain’s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

In 1908, he founded The English Review, in which he published works by Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, Joseph Conrad, Henry James,May Sinclair, John Galsworthy and William Butler Yeats, and gave debuts to Wyndham Lewis, D. H. Lawrence and Norman Douglas. In 1924, he founded The Transatlantic Review, a journal with great influence on modern literature. Staying with the artistic community in the Latin Quarter of Paris, he befriended James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound[and Jean Rhys, all of whom he would publish (Ford is the model for the character Braddocks in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises). Ford says, “I helped Joseph Conrad, I helped Hemingway. I helped a dozen, a score of writers, and many of them have beaten me. I’m now an old man and I’ll die without making a name like Hemingway.” Hemingway devoted a chapter of his Parisian memoir A Moveable Feast to an encounter with Ford at a café in Paris during the early 1920s.

During a trip to the United States, he was involved with Allen Tate, Caroline Gordon, Katherine Anne Porter and Robert Lowell. Ford was always a champion of new literature and literary experimentation. In 1929, he published The English Novel: From the Earliest Days to the Death of Joseph Conrad, a brisk and accessible overview of the history of English novels. He had an affair with Jean Rhys, which ended acrimoniously. Ford spent the last years of his life teaching at Olivet College in Michigan, and died in Deauville, France. However his journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature. He is now remembered best for his publicationsThe Good Soldier (1915), the Parade’s End tetralogy (1924–28) and The Fifth Queentrilogy (1906–08). The Good Soldier is frequently included among the great literature of the 20th century, including the Modern Library 100 Best Novels, The Observer’s “100 Greatest Novels of All Time”, and The Guardian’s “1000 novels everyone must read”.

Colin Greenwood (Radiohead)

Colin Greenwood, English bass player and songwriter (Radiohead) Was born 26 June 1969. He is the elder brother of guitarist Jonny Greenwood. Formed in 1985, Radiohead hail from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and The band consists of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Colin Greenwood (bass), Phil Selway (drums, percussion) and Ed O’Brien (guitar, backing vocals). Radiohead released their debut single “Creep” in 1992. The song was initially unsuccessful, but it became a worldwide hit several months after the release of their debut album, Pablo Honey (1993). Radiohead’s popularity rose in the United Kingdom with the release of their second album, The Bends (1995). Radiohead’s third album, OK Computer (1997), propelled them to even greater international fame. Featuring an expansive sound and themes of modern alienation, OK Computer is often acclaimed as one of the landmark records of the 1990s. Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001) marked an evolution in Radiohead’s musical style, as the group incorporated experimental electronic music, krautrock and jazz influences.

Kid A, though somewhat polarizing at the time of its release, is now frequently recognized as one of the most important albums of the 2000s. Hail to the Thief (2003), a mix of piano and guitar driven rock, electronics and lyrics inspired by war, was the band’s final album for their major record label, EMI. Radiohead self-released their seventh album, In Rainbows (2007), as a digital download for which customers could set their own price, and later in physical form to critical and chart success. Radiohead’s eighth album, The King of Limbs (2011), was an exploration of rhythm and quieter textures, which the band released independently. Radiohead have sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, with the band’s work being placed highly in both listener polls and critics’ lists, they have the distinction of doing so in both the 1990s and 2000s. In 2005, Radiohead were ranked number 73 in Rolling Stone’s list of “The Greatest Artists of All Time”, while Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien were both included in Rolling Stone’s list of greatest guitarists, and Thom Yorke in their list of greatest singers. In 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the second best artist of the 2000’s. Radiohead’s latest album Heart Shaped Pool was released May 2016.

Mick Jones (The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite)

220px-TheClashLondonCallingalbumcoverBest known for being a member of The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite, the guitarist vocalist and songwriter Mick Jones was born 26 June 1955. Formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk. The Clash’s music incorporated elements of reggae, ska, dub, funk, rap, dance, and rockabilly. For most of their recording career, the Clash consisted of Joe Strummer (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Mick Jones (lead guitar, vocals), Paul Simonon (bass guitar, vocals) and Nicky “Topper” Headon (drums, percussion). Headon left the group in 1982, and internal friction led to Jones’s departure the following year. The group continued with new members, but finally disbanded in early 1986.

The Clash achieved commercial success in the United Kingdom with the release of their debut album, The Clash, in 1977. Their third album, London Calling, released in the UK in December 1979, brought them popularity in the United States when it came out there the following month. It was declared the best album of the 1980s a decade later by Rolling Stone magazine. The Clash’s politicised lyrics, musical experimentation and rebellious attitude had a far-reaching influence on rock, alternative rock in particular. They became widely referred to as “The Only Band That Matters”, originally a promotional slogan introduced by the group’s record label, CBS. In January 2003, the band—including original drummer Terry Chimes—were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the Clash number 28 on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time

After being ousted from the Clash in 1983 and following a brief stint with the band General Public, Mick Jones formed a new band called Top Risk Action Company (T.R.A.C.) He recruited bassist Leo “E-Zee Kill” Williams, saxophone player John “Boy” Lennard (from Theatre of Hate), and ex-Clash drummer Nicky “Topper” Headon. Headon was quickly sacked for his heroin addiction and Lennard either left or was fired and the band folded. Although the band released no material (only demos were recorded which have yet to be officially released), T.R.A.C. can be seen as a forerunner to Big Audio Dynamite in much the same way London SS can be seen as an early incarnation of The Clash. Jones then formed Big Audio Dynamite with film director Don Letts (maker of The Punk Rock Movie, various Clash music videos, and later The Clash documentary Westway to the World), bassist Leo Williams (from T.R.A.C.), drummer Greg Roberts, and keyboardist Dan Donovan.

Big-Audio-Dynamite-F-Punk-349151n 1985 the group’s debut, This Is Big Audio Dynamite, was released. The album’s cover shows the group as a four-piece (minus Donovan); the full group is pictured on the back cover.1986′s No. 10, Upping St. reunited Jones for one album with former Clash band-mate Joe Strummer, who was a co-producer of the album and co-writer of a number of its songs. The cover painting, based on a still taken from the Brian de Palma film “Scarface” was painted by Tim Jones. BAD supported U2 on their 1987 world tour, then released 1988′s Tighten Up, Vol. ’88 and 1989′s Megatop Phoenix. Tighten Up, Vol. 88 contained “Just Play Music!”, which was the second No. 1 single on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks. The band also recorded an unreleased track called “Keep off the Grass” which was a rock-style instrumental of the theme to the classic western film, The Magnificent Seven. A promo video can be seen on YouTube. In 1990, the original line-up wrote and recorded the song “Free” for the soundtrack to the movie Flashback. This would be the final song written with the original lineup, as the band would dissolve shortly after. “Bottom Line” from the first LP was remixed and used as the title track for Flashback. However this track was not included on the soundtrack. It can be found on the 12″ or by possible download. Later in 1990, Mick Jones debuted Big Audio Dynamite II and release the UK only album Kool-Aid. Dan Donovan remained in BAD II for one song, a re-working of the final BAD track “Free” renamed “Kickin’ In”.

For 1990′s The Globe, only Jones remained from BAD, and the band was now called “Big Audio Dynamite II”. This new line-up featured two guitarists. The Globe featured the band’s most commercially successful single, “Rush” which hit No. 1 on both the US modern rock chart and the Australian National Aria Chart. “Innocent Child” and “The Globe” were also released as singles.BAD supported U2 on their ZooTV tour and released the live EP “On The Road Live ’92″. The band later recruited keyboardist Andre Shapps (co-producer of The Globe and Mick Jones’s cousin) and Michael “DJ Zonka” Custance as DJ and vocalist. Both appeared on the band’s 1994 album Higher Power, Don Letts and Mick Jones broached the idea of a Big Audio Dynamite reunion in 2011.

Besides a Big Audio Dynamite reunion, There may be more Legacy Editions of the group’s albums after more unreleased material was found in the vaults. The reformation of the original line up of B.A.D was confirmed on 25 January 2011 with the announcement of a UK tour. Two Shepherd’s Bush Empire shows, a concert at Manchester Academy and a headline slot at Beautiful Days festival. Big Audio Dynamite have also played sets at the 2011 Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival,Glastonbury Festival 2011, Lollapalooza, the Levellers festival, Beautiful Days,Bestival, V Festival, and Fuji Rock Festival.

Laurie Lee (Cider with Rosie)

English poet, novelist, and screenwriter,Laurence Edward Alan “Laurie” Lee, MBE was born 26 June 1914 Having been born in Stroud, Lee moved with his family to the village of Slad i1917 and went to Marling School, Gloucestershire, At twelve, Laurie went to the CentalBoys’ School in Stroud and left at fifteen to become an errand boy at a Chartered Accountantsin Stroud. In 1931 he first found the Whiteway Colony, two miles from Slad, a colony founded by Leo Tolstoyan Anarchists. It gave him his first smattering of politicization and was where he met the composer Benjamin Frankel and the ‘Cleo’ who appears in As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. In 1933 he met Sophia Rogers, an “exotically pretty girl with dark curly hair” who had moved to Slad from Buenos Aires, an influence on Lee who said later in life that he only went to Spain because “a girl in Slad from Buenos Aires taught me a few words of Spanish.” At twenty he worked as an office clerk and a builder’s labourer, and lived in London for a year before leaving for Vigo, northwest Spain, in the summer of 1935. From there he travelled across Spain as far as Almuñecar on the coast of Andalusia. Walking more often than not, he eked out a living by playing his violin.

After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936 Lee was picked up by a British destroyer from Gibraltar, collecting marooned British subjects on the southern Spanish coast. He started to study for an art degree but returned to Spain in 1937 as an International Brigade volunteer. However his service in the Brigade was cut short by his epilepsy. These experiences were recounted in A Moment of War (1991), an austere memoir of his time as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War. During this period, he also made documentary films for the GPO Film Unit (1939–40) and the Crown Film Unit (1941–43). From 1944 to 1946 and worked as the Publications Editor for the Ministry of Information. Lee’s first love was always poetry, though he was only moderately successful as a poet, Lee’s first poem appeared in The Sunday Referee in 1934. Another poem was published in Cyril Connolly’s Horizon in 1940 and his first volume of poems, The Sun My Monument, was launched in 1944. This was followed by The Bloom of Candles (1947) and My Many-coated Man (1955). Several poems written in the early 1940s reflect the atmosphere of the war, but also capture the beauty of the English countryside.

However Lee’s most famous work was an autobiographical trilogy which consisted of Cider with Rosie (1959) which captured images of village life from a bygone era of innocence and simplicity , As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969), which deals with his leaving home for London and his first visit to Spain in 1935 and A Moment of War (1991). Which deals with his return to Spain in December 1937 to join the Republican International Brigades. Other works include A Rose for Winter, about a trip he made to Andalusia fifteen years after the Civil War; Two Women (1983), a story of Lee’s courtship and marriage with Kathy, daughter of Helen Garman; The Firstborn (1964), about the birth and childhood of their daughter Jessye; and I Can’t Stay Long (1975), a collection of occasional writing. Lee also wrote travel books, essays, a radio play, and short stories. Laurie Lee sadly passed away 3 May 1997 but his classic novels continue to be popular and remain required reading in many schools. They have also been adapted for screen, television and radio many times.

 

George Michael (Wham!)

George Michael, English singer-songwriter, producer, and actor was born 25 June 1963. Michael first found success after forming the duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981. The band’s first album Fantastic reached No. 1 in the UK in 1983 and included the songs Young Guns”, “Wham Rap!” and “Club Tropicana”. Their second album, Make It Big included the songs Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” (No. 1 in the UK and US), “Freedom”, “Everything She Wants”, and “Careless Whisper”. Michael sang on the original Band Aid recording of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and donated the profits from “Last Christmas/Everything She Wants” to charity. He also contributed to David Cassidy’s 1985 hit “The Last Kiss”, and Elton John’s 1985 songs “Nikita” and “Wrap Her Up”. Wham!’ Also made a historic tour of China in April 1985, which had never been done before by a Western Pop Group and was documented by film director Lindsay Anderson and producer Martin Lewis in their film Foreign Skies: Wham! In China. Michael then released two solo singles, “Careless Whisper” (1984) and “A Different Corner” (1986), And Wham! Officially separated during the summer of 1986, after releasing a farewell single, “The Edge of Heaven” and a singles compilation, The Final, plus a sell-out concert at Wembley Stadium.

He began his solo career, in 1987, was a highly successful duet with Aretha Franklin. “I Knew You Were Waiting”, for which Michael and Aretha Franklin won a Grammy Award in 1988 for Best R&B Performance – Duo or Group with Vocal for the song. Michael released his first solo album, Faith in 1987 which contained the controversial song “I Want Your Sex”,which was banned by many radio stations and The second single, “Faith”, was released in 1987 shortly before the album “Faith” and was accompanied by an iconic video. This was followed by the songs “Father Figure”, “One More Try”, and “Monkey”.In 1988, Michael embarked on a world tour, which included “Everything She Wants” and “I’m Your Man”, as well as covers of “Lady Marmalade” or “Play That Funky Music”. In Los Angeles, Michael was joined on stage by Aretha Franklin for “I Knew You Were Waiting”. In 1989, Faith won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year at the 31st Grammy Awards and also received the Video Vanguard Award At the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards.

In 1990 Michael released the album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, which was more serious in tone and contained the songs “Praying for Time”, which dealt with social ills and injustice, and the acoustic “Waiting for That Day”, this was followed by Freedom! ’90”, “Heal the Pain”, and “Cowboys and Angels”.The video for ‘Freedom ’90” was directed by David Fincher and featured the supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, and Cindy Crawford. The song “Mother’s Pride” also gained significant radio play in the US during the first Persian Gulf War during 1991. Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 also won the award for Best British Album at the 1991 Brit Awards. In 1991 Michael embarked on the “Cover to Cover tour” in Japan, England, the US, and Brazil, where he performed at Rock in Rio, singing his favourite cover songs, including Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”, a 1974 song by Elton John which he and Michael had performed together at the Live Aid concert in 1985, and again at London’s Wembley Arena in 1991. Due to legal problems with Sony Michael ended the idea for a follow up album called Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 2 and donated three songs to the charity project Red Hot + Dance, for the Red Hot Organization which raised money for AIDS awareness, including “Crazyman Dance” and Too Funky”, whose video features Michael (sporadically) filming supermodels Linda Evangelista, Beverly Peele, Tyra Banks, Estelle Lefébure and Nadja Auermann at a fashion show.

Next George Michael teamed up with Queen for the EP Five Live. Which they performed at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on 20 April 1992 at London’s Wembley Stadium, with proceeds going to AIDS research. Tracks for the event were performed by George Michael, Queen, and Lisa Stansfield and included “Somebody to Love”, “These Are the Days of Our Lives”,”Killer”, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”, “Calling You “’39″and “Somebody to Love”. Michael’s performance of “Somebody to Love” was hailed as “one of the best performances of the tribute concert”.The idea of having George Michael take over as full-time lead singer of Queen was even given serious consideration. In 1994, George Michael appeared at the first MTV Europe Music Awards show, performing his new song, “Jesus to a Child” this was followed by “Fastlove”, an energetic tune about wanting gratification and fulfilment without commitment, this was followed by the album’s title track Older, which was followed by “Star People ’97”. In 1996, Michael was voted Best British Male, at the MTV Europe Music Awards and the Brit Awards and at the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Awards, he was awarded the prestigious title of ‘Songwriter of The Year’ for the third time.

In 1998 George Michael released Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael a Double CD containing 28 songs (29 songs are included on the European and Australian release). The first CD, titled “For the Heart”, predominantly contains Michael’s successful ballads, while the second CD, “For the Feet”, consists mainly of his popular dance tunes. It also contains a large number of compilation tracks and duets that had not previously appeared on his albums, including his duet with Aretha Franklin, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”; “Desafinado”, a duet in Portuguese with Brazilian legendary singer Astrud Gilberto; and the Elton John duet “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on me”. George Michael’s next album was “Outiside”, the titular track was a humorous song about his arrest for soliciting a policeman in a public restroom. He also sang a duet with Mary J.Blige called “As”. In 1999: George Michael released the album Songs from the Last Century, which contained mainly cover-versions including “Roxanne”, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”; and the Frank Sinatra classic “Where or When”. In 2000, Michael sang on “If I Told You That” with Whitney Houston. Michael’s next single was “Freeek!”, this was followed by the controversial single “Shoot the Dog” which was highly critical of George W. Bush and Tony Blair in protest against the 2003 Iraq War, this was followed by a cover version of Don McLean’s The Grave. Which was released as part of the War Child charity album Hope. Michael’s fifth hit album, Patience, was released in 2004 and included the songs “Amazing” and “Flawless” which sampled The Ones’ original dance hit “Flawless”, this was followed by “Round Here” and “John and Elvis Are Dead”.

In 2006 George Michael released his second greatest hits album TWENTY FIVE celebrating the 25th anniversary of his music career. Containing George’s solo songs and Wham! Songs Plus three new songs: “An Easier Affair”; “This Is Not Real Love” (a duet with Mutya Buena, formerly of Sugababes, and a new version of “Heal the Pain” recorded with Paul McCartney and “Understand”. The limited edition three-CD version also contains an additional 14 lesser known tracks, including one from Wham! It was released in North America as a 29-song, two-CD set featuring several new songs (including duets with Paul McCartney and Mary J. Blige and a song from the short-lived TV series Eli Stone) where George Michael portrayed a guardian Angel protecting Johnny Lee Miller’s character. He also toured North America for the first time in 17 years and also played the 2005 Live 8 concert at Hyde Park, London, And was joined by Paul McCartney on stage, harmonising on The Beatles classic “Drive my Car”.The DVD version of Twenty Five contains 40 videos on two discs.In 2008, he toured North America playing 21 dates in the United States and Canada. This was Michael’s first tour of North America in 17 years. Michael appeared on the 2008 finale show of American Idol singing “Praying for Time”. Michael performed in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, as part of the 37th National Day Celebrations and released the song “December Song” on his website for free. In 2010, Michael performed his first show in Perth, Australia since 1988 and was a guest performer at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras After Party. In 2011, Michael covered New Order’s 1987 hit “True Faith” in aid of the charity Comic Relief and released a cover of Stevie Wonder’s 1972 song, “You and I” on 15 April 2011, as an MP3 gift to Prince William and Catherine Middleton on the occasion of their wedding on 29 April 2011. In 2011, George’s European Symphonica Tour was announced. He was also nominated for the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. Sadly though he became severely ill with Pneumonia. However two months after leaving hospital, Michael made a surprise appearance at the 2012 Brit Awards at London’s O2 Arena, where he received a standing ovation, and presented Adele the award for Best British Album. In 2012, George Michael released a single “White Light” to celebrate 30 years since the release of Wham Rap. Plus “Song to the Siren”, and two remixes and released and his latest album Symphonica was released in 2014.

As one of the world’s best-selling music artists, Michael has sold more than 100 million records worldwide as of 2010. His 1987 debut solo album, Faith, has on its own sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Michael has garnered seven number one singles in the UK and eight number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked Michael the 40th most successful artist on the Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists list. Michael has won numerous music awards throughout his 30-year career, including three Brit Awards—winning Best British Male twice, four MTV Video Music Awards, four Ivor Novello Awards, three American Music Awards, and two Grammy Awards from eight nominations. In 2004, the Radio Academy named Michael as the most played artist on British radio between the period of 1984–2004. The documentary A Different Story was released in 2005; it covered his personal life and professional career. In 2006, George Michael announced his first tour in 15 years, the worldwide 25 Live tour, spanning three individual tours over the course of three years (2006, 2007 and 2008).