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Thread: Miscellaneous Music News

  1. #221
    Shoveling the ocean MissThing's Avatar
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    Re: Miscellaneous Celebrity News

    Sad (but not unexpected) news, indeed:

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Beverly Sills, the Brooklyn-born opera diva who was a global icon of can-do American culture with her dazzling voice, bubbly personality and management moxie in the arts world, died Monday of cancer, her manager said. She was 78.


    Beverly Sills has been a noted opera singer and arts administrator.

    It had been revealed just last month that Sills was gravely ill with inoperable lung cancer. Sills, who never smoked, died about 9 p.m. Monday at her Manhattan home with her family and doctor at her side, said her manager, Edgar Vincent.

    Beyond the music world, Sills gained fans worldwide with a style that matched her childhood nickname, Bubbles. The relaxed, red-haired diva appeared frequently on "The Tonight Show," "The Muppet Show" and in televised performances with her friend Carol Burnett.

    Together, they did a show from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera called "Sills and Burnett at the Met," singing rip-roaring duets with funny one-liners thrown in.

    Long after the public stopped hearing her sing in 1980, Sills' rich, infectious laughter filled the nation's living rooms as she hosted live TV broadcasts. As recently as last season, she conducted backstage interviews for the Metropolitan Opera's high-definition movie theater performances.

    Sills first gained fame with a high-octane career that helped put Americans on the international map of opera stars.

    Born Belle Miriam Silverman in Brooklyn, she quickly became Bubbles, an endearment coined by the doctor who delivered her, noting that she was born blowing a bubble of spit from her little mouth.

    Fast-forward to 1947, when the same mouth produced vocal glory for her operatic stage debut in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a bit role in Bizet's "Carmen." Sills became a star with the New York City Opera, where she first performed in 1955 in Johann Strauss Jr.'s "Die Fledermaus." She was acclaimed for performances in such operas as Douglas Moore's "The Ballad of Baby Doe," Massenet's "Manon" and Handel's "Giulio Cesare," and the roles of three Tudor queens in works by Gaetano Donizetti.

    Her 1958 appearances as Baby Doe would become among her best known, in a tale of a silver-mine millionaire who leaves his wife for Baby Doe and eventually dies penniless.

    "I loved the role," Sills wrote in her 1976 autobiography. "I read everything that had ever been written about her. ... I absorbed her so completely in those five weeks of studying the opera that I knew her inside and out. I was Baby Doe."

    Sills' face once graced the covers of Time and Newsweek magazines as an American who had conquered the classical music world, even abroad -- at the time a rarity.

    But as a child star, she was not above singing radio commercials with lyrics such as: "Rinso White, Rinso Bright, happy little washday song."

    It was not until late in her career that she achieved the pinnacle, appearing at the Met, the nation's premier opera house.

    Her debut on that stage didn't come until 1975, years after she became famous. In her memoir, she said longtime Met general manager Rudolf Bing "had a thing about American singers, especially those who had not been trained abroad: He did not think very much of them."

    Sills' Met debut, arranged after Bing retired, was in "The Siege of Corinth," and she recalled that "I was welcomed at the Met like a long-lost child." (She also recalled having a couple of friendly encounters with Bing and found he "could not have been more charming.")

    Described by former Mayor Ed Koch as "an empire unto herself," Sills sat on several corporate boards, including those of Macy's and American Express.

    Sills retired from the stage in 1980 at age 51 after a three-decade singing career and began a new life as an executive and leader of New York's performing arts community. First, she became general director of the New York City Opera.

    Under her stewardship, the City Opera, known as the "people's opera company," became the first in the nation to use English supertitles, translating operas for the audience by projecting lyrics onto a screen above the stage. The Met followed, later adopting its titles on the back of audience seats.

    In 1994, Sills became chairwoman of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She was the first woman and first former artist in that position.

    After leading the nation's largest arts complex through eight boom years and launching a redevelopment project, she retired in 2002, saying she wanted "to smell the flowers a little bit."

    After six months, she was back.

    "So I smelled the roses and developed an allergy," she joked as she accepted a position as chairwoman of the Met. "I need new mountains to climb, which is why roses don't appeal to me."

    In a 2000 interview, she said, "It was never part of my plan to retire as a prima donna. I never thought the day I stopped singing would be the day I stopped working."

    Sills was a master fundraiser, tapping her vast network of friends and colleagues for money that bolstered not only Lincoln Center but also non-artistic causes such as the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the March of Dimes, a job she called "one of the most rewarding in my life."

    The word around New York was that if anyone needed to raise several million dollars in one night, they could turn to Sills, whose name drew donors in droves.

    She also lent her name and voice to the Multiple Sclerosis Society; her daughter, Muffy, has MS and was born deaf.

    At a 2005 Manhattan benefit for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Sills told an audience that included her daughter: "One of the things that separates the two-legged creatures from the four-legged ones is compassion."

    Added the host for that evening, Barbara Walters: "She can go from doing a duet with Placido Domingo to doing a duet with a Muppet."

    Sills' compassion extended to her autistic son and to her husband, who lived with her at their home as his Alzheimer's disease progressed.

    Still, through harrowing personal times, she never lost her own sense of humor, accompanied by a billowing ripple of laughter that was all the more warming because it was born not of frivolity but of a survivor's grit.

    She spoke like she sang -- with bravado. The words poured out of her like a force of nature, sprinkled with good-natured gossip and insights, cheeky jokes and probing questions.

    She balanced the challenges of her private life with the joy of singing, stepping onstage and transforming herself into characters that made her forget her troubles.

    Stage fright was foreign to her. Before curtain time, she would make phone calls or munch on an apple, then sweep on to deliver her roles with exuberance.

    A coloratura soprano, Sills was for years the prima donna of the New York City Opera, achieving stardom with critically acclaimed performances in Verdi's "La Traviata" and Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor," among dozens of roles.

    She is credited with reviving musical styles that had gathered dust, such as the Three Queens -- the trio of heroines of Gaetano Donizetti's "Anna Bolena," "Maria Stuarda" and "Roberto Devereaux" -- in which she starred as Elizabeth, a role she called her greatest artistic achievement.

    Onstage, her style stressed the theatrical portrayal of the character, as well as the music.

    "Opera is music AND drama," she wrote in her 1976 memoir, "Bubbles: A Self-Portrait." "I'm prepared to sacrifice the beautiful note for the meaningful sound any time. ... I can make a pretty tone as well as anyone, but there are times when the drama of a scene demands the opposite of a pretty sound."

    As chairwoman of the Met, she was instrumental in proposing Peter Gelb, now general manager, for that position, a move that brought a new leader who injected a dose of new moves that pushed up attendance and ticket sales.

    Citing personal reasons, Sills bowed out as Metropolitan Opera chairwoman in January 2005, saying, "I know that I have achieved what I set out to do." At the time, she had recently suffered a fall and was using a wheelchair.

    In 2006, she presided over the inaugural Beverly Sills Artist Award at the Met, given to baritone Nathan Gunn.

    Sills grew up in a "typical middle-class American Jewish family," as she put it. She was first exposed to opera by listening to her mother's record collection.

    She began taking weekly voice, dance and elocution lessons as a young child and at age 4 appeared on a local radio show called "Uncle Bob's Rainbow Hour."

    When she was 7, her name was changed to Beverly Sills -- a friend of her mother's thought it was a more suitable stage name -- and she began 34 years of study with vocal coach Estelle Liebling.

    After an audition arranged by Liebling, the young Sills won first place in the "Major Bowes Amateur Hour" and became a regular member of its "Capitol Family Hour show." As a teenager, Sills made two repertory tours and finished high school by correspondence course at Manhattan's Professional Children's School.

    Primped up in big bows and crisp pink dresses by her mother, she set off to sing on the radio, at ladies' luncheons and at bar mitzvahs. At 16, billed as "the youngest prima donna in captivity," she joined the touring J.J. Shubert operetta company, starring in Gilbert and Sullivan productions.

    Her opera debut came in 1947, in the role of Frasquita in "Carmen" with the Philadelphia Civic Opera. For several years, Sills sang opera when she could, touring twice with the Wagner Company, while performing in the Catskills and at a Manhattan after-hours club.

    She sang briefly with the San Francisco Opera Company, making her debut there in 1953 in a secondary role in Boito's "Mefistofele." In 1954, she sang the role of Verdi's Aida in Salt Lake City before joining the New York City Opera in 1955.

    In 1956, Sills married Peter Greenough, a journalist who later quit the news business to manage the family's affairs as his wife's career flourished. He died in 2006.

    After a whirlwind of performances in the early 1960s, Sills hit her stride as Cleopatra in Handel's "Julius Caesar" in 1966, when the New York City Opera officially opened its new home at Lincoln Center.

    "When the performance was over, I knew that something extraordinary had taken place," Sills wrote. "I knew that I had sung as I had never sung before, and I needed no newspapers the next day to reassure me."

    Abroad, Sills sang at such famed opera houses as La Scala and Teatro San Carlo in Italy, London's Royal Opera at Covent Garden and the Berlin Opera.

    Besides Greenough's three children from a previous marriage, the couple had two children of their own, Peter Jr., known as "Bucky", and Meredith, known as "Muffy."

    Opera star Beverly Sills dies at 78 - CNN.com
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  2. #222
    FORT Fogey Blues Songstres's Avatar
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    Re: Miscellaneous Celebrity News

    I'm glad somebody mentioned this. I've loved her since I was a kid. Godspeed, Bubbles.

  3. #223
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered prhoshay's Avatar
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    Re: Miscellaneous Celebrity News

    I've always wondered exactly was what it meant when it is stated that a person died with their family when people die with their "family and doctor at their side." I've always wondered if they were "assisted", in some way. This seems to happen with a lot of celebs, to say the least.
    "...each affects the other, and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one." - Mitch Albom, one helluva writer

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  4. #224
    Resident curmudgeon Newfherder's Avatar
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    Re: Miscellaneous Music News

    NPR : Soprano Beverly Sills: A Silvery Voice, Silenced at 78

    Beverly Sills passed away yesterday Her interview on 60 Minutes in 1975 was my first introduction to opera.
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  5. #225
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Boots Randolph passed away yesterday. He was best known for his hit "Yakety Sax" which is used as the theme song for Benny Hill. Mr. Randolph was a very well known session performer in Nashville and played on many hit songs back in the day. Being a Nashvillian I guess I'm probably one of the few on this board who will recognize the name. RIP Mr. Randolph
    Randolph's soulful sax enriched Nashville Sound - Nashville, Tennessee - Wednesday, 07/04/07 - Tennessean.com
    Randolph's soulful sax enriched Nashville Sound

    By BILL FRISKICS-WARREN
    Staff Writer

    Boots Randolph, Nashville's most celebrated saxophonist and a member of the city's vaunted "A-Team" of session musicians, died Tuesday afternoon after suffering a subdural hematoma last week. He was 80.

    Mr. Randolph played a major role in the development of the Nashville Sound, where his always soulful playing galvanized popular recordings by the likes of Elvis Presley and Eddy Arnold.


    As singular as his work as a sideman was, however, Mr. Randolph was best known for his 1963 hit "Yakety Sax," a juking instrumental inspired by King Curtis' saxophone solo on the Coasters' 1958 R&B smash "Yakety Yak."

    Written with guitarist James "Spider" Rich, Mr. Randolph's record later became the theme song of the long-running British comedy The Benny Hill Show.

    "Chicken pickin' saxophone" is how fellow A-Team member and Country Music Hall of Famer Harold Bradley described the short, spluttering notes that hooked "Yakety Sax."

    Mr. Randolph, too, invoked rural imagery to describe his playing, routinely joking from the stage that he was "the world's only hillbilly saxophonist."

    Ironically, it was his gift for improvisation and command of dynamics in genres ranging from jazz to blues that stood out most in many ways.

    "The sax is a loud, blare-y instrument," said A-Teamer Bob Moore. "But Boots had a way of playing something that would fit with the style and the mood of the song. Whatever he came up with was always outstanding."

    Brenda Lee, discussing Mr. Randolph's swinging solo on her 1960 hit "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," said, "I don't care who has recorded that song since, they all copied him."

    From his salacious wailing on Elvis' 1960 recording of "Reconsider Baby" to the staccato riff he played on Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman," Mr. Randolph's contributions indeed were inimitable.

    He played in family band

    Born in Paducah, Ky., in 1927, Mr. Randolph grew up playing ukulele and trombone in his family's band, whose performances supplemented their household income during the Depression. He didn't take up the saxophone until he was in high school.

    Mr. Randolph worked in nightclubs in Indiana and Illinois for a decade after serving in the Army during World War II. His big break came after he sent a tape of "Yakety Sax" to Chet Atkins, then the head of RCA Records in Nashville. Atkins liked what he heard and hired Mr. Randolph to do session work for such artists as Perry Como and Homer & Jethro.

    Atkins also signed him to a solo contract, but it wasn't until Mr. Randolph moved to the fledging Monument label that his career took off. He became a regular on the Grand Ole Opry and was a frequent guest on such network TV programs as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.

    In 1977, he opened his famous Boots Randolph's nightclub in Printers Alley, a popular tourist attraction until it closed in 1994.

    Just last month, he released A Whole New Ballgame, an album of standards like "Nature Boy" and "'Round Midnight" that found him in fine form.

    He was sideman and star

    Mr. Randolph continued to work as a sideman even after he became a headliner. Bradley called him a consummate team player and believes that Mr. Randolph's contributions helped lend the Nashville Sound broader popular appeal.

    Moore remembered Mr. Randolph as someone who would pitch in where needed. At the same time, he said, "If you didn't watch out, Boots would become the star, it didn't matter who he was playing with.

    "I've always said that, as the bass player, I have the best seat in the house," Moore explained. "I stood right behind Elvis, and I stood right behind Tammy (Wynette). No matter who I was playing with, I'd look out at the crowd and could always tell by the looks on people's faces when Boots would take his turn at the center of the stage. He knocked them out every time. And when he would step back to the side, they would stillbe watching him."

    Beyond his unassailable musicianship, Mr. Randolph was an avid golfer, a devoted family man and a friend to many.

    "He was not only a definitive musician," said Lee, "he was also a true gentleman, and a wonderful friend to me, as he was to so many in the Nashville recording community.

    "He was a precious, sweet man," she added. "His passing leaves a void that will be impossible to fill."

    Mr. Randolph is survived by Delores "Dee" Randolph, his wife of 59 years, his son Randy Randolph and daughter Linda O'Neal, all of Nashville; brother Bob Randolph and sister Dorothy Thomas of Evansville, Ind.; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

    Arrangements, which are pending, are being handled by Anderson & Garrett in Joelton. A memorial service will be conducted by the Nashville Association of Musicians Local 257 at a later date.

  6. #226
    FORT Fogey razorbacker's Avatar
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    Re: Miscellaneous Music News

    To many death notices lately, so here's an impending birth.

    E! News - Christina Xpecting - Christina Aguilera

    Christina Xpecting
    by Natalie Finn
    Tue, 3 Jul 2007 02:42:44 PM PDT

    Christina Aguilera is working on converting "Come On Over Baby" into a lullaby.
    E! News confirmed Tuesday that the five-time Grammy winner and hubby Jordan Bratman are expecting their first child together. This will be baby number one for both.
    There was no immediate comment from a publicist for the couple.
    Deciding that there wasn't no other man for her after about three years of dating, Aguilera and her music-marketing exec other half swapped vows in November 2005 in Napa Valley, California.
    The duo celebrated their first anniversary in Dublin in the midst of Aguilera's Back to Basics tour in support of her platinum-selling double-disc album of the same name.
    Up next for the mommy-to-be is a jaunt through Asia and Australia, starting with a show tonight in Hong Kong. According to the oft platinum-haired chanteuse's Website, her last stop is an Aug. 3 date in Auckland, New Zealand.
    Aguilera, 26, has also been tapped to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year along with fellow musicians George Harrison, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brooks & Dunn and Ricky Martin.

  7. #227
    The Next Top Model RealityDiva's Avatar
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    Re: Miscellaneous Music News

    It is so weird that all of my childhood idols are having babies now. First, some of the Spice Girls get pregnant, then Hanson, then Britney, and now Christina!

    Man, I feel old
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  8. #228
    Rock Stars! bbnbama's Avatar
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    Re: Miscellaneous Music News

    Congratulations to Christina!
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  9. #229
    FORT Fogey sukee's Avatar
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    Re: Miscellaneous Celebrity News

    Quote Originally Posted by prhoshay;2459267;
    I've always wondered exactly was what it meant when it is stated that a person died with their family when people die with their "family and doctor at their side." I've always wondered if they were "assisted", in some way. This seems to happen with a lot of celebs, to say the least.
    I always think it's a line, even if they died when no one was around it sounds better so say surrounded by family...
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  10. #230
    Dreamer rt1ky's Avatar
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    Re: Miscellaneous Music News

    Judge cancels Rio Live Earth concert

    A Brazilian judge has canceled Saturday's Live Earth concert in Rio because police said they do not have enough officers to guarantee crowd safety.

    Organizers of the free show on Rio's Copacabana Beach said Wednesday they were trying to overturn the order to prevent Latin America from being left out of the worldwide music fest aimed at stopping global warming.

    Promoted by former Vice President Al Gore, Live Earth concerts are scheduled for London; Tokyo; Johannesburg, South Africa; Shanghai, China; Sydney, Australia; and Hamburg, Germany; and East Rutherford, New Jersey. A band of scientists also will perform in Antarctica, to bring the festival to seven continents.

    Brazilian prosecutor Denise Tarin requested a suspension of the concert, saying there were not enough officers to police a crowd that could top 700,000.

    Rio police already are busy making sure Rio stays safe during the July 13-29 Pan American games.

    Concert organizers confirmed the show was suspended but said they would contest the order and expected to overturn it.

    Rio's concert, the only free one for Live Earth, would include performances by Lenny Kravitz, Macy Gray and Pharrell Williams.

    Proceeds from the other concerts will go toward the Alliance for Climate Protection, a nonprofit organization chaired by Gore.
    Yahoo News

    I don't understand all of these "raise awareness" concerts. Wouldn't it just be easier to raise money and donate it to charities that work on that cause? Are the really raising awareness of just giving people something to watch on tv? The Pussycat Dolls are performing at one concert and when I think of them, I don't think of recycling or fuel efficient transportation.

    I heard that the performers from the concerts for Africa that Bono organized got lavish swag and gift baskets. So much for volunteering.

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