Posted by Administrator on Jan. 12th, 2016
The shocking news of David Bowie's death on Jan. 10 after an 18-month battle with cancer, just days after releasing a new album Blackstar on his 69th birthday, has been met with disbelief from fans, celebrities and members of the music industry. Bowie's longtime producer and collaborator Tony Visconti said that Bowie "always did what he wanted to do...and he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way." "His death was no different from his life - a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn't, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry," Visconti added. Paul McCartney was one of the estimated 100 million Facebook interactions who remembered the rock luminary on his Facebook page: "Very sad news to wake up to on this raining morning. David was a great star and I treasure the moments we had together. His music played a very strong part in British musical history and I'm proud to think of the huge influence he has had on people all around the world," Sir Paul posted on Jan. 11. John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono remembered Bowie on her website as being something of a father figure to the couple's son, Sean, after the former Beatle was gunned down in Dec.1980: "John and David respected each other. They were well matched in intellect and talent. As John and I had very few friends we felt David was as close as family." Bowie's record label, Columbia, posted "We are deeply saddened by the loss of David Bowie. It was an honor and a privilege to release his music to the world." On Twitter, a massive number of over 4.3 million tweets poured in worldwide, with the title track from Blackstar clocking more than 5 hours as the service's most shared and discussed track. Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger posted that Bowie was "always an inspiration to me and a true original," while Bowie's first wife, Angie Bowie, told a TV news crew that "I just feel like an era has ended with his passing. I'm so very sad... The stardust is gone." Traditional press outlets across the world also covered the news, with the U.K.'s Daily Mirror announcing "The stars look very different today... The world mourns a legend," and the Daily Telegraph illustrating its daily edition with Aladdin Sane-era photographs. Thousands of Bowie fans gathered in the star's birthplace of Brixton, London on Jan. 11 to celebrate his life, with people playing and singing such Bowie songs as "Heroes," "Rebel Rebel", "Starman" and "Suffragette City" on harmonica and acoustic guitars. Meanwhile, Blackstar is on track to be Bowie's first No. 1 album on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, with industry forecasters saying the LP could sell upwards of 130,000 albums in the week ending Jan. 14, and debut at debut at No. 1 on the same chart in the week dated Jan. 30 (Bowie's highest-charting album so far was his previous one, 2013's The Next Day, which debuted and peaked at No. 2). In the U.K., OfficialCharts.com is predicting Blackstar will also top the charts there to become Bowie's 10th chart-topping LP in his native country. On the streaming services and online retailers, streams of Bowie songs surged 2,700% after the news of his passing broke, and digital editions of Bowie albums are also being scooped up by fans on iTunes and Amazon.com. Blackstar skyrocketed to No. 1 on the iTunes Store's constantly updated chart, with his Best of Bowie collection at No. 2, and on Amazon, Blackstar is only being outsold by Adele's new album, 25. Meanwhile, sources close to Bowie have revealed that the singer "died from liver cancer" after "surviving six heart attacks." Writer Wendy Leigh, who published a biography about Bowie in 2014, claims that the star had suffered a series of heart attacks prior to his passing. "He didn't just battle cancer| he had six heart attacks in recent years. I got this from somebody very close to him," Leigh told BBC News. And the New York Times is reporting that New York's Carnegie Hall will present a memorial concert in tribute to David Bowie and his legacy (the concert was already in the works before he died, but will now be a memorial). Among the confirmed artists to perform thus far are The Roots, Cyndi Lauper, Ann Wilson of Heart, and the Mountain Goats. Tony Visconti -- who produced Bowie's last album Blackstar -- is reportedly assembling the house band. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 1/12/16...... The life of singer Natalie Cole was celebrated during a memorial service at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles on Jan. 11, with such R&B icons as Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Gladys Knight, Eddie Levert of The O'Jays, Mary Wilson and Freda Payne attending. Also on hand was longtime friend Chaka Khan, who was expected to perform but was under the weather. One of the service's more touching moments, noted one attendee, was Wonder's delivery of the Lord's Prayer. Cole, the daughter of popular music icon Nat "King" Cole, died on New Year's Eve at age 65 of pulmonary arterial hypertension, which led to heart failure. - Billboard, 1/11/16...... Former Pink Floyd guitarist/singer David Gilmour has topped Billboard Hot Tours list of top-grossing tours for the first week of January with $25.7 million in ticket sales revenue from the South American leg of his 2015-2016 world tour. Gilmour is on the road supporting his latest album, Rattle That Lock, which was released in September. Gilmour's South American trek kicked off in December in Brazil, opening with a two-night stint at Sao Paulo's Allianz Parque in front of more than 84,000 fans in attendance for performances on Dec. 11 and 12. Sales for both performances topped the $8 million mark. Gilmour kicked off his world tour in September with a 7-city swing through Europe that continued through Oct. 18. It is set to resume in March with concerts booked in four major North American markets through mid-April. - Billboard, 1/7/16...... Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, 84, and model/actress Jerry Hall, 59, have announced they will be getting married in the "Births, Marriages and Deaths" section of the British paper The Times, which Murdoch's company owns. It will be the first marriage for both Hall, the former girlfriend of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, and Murdoch. The night before they shared the good news, Murdoch and Hall stepped out together at the Golden Globes. The couple have been dating since September after reportedly being set up by Murdoch's sister and niece. - Justjared.com, 1/11/16...... Brett Smiley a glam-rock cult hero who earlier appeared on Broadway in the original musical "Oliver!" in 1965, died on Jan. 8 at his home in New York City. He was 60. In 1974, Smiley recorded an album titled Breathlessly Brett that was produced by British rock impressario Andrew Loog Oldham, however it was shelved until eventually being released in the U.K. in 2003. Smiley was also the subject of Nina Antonia's book, The Prettiest Star: Whatever Happened to Brett Smiley? In recent years, he fronted a series of small bands in New York. - AP, 1/11/16...... Singer Red Simpson, who helped pioneer the "Bakersfield Sound" and was one of the original musicians on Merle Haggard's country classic "Okie from Muskogee," died on Jan. 8 in a Bakersfield, Calif., hospital after suffering a heart attack. He was 81. In the '60s, Mr. Simpson was a regular performer at Bakersfield's historic Blackboard Club, where he replaced Buck Owens, who had struck out on his own history making career. Mr. Simpson, who charted such singles on the Billboard country charts as "Roll Truck Roll," ""The Highway Patrol," "Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves" and "Mini-Skirt Minnie," had his biggest success in 1971 with "I'm a Truck," which reached No. 4 on the country singles chart. His final charted single was 1979's "The Flyin' Saucer Man and the Truck Driver," which barely dented the charts at No. 99. Mr. Simpson also wrote the Haggard classic "You Don't Have Very Far To Go," which has been recorded by artists like Rosanne Cash. Mr. Simpson was on a tour in the Pacific Northwest recently when he fell ill, and died after being rushed to a Bakersfield hospital. - Billboard, 1/9/16...... Veteran TV producer Norman Lear of All in the Family, The Jeffersons and Maude fame has announced he will be reviving his '70s-'80s family sitcom One Day at a Time with a Cuban-American spin for the popular streaming service Netflix. Before landing at the streaming giant, the revival of the show had been in the works for quite some time, and Lear has spoken about developing the project over the past year. Described as "a reimagining" of the classic, the modernized series that "will center around a Cuban-American family," the rebooted One Day at a Time will have its heroine as a recently separated, former military mom navigating a new single life, while raising her radical teenage daughter and socially adept tween son with the help of her old-school Cuban-born mom (played by Rita Moreno and a friends-without-benefits building manager named Schneider. - Variety, 1/11/16...... In related news, actor/comedian Pat Harrington, Jr., who portrayed the farcically macho building superintendent Dwayne Schneider in the original One Day at a Time series, died on Jan. 6 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 86. Although billed as a supporting actor on One Day at a Time, Mr. Harrington provided such welcome comic relief that the program's popularity and longevity -- it aired on CBS from 1975 to 1984 -- was owed as much to him as to anyone. Years afterward, producer Norman Lear said Mr. Harrington "turned out to be the comic strength of the show." Born in Manhattan on Aug. 13, 1929, Mr. Harrington went to a Catholic military school and graduated from Fordham University, where he also later received a master's degree in political philosophy. After serving in the Air Force, he began working in the NBC mail room, a job he parlayed into a junior advertising salesman position for the network. Before gaining fame as Schneider, Mr. Harrington worked in nightclubs, released comedy albums, and appeared in several made-for-TV movies, including The Affair, The Healers, Let's Switch and Savage. A seasoned comic performer, Mr. Harrington often entertained clients at Toots Shor's, the Manhattan watering hole, where he had his greatest success conjuring a fictional Italian immigrant named Guido Panzini, part of a gag he honed over many years and many drinks. - The Washington Post, 1/8/16...... R&B singer Otis Clay, a Blues Hall of Fame musician who also was a community activist on Chicago's West Side, died of a heart attack on Jan. 8. He was 73. Clay had been preparing an upcoming gospel tour and had been nominated for two Blues Music Awards -- one for his album with Billy Price and one for soul blues music artist. Clay's manager, Miki Mulvehil, said Clay was not only a great musician but a humanitarian, who often performed his 1993 standard, "When the Gates Swing Open" for funerals. - AP, 1/9/16...... Early '60s rock & roll singer Troy Shondell, whose song "Kissin' at the Drive-In" became a popular tune at drive-in movie theaters, died on Jan. 7 at a nursing facility in Picayune, Miss, of complications related to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. He was 76. Shondell hit the Billboard charts in 1961 with "This Time (We're Really Breaking Up)," which spent four months on the Billboard Top 100 singles chart in 1961 and also charted on the UK singles chart. He later became a songwriter and publisher in Nashville, Tenn. - AP, 1/9/16...... Robert Balser, who served as the animation director for the Beatles' 1968 film Yellow Submarine and on the Saturday morning Jackson 5 cartoons of the early 1970s, died on Jan. 11 of complications from respiratory failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 88. More than 200 artists were under Mr. Balser's supervision on the surreal Yellow Submarine, a vividly colored film set in the paradise of Pepperland. The production that took 11 months to complete on a budget of less than $1 million. Mr. Balser also partnered with graphic design legend Saul Bass on the seven-minute, end-of-film animated title sequence for Michael Anderson's star-studded Around the World in 80 Days (1956), and he helmed the otherworldly "Den" sequence for Heavy Metal in 1981. - Billboard, 1/7/16.
Legendary British singer/songwriter/actor David Bowie, one of the most iconic and influential rock stars of the 1970s and beyond whose stature can perhaps only be matched by Bob Dylan, died on Jan. 10 after a private 18-month battle with cancer, his publicist has announced. He was 69. "David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief," his rep posted on Twitter. Bowie, who excelled at glam-rock, art-rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica during his amazing and eclectic 40-plus-year career, died just days after the release of his 25th album Blackstar, which came out on Jan. 8, his birthday. Born David Jones in South London on Jan. 8, 1947, Bowie nearly lost sight in his left eye in a boyhood fight after surgery left him with a paralyzed pupil. After attending Bromley High School, he worked as a commercial artist for a London ad agency, and played saxophone in local semi-pro groups around 1963 before forming his own outfit David Jones and the Lower Third which recorded one obscure album. After The Monkees became famous later in the '60s, he changed his surname to Bowie to avoid confusion with Davy Jones. Contracted to the Pye Records label as a solo artist in 1966, he made two unsuccessful singles before moving to Decca the following year. His pop material for that label was first gathered together on 1967's The World of David Bowie, although a more complete collection, Images 1966-67, later appeared as a double album set on London Records in 1973. His early semi-hits as a pop singer, including "Love You Till Tuesday," "Rubber Band," and "The Laughing Gnome" (an embarrassing novelty recorded reissued by Decca and became a Top 10 U.K. hit in 1973) showed a theatrical bias and heavy debt to the phrasing of British singer/actor Anthony Newley. In 1969, he released Space Oddity (originally titled Man of Words Man of Music), which although an undisciplined album, nevertheless possessed a freshness and individuality that would later bear fruit. The title track of Space Oddity saw the artist break through into the U.K. Top Five (and when reissued in 1976 in the U.K. it even topped the charts), and after a brief "retirement" to run the Arts Lab in South London, he returned to the studio in 1970 to cut the powerful, doom-ladened LP, The Man Who Sold the World, which many critics count among his finest works. His taste for rock returned, and he began to play occasional dates first as a soloist with an acoustic guitar and later with the as-yet unnamed Spiders From Mars -- Mick Ronson (guitar), Trevor Bolder (bass), and Woody Woodmansey (drums). It was at this point that Bowie was beginning to indulge in his taste for outrageous clothing, posing in ankle-length dresses with his model wife Angie Bowie and their child, Zowie. After 1971's Hunky Dory from this period drew widespread critical plaudits, his 1972-recorded Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars became his blueprint for stardom. On its release, and a turning-point London charity gig previewing the Spiders' stunningly-theatrical stage presentation, Bowie shot to eminence in a blaze of publicity and acclaim, helped along by a new record deal with a major U.S. label, RCA Records. Ziggy became a million-seller, and from that point on, Bowie consistently charted on the singles and album charts in Britain and the U.S., first breaking through in America when RCA released "Space Oddity" as a single in 1973. During this period, he also worked with other artists including Lou Reed and Mott the Hoople, and in late 1972 he undertook an extensive U.S. tour with the Spiders, the experience of which he used to write material for his May 1973 LP, Aladdin Sane. Released to perhaps an unsurpassed wave of public interest, the album didn't quite measure up to the standard set by Ziggy, though it did produce a couple of semi-classic singles, "Jean Genie" and "Drive-In Saturday," the former purportedly about his friend Iggy Pop. Two months later he recorded Pin Ups, (released in Oct. 1973), which comprised reworkings of his favorite oldies from the 1964-67 U.K. pop scene, which again was met with only muted critical approval. In July 1973, during the last date of a 60-concert U.K. tour, he stunned the rock world by announcing his "retirement" from the road, and never worked with the Spiders From Mars again. Shortly after his "retirement," Bowie filmed his now-famous NBC-TV Midnight Special episode, a lavish production entitled "The 1980 Floor Show" at the London Marquee Club and then left by boat for the U.S. (having a fear of planes and refusing to fly anywhere), where he began to base his center of operations. During his 1974 U.S. tour, which was chronicled on his million-selling double album David Live, he began to first display signs of a gradual shift away from rock and towards R&B and soul territories, and in 1975 he released Young Americans, which was recorded largely at Sigma Studios in Philadelphia. That album's brilliant title track returned him to the U.K. and U.S. charts, as did its follow-up, "Fame" (co-written with John Lennon). "Fame" became Bowie's first U.S. No. 1 single, and also established him in the U.S. disco market. In the spring of 1976, after another lengthy U.S. tour, Bowie returned to the U.K. for the first time since his 1973 "retirement" for a series of major gigs at London Wembley Empire Pool. Moving to Los Angeles, Bowie became a fixture of American pop culture, and even played the title role in director Nicolas Roeg's film The Man Who Fell to Earth. He then returned to the U.K. for the first time in three years before settling in Berlin, where he lived in semi-reclusion, studying art, painting, and recording with Brian Eno. His work in this period, known as the "Berlin trilogy," was comprised of Low (1977), "Heroes" (1977), and Lodger (1979). After revitalizing Iggy Pop's career by producing The Idiot and Lust for Life (both 1977), Bowie toured Europe and America as Pop's unannounced pianist. The next year, he embarked on a massive world tour, and a second live album, Stage (1978), was recorded on the U.S. leg of the tour. Settling in New York, he recorded the paranoic Scary Monsters LP (No. 12, 1980), and updated his classic "Space Oddity" single in "Ashes to Ashes." After that album, he turned his attention away from his recording career, and in 1980 played the title role in a stage production of "The Elephant Man." He collaborated with Queen in 1981's "Under Pressure," and in 1982 played a 150-year-old vampire in the movie The Hunger. In 1983, he signed one of the most lucrative contracts in history, and moved from RCA to EMI. That year's Let's Dance LP, his first album in three years, was produced by Chic's Nile Rodgers and returned him to the top of the charts with three Top 20 singles -- "Let's Dance" (No. 1), "China Girl" (No. 10) and "Modern Love" (No. 14). He toured behind that album with his sold-out Serious Moonlight Tour, and his career seemed revitalized. In 1989, he formed Tin Machine with Reeves Gabrels on guitar and Hunt and Tony Sales, who had worked with him on Iggy Pop's Lust for Life album. The followup, Tin Machine II, came in 1991, and lacking the novelty of the debut, was quickly forgotten. In 1992, Bowie married Somilian supermodel Iman, and the following year he recorded Black Tie White Noise which he called his "wedding present to his wife." Although it received generally positive reviews, it failed to excite the public. In 1995, he recorded Outside with Eno, and toured with Nine Inch Nails as his opening act. The following year, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and returned to the studio to record the techno-influenced Earthling, and followed that with two more albums, 1999's hours... and 2002's Heathen. He was relatively quiet between the years of 2004 and 2012, reemerging in 2013 with the album The Next Day. Its arrival was met with a social media firestorm which catapulted it to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, his highest charting album ever. In recent years he kept a decidedly low profile, maintaining a residence in New York, but rarely being seen. He recently opened the rock musical "Lazarus" in New York, in which he revisited the character he played in the film The Man Who Fell to Earth. A video for his song of the same name, which is included on his new Blackstar album, was released on Jan. 7. "I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss," U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron posted on Twitter on Jan. 11 after learning the shocking news of Bowie's passing. David Bowie is survived by his wife Iman, his son, director Duncan Jones, and a daughter, Alexandria. - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock/The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll/Billboard, 1/11/16.