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Soprano Joan Sutherland dies, she was 83

October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Singer Joan Sutherland died at her home near Geneva from a long illness on Sunday.  She was 83.

Sutherland’s voice effortlessly stretched over three octaves and the late Luciano Pavarotti once said the singer’s voice was “the voice of the century.”

‘King of Rock and Soul’ Solomon Burke dies at Amsterdam airport; he was 70

October 10, 2010 Leave a comment
King of Rock and Soul Solomon Burke

Philadelphia native, Grammy Award winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee (2001) ‘King and Rock and Soul’ Solomon Burke died on a plane at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam after arriving from Los Angeles.  Cause of death has not been confirmed at this time.  He was 70.

According to his website, Burke was born March 21, 1940, “to the sounds of horns and bass drums” at the United Praying Band The House of God for All People in West Philly and “from day one, literally God and gospel were the driving forces behind the man and his music.”

Burke was known for hit songs like “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” which was recorded by the Rolling Stones, Wilson Pickett and The Blues Brothers as well as “Cry To Me,” which was used in the hit movie “Dirty Dancing.”

He was a people’s performer and gave his audience an experience.  With that said, he would perform without a set list.  The audience provided said list.

“The thing I most enjoy is the people, the audience, just the thrill of being out there making personal contact and having the deeply spiritual experience of sharing music with so many grateful fans,” says Burke. “The band truly feeds off the vibrations of the people, and we use no set list, playing whatever comes to people’s minds or songs that people have emailed us and requested we play. Every show is a request show, and each audience in each city has different personal favorites. It’s like turning back the hands of time instantly. We can be in the middle of singing something from my recent Like A Fire album, and they’ll call out ‘Stupidity’ from 1957 and we’re back 50 years!

“What’s fun is that the audiences in both Europe and America range in age from five years old to my age and older, and the kids know these songs,” he adds. “They think I’m a big black Santa Claus, and I love them and always make sure to play what they want to hear. Still, no matter how much joy I’m having and sharing on the road, the best part of traveling is always coming home. You don’t realize the value of what you’ve done in your life until you leave castles with cooks and waiters and stages where you’re playing before thousands of people. You come home and your grandchild says, ‘Can you make me a hamburger?’ and suddenly everything seems so real.”

His godson Darryl “DA” Williams of Full Cirkle Media Group, also a native of Philadelphia, says his godfather was kind and loving man as well as living musical history.

Legendary Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler once called Burke, “the best soul singer of all time.”

Burke once performed for his fan Pope John Paul II at the Vatican (2000).

The King of Rock and Soul called his 21 children (14 daughters and 7 sons), 90 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren his greatest achievement.

Many musical legends have died this year to join the great choir in the sky.

Categories: R.I.P.

1957 Miss USA winner who had her titled stripped dies in LA; she was 71

October 10, 2010 3 comments

Mary Leona Gage, who was crowned Miss USA  in 1957 and later had her titled stripped away from her, died on Tuesday at a Sherman Oaks hospital of heart failure.  She was 71.

When pageant officials learned Gage was married with two children they stripped her of her title.

Gage also told pageant officials she was 18 and it was later unearthed that she was 21.

Just a day later her story was exposed. She had been already been married twice, both times at age 14 – the first was quickly annulled – and had her second child at 16, all forbidden for the resume of a pageant contestant. (AP)

She lived a turbulent life.  After she lost her title she went onto pursue an acting career that never took off as well as six failed marriages.

Categories: R.I.P.

‘Queen of Gospel’ Albertina Walker dies; she was 81

October 10, 2010 1 comment

R.I.P. ALBERTINA WALKER

Albertina Walker

Grammy-award winning protege of the late Mahalia Jackson, Albertina Walker died Friday morning.  She was 81.

The “Queen of Gospel” had been in the hospital with emphysema since Aug. 29.

Walker was born in 1929 in Chicago and began singing in a children’s choir at the West Point Baptist Church at the tender age of four.

She put together a gospel group called The Caravans when she was 22.  She later went onto excel in a career.

Her career spanned over four decades and she had over 60 albums under her belt.

Categories: R.I.P.

Metropolitan Opera soprano Dolores Wilson dies in NJ; she was 82

October 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Metropolitan Opera soprano and Broadway singer Dolores Wilson died at her home (Lillian Booth Actors Fund Home) in Englewood, N.J. on Sept. 28.  She was 82.

No cause of death has been reported at this time.

Wilson made her Met debut in 1954 and made her Broadway debut in 1965.

She was born in Philadelphia.

Actor Tony Curtis was buried in Vegas with a few of his favorite things

October 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Oscar nominated actor Tony Curtis was buried on Monday with a few of his favorite things such as his Stetson hat, an Armani scarf, driving gloves, an iPhone and a copy of his favorite novel, “Anthony Adverse.”  The actor died of cardiac arrest on Wednesday.  He was 85.

Over 400 people consisting of his family friends and fans attended his public funeral in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Curtis’ coffin was draped with the American flag when those that wanted to say their last good-byes lined up outside the Palm Mortuary and Cemetery.  When they entered they saw seven colored paintings and one black-and-white drawing of the late actor.  The drawings stood on easels, while a young image of Curtis was projected on a screen.

“All of us got something from him. I, of course, got his desperate need for attention,” joked Jamie Lee Curtis, his daughter from his first marriage to “Psycho” actress Janet Leigh.

“You are going to make it,” Schwarzenegger recalled Curtis telling him. “Don’t pay any attention to those guys. I heard the same thing when I came here.”

Curtis told Schwarzenegger this because he had a strong Bronx accent and could relate to some of the hurdles he faced and would face during his career as a Hollywood actor.

“He had a certain way of making everybody feel like they were Spartacus,” Kilroy said.

Curtis’ sixth wife, Jill Curtis said during her eulogy that her late husband did not care about their 45 year age difference.  She also said he did not like funerals and wanting his passing to be celebrating.

‘The A-Team’ writer-producer Stephen J. Cannell died, he was 69

October 4, 2010 1 comment

Writer-producer Stephen J. Cannell died on Thursday night of complications associated with melanoma.  He was 69.

Cannell was the writer-producer for shows such as “The A-Team,” “The Commish” and “The Rockford Files.”

“People say, ‘How can the guy who did “Wiseguy” do “The A-Team”?’ I don’t know,” said Cannell in an interview with The Associated Press in 1993. “But I do know it’s easier to think of me simply as the guy who wrote ‘The A-Team.’ So they do.”

“I never thought of myself as being a brilliant writer, and still don’t,” he said in the AP interview. “I’m a populist. With ‘Rockford,’ we were never trying to be important. And as thoroughly hated as it was by critics, I loved ‘The A-Team.’ I thought it was really cool.”

Cannel is survived by wife Marcia, three children and three grandchildren.

Categories: R.I.P.
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