Unofficial Thanksgiving anthem: “Alice’s Restaurant”
No matter where you live, at least one radio station is likely to play Arlo Gurthie’s “Alice’s Restaurant.”
Commemorations are being held across the country this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the country’s greatest songwriters, Woody Guthrie. Born on July 14, 1912, in Okemah, Oklahoma, Guthrie wrote hundreds of folk songs, including “This Land Is Your Land,” “Pastures of Plenty,” “Pretty Boy Floyd,” “Do Re Mi” and “The Ranger’s Command.” While Guthrie is best remembered as a musician, he also had a deeply political side. At the height of McCarthyism, Guthrie spoke out for labor and civil rights and against fascism. …
“Woody’s original songs, the songs that he wrote back in the 1930s … with these images of people losing their houses to the banks, of gamblers on the stock markets making millions, when ordinary working people can’t afford to make ends meet, and of people dying for want of proper free healthcare, you know, this song could have been written anytime in the last five years, really, in the United States of America,” says [British musician Billy] Bragg, who has long been inspired by Guthrie.
Bee Gees Singer Robin Gibb Wakes From Coma
Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb has woken from a coma after more than a week and begun to show signs of recovery.
Spokesman Doug Wright said he was able to nod and communicate with his family who have held a constant vigil at his beside in a central London hospital.
The 62-year-old fell into a coma after contracting pneumonia in his battle against colon and liver cancer.
Fellow Bee Gees star Barry Gibb had also been singing to his brother to try to rouse him.
Dwina Gibb told her local paper The Impartial Reporter, based in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland their children Robin John, Spencer and Melissa have been playing him music to “try and bring him back to us”. […]
Filmed in summer 2010 in the stunning grounds of Ledreborg Castle in Denmark, this concert captures Robin Gibb performing classic tracks from both his solo career and the Bee Gees with the backing of the superb Danish National Concert Orchestra supporting his own touring band.
Bluegrass Legend Earl Scruggs Dies at Age 88
Bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer Earl Scruggs, who helped profoundly change country music with Bill Monroe in the 1940s and later with guitarist Lester Flatt, has died. He was 88.
Scruggs’ son Gary said his father died of natural causes Wednesday morning at a Nashville, Tenn., hospital.
Earl Scruggs was an innovator who pioneered the modern banjo sound. His use of three fingers rather than the clawhammer style elevated the banjo from a part of the rhythm section — or a comedian’s prop — to a lead instrument. […]
‘Small World,’ ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ songwriter Robert Sherman dies at 86
LONDON — How do you sum up the work of songwriter Robert B. Sherman? Try one word: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
The tongue-twisting term, sung by magical nanny Mary Poppins, is like much of Sherman’s work — both complex and instantly memorable, for child and adult alike. Once heard, it was never forgotten.
Sherman, who died in London at age 86, was half of a sibling partnership that put songs into the mouths of nannies and Cockney chimney sweeps, jungle animals and Parisian felines.
Robert Sherman and his brother Richard composed scores for films including “The Jungle Book,” ‘’The Aristocats,” ‘’Mary Poppins” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” They also wrote the most-played tune on Earth, “It’s a Small World (After All).” […]
Here’s Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.” Because you love this song. Admit it. Yes you do. Just put on a pair of headphones and tell your friends you’re listening to Slayer or whatever.
‘Soul Train’ Creator Don Cornelius Dead at 75
Don Cornelius, the producer and television host who created the dance show “Soul Train,” was found shot dead in his Los Angeles home early Wednesday morning in what appears to be a suicide, the Los Angeles Police Department and the county coroner’s office said. He was 75.
“Soul Train” was one of the longest-running syndicated shows in television history and played a critical role in spreading the music of black America to the world, offering wide exposure to musicians like James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson in the 1970s and 1980s.
“I am shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of my friend, colleague and business partner Don Cornelius,” said Quincy Jones, according to the Associated Press. “Don was a visionary pioneer and a giant in our business. Before MTV, there was ‘Soul Train.’ That will be the great legacy of Don Cornelius. His contributions to television, music and our culture as a whole will never be matched. My heart goes out to Don’s family and loved ones.” […]
Singing legend Etta James dies at 73
(CNN) — Etta James, whose assertive, earthy voice lit up such hits as “The Wallflower,” “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” and the wedding favorite “At Last,” has died, according to her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon. She was 73.
She died from complications from leukemia with her husband, Artis Mills, and her sons by her side, De Leon said.
She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, and also suffered from dementia and hepatitis C. James died at a hospital in Riverside, California. She would have turned 74 Wednesday.
” This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world,” De Leon said. “She was a true original who could sing it all — her music defied category.
“I worked with Etta for over 30 years. She was my friend and I will miss her always.”
The powerhouse singer, known as “Miss Peaches,” lived an eventful life. She first hit the charts as a teenager, taking “The Wallflower (Roll With Me, Henry)” — an “answer record” to Hank Ballard’s “Work With Me, Annie” — to No. 1 on the R&B charts in 1955. She joined Chess Records in 1960 and had a string of R&B and pop hits, many with lush string arrangements. After a mid-decade fade, she re-emerged in 1967 with a more hard-edged, soulful sound.
Throughout her career, James overcame a heroin addiction, opened for the Rolling Stones, won six Grammys and was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Despite her ups and downs — including a number of health problems — she maintained an optimistic attitude. […]