we do tributes to every musician/celebrity that passes away. over the past year, we've had songs sung in honor of barry white, ron o'neal ("superfly"), robert palmer, and edmund sylvers.
this past friday was no exception: we had singers who chose to get up to sing "hit the road, jack", "america the beautiful", and we had one of our better singers bringing down the house with a chilling rendition of "georgia on my mind".
we'll probably keep the ray charles tribute going on this coming friday night, too.
i usta luv watching him perform on "the flip wilson show", and various other variety shows back in the day. he had such energy! and one of my favorite albums back when i was a kid was his double-lp "ray charles, a man and his soul". my absolute favorite song of his is the blues tune, "no use crying".
for those of you who aren't old enough to remember, try to get a copy of the saturday night live episode (late-70's) when ray charles was the guest host. without a doubt, one of the most memorable & funny episodes ever!
yes, one of the greats has left us. but what he leaves behind is an influence and a legacy that will survive generations.
I've sang that song twice with RC here in Portland, and the man can do a wonderous, haunting impression of Mr. Charles' soulful talent.
Whoah- thanks for the compliment, Matt! I got the opportunity to channel Ray over at a local Piano Bar for my birthday last week, and it was a hoot! Ray will be missed, and I certainly hope Sound Choice is considering doing a few more of his tunes (I'm ready to offer up some gems)
JAKARTA, Indonesia - U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) donned a hard hat and tucked a hammer in his belt Friday, performing a version of the Village People's hit "YMCA" at the conclusion of Asia's largest security meeting.
Tradition dictates that the meeting wrap up with a night of song and dance, provided by the diplomats themselves.
In 1997 Madeleine Albright (news - web sites), then secretary of state, bowled over the ministers when she performed a musical skit dressed as Evita Peron.
On Friday, Powell danced alongside five other U.S. officials sporting costumes that included an Indian headdress.
The group blasted out a version of the 1970s disco classic, to the delight of foreign ministers from across the Asia-Pacific and Europe.
"President Bush (news - web sites), he said to me: 'Colin, I need you to run the Department of State. We are between a rock and a hard place," Powell and his colleagues sang to the tune of the disco classic.
The after-dinner show is an annual highlight of the ASEAN Regional Forum, a time for ministers to loosen up after discussing security issues.
The event is closed to the press, but reporters regularly go out of their way to get the scoop.
The Russian delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, sang a version of the Beatles "Yellow Submarine" as a woman waving a Russian flag ran around the dinner tables.
Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh read a poem before his delegation burst into a song.
"I'm not worried — but the audience should be," Singh said before attending the gala dinner.
This article is from Wednesday’s NY Times, in the New York Region section (equivalent to a Local or City section of any local paper). It’s a standard sized article for the NY Times, with 3 pictures of singers, and it was featured on their website Home Page earlier today.
'Sweet Caroline' Never Seemed So Good
By DAMIEN CAVE Published: July 14, 2004
On a recent Saturday night in New York, an actress from Queens celebrated her 26th birthday by singing Avril LaVigne's hit "Don't Tell Me" at Muse Karaoke on West 21st Street. A short cab ride away at Village Karaoke in Cooper Square, all 16 private suites were booked and James Brown's "Sex Machine" could be heard blaring from a roomful of young women wearing Mardi Gras beads.
Around midnight at Sing Sing on the Lower East Side, a French woman and two blond models nursed cocktails while hipsters in thrift store T-shirts sang Metallica. And by 2 a.m., the red leather booths at Winnie's in Chinatown included magazine editors, actresses, investment bankers - and Celeste Pillow.
Ms. Pillow, 23, a jewelry-maker, summed up the attractions of amateur singing: "Karaoke is as bad as it gets, but that's why it's good."
After three seasons of "American Idol," Bill Murray's sing-a-long during "Lost in Translation" and spending 20 years as an extra in the drama of New York night life, karaoke is suddenly enjoying a second wave of popularity.
Old Asian haunts are more crowded with English-speaking customers. Rentals of karaoke equipment at one leading East Coast distributor have jumped fivefold since 2001 and there is no sign of dwindling interest.
Thousands, if not millions, of karaoke tracks are now being traded illegally online. Those in the karaoke business nationwide predict that the business will grow by about 10 percent each year as the industry switches from CD's to digital databases holding up to 90,000 songs. New private rooms with huge digital collections are popping up all over the city.
Dozens of bars, restaurants and lounges - from Williamsburg to the Upper West Side - have also started offering karaoke one or more nights a week. The Apollo Theater in Harlem will have its first karaoke night on July 23, and a well-heeled couple in Chelsea is even planning a Kerry-oke fund-raiser this month for Senator John Kerry.
Clearly, given the demographics, this is not the karaoke of crazy drunken uncles who worship Neil Diamond, nor is it the more studied karaoke first pioneered by Japanese businessmen. Instead, it is more akin to the swing-dancing craze of the 90's - a form of urban group expression that satisfies a longing for community.
In other words, karaoke is hot because it is a cheap team activity.
"Japanese singers like to sing alone to show off their voice," said Mike Toshi Kida, the owner of Sing Sing, Village Karaoke and four other karaoke locations on the East and West Coasts. "Americans like to sing together, loud, chorus style and with dancing."
This is the case wherever televised lyrics can be found, in private rooms, at bars and at parties. When the song choice is anything from Bon Jovi or Madonna, it is often hard to tell who is actually singing, which is exactly how many fans like it.
Karaoke etiquette holds that skill matters less than passion. "My favorite performers are the ones who suck but really put their heart into it; it's better that way," said Samantha Ronson, a singer who recently cut a debut album after being the karaoke hostess at Moomba in the West Village in the late 90's. It has since closed.
Somehow, fans at several locations said, karaoke helps people connect. Katy Finnin, 29, between songs at Duet Karaoke in Midtown, explained the social setting by noting that "everyone is equal." Kimberly Mulvaney, 26, an actress from Queens who sings in both bars and private rooms, said that karaoke also encouraged conversation.
"It's not like a party where if you don't know anyone, you end up in the corner," she said. "With karaoke, there's camaraderie."
Crowds, in fact, tend to form when the mood is cozy, respectful and full of shameless characters. At Arlene's Grocery on the Lower East Side on Mondays, punk rockers sing karaoke with a live band, then offer friendly analysis on Tuesday via Internet message boards.
At Winnie's in Chinatown, strangers of various ages and races regularly sing duets, including "Ebony and Ivory."
M Shanghai Bistro in Williamsburg offers hip-hop karaoke to amateur M.C.'s on Sundays, and at the Royal Oak a few blocks away, 20 to 30 regulars gather each Monday to sing obscure favorites in the candlelit back room of the bar. They close each night by singing Kool & the Gang's "Celebration."
Friendships here can often be traced to karaoke, whether at Enid's in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a few years ago, or other bars like the Alligator Lounge, in Williamsburg, which has karaoke on Thursdays. Most of the regulars return not just to sing but also to encourage one another. The hostess at the Royal Oak, Jenny Jemison, 26 and dark-haired, knows all the singers by their first names.
The most confident performers sing several songs in an evening, and the regulars know one another's range.
When Jonathan Parsons, a 25-year-old waiter, prefaced Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" with a disclaimer on a recent Monday, the crowd told him not to worry - and the song came off without of a hitch.
Meanwhile, the loudest applause was reserved for the quirkiest or most energetic performances, including one bearded bald man's take on Tori Amos's "Cornflake Girl."
"Karaoke addicts" will sing anything, anywhere, anytime. Many of them show up at several karaoke bars each week. Some of them became hooked on song in private suites.
Other enthusiasts discovered karaoke after singing in choirs or in a cappella groups in college. Among them are Jay Ferguson, 29, a vice president at Saatchi & Saatchi, who recently proposed to his girlfriend, Ms. Finnin, while singing the "Moulin Rouge" version of Elton John's "Your Song." Still more are instantly attracted by the sheer pleasure of performing before and with a crowd.
According to Ms. Jemison, who also works at Second on Second, a Japanese restaurant in the East Village with a lounge and private rooms, most of these fanatics started as "karaoke virgins," people who "take the mike very reluctantly and only to appease the almost bullying of their friends."
"They issue many disclaimers, and are usually very drunk," she said. "Usually it's a beautiful disaster, which true karaoke performances should be.
"But every once in a while, they pick the perfect song, maybe something with hand claps; think Hall and Oates 'Private Eyes.' And they nail it and the crowd is into it. 'Private eyes CLAP CLAP are watching you ...'
"And there it is, another karaoke addict has been born. You can see it in their eyes. You know they are going to want that microphone in their hand for the rest of the night."
It's not clear how many karaoke regulars are aiming for a professional career. The connection between karaoke and the music industry remains tenuous at best. No one seems to keep track of how much money karaoke brings in. Many artists, including Bon Jovi, Bono, Don Henley and Bruce Springsteen, refuse to license their music for karaoke - a ban that does little good in an era of rampant piracy.
Harry Ha, the owner of Tinga Tinga, a new set of karaoke suites near Herald Square, says that he gives a 50 percent discount to a handful of regulars who used the rooms to practice. Mr. Kida, the owner of Sing Sing, said that he had served several people who used the equipment's tape recorder for demos.
Some of these singers, like Janet Hogan - a Royal Oak regular who now sings backup in a local rock band - never considered a career in music until singing karaoke. Others are simply singing to jump-start dreams of stardom. At Sing Sing, for example, Heidi Merrill, 23, said that she visited regularly to test her voice with songs from Evanescence and other artists she respected.
Then there's Ms. Ronson. The daughter of the Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones, she started out as a D.J. Her stint as a karaoke hostess at Moomba attracted stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Giselle Bundchen. Her first single ("Built This Way") is featured in the movie "Mean Girls." And yet, she continues to sing karaoke whenever she gets the chance. She also predicts that the craze will continue as long people stay true to karaoke's original, silly spirit.
"It's the farthest thing from cool and yet for some reason it is cool precisely because it's so far from cool," she said. "It's a good outlet for stupidity."
Mon Aug 2,10:07 AM ET Oddly Enough - Reuters to My Yahoo!
HEINOLA, Finland (Reuters) - An Austrian man and a Lebanese woman were crowned king and queen of karaoke at the world championships after treating a crowd in Finland to a Bon Jovi classic and the theme of the 1980s musical "Fame."
Thomas Strubler won the men's contest Sunday with his version of "This Ain't a Love Song," while Samantha Sayegh of Lebanon confessed to being "very excited and very surprised" to win the women's crown with "Fame."
Entrants from across the globe at the second running of the event were judged on voice, rhythm, expression, presence and entertainment value during the four-day contest.
"We have enough turmoil in the world, we need this," said 61 year-old Irishwoman Margaret Graham who flew from Texas to watch her nephew perform in the town of Heinola, some 90 miles from Helsinki.
The winners walked away with $1,200 each but the money was perhaps not the point.
"It is something where anyone can be a star for three minutes. Whether you are a good singer or not, if you love it you are fun to watch," said a 28-year-old representing the Czech Republic who identified himself as Johnny Nighttrain.
Despite Japan's reputation as the world center of karaoke, a contestant from Japan was eliminated in the early stages.
Lacy Van Zant fathered three rock singers Thursday, August 5, 2004 Posted: 7:11 AM EDT (1111 GMT)
JACKSONVILLE, Florida (AP) -- Lacy Van Zant, father of members of the Southern rock bands Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special, died Tuesday of pulmonary illness. He was 89.
Van Zant died at his Jacksonville home, according to a release posted on Lynyrd Skynyrd's Web site
He was the father of Ronnie Van Zant, the founder of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Johnny Van Zant, the band's current lead singer. Ronnie Van Zant and two other band members died in a 1977 plane crash near McComb, Mississippi.
Another son, Donnie Van Zant, was a member of .38 Special.
Van Zant, known for his long beard, white hair and overalls, purchased music equipment, drove the bands to shows, lent them money and repaired their vehicles. Early versions of Lynyrd Skynyrd would practice at his home, which he later opened to fans so they could see the bands' gold and platinum records.
"He was the father of Southern rock 'n' roll, as far as I am concerned," Johnny Van Zant told The Florida Times-Union on Wednesday.
Here's his legacy according to the New York Times - what a waste of the talent he had.
Singer Rick James Dies at 56 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: August 6, 2004 Filed at 3:25 p.m. ET
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Funk singer Rick James, best known for the 1981 hit ``Super Freak,'' died Friday, apparently of natural causes, police said.
James, 56, died at 9:45 a.m. at a residence near Universal City, said Officer Esther Reyes, a Police Department spokeswoman.
``He died apparently of natural causes. We learned of his death after responding to a radio call,'' Reyes said.
After his big hit, James' fame began to fade as he became embroiled in legal problems and health troubles.
James was convicted in 1993 of assaulting two women. The first attack occurred in 1991 when he restrained and burned a young woman with a hot pipe during a cocaine binge at his house in West Hollywood. He was free on bail when the second assault occurred in 1992 in James' hotel room.
James was sentenced to more than two years in state prison.
In 1997, he released a new album, but a year later he suffered a stroke while performing at Denver's Mammoth Events Center, derailing a comeback tour.
In 1998 he also underwent hip replacement surgery.
From today's NY Times about a crackdown on cyber crimes.
U.S. Tally in Online-Crime Sweep: 150 Charged
By SAUL HANSELL Published: August 27, 2004
WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 - The Justice Department announced Thursday that more than 150 people had been arrested, charged or convicted in the last three months in a wide-ranging sweep of criminal activity on the Internet.
The cases, involving credit card fraud, corporate espionage and other offenses, are part of what the department called Operation Web Snare. The sweep was conducted by 37 offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 13 divisions of the Postal Inspection Service and other federal and local agencies. Investigators have identified more than 150,000 victims with losses in excess of $215 million.
"This is a series of cases that is designed to signal that we do not believe the Internet to be off base for law enforcement," Attorney General John Ashcroft said at a news conference here Thursday.
Some cases involved the sending of junk e-mail, known as spam, and a form of online identity theft known as phishing. But many of them involved the use of the Internet by companies seeking to gain an advantage on competitors.
In one unusual case, the chief executive of a company that resold satellite television systems was indicted on charges of hiring hackers to set up online attacks that interfered with its rivals' Web sites. The executive, Jay R. Echouafni of the Orbit Communication Corporation, has left the country and is being pursued in what the department called "an international manhunt led by the F.B.I."
In another case cited by the Justice Department, Robert McKimmey, identified as the chief technology officer of the Business Engine Corporation, pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco in July to charges that he stole trade secrets from a software rival, the Niku Corporation, by breaking into its computers.
EBay, the online auction site, continued to be a fertile ground for fraud, the department said. In one case it described, a California man named Jie Dong built a record of satisfied customers, reflected in the widely used "feedback" ratings on the site, by selling $150,000 worth of merchandise at low prices, according to a criminal complaint filed in Los Angeles last week.
But last fall, he sold $800,000 worth of goods, like DVD players and digital cameras, to 5,000 people and never delivered the products. He, too, has fled the country, but the government has been able to locate and freeze $280,000 it says are stolen funds.
While Mr. Ashcroft characterized the cases as the products of a coordinated action, they had a variety of origins. For example, the Justice Department's list of cases included the criminal charges brought against Jason Smathers, a software engineer at America Online who is accused of selling the e-mail addresses of 92 million AOL members to people who sent out junk e-mail. The case was announced in June and had its roots in an internal investigation by AOL.
Packaging a variety of disparate cases as a "sweep" has a number of beneficial effects for a law enforcement agency, said Paul Luehr, a former official of the Federal Trade Commission and now a vice president of Stroz Friedberg, a consulting firm.
"Law enforcement agencies believe that a sweep has a much more powerful deterrent effect on would-be criminals because they can see that prosecutions are not one-off events," he said. Sweeps also serve the political needs of an agency, he added, "because the sweep can let the public and Congress know the agency is attempting to address an important problem."
Indeed, Mr. Ashcroft, when asked why the department was devoting time to Internet crime in an era of terrorism, answered: "When you have $50 billion worth of damage being done to the economy of the United States of America, then it deserves some of our attention."
Another reason for a high-profile effort like this one is to create a rallying point so that law enforcement agencies will cooperate with one another, Deborah Platt Majoras, the head of the Federal Trade Commission, said at the news conference Thursday.
"Coordinated crackdowns like Operation Web Snare pack the punch that we need to stop online fraudsters in their tracks and keep cyberspace safe for consumers and businesses," she said. The F.T.C. has brought civil actions in several Internet cases that have also led to criminal prosecutions.
Mr. Luehr said it was notable that so many of the cases that the Justice Department highlighted involved the cooperation of law enforcement agencies overseas. Many Internet crimes involve webs of people and machines around the globe, and it has been difficult in the past for American authorities to get their overseas counterparts to cooperate.
At the news conference, Mr. Ashcroft mentioned cooperation with Nigeria, which has been the source of a number of e-mail-based scams. The best known of these are e-mail messages that seem to be from deposed African leaders or their family members, offering large sums of money as a lure to get bank account information from the victim.
Ibrahim Lamorde, the director of operations for Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, talked of training, assistance and software that his organization received from the F.B.I. and other United States sources. This helped in arresting and charging some fraud perpetrators, he said.
But he also said that some of the assistance did not suit Nigeria's particular needs. "Most of the software we receive is meant to stop people from receiving e-mail," he said. "We want to stop e-mail from going out of the country."
Laura Branigan, 'Gloria' Singer, Dies at 47 By MADISON J. GRAY, AP
EAST QUOGUE, New York (Aug. 28) - Laura Branigan, a grammy-nominated pop singer best known for her 1982 platinum hit "Gloria," has died. She was 47.
Branigan died in her sleep at her home, her manager, John Bowers, said Saturday. He would not disclose the cause, although her official website listed it as a brain aneurysm.
Branigan, a Grammy-nominated pop singer best known for her 1982 hit "Gloria," died in her sleep Thursday.
"Gloria," a signature song from her debut album "Branigan," stayed atop the pop charts for 36 weeks and earned her a Grammy nomination for "Best Pop Vocalist Female," the first of four nominations in her career. She also made television appearances, including guest spots on "CHIPS," and in films "Mugsy's Girls" and "Backstage."
Branigan released seven albums after her debut "Branigan," including "Solitaire," "Self Control," and "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You," which was co-written with Michael Bolton. Her songs also appeared on soundtracks for the films "Flashdance" and "Ghostbusters."
Branigan, born July 3, 1957, and raised in Brewster, New York, attended The Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan. During the late 1970s, she toured Europe as a backing vocalist for Canadian singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen. She signed as a solo artist with Atlantic Records in 1982.
After her run of success in the 80s, her releases in the early 90s attracted little attention. In 1994, she sang a duet with David Hasselhoff called "I Believe" for the soundtrack of the television show "Baywatch." She released a 13-track "Best of Branigan" LP the next year.
After the death of her husband Lawrence Kruteck in 1996, Branigan stopped performing, but returned to the stage in 2001. In 2002 she starred as Janis Joplin in the off-broadway musical "Love, Janis," which earned her rave reviews.
Branigan recently had been working on material for a new release.
She is survived by her mother Kathleen; brothers Billy and Mark; and sister Susan. Branigan and Kruteck had no children. Services will be held Monday with a private funeral service and burial the next day.
Thanks for posting that, Ace. I had no idea and I'm really shocked by this news. Very sad. I used to sing "Self Control" often at karaoke. I'll sing it the next time I go out.
Posts: 79 | From: Strongsville, Ohio, USA | Registered: Jul 2002
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Damn. I always liked her music. Back in the day, she was one of the few artists that my parents and I actually agreed on when driving anywhere.
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I always kinda had the hots for her ater I seen her on American Bandstand for the first time. Ran into a Greatest hits awhile back.
Posts: 342 | From: Indianapolis, IN USA | Registered: Nov 2000
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It is sad that she passed, but it was interesting to read that she sang background voxs for Leonard Cohen. It is sad to find out info on people when they pass. Wish I would of known more about her, wasn't in my favorite lists, might of gave her more of a listen if I had known she sang for Cohen.
Posts: 2246 | From: Palmdale, CA, USA | Registered: Oct 2001
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Johnny Ramone, guitarist and co-founder of the seminal punk band The Ramones, has died. He was 55.
Ramone died in his sleep Wednesday afternoon at his Los Angeles home surrounded by friends and family, his publicist said. He had battled prostate cancer for five years, and was hospitalized in June at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Ramone, born John Cummings, was one of the original members of the Ramones, whose hit songs I Wanna be Sedated and Blitzkrieg Bop, among others, earned the band induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. The band's singer, Joey Ramone, whose real name was Jeff Hyman, died in 2001 of lymphatic cancer. Bassist Dee Dee Ramone, who was born Douglas Colvin, died from a drug overdose in 2002.
Johnny Ramone founded The Ramones in 1974 with Joey Ramone, DeeDee Ramone and Tommy Ramone, the only surviving member of the original band.
A tribute concert and cancer research fund-raiser was held Sunday in Los Angeles to celebrate the band's 30th anniversary. It featured performances by Los Angeles punk band X, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Henry Rollins and others.
Along with his wife, Linda Cummings, Johnny Ramone was surrounded at his death by friends Eddie and Jill Vedder, and Rob and Sherrie Zombie. Other friends who gathered at his Los Angeles home included Lisa Marie Presley, Pete Yorn, Vincent Gallo and Talia Shire.
A more comprehensive look back from today's NY Times.
Johnny Ramone, Pioneer Punk Guitarist, Is Dead at 55
By BEN SISARIO Published: September 17, 2004
Johnny Ramone, the stone-faced guitarist of the punk band the Ramones, whose fast, buzz-saw blasts of noise laid the foundation for a school of rock guitar, died on Wednesday afternoon at his home in Los Angeles. He was 55.
The cause was prostate cancer, said Arturo Vega, the band's longtime artistic director and spokesman.
Mr. Ramone, born John Cummings, is the third member of the Ramones to die in a little over three years, following Joey (Jeffrey Hyman), the singer, who died of cancer in April 2001; and Dee Dee (Douglas Colvin), the bassist, who died of an apparent drug overdose in June 2002. Of the original band, only Tommy (Tom Erdelyi), the drummer, survives.
By stripping rock guitar of its ornamentation and playing almost every note in a violent, accelerated downstroke, Mr. Ramone helped create the punk sound. His style - fast, repetitive and aggressive, though always tuneful - influenced, directly or indirectly, almost every punk guitarist since, from the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones and the Clash's Joe Strummer to Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and contemporary players like Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Tom DeLonge of Blink-182.
"They influenced so many people," Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam, said yesterday. Mr. Vedder introduced the Ramones when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. "They showed them that they too could do it. The simplicity showed them that they could end up on stage and play in that way."
The Ramones often cited as inspirations the hard rock of the Stooges and the primal power of the MC5, as well as the 1960's girl-group productions of Phil Spector, which they considered paragons of melody and brevity. But the band's sound had scant precedent when its first album was released in 1976. The songs were head-spinningly short and fast - the shortest, "Judy Is a Punk," was just 1 minute 32 seconds - and had a raw elegance that made many, like "Blitzkrieg Bop," "Beat on the Brat" and "I Wanna Be Sedated," punk-rock standards.
Mr. Ramone once described his guitar style as "pure, white rock 'n' roll, with no blues influence."
"I wanted our sound to be as original as possible,'' he said. "I stopped listening to everything."
Seldom lightening the scowl on his face, Mr. Ramone performed with a determination that mirrored his place in the band. Each member had a clearly defined role, musical and otherwise, and Johnny's was the taskmaster. He conducted the band's business affairs and led the group in details ranging from its sound to its mode of dress: in leather jackets, ripped jeans and scruffy sneakers, the band always presented a unified visual front of a punk army in uniform.
"He was the leader of the band," Danny Fields, the group's first manager, said. "He was the boss and you worked for him. He was very demanding, but very right."
After years holding a construction job - he tried college, but dropped out in a matter of days - Mr. Ramone formed the group in 1974 in Forest Hills, Queens, with Mr. Hyman, Mr. Colvin and Mr. Erdelyi. In the late 1960's he played bass in the Tangerine Puppets, a garage-rock band, but switched instruments early in 1974 when he bought a $50 Mosrite guitar on a trip to Manny's Music shop, on West 48th Street in Manhattan. The new group took its name from a pseudonym that Paul McCartney had used while on the road with the Beatles, and began playing regular gigs at a Bowery dive called CBGB. A Ramones set rarely lasted more than 30 minutes, and the tunes were strung together in rapid succession. Their plan was to pause between songs just long enough for a member, usually Dee Dee, to shout "One-Two-Three-Four!" But in the early days that time was often spent bickering onstage about which song to play.
Their experience was from the start a mixture of success and frustration. When the Ramones first played in London, on July 4, 1976, they were met by adoring crowds, and were approached with fear and admiration by members of the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Damned, all founding groups of the fruitful British punk scene. But when the Ramones returned home to New York they had trouble booking shows in Connecticut and New Jersey. In the band's early years, its members all crammed into Mr. Vega's loft space.
Though the band never had a major hit, it persisted for 22 years and more than a dozen studio albums, including its first record, "Ramones" (1976); "Leave Home" (1977); "Rocket to Russia" (1977); "End of the Century" (1980), recorded with Mr. Spector; and "Adios Amigos'' (1995), its last. Through the years the band kept a grueling touring schedule, and when on the road, Mr. Ramone carefully kept track of details from each concert. The band played its final gig, No. 2,263, on Aug. 6, 1996, at the Palace in Los Angeles.
That theater, now called the Avalon, was the site of a 30th-anniversary tribute to the Ramones on Sunday, with a roster that included Rob Zombie, Henry Rollins, X, Mr. Vedder and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was, Mr. Vega said, "a veiled tribute to Johnny," and at the show Rob Zombie called Mr. Ramone from the stage so that the crowd could shout "Hey ho, let's go!," the band's rallying cry and the first words of its most famous song, "Blitzkrieg Bop."
Another anniversary concert is planned for New York on Oct. 8, which is the birthday of both Johnny and C. J. Ramone (Christopher John Ward), the bassist who replaced Dee Dee in 1989. The concert is booked at Spirit on West 27th Street in Chelsea, and is to feature Blondie and the Strokes, Mr. Vega said.
Mr. Fields, the group's first manager, said that after the band broke up Mr. Ramone did not work again. "Johnny's goal was to retire," he said. "All he wanted to do was to be able to stop working. He was proud of what he did, but he still wanted to stop. People would ask him, 'What are you going to do when there's no more band?' And he would say, 'Watch baseball and horror movies.' " For much of the last year Mr. Ramone had been working on his memoirs with Steve Miller, a reporter for The Washington Times. Mr. Miller said yesterday that their interviews were complete.
Mr. Ramone was often at odds with the members of his band, over dress, politics and relationships. A staunch Republican, Mr. Ramone clashed with Joey over that singer's liberal causes, and when the band was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mr. Ramone said, "God bless President Bush, and God bless America."
After Mr. Ramone began dating a woman who had been seeing Joey, the two men stopped talking to each other. On their tour bus, they kept silent company, often passing messages back and forth through an intermediary. Johnny Ramone later married the woman, now Linda Cummings, who survives him, along with his mother, Estelle Cummings.
Mr. Ramone's silence toward Joey continued even to his band mate's death. Interviewed in his home for the new documentary "End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones,'' surrounded by horror-movie posters from his extensive collection, Mr. Ramone was unflinching in his refusal to reconcile with Joey.
"I'm only going to be the way I'd want someone to react to me," he said in the film. "If I didn't like someone, I wouldn't want him calling me up when I was dying. I wouldn't want them having regrets that they didn't talk to me. I'm happy that they didn't talk to me. If I'm gone, that's how it goes."
Former Cat Stevens Barred From Entering U.S. Plane Diverted When Muslim Convert's Name Found on Watch List By LESLIE MILLER, AP
WASHINGTON (Sept. 22) - A London-to-Washington flight was diverted to Maine when it was discovered that passenger Yusuf Islam - formerly known as singer Cat Stevens - was on a government watch list and barred from entering the country.
United Airlines Flight 919 was en route to Dulles International Airport when the match was made Tuesday between a passenger and a name on the watch list, said Nico Melendez, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration.
The plane was met by federal agents at Maine's Bangor International Airport around 3 p.m., Melendez said.
"He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds." -Dennis Murphy, Homeland Security Department spokesman
Homeland Security Department spokesman Dennis Murphy identified the passenger as Islam. ''He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds,'' Murphy said.
He said Islam would be put on the first available flight out of the country Wednesday.
Officials had no details about why the peace activist might be considered a risk to the United States. Islam had visited New York in May for a charity event and to promote a DVD of his 1976 MajiKat tour.
One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Islam, 56, was identified by the Advanced Passenger Information System, which requires airlines to send passenger information to Customs and Border Protection's National Targeting Center. The Transportation Security Administration then was contacted and requested that the plane land at the nearest airport, that official said.
Melendez said Islam was questioned by FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
Another federal official, who is in law enforcement and spoke anonymously because of agency policy, said that after the interview, Customs officials decided to deny Islam entry into the United States.
Flight 919 continued on to Dulles after Islam was removed from the flight.
Islam, who was born Stephen Georgiou, took Cat Stevens as a stage name and had a string of hits in the 1960s and '70s, including ''Wild World'' and ''Morning Has Broken.'' Last year he released two songs, including a re-recording of his '70s hit ''Peace Train,'' to express his opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
He abandoned his music career in the late 1970s and changed his name after being persuaded by orthodox Muslim teachers that his lifestyle was forbidden by Islamic law. He later became a teacher and an advocate for his religion, founding a Muslim school in London in 1983.
Islam founded Islamia Primary school in London in 1983. In 1998, it became the first Muslim school in Britain to receive government support, on the same basis as Christian and other sectarian schools.
A statement posted on a fan-supported Web site where his music is promoted said Islam being on a watch list ''is certainly an error.''
''It's also a very sad state of affairs when a man best known as a peace loving pop star can be grouped into the same category Osama Bin Laden just because of his chosen faith,'' the statement said.
Islam drew some negative attention in the late 1980s when he supported the Ayatollah Khomeini's death sentence against Salman Rushdie, author of ''The Satanic Verses.'' Recently, though, Islam has criticized terrorist acts, including the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the school seizure in Beslan, Russia, earlier this month that left more than 300 dead, nearly half of them children.
In a statement on his Web site, he wrote, ''Crimes against innocent bystanders taken hostage in any circumstance have no foundation whatsoever in the life of Islam and the model example of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.''
After the Sept. 11 attacks, Islam issued a statement saying: ''No right thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action: The Quran equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of the whole of humanity.''
Yeah, it's a big story in all the morning news outlets. Here's the story in the New York Times.
Jet Is Diverted to Detain Man in Security Case
By MATTHEW L. WALD Published: September 22, 2004
WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 - The Department of Homeland Security ordered a United Airlines jet flying from London to Washington rerouted to Bangor, Me., on Tuesday afternoon so it could intercept a passenger, Yusuf Islam, the musician formerly known as Cat Stevens, two government officials said.
Mr. Islam was "denied entry into the United States," said an official, and was in the custody of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. The plan on Tuesday evening was to deport Mr. Islam, who is a British subject, the officials said.
The officials, both of whom said they could not be named because this was a security issue, said Mr. Islam was a financial supporter of groups believed to be linked to terrorism. Mr. Islam's Web site lists him as a supporter of many charities.
Since converting to Islam in 1977 and renouncing his former identity as a pop singer who sold 25 million albums, Mr. Islam has been quoted making contradictory statements about various issues in the Muslim world.
At one point he appeared to support the death sentence pronounced by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Iranian leader, in 1989, against the author Salman Rushdie for his novel "The Satanic Verses." Though he said at another point that he did not support the ayatollah's edict, his anti-Rushdie comment drew wide criticism.
After the interception of Mr. Islam on Tuesday, one of the government officials said, "He is not on a watch list for making verbal threats."
Mr. Islam was deported from Israel in July 2000 because he was believed to be a supporter of Hamas, the terrorist group.
On Tuesday Mr. Islam was on a Boeing 747-400 with 249 passengers aboard. After it was diverted, the plane was kept on the ground for more than three hours.
Something our Research department turned up.
Strange but true: country music saps will to live
By Steve Connor, Science Editor 01 October 2004
A study showing the link between country music and suicide has taken one of the top prizes in this year's Ig-Nobel awards - the humorous alternative to the Nobel prizes. Other winners include the inventor of the karaoke machine, the man who patented the "comb-over" for covering the head of bald men and a student who investigated the danger of eating food that has fallen on the floor. The 10 winners of the 2004 Ig-Nobel prizes - which celebrate the bizarre, weird, funny and improbable elements of genuine scientific inquiry - received their awards last night at a ceremony at Harvard University in Boston.
Marc Abrahams, who conceived the awards 14 years ago, said that the "Igs" are given to studies or inventions judged to have done most in making people laugh and then think. Mr Abrahams, who publishes the Journal of Improbable Research, said the prizes honour the "whipped cream of humanity", or those thinkers who are either eccentrically brilliant or brilliantly eccentric.
The medicine prize was won by Steven Stack of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and James Gundlach of Auburn University in Alabama, who published an investigation into the effect of country music on suicide. The study found that country music, with its emphasis on marital discord, alcoholism and social alienation, can be linked with an increased suicide rate. "The results of a multiple regression analysis of 49 metropolitan areas show that the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate," the two researchers found.
The physics prize went to Ramesh Balasubramaniam of Ottawa University in Canada and Michael Turvey of Connecticut University, who carried out an exhaustive mathematical study of hula hooping. They worked out how movements of the hip and lower limbs keep the hula hoop from falling. "These modes might stabilise the hoop's angular momentum by controlling respectively its vertical and horizontal components," they said.
A Chicago high school student, Jillian Clarke, became the youngest person to win an Ig-Nobel when she won the public health award for investigating the "five-second rule" about whether it is safe to eat food that has dropped on the floor. "We first surveyed 100 people to see if they were familiar with the five-second rule, and if so, have they ever applied it and if they ever applied it what foods would they feel comfortable eating after floor contact," she said. Further work revealed what type of food - sticky or dry - and floor coverings - smooth or rough -were most likely to contaminate dropped food.
The psychology prize went to Daniel Simons of Illinois University and Christopher Chabris of Harvard, who demonstrated that when people paid close attention to one thing they can be made to overlook anything going on nearby, including a man dressed in a gorilla suit.
Miracle water The Coca-Cola company takes the chemistry prize for using advanced technology to convert liquid from the river Thames into Dasani, the "mineral" water that had to be withdrawn for precautionary reasons
Nudist library The American Nudist Research Library at Kissimmee in Florida wins the literature prize for preserving a cheeky slice of history so that everyone can enjoy seeing it
Flatulent herrings The biology prize goes to a team including Robert Batty of Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory in Oban who demonstrated the ability of herrings to communicate by releasing bubbles of gas from their intestines
Inventor of the Karaoke Daisuke Inoue, of Hyogo in Japan, won the peace prize for inventing the Karaoke sing-along machine which provides an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other
Baldness cure Donald Smith and his late father, Frank, from Florida, win the engineering prize for patenting the "comb-over", the clever technique of covering a bald spot by pulling hair over it from the side of the head, as practised by Bobby Charlton and Neil Kinnock.
I was saddened to hear of the passing of Rodney Dangerfield. He sure made me laugh many occasions. I had to play "Rappin' Rodney" at my show last night.
Posts: 650 | From: Massillon, Ohio USA | Registered: Jan 2001
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"Superman" actor Christopher Reeve, who turned personal tragedy into a public crusade and from his wheelchair became the nation's most recognizable spokesman for spinal cord research, has died. He was 52.
Reeve went into cardiac arrest Saturday while at his Pound Ridge home, then fell into a coma and died Sunday at a hospital surrounded by his family, his publicist said. He was 52.
I also heard he had a returning role on Smallville, looked like they were setting it up when his assistant (Margot Kidder) appeared in the first episode of the new season.
She's Alive and Kickin' ABC News accidently put our favorite shock mom in the grave on Monday. The news website published one of their prepared inventory obits for Sharon Osbourne with details X'd out. The story never actually used the word died or dead, but the point of the article clearly chronicled her life and legacy. The piece was pulled from their site and a spokesperson for ABC apologized to Mrs. Osbourne, her family, and fans saying it was a "regrettable mistake." We're just glad Sharon's fine!
I remember something like this happenning about 6 or 7 years ago with Bob Hope. I think it was either USA Today or CNN that accidentally put up a "ready to go" obituary on their website by mistake.
Posts: 2371 | From: London, Canada | Registered: Apr 1999
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NEW YORK - The rap artist O.D.B., whose utterly unique rhymes, wild lifestyle and incessant legal troubles made him one of the most vivid characters in hip-hop, collapsed and died inside a recording studio Saturday. He was 35.
O.D.B. had complained of chest pains before collapsing at the Manhattan studio, and was dead by the time paramedics arrived, said Gabe Tesoriero, a spokesman for O.D.B.'s record label, Roc-a-Fella.
The cause of death was not immediately clear, but O.D.B. had recently finished a prison sentence for drug possession and escaping a rehab clinic. He would have turned 36 on Monday.
O.D.B. — also known as Ol' Dirty *******, Dirt McGirt, Big Baby Jesus or his legal name of Russell Jones — was a founding member of the seminal rap group the Wu-Tang Clan in the early 1990s. With his unorthodox delivery — alternately slurred, hyper and nonsensical — O.D.B. stood out even in the nine-man Clan, which featured such future stars as Method Man, RZA and Ghostface Killah.
The Wu-Tang blueprint was for each member to pursue solo projects, and O.D.B.'s were among the best. He released hit singles such as "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" and "Got Your Money," and appeared on remixes with artists like Mariah Carey.
"There's nobody like him in the game," RZA told The Associated Press in an April interview, when asked if O.D.B. could resume his career after prison. "He's got a lot of problems he's got to iron out, of course, but as far as a one-of-a-kind person, a one-of-a-kind artist, he's one of a generation, one of a lifetime. He's a very rare commodity."
But as his fame increased, so did his erratic behavior, and fans came to expect the unexpected from O.D.B.
When MTV News followed him around at the height of his popularity, he took the camera crew and several of his kids (he was said to have more than a dozen, by numerous mothers) to the welfare office — in a limousine — to get an allotment of food stamps.
And he received them.
In February 1998, he crashed the stage at the Grammy Awards and hijacked a microphone from singer Shawn Colvin (news) as she accepted an award, apparently upset over losing the best rap album Grammy to P. Diddy (then known as Puff Daddy (news - web sites)). He complained that he spent a lot of money for new clothes because he thought he was going to win. The rapper later apologized.
Over the years, he was wounded in shootings and arrested on a veritable laundry list of charges, including menacing security officers, illegally possessing body armor, driving with a suspended license, shoplifting and threatening a former girlfriend.
In 2000, after escaping a court-ordered stint in a California rehabilitation center, authorities searched for him for a month. He was finally arrested in Philadelphia — three days after performing in a New York City concert with his Wu-Tang clique.
He was sentenced in 2001 to two to four years in prison for drug possession, plus two concurrent years for escaping from the clinic. He was released in 2003 and immediately signed with Roc-a-Fella.
He heralded his return with a news conference alongside singer Carey — pop fans may know him best for his memorable cameo on her hit "Fantasy," featuring rhymes like "me and Mariah, go back like babies with pacifiers."
Tesoriero said O.D.B. had been working on his comeback album for more than a year and was almost finished.
"Russell inspired all of us with his spirit, wit, and tremendous heart," Roc-A-Fella founder Damon Dash said in a statement. "The world has lost a great talent, but we mourn the loss of our friend."
His mother, Cherry Jones, said she received the news of her son's death in a phone call, which she called "every mother's worst dream."
"To the public he was known as Old Dirty *******, but to me he was known as Rusty. The kindest most generous soul on earth," her statement said. "Russell was more than a rapper, he was a loving father, brother, uncle, and most of all, son."
UK artists re-record Band Aid song Sunday, November 14, 2004 Posted: 7:49 AM EST (1249 GMT)
Geldof brought music's who's who together to redo the hit "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Twenty years after the release of one of the biggest singles of all time, leading British artists gathered on Sunday to re-record the Bob Geldof-inspired charity hit "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
Paul McCartney, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Jamelia and The Darkness were among those at a London studio to record the single, which bookmakers have already tipped for the Christmas number one spot.
"It's time to recreate the magic, and perhaps add a little of our own," The Darkness singer Justin Hawkins told Xfm radio.
Geldof and Ultravox singer Midge Ure created Band Aid, a supergroup of 40 artists, in 1984 and with the hit single raised over 10 million pounds ($18 million) for famine relief in Ethiopia.
Ure has described the latest line-up as a "who's who of coolness" after he managed to get big names like Robbie Williams and Dido on board for the slightly re-arranged song. Artist Damien Hirst is making the CD's cover. Proceeds will again go towards aid for Africa, particularly for Sudan's volatile Darfur region, where tens of thousands have died since March from disease and malnutrition.
"I just returned from Africa ... and it sickens me that every day of hunger they see as normal," Geldof told BBC television, as he urged people to buy the single.
Geldof, who traveled to Ethiopia earlier this month as part of the British-sponsored Commission for Africa group, became the public face of Band Aid and the subsequent Live Aid concert which raised over 60 million pounds.
He emphasized funds raised from the new band Aid single, due out on November 29, will go straight to those who need them.
"The money will keep those who are hungry not hungry," he said.
The "Do They Know" song has already been re-recorded once, in 1985.
[This message has been edited by knightshow (edited November 16, 2004).]
It was re-recorded again in the 90's, and it sucked. I can't remember who was on it, but I was one of the few suckers who picked it up.
Posts: 2371 | From: London, Canada | Registered: Apr 1999
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