Breaking: Stephen Hawking has passed away. Damn.
No words …
(Reuters) -Leon Russell, who emerged in the 1970s as one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most dynamic performers and songwriters after playing anonymously on dozens of pop hits as a much-in-demand studio pianist in the 1960s, died on Sunday at age 74.
Russell, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, died in his sleep in Nashville, Tennessee, his wife said in a statement on his website.
Russell suffered health problems in his later years, having surgery to stop leaking brain fluid in 2010 and suffering a heart attack in July 2016.
“He was recovering from heart surgery in July and looked forward to getting back on the road in January,” said his wife, Jan Bridges.
Russell’s period of stardom as a performer was relatively brief, but Elton John, who had once been Russell’s opening act, engineered a comeback for him in 2010 when they collaborated on an album titled “The Union.”
“He was my biggest influence as a piano player, a singer and a songwriter,” John told ABC News.
Russell recorded more than 35 albums and also excelled as a songwriter for other performers. His “A Song for You” was recorded by Joe Cocker, the Carpenters, the Temptations, Neil Diamond, Lou Rawls, Dusty Springfield, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and good friend Willie Nelson. The Carpenters, Helen Reddy, Shirley Bassey, Robert Goulet and George Benson all covered Russell’s “This Masquerade,” with Benson’s version winning the 1976 Grammy as record of the year.
Russell was known as “the master of space and time” in his 1970s heyday. He wore a cocked top hat, and with salt-and-pepper hair past his shoulders and a beard that reached his chest, created an inscrutable image that was equal parts shaman, tent revival preacher and cosmic ringmaster.
He ruled the stage with piano-banging abandon and, backed by a multi-piece band and a backup chorus, put on a show that was a roiling stew of rock, soul, gospel and country.
Russell’s last performance was July 10 in Nashville
( jump to 3:28 where the real magic begins … )
(from ultimateclassicrock.com) “Since Prince‘s death, the video of the night he blew up the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony with a performance of the Beatles‘ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” has been shared ad infinitum on social media. Now, some of the musicians and other people involved in the event, including Tom Petty, have remembered that performance in a new oral history.
As the New York Times reports, it came together when Joel Gallen, the producer and director of the ceremony, wrote to Prince asking him to play lead guitar — he was already going to be there because he was being inducted. But when it came time to rehearse, there were problems. Marc Mann, Jeff Lynne‘s guitarist, recreated Eric Clapton’s famous solo in the middle note-for-note. “And we get to the big end solo,” Gallen says, “and Prince again steps forward to go into the solo, and this guy starts playing that solo too!”
Before leaving, Prince reassured Gallen that, even though they didn’t get to rehearse it the way Gallen envisioned it, everything would be fine when it came time to the performance. Let Mann do the first solo, he told Gallen, and he would take over for the end. “They never rehearsed it, really,” Gallen continued. “Never really showed us what he was going to do, and he left, basically telling me, the producer of the show, not to worry. And the rest is history. It became one of the most satisfying musical moments in my history of watching and producing live music.”
The next day, Prince stepped out of the darkness and blew the roof off of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Petty, who had a perfect view of the proceedings, recalled it with awe. “You see me nodding at him, to say, ‘Go on, go on,’” he said. “I remember I leaned out at him at one point and gave him a ‘This is going great!’ kind of look. He just burned it up. You could feel the electricity of ‘something really big’s going down here.’”
But there’s still one pressing question from the evening: What happened to the guitar that Prince threw up in the air after his solo? As you can see above, although the camera lingers on Prince for several seconds, it doesn’t seem to land. It’s something that’s puzzzled Steve Ferrone, Petty’s drummer. “I didn’t even see who caught it,” he said. “I just saw it go up, and I was astonished that it didn’t come back down again. Everybody wonders where that guitar went, and I gotta tell you, I was on the stage, and I wonder where it went, too.”
Never mind the boxing ring, where Ali was the greatest was in just being himself and speaking his mind. Yeah, some of his ideas were racist but they didn’t seem borne from hate or with malice, it seemed more understandably protective to withstand the racist hate he endured from countless others. (the 1971 Parkinson interview is fantastic).
Prince was just pure awesomeness, loved him (major crush too). Best concert ever of his that I went to was during his Purple
Reign Rain tour ( ’86 maybe? -’85, I looked it up), we all held up illuminated purple roses, swaying them over our heads rhythmically, his entrance was him laying in a faux water-filled neon purple bathtub that slowly descended from the rafters high above, then, when he hit the stage he did so with all the energy of a hyper super nova and just didn’t stop, what a performer, what a guy. He was pure genius. This one hurts. a lot.
Huge loss, condolences to us all.