Friday, January 20, 2012

Rock News

--Legendary singer Etta James has died at the age of 73. The songstress, best known for her rendition of Glenn Miller's ballad At Last, as well as the hits Sunday Kind of Love and The Wallflower. James had been battling leukemia and the onset of Alzheimer related dementia for the past few years. She was hospitalized in late December with breathing problems and put on a ventilator, it was at this time that he long time manager and friend Lupe DeLeon announced that the singer's condition was terminal. She was released from the hospital earlier this month to be with her friends and family for her final days. James was taken to the Riverside Community Hospital late Thursday evening, and passed away in the early hours of Friday, five days shy of her 74th birthday.

--Funk saxophone legend Jimmy Castor passed away earlier this week in Las Vegas. Castor's band, The Jimmy Castor Bunch, are best known for the sax-heavy funk hits "It's Just Begun" and 1973's "Troglodyte." The latter's distinctive riff has been sampled, or appropriated, over 3000 times by bands as diverse as N.W.A., 2 Live Crew, Kanye West, Ice Cube, Mos Def, Spice Girls, Christina Aguilera, and Madonna. Castor had been hospitalized since November when he underwent a quadruple bypass, he was 71.

--Snoop Dogg is releasing his own line of cigars. Snoop, who is no stranger to lighting-one-up, will be putting his name to a line of Executive Branch Cigarillos, featuring tobacco from the Dominican Republic. According to a press release "[Snoop]was fortunate to encounter this tobacco company, Executive Branch and was impressed by their commitment to quality" further claiming that "[he] will be working with their team to make sure all products are up to Snoop Dogg standards."

--Eight years after succumbing to prostate cancer, Johnny Ramone's autobiography, Commando, is set to be released. The 176 page book was compiled by the guitarist's wife, Linda, from writings Ramone (real name John Cummings) produced between being diagnosed with cancer, and his death five years later at 55. The book will cover everything from Johnny's childhood, through his years with seminal punk rockers The Ramones, to his battles with cancer, and even his feud with fellow original Ramones member Joey Ramone, who used to date Linda, Johnny's future wife, leading to a rift between the two men. "I guess it was some sort of love triangle - Joey, Johnny and me. It happened, and of course he talks about it and he talks about how he feels about it," Linda said. "The three of us all probably have a different story, but this is Johnny's story." The prologue was written by band-mate Tommy Ramone, the only surviving member of the band's initial line-up, with an epilogue by close friend Lisa-Marie Presley. Commando will be released in April.

-- Sinead O'Connor is claiming her now five week marriage is over, this time for good. The singer, who married a man she met over the Internet just a few months ago, first claimed the marriage was at an end after only two weeks, then issued a statement just a few days later saying they had decided to reconcile. This latest announcement in her very public marriage comes not long after O'Connor posted Tweets about needing mental health help, and being "really unwell" O'Connor has since hospitalized herself for depression, posting "Don't want anyone worrying. They should only worry if a depressed person DOESN’T go to the hospital. All will be well. Just a little time." O'Connor's new album, "How About I Be Me (and You Be You)" is set to be released on February 21st.

--Adele's album 21 has joined the ranks of only five albums to sit at the #1 position on the Billboard charts for 16 weeks, and the first to do so since the Titanic soundtrack in 1998. The only other albums to have this long of a run at the top of the charts include Billy Ray Cyrus' Some Gave All (17 weeks), Garth Brooks' Ropin' The Wind (18 weeks), and the longest-running number one album, the Whitney Huston-dominated Bodyguard soundtrack, which stayed in the number one spot for 20 straight weeks in 1992-1993.

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