R.I.P Fats Domino, 89, Musical Legend, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer and New Orleans Native


Mr. Domino performing in 2007 on NBC’s “Today” show. (Photo Credit: Richard Drew/AP)

Jon Pareles and William Grimes via nytimes.com

Fats Domino, the New Orleans rhythm-and-blues singer whose two-fisted boogie-woogie piano and nonchalant vocals, heard on dozens of hits, made him one of the biggest stars of the early rock ’n’ roll era, has died in Louisiana. He was 89.

His death was confirmed by his brother-in-law and former road manager Reggie Hall, who said he had no other details. Mr. Domino lived in Harvey, La., across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. Mr. Domino had more than three dozen Top 40 pop hits through the 1950s and early ’60s, among them “Blueberry Hill,”“Ain’t It a Shame” (also known as “Ain’t That a Shame,” which is the actual lyric), “I’m Walkin’,” “Blue Monday” and “Walkin’ to New Orleans.”

Throughout he displayed both the buoyant spirit of New Orleans…

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R.I.P., Cortez Kennedy

Cortez Kennedy: 23 August 1968 – 23 May 2017

Wow…I’m just shocked right now. Cortez Kennedy, who made his name with the Seattle Seahawks by playing his entire 11-year career with the team, passed away today at the age of 48. A Pro Football Hall of Fame recipient, he was a very agile and talented athlete who helped redefine the roles of a large-bodied, interior lineman. From ESPN:

Cortez Kennedy, an icon with the Seattle Seahawks who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012, has died at age 48, the Orlando (Florida) Police Department said Tuesday. Orlando police confirmed to ESPN that they are investigating the former defensive tackle’s death but said “there is nothing suspicious to report” at this time. Kennedy was a force inside, both as a run-stopper and in threatening quarterbacks. The 1992 Defensive Player of the Year made eight Pro Bowls, had 58 sacks — an unusually high total for a tackle — and spent his entire 11-season career with Seattle, starting 153 out of 167 games.”

He was such an impressive player to watch! His size certainly would cause opponents to underestimate his speed. He would explode off of the line with such swiftness, easily breaching the defensive line and sacking a hapless quarterback. He was an incredible man, both on and off the field. His charity work and altruism will certainly live on. Rest easy, big man – Seattle is aching tonight after two big losses in one week. It’s a bit mind-blowing, to say the least.

R.I.P., Chris Cornell…

Chris Cornell (B. Christopher John Boyle): 20 July 1964 – 17 May 2017

I’m a bit floored at the moment. I just heard about the death of Chris Cornell, frontman of the bands Audioslave and Soundgarden. Soundgarden is one of the top three bands synonymous with the genre of grunge music, and Chris Cornell was instrumental in helping launch grunge from the local Seattle stage to nationwide and international status. Nirvana and Pearl Jam are the other two which were the main powerhouses of the time; Alice In Chains, Mother Love Bone, and the Screaming Trees are others who were well-known in that scene and the circles at the time.

I was fortunate enough to see a good number of those bands in person as they were up-and-coming; they performed regularly at places like the Vogue, the Moore Theatre, and the Crocodile Café in Seattle, among other local hot spots. Chris’s voice was just as distinctive as that of Kurt Cobain or Eddie Vedder, and it had the power to move you through the emotional highs and lows of a song effortlessly.

There’s really not much else that I can say with words, so here’s my little musical tribute to one of the best musicians of my lifetime. Rest easy, Chris…you left us too soon. You still had so much to offer.

Ah, Chuck…

Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry: 18 October 1926 – 18 March 2017

Damn…I was doing some gaming and listening to the 70s station on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and heard of the passing of one of the REAL kings of Rock & Roll, the notable, legendary, musical genius known as Chuck Berry. He passed away today at the age of 90; it isn’t lost on me that he was born on the 18th of October, and left this world on the 18th of March.

He was due to release an album later this year, according to his official website. What a man! What a musician! What a legend! Sheer genius, and that is never a term I toss about lightly. Some people overuse words such as “passion,” “genius,” or “eclectic,” but they really don’t know the true meaning of those words. Not trying to insult those folks; I just feel that they grabbed onto a “clickbait” word in order to drive traffic to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress sites.

My son just sent me a text about Chuck’s death. That’s one way I know that I have imparted some true knowledge and genuine love of music to at least one Millennial! Most people in his age group say, “Chuck Berry? Should I know who that is?” – but they will mention Justin Beiber, Lady GooGooGaGa, or Nikki Minaj in the same breath, as if those scumwads were worthy of the status of Chuck Berry, David Bowie, B.B. King, Prince, or Jimi Hendrix.

If you know the “Duck-Walk,” then you know Chuck Berry. He made that move famous, just as Michael Jackson was the master of the “Moon-walk.” Chuck’s music was often played on the radio, and “My Ding-A-Ling” was the first one that I recall hearing. He had so many epic, timeless, awesome songs! I don’t think that I can say anything that would truly give due credit to this truly talented man, so I give you my favourite seven hits of his for your enjoyment.

Good Night, Sweet Prince…

Prince Rogers Nelson: 7 June 1958 – 21 April 2016

Ah, me…an icon from my high-school days passed away. The artist known as Prince was found dead in an elevator in his Minnesota home, Paisley Park. From ABC News:

Prince, one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits including “Little Red Corvette,” ”Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry,” was found dead at his home on Thursday in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist. He was 57.

His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told The Associated Press that the superstar “died at his home this morning at Paisley Park.” The local sheriff said deputies found Prince unresponsive in an elevator late Thursday morning after being summoned to his home, but that first-responders couldn’t revive him.

No details about what may have caused his death have been released. Prince postponed a concert in Atlanta on April 7, saying he had fallen ill with the flu, and he apologized to fans during a makeup concert last week.

President Barack Obama, for whom Prince was a White House guest last year, said he and his wife “joined millions of fans from around the world” in mourning Prince’s sudden death.

“Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent,” Obama said in a statement. ” ‘A strong spirit transcends rules,’ Prince once said — and nobody’s spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative.”

The dazzlingly talented and charismatic singer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist drew upon musicians ranging from James Brown to Jimi Hendrix to the Beatles, creating a gender- and genre-defying blend of rock, funk and soul.

He broke through in the late 1970s with the hits “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” and soared over the following decade with such albums as “1999” and “Purple Rain.” The title song from “1999,” his funky and flippant anthem about an oncoming nuclear holocaust, includes one of the most quoted refrains of popular culture: “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999.”

Another name to add to the list of artist I won’t get to see live and in concert…what a shame. He only stood 5′ 2″ – but was a giant on the stage. When he picked up that guitar, it became just as much a part of his body as his own limbs, and he made it talk. I would list him as one of the guitar greats, right up there with Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Carlos Santana, and many, noted others. I can’t really say anything else except through his music…enjoy.

What A Weekend!!!

It was a blast…I had an excellent time! It was nice to hang out with family for a bit; especially when everyone’s unscheduled time flowed together perfectly. We got into the Seattle / Tacoma area on Friday afternoon; met up with my son for pizza before he headed off to work, then checked into the hotel for the night. Sent texts to family members and made phone calls, letting them know that I was in town for a Saturday concert. Spent some time with my mom and one of my sisters before the concert, then went and blasted our ears out for a few hours – Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne! The opening band was called Rival Sons and they weren’t too bad. They were your average 70’s / 80’s-style 5-person rock band, including a long-bearded gent on a keyboard, and the lead singer did his bit with a tambourine – good music, and certainly better than most of the headliners that are called musicians these days!

Sunday, we spent with my dad and watched the Super Bowl. I will give the Denver Broncos their due justice – that defensive line was virtually unstoppable. They manhandled poor Cam Newton like a rag doll, and I think his confidence was shattered with the first sack. No, Peyton Manning didn’t have to do a damned thing – it was all the defense. Cam looked like a very sore loser at the end, and Peyton’s shameless shilling for Buttwiper beer and his making out with ‘Papa John’ wasn’t any better. Cam needs to know that he who croweth the loudest sometimes has to eat a bit of crow. Suck it up and give credit where credit is due, okay? Better luck next year.

Monday, we met my brother for lunch, then he followed us back to my mom’s place. Both of my sisters met up with us, and my one sister brought her kids, my nephews and niece. They showed off report cards and their recorder-playing skills…it was relaxing and mellow. Being around family is nice – when you get along, that is! I can’t say the same for my adoptive family, LOL – I have to love them from a distance!

I’m off to the store to stock up on food, and I’ll catch up on reading blogs over the next few days. I need to get some posts ready for the weekend! Also, I wanted to note the passing of Maurice White, the founder and original lead singer of the band Earth, Wind & Fire. From ABC News:

Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White, whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums and made hits like “September,” ”Shining Star” and “Boogie Wonderland,” died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles, his brother Verdine said.

White, who was 74, suffered from Parkinson’s Disease and had retreated from the public even as the band he founded kept performing.

“My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep,” Verdine White, also a member of the band, told The Associated Press on Thursday. “While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.”

Earth, Wind & Fire, a nine-piece band centered featuring the two White brothers, singer Philip Bailey and the distinctive horn section, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. The band’s most successful period started with the 1975 album “That’s The Way of The World” and continued through the rest of the decade. Other hits included “Serpentine Fire,” ”That’s the Way of the World” and a cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life.”

Chris Rock tweeted his condolences Thursday with a photo of White and the lyrics, “You can’t hide love.” Nile Rogers called White “one of the most amazing innovators of all time” on the social media platform, while Diane Warren said “this world just got a lot less soulful.”

White publicly revealed he had Parkinson’s at the time of the band’s Hall of Fame induction, but he had shown symptoms of the neurological disease back in the 1980s. He stopped touring with the band in 1995 because of weariness from the road combined with his health problems.”

Maurice White: 19 December 1941 – 4 February 2016

One final note…there was a New Moon on Monday…which is a rarity! Enjoy this song in honour of it, and two select songs by Earth, Wind, & Fire.

Notable Passings: Franklin McCain

Franklin Eugene McCain: (birthdate unknown) – 9 January 2014

I recently read of the passing of Franklin McCain, a civil-rights activist who was a member of the “Greensboro Four” – a group of college freshmen at North Carolina’s Agricultural & Technical State University, who sparked the non-violent “sit-in” protests against segregation in the racist, Jim Crow south during the 1960s. From Al-Jazeera:

“Franklin McCain, an icon of the civil rights movement and a member of the “Greensboro Four,” a group of college freshmen who sparked the nonviolent sit-in movement of the 1960s throughout the South, died Friday at the age of 73.

McCain and three friends — Joseph McNeil, David Richmond and Ezell Blair (now known as Jibreel Khazan) — were freshmen at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University when they drew national attention by launching sit-in protests at a “whites only” F.W. Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., on Feb. 1, 1960.

The four spent that entire day at the lunch counter, refusing to get up and staying until it closed. They returned each day, with more students joining them in protest. Students were taunted, spit on and had food and drinks thrown on them; some were arrested. By the fifth day, more than 1,000 people had joined in. Over the next few weeks, sit-ins began taking place in more than 50 cities across nine states, as students at other black colleges and supporters of the civil rights movement participated in the cause.

After six months of pressure from protesters and intense media coverage, the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro desegregated. Prior to the desegregation, blacks had to pick up their food from a door in the rear of the building. The movement led to the creation in Raleigh, N.C., of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which later became the primary organization behind student protests and actions in the civil rights movement.”

The sit-in had been mentioned on a series I saw on PBS last month, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, hosted by Professor Henry Louis Gates. The sit-ins illustrated just how much racism and physical violence civil rights activists faced during that time. Food and drinks were dumped on the heads of sit-in participants; they were spat on, and lit cigarettes were placed on the heads of Black men and women. The picture above shows an example of this disgusting behaviour. You can see how the crowd is attempting to intimidate the people at the counter by their numbers and close proximity, as well – invading the personal space of another is a classic intimidation tactic. Amazing that people have the capacity to engage in such evil against another human being, solely for the colour of their skin.

I came across this picture, which seems to be an ad for the Woolworth Corporation, stating that they “share their dream (of equality?) and are proud to have joined them on their journey.” Presumably, it was printed somewhere circa 1990. I had to chuckle at the deceit in their statement because the actions of discrimination in their stores, even in the early 1990s, was still ongoing and prevalent.

You see, I lived in Seattle for about 10 years, during the explosion of the dot-coms and grunge music – it was the place to be for a young woman trying to break into the modeling scene! Anyway, there was a Woolworth’s drugstore on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Pike street, directly competing with the Rite-Aid up the block and the Bartell’s Drugs around the corner. They had good prices on hair-care products so shopping there made sense. One day, I happened to pick up a box of Dark & Lovely hair coloring (yes, I dyed my hair for a time) and noted that the box had already been opened. I was going to take it to the front counter and notify an employee of this, so I grabbed a different box to place in my basket for purchase. This box, too, had obviously been opened. Curious, I looked inside to see what might have been missing from the boxes, and saw that there was an unpleasant addition – one of those little white tabs that would set off a store alarm, much like the tags in high-end department stores or located on CD cases in Musicland/Sam Goody stores. I started looking closely at the other boxes of products – relaxers, hot oil treatments, and the like – and was disgusted to realize that EVERY SINGLE ONE THAT WAS EXPRESSLY FOR BLACK WOMEN had these “anti-theft” devices in them! I looked at the products for white females, such as Clairol, Redken, or Vidal Sassoon – none of them had been touched; the plastic was still intact around those boxes. I put all of the products back on the shelf, returned my basket to the front, and left the store. Mind you, this was in August of 1993! I mentioned this fact to few of my friends and some of the women at the modeling agency I was with, and we all stopped shopping there. In January of 1994, that store (among others in the area) closed due to “a massive overhaul of its New York-based parent company.”

A memorial service is scheduled for this coming Thursday, 15 January, from 10 a.m. until noon, and his funeral will be on Friday. It is open to the public, according to the Greensboro News & Record.

Rest in peace, Mr. McCain. You were a giant among men – your legacy continues to fuel the good fight. We shall not rest until true equality is achieved for all peoples in all corners of the world.

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