Flashback Friday: Bruce Lee

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           He is Bruce Lee. He was  was a Hong Kong American martial artist, Hong Kong action film actor, martial arts instructor, filmmaker, and the founder of Jeet Kune Do. Lee was the son of Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-Chuen. He is widely considered by commentators, critics, media and other martial artists to be one of the most influential martial artists of all time, and a pop culture icon of the 20th century. He is often credited with helping to change the way Asians were presented in American films.

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           Lee was born in Chinatown, San Francisco on November 27, 1940 to parents from Hong Kong and was raised in Kowloon with his family until his late teens. He was introduced to the film industry by his father and appeared in several films as a child actor. Lee moved to the United States at the age of 18 to receive his higher education, at the University of Washington, and it was during this time that he began teaching martial arts. His Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films elevated the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim, sparking a surge of interest in Chinese martial arts in the West in the 1970s. The direction and tone of his films changed and influenced martial arts and martial arts films in the United States, Hong Kong and the rest of the world.

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           He is noted for his roles in five feature-length films: Lo Wei‘s The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972); Golden Harvest‘s Way of the Dragon (1972), directed and written by Lee; Golden Harvest and Warner BrothersEnter the Dragon (1973) and The Game of Death (1973), both directed by Robert Clouse. Lee became an iconic figure known throughout the world, particularly among the Chinese, as he portrayed Chinese nationalism in his films. He trained in the art of Wing Chun and later combined his other influences from various sources, in the spirit of his personal martial arts philosophy, which he dubbed Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist). Lee held dual nationality of Hong Kong and the United States. He died in Kowloon Tong on July 20, 1973 at the age of 32.

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           On May 10, 1973, Lee collapsed in Golden Harvest studios in Hong Kong while doing dubbing work for the movie Enter the Dragon. Suffering from seizures and headaches, he was immediately rushed to Hong Kong Baptist Hospital where doctors diagnosed cerebral edema. They were able to reduce the swelling through the administration of mannitol. These same symptoms that occurred in his first collapse were later repeated on the day of his death.

           On July 20, 1973, Lee was in Hong Kong, to have dinner with James Bond star George Lazenby, with whom he intended to make a film. According to Lee‘s wife Linda, Lee met producer Raymond Chow at 2 p.m. at home to discuss the making of the film Game of Death. They worked until 4 p.m. and then drove together to the home of Lee‘s colleague Betty Ting Pei, a Taiwanese actress. The three went over the script at Ting‘s home, and then Chow left to attend a dinner meeting.

          Later Lee complained of a headache, and Ting gave him an analgesic (painkiller), Equagesic, which contained both aspirin and the muscle relaxant meprobamate. Around 7:30 p.m., he went to lie down for a nap. When Lee did not turn up for dinner, Chow came to the apartment, but could not wake Lee up. A doctor was summoned, who spent ten minutes attempting to revive him before sending him by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Lee was dead by the time he reached the hospital.

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            There was no visible external injury; however, according to autopsy reports, his brain had swollen considerably, from 1,400 to 1,575 grams (a 13% increase). Lee was 32 years old. The only substance found during the autopsy was Equagesic. On October 15, 2005, Chow stated in an interview that Lee died from an allergic reaction to the muscle relaxant (meprobamate) in Equagesic, which he described as a common ingredient in painkillers. When the doctors announced Lee‘s death officially, it was ruled a “death by misadventure”.

          Don Langford, Lee‘s personal physician in Hong Kong, had treated Lee during his first collapse. Controversy erupted when he stated, “Equagesic was not at all involved in Bruce’s first collapse”.

             Donald Teare, a forensic scientist recommended by Scotland Yard who had overseen over 1,000 autopsies, was assigned to the Lee case. His conclusion was “death by misadventure” caused by an acute cerebral edema due to a reaction to compounds present in the combination medication Equagesic.

           The preliminary opinion of Peter Wu, the neurosurgeon who treated Lee during his first seizure, was that the cause of death should have been attributed to either a reaction to cannabis or Equagesic. However, Wu later backed off from this position, stating that:

Professor Teare was a forensic scientist recommended by Scotland Yard; he was brought in as an expert on cannabis and we can’t contradict his testimony. The dosage of cannabis is neither precise nor predictable, but I’ve never known of anyone dying simply from taking it.

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          At the 1975 San Diego Comic-Con convention, Bruce Lee‘s friend Chuck Norris attributed it to a reaction between the medication he had been taking since 1968 for a ruptured disk in his back and the medication he was given for his headache on the night of his death.

          Lee‘s wife Linda returned to her hometown of Seattle, and had him buried at lot 276 of Lakeview Cemetery. Pallbearers at his funeral on July 31, 1973 included Taky KimuraSteve McQueen, James Coburn, Chuck Norris, George Lazenby, Dan Inosanto, Peter Chin, and Lee‘s brother Robert.

          Lee‘s iconic status and untimely demise fed many theories about his death, including murder involving the Triads and a supposed curse on him and his family. There is also a theory that Bruce Lee used electrical muscle stimulation and that may have exacerbated or resulted in his condition.

To know more about Burce Lee, just go here: http://www.brucelee.com/

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Flashback Friday: John Lennon

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            He is John Ono Lennon, born John Winston Lennon. He was an English musician, singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a founder member of the rock band the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. With Paul McCartney, he formed a songwriting partnership that is one of the most celebrated of the 20th century.

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           Born and raised in Liverpool, as a teenager Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze; his first band, the Quarrymen, evolved into the Beatles in 1960. When the group disbanded in 1970, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the critically acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs such as “Give Peace a Chance” and “Working Class Hero“. After his marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon. Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to raise his infant son Sean, but re-emerged with Ono in 1980 with the new album Double Fantasy. He was murdered three weeks after its release.

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            Lennon revealed a rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, writing, drawings, on film and in interviews. Controversial through his political and peace activism, he moved to Manhattan in 1971, where his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a lengthy attempt by Richard Nixon‘s administration to deport him, while some of his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement and the larger counterculture.

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               As of 2012, Lennon‘s solo album sales in the United States exceeded 14 million and, as writer, co-writer or performer, he is responsible for 25 number-one singles on the US Hot 100 chart. In 2002, a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted him eighth and, in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth-greatest singer of all time. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

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           At around 10:50 pm on 8 December 1980, as Lennon and Ono returned to their New York apartment in the Dakota, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times at the entrance to the building. Lennon was taken to the emergency room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:07 pm. Earlier that evening, Lennon had autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman.

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          Ono issued a statement the next day, saying “There is no funeral for John“, ending it with the words, “John loved and prayed for the human race. Please pray the same for him.” His body was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Ono scattered his ashes in New York’s Central Park, where the Strawberry Fields memorial was later created. Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life. As of 2014, he remains in prison, having been denied parole eight times.

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John Lennon’s Signature

To know more about John Lennon, just go here: http://www.johnlennon.com/

Flashback Friday: Jim Morrison

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          He is James Douglas “Jim” Morrison, also known as Jim Morrison. He was an American singer-songwriter and poet, best remembered as the lead singer of The Doors. From a young age, Morrison became infatuated with the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Rimbaud, Jack Kerouac, and William Blake, often incorporating their work into his lyrics. In his later life, Morrison developed an alcohol dependency which led to his death at the age of 27 in Paris. He is alleged to have died of a heroin overdose, but as no autopsy was performed, the exact cause of his death is still disputed. His tomb in Paris is still today a shrine to his personality, visited daily by numerous mourners.

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            Due to his songwriting, voice, wild personality and performances, he is regarded by critics and fans as one of the most iconic and influential frontmen in rock music history, and, due to the dramatic tinges surrounding his life and death, in the latter part of 20th century he was one of popular culture’s most rebellious and oft-displayed icons, on a par with the likes of Che Guevara, representing generational gap and youth counterculture. He was also well known for improvising spoken word poetry passages while the band played live. Morrison was ranked number 47 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time“, and number 22 on Classic Rock Magazine‘s50 Greatest Singers In Rock“. Ray Manzarek said that Morrison “embodied hippie counter culture rebellion…” Morrison was also known as the self-proclaimed “Lizard King” and “King of Orgasmic Rock“.

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            Morrison‘s early life was a nomadic existence typical of military families. Jerry Hopkins recorded Morrison‘s brother, Andy, explaining that his parents had determined never to use physical corporal punishment such as spanking on their children. They instead instilled discipline and levied punishment by the military tradition known as dressing down. This consisted of yelling at and berating the children until they were reduced to tears and acknowledged their failings. Once Morrison graduated from UCLA, he broke off most contact with his family. By the time Morrison‘s music ascended to the top of the charts (in 1967) he had not been in communication with his family for more than a year and falsely claimed that his parents and siblings were dead (or claiming, as it has been widely misreported, that he was an only child).

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             This misinformation was published as part of the materials distributed with The Doors‘ self-titled debut album. George Morrison was not supportive of his son’s career choice in music. One day, an acquaintance brought over a record thought to have Jim on the cover. The record was The Doors‘ self-titled debut. The young man played the record for Morrison‘s father and family. Upon hearing the record, Morrison‘s father wrote him a letter telling him “to give up any idea of singing or any connection with a music group because of what I consider to be a complete lack of talent in this direction.” In a letter to the Florida Probation and Parole Commission District Office dated October 2, 1970, Morrison‘s father acknowledged the breakdown in family communications as the result of an argument over his assessment of his son’s musical talents. He said he could not blame his son for being reluctant to initiate contact and that he was proud of him nonetheless.

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            Morrison joined Courson in Paris in March 1971. They took up residence in the city in a rented apartment on the rue Beautreillis (in the 4th arrondissement of Paris on the Right Bank), and went for long walks throughout the city, admiring the city’s architecture. During this time, Morrison shaved his beard and lost some of the weight he had gained in the previous months. Morrison died on July 3, 1971 at age 27. In the official account of his death, he was found in a Paris apartment bathtub (at 17–19 rue Beautreillis, 4th arrondissement) by Courson. Pursuant to French law, no autopsy was performed because the medical examiner stated that there was no evidence of foul play. The absence of an official autopsy has left many questions regarding Morrison‘s cause of death. In Wonderland Avenue, Danny Sugerman discussed his encounter with Courson after she returned to the United States. According to Sugerman‘s account, Courson stated that Morrison had died of a heroin overdose, having inhaled what he believed to be cocaine. Sugerman added that Courson had given him numerous contradictory versions of Morrison‘s death, saying at times that she had killed Morrison, or that his death was her fault. Courson‘s story of Morrison‘s unintentional ingestion of heroin, followed by his accidental overdose, is supported by the confession of Alain Ronay, who has written that Morrison died of a hemorrhage after snorting Courson‘s heroin, and that Courson nodded off instead of phoning for medical help, leaving Morrison bleeding to death.

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To know more about Jim Morrison, just go here: https://www.thedoors.com/

Flashback Friday: James Dean

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           He is James Byron Dean, also known as James Dean. He was an American actor. He is a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment, as expressed in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in which he starred as troubled teenager Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his stardom were loner Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955) and surly ranch hand Jett Rink in Giant (1956). Dean‘s enduring fame and popularity rest on his performances in only these three films, in two of which he is in the leading role.

           Dean‘s premature death in a car crash cemented his legendary status. He became the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, and remains the only actor to have had two posthumous acting nominations. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him the 18th best male movie star on their AFI’s 100 Years…100 Stars list.

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           Screenwriter William Bast was one of Dean‘s closest friends, a fact acknowledged by Dean‘s family. According to Dean‘s first biographer (1956), Bast was his roommate at UCLA and later in New York, and knew Dean throughout the last five years of his life. Fifty years after Dean‘s death, he stated that their friendship had included some sexual intimacy.

             While at UCLA, Dean dated Beverly Wills, an actress with CBS, and Jeanette Lewis, a classmate. Bast and Dean often double-dated with them. Wills began dating Dean alone, later telling Bast, “Bill, there’s something we have to tell you. It’s Jimmy and me. I mean, we’re in love.” Dean also kept in contact with his girlfriend in New York, Barbara Glenn, whom he dated for two years. Their love letters sold at auction in 2011 for $36,000.

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            Early in Dean‘s career, after Dean signed his contract with Warner Brothers, the studio’s public relations department began generating stories about Dean‘s liaisons with a variety of young actresses who were mostly drawn from the clientele of Dean‘s Hollywood agent, Dick Clayton. Studio press releases also grouped “Dean together with two other actors, Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter, identifying each of the men as an ‘eligible bachelor’ who has not yet found the time to commit to a single woman: ‘They say their film rehearsals are in conflict with their marriage rehearsals.”

          Dean‘s best-remembered relationship was with young Italian actress Pier Angeli, whom he met while Angeli was shooting The Silver Chalice on an adjoining Warner lot, and with whom he exchanged items of jewelry as love tokens. Angeli, during an interview fourteen years after their relationship ended, described their times together:

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           “We used to go together to the California coast and stay there secretly in a cottage on a beach far away from prying eyes. We’d spend much of our time on the beach, sitting there or fooling around, just like college kids. We would talk about ourselves and our problems, about the movies and acting, about life and life after death. We had a complete understanding of each other. We were like Romeo and Juliet, together and inseparable. Sometimes on the beach we loved each other so much we just wanted to walk together into the sea holding hands because we knew then that we would always be together.

            In his autobiography East of Eden, director Elia Kazan dismissed the notion that Dean could possibly have had any success with women, although he remembered hearing Dean and Angeli loudly making love in Dean‘s dressing room. In 1997, the television movie Race with Destiny was produced, a true-story account of the love affair between Dean and Pier Angeli. It was shot on location “where he lived and loved” until his death.

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          Despite their strong love for each other, a number of forces led them apart. Angeli‘s mother disapproved of Dean‘s casual dress and what were, for her at least, radical behavior traits: his T-shirt attire, late dates, fast cars, and the fact that he was not a Catholic. Her mother said that such behavior was not acceptable in Italy. In addition, MGM, where he worked, tried to talk him out of marrying and he himself told Angeli that he didn’t want to get married.

            After finishing his role for East of Eden, he took a brief trip to New York in October 1954. While he was away, Angeli unexpectedly announced her engagement to Italian-American singer Vic Damone. The press was shocked and Dean expressed his irritation. Angeli married Damone the following month. Gossip columnists reported that Dean watched the wedding from across the road on his motorcycle, even gunning the engine during the ceremony, although Dean later denied doing anything so “dumb.”

             Some, like Bast and Paul Alexander, believe the relationship was a mere publicity stunt. Pier Angeli talked only once about the relationship in her later life in an interview, giving vivid descriptions of romantic meetings at the beach. Dean biographer John Howlett said these read like wishful fantasies, as Bast claims them to be.

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           Actress Liz Sheridan asserts that she and Dean had a short affair in New York. Again Bast is skeptical as to whether this was a true love affair and says Dean and Sheridan did not spend much time together. Dean also dated Swiss actress Ursula Andress. “She was seen riding around Hollywood on the back of James’s motorcycle,” writes biographer Darwin Porter. She was also seen with Dean in his sports cars, and was with him on the day he bought the car that he died in. At the time, Andress was also dating Marlon Brando. Andress remembered her courtship with Dean: “He came by my house late. He came in room like wild animal, and smell of everything I don’t like,” she said. “We go hear jazz music and he leave table. Say he go play drums. He no come back. I don’t like to be alone. I go home. He come by my home later and say he sorry.” She added that Brando was “particularly interested in finding out from Ursula who the better lover was: James Dean or himself. It drove him crazy.”

           Rumors that Dean avoided the draft by registering as a homosexual appear to be of doubtful authenticity. Not only was he extremely near-sighted and required glasses, he was also a Quaker, either of which was sufficient cause for him to be excused from service.

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Signature of James Dean

To know more about James Dean, just go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Dean

Flashback Friday: Kurt Cobain

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            He is Kurt Donald Cobain, also known as Kurt Cobain. He was an American musician who was best known as the lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter of the rock band Nirvana. Cobain formed Nirvana with Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1985 and established it as part of the Seattle music scene, having its debut album Bleach released on the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989.

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            After signing with major label DGC Records, the band found breakthrough success with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from its second album Nevermind (1991). Following the success of Nevermind, Nirvana was labeled “the flagship band” of Generation X, and Cobain hailed as “the spokesman of a generation“. Cobain, however, was often uncomfortable and frustrated, believing his message and artistic vision to have been misinterpreted by the public, with his personal issues often subject to media attention. He challenged Nirvana‘s audience with its final studio album In Utero (1993). It did not match the sales figures of Nevermind but was still a critical and commercial success.

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           During the last years of his life, Cobain struggled with heroin addiction, illness and depression. He also had difficulty coping with his fame and public image, and the professional and lifelong personal pressures surrounding himself and his wife, musician Courtney Love. On April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle, the victim of what was officially ruled a suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. The circumstances of his death at age 27 have become a topic of public fascination and debate. Since their debut, Nirvana, with Cobain as a songwriter, has sold over 25 million albums in the US, and over 75 million worldwide. Cobain was inducted – 20 years posthumously – along with fellow Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl – into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, the first year in which they were eligible.

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           On his 14th birthday on February 20, 1981, Cobain‘s uncle offered him either a bike or a used guitar. He chose the guitar. Soon, he was mastering Led Zeppelin‘s power ballad “Stairway to Heaven“. Cobain began learning guitar with a few covers, including “Louie Louie“, The Cars’My Best Friend’s Girl“, and soon began working on his own songs. During high school, Cobain rarely found anyone with whom he could play music. While hanging out at the Melvins‘ practice space, he met Krist Novoselic, a fellow devotee of punk rock. Novoselic‘s mother owned a hair salon. Cobain and Novoselic would occasionally practice in the upstairs room of the salon. A few years later, Cobain tried to convince Novoselic to form a band with him by lending him a copy of a home demo recorded by Cobain‘s earlier band, Fecal Matter. After months of asking, Novoselic finally agreed to join Cobain, forming the beginnings of Nirvana.

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              Cobain was disenchanted after early touring, due to the band’s inability to draw substantial crowds and the apparent difficulty in sustaining themselves. During their first few years playing together, Novoselic and Cobain were hosts to a rotating list of drummers. Eventually, the band settled on Chad Channing, with whom Nirvana recorded the album Bleach, released on Sub Pop Records in 1989. Cobain, however, became dissatisfied with Channing‘s style, leading the band to find a new drummer, eventually settling on Dave Grohl. With Grohl, the band found their greatest success via their 1991 major-label debut, Nevermind.

              With the lead single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Nirvana‘s second album Nevermind (1991), Nirvana entered the mainstream, popularizing a subgenre of alternative rock called grunge. Since their debut, Nirvana, with Cobain as a songwriter, have sold over 25 million albums in the United States alone, and over 75 million worldwide.

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          The success of Nevermind provided numerous Seattle bands such as Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden access to wider audiences, and as a result, alternative rock became a dominant genre on radio and music television in the United States during the early-to-middle 1990s. Nirvana was considered the “flagship band of Generation X“, and frontman Cobain found himself reluctantly anointed by the media as the generation’s “spokesman.” Cobain‘s discomfort with the media attention prompted him to focus on the band’s music and, believing their message and artistic vision to have been misinterpreted by the public, challenged the band’s audience with its third studio album In Utero (1993).

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            Cobain struggled to reconcile the massive success of Nirvana to his underground roots. He also felt persecuted by the media, comparing himself to Frances Farmer. He began to harbor resentments for people who claimed to be fans of the band yet refused to acknowledge, or misinterpreted, the band’s social and political views. A vocal opponent of sexism, racism and homophobia, he was publicly proud that Nirvana had played at a gay rights benefit supporting No-on-Nine in Oregon in 1992, in opposition to Ballot Measure Nine, a ballot measure, that if passed, would have prohibited schools in the state from acknowledging or positively accepting LGBT rights and welfare.

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          Cobain was a vocal supporter of the pro-choice movement, and had been involved in Rock for Choice from the campaign inception by L7. He received death threats from a small number of anti-abortion activists for doing so, with one activist threatening Cobain that he would be shot as soon as he stepped on stage.

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Signature Of Kurt Cobain

To know more about Kurt Cobain, just go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Cobain

Flashback Friday: Amy Winehouse

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           She was Amy Jade Winehouse, aslo known as Amy Winehouse. She was an English singer-songwriter known for her deep contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul (sometimes labelled as blue-eyed soul), rhythm and blues, jazz and reggae. Winehouse‘s 2003 debut album, Frank, was a critical success in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, led to five 2008 Grammy Awards, tying the record at that time for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made Winehouse the first British female to win five Grammys, including three of the general field “Big Four” awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

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           Winehouse won three Ivor Novello Awards: in 2004, Best Contemporary Song for “Stronger Than Me“; in 2007, Best Contemporary Song again, this time for “Rehab“; and in 2008, Best Song Musically and Lyrically for “Love Is a Losing Game“. She won the 2007 Brit Award for Best British Female artist, having also been nominated for Best British Album, with Back to Black.

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           After years of abusing drugs, then alcohol, Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on 23 July 2011. Her album Back to Black posthumously became the UK’s best-selling album of the 21st century, at that point. In 2012, Winehouse was ranked 26th on VH1‘s 100 Greatest Women In Music. The BBC has called her “the pre-eminent vocal talent of her generation“.

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           Her father published a biography, entitled Amy: My Daughter, in 2012 and all proceeds are donated to the Amy Winehouse Foundation. In the book’s introduction, he explained: “Apart from being her father, I was also her friend, confidant and adviser—not that she always took my advice, but she always heard me out.”

          A report in April 2013 announced that Winehouse will be the subject of a documentary to be directed by Asif Kapadia and produced by James Gay-Rees, Kapadia and Universal MusicKapadia and Gay-Rees introduced the project at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

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             An exhibit of Winehouse‘s personal items, entitled Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait, was on display at the London Jewish Museum until 15 September 2013. Display items, such as books and music, were featured together with captions that were written by Winehouse‘s brother.

           There was talk in late 2011 of Amy‘s former boyfriend, Reg Traviss, developing a film about the late singer, but Amy‘s father Mitch Winehouse, who owns the copyright to Amy‘s music, said he would keep the songs from being included.

To know more about Amy Winehouse, just go here: http://www.amywinehouse.com/

Flashback Friday: Jimi Hendrix

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           He was James Marshall Hendrix born Johnny Allen Hendrix, also known as Jimi Hendrix. He was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music”.

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           Born in Seattle, Washington, Hendrix began playing guitar at the age of 15. In 1961, he enlisted in the US Army; he was granted an honorable discharge the following year. Soon afterward, he moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, and began playing gigs on the chitlin’ circuit, earning a place in the Isley Brothers’ backing band and later with Little Richard, with whom he continued to work through mid-1965. He then played with Curtis Knight and the Squires before moving to England in late 1966 after being discovered by bassist Chas Chandler of the Animals. Within months, Hendrix had earned three UK top ten hits with the Jimi Hendrix Experience: “Hey Joe“, “Purple Haze“, and “The Wind Cries Mary“. He achieved fame in the US after his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and in 1968 his third and final studio album, Electric Ladyland, reached number one in the US. The double LP was Hendrix’s most commercially successful release and his first and only number one album. The world’s highest-paid performer, he headlined the Woodstock Festival in 1969 and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 before his accidental death from barbiturate-related asphyxia on September 18, 1970, at the age of 27.

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           Hendrix was inspired musically by American rock and roll and electric blues. He favored overdriven amplifiers with high volume and gain, and was instrumental in developing the previously undesirable technique of guitar amplifier feedback. He helped to popularize the use of a wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock, and was the first artist to use stereophonic phasing effects in music recordings. Holly George-Warren of Rolling Stone commented: “Hendrix pioneered the use of the instrument as an electronic sound source. Players before him had experimented with feedback and distortion, but Hendrix turned those effects and others into a controlled, fluid vocabulary every bit as personal as the blues with which he began.”

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            Hendrix was the recipient of several music awards during his lifetime and posthumously. In 1967, readers of Melody Maker voted him the Pop Musician of the Year and in 1968, Billboard named him the Artist of the Year and Rolling Stone declared him the Performer of the Year. Disc and Music Echo honored him with the World Top Musician of 1969 and in 1970, Guitar Player named him the Rock Guitarist of the Year. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Rolling Stone ranked the band’s three studio albums, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland, among the 100 greatest albums of all time, and they ranked Hendrix as the greatest guitarist and the sixth greatest artist of all time.

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