Man Crush Monday: Ed Sheeran

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          He is Edward Christopher Sheeran, also known as Ed Sheeran. He is  is an English singer-songwriter. Born in Hebden Bridge, raised in Framlingham, Suffolk, he moved to London in 2008 to pursue a musical career. In early 2011, Sheeran released an independent extended play, No. 5 Collaborations Project, which caught the attention of both Elton John and Jamie Foxx. He then signed to Asylum Records. His debut album, +, containing the singles “The A Team” and “Lego House“, was certified quintuple platinum in the United Kingdom. In 2012, he won two Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act. “The A Team” won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

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           Sheeran began to become known abroad in 2012, in the United States he made a guest appearance on Taylor Swift‘s fourth studio album, Red, and wrote songs for One Direction. “The A Team” was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards and he performed the song in duet with Elton John during the ceremony. He spent much of 2013 touring North America as the opening act for Swift‘s The Red Tour. His second studio album titled x (read as “multiply“) was released worldwide on 23 June 2014, charting at number one in the UK and US. He was nominated for Best New Artist at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.

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          Sheeran was born in Hebden Bridge near Halifax, West Yorkshire but moved to Framlingham, Suffolk as a child. His father, John Sheeran, is an art curator and lecturer. His mother, Imogen Lock, is a culture publicist-turned-jewellery designer. His parents ran the independent art consultancy, Sheeran Lock, from 1990 to 2010. Sheeran, the younger of two boys, has an older brother, Matthew, who is a classical composer and postgraduate music student.

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           Sheeran‘s paternal grandparents were Irish and he was raised as a Roman Catholic. He sang in a local church choir from the age of four, learned guitar at a very young age, and began writing songs during his time at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham. His early childhood memories include listening to Van Morrison during his trips to London with his parents and going to an intimate Damien Rice gig in Ireland when he was eleven. In addition to Rice, he has also cited The Beatles, Bob DylanNizlopi and Eminem as his biggest musical influences. He is a patron of the Youth Music Theatre UK. He was accepted at the National Youth Theatre as a teenager.

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          In 2012, Sheeran purchased a farm near Framlingham, Suffolk, which is currently undergoing renovation. He has stated that he hopes to raise a family there.  Sheeran lived between Hendersonville, Tennessee and Los Angeles for the duration of 2013. Sheeran is the second cousin of broadcaster Gordon Burns.

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To know more about Ed Sheeran, just go here: http://www.edsheeran.com/splash/x-buy-us

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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/

Man Crush Monday: Zac Efron

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          He is Zachary David Alexander Efron, also known as Zac Efron. He is an American actor and singer. He began acting professionally in the early 2000s, and became known as a teen idol after his lead roles in the Disney Channel Original Movie High School Musical, the WB series Summerland, and the 2007 film version of the Broadway musical HairsprayEfron has since starred in the films 17 Again, Me and Orson Welles, Charlie St. Cloud, New Year’s Eve, The Lucky One, That Awkward Moment, Neighbors, and The Lorax (voice only).

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            Efron was born in San Luis Obispo, California, and later moved to Arroyo Grande, California. His father, David Efron, is an electrical engineer at a power station, and his mother, Starla Baskett, is a secretary who worked at the same power plant. Efron has a brother, Dylan, and had, as he has described it, a “normal childhood” in a middle-class family. He is an agnostic, having never been religious. His surname, “Efron” (אפרון), is an Ashkenazi Jewish surname, taken from a Biblical place name (his paternal grandfather was Jewish, and Zac has described himself as Jewish).

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           Efron has said that he would “flip out” if he got a “B” and not an “A” in school, and has also described himself as having been a class clown. His father encouraged him to begin acting when Zac was eleven years old. Efron subsequently appeared in theater productions at his high school, worked in the theater The Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville, and began taking singing lessons. He performed in shows such as Gypsy; Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up; Little Shop of Horrors; and The Music Man. He was recommended to an agent in Los Angeles by his drama teacher, Robyn Metchik (the mother of actors Aaron Michael Metchik and Asher Metchik). Efron was later signed to the Creative Artists Agency.

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          Efron graduated from Arroyo Grande High School in 2006 and was then accepted into the University of Southern California, but has deferred his enrollment to work on film projects. He also attended Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, a community college located in Santa Maria, California, which provided him with the opportunity to perform as a “young player” during the years of 2000 and 2001.

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           Efron was on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list in 2008 as number 92, with estimated earnings of $5.8 million from June 2007 to June 2008. As of April 5, 2009, his personal wealth equaled about $10 million. People magazine said in 2007 that Efron and Vanessa Hudgens began dating in 2005 during the filming of High School Musical, although Us magazine said, after the two broke up in December 2010, that they “met in 2005 while making the first High School Musical flick, and became a romantic item about two years later.”

          Efron sought treatment in early 2013 after struggling with alcoholism and substance abuse. He has been sober since June 2013.

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To know more about Zac Efron, just go here: http://www.zacefron.com/

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

Throwback Thursday: Selena Gomez

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            She is Selena Marie Gomez, also known as Selena Gomez. She  is an American actress and singer. Gomez first made her debut appearing as Gianna in Barney & Friends, lasting from 2002 to 2004. Following this, Gomez had cameo roles in films such as Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003) and Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire (2005). In 2006, Gomez appeared as a guest star on an episode of the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, as well as Hannah Montana. Following this, Gomez starred in the Disney Channel television series Wizards of Waverly Place. The series was a critical and commercial success, earning Gomez numerous awards and nominations. Gomez later appeared in numerous Disney Channel series and films including Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream (2008) and Disney Channel Games (2008). In 2009, Gomez appeared in the films Princess Protection Program and Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie before releasing her first studio album as Selena Gomez & the Scene, titled Kiss & Tell. The album was a commercial success, peaking inside the Top 10 of the Billboard 200.

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            Following this, Gomez appeared in the film Ramona and Beezus, one of her first roles outside of Disney. Gomez & the Scene released their second studio album, A Year Without Rain, later that year. The album entered the Top 5 of the Billboard 200, and spawned two Top 40 hits. Gomez began appearing in more films such as Monte Carlo (2011) and The Muppets (2011). Gomez, along with her band, later released their third and final studio album, When the Sun Goes Down, in 2011. The album spawned the hit single “Love You Like a Love Song“, which was certified 4× Platinum by the RIAA. Following the release of the album, Gomez confirmed she would be taking a musical hiatus to focus on her acting career. She then went on to appear in the films Hotel Transylvania (2012) and Spring Breakers (2013), the latter of which saw Gomez portraying a more adult role.

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           Despite her early comments of a musical hiatus, Gomez confirmed in October 2012 that she was working on her solo debut album. The lead single, “Come & Get It“, was released in April 2013. It became her first Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and was certified double platinum by the RIAA. The album’s second single, “Slow Down“, was released in June. Gomez has since announced plans of a second musical hiatus following the release of Stars Dance in July, later denied. She signed a record contract in mid-2014 with Interscope for future musical releases after breaking with her all-time label Hollywood Records. Gomez is set to release a Greatest Hits album in December featuring two new songs as her final record with Hollywood. Outside of her work in the entertainment industry, Gomez is involved in philanthropic activities through charity work and various social and environmental causes.

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           In October 2008, Gomez was named UNICEF‘s spokesperson for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign, which encouraged children to raise money on Halloween to help children around the world. She said that she was “extremely excited” to “encourage other kids to make a difference in the world.” In August 2009, a 17-year-old Gomez became the youngest UNICEF ambassador ever, passing fellow songstress Hayley Westenra, who was 18 when she was chosen. In her first official field mission, Gomez traveled to Ghana on September 4, 2009 for a week to witness first-hand the stark conditions of vulnerable children that lack vital necessities including clean water, nourishment, education and healthcare. Gomez explained during an interview with Associated Press that she wanted to use her star power to bring awareness to Ghana: “That’s why I feel very honored to have a voice that kids listen to and take into consideration. I had people on my tour asking me where IS Ghana, and they Googled it and because I went there, they now know where Ghana is. So it’s pretty incredible.” Gomez said of her role as ambassador that: “Every day 25,000 children die from preventable causes. I stand with UNICEF in the belief that we can change that number from 25,000 to zero. I know we can achieve this because every moment, UNICEF is on the ground providing children with the lifesaving assistance needed to ensure zero becomes a reality.”

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            Gomez was named spokesperson for UNICEF‘s 2009 Trick-or-Treat campaign, for the second year in a row. Gomez, who raised over $700,000 for the charity in 2008, stated that she hopes to be able to raise 1 million dollars in 2009. Gomez participated in a celebrity auction and hosted a live web cast series on Facebook in support of the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign. Gomez returned as the UNICEF spokesperson for the 60th anniversary of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign in 2010. In celebration of the 60th anniversary, Gomez and her band, The Scene, held a benefit concert donating all proceeds to the campaign. In February 2011, Gomez traveled to Chile to witness and meet with the families of UNICEF‘s supported program, “Programa Puente” which helps families better understand and develops skills to deal effectively with early childhood education, development and other issues related to raising children. From her field trip experience, Gomez said “UNICEF is helping Chilean families get out of poverty, prevent violence within the home and promote education. To witness first hand these families’ struggles, and also their hope and perseverance, was truly inspiring.” In March 2011, Gomez participated in the UNICEF Tap Project‘s “Celebrity Tap Pack” limited-edition, custom-made water bottles featuring tap water from the homes of each celebrity advocate, in order to raise funds and increase profile for the clean water and sanitation programs. She is also featured in videos promoting the campaign.

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To know more about Selena Gomez, just go here: http://selenagomez.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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To know more about Jimi Hendrix, just go here: http://www.jimihendrix.com/us/home

Throwback Thursday: Miley Cyrus

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           She is Miley Ray Cyrus born as Destiny Hope Cyrus, also known as Miley Cyrus. She is an American singer, actress, and songwriter. Her father is country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. She held minor roles in the television series Doc and the film Big Fish in her childhood. In 2006, Cyrus rose to prominence as a teen idol after being cast in the Disney Channel television series Hannah Montana, in which she portrayed the starring character Miley Stewart. After signing a recording contract with Hollywood Records in 2007, Cyrus released her debut studio album Meet Miley Cyrus. It was certified quadruple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for exceeding four million shipments, and produced the hit single “See You Again“.

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           In 2008, Cyrus released her second album Breakout, which featured the successful track “7 Things“, and launched her film career as the voice actress in the animated film Bolt. In 2009, Cyrus starred in the feature film Hannah Montana: The Movie; its soundtrack produced the hit single “The Climb“. Cyrus developed a maturing image with the EP The Time of Our Lives (2009), which featured the successful track “Party in the U.S.A.“. The transition continued with her third album Can’t Be Tamed (2010); however, it made little commercial impact and became the lowest-selling record of her career. Later that year, Cyrus starred in the coming-of-age film The Last Song. During its production, she was involved in an on-again, off-again relationship with her co-star Liam Hemsworth; the couple ultimately separated after ending their year-long engagement in 2013.

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          Cyrus focused on her acting career with several television and film appearances throughout 2011 and 2012. Cyrus later signed a recording contract with RCA Records, and generated controversy by cultivating a sexually explicit public image while promoting her fourth studio album Bangerz (2013). Its singles “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” were promoted with controversial music videos; the latter became her first number-one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

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           Cyrus has had five non-consecutive number-one albums on the U.S. Billboard 200, two of which are soundtracks credited to her titular character Hannah Montana, and has earned numerous awards and nominations. In 2010, Cyrus ranked number thirteen on ForbesCelebrity 100, and was named the “Most Charted Teenager” in the 2011 Guinness World Records with twenty-nine Billboard Hot 100 entries as of November 2009. In 2013, she was declared “Artist of the Year” by MTV.

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To know more about Miley Cyrus, just go here: http://www.mileycyrus.com/