Annette Funicello

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Annette Joanne Funicello (October 22, 1942 – April 8, 2013) was an American actress and singer. Beginning her professional career as a child performer at the age of twelve, Funicello rose to prominence as one of the most popular “Mouseketeers” on the original Mickey Mouse Club.[1] As a teenager, she transitioned to a successful career as a singer with the pop singles “O Dio Mio,” “Tall Paul” and “Pineapple Princess“, as well as establishing herself as a film actress, popularizing the successful “Beach Party” genre alongside co-star Frankie Avalon during the mid-1960s.

In 1992, Funicello announced that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She died of complications of the disease on April 8, 2013.[2][3] 

The Mickey Mouse Club

Funicello took dancing and music lessons as a child to overcome shyness. In 1955, the 12-year-old was discovered by Walt Disneywhen she performed as the Swan Queen in Swan Lake at a dance recital at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank, California. Disney cast her as one of the original “Mouseketeers”. She was the last to be selected, and one of the few cast-members to be personally selected by Walt Disney himself. She proved to be very popular and by the end of the first season of Mickey Mouse Club, she was receiving 6,000 letters a month, according to her Disney Legends biography.

Annette Funicello2In addition to appearing in many Mouseketeer sketches and dance routines, Funicello starred in several serials on The Mickey Mouse Club. These included Adventure in DairylandWalt Disney Presents: Annette (which co-starred Richard Deacon), and the second and third Spin and Marty serials – The Further Adventures of Spin and Marty and The New Adventures of Spin and Marty.

A proposed live-action feature Rainbow Road to Oz was to have starred some of the Mouseketeers, including Darlene Gillespie as Dorothy and Funicello as Ozma. Preview segments from the film aired on September 11, 1957 on Disneylands fourth anniversary show.[6] By then, MGM’s The Wizard of Oz had already been shown on CBS Television for the first time. Theories on why the film was abandoned include Disney’s failure to develop a satisfactory script, and the popularity of the MGM film on television. Disney ultimately replaced this film project with a new adaptation of Babes in Toyland (1961).

In a hayride scene in the Annette serial, she performed the song that launched her singing career. The studio received so much mail about “How Will I Know My Love” (lyrics by Tom Adair, music by Frances Jeffords and William Walsh[7][8]), that Walt Disney issued it as a single, and gave Funicello (somewhat unwillingly) a recording contract.[9]

Singing and acting

Funicello and Richard Tyler on The Danny Thomas Show(1959)

After the Mickey Mouse Club, she remained under contract with Disney for a time, with television roles in Zorro, Elfego Baca, andThe Horsemasters. For Zorro she played Anita Campillo in a three-episode storyline about a teen-aged girl who arrives in Los Angeles to visit a father who does not seem to exist. This role was reportedly a birthday present from Walt Disney, and the first of two different characters played opposite Guy Williams as Zorro. Annette also co-starred in Disney-produced movies such as The Shaggy Dog, Babes in Toyland, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, and The Monkey’s Uncle.[10]

annette-funicello-150330Although uncomfortable being thought of as a singer, Funicello had a number of pop record hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s, mostly written by the Sherman Brothers and including: “Tall Paul,” “First Name Initial,” “O Dio Mio,” “Train of Love” (written by Paul Anka) and “Pineapple Princess.” They were released by Disney’s Buena Vista label. Annette also recorded “It’s Really Love” in 1959, a reworking of an earlier Paul Anka song called “Toot Sweet”; Anka reworked the song for a third time in 1962 as “Johnny’s Theme” and it opened The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on television for the next three decades. Paul Anka was noted to have a crush on her, however, Walt Disney overprotected Annette, which broke Paul’s heart. This resulted in his song “Puppy Love”, which was inspired by his hopeless romantic crush on Annette.

In an episode of the Disney anthology television series titled “Disneyland After Dark,” Funicello can be seen singing live atDisneyland. Walt Disney was reportedly a fan of 1950s pop star Teresa Brewer and tried to pattern Funicello’s singing in the same style. However, Funicello credits “the Annette sound” to her record producer, Tutti Camarata, who worked for Disney in that era. Camarata had her double-track her vocals, matching her first track as closely as possible on the second recording to achieve a fuller sound than her voice would otherwise produce.[citation needed] Early in her career, she appeared on the NBC interview program Here’s Hollywood.[9]

Funicello moved on from Disney to become a teen idol, starring in a series of “Beach Party” movies with Frankie Avalon for American International Pictures. These included Beach Party (1963), Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bikini Beach (1964), Pajama Party (1964),Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965). The wholesome image earned in these films gained her a reference in the Grease song “Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee.”

When she was cast in her first beach movie, Walt Disney requested that she only wear modest bathing suits and keep her navelcovered. However, she wore a pink two-piece in Beach Party, a white two-piece fishnet suit in the second film (Muscle Beach Party) and a blue and white bikini in the third (Bikini Beach). All three swimsuits bared her navel, particularly in Bikini Beach, where it is visible extensively during close up shots in a sequence early in the film when she meets Frankie Avalon’s “Potato Bug” character outside his tent.[11]

She and Avalon became iconic as “beach picture” stars and were re-united in 1987 for the Paramount film Back to the Beach, parodying their own surf-and-sand films two decades earlier. They toured the country as a singing act.

In 1979 Funicello began starring in a series of television commercials for Skippy peanut butter.[12]

Her autobiography, dictated to Patricia Romanowski and published in 1994, was A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: My Story. The title was taken from a song from the Disney movie Cinderella. A made-for-TV movie based on the book, A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story, was made in 1995. In the final scene, the actress portraying Funicello (Eva LaRue), using a wheelchair, turns away from the camera — turning back, it is Funicello herself, who delivered a message to a group of children. During this period, she produced a line of teddy bears for the Annette Funicello Collectible Bear Company.[5] The last collection in the series was made in 2004. She also had her own fragrance called “Cello, by Annette”.

In 1992, she was inducted as a Disney Legend.[13]

Personal life

Funicello’s best friend was actress and singer Shelley Fabares. She and Fabares had been friends since they were young teenagers in a catechism class, and Fabares was a bridesmaid at Funicello’s first wedding. She was also very close to fellow Mouseketeers Lonnie Burr (she later claimed in an autobiography that he was her first boyfriend during the first season of the Mickey Mouse Club), Sharon BairdDoreen TraceyCheryl Holdridge, her “Disney” co-star, Tommy Kirk, and her “Beach” movies co-star, Frankie Avalon.

Marriages and children

Funicello was married to her first husband, Jack Gilardi, from 1965 until 1981. They had three children: Gina (b. 1966), MV5BMTkwOTQyNTY2NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTc3NDU2._V1._SX293_SY450_Jack, Jr. (b. 1970), and Jason (b. 1974). In 1986, she married California harness racing horse breeder/trainer Glen Holt.[5] The couple were frequently seen at Los Alamitos Race Course and at Fairplex in Pomona in the 1980s and 1990s attending harness horse races.

In March 2011, her Encino, California home caught fire. She suffered smoke inhalation, but was otherwise unharmed.[14]

After the fire, Funicello and Holt then began living full time at the modest ranch that they purchased decades earlier, located just south of Shafter, California (north of Bakersfield). That remained her primary residence until her death.[2]

In 1987, Funicello reunited with Frankie Avalon for a series of promotional concerts to promote their film Back to the Beach. She began to suffer from dizzy spells, but kept her failing health from her friends and family. In 1992, Funicello announced that she was suffering from multiple sclerosis.[15] She had kept her condition a secret for many years, but felt it necessary to go public to combat rumors that her impaired ability to walk was the result of alcoholism. In 1993, she opened the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders at the California Community Foundation.

On October 6, 2012, the CTV flagship current affairs program W5 profiled Funicello as an update on her after she had spent fifteen years out of the public eye. The profile revealed that her disease had severely damaged her nervous system; Funicello had lost the ability to walk in 2004, the ability to speak in 2009, and, at the time of the profile, required round-the-clock care to survive. In the profile, Holt and Fabares discussed Funicello’s current state, as well as the numerous medical interventions and treatments attempted to improve her condition.[16]

On April 8, 2013, Funicello died at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield, California, at the age of 70, from complications due to her multiple sclerosis.[17]Commenting on her death, Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said,

“Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mousketeer, and a true Disney Legend. She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney’s brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent. Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, bravery and grace. All of us at Disney join with family, friends, and fans around the world in celebrating her extraordinary life.” [18]

Sources: Wikipedia, Youtube, IMDB.com

 

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Marvin Hamlisch

By Robert Simonson
Playbill.com 07 Aug 2012

Marvin Hamlisch, who achieved theatre immortality as the composer of the iconic musical A Chorus Line, died Aug. 7 following a brief illness. He was 68.

Mr. Hamlisch’s other theatre works included the musicals They’re Playing Our Song, Jean Seberg, Smile, The Goodbye Girl and Sweet Smell of Success. He also wrote songs for Nora Ephron‘s playImaginary Friends. His latest show, The Nutty Professor, recently opened in Tennessee. But it was with the groundbreaking A Chorus Line—which told of the frustrations and worries of a group of anonymous dancers trying out for a Broadway musical—that he made his mark as a theatre figure.

He was already famous as an all-around wunderkind when he began work onA Chorus Line. A child prodigy, he was accepted into Juilliard at the age of six—the youngest child ever to be welcomed by the august Manhattan institution. His first Broadway job was as rehearsal pianist for Funny Girlstarring Barbra Streisand—a professional relationship that would last his entire life. Producer Sam Spiegel hired him to play piano at his parties, where he made connections, leading to his writing his first film score, for “The Swimmer” starring Burt Lancaster. Many more film scores followed.

It seemed his fate to brush up against show-business legends while on his way up the ladder. He wrote songs for Liza Minnelli, worked with Judy Garland and was accompanist and straight man for Groucho Marx during a 1974-75 tour.

“The Entertainer”

Professional acknowledgment came easy in his early years. Before he was 30, he had received three Oscars, for his score and song to “The Way We Were” and his adaptations of Scott Joplin ragtime tunes in “The Sting,” which helped usher in a Joplin revival. And that was all in 1973. He began to be a regular guest on talk shows and was called “the best-known movie composer since Henry Mancini.”

Mr. Hamlisch is one of only 11 people to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. On top of this, he also won the Pulitzer Prize for A Chorus Line.Aside from director-choreographer Michael Bennett, Mr. Hamlisch was by far the most accomplished and famous artist invited to participate in the creation of A Chorus Line. The unorthodox show—a prime example of what came to be known as the “concept musical”—derived from 30 hours of taped confessions of a group of theatre gypsies and chorines. From these recordings, Bennett shaped a show about the strivings, hopes, dreams and fears of the unsung and uncelebrated members of the theatre community. The show was trail-blazing in eschewing a linear plot, dealing with contemporary issues such as homosexuality and abortion in frank terms, and lacking a single headlining star.

“One” from “Chorus Line”

Hamlisch was drafted by Bennett and paired with the fussy, eccentric lyricist Ed Kleban, a former executive at Columbia Records with no previous theatre credits. It was an odd couple pairing if there ever was one, but it produced a timeless result. The score was episodic, with each song telling the life story of one or more characters. The show included two modern classics: the hopeful “What I Did for Love,” which Kleban and Mr. Hamlisch reportedly wrote under protest, as they considered it a commercial “sell-out” number; and “One,” the show’s finale. It’s throbbing, hop-step opening vamp is one of the best known theatre anthems in musical history, and is known to millions.

“The Way We Were”

Marvin Hamlisch was born June 2, 1944, into a musical family. His father Max Hamlisch was an accordionist and band leader. He began playing piano when he was five. “I started studying music at the age of five and a half,” he remembered later. “My older sister was taking piano lessons. When her teacher left our apartment, I would get up on the piano bench and start picking out the notes that were part of my sister’s lessons.” His song “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows,” written while he was a teenager, was a hit for Lesley Gore in 1963.

He followed up A Chorus Line with another hit, though one of a far smaller scale. They’re Playing Our Song had lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager and a book by Neil Simon. The two-character musical was based on the real-life relationship between Hamlisch and Sager, and follows the two mismatched songwriters—he is focused and all business, she is flightily and distracted—as they go through a series of bumps in forging both a professional and romantic relationship. After a tryout in Los Angeles, it ran for two-and-a-half years on Broadway and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical.

 

“Tits and Ass” Chorus Line

Mr. Hamlisch’s untrammeled string of successes during the 1970s were such that he had a hard time following them up. The next 30 years of his career were something of an anti-climax. That A Chorus Line proved one of the greatest popular successes of all time, and was accorded the title of “genius work” by critics, meant no other show he composed could quite measure up.Jean Seberg, a musical about the life of the actress, failed in London and never came to New York. The Broadway runs of Smile (1986) and The Goodbye Girl (1993) were both underwhelming. Sweet Smell of Success(2002), based on the classic 1950s film about Broadway’s seamy underbelly, ran only two months.

His many film scores included “Ordinary People,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “Three Men and a Baby,” “Ice Castles,” “Take the Money and Run” and “The Informant!” He co-wrote the song “Nobody Does It Better” for the movie “The Spy Who Loved Me.”

In recent years, he composed some classical works, and frequently conducted major symphony orchestras.

Other Sources: YouTube, IMDB.com

Kenny Rankin

Kenny Rankin (Los Angeles, February 10, 1940 – June 7, 2009) was an American pop and jazz singer and songwriter originally from the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, New York.

Rankin was raised in New York and was introduced to music by his mother, who sang at home and for friends. Early in his career he worked as a singer-songwriter, and developed a considerable following during the 70s with a steady flow of albums, three of which broke into the Top 100 of the Billboard Album Chart. His liking for jazz was evident from an early age, but the times were such that in order to survive his career had to take a more pop-oriented course. By the 90s, however, he was able to angle his repertoire to accommodate his own musical preferences and to please a new audience while still keeping faith with the faithful. Rankin’s warm singing style and his soft, nylon-stringed guitar sound might suggest an artist more attuned to the supper-club circuit than the jazz arena, but his work contains many touches that appeal to the jazz audience.

Rankin appeared on The Tonight Show more than twenty times. Host Johnny Carson was so impressed by him that he wrote the liner notes to Rankin’s 1967 debut album Mind Dusters, which featured the single “Peaceful.” Kenny’s friend Helen Reddy would reach #2 Adult Contemporary and #12 Pop in 1973 with a cover of it, released as her follow-up single to “I Am Woman”. Georgie Fame also had a hit with this song in 1969, his only songwriting credit to hit the British charts reaching number sixteen and spending 9 weeks on the chart.

Rankin’s accompanists from time to time included Alan Broadbent, Mike Wofford and Bill Watrous, and on such occasions the mood slips easily into a jazz groove. His compositions have been performed by artists such as Mel Tormé and Carmen McRae, while Stan Getz said of him that he was “a horn with a heartbeat”. Rankin was deeply interested in Brazilian music and his Here In My Heart, on which he used jazz guests including Michael Brecker and Ernie Watts, was recorded mostly in Rio De Janeiro. More contemporary songs were given an airing following his move to Verve Records, including the Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen A Face” and Leon Russell‘s “A Song For You.”

“When Sunny Gets Blue”

“Dreamsville”

Rankin’s own unique gift for reworking classic songs such as The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” which he recorded for his Silver Morning album, so impressed Paul McCartney that he asked Rankin to perform his interpretation of the song when McCartney and John Lennon were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“Groovin”

“On and On”

He can be heard singing the song “Miles From Here” in the first episode of the television series Fame titled “Metamorphosis”.

Rankin was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer just three weeks before he passed. He died in Los Angeles, California – where he had resided for many years – from the disease on June 7, 2009. He was 69 years old.

“Blame It On My Youth”

Sources: Wikipedia, YouTube, imdb.com

Eric Clapton

Eric Patrick ClaptonCBE, (born 30 March 1945) is an English guitarist and singer-songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time.[3] Clapton ranked fourth in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and fourth in Gibson’s Top 50 Guitarists of All Time.

In the mid 1960s, Clapton departed from the Yardbirds to play blues with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. In his one-year stay with Mayall, Clapton gained the nickname “Slowhand”, and graffiti in London declared “Clapton is God.” Immediately after leaving Mayall, Clapton formed Cream, a power trio with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce in which Clapton played sustained blues improvisations and “arty, blues-based psychedelic pop.” For most of the 1970s, Clapton’s output bore the influence of the mellow style of J.J. Cale and the reggae of Bob Marley. His version of Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” helped reggae reach a mass market.[4] Two of his most popular recordings were “Layla“, recorded by Derek and the Dominos, and Robert Johnson‘s “Crossroads“, recorded by Cream. A recipient of seventeen Grammy Awards,[5] in 2004 Clapton was awarded a CBE for services to music.[6] In 1998, Clapton, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, founded the Crossroads Centre on Antigua, a medical facility for recovering substance abusers.[7] 

Eric Patrick Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, England, the son of 16-year-old Patricia Molly Clapton (b. 7 January 1929 d. March 1999) and Edward Walter Fryer (21 March 1920 – 15 May 1985), a 24-year-old soldier from MontrealQuebec.[8] Fryer shipped off to war prior to Clapton’s birth and then returned to Canada. Clapton grew up with his grandmother, Rose, and her second husband, Jack Clapp, who was stepfather to Patricia Clapton and her brother Adrian, believing they were his parents and that his mother was actually his older sister. The similarity in surnames gave rise to the erroneous belief that Clapton’s real surname is Clapp (Reginald Cecil Clapton was the name of Rose’s first husband, Eric Clapton’s maternal grandfather).[9] Years later, his mother married another Canadian soldier and moved to Germany,[10] leaving young Eric with his grandparents in Surrey.[11]

Clapton received an acoustic Hoyer guitar, made in Germany, for his 13th birthday, but the inexpensive steel-stringed instrument was difficult to play and he briefly lost interest.[11]Two years later Clapton picked it up again and started playing consistently.[11] Clapton was influenced by the blues from an early age, and practised long hours to learn the chords of blues music by playing along to the records.[12] He preserved his practice sessions using his portable Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder, listening to them over and over until he felt he’d got it right.[12][13]

After leaving Hollyfield school Surbiton in 1961, Clapton studied at the Kingston College of Art but was dismissed at the end of the academic year because his focus remained on music rather than art. His guitar playing was so advanced that by the age of 16 people were starting to notice him.[13] Around this time Clapton began busking around Kingston,Richmond, and the West End of London.[14] In 1962, Clapton started performing as a duo with fellow blues enthusiast David Brock in the pubs around Surrey.[13] When he was 17 years old Clapton joined his first band, an early British R&B group, “The Roosters”, whose other guitarist was Tom McGuinness. He stayed with this band from January through August 1963.[15] In October of that year, Clapton did a seven-gig stint with Casey Jones & The Engineers.[15] 

1960s

The Yardbirds and the Bluesbreakers

Main articles: The Yardbirds and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers

In October 1963 Clapton joined The Yardbirds, a blues-influenced rock and roll band, and stayed with them until March 1965. Synthesising influences from Chicago blues and leading blues guitarists such as Buddy GuyFreddie King, and B. B. King, Clapton forged a distinctive style and rapidly became one of the most talked-about guitarists in the British music scene.[16] The band initially played Chess/Checker/Vee-Jay blues numbers and began to attract a large cult following when they took over the Rolling Stones‘ residency at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. They toured England with American bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson II; a joint LP album, recorded in December 1963, was issued in 1965.

It was during this time period that Clapton’s Yardbirds rhythm guitarist, Chris Dreja, recalled that whenever Clapton broke a guitar string during a concert, he would stay on stage and replace it. The English audiences would wait out the delay by doing what is called a “slow handclap“. Clapton told his official biographer, Ray Coleman, that, “My nickname of ‘Slowhand’ came from Giorgio Gomelsky. He coined it as a good pun. He kept saying I was a fast player, so he put together the slow handclap phrase into Slowhand as a play on words”.[17]

 

Layla

In March 1965 the Yardbirds had their first major hit, “For Your Love“, on which Clapton played guitar. The Yardbirds elected to move toward a pop-oriented sound, in part because of the success of “For Your Love”, written by pop songwriter-for-hire Graham Gouldman, who had also written hit songs for teen pop outfit Herman’s Hermits and The Hollies. Still musically devoted to the blues, Clapton was opposed to the move, and left the band. He recommended fellow guitarist Jimmy Page as his replacement, but Page was at that time unwilling to relinquish his lucrative career as a freelance studio musician, so Page in turn recommended Clapton’s successor, Jeff Beck.[16] While Beck and Page played together in the Yardbirds, the trio of Beck, Page, and Clapton were never in the group together. However, the trio did appear on the 12-date benefit tour for Action for Research into Multiple Sclerosis, as well as on the album Guitar Boogie.

Clapton joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in April 1965, only to quit a few months later. In the summer of 1965 he left for Greece with a band called The Glands, which included his old friend Ben Palmer on piano. In November 1965 he rejoined John Mayall. It was during his second Bluesbreakers stint that his passionate playing established Clapton’s name as the best blues guitarist on the club circuit. Although Clapton gained world fame for his playing on the influential album, Blues Breakers – John Mayall – With Eric Clapton, this album was not released until Clapton had left the Bluesbreakers for the last time. Having swapped his Fender Telecaster and Vox AC30 amplifier for a 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard guitar and Marshall amplifier, Clapton’s sound and playing inspired a well-publicised graffito that deified him with the famous slogan “Clapton is God”. The phrase was spray-painted by an admirer on a wall in an Islington Underground station in the autumn of 1967. The graffiti was captured in a now-famous photograph, in which a dog is urinating on the wall. Clapton is reported to have been embarrassed by the slogan, saying in his The South Bank Show profile in 1987, “I never accepted that I was the greatest guitar player in the world. I always wanted to be the greatest guitar player in the world, but that’s an ideal, and I accept it as an ideal”. The phrase began to appear in other areas of Islington throughout the mid 1960s.[18] 

Layla -Original Version

Cream

Main article: Cream (band)

Clapton left the Bluesbreakers in July 1966 (to be replaced by Peter Green) and formed Cream, one of the earliest supergroups, with Jack Bruce on bass (also of Manfred Mann, the Bluesbreakers, and the Graham Bond Organisation) and Ginger Baker on drums (another member of the Graham Bond Organisation). Before the formation of Cream, Clapton was not well known in the United States; he left the Yardbirds before “For Your Love” hit the American Top Ten, and had yet to perform there.[19] During his time with Cream, Clapton began to develop as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, though Bruce took most of the lead vocals and wrote the majority of the material with lyricist Pete Brown.[16]Cream’s first gig was an unofficial performance at the Twisted Wheel Club in Manchester on 29 July 1966 before their full debut two nights later at the National Jazz and Blues Festival in Windsor. Cream established its enduring legend with the high-volume blues jamming and extended solos of their live shows.

In early 1967 Clapton’s status as Britain’s top guitarist was rivalled by the emergence of Jimi Hendrix, an acid rock-infused guitarist who used wailing feedback and effects pedalsto create new sounds for the instrument. Hendrix attended a performance of the newly-formed Cream at the Central London Polytechnic on 1 October 1966, during which Hendrix sat in on a double-timed version of “Killing Floor“. Top UK stars including Clapton, Pete Townshend, and members of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles avidly attended Hendrix’s early club performances. Hendrix’s arrival had an immediate and major effect on the next phase of Clapton’s career, although Clapton continued to be recognised in UK music polls as the premier guitarist.

Clapton first visited the United States while touring with Cream. In March 1967, Cream performed a nine-show stand at the RKO Theater in New York. They recorded Disraeli Gearsin New York from 11–15 May 1967. Cream’s repertoire varied from hard rock (“I Feel Free“) to lengthy blues-based instrumental jams (“Spoonful“). Disraeli Gears featured Clapton’s searing guitar lines, Bruce’s soaring vocals and prominent, fluid bass playing, and Baker’s powerful, polyrhythmic jazz-influenced drumming. Together, Cream’s talents secured themselves as an influential power trio.

In 28 months, Cream had become a commercial success, selling millions of records and playing throughout the U.S. and Europe. They redefined the instrumentalist’s role in rock and were one of the first blues-rock bands to emphasise musical virtuosity and lengthy jazz-style improvisation sessions. Their U.S. hit singles include “Sunshine of Your Love” (#5, 1968), “White Room” (#6, 1968) and “Crossroads” (#28, 1969) – a live version of Robert Johnson‘s “Cross Road Blues”. Though Cream was hailed as one of the greatest groups of its day, and the adulation of Clapton as a guitar hero reached new heights, the supergroup was short-lived. Drug and alcohol use escalated tension between the three members, and conflicts between Bruce and Baker eventually led to Cream’s demise. A strongly critical Rolling Stone review of a concert of the group’s second headlining U.S. tour was another significant factor in the trio’s demise, and it affected Clapton profoundly.[20]

 

“I Shot The Sheriff”

Cream’s farewell album, Goodbye, featuring live performances recorded at The Forum, Los Angeles, 19 October 1968, was released shortly after Cream disbanded; it also featured the studio single “Badge“, co-written by Clapton and George Harrison. Clapton met Harrison and became friends with him after the Beatles shared a bill with the Clapton-era Yardbirds at the London Palladium. The close friendship between Clapton and Harrison resulted in Clapton’s playing on Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from the Beatles’ White Album (1968). Harrison also released his solo debut album, Wonderwall Music, in 1968. It became the first of many Harrison solo records to feature Clapton on guitar. Clapton would go largely uncredited for his contributions to Harrison’s albums due to contractual restraints. The pair would often play live together as each other’s guest. A year after Harrison’s death in 2001, Clapton helped organise a tribute concert, for which he was musical director.[21]

Cream briefly reunited in 1993 to perform at the ceremony inducting them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; a full reunion took place in May 2005, with Clapton, Bruce, and Baker playing four sold-out concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall,[22] and three shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden that October.[23] Recordings from the London shows, Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005, were released on CD, LP, and DVD in September/December 2005.[24] 

Blind Faith and Delaney and Bonnie and Friends

Main articles: Blind Faith and Delaney and Bonnie and Friends

Clapton’s next group, Blind Faith (1969), was composed of Cream drummer Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood of Traffic, and Ric Grech of Family, and yielded one LP and one arena-circuit tour. The supergroup debuted before 100,000 fans in London’s Hyde Park on 7 June 1969. They performed several dates in Scandinavia and began a sold-out American tour in July before their only album was released. The LP Blind Faith consisted of just six songs, one of them a 15-minute jam entitled “Do What You Like”. The album’s jacket image of a topless pubescent girl was deemed controversial in the United States and was replaced by a photograph of the band. Blind Faith dissolved after less than seven months.

Clapton subsequently toured as a sideman for an act that had opened for Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. He also played two dates as a member of The Plastic Ono Band that fall, including a recorded performance at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival in September 1969 released as the album Live Peace in Toronto 1969.[25] On 15 December 1969 Clapton performed with John Lennon, George Harrison, and others as the Plastic Ono Band at a fundraiser for UNICEF in London.[25]

Delaney Bramlett encouraged Clapton in his singing and writing. During the summer of 1969, Clapton and Bramlett contributed to the Music From Free Creek “supersession” project. Clapton, appearing as “King Cool” for contractual reasons, played with Dr. John on three songs, joined by Bramlett on two tracks.

“Cocaine”

Using the Bramletts’ backing group and an all-star cast of session players (including Leon Russell and Stephen Stills), Clapton recorded his first solo album during two brief tour hiatuses, fittingly named Eric Clapton. Delaney Bramlett co-wrote six of the songs with Clapton,[26] and Bonnie Bramlett co-wrote “Let It Rain”.[27] The album yielded the unexpected U.S. #18 hit, J. J. Cale‘s “After Midnight”. Clapton went with Delaney and Bonnie from the stage to the studio with the Dominos to record George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass in spring 1970. During this busy period, Clapton also recorded with other artists including Dr. John, Leon Russell, Plastic Ono Band, Billy Preston, and Ringo Starr.

1970s

Derek and the Dominos

Main article: Derek and the DominosWith the intention to counteract the “star” cult faction that had begun to form around him, Clapton assembled a new band composed of Delaney and Bonnie’s former rhythm sectionBobby Whitlock as keyboardist and vocalist, Carl Radle as the bassist, and drummer Jim Gordon, with Clapton playing guitar. It was his intention to show that he need not fill a starring role, and functioned well as a member of an ensemble.[28] Naming the band, “Eric Clapton and Friends” at first, the name “Derek and the Dominos” was a fluke. It occurred when the band’s provisional name of “Del and the Dynamos” was misread as Derek and the Dominos.[29] Clapton’s biography states that Ashton told Clapton to call the band “Del and the Dominos”, since “Del” was his nickname for Eric Clapton. Del and Eric were combined and the final name became “Derek and the Dominos”.[30]

Clapton’s close friendship with George Harrison brought him into contact with Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd, with whom he became deeply infatuated. When she spurned his advances, Clapton’s unrequited affections prompted most of the material for the Dominos’ album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970). Heavily blues-influenced, the album features the twin lead guitars of Allman and Clapton, with Allman’s slide guitar as a key ingredient of the sound. Working at Criteria Studios in Miami with Atlantic Recordsproducer Tom Dowd, who had worked with Clapton on Cream’s Disraeli Gears, the band recorded a double album.

“Change The World”

The album features the hit love song “Layla“, inspired by the classical poet of Persian literatureNizami Ganjavi‘s The Story of Layla and Majnun, a copy of which Ian Dallas had given to Clapton. The book moved Clapton profoundly, as it was the tale of a young man who fell hopelessly in love with a beautiful, unavailable woman and who went crazy because he could not marry her.[31][32] The two parts of “Layla” were recorded in separate sessions: the opening guitar section was recorded first, and for the second section, laid down several months later, drummer Jim Gordon composed and played the piano part.[30]

The Layla LP was actually recorded by a five-piece version of the group, thanks to the unforeseen inclusion of guitarist Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers Band. A few days into the Layla sessions, Dowd—who was also producing the Allmans—invited Clapton to an Allman Brothers outdoor concert in Miami. The two guitarists met first on stage, then played all night in the studio, and became friends. Duane first added his slide guitar to “Tell the Truth” and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out“. In four days, the five-piece Dominos recorded “Key to the Highway“, “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” (a blues standard popularised by Freddie King and others), and “Why Does Love Got to be So Sad”. In September, Duane briefly left the sessions for gigs with his own band, and the four-piece Dominos recorded “I Looked Away”, “Bell Bottom Blues“, and “Keep on Growing”. Duane returned to record “I am Yours”, “Anyday”, and “It’s Too Late”. On September 9, they recorded Hendrix’s “Little Wing” and the title track. The following day, the final track, “It’s Too Late”, was recorded.[33]

Eric Clapton in Barcelona, 1974

Tragedy dogged the group throughout its brief career. During the sessions, Clapton was devastated by news of the death of Jimi Hendrix; eight days previously the band had cut a cover of “Little Wing” as a tribute to Hendrix. On 17 September 1970, one day before Hendrix’s death, Clapton had purchased a left-handed Fender Stratocaster that he had planned to give to Hendrix as a birthday gift. Adding to Clapton’s woes, the Layla album received only lukewarm reviews upon release. The shaken group undertook a U.S. tour without Allman, who had returned to the Allman Brothers Band. Despite Clapton’s later admission that the tour took place amidst a veritable blizzard of drugs and alcohol, it resulted in the live double album In Concert.[34] The band had recorded several tracks for a second album in London during the spring of 1971 (five of which were released on the Eric Clapton box-set Crossroads), but the results were mediocre.

“Autumn Leaves”

A second record was in the works when a clashing of egos took place and Clapton walked, thus disbanding the group. Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident on 29 October 1971. Although Radle would remain Clapton’s bass player until the summer of 1979 (Radle died in May 1980 from the effects of alcohol and narcotics), it would be 2003 before Clapton and Whitlock appeared together again (Clapton guested on Whitlock’s appearance on the Later with Jools Holland show). Another tragic footnote to the Dominos story was the fate of drummer Jim Gordon, who was an undiagnosed schizophrenic and years later murdered his mother during a psychotic episode. Gordon was confined to 16-years-to-life imprisonment, later being moved to a mental institution, where he remains today.[16] 

Solo career

Clapton’s career successes in the 1970s were in stark contrast to his personal life, which was troubled by romantic longings and drug and alcohol addiction.[35] While suffering his (temporarily) unrequited and intense attraction to Pattie Boyd, he withdrew from recording and touring to isolation in his Surrey, England, residence. There he nursed his heroin addiction, which resulted in a career hiatus interrupted only by the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971 (where he passed out on stage, was revived, and continued his performance).[16] In January 1973, The Who‘s Pete Townshend organised a comeback concert for Clapton at London’s Rainbow Theatre, aptly titled the “Rainbow Concert“, to help Clapton kick his addiction. Clapton would return the favour by playing ‘The Preacher’ in Ken Russell’s film version of The Who’s Tommy in 1975; his appearance in the film (performing “Eyesight to the Blind”) is notable as he is clearly wearing a fake beard in some shots, the result of deciding to shave off his real beard after the initial takes in an attempt to force the director to remove his earlier scene from the movie and leave the set.[30]

Yvonne Elliman with Clapton promoting461 Ocean Boulevard in 1975

In 1974, now partnered with Pattie (they would not actually marry until 1979) and no longer using heroin (although starting to drink heavily), Clapton put together a more low-key touring band that included Radle, Miami guitarist George Terry, keyboardist Dick Sims, drummer Jamie Oldaker, and vocalists Yvonne Elliman and Marcy Levy (also known as Marcella Detroit). With this band Clapton recorded 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974), an album with an emphasis on more compact songs and fewer guitar solos; the cover version of “I Shot The Sheriff” was Clapton’s first #1 hit and was important in bringing reggae and the music of Bob Marley to a wider audience. The 1975 album There’s One in Every Crowd continued this trend. The album’s original title, The World’s Greatest Guitar Player (There’s One In Every Crowd), was changed before pressing, as it was felt its ironic intention would be misunderstood. The band toured the world and subsequently released the 1975 live LP, E.C. Was Here.[36] Clapton continued to release albums and toured regularly. Highlights of the period include No Reason to Cry (a collaboration with Bob Dylan and The Band); Slowhand, which featured “Wonderful Tonight” (another song inspired by Boyd);[37] and a second J.J. Cale cover, “Cocaine“. In 1976 he performed, alongside a string of notable guests, to pay tribute to the farewell performance of The Band, filmed in a Martin Scorsese documentary called the Last Waltz.

“Somewhere Over The Rainbow”

1980s

In 1981 Clapton was invited by producer Martin Lewis to appear at the Amnesty International benefit The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball. Clapton accepted the invitation and teamed up with Jeff Beck to perform a series of duets—reportedly their first-ever billed stage collaboration. Three of the performances were released on the album of the show, and one of the songs was featured in the film. The performances heralded a return to form and prominence for Clapton in the new decade. Many factors had influenced Clapton’s comeback, including his “deepening commitment to Christianity”, to which he had converted prior to his heroin addiction.[38][39]

After an embarrassing fishing incident, Clapton finally called his manager and admitted he was an alcoholic. In January 1982 Roger and Clapton flew to Minneapolis – St. Paul; Clapton would be checked in at Hazelden Treatment Center, located in Center City, Minnesota. On the flight over, Clapton indulged in a large number of drinks, for fear he would never be able to drink again. Clapton is quoted as saying from his autobiography, “In the lowest moments of my life, the only reason I didn’t commit suicide was that I knew I wouldn’t be able to drink any more if I was dead. It was the only thing I thought was worth living for, and the idea that people were about to try and remove me from alcohol was so terrible that I drank and drank and drank, and they had to practically carry me into the clinic.”[40]

After being discharged, it was recommended by doctors of Hazelden that Clapton not partake in any activities that would act as triggers for his alcoholism or stress, until he was fully situated back at Hurtwood. A few months after his discharge, Clapton began working on his next album, against the Hazelden doctors’ orders. Working with Tom Dowd, Clapton produced what he thought as his “most forced” album to date, Money and Cigarettes.

In 1984 he performed on Pink Floyd member Roger Waters‘ solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, and went on tour with Waters following the release of the album. Since then Waters and Clapton have had a close relationship. In 2005 they performed together for the Tsunami Relief Fund. In 2006 they performed at the Highclere Castle, in aid of the Countryside Alliance, playing two set pieces of “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb“. Clapton, now a seasoned charity performer, played at the Live Aid concert on 13 July 1985. When offered a slot close to peak viewing hours, he was apparently flattered. As Clapton recovered from his addictions, his album output continued in the 1980s, including two produced with Phil Collins, 1985’s Behind the Sun, which produced the hits “Forever Man” and “She’s Waiting”, and 1986’s August.

Tina Turner and Eric Clapton at Wembley Stadium, 18 June 1987

August was suffused with Collins’s trademark drum and horn sound, and became Clapton’s biggest seller in the UK to date, matching his highest chart position, number 3. The album’s first track, the hit “It’s In The Way That You Use It”, was featured in the Tom Cruise –Paul Newman movie The Color of Money. The horn-peppered “Run” echoed Collins’ “Sussudio” and rest of the producer’s Genesis/solo output, while “Tearing Us Apart” (with Tina Turner) and the bitter “Miss You” echoed Clapton’s angry sound. This rebound kicked off Clapton’s two-year period of touring with Collins and their August collaborates, bassist Nathan East and keyboard player/songwriter Greg Phillinganes. While on tour for August, two concert videos were recorded of the four-man band, Eric Clapton Live from Montreuxand Eric Clapton and Friends. Clapton later remade “After Midnight” as a single and a promotional track for the Michelob beer brand, which had also marketed earlier songs by Collins and Steve Winwood. Clapton won a British Academy Television Award for his collaboration with Michael Kamen on the score for the 1985 BBC Television thriller serial Edge of Darkness. In 1989, Clapton releasedJourneyman, an album which covered a wide range of styles including blues, jazz, soul and pop. Collaborators included George Harrison, Phil Collins, Daryl HallChaka KhanMick JonesDavid Sanborn and Robert Cray.

George Harrison and Clapton playing in the Prince’s Trust Concert at Wembley Stadium in 1987

In 1984, while still married to Pattie Boyd, Clapton began a year-long relationship with Yvonne Kelly. The two had a daughter, Ruth, who was born in January 1985, but her existence was kept a secret by her parents. She was not publicly revealed as his child until 1991.[41] Boyd criticised Clapton because he had not revealed the child’s existence.[42]

Hurricane Hugo hit Montserrat in 1989, and this resulted in the closure of Sir George Martin and John Burgess’s recording studio AIR Montserrat, where Kelly was Managing Director. Kelly and Ruth moved back to England, and stories about Eric’s secret daughter began as a result of newspaper articles published at the time.[41] Clapton and Boyd divorced in 1988 following his affair with Italian model Lory Del Santo, who gave birth to their son, Conor, on 21 August 1986.[43] Boyd was never able to conceive children, despite attempts at in vitro fertilisation.[42][43] Their divorce was granted on grounds of “infidelity and unreasonable behaviour.”[42]

Clapton was known to date a host of beautiful women, including Krissy Wood (ex-wife of Ron Wood), actress Charlotte Martin, socialiteAlice Ormsby-Gore, Paula Boyd (the younger sister of his future wife Pattie), singer Janis Joplin, singer Marianne Faithfull, rock muses Catherine James, Cyrinda Fox, and Geraldine Edwards, the inspiration for Penny Lane in Almost Famous, singer Rosanne Cash, the First Lady of France and former model Carla Bruni, and actresses Patsy KensitSharon Stone, and Alicia Witt.[44]

1990s

The 1990s brought a series of 32 concerts to the Royal Albert Hall, such as the 24 Nights series of concerts that took place around January through February 1990, and February through March 1991. On 27 August 1990, fellow blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, who was touring with Clapton, and three members of their road crew were killed in a helicopter crash between concerts. Then, on 20 March 1991, Clapton’s four-year-old son, Conor, died on impact after a fall from the 53rd-story window of his mother’s friend’s New York City apartment. He landed on the roof of an adjacent four-story building.[45] Clapton’s grief was expressed in the song “Tears in Heaven“, which was co-written by Will Jennings. At the35th Grammy Awards, Clapton received six Grammy Awards for the single “Tears in Heaven” and his Unplugged album.[46] The album reached number one on the Billboard 200, and has since been certified Diamond by the RIAA for selling over 10 million copies in the United States.[47]

In October 1992 Clapton was among the dozens of artists performing at Bob Dylan‘s 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration. Recorded at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the live two-disk CD/DVD captured a show full of celebrities performing classic Dylan songs, before ending with a few performances from Dylan himself. Despite the presence of 10 other guitarists on stage, including George Harrison, Neil YoungRoger McGuinnSteve CropperTom Petty, and Dylan, Clapton played the lead on a nearly 7-minute version of Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” as part of the finale.

While Unplugged featured Clapton playing acoustic guitar, his 1994 album From the Cradle contained new versions of old blues standards, highlighted by his electric guitar playing.[48] Clapton’s 1996 recording of the Wayne Kirkpatrick/Gordon Kennedy/Tommy Sims tune “Change the World” (featured in the soundtrack of the movie Phenomenon) won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1997, the same year he recorded Retail Therapy (an album of electronic music with Simon Climie under the pseudonym TDF). The following year, Clapton released the album Pilgrim, the first record featuring new material for almost a decade.[39] Clapton finished the twentieth century with collaborations withCarlos Santana and B. B. King.

In 1996 Clapton had a relationship with singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow. They remain friends, and Clapton appeared as a guest on Crow’s Central Park Concert. The duo performed a Cream hit single, “White Room“. Later, Clapton and Crow performed an alternate version of “Tulsa Time” with other guitar legends at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in June 2007.

In 1998 Clapton, then 53, met 22-year-old administrative assistant Melia McEnery in Columbus, Ohio, at a party given for him after a performance. He quietly dated her for a year, and went public with the relationship in 1999. They married on 1 January 2002 at St Mary Magdalene church in Clapton’s birthplace, Ripley. As of 2005 they have three daughters, Julie Rose (13 June 2001), Ella May (14 January 2003), and Sophie Belle (1 February 2005).

2000s

Clapton performing at the TUI Arena of Hannover (Germany) on2 April 2004

Following the release of the 2001 record Reptile, Eric performed “Layla” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at the Party at the Palace in 2002. On 29 November of that year the Concert for George was held at the Royal Albert Hall, a tribute to George Harrison, who had died a year earlier of cancer. Clapton was a performer and the musical director. The concert featured Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Jeff LynneTom Petty and the HeartbreakersRavi ShankarGary Brooker, Billy Preston, Joe Brown and Dhani Harrison. In 2004, Clapton released two albums of covers of songs by legendary bluesman Robert JohnsonMe and Mr. Johnson and Sessions for Robert J. The same year, Rolling Stone ranked Clapton #53 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.[49]

Performance for Tsunami Relief Cardiff

On 22 January 2005, Clapton performed in the Tsunami Relief Concert held at the Millennium Stadium inCardiff, in aid of the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. In May 2005 Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker reunited as Cream for a series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Concert recordings were released on CD and DVD. Later, Cream performed in New York at Madison Square GardenBack Home, Clapton’s first album of new original material in nearly five years, was released on Reprise Records on30 August. In 2006 he invited Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall II to join his band for his 2006–2007 world tour. Trucks is the third member of the Allman Brothers Band to tour supportng Clapton, the second being pianist/keyboardist Chuck Leavell, who appeared on the MTV Unplugged album and the 24 Nightsperformances at the Royal Albert Hall theatre of London in 1990 and 1991, as well as Clapton’s 1992 U.S. tour.

On 20 May 2006, Clapton performed with Queen drummer Roger Taylor and former Pink Floydbassist/songwriter Roger Waters at the Highclere Castle, in support of the Countryside Alliance. On 13 August 2006, Clapton made a guest appearance at the Bob Dylan concert in Columbus, Ohio, playing guitar on three songs in Jimmie Vaughan‘s opening act.[50] A collaboration with guitarist J. J. Cale, titled The Road to Escondido, was released on 7 November 2006, featuring Derek Trucks and Billy Preston. The 14-track CD was produced and recorded by the duo in August 2005 in California. The chemistry between Trucks and Clapton convinced him to invite The Derek Trucks Band to open for Clapton’s set at his 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival. Trucks remained on set afterward, performed with Clapton’s band throughout his performances, and later embarked on a world tour with him.

The rights to Clapton’s official memoirs, written by Christopher Simon Sykes and published in 2007, were sold at the 2005 Frankfurt Book Fair for US$4 million.[51]

On 26 February 2008, it was reported that North Korean officials had invited Clapton to play a concert in the communist state.[52] Clapton’s management received the invitation and passed it on to the singer, who agreed in principle and suggested it take place sometime in 2009.[53] Kristen Foster, a spokesperson, said, “Eric Clapton receives numerous offers to play in countries around the world,” and “[t]here is no agreement whatsoever for him to play in North Korea.”[54]

Eric Clapton (fourth from left) and his band live in 2007

In 2007 Clapton learned more about his father, a Canadian soldier who left the UK after the war. Although Clapton’s grandparents eventually told him the truth about his parentage, he only knew that his father’s name was Edward Fryer. This was a source of disquiet for Clapton, as witnessed by his 1998 song “My Father’s Eyes“. A Montreal journalist named Michael Woloschuk researched Canadian Armed Forces service records and tracked down members of Fryer’s family, and finally pieced together the story. He learned that Clapton’s father was Edward Walter Fryer, born 21 March1920, in Montreal and died 15 May 1985 in Newmarket, Ontario. Fryer was a musician (piano and saxophone) and a lifelong drifter who was married several times, had several children, and apparently never knew that he was the father of Eric Clapton.[55] Clapton thanked Woloschuk in an encounter at Macdonald Cartier Airport, in Ottawa, Canada.[56]

In February 2008 Clapton performed with his long-time friend Steve Winwood at Madison Square Garden and guested on his recorded single, “Dirty City”, on Winwood’s album Nine Lives. The two former Blind Faith bandmates met again for a series of 14 concerts throughout the United States in June 2009.

Clapton’s 2008 Summer Tour began on 3 May at the Ford Amphitheatre, Tampa Bay, Florida, and then moved to Canada, Ireland, England, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Poland, Germany, and Monaco. On 28 June 2008, he headlined Saturday night for Hard Rock Calling 2008 in London’s Hyde Park (previously Hyde Park Calling) with support from Sheryl Crow and John Mayer.[57][58] In September 2008 Clapton performed at a private charity fundraiser for The Countryside Alliance at Floridita in Soho, London, that included such guests as the London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Clapton performing with The Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon Theater

In March 2009, the Allman Brothers Band (amongst many notable guests) celebrated their 40th year, dedicating their string of concerts to the late Duane Allman on their annual run at the Beacon Theatre. Eric Clapton was one of the performers, with drummerButch Trucks remarking that the performance was not the typical Allman Brothers experience, given the number and musical styles of the guests who were invited to perform. Songs like “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” were punctuated with others, including “The Weight“, with Levon HelmJohnny Winter sitting in on Hendrix’s “Red House“; and “Layla”. On 4 May 2009 Clapton appeared as a featured guest at the Royal Albert Hall, playing “Further on Up the Road” with Joe Bonamassa.

Clapton was scheduled to be one of the performers at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame‘s 25th anniversary concert in Madison Square Garden on 30 October 2009, but cancelled due to gallstone surgery.[59] Van Morrison (who also cancelled)[60] said in an interview that he and Clapton were to do a “couple of songs”, but that they would do something else together at “some other stage of the game”.[61]

2010s

Clapton performed a two-night show with Jeff Beck at London’s O2 Arena on 13–14 February 2010.[62] The two former Yardbirds extended their 2010 tour with stops at Madison Square Garden,[63] the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, and the Bell Centre in Montreal.[64] Clapton performed a series of concerts in 11 cities throughout the United States from 25 February to 13 March 2010, including Roger Daltrey as opening act. His third European tour with Steve Winwood began on 18 Mayand ended 13 June, including Tom Norris as opening act. He then began a short North American tour lasting from 26 June to 3 July, starting with his third Crossroads Guitar Festival on 26 June in Bridgeview, Illinois. Clapton released a new studio album, Clapton, on 27 September 2010 in the United Kingdom and 28 September 2010 in the United States. On 17 November 2010, Clapton performed as guest on the Prince’s Trust rock gala held at the Royal Albert Hall, supported by the house band for the evening, which included Jools HollandMidge Ure and Mark King.[65]

On 24 June 2011 Clapton was in concert with Pino Daniele in Cava de’ Tirreni stadium, Italy, with an audience of 15,000 people before performing a series of concerts in South America from 6 to 16 October 2011.

Alan Parsons

Alan Parsons (born 20 December 1948[1]) is a British audio engineer, musician, and record producer. He was involved with the production of several significant albums, including The Beatles‘ Abbey Road and Let It Be, as well as Pink Floyd‘s The Dark Side of the Moon for which Pink Floyd credit him as an important contributor. Parsons’ own group, The Alan Parsons Project, as well as his subsequent solo recordings, have also been successful commercially.

In October 1967, at age 18, Parsons went to work as an assistant engineer at Abbey Road Studios, where he earned his first credit on the LP, Abbey Road. He became a regular there, engineering such projects as Paul McCartney‘s Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway, five albums by The Hollies, and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, for which he received his first Grammy Awardnomination. He was known for doing more than what would normally be considered the scope of a recording engineer’s duties. He considered himself to be a recording director, likening his contribution to recordings to what Stanley Kubrickcontributed to film. This is apparent in his work with Al Stewart‘s “Year of the Cat“, where Parsons added the saxophone part and transformed the original folk concept into the jazz-influenced ballad that put Al Stewart onto the charts. It is also heard in Parsons’ influence on the Hollies’ “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” and “The Air That I Breathe“, sharp departures from their popular 1960s hits “Stay“, “Just One Look“, “Stop! Stop! Stop!” or “Bus Stop“. Parsons was also known to have swapped shifts during the engineering of The Dark Side of the Moon so he could work entirely on the project.

Parsons also produced three albums by Pilot, a Scottish pop rock band consisting of Ian Bairnson on guitar, Stuart Tosh on drums, and David Paton on lead vocals, guitars, and on bass. Their hits included “January” and “Magic”.

“To One In Paradise”

“Time”

He also mixed the debut album by American band Ambrosia and produced their second album Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled. Alan was nominated for grammys for both of these albums. [2]

In 1975, he declined Pink Floyd’s invitation to come back and work on the follow-up for “Dark Side,” Wish You Were Here, and instead initiated The Alan Parsons Project with producer and songwriter (and occasional singer) Eric Woolfson, whom he had met at Abbey Road. The Project consisted of a revolving group of studio musicians and vocalists, most notably the members of Pilot and (on the first album) the members of Ambrosia. Unlike most rock groups, The Alan Parsons Project never performed live during its heyday, although it did release several music videos. Its only live performance during its original incarnation was in 1990, with Woolfson present but behind the scenes. After releasing ten albums, the last in 1987, the Project terminated in 1990 after Parsons and Woolfson split, with the Project’s intended 11th album released that year as a Woolfson solo album. Parsons continued to release work in his own name and in collaboration with other musicians. Parsons and his band now regularly tour many parts of the world.

Although an accomplished vocalist, keyboardist, bassist, guitarist and flautist, Parsons sang infrequent and incidental parts on his albums. While his keyboard playing was very audible on the Alan Parsons Project albums, very few recordings feature his flute. During the late 1990s, Parsons’ career travelled an interesting full circle. Having started out in the music industry at the Abbey Road Studios in London as an assistant engineer in the late 1960s, he briefly returned to run the studio in its entirety. He reportedly managed to combine this role with the demands of a hectic performing and recording schedule. Parsons also continued with his selective production work for other bands.

“Eye In The Sky”

“Days Are Numbered”

Of all his collaborations, guitarist Ian Bairnson worked with Parsons the longest, including Parsons’ post-Woolfson albums, Try Anything OnceOn Air, and The Time Machine.

As well as receiving gold and platinum awards from many nations, Parsons has received ten Grammy Award nominations for engineering and production. In 2007 he received a nomination for Best Surround Sound Album for A Valid Path.

In May 2005, Parsons appeared at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, California, to mix front-of-house sound for Southern California-based Pink Floyd tribute band Which One’s Pink? and their performance of The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.[3]

Since 2003 he has toured under a revised name, The Alan Parsons Live Project (with Woolfson’s permission). The globe-trotting band features guitarist Godfrey Townsend, drummer Steve Murphy, keyboardist Manny Focarazzo, and bass guitarist John Montagna. The 2004-2005 shows offered vocalist P. J. Olsson‘s track “More Lost Without You”, while the later 2006 shows presented The Crystal Method-featured “We Play the Game” and opened with “Return to Tunguska” along with successes spanning the Project years.

Beginning in 2001 and extending for four years, Parsons conceived and led a Beatles tribute show called A Walk Down Abbey Road featuring a group of headlining performers such as Todd RundgrenAnn Wilson of HeartJohn Entwistle of The Who, and Jack Bruce of Cream. The show structure included a first set where all musicians assembled to perform each others’ hits, and a second set featuring all Beatles songs.

In 2010, Alan Parsons released his single “All Our Yesterdays” through Authentik Artists.[4] Parsons also launched a DVD educational series in 2010 titled The Art and Science of Sound Recording (“ASSR”) on music production and the complete audio recording process. The single “All Our Yesterdays” was written and recorded during the making of ASSR. The series, narrated by Billy Bob Thornton,[5] gives detailed tutorials on virtually every aspect of the sound recording process. Individual sections of the series are also being released in batches and are available to stream or download at http://www.artandscienceofsound.com.[5]

During 2010, several media reports,[6][7] one of which included a quote from a representative of Parsons,[8] alleged that the song “Need You Now” by country music group Lady Antebellum possessed the melody and arrangement of “Eye in the Sky.”

Sources: youtube, wikipedia.com, imdb.com, alanparsons.com

Albums

Date Title Label Charted Country Catalog Number
as part of The Alan Parsons Project
May 1976 Tales of Mystery and Imagination Mercury 38 US
June 1977 I Robot Arista 9 US
June 1978 Pyramid Arista 26 US
August 1979 Eve Arista 13 US
November 1980 The Turn of a Friendly Card Arista 13 US
June 1982 Eye in the Sky Arista 7 US
1983 The Best of the Alan Parsons Project Arista 53 US
February 1984 Ammonia Avenue Arista 15 US
March 1985 Vulture Culture Arista 46 US
November 1985 Stereotomy Arista 43 US
January 1987 Gaudi Arista 57 US
1988 The Best of the Alan Parsons Project, Vol. 2 Arista
1988 The Instrumental Works Arista
1990 Freudiana EMI
9 October 1989 Pop Classics Arista
1 July 1997 Apollo
15 July 1997 The Definitive Collection
15 April 1999 Sound Check 2
27 July 1999 Master Hits – The Alan Parsons Project
2 August 1999 Alan Parsons Project – Greatest Hits Live
3 August 1999 Eye in the Sky
3 August 1999 Eye in the Sky – Encore Collection
9 May 2000 Alan Parsons Project – Gold Collection BMG International
22 August 2002 Works Audiophile Legends
23 March 2004 Ultimate
1 June 2004 Extended Versions: The iEncore Collection Live
2006 Days Are Numbers (3 CD Compilation) Arista 88697016972
as Engineer
1969 Abbey Road (The Beatles) 1 UK
US
1970 Atom Heart Mother (Pink Floyd) 1
55
UK
US
1973 The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd) 2
1
UK
US
1974 Hollies (The Hollies) 28 US
1975 Another Night (The Hollies) 132 US
1975 Ambrosia (Ambrosia)
1976 Year of the Cat (Al Stewart) 5 US
as Producer
1975 The Best Years of Our Lives (Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel)
1976 Rebel (John Miles) 171 US
1976 Year of the Cat (Al Stewart) 5 US
1976 Somewhere I’ve Never Traveled (Ambrosia)
1978 Time Passages (Al Stewart) 10 US
March 1984 Keats EMI
1985 Ladyhawke (OST by Andrew Powell) Atlantic Records
as Solo Artist
6 October 1993 Try Anything Once Arista
27 June 1995 The Very Best Live RCA
24 September 1996 On Air A&M/Digital Sound
28 September 1999 The Time Machine Miramar
24 August 2004 A Valid Path Artemis
6 April 2010 Eye 2 Eye: Live In Madrid Frontiers
as Executive Producer / Mentor
1999 Turning the Tide (Iconic Phare) Carrera Records

Billboard Top 40 hit singles (U.S.)

#37 – “(The System Of) Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether” (1976)
#36 – “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” (1977)
#27 – “Damned if I Do” (1979)
#16 – “Games People Play” (1980)
#15 – “Time” (1981)
#3 – “Eye in the Sky” (1982)
#15 – “Don’t Answer Me” (1984)

Canadian singles

#62 – “(The System Of) Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether” (1976)
#22 – “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” (1977)
#16 – “Damned if I Do” (1980)
#9 – “Games People Play” (1981)
#30 – “Time” (1981)
#1 – “Eye in the Sky” (1982)
#43 – “You Don’t Believe” (1983)
#20 – “Don’t Answer Me” (1984)
#89 – “Let’s Talk About Me” (1985)
Awards and nominations

         Nominations

Sammy Davis Jr

Samuel George “Sammy” Davis, Jr. (December 8, 1925 – May 16, 1990) was an American entertainer.

Primarily a dancer and singer, Davis was a childhood vaudevillian, and became known for his performances on Broadway and in Las Vegas, as a recording artist, television and film star, and the only black member of Frank Sinatra‘s “Rat Pack“.

This Bio sponsored by Two Guys From Brooklyn, a unique place for personalized gifts for all.

At the age of three Davis began his career in vaudeville with his father and “uncle” as the Will Mastin Trio, toured nationally, and after military service, returned to the trio. Davis became an overnight sensation following a nightclub performance at Ciro’s after the 1951 Academy Awards, with the trio, became a recording artist, and made his first film performances as an adult later that decade. Losing his left eye in a car accident in 1954, he converted to Judaism and appeared in the first Rat Pack movie, Ocean’s 11, in 1960. After a starring role on Broadway in 1956’s Mr Wonderful, Davis returned to the stage in 1964’s Golden Boy, and in 1966 had his own TV variety show, The Sammy Davis Jr. Show. Davis’s career slowed in the late sixties, but he had a hit record with “The Candy Man“, in 1972, and became a star in Las Vegas.

As an African-American, Davis was the victim of racism throughout his life, and was a large financial supporter of civil rights causes. Davis had a complex relationship with the black community, and attracted criticism after physically embracing Richard Nixon in 1970. One day on a golf course with Jack Benny, he was asked what his handicap was. “Handicap?” he asked. “Talk about handicap — I’m a one-eyed Negro Jew.”[1][2] This was to become a signature comment, recounted in his autobiography, and in countless articles.[3]

7 Year old Sammy Davis Jr

1985 Sammy Singing “Mr. Bojangles” in Germany.

After reuniting with Sinatra and Dean Martin in 1987, Davis toured with them and Liza Minnelli internationally, before dying of throat cancer in 1990. He died in debt to the Internal Revenue Service, and his estate was the subject of legal battles.

Davis was awarded the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP, and was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his television performances. He was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1987, and in 2001, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Samuel George Davis, Jr. was born in New York City, New York, to Sammy Davis, Sr. (1900–1988), an African-American entertainer, and his wife Elvera Sanchez (1905–2000),[4] a tap dancer. During his lifetime, Davis, Jr. stated that his mother was Puerto Rican and born in San Juan; however, in the 2003 biography In Black and White, author Wil Haygood writes that Davis, Jr.’s mother was born in New York City to Cuban American parents, and that Davis, Jr. claimed he was Puerto Rican because he feared anti-Cuban backlash would hurt his record sales.[5][6][7]

1962 “What Kind of Fool Am I?” with Andy Williams

Davis’s parents were vaudeville dancers. As an infant, he was raised by his paternal grandmother. When he was three years old, his parents separated. His father, not wanting to lose custody of his son, took him on tour. Davis learned to dance from his father and his “uncle” Will Mastin, who led the dance troupe his father worked for. Davis joined the act as a child and they became the Will Mastin Trio. Throughout his career, Davis included the Will Mastin Trio in his billing. Mastin and his father shielded him from racism. Snubs were explained as jealousy, for instance. When Davis served in the United States Army during World War II, however, he was confronted by strong racial prejudice. He later said, “Overnight the world looked different. It wasn’t one color any more. I could see the protection I’d gotten all my life from my father and Will. I appreciated their loving hope that I’d never need to know about prejudice and hate, but they were wrong. It was as if I’d walked through a swinging door for eighteen years, a door which they had always secretly held open.” The Army assigned Davis to an integrated entertainment Special Services unit, and he found that the spotlight lessened the prejudice. “My talent was the weapon, the power, the way for me to fight. It was the one way I might hope to affect a man’s thinking,” he said.[8]

“Candy Man”

After his discharged at the war’s end, Davis rejoined his family dance act, which played at clubs around Portland, Oregon. He began to achieve success on his own and he was singled out for praise by critics, releasing several albums.[9] This led to his appearance in the Broadway play Mr. Wonderful in 1956.

In 1959, Davis became a member of the famous “Rat Pack”, led by his friend Frank Sinatra, which included fellow performers such as Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Shirley MacLaine. Initially, Sinatra called the gathering “the Clan”, but Sammy voiced his opposition, saying that it reminded people of the racist Ku Klux Klan. Sinatra renamed the group “the Summit”, but the media referred to them as the Rat Pack.

Davis was a headliner at The Frontier Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, but he was required (as were all black performers in the 1950s) to stay in a rooming house on the west side of the city, instead of sleeping in the hotels as his white entertainers did. No dressing rooms were provided for black performers, and they had waited outside by the swimming pool between acts.[10]

“The Lady is a Tramp”

“I’ve Gotta Be Me”

During his early years in Las Vegas, Davis and other African-American artists could entertain, but usually could neither stay at the hotels where they performed, gamble in the casinos, nor dine or drink in the hotel restaurants and bars. Davis later refused to work at places which practiced racial segregation. His demands would lead to the integration of Miami Beach nightclubs and Las Vegas casinos, an accomplishment Davis justly took pride in.[11]

With the Rat Pack -“Birth of the Blues”

“One For My Baby”

In 1964, Davis was starring in Golden Boy at night and shooting his own New York-based afternoon talk show during the day. When he could get a day off from the theater, he would be in the studio recording new songs, or performing live, often at charity benefits as far away as Miami, Chicago and Las Vegas, or doing television variety specials in Los Angeles. Davis knew he was cheating his family of his company, but he could not help himself; as he later said, he was incapable of standing still.

Although he was still a draw in Las Vegas, Davis’s musical career had sputtered by the latter 1960s, although he had a #11 hit (#1 on the Easy Listening singles chart) with “I’ve Gotta Be Me” in 1969. To update his sound and reconnect with younger people resulted in some embarrassing “hip” musical efforts with the Motown record label.[12] But then, even as his career seemed at its nadir, Sammy had an unexpected hit with “Candy Man“. Although he did not particularly care for the song and was chagrined that he was now best known for it, Davis made the most of his opportunity and revitalized his career. Although he enjoyed no more Top 40 hits, he did enjoy popularity with his performance of the theme song from the T.V. series Baretta (1975–1978) which was not released as a single but was given radio play and he remained a live act beyond Vegas for his career. He occasionally landed television and film parts, including cameo visits to the All in the Family (during which he kisses Archie Bunker (Carrol O’Connor) on the cheek) and, with wife Altovise Davis, on Charlie’s Angels. In the 1970s, he appeared in commercials in Japan for Suntory whiskey.

“I Can’t Get Started” on the David Letterman Show. Possibly Sammy’s last TV appearance.

On December 11, 1967, NBC broadcast a musical-variety special entitled Movin’ With Nancy. In addition to the Emmy Award-winning musical performances, the show is notable for Nancy Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. greeting each other with a kiss, one of the first black-white kisses in U.S. television history.[13]

“Christmas with the Rat Pack. Sammy singing, “Jingle Bells”

In Japan, Davis appeared in television commercials for coffee, and in the U.S. he joined Sinatra and Martin in a radio commercial for a Chicago car dealership.

Davis was a fan of the daytime soap operas, particularly the shows produced by the American Broadcasting Company. This led to his making a cameo appearance on General Hospital and playing the recurring character Chip Warren on One Life to Live for which he received a Daytime Emmy nomination in 1980. He was featured on the CBS News with Walter Cronkite in a profile filed by current CBS News political correspondent Jeff Greenfield about the finale episode of Love of Life in 1980. He was a game show fan, making a cameo on the ABC version of Family Feud in 1979, and hosting a question with Richard Dawson watching from the sidelines. He appeared on Tattletales with third wife Altovise Davis in the 1970s. He made a cameo during an episode of the NBC version of Card Sharks in 1981.

Davis was an avid photographer who enjoyed shooting family and acquaintances. His body of work was detailed in a 2007 book by Burt Boyar. “Jerry [Lewis] gave me my first important camera, my first 35 millimeter, during the Ciro’s period, early ’50s”, Boyar quotes Davis. “And he hooked me.” Davis used a medium format camera later on to capture images. Again quoting Davis, “Nobody interrupts a man taking a picture to ask… ‘What’s that nigger doin’ here?’ “. His catalogue of photos include rare shots of his father dancing onstage as part of the Will Mastin Trio and intimate snapshots of close friends Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Nat “King” Cole, and Marilyn Monroe. His political affiliations also were represented, in his images of Robert Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. His most revealing work comes in photographs of wife May Britt and their three children, Tracey, Jeff and Mark.

“Out Of This World” – a lesser known Harold Arlen song.

Davis was an enthusiastic shooter and gun owner. He participated in fast-draw competition and was said to be capable of drawing and firing a Colt Single Action revolver in less than a quarter of a second. Davis was skilled at fast and fancy gun spinning, and appeared on T.V. variety shows showing off this skill. He appeared in western films and as a guest star on several “Golden Age” T.V. westerns. Davis nearly died in an automobile accident on November 19, 1954 in San Bernardino, California, as he was making a return trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.[14] The accident occurred at a fork in U.S. Highway 66 at Cajon Blvd and Kendall Drive. Davis lost his left eye as a result, and wore an eye patch for at least six months following the accident.[15][16] He appeared on What’s My Line wearing the patch.[17] Later, he was fitted for a glass eye, which he wore for the rest of his life. While in the hospital, his friend Eddie Cantor told him about the similarities between the Jewish and black cultures. Prompted by this conversation, Davis — who was born to a Catholic mother and Protestant father — began studying the history of Jews and converted to Judaism several years later.[1][18] One passage from his readings, describing the endurance of the Jewish people, intrigued him in particular: “The Jews would not die. Three millennia of prophetic teaching had given them an unwavering spirit of resignation and had created in them a will to live which no disaster could crush”.[19] In many ways, the accident marked a turning point in Davis’s career, taking him from a well-known entertainer to a national celebrity and icon.[14]

On the Dean Martin Show. Look at Sammy’s pants! Did we all like that back then?

In the mid-1950s, Sammy was involved with Kim Novak, a star under contract to Columbia Studios. The head of the studio, Harry Cohn, was worried about the negative effect this would have on the studio because of the prevailing taboo against miscegenation. He called his friend, the mobster Johnny Roselli, who was asked to tell Davis that he had to stop the affair with Novak. Roselli arranged for Davis to be kidnapped for a few hours to throw a scare into him. His hastily arranged and soon-dissolved marriage to black dancer Loray White in 1958 was an attempt to quiet the controversy.[20]

In 1960, Davis caused controversy when he married white Swedish-born actress May Britt. Davis received hate mail while starring in the Broadway musical adaptation of Golden Boy from 1964-1966 (for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor). At the time Davis appeared in the play, interracial marriages were forbidden by law in 31 US states, and only in 1967 were those laws ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. The couple had one daughter and adopted two sons. Davis performed almost continuously and spent little time with his wife. They divorced in 1968, after Davis admitted to having had an affair with singer Lola Falana. That year, Davis started dating Altovise Gore, a dancer in Golden Boy. They were married on May 11, 1970 by the Reverend Jesse Jackson. They adopted a child, and remained married until Davis’s death in 1990.

Sammy and the Supremes

Although Davis had been voting Democratic, he had felt a lack of respect from the John F. Kennedy White House. He had been removed from the bill of the inaugural party hosted by Sinatra for the new President because of Davis’s recent interracial marriage to May Britt on November 13, 1960.[21]

In the early 1970s, Davis supported Republican President Richard M. Nixon (and gave the startled President a hug on live TV). The incident was controversial, and Davis was given a hostile reception by his peers, despite the intervention of Jesse Jackson. Previously he had won their respect with his performance as Joe Wellington Jr. in Golden Boy and his participation in the Civil Rights Movement. Nixon invited Davis to sleep in the White House in 1973, which is believed to be the first time an African-American was invited to do so. Davis spent the night in the Queen’s Bedroom.[22] Unlike Frank Sinatra, Davis voted Democratic for president again after the Nixon administration, supporting the campaigns of Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988.

Sammy with Arsenio

Davis died in Beverly Hills, California on May 16, 1990, of complications from throat cancer. Earlier, when he was told he could be saved by surgery, Davis replied he would rather keep his voice than have a part of his throat removed; he subsequently was treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.[23] However, a few weeks prior to his death his entire larynx was removed during surgery.[24] He was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California next to his father and Will Mastin. Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, coincidentally died the same day as Davis.

On May 18, 1990, two days after Davis’s death, the neon lights of the Las Vegas strip were darkened for ten minutes, as a tribute to him.

Source: wikipedia, youtube, imdb.com, nndb.com

Grammy Awards

Year Category Song Result Notes
2002 Grammy Hall of Fame Award What Kind of Fool Am I? Inducted Recorded in 1962
2001 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
1972 Pop Male Vocalist Candy Man Nominee
1962 Record of the Year What Kind of Fool Am I Nominee
1962 Male Solo Vocal Performance What Kind of Fool Am I Nominee

Emmy Awards

Year Category Program Result
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Sammy Davis Jr.’s 60th Anniversary Celebration Winner[26]
1989 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series The Cosby Show Nominee
1980 Outstanding Cameo Appearance in a Daytime Drama Series One Life to Live Nominee
1966 Outstanding Variety Special The Swinging World of Sammy Davis Jr. Nominee
1956 Best Specialty Act — Single or Group Sammy Davis Jr. Nominee

Other honors

Year Category Organization Program Result
2008 International Civil Rights
Walk of Fame
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site Inducted
2006 Las Vegas Walk of Stars[27] front of Riviera Hotel Inducted
1989 NAACP Image Award NAACP Winner
1987 Kennedy Center Honors John F. Kennedy Center for
the Performing Arts
Honoree
1977 Best TV Actor — Musical/Comedy Golden Globe Sammy and Company (1975) Nominee
1974 Special Citation Award National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Winner
1968 NAACP Spingarn Medal Award NAACP Winner
1965 Best Actor — Musical Tony Award Golden Boy Nominee
1960[28] Hollywood Walk of Fame Star at 6254 Hollywood Blvd

Discography

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Hit Records

Year Single Chart positions
U.S. U.S.
AC
Country UK
1954 “Hey There” 16 19
“The Red Grapes” 28
1955 “Something’s Gotta Give” 9 11
“Love Me Or Leave Me” 12 8
“That Old Black Magic” 13 16
“I’ll Know” 87
1956 “Five” 71
“Earthbound” 46
“New York’s My Home” 59
“In a Persian Market” 28
“All of You” 28
1960 “Happy To Make Your Acquaintance”(with Carmen McRae) 46
1962 “What Kind of Fool Am I” 17 6 26
“Gonna Build a Mountain” flip
“Me and My Shadow”(with Frank Sinatra) 64 18 20
“Sam’s Song”(with Dean Martin) 94
1963 “As Long As She Needs Me” 59 19
“The Shelter of Your Arms” 17 6
1964 “Choose” 112
“Be Bom” 135
“Don’t Shut Me Out” 106
1965 “If I Ruled the World” 135
“No One Can Live Forever” 117 33
1967 “Don’t Blame the Children” 37
1968 “Lonely Is the Name” 93 12
“Break My Mind” 106
“I’ve Gotta Be Me” 11 1
1969 “Rhythm of Life” 124
“I Have But One Life To Live” 119
1972 “The Candy Man” 1 1
“The People Tree” 92 16
1973 “I’d Be a Legend In My Time” 116 29
1974 “Singin’ In the Rain” 16
“That’s Entertainment” 41
1975 “Chico and the Man” 24
“Song and Dance Man” 32
1976 “Baretta’s Theme” 101 42
1982 “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke” 89

Cass Elliot

Cass Elliot (September 19, 1941 – July 29, 1974), born Ellen Naomi Cohen, was a noted American singer, best remembered as Mama Cass of the pop quartet The Mamas & the Papas. After the group broke up, she had a successful solo career, releasing five studio albums. Elliot was found dead in her room in London from an apparent heart attack after two weeks of sold-out performances at the Palladium. In 1998, the four members of the group were inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[1]

Ellen Cohen was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Philip and Bess Cohen. She grew up in Baltimore, and then the family moved to Alexandria, Virginia (a suburb of Washington, DC). She adopted the name “Cass” in high school – possibly, as Denny Doherty tells it, borrowing it from the actress Peggy Cass – but in any case, it was just ‘Cass,’ not ‘Cassandra.’ She assumed the surname Elliot sometime later, in memory of a friend who had died.

She started her acting career with a part in the play The Boy Friend while she was still in school. After dropping out of George Washington High School (now George Washington Middle School) shortly before graduation, she went to New York City, where she appeared in The Music Man but lost the part of Miss Marmelstein in I Can Get It for You Wholesale to Barbra Streisand in 1962.

Dream A Little Dream Of Me

Here’s another version of “Dream A Little Dream” -I posted it cause it was so funny!

While working as a cloakroom attendant at “The Showplace” in Greenwich Village, Elliot would sometimes sing, but it wasn’t until she returned to the Washington area, to attend American University, that she began to pursue a singing career. As America’s folk music scene was on the rise, Elliot met banjoist and singer Tim Rose and singer John Brown, and the three began performing as The Triumvirate. In 1963, James Hendricks replaced Brown and the trio was renamed The Big Three. Elliot’s first recording, Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod, with The Big Three, was released by FM Records in 1963.

When Tim Rose left The Big Three in 1964, Elliot and Hendricks teamed up with Canadians Zal Yanovsky and Denny Doherty as The Mugwumps. This group lasted eight months, after which Cass performed as a solo act for a while. Yanovsky joined with John Sebastian to co-found The Lovin’ Spoonful while Doherty joined The New Journeymen with John Phillips and his wife, Michelle. In 1965, Doherty finally convinced Phillips that Cass should join the group. She did so, officially, while they were vacationing in the Virgin Islands.

“Make Your Own Special Music” Could she look more 1970’s!!

A popular legend about Elliot is that her vocal range was improved by three notes after she was hit on the head by some copper tubing shortly before joining the group, while they were in the Virgin Islands. Elliot herself confirmed the story; in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 1968 she said,

It’s true, I did get hit on the head by a pipe that fell down and my range was increased by three notes. They were tearing this club apart in the islands, revamping it, putting in a dance floor. Workmen dropped a thin metal plumbing pipe and it hit me on the head and knocked me to the ground. I had a concussion and went to the hospital. I had a bad headache for about two weeks and all of a sudden I was singing higher. It’s true. Honest to God.[2]

However, her friends later said that the pipe story was used as a less embarrassing explanation for why John had kept her out of the group for so long, because the real reason she was not accepted sooner was that John considered her to be too fat. [3]

Now that The New Journeymen had two female members, they needed a new name. According to Doherty, Elliot had the inspiration for the band’s new name. Doherty writes on his website:

We’re all just lying around vegging out watching TV and discussing names for the group. The New Journeymen was not a handle that was going to hang on this outfit. John was pushing for The Magic Cyrcle. Eech, but none of us could come up with anything better, then we switch the channel and, hey, it’s the Hells Angels on this talk show… And the first thing we hear is: “Now hold on there, Hoss. Some people call our women cheap, but we just call them our Mamas.” Cass jumped up: “Yeah! I want to be a Mama.” And Michelle is going: “We’re the Mamas! We’re the Mamas!” OK. I look at John. He’s looking at me going: “The Papas?” Problem solved. A toast! To The Mamas and the Papas. Well, after many, many toasts, Cass and John are passed out.”[4]

Doherty went on to say that the occasion marked the beginning of his affair with Michelle. Elliot was in love with Doherty, so was displeased when he told her about the affair. Doherty has said that Cass once proposed to him, but that he was so stoned at the time, he could not even respond.

John Denver and Cass Elliot together

Elliot, known for her sense of humor and optimism, was considered by some to be the most charismatic member of the group. Her warm, distinctive voice was a large factor in their success. She is best remembered for her vocals on the group’s hits “California Dreamin’“, “Monday Monday“, and “Words of Love”, and particularly for the solo “Dream a Little Dream of Me“, which the group recorded in 1968 after learning about the death of Fabian Andre, one of the men who co-wrote it, whom Michelle Phillips had met years earlier. Elliot’s version is noteworthy for being a ballad, whereas almost all earlier recordings of “Dream a Little Dream of Me” (including one by Nat King Cole) had been quick, up-tempo versions — the song having actually been written in 1931 as a dance tune for the nightclubs of the day.

With Johnny Carson

The recording is muffled, but good enough to be interesting. One can see how Cass Elliot had become a major force in music and entertainment. Here she is with Julie Andrews singing a Simon and Garfunkel medley.

They continued to record to meet the terms of their record contract until their final album was released in 1971.

After the breakup of The Mamas & the Papas, Elliot went on to have a successful solo singing career. Her most successful recording during this period was 1968’s Dream a Little Dream of Me from her solo album of the same name, released by Dunhill Records though it had originally been recorded for and released on the album The Papas & the Mamas Presented By The Mamas and the Papas earlier that year. She headlined briefly in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace for the unusually lucrative pay of USD$40,000 per week, although her performances were not well reviewed.

She was a regular on TV talk shows and variety shows in the 1970s, including The Julie Andrews Hour, The Mike Douglas Show, The Andy Williams Show, Hollywood Squares, and The Carol Burnett Show. She guest-hosted for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and appeared on that show 13 other times. Elliot also was a guest panelist for a week in late 1973 on the hit game show Match Game ’73. She appeared in the 1973 Saga of Sonora, a TV music-comedy-Western special with stars of the day including Jill St. John, Vince Edwards, Zero Mostel, and Lesley Ann Warren. She also sang the jingle “Hurry on down to Hardee’s, where the burgers are charco-broiled” for Hardee’s fast-food advertisements.

1973 Recording “I’ll Be Seeing You”

Throughout the early 1970s, Elliot continued her acting career as well. She had a featured role in the 1970 movie Pufnstuf and made guest-star acting appearances on TV’s The New Scooby-Doo Movies, Young Dr. Kildare, Love, American Style, and The Red Skelton Show, among others.

Elliot was married twice. The first marriage, to bandmate Jim Hendricks, began in 1963. This was reportedly a purely platonic arrangement to assist him in avoiding being drafted into the army during the Vietnam War;[5] the marriage reportedly was never consummated and was annulled in 1968.[6] In 1971, Elliot married journalist Baron Donald von Wiedenman[7][8] who was heir to a Bavarian barony. Their marriage ended in divorce after a few months.

Cass Elliot’s first solo appearance with Andy Williams

Elliot gave birth to a daughter, Owen Vanessa Elliot, on April 26, 1967. She never publicly identified the father, but many years later, Michelle Phillips helped Owen locate her biological father.[9] Owen grew up to become a singer as well and toured with former Beach Boy Al Jardine.[10]

At the height of her solo career in 1974, Elliot performed two weeks of sold-out concerts at the London Palladium. She telephoned Michelle Phillips after the final concert on July 28th, utterly elated that she had received standing ovations each night. She then retired for the evening, and died in her sleep at age 32. Sources state her death was due to a heart attack.[11][12] Elliot died in a London flat, No. 12 at 9 Curzon Place, Mayfair which was on loan from singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson. Four years later, The Who‘s drummer Keith Moon would die in the same flat.[13]

She was entombed in Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

After Elliot’s death, her younger sister, Leah Kunkel, received custody of Cass’ daughter Owen, then just seven years old. Kunkel is also a singer and was charted in 1984 as a member of the Coyote Sisters on the single “Straight From The Heart (Into Your Life).” Kunkel was interviewed by VH1 in 1997 and discussed her famous sister for the “Mamas & Papas” episode of the network’s documentary series Behind The Music.

Mama Cass, Mary Travers and Joni Mitchell together, “I Shall Be Released”

Immediately after her death, gossip columns speculated that Elliot died choking on a ham sandwich. Speaking to the press shortly after her body was discovered, the police noted that a partly eaten sandwich had been found in her room and speculated that she may have choked while eating it. When the coroner’s autopsy was performed, no food was found in her trachea and the cause of death was determined to have been a heart attack.[12] But by then, the specious story was already making the rounds and the real cause of death was rarely discussed. The incorrect story has remained a part of the popular culture.

The song “Mama, I Remember You Now” by the Swedish artist Marit Bergman is a tribute to Elliot. She was the subject of a 2004 stage production in Dublin,[14] The Songs of Mama Cass, with Kristin Kapelli performing main vocals. The Crosby, Stills & Nash Greatest Hits album released in 2005 was dedicated to Cass Elliot. The British film Beautiful Thing heavily features her recordings, and the memory of her, plays a role in the life of one character.

The Mamas and The Papas, “California Dreamin'”

Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers cited The Mamas & the Papas, and especially Elliot as an influence, in an interview for Rolling Stone. He said: “There have been times when I’ve been very down and out in my life, and the sound of her voice has sort of given me a reason to want to carry on.”[15] Boy George and k.d. lang also cited Elliot as an influence.[16] George described her as “the greatest white female singer ever”.[17] Beth Ditto, the Gossip band singer, named Elliot both as music and fashion inspiration, saying, “I really wanted to sound like Mama Cass growing up.”[18][19]

Elliot’s recording of “Make Your Own Kind of Music” is featured prominently in several episodes of seasons 2 and 3 of Lost. Her recording of “It’s Getting Better” was also featured in a season 4 episode.

The autobiographical hit single “Creeque Alley“, written by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, contains the line, “And no one’s getting fat except Mama Cass”.

Since her death, Elliot and the circumstances surrounding her death have been the butt of numerous jokes in comedy routines, movies, and songs, by performers such as Frank Zappa, Adam Sandler,[20] Denis Leary, Mike Myers (in the first Austin Powers movie), TISM, Jack Black, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Robin Williams, Foetus and others.

Quick Bio Facts:

The song “Mama, I Remember You Now” by the Swedish artist Marit Bergman is a tribute to Elliot. She was the subject of a 2004 stage production in Dublin,[14] The Songs of Mama Cass, with Kristin Kapelli performing main vocals. The Crosby, Stills & Nash Greatest Hits album released in 2005 was dedicated to Cass Elliot. The British film Beautiful Thing heavily features her recordings, and the memory of her, plays a role in the life of one character.

Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers cited The Mamas & the Papas, and especially Elliot as an influence, in an interview for Rolling Stone. He said: “There have been times when I’ve been very down and out in my life, and the sound of her voice has sort of given me a reason to want to carry on.”[15] Boy George and k.d. lang also cited Elliot as an influence.[16] George described her as “the greatest white female singer ever”.[17] Beth Ditto, the Gossip band singer, named Elliot both as music and fashion inspiration, saying, “I really wanted to sound like Mama Cass growing up.”[18][19]

Elliot’s recording of “Make Your Own Kind of Music” is featured prominently in several episodes of seasons 2 and 3 of Lost. Her recording of “It’s Getting Better” was also featured in a season 4 episode.

The autobiographical hit single “Creeque Alley“, written by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, contains the line, “And no one’s getting fat except Mama Cass”.

Since her death, Elliot and the circumstances surrounding her death have been the butt of numerous jokes in comedy routines, movies, and songs, by performers such as Frank Zappa, Adam Sandler,[20] Denis Leary, Mike Myers (in the first Austin Powers movie), TISM, Jack Black, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Robin Williams, Foetus and others.

Quick Bio Facts:

The song “Mama, I Remember You Now” by the Swedish artist Marit Bergman is a tribute to Elliot. She was the subject of a 2004 stage production in Dublin,[14] The Songs of Mama Cass, with Kristin Kapelli performing main vocals. The Crosby, Stills & Nash Greatest Hits album released in 2005 was dedicated to Cass Elliot. The British film Beautiful Thing heavily features her recordings, and the memory of her, plays a role in the life of one character.

Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers cited The Mamas & the Papas, and especially Elliot as an influence, in an interview for Rolling Stone. He said: “There have been times when I’ve been very down and out in my life, and the sound of her voice has sort of given me a reason to want to carry on.”[15] Boy George and k.d. lang also cited Elliot as an influence.[16] George described her as “the greatest white female singer ever”.[17] Beth Ditto, the Gossip band singer, named Elliot both as music and fashion inspiration, saying, “I really wanted to sound like Mama Cass growing up.”[18][19]

Elliot’s recording of “Make Your Own Kind of Music” is featured prominently in several episodes of seasons 2 and 3 of Lost. Her recording of “It’s Getting Better” was also featured in a season 4 episode.

The autobiographical hit single “Creeque Alley“, written by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, contains the line, “And no one’s getting fat except Mama Cass”.

Since her death, Elliot and the circumstances surrounding her death have been the butt of numerous jokes in comedy routines, movies, and songs, by performers such as Frank Zappa, Adam Sandler,[20] Denis Leary, Mike Myers (in the first Austin Powers movie), TISM, Jack Black, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Robin Williams, Foetus and others.

Quick Bio Facts:

Mama CassMama Cass AKA Ellen Naomi Cohen

Born: 19-Sep1941
Birthplace: Baltimore, MD
Died: 29-Jul1974
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Mount Sinai Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA

Gender: Female
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Singer

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The Mamas and the Papas

Husband: James Hendricks (musician, m. 1963, div. 1968)
Daughter: Owen Vanessa (b. 26-Apr-1967, out of wedlock)
Husband: Donald von Wiedenman (journalist, m. 1971, div. 1971)

High School: (dropped out)

The Mamas and the Papas 1965-68
Tonsillectomy
Autopsy

TELEVISION
The Ray Stevens Show 1970

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Pufnstuf (May-1970)
Monterey Pop (26-Dec-1968)

Official Website:
http://www.casselliot.com/

Albums

Single

  • 1968: “Dream a Little Dream of Me” (Mama Cass with the Mamas & the Papas) – US #12 Pop/#2 AC, UK #11
  • 1968: “California Earthquake” – US #67
  • 1969: “Move in a Little Closer, Baby” – US #58 Pop/#32 AC
  • 1969: “It’s Getting Better” – US #30 Pop/#13 AC, UK #8
  • 1969: “Make Your Own Kind of Music” – US #36 Pop/#6 AC
  • 1970: “New World Coming” – US #42 Pop/#4 AC
  • 1970: “A Song That Never Comes” – US #99 Pop/#25 AC
  • 1970: “The Good Times Are Coming” – US #104 Pop/#19 AC
  • 1970: “Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By” – US #110 Pop/#34 AC