Sad news to pass along. After a long battle with leukemia, it has been announced that the legendary singer Etta James has died at the age of 73. The storied American blues, soul, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, gospel, and jazz singer’s terminal illness was originally diagnosed with leukemia back in 2010, and finally succumbed to the illness with her husband, Artis Mills, and her sons by her side.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, James began formal vocal training at age five, participating in her local Baptist Church’s choir, and by age 14 she had a number one hit in 1955 with her doo-wop band, Peaches, entitled “The Wallflower (Dance With Me, Henry).” James signed to Argo Records in 1960 under which she released her two most lauded albums, At Last! and The Second Time Around. Her two most highly-regarded songs are “At Last,” released in 1961, and “I’d Rather Go Blind,” released in 1968.
Over her illustrious career, James released 30 albums and 58 singles, despite battling a heroin addiction in the 1960s and ’70s. James won six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards, and was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as #22 on the 100 Greatest Singers Of All Time list and #62 on their 100 Greatest Artists list. James was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008.
Her timeless work has been noted as a primary influence by artists like Adele, Kanye West (who sampled her take on “My Funny Valentine” for his song “Addiction”) and Beyoncé, who portrayed James in the 2008 film Cadillac Records. Beyoncé even performed “At Last” during the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama in 2009. Even today, her voice is all over pop radio: Her vocals from the song “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” have been sampled by both Avicii (“Levels”) and Flo Rida (“Good Feeling”) for the choruses of their wildly popular songs.
Etta James was truly a music legend, and will be remembered and revered always for her soul shaking vocals and talent as singer, performer and songwriter.
Singing legend Etta James dies at 73 [CNN]
[Photos: Getty Images]
Scars of 45 let their beauty run wild at VH1 headquarters when they came to our offices late last year and played a short set for us. Our featured You Oughta Know artist this month, Scars on 45 dropped by to share their unassuming, sentimental, guitar-driven music with us. One of our favorite numbers was “Beauty’s Running Wild” (watch the video below), which got the band some much deserved attention when it was featured on an episode of CSI: New York last year. Our photographer, Colin Gray, followed the band around while they were visiting and managed to grab some candid moments on film for us…
Want to relive all of the highlights of VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul? There sure were plenty of ‘em!
It was incredibly difficult choosing between the hundreds of pictures that we took of this year’s extravaganza, but we managed to narrow down the list to our 30 favorite pictures and conveniently grouped them together for you in this special VH1 DIVAS Photo Gallery. In it, you’ll find incredible photos of DIVAS like Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and many more. There’s also a few great shots of the legendary Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah, both of whom are starring in the upcoming film Joyful Noise, which will be coming to a multiplex near you on January 13.
VH1 DIVAS Flipbook [VH1.com]
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]
Hey, have you heard the news? VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul is premiering tonight on VH1 at 9 p.m. ET, and take it from us (because we were there): It is a DOOZY of a show. However, what we’re going to share with you right now isn’t something that you’re going to see tonight. Our VH1 Tuner photographer extraordinaire, Miss Lauren Deiman, was the ONLY photographer on hand during yesterday afternoon’s dress rehearsals at midtown Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom, and she was able to capture these stunning images of world class talents like Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson, and Jessie J practicing their performances one final time before the big show kicked off. Enjoy this exclusive and truly intimated look behind the scenes of VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul.
VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul is set to air this Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/8 CT, only on VH1. Yesterday was the first day of rehearsals at midtown Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom, and we here at VH1 Tuner were the only people on hand to not only catch some of the biggest names in music practicing their big numbers, but also spending some quality time bonding. Our ace photographer, Lauren Deiman, grabbed the following shots of stars like Florence Welch (of Florence + The Machine fame), Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, current You Oughta Know artist Sharon Jones, Marsha Ambrosius, Estelle, Ledisi, and last but by no means least, Motown legend Martha Reeves.
We can’t wait for you to see the whole show, it’s gonna be AMAZING. But for now, here’s a sneak peek at the this year’s outstanding DIVAS show.
Dynamic duo Karmin popped by the VH1 studios for a hang, and it was as vibrant, colorful and fun filled as you would expect from Karmin! Our photographer, Colin Gray, followed the pair around and got plenty of snaps of them goofing off (after the jump). We were also lucky enough to be able to head behind the scenes for the shoot of their new video “Crash Your Party,” which is Karmin’s first ever professionally-shot clip, and the two appear in awe of the whole process, saying, “only 6 months ago we were just in our living room making home videos!” Well, home videos no longer — Karmin are about to hit the big time!
The 2012 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will include hard rock veterans Guns N’ Roses, funk-rock stalwarts Red Hot Chili Peppers, bratty hooligans turned socially conscious hip hoppers the Beastie Boys, trippy sixties folk singer Donovan, English blues rockers Faces/The Small Faces, and the pioneering female folkster Laura Nyro. These groups will all be inducted during a ceremony held this April, one that promises to be one of the most emotionally charged and exciting RRHOF events in recent memory.
We’re speaking, of course, primarily of the tumultuous relationship between W. Axl Rose and (most of) the former members of Guns N’ Roses, a band whose explosive brand of hard rock changed the face of not only the Sunset Strip sound of the mid-80s, but also propelled them into a short reign as the World’s Best Band around the time of Appetite For Destruction/G N’R Lies/Use Your Illusion I and II. Thanks to a potent combination of too much fame, too much money, and too many drugs, the group imploded after a disastrous two-plus year world tour that concluded in 1993, and most of the band members have not performed together since. Axl addressed this issue on a recent episode of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show, noting that he has mended some fences with bassist Duff McKagan and rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, but also intimated that he and Saul “Slash” Hudson are not on what anyone would describe as speaking terms. Can they put aside their differences for one evening, and maybe perform a few tracks? That, my friends, is likely a question that not even Hall organizers will have an answer to until the night of the ceremony.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Hall of Fame if every act nominated got in. To that end, this year’s snubs include The Cure, Eric B. & Rakim, Joan Jett, Heart, and the artist that you, the VH1 Tuner readers, voted as being most-worthy of induction into the Hall this year, Donna Summer. It’s not over yet, though, guys! Just ask Alice Cooper, who was passed over for 15 years until being inducted on his 16th go-round last year.
Congrats to all of this year’s nominees; see you in April!
Daughtry visited our New York offices to hang out and perform as part of VH1′s Top 20 Live (all the while being captured on film by our photographer Lauren Weissler). The band played an awesome acoustic set, including a raw, powerful cover of The Black Crowes’ “She Talks To Angels”. And they also gave us sparkling renditions of their own songs, in an atmospheric, intimate setting. One of your favorites was their new single, “Crawling Back To You,” which you can watch below.
The nominees for the 2012 Grammy Awards—seventy-eight categories worth, if you’re counting at home!—were announced last night. Four of those categories (Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist) were announced live on CBS during a star-studded concert, featuring performances by the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, The Band Perry and more. If you happened to go to bed early or decided to watch American Horror Story instead, we’re here to help. Rather than plead ignorance when your co-workers ask you for your thoughts on the nominations, we’ve come up with this list of eight handy conversation starters to get you going. No, we’re not focusing on boring things like who got the most nominations in this post (if you want that stuff, no worries, we’ve got you covered); instead, we’re gonna give you a kickstart for some things that are actually fun to discuss, like whether or not Lady Gaga was doing dressed like a cross between a Cobra Kai member and Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, if Kanye West is going to go ballistic again after being snubbed in the Album of the Year category, and deciphering what exactly a Skrillex is. Enjoy, and happy watercoolering.
[Photos: Getty Images]
Taylor Swift has been blazing across the country on her Speak Now tour, and in her warm, earnest way, she’s been welcoming city-specific guests to share the stage with her while she pays unique tributes to all the towns she visits. And now, on the final leg of her tour, Taylor is in that town, New York City, and the opportunities for tributes and guests are almost endless. For her first New York show last night at Madison Square Garden, Taylor played “one of the greatest songs ever written,” The Goo Goo Dolls‘ “Iris,” with the band’s frontman Johnny Rzeznik. With one last show set to light up the Garden tonight, we’re speculating who of the New York set will join Taylor on stage. Will it be a Strokes affair? Mother Monster? Or a spectral visitor from the afterlife?
Who did we miss? We want to hear your thoughts!
[Photos: Lauren Deiman/Getty Images]