News Of Amy Winehouse’s Passing Continues To Ripple Through Community Of Performers, Fans

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Ever since news broke that Amy Winehouse had been found dead at 27, the outpouring of grief (including dozens of comments on our announcement) has been a stark reminder of how much, and to how many people, Winehouse continued to matter as an artist. Fans have left tribute comments not only on Winehouse’s own videos on YouTube, but also barely-related ones like Britney Spears’s “If You Seek Amy,” just because they’re looking for any outlet to grieve. As we noted earlier, a range of performers voiced tribute on Twitter, but for some, 140 characters wasn’t enough.

Big Boi shared a previously unreleased Dungeon Family remix of her song “Tears Dry On Their Own”:

Another musical tribute came courtesy of M.I.A., who’d recorded a demo of a tribute to friends who’d died at 27, and when she heard about Amy Winehouse, tweeted a link to the (unfinished and unreleased) track as a tribute to Winehouse, yet another friend who’d passed at that age:

Several performers blogged touching tributes. Adele‘s “Amy Flies in Paradise xx”, praised the way in which both her sheer talent and her unwillingness to compromise led to a minor sea change in British pop: “Amy paved the way for artists like me and made people excited about British music again whilst being fearlessly hilarious and blas? about the whole thing. I don?t think she ever realised just how brilliant she was and how important she is, but that just makes her even more charming.”

And although the autopsy has just begun today, and toxicology reports will take weeks, the popular consensus is that Winehouse’s death was caused, directly or indirectly, by her struggles with addiction. Dr. Drew tweeted, “SO sad, another lost to addiction. A reminder this is often a fatal condition. Recovery is possible, but sadly not for Amy Winehouse.” But perhaps the most touching tribute on this subject comes from Russell Brand, a fellow performer who famously struggled with issues of addiction. His post For Amy, about the inevitability of one of two types of “the phone call,” is a must-read. We recommend you click through to it, but the multitude of hits has swamped his site, so just in case you can’t get through, we’ve reposted his tribute in its entirety below.

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Jay-Z And Kanye West Are “The Throne”; Watch Them On Tour This Fall

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Fueled by the exuberant response to last week’s premiere of “Otis,” (a marked departure from the mixed reviews “H.A.M.” got in January,) Jay-Z and Kanye West have announced that their Watch the Throne collaboration has a name?fittingly, The Throne?and that the duo will be touring together this fall to support the album. Tickets for the tour dates will go on sale the same day that the album becomes available for digital purchase: Monday, August 8, and online ticket purchases will come with a copy of the album. The Throne must not be too concerned with first-week album sales, because any albums that come with a ticket purchase won’t count towards their sales total. Then again, The Throne will probably hit #1 on the Billboard charts even without these “sales.”

Full list of confirmed tour dates below (with more likely to be added).
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Sneak 30 Seconds of The Script’s New Music Video, “Nothing”

by (@Lacezilla)

Unless you’re an android, breakups are never easy. Although a bit tumultuous, The Script’s first video from Science & Faith was predominantly romantic and lovey-dovey (which matched with the song’s themes). But for the album’s second single, it seems the the Irish imports decided to go in a different direction.

A boys night out gets a little sloppy when lead singer Danny O’Donaghue drunkenly exits a bar with his loyal bandmates behind him. Stumbling and wasted, Danny surfs the wave of intoxication, screaming the lovesick lyrics to “Nothing” down the street to his (presumable) recent ex, who in this clip, doesn’t appear to be present. And hey, we’ve all been guilty of engaging in or receiving such behavior before, right? Drunk dialing, bitter Facebook posts, longing latenight email drafts… it happens! But what will come of the boys’ debauchery-ridden evening, Script fans? Come back on Thursday morning to see, when we’ll have the exclusive premiere for the full “Nothing” video here for you.

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Amy Winehouse Dead At 27

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“Rehab” singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment today. The cause has not yet been determined. For those who have followed her longstanding battle with depression, eating disorders and substance abuse (a constant source of fodder for tabloids), this sad news may not come as a huge surprise. In August of 2007, Amy came close to death after overdosing on a cocktail of heroin, ecstasy and cocaine – and later that year was found wondering barefoot outside in nothing but a bra and jeans. These incidents were preceded by Amy’s marriage in May of 2007 to Blake Fielder-Civil, who was quoted by a British tabloid as saying he introduced Amy to heroin and crack cocaine. Earlier that same year, Amy performed for VH1 Unplugged. Blake and Amy divorced in 2009.

The singer dominated the 2008 Grammys with five awards for Back to Black, her sophomore album, winning in the categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Known for her singular voice and unorthodox retro look (tattoos, extreme cat-eye makeup and beehive hairdo), Amy is said to have paved the way for artists who wouldn’t previously have fit into the mainstream. Lady Gaga, for one, famously told AOL: “Because of Amy, very strange girls like me go to prom with very good-looking guys. She’s a different kind of woman. I don’t believe that what I do is very digestible, and somehow Amy was the flu for pop music.” Regardless of whether this is true, Winehouse certainly seemed to pave the way for fellow British songbirds Adele and Duffy, both of whom share Amy’s ’60s soul vibe.

In June, YouTube videos surfaced of an intoxicated and discombobulated-looking Winehouse forgetting her own lyrics and getting booed off stage in the first stop of a European tour, which subsequently had to be canceled. Amy was reportedly working on a third album. She joins a long list of musicians who have died at 27. A phenomenon known as The 27 Club, Brian Jones, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain are among those who died at the same age. Let her legend begin.

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Shearer’s Spotlight: Early Favorites For The 2011 Video Music Awards

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Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer?s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

The nominations for the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards were announced this week, and here are three categories that I?ll be paying particularly close attention to:

1.) VIDEO OF THE YEAR
?Rolling In The Deep,? Adele
?Yonkers,? Tyler The Creator
?Firework,? Katy Perry
?Grenade,? Bruno Mars
?Make Some Noise,? Beastie Boys

If you?re going to hand out an award based purely on song alone, than Adele?s ?Rolling In The Deep? will have no problem winning. Video-wise, ?Make Some Noise? seems to be the most eye-catching clip of the bunch. I?m not thrilled with the other three nominees: the poignancy of Katy Perry?s ?Firework? evaporates once sparklers start exploding from her bosoms; Tyler The Creator?s ?Yonkers? video is Nine Inch Nails-lite, and Bruno Mars? ?Grenade? lacks the bigness to be distinguished as Video of the Year (although I do give him props for dragging that piano all around town).

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Tearin’ Up My Heart: The Top Five Emotive Music Video Performances

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Demi Lovato unleashes the waterworks in the video for her new single “Skyscraper” (which just debuted at #10 in the Billboard Hot 100)?a rare appearance of tears in a video that is about overcoming a struggle. (More often, the performer in such a song is the supportive voice for a crying actor, as Pink does for Tina Majorino‘s character in the video for “F?king Perfect.”) Of course, despite plenty of crossover into film and television by musical artists, singers are not usually the most emotive actors in their videos. Here are five notable exceptions:


5. Demi Lovato “Don’t Forget”
“Skyscraper” is the big single today, but in the video for her 2009 single “Don’t Forget,” co-written by the Jonas Brothers, Lovato gets out of the rain, only to shed a tear over the lost love she sings about.

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Last Lap: Thursday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

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New Feist Album Coming Soon…We Think
You Oughta Know alum Feist has launched the first in what appears to be a series of teaser videos for her upcoming album. The audio is extremely compressed, but we’re still curious. [listentofeist.com, via Pitchfork]

Part 1 Of Eli Porter Documentary The People’s Champion Premieres
Remember “Iron Mic: Eli Porter vs. Envy”? The high-school freestyle-battle clip went viral in 2008 and became so well-known that Kanye mentioned it in his “H.A.M.” verse (“like Eli, I did it”)?but no one really knew much about where the clip came from…until now. This 33-minute segment explains the production of the iconic rap-battle video in thrilling detail (although the line-by-line exegesis of Porter’s rap drags a bit). [Vimeo]

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Bruno Mars And Phil Lawrence Shill For PopChips, Adorably, With “Love Gone Sour”

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Bruno Mars and songwriting collaborator Phil Lawrence sing a slow jam for Sour Cream & Onion PopChips in an ad either shot backstage at a venue, or designed to look like it was. The uploaders missed the first lesson of viral advertising: don’t let viewers know it’s an ad (the handle “popchipsfans” is kind of a dead giveaway)?but we’re big enough Weird Al fans that we’ll watch pretty much any joke video about food, even if its chorus happens to be “Sour cream & onion, I love the way you taste/ Sour cream & onion, I want you all over my face.” If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “What if Boyz II Men were singing about making love to snack food?”, then this clip is definitely for you.

Bruno Mars Serenades His ‘Greatest Love’: Watch [Billboard]

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Playful Rihanna Is Not Above Groping (Or Getting Groped By) Her Fans [PHOTOS]

by (@unclegrambo)

As we witnessed earlier today when they took to Twitter to complain about the VMA nominations, Rihanna has a very strong and incredibly vocal group of fans. How does one cultivate such a fan base, exactly? Of course, there’s no exact formula, but one such way is by hitting the road and playing live for the people that love you most. And on her Get Loud tour this summer, Rihanna has stepped her game up a notch.

Not only is she bringing the goods when it comes to her live performances, but she’s got her social media game on point. Witness Rihanna’s Facebook page, where she has posted close to 1,300 pictures (!) she’s taken with fans during Loud meet and greets. Unlike a lot of other superstars who begrudgingly perform these duties with a frown on their face, RiRi clearly seems to be having fun interacting with her friends, grabbing body parts and, shockingly, letting her own body parts be grabbed. Check out our gallery of a dozen Rihanna fans who will never forget the night that they got groped by (or copped a feel of) Rihanna!

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No Doubt Bring Major Lazer To Jamaica Studio For Final Stages Of Recording New Album

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No Doubt are way past ready to finish their new album. After writing songs and recording demos on and off for nearly three years, the band committed in earnest to getting everything on tape in 2011. As of last month the band had completed a number of songs and was previewing a couple for Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone. Since then, they’ve all holed up in a studio in Jamaica, including multi-instrumentalist and touring member Gabriel McNair (far left in the above picture), for what they hope will be the home stretch of recording.

Last night they shared the above photo on Twitter, revealing that in addition to the production of Mark “Spike” Stent, they’ve recruited production team (and artists in their own right) Major Lazer, also known as Diplo (center, in plaid) and Switch (second from right, with the Fred Perry polo). As Major Lazer, they’ve produced for Beyonc? (“Run the World (Girls)”) among others, and they have plenty of other credits to their names individually. Who knows what sound the duo will be bringing to the table with No Doubt? One thing’s for sure: they will probably try to record more dancehall MCs for Major Lazer’s sophomore effort, since they’re already in Jamaica?on someone else’s dime, no less. We are very excited to hear No Doubt’s new album, which will, with any luck, come out later this year.

Major Lazer in the Studio With No Doubt [Pitchfork]