Just because you’re a famous musician doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to do whatever you want. The power of a record contract keeps musicians in check, and sometimes forcing them to do things they’d rather not. From Van Morrison to the Strokes; David Bowie to the Rolling Sones; Marvin Gaye to Meat Loaf, some of the biggest musicians of all time have been forced by duty (and the risk of being sued!) to make albums to fulfil their contractual obligations.
We’ve offered up many reminders that rock ‘n’ roll has more than its fair share of occupational hazards, from plane crashes, drug overdoses, murders, freak accidents, and even stage mishaps. Tragically, we’ve lost so many of music’s finest far too soon, but now we’d like to share their final messages with the world. Yes, these are their last words before they went up to that great gig in the sky.
After taking the lead on Avicii‘s hit single, “Wake Me Up,” Blacc is stepping out on this own in a big way. In the new music video for “The Man,” Aloe Blacc channels his inner-Marvin Gaye in a spirited video that captures the social discourse of the early ’70s. The You Oughta Know Artist sat down with VH1 in an exclusive interview to explain the powerful yet beautifully shot imagery in the video.
“This music video is an amalgamation of historic images that remind me of moments in time where there was struggle and triumph,” Blacc says of the video’s theme.
It’s been said that rock ‘n’roll is a hazardous business. Too many of music’s best and brightest have fallen victim to drug overdoses, murders, plane crashes and other unfortunate events. But then there are those deaths that are so unexpected, so unpredictable, so bizarre, that we’re left scratching our heads even after all these years.
It’s always difficult when beloved musicians pass away before their time, but it’s even more tragic when they’re taken from us with a senseless act of violence. This time of year is a particularly harsh reminder of the many artists who have been cut down in their prime, before they were able to complete their work for the world. Last Sunday marked 33 years since peace icon John Lennon was shot dead in front of his New York City apartment building, and 9 years since Pantera shredder Dimebag Darrell was gunned down in mid-performance. As if that’s not sad enough, today is the 49th anniversary of soul legend Sam Cooke’s mysterious death in a Los Angeles motel.
Nas is finally having his moment. Rolling Stones’ Anthony DeCurtis got the legendary Queens rapper to spit the first rhyme he wrote at nine or 11; he doesn’t remember the exact age. The rhymes were impeccable for a kid under the age of 18. In that moment where the poetry of the first rhyme he ever wrote rolled off his tongue, it was clear to me his destiny was to become one of the illest MCs to ever bless the mic.
New York City loves Nasir Jones. A hometown hero of sorts. Following his stellar New Year’s Eve performance at Radio City, Nas was both transparent and funny during his one-on-one conversation at NYC’s 92Y last night. While gushing over Marvin Gaye‘s Here, My Dear, which he said influenced him greatly, he joked about the similarities between himself and the late singer. “He had tax problems. I got tax problems. Still do,” he said as the audience erupted with laughter. It was the many moments like the aforementioned that broke up the “monotony of seriousness.” Read more…
“Diplo and an Orthadox Jew walk into a studio” sounds more like the opening line of an off-color joke than a surpisingly fruitful musical pairing.
While most people were likely introduced to British vocalist Alex Clare through a commercial for Internet Explorer 9 wherein his addictive single “Too Close” captivated unprepared television viewers’ eardrums, they may not have been aware that he actively studies the Talmud, has indeed collaborated with Major Lazer, or that he even used to date the late Amy Winehouse. Now happily married and tight-lipped on the latter, the electro-soul singer sat down with VH1 Tuner this week to candidly discuss the opportunity that saved his career, and the whirlwind that has been his last few months.
“I was stuck in a bit of a career rut,” remarked Clare on the period before radio would touch “Too Close,” a Mike Spencer-produced song that has since charted internationally and hit #7 on Billboard’s Hot 100 domestically. “Without [the IE9 commercial], I definitely wouldn’t be sitting here right now… No one was really listening to my music, and now people are.” It’s been quite the 180. When his debut LP The Lateness Of The Hour dropped in the UK in July of 2011, incorporating electronic elements into soul music was more rare than it is now, but Clare has since surrendered to the fact that, as we approach 2013, “everyone’s doing it.”
After taking five weeks off to observe Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot in Israel, celebrating Hanukkah while on the road is “easy” for the gritty-voiced singer who performed at Irving Plaza on Tuesday night. “Wherever you go, you just light your menorah, sing some songs, eat some donuts – happy days.” But seeing an Israeli flag lifted in the show’s crowd on that fourth day of the Festival of Lights was a first for Clare, who could only really make sense of the incident with a geographical explanation: “I guess it’s New York and there’s a lot of us here.” Despite the venue’s sound being quite a bit off, Clare’s live show showcased his versatile voice well, and he was able to execute a wide variety of covers including Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” Etta James‘ “Damn Your Eyes,” and Gyptian’s “Hold Yuh” – a version of which he was forced to re-write since an actual cover of the dancehall song would be both “inaudible and slightly obscene.”
That’s correct, according to Science aka a study done by music streamers Spotify, the Dirty Dancing soundtrack is the most arousing song selection to play during sex. And because this is Science, it is ultimately accurate and someone needs to teach these Spotify users about Sam Cooke or something. More important, men need to stop letting their ladies choose the playlist, because apparently music does not matter as much to men as it does to women in the sack. This, again, is Science:
Dirty Dancing was the top pick for both men and women, although the study’s author, music psychologist Daniel Mullensiefen, also pointed out that men are more willing to adjust their tastes in music in order to ensure “greater success in the bedroom.”
Apparently, Science becomes Science again after you’re finished with carrying watermelons and such, because the number two sex song pick is Marvin Gaye‘s “Sexual Healing”. Ravel’s “Bolero” (which sounds like this) comes afterward.
Following the tragic death of Don Cornelius today we’ve been looking back over the archives at some favorite Soul Train moments. Watching old Soul Train clips has us in awe of some of the awesome talent that joined Cornelius in the studio, and we smiled all the way through this footage of the Soul Train host playing basketball against the legendary Marvin Gaye. The two superstars act like boys in a schoolyard, playfully breaking the rules and scuffling across the court. We won’t give away the end result and ruin the above video for you — but there is a clear winner!
Once you’ve digested this video of Cornelius and Gaye going head-to-head on the court, try wrapping your head around this one — a young Ike & Tina Turner being interviewed by Cornelius! Tina dominates the conversation but is wonderfully charming, stating her favorite hobbies as “to skate, to go into the country for a while, and I like being a woman.” Recounting their meeting in St. Louis Tina smiles from ear to ear as she recalls the magical encounter, ending the story with an emphatic “pow!” You can watch the clip after the jump.