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Crispian St. Peters 1939 - 2010

Posted by Whitmore, June 15, 2010 11:38am | Post a Comment
cripian st. peters, pop music, the beatles, the pied piper, we five, decca records, england swings, the 1960's, british invasion, you were on my mind, youtube, obituary
I’ve always had a soft spot for Crispian St. Peters, the 1960’s English pop star with a lilting, lyrical, tenor voice who passed away last week at the age of 71.
 
Born Robin Peter Smith in Swanley, Kent, England, on April 5th, 1939, as a youngster he performed in a variety of local bands such as The Hard Travellers, The Two Tones and The Country Gentlemen. In 1965 after being discovered by David Nicolson, an EMI publicist, he was signed to Decca as a solo recording act. At first his new stage name was to be Crispin Blacke, but after a bit of a tussle, the name Crispian St. Peters was settled upon and simultaneously, five years was deducted from Robin Peter Smith’s age.
 
His first couple of releases however, though good, went nowhere and nowhere fast. But it was his oddly england swings, crispian st. peters, the neatles, john  lennon, the 1960's, british invasion, you were on my mind, youtube, obituarysoulful cover of “You Were On My Mind,” a song which had been a million seller in the United States for the We Five, that broke him into the big time and the top ten in England and Europe. But the follow up single in 1966, “The Pied Piper,” became his biggest international hit, soaring into the top five or hitting the number one spot though out Europe, North America and Asia.
 
Originally recorded by The Changin' Times, “The Pied Piper” was written by Steve Duboff and Artie Kornfeld, though the St. Peters’ version modified the lyrics slightly, perhaps helping the groovy, England swings quotient. The line "I'll show you where life's at" was changed to the much hipper "I'll show you where it's at." A slight side note, Artie Kornfeld also wrote the song "Deadman's Curve"(with Brian Wilson & Jan Berry) for Jan & Dean and the 1967 hit by the Cowsills “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things.” Kornfeld, in his early twenties, also became the vice president of Capitol Records, the youngest to hold such a position. But in 1969, Kornfeld left Capitol Records for what he is most known for, creating the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival.
 
crispian st. peters, ngland swings, the 1960's, british invasion, you were on my mind, youtube, obituaryIn the late sixties John Lennon was quoted as saying that Crispian St. Peters’ “The Pied Piper” was one of his favorite songs.
 
Unfortunately one of the lasting images of Crispian St. Peters, while under the slippery guidance of David Nicolson, will always be his brief transformation into an arrogant arse. The only problem was, really, Crispian St. Peters was just twenty years ahead of his time. He literally scared the hell out of the era’s conservative British music press when he suggested that he’d written some 80 songs better than anything The Beatles could write and that he was greater than Elvis Presley. He even called himself the Cassius Clay of pop, but god forbid, St. Peters probably went too far when he said he was sexier than Dave Berry. Later he said it was all just flippantly done tongue-in-cheek, just some good old rawkin’ fun.
 
After the success of "The Pied Piper” St. Peters only had a couple of other charting singles, mostly skimming the bottom of the charts. Briefly in the early seventies he reinvented himself as a country-and-western performer, but later, St. Peters found constant and continued popularity working on the Sixties nostalgia circuit, while occasionally putting out some new recordings.
 
He had a series of health problems. In January 1995, at the age of 56, he suffered a stroke, which eventually led to him being confined to a wheel chair. Over the years he suffered several nervous breakdowns and battled emphysema. His last major public performance was in 1999 and in 2001 he announced his retirement from the music industry. In 2003 he was hospitalized several times with pneumonia.
 
Like I said, I’ve always liked his work; he was also a great songwriter, though he released very few self penned singles. Crispian St. Peters was divorced and is survived by his son Lee, daughter Samantha and a grandson.
 
 
 
 

Lena Horne 1917 - 2010

Posted by Whitmore, May 10, 2010 12:05pm | Post a Comment
Lena Horne
 
Lena Horne, the legendary jazz singer, icon of American popular music and award winning actress -- and as far as I’m concerned, one of the most captivating women ever to walk this planet -- died yesterday, Sunday, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She was 92. Called "one of the incomparable performers of our time," she was best known for her plaintive signature song "Stormy Weather" from the film of the same name and her starring roles in such pictures as Cabin in the Sky, Panama Hattie, and The Wiz.
 
Horne had an easy, sultry singing voice, insanely beautiful, and her compelling sex appeal may have at first overshadowed her talents, but she wasn’t just another pretty face. When she signed with MGM Pictures, she was among the handful of black actors to have a contract with a major Hollywood studio, though it was never easy. Her life long battle against bigotry took its psychic toll; Horne was perpetually frustrated with the public humiliation of racism. A pivotal moment took place in 1945 as she entertained at an Army base in Europe and saw that German prisoners of war were seated up front while black American lena Hornesoldiers were relegated to the back. She worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws. Her involvement in various social and political organizations and her friendship with Paul Robeson, who was just as well known as a singer as for his communist leanings, had Horne’s name placed on the era’s blacklists during the red scare witch hunts of the early 1950’s and the age of Joseph McCarthy.
 
Born Lena Mary Calhoun Horne in Brooklyn on June 30, 1917, she dropped out of school at 16 to help support her family. She joined the chorus line at the Cotton Club, the mythical Harlem night spot where the entertainers were black and the clientele white. By the spring of 1934, she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade. She left the club in 1935 to tour with Noble Sissle's orchestra, then billed as Helena Horne. Horne was also one of the first black performers hired to sing with a major white band when she joined Charlie Barnet's orchestra in 1940. She was the first black performer to play the Copacabana nightclub in New York City.
 
In 1943, MGM Studios loaned her to 20th Century-Fox to play the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black movie musical Stormy Weather. Her rendition of the title song became a major hit and put her name center stage for the next several decades.
 Lena Horne
Horne became one of the most visible celebrities in the civil rights movement of the late 50’s and 1960’s. She made headlines for once throwing a lamp, an ashtray and several glasses at a customer who made a racial slur in a Beverly Hills restaurant, bloodying the man's forehead. In 1963 Horne joined with some 250,000 others in the March on Washington, D.C. when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. That same year Horne spoke at a NAACP rally with another civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, just the weekend before his assassination.
 
In the early 1970’s Horne went into seclusion. In a period of just over a year, her father, son and husband all died. She became too grief-stricken to perform or even see anyone but her closest friends. Oddly enough, comedian Alan King was the one who convinced her to return to the stage and public life.
 
Horne had her first big Broadway success as the star of  Jamaica in 1957, but in 1981, for her one-woman Broadway show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, she won a special Tony Award and the 333 performances still hold the record for the longest-running solo performance in Broadway history. In it, she sang two versions -- one straight and the other gut-wrenching -- of "Stormy Weather" to give audiences a glimpse of the spiritual odyssey she had taken in of her five-plus decade long career. In 1984 she was Kennedy Center Honors recipient for extraordinary talent, creativity, and perseverance. And of her four Grammy Awards, the one she received in 1989 was the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.



Alex Chilton Dead at 59

Posted by Whitmore, March 17, 2010 11:30pm | Post a Comment

alex chilton
Alex Chilton (December 28, 1950 - March 17, 2010).
Legendary music icon known for his work in the 1960’s with the chart topping Box Tops and his ground breaking band Big Star is dead from an apparent heart attack in a New Orleans hospital. He was 59.

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Walter Fredrick Morrison 1920 – 2010

Posted by Whitmore, February 12, 2010 11:59am | Post a Comment
Frisbee inventor
The man credited with inventing the Frisbee, Walter Fredrick Morrison, died this past Tuesday. He was 90 years old and passed away at his home in Monroe, Utah. He had been battling cancer.

A former pilot during the Second World War, flying a P-47 Thunderbolt in Italy, where he was briefly a P.O.W., Morrison applied his knowledge of aerodynamics to tinker with the pie tins he was tossing on the beaches of Santa Monica with his future wife, Lu. In 1946 Morrison sketched out a design of a flying disc object he then called the Whirlo-Way. Two years later in 1948 Morrison found an investor, Warren Franscioni, who paid for molding the design in plastic, christening the new toy the Flyin-Saucer, (the previous year, 1947, was a big year for UFO sightings, with Roswell and Mt. Rainer/Maury Island incidents.) By 1954, Morrison found he could produce his own discs. With the help of his wife and further upgrades on the design they developed the Pluto Platter, the prototype of all modern flying discs. He would sell the discs at local fairs and dime stores, eventually the disc came to the attention of Wham-O Manufacturing. On January 23, 1957, Morrison sold the production and manufacturing rights for the Pluto Platter to Wham-O. Initially Wham-O marketed the disc as the Pluto Platter, but by 1958 they adopted the name Frisbee, the name college students in New England were calling the discs. The new official name referenced the Frisbie Pie Co., a local bakery whose empty pie tins were often tossed around like a Pluto Platter.

Five decades later, sales have surpassed 200 million discs, it is now a part of the landscape at beaches, parks, college campuses and rooftops world wide, spawning sports like Frisbee golf, and team sports like Goaltimate and Ultimate. An official disc golf course at Creekside Park in the Salt Lake City suburb of Holladay is named for Walter Morrison.

In 2001 Morrison co-wrote a book with Frisbee enthusiast and historian Phil Kennedy.

Walter Fredrick Morrison is survived by his three children and four grandchildren. The family is planning a service for Morrison's friends and relatives Saturday at the Cowboy Corral in Elsinore.

J.D. Salinger 1919 - 2010

Posted by Whitmore, January 29, 2010 10:55am | Post a Comment
Every obituary for J.D. Salinger, who died yesterday at the age of 91, will inevitably mention that he was a celebrated author and an enigmatic recluse who detested the spotlight. He was the Garbo of letters so too J.D. Salinger obituaryspeak, whose first novel, The Catcher in the Rye, published in 1951, is an anthem of adolescent angst and youthful rebellion, and in the 1980’s a couple of sociopathic assholes claimed they read something into the book that doesn’t exist, which drove their actions. A few obits might also mention that Salinger was a big fan of Ring Lardner and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alfred Hitchcock, W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers and even psychic Edgar Cayce. But Salinger lives. His novels' popularity obviously endures today. His books continue to sell, Catcher alone sells more than 250,000 copies a year in paperback, as do his other books, Nine Stories, and two compilations, and possibly his very best writing, about the fictional Glass family-- Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.
 
As for me, here's something I'll add, Salinger wrote one of my all time favorite lines, I ate it up as a kid and even memorized it: “If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the 'Fuck you' signs in the world. It's impossible.”
 
Here are some other quotes from J.D. Salinger:
 
 “I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.”
 
“I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible.”
 
“All morons hate it when you call them a moron.”
 
“If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late? Nobody.”
 
“Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior.”
 
“Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.”
 
“I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.”
 
“Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”
 The Catcher in the Rye
“Grand. There's a word I really hate. It's a phoney. I could puke every time I hear it.”
 
“I'm sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.”
 
“It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they'll do practically anything you want them to.”
 
“It was a very stupid thing to do, I'll admit, but I hardly didn't even know I was doing it.”
 
“You take somebody that cries their goddam eyes out over phoney stuff in the movies, and nine times out of ten they're mean bastards at heart.”
 
“It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road.”
 
“Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad.”
 
“In my mind, I'm probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw.”
“Sex is something I really don't understand too hot. You never know where the hell you are. I keep making up these sex rules for myself, and then I break them right away. Last year I made a rule that I was going to quit horsing around with girls that, deep down, gave me a pain in the ass. I broke it, though, the same week I made it -- the same night, as a matter of fact.”
 
“People always clap for the wrong things.”
 J.D. Sakinger cover of Time
“I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've, too, if I'd been sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory.”
 
“It's no fun to be yellow. Maybe I'm not all yellow. I don't know. I think maybe I'm just partly yellow and partly the type that doesn't give much of a damn if they lose their gloves.”
 
“Catholics are always trying to find out if you're Catholic.”
 
“Take most people, they're crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they're always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand-new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that's even newer. I don't even like old cars. I mean they don't even interest me. I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake.”
 
‘Anyway, I'm sort of glad they've got the atomic bomb invented. If there's ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of it. I'll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will.
It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they'll do practically anything you want them to.”
 
‘That's the nice thing about carousels, they always play the same songs.”

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