JOHN WAYNE La légende


John WAYNE: Considéré comme l’américain patriote, héroique, symbolisant à lui seul     JOHN WAYNE Marion Mitchell Morrison, dit John Wayne, né le 26 mai 1907 à Winterset dans l’Iowa, aux États…

Source : JOHN WAYNE La légende

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MERLE HAGGARD , THE STAR


Merle Ronald Haggard (born April 6, 1937) is an American country and Western songwriter, singer, guitarist, fiddler, and instrumentalist.

MERLE HAGGARD

Merle Haggard

Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster and the unique mix with the traditional country steel guitar sound, new vocal harmony styles in which the words are minimal, and a rough edge not heard on the more polished Nashville sound recordings of the same era.

 

By the 1970s, Haggard was aligned with the growing outlaw country movement, and has continued to release successful albums through the 1990s and into the 2000s. In 1994, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  In 1997, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

 

Haggard’s parents, Flossie Mae Harp and James Francis Haggard,  moved to California from their home in Checotah, Oklahoma, during the Great Depression, after their barn burned in 1934.

 

They settled with their children, Lowell and Lillian, in an apartment in Bakersfield, while James Francis Haggard started working for the Santa Fe Railroad. A woman who owned a boxcar, which was placed in Oildale, a nearby town north of Bakersfield, asked Haggard’s father about the possibility of converting it into a house. He remodeled the boxcar, and soon after moved in, also purchasing the lot, where Merle Ronald Haggard was born on April 6, 1937.

 

The property was eventually expanded by building a bathroom, a second bedroom, a kitchen and a breakfast nook in the adjacent lot.

His father died of a brain hemorrhage in 1945, an event that deeply affected Haggard during his childhood, and the rest of his life.

 

To support the family, his mother worked as a bookkeeper. His brother, Lowell, gave Haggard his used guitar as a gift when he was 12 years old. Haggard learned to play alone, with the records he had at home, influenced by Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams.

 

As his mother was absent due to work, Haggard became progressively rebellious. His mother sent him for a weekend to a juvenile detention center to change his attitude, which worsened.

Haggard committed a number of minor offences, such as thefts and writing bad checks. He was sent to a juvenile detention center for shoplifting in 1950.

Merle Haggard2

When he was 14, Haggard ran away to Texas with his friend Bob Teague.  He rode freight trains and hitchhiked throughout the state.  When he returned the same year, he and his friend were arrested for robbery. Haggard and Teague were released when the real robbers were found. Haggard was later sent to the juvenile detention center, from which he and his friend escaped again to Modesto, California.

 

He worked a series of laborer jobs, including driving a potato truck, being a short order cook, a hay pitcher, and an oil well shooter. His debut performance was with Teague in a Modesto bar named “Fun Center,” being paid US$5, with free beer.

 

He returned to Bakersfield in 1951, and was again arrested for truancy and petty larceny and sent to a juvenile detention center. After another escape, he was sent to the Preston School of Industry, a high-security installation. He was released 15 months later, but was sent back after beating a local boy during a burglary attempt.

 

After his release, Haggard and Teague saw Lefty Frizzell in concert. After hearing Haggard sing along to his songs backstage, Frizzell refused to sing unless Haggard would be allowed to sing first.

 

He sang songs that were well received by the audience. Due to the positive reception, Haggard decided to pursue a career in music. While working as a farmhand or in oil fields, he played in nightclubs. He eventually landed a spot on the local television show Chuck Wagon, in 1956.

 

Married and plagued by financial issues, he was arrested in 1957 shortly after he tried to rob a Bakersfield roadhouse. He was sent to Bakersfield Jail, and was later transferred after an escape attempt to San Quentin Prison, on February 21, 1958. While in prison, Haggard discovered that his wife was expecting a child from another man, which pressed him psychologically.

 

 

He was fired from a series of prison jobs, and planned to escape along with another inmate nicknamed “Rabbit”. Haggard was convinced not to escape by fellow inmates.

Haggard started to run a gambling and brewing racket with his cellmate. After he was caught drunk, he was sent for a week to solitary confinement where he encountered Caryl Chessman, an author and death row inmate.

Meanwhile, “Rabbit” had successfully escaped, only to shoot a police officer and return to San Quentin for execution. Chessman’s predicament, along with the execution of “Rabbit,” inspired Haggard to turn his life around. Haggard soon earned a high school equivalency diploma and kept a steady job in the prison’s textile plant, while also playing for the prison’s country music band, attributing a 1958 performance by Johnny Cash at the prison as his main inspiration to join it.

 

Merle haggard cover album

 

Upon his release in 1960, Haggard said it took about four months to get used to being out of the penitentiary and that, at times, he actually wanted to go back in. He said it was the loneliest he had ever felt.

According to Rolling Stone, “In 1972, then–California governor Ronald Reagan expunged Haggard’s criminal record, granting him a full pardon.”

 

Upon his release, Haggard started digging ditches and wiring houses for his brother. Soon he was performing again, and later began recording with Tally Records.

 

The Bakersfield Sound was developing in the area as a reaction against the over-produced honky tonk of the Nashville Sound. Haggard’s first song was “Skid Row”.

 

In 1962, Haggard wound up performing at a Wynn Stewart show in Las Vegas and heard Wynn’s “Sing a Sad Song”. He asked for permission to record it, and the resulting single was a national hit in 1964.

 

The following year he had his first national top ten record with “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers”, written by Liz Anderson (mother of country singer Lynn Anderson) and his career was off and running.

 

In his 1981 autobiography Merle Haggard: Sing Me Back Home, Haggard recalls having been talked into visiting Anderson—a woman he didn’t know—at her house to hear her sing some songs she had written. “If there was anything I didn’t wanna do, it was sit around some danged woman’s house and listen to her cute little songs. But I went anyway. She was a pleasant enough lady, pretty, with a nice smile, but I was all set to be bored to death, even more so when she got out a whole bunch of songs and went over to an old pump organ…There they were.

 

 

 

My God, one hit right after another. There must have been four or five number one songs there…” In 1966, Haggard recorded his first number-one song “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive”, also written by Liz Anderson, which Haggard acknowledges in his autobiography remains his most popular number with audiences.”

 

Haggard felt a connection to the song immediately and when it was released it became his first number one country hit. When Anderson played the song for Haggard, she was unaware about his prison stretch.

 

“I guess I didn’t realize how much the experience at San Quentin did to him, ’cause he never talked about it all that much,” Bonnie Owens, Haggard’s backup singer and then-wife, is quoted by music journalist Daniel Cooper in the liner notes to the 1994 retrospective Down Every Road. “I could tell he was in a dark mood…and I said, ‘Is everything okay?’ And he said, ‘I’m really scared.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘Cause I’m afraid someday I’m gonna be out there…and there’s gonna be some convict…some prisoner that was in there the same time I was in, stand up – and they’re gonna be about the third row down – and say, ‘What do you think you’re doing, 45200?'”

Cooper notes that the news had little effect on Haggard’s career:

“It’s unclear when or where Merle first acknowledged to the public that his prison songs were rooted in personal history, for to his credit, he doesn’t seem to have made some big splash announcement.  In a May 1967 profile in Music City News, his prison record is never mentioned. But in July 1968, in the very same publication, it’s spoken of as if it were common knowledge.”

The 1966 album Branded Man kicked off an incredible artistic run for Haggard; in 2013 Haggard biographer David Cantwell states, “The immediate successors to I’m a Lonesome Fugitive – Branded Man in 1967 and, in ’68, Sing Me Back Home and The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde – were among the finest albums of their respective years.” Haggard’s new recordings largely centered around Roy Nichols’s Telecaster, Ralph Mooney’s steel guitar, and the harmony vocals provided by Bonnie Owens.

Merle_Haggard_1975

M HAGGARD

At the time of Haggard’s first top-ten hit “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers” in 1965, Owens was actually the better known performer, a fixture on the Bakersfieldclub scene who had recorded and appeared on television. Bonnie, who had been married to Buck Owens, won the new Academy of Country Music’s first ever award for Female Vocalist after her 1965 debut album, Don’t Take Advantage of Me, hit the top five on the country albums chart. However, there were no more hit singles, and although Owens recorded six solo albums on Capitol between 1965 and 1970, she became mainly known for her background harmonies on Haggard hits like “Sing Me Back Home” and “Branded Man.”

 

Producer Ken Nelson took a hands-off approach to producing Haggard. In the episode of American Masters dedicated to him, Haggard remembers: “The producer I had at that time, Ken Nelson, was an exception to the rule. He called me ‘Mr. Haggard’ and I was a little twenty-four, twenty-five year old punk from Oildale…

 

He gave me complete responsibility. I think if he’d jumped in and said, ‘Oh, you can’t do that,’ it would’ve destroyed me.”  In the documentary series Lost Highway, Nelson recalls, “When I first started recording Merle, I became so enamored with his singing that I would forget what else was going on, and I suddenly realized, ‘Wait a minute, there’s musicians here you’ve got to worry about!’ But his songs – he was a great writer.”

 

Towards the end of the decade, Haggard went on a songwriting tear, composing several #1 hits as “Mama Tried,” “The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde,” “Hungry Eyes,” and “Sing Me Back Home.” Daniel Cooper calls “Sing Me Back Home,” “a ballad that works on so many different levels of the soul it defies one’s every attempt to analyze it.”

 

In a 1977 interview inBillboard with Bob Eubanks, Haggard reflected, “Even though the crime was brutal and the guy was an incorrigible criminal, it’s a feeling you never forget when you see someone you know make that last walk. They bring him through the yard, and there’s a guard in front and a guard behind – that’s how you know a death prisoner.

 

They brought Rabbit out…taking him to see the Father,…prior to his execution. That was a strong picture that was left in my mind.” In 1968, Haggard’s first tribute LP Same Train, Different Time: A Tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, was released to acclaim.

 

 

Okie From Muskogee”, 1969’s apparent political statement, was, according to some Merle Haggard interviews decades later, actually written as a humorous character portrait. In one such interview, Haggard called the song a “documentation of the uneducated that lived in America at the time

 

 

However, he said later on the Bob Edwards Show that “I wrote it when I recently got out of the joint. I knew what it was like to lose my freedom, and I was getting really mad at these protesters.

 

They didn’t know anything more about the war in Vietnam than I did. I thought how my dad, who was from Oklahoma, would have felt. I felt I knew how those boys fighting in Vietnam felt.” In the country music documentary series Lost Highway, he elaborates: “My dad passed away when I was nine, and I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about somebody you’ve lost and you say, ‘I wonder what so-and-so would think about this?’ I was drivin’ on Interstate 40 and I saw a sign that said “19 Miles to Muskogee.”

 

Muskogee was always referred to in my childhood as ‘back home.’ So I saw that sign and my whole childhood flashed before my eyes and I thought, ‘I wonder what dad would think about the youthful uprising that was occurring at the time,  On December 19, 2006, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved a citizen-led resolution to rename a portion of 7th Standard Road in Oildale as Merle Haggard Drive, which will stretch from North Chester Avenue west to U.S. Route 99.

 

The first street travelers will turn onto when they leave the new airport terminal will be Merle Haggard Drive.

In 2006, Haggard was honored as a BMI Icon at the 54th annual BMI Pop Awards. During his songwriting career, Haggard has earned 48 BMI Country Awards, nine BMI Pop Awards, a BMI R&B Award, and 16 BMI “Million-Air” awards, all from a catalog of songs that adds up to over 25 million performances.

Merle Haggard accepted the prestigious award for lifetime achievement and “outstanding contribution to American culture” from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on December 4, 2010. At a December 5, 2010 gala in Washington, D.C. he was honored with musical performances by Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Jamey Johnson, Kid Rock, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley. This tribute was featured on the December 28, 2010 CBS telecast of the Kennedy Center Honors.

 

On June 14, 2013, the California State University, Bakersfield, honored Merle Haggard for his contributions to the arts with the honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts. Haggard stepped to the podium and said, “Thank you. It’s nice to be noticed.” On January 26, 2014, Haggard performed his 1969 song “Okie from Muskogee” at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards along with Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Blake Shelton

Gary Keck, a chemistry professor at the University of Utah and an ardent fan of Haggard, introduced a series of chemical analogues of a biologically active natural product called bryostatin 1 and named them “Merle compunds” to honor his idol’s legacy….I understood them, I got along with it, but what if he was to come alive at this moment?

And I thought, what a way to describe the kind of people in America that are still sittin’ in the center of the country sayin’, ‘What is goin’ on on these campuses?’

 

” In the American Masters episode about his life and career, however, a more defiant Haggard states that the song was more than a satire: ”

 

That’s how I got into it with the hippies…I thought they were unqualified to judge America, and I thought they were lookin’ down their noses at something that I cherished very much, and it pissed me off. And I thought, ‘You sons of bitches, you’ve never been restricted away from this great, wonderful country, and yet here you are in the streets bitchin’ about things, protesting about a war that they didn’t know any more about than I did.

 

Merle_Haggard_in_1971

They weren’t over there fightin’ that war anymore than I was.” Haggard began performing the song in concert in the fall of 1969 and was astounded at the reaction it received. As David Cantwell notes in his 2013 book Merle Haggard: The Running Kind, “The Haggard camp knew they were on to something.

 

Everywhere they went, every show, ‘Okie’ did more than prompt enthusiastic applause. There was an unanticipated adulation racing through the crowds now, standing ovations that went on and on and sometimes left the audience and the band-members alike teary-eyed.

 

Merle had somehow stumbled upon a song that expressed previously inchoate fears, spoke out loud gripes and anxieties otherwise only whispered, and now people were using his song, were using him, to connect themselves to these larger concerns and to one another.”

 

The studio version, which is far mellower than the usually raucous concert versions, topped the charts in the fall of 1969, where it remained for a month, and also hit number 41 on the pop charts, becoming Haggard’s all-time biggest hit (until his 1973 crossover Christmas smash “If We Make It Through December”) and signature tune.

Haggard was beginning to attract attention from artists outside the country field, such as crooner Dean Martin, who recorded “I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am” for his album of the same name in 1969.

 

In addition, the Gram Parsons incarnation of the Byrds had performed “Sing Me Back Home” on the Grand Ole Opry and had recorded Haggard’s “Life in Prison” for their album Sweetheart of the Rodeo the same year.

 

In 1969 the Grateful Dead began performing Haggard’s tune “Mama Tried”, which appeared on their 1971 eponymous live album. The song became a staple in their repertoire until the band’s end in 1995.

 

Singer-activist Joan Baez, whose political leanings could not be more different from those expressed in Haggard’s above-referenced songs, nonetheless covered “Sing Me Back Home” and “Mama Tried” in 1969. The Everly Brothers also used both songs in their 1968 country-rock album Roots.

 

 

In the original Rolling Stone review for Haggard’s 1968 album Mama Tried, Andy Wickham wrote, “His songs romanticize the hardships and tragedies of America’s transient proletarian and his success is resultant of his inherent ability to relate to his audience a commonplace experience with precisely the right emotional pitch…Merle Haggard looks the part and sounds the part because he is the part. He’s great.”

 

However, his next single, 1970’s “The Fightin’ Side of Me”, was so unapologetically right wing that it left no doubt as to where Haggard stood politically.

 

It became his fourth consecutive #1 country hit and also made an appearance on the pop chart, but any ideas that Haggard was a closeted liberal sympathizer were irretrievably squashed.

 

 

In the song, Haggard allows that he doesn’t mind the counterculture “switchin’ sides and standin’ up for what they believe in” but resolutely declares, “If you don’t love it, leave it!” In May 1970, Haggard explained to John Grissom of Rolling Stone, “I don’t like their views on life, their filth, their visible self-disrespect, y’ know. They don’t give a shit what they look like or what they smell like…What do they have to offer humanity?”

 

Ironically, Haggard had wanted to follow “Okie from Muskogee” with “Irma Jackson,” a song that dealt head-on with an interracial romance between a white man and an African-American woman.

 

His producer Ken Nelson discouraged him from releasing it as a single.

 

As Jonathan Bernstein recounts in his online Rolling Stone article “Merle Haggard Reluctantly Unveils ‘The Fightin’ Side of Me'”, “Hoping to distance himself from the harshly right-wing image he had accrued in the wake of the hippie-bashing “Muskogee,” Haggard wanted to take a different direction and release “Irma Jackson” as his next single…

 

 

When the Bakersfield, California native brought the song to his record label, executives were reportedly appalled.

 

In the wake of ‘Okie,’ Capitol Records was not interested in complicating Haggard’s conservative, blue-collar image.”After “The Fightin’ Side of Me” was released instead, Haggard later commented to the Wall Street Journal, “People are narrow-minded.

 

Down South they might have called me a nigger lover.. In an interview in 2001, Haggard stated that Nelson, who was also head of the country division at Capitol at the time, never interfered with his music but “this one time he came out and said, ‘Merle…I don’t believe the world is ready for this yet’…And he might have been right. I might’ve canceled out where I was headed in my career..

 

 

“Okie From Muskogee”, “The Fightin’ Side of Me”, and “I Wonder If They Think of Me” were hailed as anthems of the Silent Majority and presaged a trend in patriotic songs that would reappear years later with Charlie Daniels’ “In America”, Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA”, and others. Haggard’s next LP was A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World, dedicated to Bob Wills, which helped spark a permanent revival and expanded audience for western swing.

 

By this point, Haggard was one of the most famous country singers in the world, having enjoyed an immensely successful artistic and commercial run with Capitol accumulating twenty-four #1 country singles since 1966.

 

On Tuesday, March 14, 1972, shortly after “Carolyn” became another number one country hit, then-California governor Ronald Reagan granted Haggard a full pardon for his past crimes. In the fall of 1972, “Let Me Tell You about A Song,” the first TV special starring Merle Haggard, was nationally syndicated by Capital Cities TV Productions.

 

It was a semi-autobiographical, musical profile of Haggard, akin to the contemporary “Behind The Music,” produced and directed by Michael Davis. The 1973 recession anthem “If We Make It Through December” furthered Haggard’s status as a champion of the working class.

 

“If We Make It Through December” turned out to be Haggard’s last pop hit. Haggard appeared on the cover of TIME on May 6, 1974. He also wrote and performed the theme song to the television series Movin’ On, which in 1975 gave him another number one country hit. During the early to mid-1970s, Haggard’s chart domination continued with songs like “Someday We’ll Look Back”, “Grandma Harp”, “Always Wanting You”, and “The Roots of My Raising”.

 

Between 1973 and 1976, Haggard scored 9 consecutive #1 country hits. In 1977, he switched to MCA Records and began exploring the themes of depression, alcoholism, and middle age on albums like Serving 190 Proof and The Way I Am. Haggard sang a duet cover of Billy Burnette’s What’s A Little Love Between Friends with Lynda Carter in her 1980 television music special Lynda Carter: Encore!

 

 

He also scored a #1 hit in 1980 with “Bar Room Buddies,” a duet with movie star Clint Eastwood that appeared on the Bronco Billy soundtrack.

In 1981, Haggard published an autobiography, Sing Me Back Home. That same year, he alternately spoke and sang the ballad “The Man in the Mask”. Written by Dean Pitchford (whose other output includes “Fame”, “Footloose”, “Sing”, “Solid Gold”, and the musical Carrie), this was the combined narration/theme from the movie The Legend of the Lone Ranger, a box-office flop.

 

Haggard also jumped record labels again in 1981, moving to Epic and releasing one of his most critically acclaimed albums, Big City. Between 1981 and 1985, Haggard scored twelve Top 10 country hits, with nine of them reaching #1, including “My Favorite Memory,” “Going Where the Lonely Go,” “Someday When Things Are Good,” and “Natural High.”

 

In addition, Haggard recorded two chart topping duets with George Jones (“Yesterdays’ Wine” in 1982) and Willie Nelson (“Pancho and Lefty” in 1983).

 

Nelson believed the 1983 Academy Award-winning film Tender Mercies, about the life of fictional singer Mac Sledge, was based on the life of Merle Haggard. Actor Robert Duvall and other filmmakers denied this and claimed the character was based on nobody in particular. Duvall, however, said he was a big fan of Haggard. He won a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his 1984 remake of “That’s The Way Love Goes.” Haggard and third wife Leona Williams divorced in 1983 after five stormy years of marriage and the split, which took Haggard by surprise, served as a license to party for Haggard, who spent much of the next decade becoming mired in alcohol and drug problems. Haggard has often stated that he was in the stages of his own mid-life crisis, or “male menopause,” around this time. In the documentary Learning to Live With Myself, the singer is quoted in an interview from around the time: “Things that you’ve enjoyed for years don’t seem nearly as important, and you’re at war with yourself as to what’s happening. ‘Why don’t I like that anymore? Why do I like this now?’ And finally, I think you actually go through a biological change, you just, you become another…

Your body is getting ready to die and your mind doesn’t agree.” By the mid-eighties he was addicted to cocaine but managed to kick the habit. However, he was hampered by financial woes well into the 1990s as his presence on the charts continued to diminish as newer singers had begun to take over country music, and singers like George Strait and Randy Travis had taken over the charts. Haggard’s last number one hit was “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star” from his smash album Chill Factor in 1988.

 

In 1989, Haggard recorded a song, “Me and Crippled Soldiers Give a Damn”, in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow flag burning under the First Amendment. After CBS Records Nashville avoided releasing the song, Haggard bought his way out of the contract and signed with Curb Records, which was willing to release the song.

 

Of the situation, Haggard commented, “I’ve never been a guy that can do what people told me…It’s always been my nature to fight the system.”

 

 

In 2000, Haggard made a comeback of sorts, signing with the independent record label Anti and releasing the spare If I Could Only Flyto critical acclaim.

 

He followed it in 2001 with Roots, vol. 1, a collection of Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams, and Hank Thompson covers, along with three Haggard originals.

 

The album, recorded in Haggard’s living room with no overdubs, featured Haggard’s longtime bandmates The Strangers as well as Frizzell’s original lead guitarist, Norman Stephens.

 

In December 2004, Haggard spoke at length on Larry King Live about his incarceration as a young man and said it was “hell” and “the scariest experience of my life”.

Haggard’s number one hit single “Mama Tried” is featured in the 2003 film Radio with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris as well as in Bryan Bertino’s “The Strangers” with Liv Tyler. In addition, his song “Swingin’ Doors” can be heard in the 2004 film Crash and his 1981 hit “Big City” is heard in Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 film “Fargo” and in the 2008 Larry Bishop film “Hell Ride”.

 

In October 2005, Haggard released his album Chicago Wind to mostly positive reviews. The album contained an anti-Iraq war song titled “America First,” in which he laments the nation’s economy and faltering infrastructure, applauds its soldiers, and sings, “Let’s get out of Iraq, and get back on track.”

Merle_Haggard_in_concert_2013

 

This follows from his 2003 release “Haggard Like Never Before” in which he includes a song, “That’s The News”. Haggard released a bluegrass album, The Bluegrass Sessions, on October 2, 2007.

 

In 2008, Haggard was going to perform at Riverfest in Little Rock, Arkansas, but the concert was canceled because he was ailing, and three other concerts were canceled as well; however, he was back on the road in June and successfully completed a tour that ended on October 19.

 

In April 2010, Haggard released a new album, I Am What I Am. Released to strong reviews, Haggard performed the title song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in February 2011. His 2014 and 2015 tour schedule has been aggressive, including over 30 cities in 2015 alone, suggesting the kind of performing stamina usually characterized by artists half Haggard’s age.

 

 

In 2000, Haggard made a comeback of sorts, signing with the independent record label Anti and releasing the spare If I Could Only Flyto critical acclaim.

 

He followed it in 2001 with Roots, vol. 1, a collection of Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams, and Hank Thompson covers, along with three Haggard originals.

 

The album, recorded in Haggard’s living room with no overdubs, featured Haggard’s longtime bandmates The Strangers as well as Frizzell’s original lead guitarist, Norman Stephens.

In December 2004, Haggard spoke at length onLarry King Live about his incarceration as a young man and said it was “hell” and “the scariest experience of my life”.

Haggard’s number one hit single “Mama Tried” is featured in the 2003 film Radio with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris as well as in Bryan Bertino’s “The Strangers” with Liv Tyler.

 

In addition, his song “Swingin’ Doors” can be heard in the 2004 film Crash and his 1981 hit “Big City” is heard in Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 film “Fargo” and in the 2008 Larry Bishop film “Hell Ride”.

 

In October 2005, Haggard released his album Chicago Wind to mostly positive reviews. The album contained an anti-Iraq war song titled “America First,” in which he laments the nation’s economy and faltering infrastructure, applauds its soldiers, and sings, “Let’s get out of Iraq, and get back on track.” This follows from his 2003 release “Haggard Like Never Before” in which he includes a song, “That’s The News”.

 

Haggard released a bluegrass album, The Bluegrass Sessions, on October 2, 2007. In 2008, Haggard was going to perform at Riverfest in Little Rock, Arkansas, but the concert was canceled because he was ailing, and three other concerts were canceled as well; however, he was back on the road in June and successfully completed a tour that ended on October 19.

 

In April 2010, Haggard released a new album, I Am What I Am. Released to strong reviews, Haggard performed the title song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in February 2011.

 

His 2014 and 2015 tour schedule has been aggressive, including over 30 cities in 2015 alone, suggesting the kind of performing stamina usually characterized by artists half Haggard’s age.

 

Haggard has been married five times, first to Leona Hobbs from 1956 to 1964. They had four children: Dana, Marty, Kelli, Noel. They divorced, and in 1965 he married singer Bonnie Owens, former wife of Buck Owens, and a successful country singer at the time. Haggard has credited her with helping him make his big break as a country artist. Haggard shared the writing credit with Owens for his hit “Today I Started Loving You Again”, and has acknowledged, including on stage, that the song was about a sudden burst of special feelings he experienced for her while they were touring together.

 

She also helped care for Haggard’s children from his first wife and was the maid of honor for Haggard’s third marriage. Haggard and Owens divorced in 1978. In 1978 Haggard married Leona Williams; they divorced in 1983.

 

In 1985 Haggard married Debbie Parret, but they divorced in 1991. He married his current wife, Theresa Ann Lane, on September 11, 1993. They have two children, Jenessa and Ben.

 

On December 19, 2006, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved a citizen-led resolution to rename a portion of 7th Standard Road in Oildale as Merle Haggard Drive, which will stretch from North Chester Avenue west to U.S. Route 99. The first street travelers will turn onto when they leave the new airport terminal will be Merle Haggard Drive.

In 2006, Haggard was honored as a BMI Icon at the 54th annual BMI Pop Awards. During his songwriting career, Haggard has earned 48 BMI Country Awards, nine BMI Pop Awards, a BMI R&B Award, and 16 BMI “Million-Air” awards, all from a catalog of songs that adds up to over 25 million performances.

Merle Haggard accepted the prestigious award for lifetime achievement and “outstanding contribution to American culture” from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on December 4, 2010. At a December 5, 2010 gala in Washington, D.C.

 

he was honored with musical performances by Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Jamey Johnson, Kid Rock, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley.

 

Merle_Haggard_2010

 

This tribute was featured on the December 28, 2010 CBS telecast of the Kennedy Center Honors. On June 14, 2013, the California State University, Bakersfield, honored Merle Haggard for his contributions to the arts with the honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts.

 

Haggard stepped to the podium and said, “Thank you. It’s nice to be noticed.” On January 26, 2014, Haggard performed his 1969 song “Okie from Muskogee” at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards along with Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Blake Shelton

 

Gary Keck, a chemistry professor at the University of Utah and an ardent fan of Haggard, introduced a series of chemical analogues of a biologically active natural product called bryostatin 1 and named them “Merle compunds” to honor his idol’s legacy.

 

SOURCES : WIKIPEDIA

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Joe Coker


 

John Robert “Joe” Cocker OBE (20 May 1944 – 22 December 2014) was an English rock and blues singer, who came to popularity in the 1960s, and is known for his gritty voice, his spasmodic body movement in performance and his cover versions of popular songs, particularly those of the Beatles.

j coker11 His cover of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” reached number one in the UK in 1968, and he performed the song live at Woodstock in 1969. His version also became the theme song for the TV series The Wonder Years. His 1975 hit single, “You Are So Beautiful”, reached number five in the US. Cocker is the recipient of several awards, including a 1983 Grammy Award for his US number one “Up Where We Belong”, a duet with Jennifer Warnes. In 1993 he was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Male, and in 2008 he received an OBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music.  Cocker was ranked #97 on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest singers list. Cocker was born on 20 May 1944 at 38 Tasker Road, Crookes, Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire. He is the youngest son of a civil servant, Harold Cocker, and Madge Cocker. According to differing family stories, Cocker received his nickname of Joe either from playing a childhood game called “Cowboy Joe” or from a local window cleaner named Joe. joe coker the essential Cocker’s main musical influences growing up were Ray Charles and Lonnie Donegan. Cocker’s first experience singing in public was at age 12 when his elder brother Victor invited him on stage to sing during a gig of his skiffle group. In 1960, along with three friends, Cocker formed his first group, the Cavaliers. For the group’s first performance at a youth club, they were required to pay the price of admission before entering. The Cavaliers eventually broke up after a year and Cocker left school to become an apprentice gasfitter while simultaneously pursuing a career in music. In 1961, under the stage name Vance Arnold, Cocker continued his career with a new group, Vance Arnold and the Avengers. The name was a combination of Vince Everett, Elvis Presley’s character in Jailhouse Rock, (which Cocker misheard as Vance) and country singer Eddy Arnold. The group mostly played in the pubs of Sheffield, performing covers of Chuck Berry and Ray Charles songs. In 1963, they booked their first significant gig when they supported the Rolling Stones atSheffield City Hall. In 1964, Cocker signed a recording contract as a solo act with Decca and released his first single, a cover of the Beatles’ “I’ll Cry Instead” (with Big Jim Sullivan and Jimmy Page playing guitars). Despite extensive promotion from Decca lauding his youth and working class roots, the record was a flop and his recording contract with Decca lapsed at the end of 1964. After Cocker recorded the single, he dropped his stage name and formed a new group, Joe Cocker’s Big Blues. There is only one known recording of Joe Cocker’s and Big Blues on an EP given out by Sheffield College during Rag Week and called Rag Goes Mad at the Mojo. It contained a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “I’ve Been Trying” and a track of “Saved”. joe cokerThe Grease Band (1966–1969) In 1966, after a year-long hiatus from music, Cocker teamed up with Chris Stainton, whom he had met several years before, to form the Grease Band.The Grease Band was named after Cocker read an interview with jazz musician Jimmy Smith, where Smith described another musician as “having a lot of grease”. Like the Avengers, Cocker’s group mostly played in pubs in and around Sheffield. The Grease Band came to the attention of Denny Cordell, the producer of Procol Harum, the Moody Blues and Georgie Fame. Cocker recorded the single “Marjorine” without the Grease Band for Cordell in a London studio. He then moved to London with Chris Stainton, and the Grease Band was dissolved. Cordell set Cocker up with a residency at the Marquee Club in London, and a “new” Grease Band was formed with Stainton and keyboardist Tommy Eyre. After minor success in the US with the single “Marjorine”, Cocker entered the big time with a groundbreaking rearrangement of “With a Little Help from My Friends”, another Beatles cover, which, many years later, was used as the opening theme for The Wonder Years. The recording features lead guitar from Jimmy Page, drumming by BJ Wilson, backing vocals from Sue and Sunny, and Tommy Eyre on organ. The single made the Top Ten on the British charts, remaining there for thirteen weeks and eventually reaching number one, on 9 November 1968. It also reached number 68 on the US charts. The new touring line-up of Cocker’s Grease Band featured Henry McCullough on lead guitar, who would go on to briefly play with McCartney’s Wings. After touring the UK with the Who in autumn 1968 and Gene Pitney and Marmalade in early winter 1969, the Grease Band embarked on their first tour of the US in spring 1969. Cocker’s album With a Little Help from My Friends was released soon after their arrival and made number 35 on the American charts, eventually going gold. joe coker2 During his US tour, Cocker played at several large festivals, including the Newport Rock Festivaland the Denver Pop Festival. In August, Denny Cordell heard about the planned concert inWoodstock, New York and convinced organiser Artie Kornfeld to book Cocker and the Grease Band for the Woodstock Festival. The group had to be flown into the festival by helicopter due to the large crowds. They performed several songs, including “Delta Lady”, “Something’s Comin’ On”, “Let’s Go Get Stoned”, “I Shall Be Released”, and “With a Little Help from My Friends”. Cocker would later say that the experience was “like an eclipse… it was a very special day.” Directly after Woodstock, Cocker released his second album, Joe Cocker!. Impressed by his cover of “With a Little Help from My Friends”, Paul McCartney and George Harrison allowed Cocker to use their songs “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” and “Something” for the album. Recorded during a break in touring in the spring and summer, the album reached number 11 on the US charts and garnered a second UK hit with the Leon Russell song, “Delta Lady”. Throughout 1969 he was featured on variety TV shows like The Ed Sullivan Show and This Is Tom Jones. Onstage, he exhibited an idiosyncratic physical intensity, flailing his arms and playing air guitar, occasionally giving superfluous cues to his band. At the end of the year Cocker was unwilling to embark on another US tour, so he dissolved the Grease Band. Despite Cocker’s reluctance to venture out on the road again, an American tour had already been booked so he had to quickly form a new band in order to fulfil his contractual obligations. It proved to be a large group of more than 30 musicians, including pianist and bandleader Leon Russell, three drummers, and backing vocalists Rita Coolidge and Claudia Lennear. The new band was christened “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” by Denny Cordell after the Noël Coward song of the same name. joe coker3 His music at this time evolved into a more bluesy type of rock, often compared to that of the Rolling Stones. During the ensuing Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour (later described by drummer Jim Keltner as “a big, wild party”), Cocker toured 48 cities, recorded a live album, and received very positive reviews from Time and Life for his performances. However, the pace of the tour was exhausting. Russell and Cocker had personal problems and Cocker became depressed and began drinking excessively as the tour wound down in May 1970. Meanwhile, he enjoyed several chart entries in the US with “Cry Me a River” and “Feelin’ Alright” by Dave Mason. His cover of the Box Tops’ hit “The Letter”, which appeared on the live album and film, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, became his first US Top Ten hit. After spending several months in Los Angeles, Cocker returned home to Sheffield where his family became increasingly concerned with his deteriorating physical and mental health. During this time, in periods between work, Cocker wrote the overture played by Ted Heathon the occasion the Prime Minister famously conducted a live orchestra whilst in office. In the summer of 1971 the A&M Recordssingle release appeared in the US of “High Time We Went”. This became a hit, reaching number 22 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, but was not issued on an album until November 1972 on the Joe Cocker album. In early 1972, after nearly two years away from music, Cocker went on tour with a group that Chris Stainton had formed. He opened with a performance in Madison Square Garden which was attended by about 20,000 people. After touring the US, he embarked on a European tour where he played to large audiences in Milan, Italyand Germany. He then returned to the US for another tour in autumn 1972. During these tours the group cut the songs that would be part of his newest album, Joe Cocker. A mixture of live songs and studio recordings, the album peaked at number 30 on the US charts.Joe Cocker with his OBE, 2007

 

Cocker performing on 16 October 1980 in the National Stadium, Dublin

In October 1972, when Cocker toured Australia, he and six members of his entourage were arrested in Adelaide by police for possession of marijuana. The next day in Melbourne, assault charges were laid after a brawl at the Commodore Chateau Hotel, and Cocker was given 48 hours to leave the country by the Australian Federal Police. This caused huge public outcry in Australia, as Cocker was a high-profile overseas artist and had a strong support base, especially amongst the baby boomers who were coming of age and able to vote for the first time. It sparked hefty debate about the use and legalisation of marijuana in Australia and gained Cocker the nickname of “the Mad Dog”. Shortly after the Australian tour, Stainton retired from his music career to establish his own recording studio. After his friend’s departure and estrangement from longtime producer Denny Cordell, Cocker sank into depression and began using heroin. In June 1973 he kicked the habit, but continued to drink heavily. At the end of 1973, Cocker returned to the studio to record a new album, I Can Stand A Little Rain. The album, released in August 1974, was number 11 on the US charts and one single, a cover of Dennis Wilson and Billy Preston’s “You Are So Beautiful”, which reached the number 5 slot. Despite positive reviews for the album, Cocker struggled with live performances, largely due to his problems with alcohol. One such instance was reported in a 1974 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, saying during two West Coast performances in October of that year he threw up on stage.jcoker12 In January 1975, he released a second album that had been recorded at the same time as I Can Stand a Little Rain, Jamaica Say You Will. To promote his new album, Cocker embarked on another tour of Australia, made possible by the country’s newLabor government. In late 1975, he contributed vocals on a number of the tracks on Bo Diddley’s The 20th Anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roll all-star album. He also recorded a new album in a Kingston, Jamaica studio, Stingray. However, record sales were disappointing; the album reached only number 70 on the US charts. In 1976, Cocker performed “Feelin’ Alright” on Saturday Night Live. John Belushi joined him on stage doing his famous impersonation of Cocker’s stage movements. At the time, Cocker was $800,000 in debt to A&M Records and struggling with alcoholism. Several months later, he met producer Michael Lang, who agreed to manage him on the condition that he stay sober. With a new band, Cocker embarked on a tour of New Zealand, Australia and South America. He then recorded a new album with session work by Steve Gadd and Chuck Rainey, and a new, young bassist from Scotland, Rob Hartley. Hartley also toured briefly with Cocker’s friends in 1977. In the autumn of 1978, he went on a North American tour promoting his album, Luxury You Can Afford. Despite this effort, it received mixed reviews and only sold around 300,000 copies. In 1979, Cocker joined the “Woodstock in Europe” tour, which featured musicians like Arlo Guthrie and Richie Havens who had played at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. He also performed in New York’s Central Park to an audience of 20,000 people. The concert was recorded and released as the live album, Live in New York. He also toured Europe and appeared on the German television recording amphitheatre, Rockpalast, the first of many performances on the show. In 1982, Cocker recorded two songs with the jazz group the Crusaders on their album Standing Tall. One song, ‘I’m So Glad I’m Standing Here Today’ was nominated for a Grammy Award and Cocker performed it with the Crusaders at the awards ceremony. joe coker4 The Crusaders wrote this song with Cocker in mind to sing it. Cocker then released a new reggae-influenced album, Sheffield Steel, recorded with the Compass Point All Stars, produced by Chris Blackwell and Alex Sadkin. In 1982, at the behest of producer Stewart Levine, Cocker recorded the duet “Up Where We Belong” with Jennifer Warnes for the soundtrack of the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman. The song was an international hit, reaching number 1 on theBillboard Hot 100, and winning a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo. The duet also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and Cocker and Warnes performed the song at the awards ceremony. Several days later, he was invited to perform “You Are So Beautiful” with Ray Charles in a television tribute to the musician. He then joined singer Ronnie Lane’s 1983 tour to raise money for the London-based organisation Action for Research into Multiple Sclerosis, in particular because Lane was beginning to suffer from the degenerative disease. Musicians such as Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page,Jeff Beck and Chris Stainton also participated in the tour which included a performance at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. While on another tour that year, Cocker was arrested by Austrian police after refusing to perform because of inadequate sound equipment. The charges were eventually dropped and Cocker was released. Shortly after the incident, he released his ninth studio album, Civilized Man. His next album Cocker was dedicated to his mother, Madge, who died when he was recording in the studio with producer Terry Manning. A track from the album, “You Can Leave Your Hat On” was featured in the 1986 film 9½ Weeks. The album eventually went Platinum on the European charts. His 1987 album Unchain My Heartwas nominated for a Grammy Award, although it did not win. One Night of Sin was also a commercial success, surpassingUnchain My Heart in sales.jcoker14 Throughout the 1980s, Cocker continued to tour around the world, playing to large audiences in Europe, Australia and the United States. In 1988, he performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall and appeared on The Tonight Show. After Barclay James Harvest and Bob Dylan Cocker was the first to give Rock concerts in the German Democratic Republic, in East Berlin and Dresden. The venue, the Blüherwiese, next to the Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion, bears the vernacular name Cockerwiese (Cocker meadow) today.He also performed for President George Bush at an inauguration concert in February 1989. In 1992, his version of Bryan Adams’ “Feels Like Forever” made the UK Top 40. At the 1993 Brit Awards, Cocker was nominated for Best British Male.Cocker performed the opening set at Woodstock ’94 as one of the few alumni who played at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969 and was very well received. On 3 June 2002, Cocker performed “With A Little Help From My Friends” accompanied by Phil Collins on drums and Queen guitarist Brian May at the Party at the Palace concert in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, an event in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II. In 2007, Cocker appeared playing minor characters in the film Across the Universe, as the lead singer on another Beatles’ hit, “Come Together”. Cocker was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours list for services to music.To celebrate receiving his award in mid December 2007, Cocker played two concerts in London and in his home town of Sheffield. joe coker5 In April and May 2009, Cocker conducted a North American tour in support of his album Hymn for My Soul. He sang the vocals on Little Wing for the Carlos Santana album, Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time, released on 21 September 2010. In the autumn of 2010, Cocker toured Europe promoting his studio album Hard Knocks. Cocker returned to Australia in 2008 and again in 2011, the latter of which featured George Thorogood and the Destroyers as an opening act. On 20 March 2011, Joe Cocker took part in a benefit concert for Cornell Dupree at B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York. Dupree played on two Cocker albums Stingray (1976) and Luxury You Can Afford (1978). Dupree’s band Stuff was also Cocker’s backing band on a tour promoting Stingray in 1976. While performing a concert at Madison Square Garden on 17 September 2014, veteran rock singer Billy Joel stated that Cocker was “not very well right now” and asked that he be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1963, Cocker began dating Eileen Webster, also a resident of Sheffield. The couple dated intermittently for the next 13 years, separating permanently in 1976. In 1978, Cocker moved onto a ranch owned by Jane Fonda in Santa Barbara, California. Pam Baker, a local summer camp director and fan of Cocker’s music, persuaded the actress to let the house to Cocker. Baker began dating Cocker and they eventually married on 11 October 1987.The couple resided on the Mad Dog Ranch in Crawford, Colorado. Cocker was not related to fellow Sheffield-born musician Jarvis Cocker, despite this being a rumour (particularly in Australia, where Jarvis’s father Mac Cocker, a radio DJ, allowed listeners to believe he was Joe Cocker’s brother). On 22 December 2014, Cocker died of lung cancer at his home in Colorado at the age of 70.

 

Source Wikipedia

 

 

Remember Aunt Clara ?? Bewitched?


Marion Lorne (August 12, 1883 – May 9, 1968) was an American actress of stage, film, and television. After a career in theatre in New York and London, Lorne made her first film in 1951, and for the remainder of her life, played small roles in films and television.

Her recurring role, between 1964 and her death in 1968, as Aunt Clara in the comedy series, Bewitched (1964–1972) brought her widespread recognition, and for which she was posthumously awarded an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.  

She was born Marion Lorne MacDougall in West Pittston, Pennsylvania, a small mining town halfway between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, of Scottish and English immigrant parents.  While her year of birth is listed as 1885 on her tombstone, it was usually listed as 1888 when she was alive and the Social Security Death Index lists it as 1883. She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.

Career Lorne debuted on Broadway in 1905; she also acted in London theaters, enjoying a flourishing stage career on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

In London she had her own theater, the Whitehall, where she had top billing in plays written by Walter Hackett, her husband. None of her productions at the Whitehall had runs shorter than 125 nights.

After appearing in a couple of Vitaphone shorts, including Success (1931) starring Jack Haley, she made her feature film debut in her late 60s in Strangers on a Train (1951), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

The role was typical of the befuddled, nervous, and somewhat aristocratic matrons that she usually portrayed.

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From 1952-55, Lorne was seen as perpetually confused junior high school English teacher Mrs. Gurney on Mr. Peepers. From 1957–58, she co-starred with Joan Caulfield in the NBC sitcom Sally in the role of an elderly widow who happens to be the co-owner of a department store. Although afraid of live television, declaring “I’m a coward when it comes to a live [television] show”,  she was persuaded to appear a few times to promote the film The Girl Rush with Rosalind Russell in the mid-1950s.

Between 1958–64, she made regular appearances on The Garry Moore Show (1958–64). Her last role, as Aunt Clara in Bewitched, brought Lorne her widest fame as a lovable, forgetful witch who is losing her powers due to old age and whose spells usually end in disaster. Aunt Clara is obsessed with doorknobs, often bringing her collection with her on visits.

Lorne had an extensive collection of doorknobs in real life, some of which she used as props in the series.[8] Death She appeared in twenty-seven episodes of Bewitched, and was not replaced after she died of a heart attack in her Manhattan apartment, just prior to the start of production of the show’s fifth season, at the age of 84 on May 9, 1968. Lorne is buried at Ferncliff Cemetery in Greenburgh, New York.

Posthumous The producers of Bewitched recognized that Lorne’s performance as Aunt Clara could not be replicated by another actress.  Comedic actress Alice Ghostley was recruited to fill the gap as “Esmeralda”, a different type of befuddled witch with wobbly magic whose spells often went astray.

Coincidentally, Lorne and Ghostley had appeared side-by-side as partygoers in the iconic comedy-drama film The Graduate , made the year before Lorne’s death.  She received a posthumous Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on Bewitched. The statue was accepted by Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery. Personal life She was married to playwright Walter Hackett, who died in 1944. WIKIPEDIA  SOURCES  Personal life She was married to playwright Walter Hackett, who died in 1944.

SIR CLIFF RICHARD ( Harry Rodger Webb )


 

CLIFF RICHARDS : THE artist

 

He started life as Harry Webb and spent some of his childhood years in India. Cliff Richard was inspired by the music of Elvis Presley and at age 16, formed a band, ‘The Quintones’, with school friends and performed at their local Youth Club. From there, Cliff Richard went from strength to strength and became a global star.Image

 

Image

Having moved to India to help build a system of railways, Rodger Webb married Dorothy Dazely in 1939 and the following year the couple had a baby boy – Harry Rodger Webb.

Born in The King’s English Hospital in Lucknow, Harry was educated in Howrah, until his family moved to England in 1948, following Home Rule in India.

After a privileged life in India, the Webbs faced poverty, and were forced to sleep on mattresses at the houses of various relatives. In 1951, they were given a council house in Chesthunt, and after just failing the eleven-plus exam, Harry was enrolled in the newly built Cheshunt County Secondary School.

After being inspired by the music of Elvis, Harry and a group of school friends formed a group, ‘The Quintones’, and performed at their local Youth Club.Image

For his 16th birthday, Harry got his first guitar, going on to form ‘The Drifters’ in 1958, with Terry Smart and Norman Mitham. After a number of low-key London gigs, Ian Samwell joined the band and they recorded their first demo, covers of Elvis’ ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ and Jerry Lee Lewis’ ‘Breathless’.

After recording their first hit single, ‘Schoolboy Crush/Move It’, they were quickly signed by Columbia. The song hit No.2 in the British charts, and went on to sell over a million copies.

Now going under the name Cliff Richard, an appearance on the TV show ‘Oh Boy!’ catapulted Cliff to sex symbol status.

In 1958, Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch joined ‘The Drifters’, and by 1959 the band changed their name to ‘The Shadows’. It was also around this time that Cliff made his film debut in ‘Serious Charge’. The film produced the hit ‘Living Doll’, Cliff’s first number one hit.

Cliff’s second movie, ‘Expresso Bongo’, was more successful and critically acclaimed. As the albums and hit singles rolled out, Cliff Richard was building a devoted fan base that would secure his chart success some 40 years later.

ImageIn 1961, Cliff starred in ‘The Young Ones’, and the accompanying single shot straight into number one in the charts. The second film with Cliff in the leading role was another musical, ‘Summer Holiday’, which saw him star alongside Una Stubbs.

1968 saw the last album recorded by Cliff with ‘The Shadows’, and Cliff went on to tour with his own gospel album. In 1970, Cliff launched his first television show, featuring a mix of music and comedy. In the same year, he made his stage debut in Peter Shaffer’s ‘Five Finger Exercise’, a play focusing on a ‘deep friendship’ between a student and his tutor. The play was originally considered controversial for its veiled homosexual themes but despite this, reviews were favourable.

One of the most talked about aspects of Cliff’s life is his relationships. A much publicised relationship with tennis star Sue Barker in 1981 ended within a year. Cliff has also been linked with actress Una Stubbs.

In 1986, Cliff and The Young Ones re-recorded ‘Living Doll’ and made it to the top of the charts. In the same year he appeared in the West End musical ‘Time’, and by the end of the decade he had released his highest selling album of all time, ‘Private Collection’, which went on to be certified four-times platinum in the UK alone!

‘Mistletoe & Wine’ become Cliff’s first Christmas-themed No.1 in 1988 and by 1989, Cliff became the first British artist to release 100 singles. Cliff continued to tour and break records throughout the 1990s, and in 1995 he became Sir Cliff Richard – the first pop star to be honoured with a full Knighthood.Image

Despite selling records by the lorry load, Cliff ran into trouble getting airplay from various radio stations, including a ban by the BBC for his track ‘Misunderstood Man’, which was deemed “too raucous” for listeners.

ImagePerhaps the most significant project for Cliff in the nineties was the fulfilment of his lifelong dream to play the character of Heathcliff in Emily Bronte’s masterpiece, ‘Wuthering Heights’. The show was a runaway success, and gave Cliff his highest selling video ever, topping the UK video charts for two months upon its 1998 release.

In 1999, ‘The Millennium Prayer’ reached number one, regardless of no airplay and scathing reviews. Despite a lack of support in the press, Cliff continues to make music and his recent album and DVD release cracked the top twenty.

Cliff now divides his time between his homes in the UK, Barbados and Portugal, where he has taken to making his own wine.

 

 

Source

http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/