Sunday July 11th, 2004
New CD's this past week:
- Angie Stone - Stone love
Music news stories this week:
Syreeta Wright Passes Away From Cancer
Syreeta Wright, the Motown singer and songwriter who was also Stevie
Wonder's first wife, has died at her Los Angeles home in the early hours
of July 6th. Wright, who had been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer,
was 58. The news was confirmed by Billy Wilson, president of the Motown
Alumni Association, who was Wright's good friend.
Born in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , Rita Wright grew up in Detroit and
came to Motown as a secretary. Soon Brian Holland of the
Holland-Dozier-Holland production team was using Wright as a backup singer
and brought her to the attention of Berry Gordy, who signed her as solo
artist. After her first 1960s recordings as Rita Wright, she began calling
But she hit her stride after meeting Stevie Wonder, whom she married in
1970. Though their marriage only lasted two years, their professional
association lasted much longer. Wright's talent with words led the two to
co-write "If You Really Love Me" and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" for
Wonder, "It's A Shame" for the Spinners, and numerous tracks for her own
solo recordings, like 1972's Syreeta and 1974's Stevie Wonder Presents
Syreeta, which Wonder also produced. Wright also contributed vocals and
lyrics to Wonder's seminal 1972 album Talking Book.
After divorcing Wonder, Wright continued to write and record. The Stevie
Wonder-penned single "Harmour Love" earned her a Top 10 R&B single in
1975, and she scored a Top Five pop single with the 1980 Billy Preston
duet "With You I'm Born Again." She also recorded duets with Motown
staples Smokey Robinson, G.C. Cameron, and Jermaine Jackson. Her last
chart appearance was with 1981's danceable R&B single "Quick Slick."
Funeral details for Syreeta Wright were not yet available at press time.
Alicia Keys To Perform At Great Wall Of China
Singer Alicia Keys will make history in September when she becomes the
first international pop act to perform at the Great Wall of China .
Eurweb.com reports that the singer has agreed to participate in the Wall
of Hope - China 2004, a benefit concert which will be held on September
25th at the Wall's North Gate in Beijing .
The event will be attended by an invitation-only audience of 10,000 and
the proceeds will benefit the China Children and Teenagers' Fund.
The event will be taped for an international television broadcast and will
be hosted by television personality, Cynthia Garrett, and B2K member
An announcement of the concert's complete lineup will be made at a press
conference on July 22nd in Beijing .
In related news, Keys' latest album, The Diary Of Alicia Keys, was
recently certified triple platinum for sales of three million copies in
the United States . The set has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.
New Edition To Release “One Love” In September
New Edition will release its first new album in six years on September
25th. The album, titled One Love, will be released on P. Diddy's Bad Boy
Records, which is distributed by Universal-Motown Records. MTV.com reports
that the group recently shot a video for the set's lead single, "Hot 2
Nite," in New Mexico .
New Edition was formed in Boston in the late '70s. The group's first big
break came in 1980 when they were discovered by Maurice Starr -- who later
was also responsible for the New Kids On The Block.
The group's first release was 1983's "Candy Girl," and at the time the
group's lineup included Ralph Tresvant, Ronnie DeVoe, Michael Bivins,
Bobby Brown, and Ricky Bell. Brown left the group in 1986 to pursue a solo
career and was later replaced by Johnny Gill.
All six members reunited in 1996 to release Home Again, but Brown soon
broke ranks again during the ensuing tour.
New Edition's albums include 1983's Candy Girl, 1984's double-platinum New
Edition, 1985's platinum All For Love, 1985's Christmas All Over The
World, 1986's gold Under The Blue Moon, 1989's double-platinum Heart
Break, and 1996's double-platinum Home Again.
Patti LaBelle And Ronald Isley Go Solo
Recently R&B veterans Patti LaBelle and Ronald Isley recorded a new duet
"Go Solo". "This has been a labor of love for me as well as Patti and
Ron", says Def Soul Classic Records head Jheryl Busby. "I’m trying to make
this work. I have Patti and Ron signed as the first acts on the new Def
Soul Classic label. This record tells the story of what can happen with a
classic R&B artist. This is a great brand to work." "Go Solo" could be
stripped into Patti’s CD New Day on Def Soul Classic Records.
In any case, it will be on the new Isley Brother album, due early 2005.
Prince’s Purple Reunion.
Prince took a stroll down memory lane when Morris Day & The Time, Wendy
Melvoin, Sheila E and others all got together to jam in New Orleans. “This
hasn’t been done like this in a long time,” said Larry Graham, who
performed at the Essence Music Festival show in New Orleans. Prince’s
5-hour concert, seen by 50,000 people (the largest crowd for a concert in
festival history), kicked off the festival. Prince pulled a fast one to
start the show. He was onstage in a disguise of a straight-haired wig, hat
and beard, playing the guitar on inline skates as unknown performers
danced or sang around him. The most famous person to come on stage at that
point was Larry Graham. Then, the mysterious figure onstage announced
Sheila E and the audience erupted in cheers as she broke out in “The
Glamorous Life.” The Time later came on stage to hits like “The Bird” and
“Cool.” When Prince hit the stage he performed classics like “Little Red
Corvette,” “Controversy” and “Adore,” as well as material from Musicology.
Other surprise guests included Chaka Khan, who joined Prince to sing “I
Feel For You” and old school rapper Doug E Fresh. The show ended on an
emotional note when Prince performed “Purple Rain” and spotlighted drummer
John Blackwell, whose 2-year-old daughter, Jia, accidentally drowned just