Sunday September 19th, 2004
New CD's this past week:
None to report
Music news stories this week:
Rick James Death Due to Heart Attack And Drugs
Rick James, the flamboyant funk musician who died suddenly in August, had
nine drugs in his system including cocaine, methamphetamine, valium and
vicodin, according to a coroner's report on Thursday.
James, 56, died in his sleep on Aug. 6 in his Los Angeles home of a heart
attack, but the drugs in his system likely contributed to the organ's
failure, the report said.
James, best known for his 1981 hit "Super Freak," suffered from diabetes,
had a pacemaker and had been in fragile health after a stroke in 1998. He
had been hooked on crack cocaine and once proclaimed himself an "icon of
drug use and eroticism."
His family attributed his death to natural causes, but the Los Angeles
County coroner took over the case because James had not seen a doctor in
recent weeks. An autopsy failed to establish the cause and toxicology
tests were ordered.
The coroner listed nine drugs, including prescription medications for
anxiety, pain relief and heart failure, along with cocaine and
methamphetamine that were found in James's body.
"None of the drugs or drug combinations were found to be at levels that
were life-threatening in and of themselves," the report said. It gave the
cause of death as a heart attack and ruled the death accidental.
James, who received a lifetime achievement award in June, had recently
finished recording an album and was in talks with Hollywood studios for a
movie about his life.
Whitney Houston To Team Up With Clive Davis Again
Whitney Houston is teaming up once again with legendary music mogul Clive
Davis for her upcoming studio album, according to syndicated columnist Liz
Smith. Seventy-year-old Davis, who currently runs BMG North America, is
the one who discovered Houston in the '80s. The new project will mark the
first time they've worked together in five years.
Davis first signed Houston to his Arista Records label in 1983. She went
on to sell 14 million copies of her debut self-titled album, which
featured the singles "Saving All My Love For You" and "The Greatest Love
Two years ago, 41-year-old Houston revealed that she was suffering from
drug and alcohol addiction. Earlier this year, she checked into a drug
Last week (Wednesday, September 15th), Davis received the Legend Award at
the World Music Awards in Las Vegas.
Alicia Keys Cancels Indonesia Concert After Bomb Attack
Singer Alicia Keys, who will kick off a tour of Asia and Australia later
this month in support of her triple-platinum album The Diary of Alicia
Keys, has cancelled her stop in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Associated Press
reports that the promoter of the Jakarta concert, which was scheduled to
take place on October 9th, is concerned about security in the wake of last
Thursday's (September 9th) bombing of the Australian Embassy there. The
promoter stated that the British pop/classical string quartet Bond have
also cancelled their upcoming concert in Jakarta.
Keys will start her tour with a September 25th performance in Beijing,
China. She'll also be performing in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines,
Thailand, South Korea and Japan before finishing off the tour with several
dates in Australia.
Vanessa Williams Gets Set For Two new Releases
Singer and actress Vanessa Williams is gearing up for not one but two new
themed albums having recently signed to Lava Records. The first will be a
Christmas CD entitled ìSilver & Gold,î and is due out October 12th. The
second album will be released in February and will feature classic love
songs from the 70ís. Founder and President of Lava Records says, ìWe
didn't just want to go into this with, 'Let's just try to get a lot of
airplay and promote it the traditional way.' Vanessa has another life; she
can't be on the road 350 days a year promoting a record in the way that
you have to promote your normal record."
New Album From Chaka Khan Out Soon
Chaka Khan, who is the newest member of Mesa/Blue Moon Records, will be
releasing a new album singing classic jazz contemporary songs later this y
ear. According to Billboard.com, songs to look out for are the 1967 hit
“To Sir With Love” which was the title song to the Sidney Poitier movie.
Khan first came onto the scene as one half of Rufus and Chaka Khan
releasing Rufus their first album. In 1978 she went solo and released
Chaka, an album that produced the hit “I’m Every Woman”. She went on to
release several more hits and continues to have a very busy tour schedule.
She was last scene on stage with rapper Kanye West at the MTV Video Music
Awards. Next up for the power vocalist is an appearance in Seattle,
The O’Jays To Release New Album
Legendary R&B group The O'Jays will release their first new album in three
years, Imagination, on September 28th, on The Music World/Sanctuary Urban
label. The set will feature the writing and production of Jimmy Jam &
Terry Lewis, Troy Taylor, Rob Fusari, Gordon Chambers, and Gerald LeVert.
The first single from the album is "Made Up."
Group member Eddie LeVert, Sr. said in a released statement, "I loved the
creative process and energy on this record. We look forward to continuing
to be a part of Music World's success. I truly enjoyed being a part of the
creative team and I am hoping that our fans will enjoy and embrace
In related news, The O'Jays are among the 15 finalists for the Rock And
Roll Hall Of Fame's Class Of 2005. The inductees will most likely being
announced in November. The induction ceremony -- which will be the 20th
for the Rock Hall -- is expected to take place in mid-March in New York
Teena Marie Duets With Gerald Levert On New Single After Rejecting Him 20
Teena Marie continues to charm fans with
her latest album, La Dona. Her
latest single, "A Rose By Any Other Name," is a duet with fellow R&B
singer-songwriter Gerald Levert. While Marie loves how the ballad with the
soulful Levert turned out, she admits that she rejected him as a possible
duet partner 20 years ago.
Marie laughingly recalls that she was working on a tune for her 1986
Starchild album and needed a duet partner. Because her frequent partner
and producer, the late Rick James, was unavailable at the time, she
reached out to soul singer Eddie Levert, one of the leads of the Philly
soul trio The O'Jays. He declined, but suggested the diva warble with his
son -- then an unknown.
“I did a song, the same album that 'Lovergirl' was on, a song called
'We've Got To Stop (Meeting Like This).' And I called Eddie and I asked
Eddie to sing on this, this was in '85. Rick was on the road and he
couldn't do the vocal or we were fighting at the time, or something, I
don't know, whatever it was. But I asked Eddie to sing it. And he said,
'Well how's Rick gonna feel about this?' I said, 'I don't know, but Rick's
not around right now and I need you to do this vocal for me.'"
Marie says she was taken aback when the O'Jays vet suggested she work with
his son Gerald, who broke out the following year in the group Levert with
the Number 1 R&B tune "Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop (Goes My Mind)," and then the
1987 smash "Casanova."
At the time, though, Marie thought Eddie Levert was simply blowing her
off. She recalled: "And he was like, 'Well, why don't you let my son sing
it?' This was 20 years ago. I didn't know anything about Gerald Levert.
And I was like, 'Your son? You really just don't want to sing with me,
huh?' Not too long after that, they broke with 'Casanova' and all that,
and I was like, 'Oh my God,' I was like, 'I can't believe this. I was
like, this boy sounds just like his daddy!' So I always joke with Gerald
because we ended up singing together anyway." "A Rose By Any Other Name"
is gaining airplay at urban radio. Many stations are still playing Marie's
lead single, "Still In Love."