The "Queen Of Soul" and one of the most iconic and important voices in the history of recorded sound, the great Aretha Franklin, died on August 16th at age 76 near her home in Detroit. Rolling Stone posted a statement from her publicist Gwendolyn Quinn, which read, "It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul. Franklin passed away on Thursday morning, August 16th at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds. We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."
Aretha Franklin remains the most charted female on the Billboard magazine lists, with a whopping 73 charting records. In 1987 Aretha became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To date, she has sold 75 million records globally, making her one of the best-selling singers in history. She won 18 Grammy Awards, earned Grammy Lifetime Achievement and a Grammy Living Legend Award. In 1994 she received the Kennedy Center Honor and in 2005 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
In honor of the Queen of Soul, TV One aired two special presentations last night (August 16th), TV One on One: Aretha Franklin and Aretha: Frankly Speaking. According to Bossip, the first program featured Urban One founder, Cathy Hughes, as she sat down with Franklin for a candid discussion about her life and journey throughout her lengthy career. The second program chronicled her professional career and personal life, as told through Franklin, her close friends, family and musical team. Both presentations will re-air on Saturday (August 18th) at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., respectively.
Aretha, whose father was the Rev. C.L. Franklin, released over 75 albums of sermons and music, an active supporter of the N.A.A.C.P. and in the early-'60s and a close friend supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who he helped organize a 1963 civil rights march in Detroit shortly before Dr. King's legendary march on Washington D.C.
Aretha Franklin will forever be remembered for such timeless hits as "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "I Say A Little Prayer," "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)," "Spanish Harlem" "Think," "Rock Steady", "Jump To It", "Who's Zoomin' Who", "Chain Of Fools", "Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)", "Something He Can Feel", "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" -- with George Michael, and "Freeway Of Love," among countless others.
On February 14th, 1967 Aretha Franklin recorded her signature hit -- a cover version of Otis Redding's "Respect." She taped the song in Manhattan's Atlantic Studios, playing piano on the track and using the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section -- a group of four session musicians who mainly played sessions in Nashville and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, before later starting their own Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. It was Aretha's idea to use the tape of King Curtis's sax solo from Sam & Dave's "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby," -- which was recorded the night before at Memphis' Stax Studios -- to create a new bridge to the song.
The song's producer Tom Dowd recalled the session: "Aretha said she liked the song, and started running (through it), although Aretha's sister Carolyn (Franklin) was instrumental in the tempo aspect of it, the way they did it with (the) 'R-E-S-P-E-C-T' lines. . . It just went by very easily."
Aretha's version of "Respect" debuted in the Billboard Top 40 on May 6th, 1967, and hit Number One on June 3rd, and then held down the top spot for two weeks. Apart from being a radio staple for nearly 50 years, the song has been featured in movies like Platoon, Forrest Gump, Mystic Pizza, and Back To School -- as well as being used prominently on Candace Bergen's hit TV show Murphy Brown.
Pollstar reported: "Franklin sang 'My Country Tis Of Thee' at the first inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009, but perhaps her most unforgettable performance came during the 1998 Grammy Awards, when she stepped in at the last moment to perform Puccini’s classic 'Turandot' aria, 'Nessum dora' in the stead of an ailing Luciano Pavarotti. Of course, she nailed it. She was equally adept at less-highbrow appearances, thoroughly stealing a scene from John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in 1980’s The Blues Brothers movie with one of her signature hits, 'Think.'"
Lenny Kravitz told us that the loss of Aretha Franklin bruises him on many different levels: "I loved Aretha since I was a child. Jackson Five records, Aretha records -- that was my education, and 'The Queen Of Soul' says it all, it's absolutely true. And she's actually in my Top Three (favorite) piano players -- as a piano player, even if she didn't open her mouth. . . And I got to sing with her at Madison Square Garden, talked to her on the phone, Y'know, we. . . she'd call me, I'd call her. . . Another blessing. Another person that I'm just blessed to know. The greatest. The greatest. The greatest. The greatest. I'm very sad."
AUDIO: ARETHA FRANKLIN OVERWHELMED BY LOVE DURING HEALTH SCARE
AUDIO: NAACP IMAGE AWARDS ARETHA FRANKLIN ACCEPTS THE VANGUARD AWARD
AUDIO: ARETHA FRANKLIN ON HER LOVE FOR ATLANTIC RECORDS ARTISTS
AUDIO: ARETHA FRANKLIN ON RECORDING 'RESPECT'
AUDIO: ARETHA FRANKLIN ON BEING INSPIRED TO SING
AUDIO: STEVEN TYLER ON ARETHA FRANKLIN
AUDIO: MITCH RYDER ON ARETHA FRANKLIN
AUDIO: NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN ON ARETHA FRANKLIN
AUDIO: LENNY KRAVITZ ON ARETHA FRANKLIN
Disturbed has unveiled that its seventh studio album, titled Evolution, will arrive on October 19th. The band has also shared the official music video for "Are You Ready," the first single from the LP. The quartet said in a statement, "It is with tremendous pride, joy, and anticipation that we look forward to sharing the next chapter in the creative life of Disturbed with the world."
The band added, "This record is truly unique, and very special to us, and we can only hope that upon listening to it, that the world will feel the same. The record showcases the most adventurous and eclectic combination of musical styles and moods that we've ever attempted in our careers. Each song truly has its own identity, feel, and power."
Guitarist Dan Donegan filled us in more about the material on the album: "Yeah, we just came up with some really killer stuff, you know. Another nice new twist and new turns that we're taking, and some experimenting on it. There's still always gonna be those things that are signature Disturbed because of the way we play or the way David (Draiman) sings, there's gonna be an identity there, but there's definitely some things that we've took a departure on as well."
The group concluded its statement by calling Evolution "undoubtedly the most daring record of our lives." The new disc follows up 2015's Immortalized, which was Disturbed's fifth Number One album in a row and ended a four-year hiatus for the group.
AUDIO: DISTURBED'S DAN DONEGAN ON THE NEW ALBUM 'EVOLUTION'
Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament issued a statement to Rolling Stone regarding the uproar over a concert poster he helped design for the band's benefit show in Missoula, Montana on Monday (August 13th), which depicted the White House in flames and a bald eagle pecking at Donald Trump's corpse in front of it.
Ament wrote, "The role of artists is to make people think and feel, and the current administration has us thinking and feeling. I was the sole conceptualist of this poster, and I welcome all interpretations and discourse. Love, from the First Amendment, Jeff Ament."
The show that the poster promoted was meant as a fundraiser for Montana's Democratic senator Jon Tester, a friend of Ament's who is locked in a tough re-election battle. Tester has yet to issue any official remarks about the image.
Tester’s Republican opponent, Matt Rosendale, slammed the poster on Twitter, writing, "This poster from Pearl Jam is disgusting and reprehensible. It depicts a dead President Trump and a burning White House. It’s time for (Tester) to denounce this act of violence and blatant display of extremism!"
The Missoula concert was part of Pearl Jam’s brief summer tour, dubbed "The Away Shows." They’ll be hitting Chicago for two nights, after which they’ll play another two nights in Boston. They previously played their "Home Shows" in Seattle.
Bad Wolves have notched the first platinum certified rock song of 2018 with their cover of the Cranberries classic "Zombie." Singer Tommy Vext said, "We are deeply humbled and overwhelmed by the continued success of our rendition of ‘Zombie.' For many artists, reaching platinum status in and of itself is a dream come true. But the greater story here is YOU. All the fans on every single continent -- without your passion and enthusiasm none of this would be possible."
Bad Wolves originally intended for the track to feature a guest vocal from Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan, but she passed away just hours before the recording session was set to take place. In June, the band presented the O'Riordan family with a check for $250,000 from sales of the song, which hit Number One in over 17 countries.
Vext added, "This year the global rock community came together to support our efforts to turn a tragic loss into something hopeful. This resounding effect with music fans around the world for the better part of a year now is a strong testament of Dolores’ timeless songwriting and the message of the song being as relevant today as it’s ever been. We are truly grateful."
"Zombie" appeared on Bad Wolves' debut album, Disobey, which came out in May and debuted at Number 23 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Slash revealed in a new interview with Variety that he recently rediscovered a never-before-heard collaboration between himself and late Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington. The track was intended for Slash’s first solo album, although he ended up recording it with late Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister on vocals.
Slash recalled, "When I was doing my first solo record, I worked with a lot of different people, some of whom, for whatever reason, didn’t end up on the record. One was with Chester. We did a song and Linkin Park at the time didn’t allow it to happen, so I did it with Lemmy. The guy who engineered my demos sent it to me and I sent it to Chester’s family."
The guitarist added that the song, called "Captain Alibi," could be released at some point, saying, "His family has got it so it would be totally up to them. It was really good. He was awesome. It would be fine with me if they wanted to (release) it. Musically it’s basically the same as the Lemmy song, but the lyrics are really poignant."
The self-titled 2010 project featured a different guest vocalist on each track, including Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie, Chris Cornell, Kid Rock, Myles Kennedy, Iggy Pop, M. Shadows and others. Slash told us at the time how he went about getting all those singers involved: "I compiled, you know, a bunch of songs with a definite idea as to who would sound good on what. Then I had to make a presentable demo, call up the artist and go, 'I've got this song, I'm doing this record with all these different singers on it, and I would love for you to be on it and I have a song I think you would like,' and then send it to them. And then I got positive feedback all the way along the line there."
Slash will release his fourth solo album and third with his band The Conspirators, titled Living The Dream, on September 21st. He and the Conspirators will hit the road next month as well, with Slash also touring again with Guns N' Roses in November.
AUDIO: SLASH ON HOW HE ENLISTED SINGERS FOR SOLO ALBUM
Halestorm frontperson Lzzy Hale called for improved awareness around mental health issues following the death on Tuesday (August 14th) of Jill Janus, lead singer for the California heavy metal act Huntress. Janus, who was 43 years old, took her own life outside Portland, Oregon after struggling with mental illness her whole life.
Hale wrote on Instagram, "Jill was very open about her struggles with mental health and addiction. Now, more than ever, spanning across every age group, the suicide rate is extremely high. I'd like to take a moment to state again how important it is to talk about mental health, and remind all of you out there battling demons that you are not alone."
After encouraging readers to "keep searching for your lifeline," Hale also wrote, "Asking for help doesn't mean you're broken. And if you don't know how to ask for help, that's okay too. Those of us who have a shoulder will let you lean on it! We are all in this life together. For those of you with the ability to lend a hand or and ear, DO IT! We have a responsibility to help each other, 'cuz everything we say, do and touch affects the whole race. We are all connected."
Hale also warned that people must be careful with prescription medications and concluded, "To Jill, my sister of scream, I hope wherever you are, you have found the peace that you couldn't here."
Ex-Sick Puppies singer/guitarist Shimon "Shim" Moore will release his first solo album, Shim, on September 14th. Moore said about the LP, "I set out to make the best music of my career -- which I've done. For better or worse, I put everything I had to give into this album, and for the first time in my life it doesn't matter what the outcome is, because I couldn't have bled anymore than I did on this music."
Moore added, "The theme of this album is about someone digging themselves out of a hole. It's the whole journey of doing the work to create the life you want, despite the obstacles." The debut single from Shim, called "Hallelujah," is working its way up the charts at rock radio.
Sick Puppies parted ways with Moore in October 2014 after 17 years and four studio albums. Moore and bassist Emma Anzai formed the band while attending high school in their native Australia. Moore tried launching a new act called Screaming At Demons, but failed to get it off the ground.
Sick Puppies, meanwhile, recruited Houston-based singer and guitarist Bryan Scott to replace Moore and released their fifth studio album, Fury, in May 2016.