GRAMMY-nominated country/Cajun singer Jimmy C. Newman died June 21 in Nashville, Tenn., following a battle with cancer. He was 86. A Louisiana native, Newman began playing music as a teenager in Chuck Guillory's Rhythm Boys. Newman later performed on the country music radio show "The Louisiana Hayride," mixing his patented style of Cajun music and country elements. He landed his first hit on the country chart in 1954 with "Cry, Cry Darling," followed by 1955's "Daydreamin'" and "Blue Darlin'," both of which peaked at No. 7. In 1956 Newman became the first Cajun artist to join the Grand Ole Opry. Newman remained a frequent performer on the Opry stage where he often sang what is considered his signature hit, "Alligator Man," which peaked at No. 22 in 1962. Newman was awarded a 1991 GRAMMY nomination for Best Traditional Folk Album for The Alligator Man.
Dreams of what is possible can take many forms, and when Chance The Rapper isn't giving $1 million to the Chicago public schools or inspiring others to do the same, he's dreaming up even more ways to support Chicago public school students.
His latest effort? He's inviting all students who want to make movies to submit proposals for his new music video.
Billboard gives the background on Chance's Tuesday tweet inviting Chicago public school students to submit ideas for a chance to direct the new "LSD" video featuring Chance and Jamila Woods, a Chicago poetry activist and musician who defines her success by developing the success of others.
ATTENTION CPS STUDENT FILMMAKERS pic.twitter.com/0u9fR0yX1W
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) May 23, 2017
The only requirements for entry are a music video treatment submitted in PDF format, and a passionate interest in film. The winner will be on set for a pro shoot based on their idea, and runners-up will be invited to participate in film instruction and development events.
Through programs like GRAMMY Camp, The Recording Academy provides high school students with similar development opportunities. The camp, a five-day nonresidential summer music industry program for high school students taking place this summer in Nashville and Los Angeles, features career tracks such as songwriting, audio engineering and video production, allowing students to get hands-on experience and a head start on their chosen career path.
The Academy continues to applaud Chance's efforts to support arts education in his hometown Chicago, and we are extremely excited to see which student will get to join him in pursuing their dream of making films.
Eminem's massively successful fourth album, The Eminem Show, turns 15 on May 26.
Coming off the acclaimed back-to-back releases of The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP in 1999 and 2000, respectively, Eminem was under substantial pressure to keep the hype train rolling. His previous albums carried trademark touches of couching personal reflections beneath a veneer of "f*** the world" bravado mixed with in-your-face shock-rap lyricism. With The Eminem Show, Em kept his perverse sense of humor but ratcheted his autobiographical introspection up to 11.
With 15 years in the rearview, Eminem's shock jabs and sexual innuendos seem a lot tamer than they did in 2002. Even in the face of his reputation at the time as the sonic boogeyman of white American suburbs, many contemporary critics managed to recognize his effort for what it was: the work of a calmer, more focused artist at the top of his game. Writing for Slant Magazine in 2002, reviewer Sal Cinquemani commented, "The album displays a — dare I say it? — more 'mature' Eminem."
To celebrate the album's 15-year milestone, we've gathered some facts about the record you may find surprising.
In the nascent years of peer-to-peer file sharing, major players of the bootlegging underground began stealing records, ripping them to MP3 and uploading them to file-sharing outlets online thanks to infiltrators working at various levels of major labels' manufacturing and supply chains. (More info on this age of piracy can be found in Stephen Witt's excellent book How Music Got Free). The Eminem Show was just one of many sought-after records that was stolen and made available for download online a full 25 days before the album's intended release, prompting Interscope to bump the release date to May 28. Many stores had the album in stock the previous weekend, and consequently began selling the record on May 26, 2002. The promotional posters that accompanied the new release read, "America Couldn't Wait."
Despite the conditions under which the album was made available for sale, the record sold 284,000 in its first 24 hours and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It became the first album in history to debut at No. 1 with only one sales day counting toward its first-week availability. The album's first full week on shelves saw sales figures of more than 1.3 million copies, and it eventually became the best-selling album of 2002 in the U.S. To date it has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, earning diamond certification from the RIAA.
Censorship and slip-ups
For commercial reasons, the 'clean' versions of the album were more sanitized, with seven additional swear words previously allowed to pass on the Slim Shady & Marshall Mathers LPs being targeted for removal via sound effects or backmasking. In several cases, entire sentences were eliminated, as they could not otherwise be effectively censored. Furthermore, in some early clean versions of the record, the entire ninth track, "Drips," was removed and replaced with four seconds of silence. On these heavily censored versions of the album, at least five instances of Eminem saying f***, m*********er and b**** were left audible, while several sections that did not contain swearing or obvious profanity were backmasked.
Self-production and '70s styling
No doubt adding to the deeply personal and more mature sound and feel of the album, Eminem took a more active role for The Eminem Show, self-producing roughly 90 percent of the album. Eminem's longtime musical collaborator Jeff Bass was on hand to help build the tracks for the album's main singles: Dr. Dre acted as the album's executive producer and also crafted three of the record's B-sides. Stylistically, Eminem said he sought to fuse typical hip-hop sounds with the sonic energy of '70s rock, mixing guitar-driven melodies with rap rhythms. "Sing For The Moment," for example, contains a notable sample of Aerosmith's "Dream On," as well as a reinterpretation of its classic guitar solo. So much of the sample was used as the hook for "Sing For The Moment" that the album liner notes list Steven Tyler as a contributing songwriter. Another rock sample that made the cut for the album is the bombastic kick-clap beat of "'Till I Collapse," which is an interpolation of the intro from Queen's GRAMMY Hall Of Fame-inducted "We Will Rock You."
Awards and influence
The Eminem Show received five nominations at the 45th GRAMMY Awards, bringing home two wins for Best Rap Album and Best Short Form Music Video for "Without Me." The album was Eminem's third consecutive LP to win Best Rap Album, and his third win in the category in a four-year span. To date, he is the winningest artist in the Best Rap Album category, having won six times. He has been nominated for Album Of The Year for his solo work three times, including a nod for The Eminem Show. In his acceptance speech for Best Rap Album at the 45th GRAMMYs, Eminem broke from tradition and instead of thanking his family, friends and contributors, he read a list of the artists and MCs who inspired him to pursue a career in music.
Two decades ago this summer, the metal community got its own touring festival: Ozzfest.
Ozzy Osbourne, with the help of his wife and manager Sharon, launched the concept in 1996 with just two dates in Phoenix and San Bernardino, Calif. Then, in the summer of 1997, Osbourne and his traveling dark circus traipsed across the country with 14 bands in tow to offer fans the chance to see a full day of the heaviest bands around on two stages.
Of course, Ozzfest went on to more than 10 years of successful tours that showcased more commercially successful bands, and the festival landscape in general would grow to the juggernaut it is today, but there was something special about the early years of Ozzfest.
Arguably the most influential band to any one genre, Black Sabbath are to heavy music what Newton is to physics. The early lineups at Ozzfest read like a lineage of Sabbath's family tree. It's worth remembering that the landscape of mainstream radio changed in the summer of 1999 when Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit started getting airplay alongside Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, opening the door for heavier sounds on radio.
In the years that followed, more accessible Ozzfest bands such as Disturbed, Godsmack, and larger-than-life shock rockers Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie would burst through that door and onto the airwaves.
But just prior to that shift, metal fans in the mid-'90s were used to being ignored by the radio. The chance to see their hero Osbourne, both as a solo act and fronting a reunited Sabbath, shoulder-to-shoulder with anti-radio thrash monsters Slayer and Pantera, flanked by an army of the most brutal young bands on Earth such as Neurosis, Machine Head and Fear Factory was, well, a real f***ing treat.
As we look back on the genesis of Ozzfest and the role it played in the proliferation of heavy music, here are 15 metal albums from 1995 to 1998 that still have our ears ringing.
Fear Factory, Demanufacture (1995)
On their second album, Demanufacture, Fear Factory's sound exploded from its death metal roots into an industrial roar that shook Ozzfest's main stage during their early afternoon sets from 1996 to 1997. The Los Angeles band continued to evolve over the course of their tumultuous career, developing dystopian themes and experimenting with instrumentation, but Demanufacture remained many fans' favorite balance of concept, construction and intensity. Years later, Fear Factory frontman Burton C. Bell received a GRAMMY nod for his work with Ministry.
Machine Head, The More Things Change … (1997)
Bay Area bashers pinpointed power on The More Things Changed . … Less technical than their debut, Machine Head brought a raw aggression to the Ozzfest main stage in 1997. While only on the tour for one year, their influence in the genre never slowed. A decade later, the band was nominated for a Best Metal Performance GRAMMY for "Aesthetics Of Hate" from 2007's The Blackening.
Coal Chamber, Coal Chamber (1997)
An instant groove-oriented L.A. shock-rock classic, this debut album stuck to the ribs much better than most of the so-called nu metal spawned during this timeframe, largely due to the musical makeup of the band: Miguel "Meegs" Rascón's uber-creative guitar work, Rayna Foss' signature bass grooves and frontman Dez Fafara's unhinged vocals. Coal Chamber were a pillar of Ozzfest's second stage from '96–'98, and their debut album packaged the demented frenzy of their sound accurately.
Vision Of Disorder, Imprint (1998)
Few albums of this or any era are as relentless as Imprint. Produced by rock mainstay Dave Sardy (Incubus, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails) and heavily endorsed by Pantera's Phil Anselmo, who makes an appearance on "By The River," VOD vaulted from Long Island, N.Y., to Ozzfest's second stage in 1997. Imprint is pure, unadulterated aggression, punching out of the speakers like a heavy concentrate of undiluted force that still sounds grating, pained and eviscerating nearly 20 years later.
Neurosis, Through Silver In Blood (1996)
Neurosis found their true, monolithic sound on 1998's Times of Grace, but it was Through Silver In Blood guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till described as "a f***ing railroad through hell," to Rolling Stone in a 30-year retrospective piece. Especially in the mid-'90s, Neurosis were arguably the heaviest band on any bill, both conceptually and sonically. Ozzfest '96 and '97 marked the first times the band braved the sunlight to deliver their crushing, dynamic and brilliant live set.
Powerman 5000, Mega!! Kung Fu Radio (1997)
Early comers to Ozzfest '97 had the privilege of catching this quirky comic book metal outfit fronted by Zombie's younger brother, Spider One. PM5K was more than a novelty, and Mega!! Kung Fu Radio journeyed through funk, rap, rock, and psychedelia. The band went on to find more widespread success with soundtrack placements and even chart success, but as a nascent band with the opening main stage slot, they had something to prove about removing boundaries of creativity in heavy music, and they did.
Type O Negative, October Rust (1996)
Ethereal, dark and haunting, October Rust showed what an indie Goth band with a sense of humor is capable of. Massive, sludgy riffs under a canopy of church synths with the late Peter Steele's baritone calmly cutting through the gut, Type O Negative never sounded more at home in their own style than on October Rust. The band might have been too dreary for some Ozzfest goers, but their inclusion in the festival demonstrated the wide breadth that heavy music encompassed by the time they were slotted in on the main stage just before Pantera in 1997.
Earth Crisis, Gomorrah's Season Ends (1996)
Built on the foundation of hardcore edge, metal arrangements and environmentally conscious lyrics, this New York quintet's second album offered a surplus of discordant guitar melodies and ax-ground vocals, all delivered with devastating force. Earth Crisis would outdo themselves in 1998 album with Breed the Killers, but it was the raw edge of Gomorrah's Season Ends that shot them out of a cannon and onto the Ozzfest second stage in '96.
Hatebreed, Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire (1997)
Another east coast hardcore band to make it to the Ozzfest stage, Hatebreed were instrumental in blurring the lines between metal and hardcore punk. In true punk-rock form, Satisfaction … has 14 songs, all of them ballistic, and clocks in at just over 26 minutes. Their debut album put Hatebreed on a path that would lead to a long and influential career, including a GRAMMY nomination for Best Metal Performance for 2004 for their song "Live For This."
Sepultura, Roots (1996)
Roots marked a turning point, not only for Sepultura, but for the controversial shift in metal the album represented to some critics. The dense, claustrophobic rhythms of thrash metal inherited the rhythmic space created by early Sabbath without losing any intensity. But by 1996, the influence of new bands such as Korn, and later, Deftones, found its way into many traditional metal bands' sounds. For Sepultura, a Brazilian band led by brothers Max and Igor Cavalera, the difference was the other influences that informed their sound. As a result, Roots blended equal influence from the evolving pulse of metal with their death metal origins and native Brazilian tribal culture.
(HED) p.e., (hed) p.e. (1997)
While most of the rap-rock of this era would be short-lived and formulaic, (HED) p.e.'s self-titled debut was arguably more aggressive and inventive than many of their contemporaries. The Southern California group joined Ozzfest's second stage in '99, eventually helming the main stage for the U.K. run in 2001.
Sevendust, Sevendust (1997)
The Atlanta newcomers joined Ozzfest in '98 on the strength of their self-titled debut that wielded heavy groove riffs underneath frontman Lajon Witherspoon's effortless vocal ability to growl and soar. The fresh brand of heavy Sevendust brought to the table in the late '90s transcended rap-rock stereotypes to give way to a more electronic and melodic sound the band perfected on subsequent albums. Sevendust showed the promise and originality of the band that would go on to be nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Metal Performance for "Thank You" from 2015's Kill The Flaw.
Downset., Do We Speak A Dead Language? (1996)
Formed in 1986, Downset. put in their share of time on the L.A. metal scene ahead of landing the headlining spot on the second stage of Ozzfest '97. Lyrical positivity and musical experimentation, mixed with a blend of blending hardcore and hip-hop elements, boldly underlined Downset. as a band with something to say. This urgency is especially palpable on Do We Speak A Dead Language?, which marked a high point in the band's career.
Biohazard, Mata Leão (1996)
Brooklyn, N.Y., hardcore pioneers were also nearly 10 years into their career when they landed on the Ozzfest main stage in '96 on the heels of Mata Leão, their fourth album. Biohazard looked and sounded like a no-nonsense hardcore band, but they were also ahead of the curve with infusing hip-hop into a raw, street metal aesthetic that achieved new peaks of grinding musical gears and in-your-face vocals.
Pantera, The Great Southern Trendkill (1996)
Simply put, Pantera were the kings of this scene. The now-legendary quartet took their fitting throne as the penultimate act on the Ozzfest stage before the host himself appeared. By the time … Trendkill was released in 1996, word had gotten out about Pantera's unmatched live show, led by late guitar virtuoso Dimebag Darrell's riff arsenal. Pantera earned four GRAMMY nominations in their career, but perhaps more importantly, they also embodied Ozzfest's underground movement in the early years, proving a band could succeed without support of mainstream radio and only marginal exposure on MTV. For many fans, Pantera was the band that drew them to Ozzfest in the first place in '97 and again in 2000, opening doors for other bands on mainstream's fringe to find an audience.
What is the must-have ingredient for the film music of a GRAMMY-winning composer? According to Alan Menken, it has to be "hummable."
The 11-time GRAMMY winner has built an impressive career out of composing memorable music for Disney blockbusters such as Beauty And The Beast (1991), The Little Mermaid (1989) and Aladdin (1992). A new generation will have the opportunity to hum along to the music of the former with the new live-action remake of Beauty And The Beast, starring Emma Watson, Luke Evans and Ewan McGregor, now in theaters. The adaptation, which has sparked controversy due to a brief gay kissing scene, features new recordings of the 1991 film's original songs as well as new songs penned by Menken, including one written for Celine Dion, "How Does A Moment Last Forever."
Besides ticking the hummable meter, what other criteria is key to a great film song? "[It] should elicit an emotion, of happiness, or of celebration, or of sadness, or of sorrow, or of love, or of laughter," Menken told NPR.