GRAMMY-winning country artist Ray Price died Dec. 16 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 87. Born in Perryville, Texas, Price signed with Columbia Records in 1951 and subsequently worked with country figures such as Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams. He scored his first No. 1 hit with "Crazy Arms," which helped popularize electric instruments and the shuffle rhythm in country music. In 1957 he released his debut album, Ray Price Sings Heart Songs, which was followed by a string of hits, including "My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You," "City Lights," "Grazin' In Greener Pastures," and "She's Got To Be A Saint." In 1970 the Kris Kristofferson-penned hit "For The Good Times" garnered Price his first career GRAMMY for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male. In 2007 Price collaborated with GRAMMY winners Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson on Last Of The Breed. The two-disc set featured the track "Lost Highway," which earned Price and Nelson Best Country Collaboration With Vocals honors at the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards.
(In an effort to keep you fully informed, and fully entertained, below we present today's FYI and TMI — news you need and news that's, well, sometimes needless….)
Japan Physical Shipments Rise
Thanks in part to 91-member girl group AKB48, Japan's total audio physical shipments rose 8 percent from 2011, even though international shipments declined 9 percent from 2011. According to the Record Industry Of Japan, physical units in Japan jumped to 218 million units for a value of $2.5 billion; international audio shipments slipped to 37.8 million units for a value of $390 million. AKB48 spawned audio sales with 10 singles topping Billboard's Japan Hot 100 chart in 2012.
Ray Price Responds To Blake Shelton, Says He's Chief "Old Fart"
GRAMMY-winning country singer Ray Price is no longer having a good time thanks to current 55th GRAMMY nominee Blake Shelton's recent comments to Great American Country, in which he called fans of classic country music "old farts." "I don't care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, 'My God, that ain't country!' Well that's because you don't buy records anymore, jacka**," Shelton said. Calling himself "Chief 'Old Fart' and 'Jacka**'," Price responded to Shelton's comments on Facebook, writing in all caps, "[Shelton] should be so lucky as us old-timers. Check back in 63 years … and let us know how your name and your music will be remembered." Shelton later apologized to Price, one of his "all time favorite artists," but maybe too late to bring back the good times.
RIP Chester. Tragic ending. Condolences his family and friends and Linkin Park
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) July 20, 2017
To help provide fans and friends with a centralized platform for reflection, Linkin Park have created an official page that curates social media posts in Bennington's memory. Fans from around the world have added their thoughts to the collection, including appreciations for his talents as a songwriter and vocalist, and what his music has meant to them.
His perspective in the music saved me on more than one occasion. We never got to meet, but his words will echo in me.
— Daryl Hollonquest Jr (@superdaryliam) July 24, 2017
— Kinda Hectic Inside (@Petals66) July 24, 2017
The band also announced they will cancel the remainder of their tour in the wake of Bennington's passing, and released an official letter in memory of their beloved band member:
"You touched so many lives, maybe even more than you realized. In the past few days, we've seen an outpouring of love and support, both public and private, from around the world," writes the band. "Our love for making and performing music is inextinguishable. While we don’t know what path our future may take, we know that each of our lives was made better by you. Thank you for that gift."
It's that time again, when we gather some of the best new releases from the last month and deliver them straight to your front door. While it's always near impossible to choose just a handful of new releases to spotlight, we want to give you a little bit of everything — from pop, rock, hip-hop, country, and more. So without further ado, take a look back at the Monthly Music Roundup for May.
The Afghan Whigs, In Spades
This '90s alt-rock mainstay is back In Spades with their second release since reuniting in 2012. "Bolstered again by the louche and ravaged voice of singer Greg Dulli," writes Pitchfork, "the latest from the indie rock icons is delightfully stuffed with romance and rancor."
Diana Krall, Turn Up the Quiet
The sultry-voiced GRAMMY winner takes it back to basics for Turn Up The Quiet as she revisits standards such as "L-O-V-E," "Blue Skies" and "Night And Day" with alternating backing bands. Produced by GRAMMY winner Tommy LiPuma prior to his passing this past March, AllMusic.com says of the album, "The end result is so elegant, it seems effortless."
Natalia Lafourcade, Musas
Like many of her acclaimed albums, GRAMMY winner Lafourcade's Musas "serves as a mini lesson in Latin American music." A combination of Latin American standards and songs written or co-written by Lafourcade, she told Remezcla the album represents "patience" and "humanity."
Mary Lambert, Bold
The "Same Love" GRAMMY nominee is back at it with her latest, the crowdfunded EP, Bold, which Bust describes as a mix of "emotionally deep and thought-provoking songs" and "fun feel-good jams." Bold is an open and honest ode to living a full life and includes a little dancing, a little poetry and even a duet with her mom.
Lil Yachty, Teenage Emotions
With guests such as Migos, YG, Kamaiyah, and GRAMMY winner Diplo, Lil Yachty is ramping up with Teenage Emotions. The 21-song album reflects an empowering, "be yourself" message. "Don't be afraid to do you, to be you," Lil Yachty said on Instagram Live. "If you have vitiligo or if you're gay or whatever it is, embrace yourself. Love yourself. Be happy, positive."
Rapper Logic has taken his game to the next level withn Everybody, on which he tackles everything from mental health to his biracial identity. The album has already charted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and XXLmag.com said it "further solidifies Logic['s] solid standing in hip-hop."
Paramore, After Laughter
Paramore's After Laughter is a "very of-the-moment" pop record that ditches the bubblegum but keeps the catchy hooks. Or, as Rolling Stone says, it's "a record that's so sunshine-bright it gives off a glare at times, rooted in fleet basslines and beats made for open-road drives and solo bedroom dance parties" that also has a bit of "cocked-eyebrow trepidation."
Perfume Genius, No Shape
Perfume Genius — aka Mike Hadreas — is back with his fourth studio album, No Shape. Produced by GRAMMY winner Blake Mills, the singer/songwriter continues his confessional brand of indie-pop in grand style. "These songs swoop and chatter like flocks of mad starlings, light up like religious paintings, … make the cosmos explode inside your ribs," Pitchfork writes. "No Shape rebukes tasteful minimalism and embraces beauty at its most transgressive."
Chris Stapleton, From A Room: Volume 1
His first album since winning the GRAMMY for Best Country Album for 2015's Traveller, From A Room: Volume 1 also embraces '70s-sounding outlaw country, including a cover of Willie Nelson's "Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning." While the record only runs approximately 30 minutes, Variety said, "Country has been holding out for a hero so long, even a display of superpowers as modest as From A Room feels epic enough."
Rapper Wale's fifth studio album, Shine, covers a lot of musical ground across 14 tracks. There's dancehall with a Diplo co-produce, a Latin connection with a J Balvin feature and a revisit of the seminal, "Smile." While Complex calls the album "a new dad rap classic" in light of its devotion to Wale's daughter, it's not a bad thing — the "different flavors" the album evokes are cause for celebration.
Roger Waters, Is This The Life We Really Want?
The former bassist for Pink Floyd, Waters' latest album hearkens back to a 1970s sound. GRAMMY-winning producer Nigel Godrich was given unusually strong oversite of the album. The result is an album that reaches from politics to the personal in a Floydian-esque package of the best kind. Waters told Entertainment Weekly, "It's about the transcendental nature of love and, I suppose, how it can transform anger into compassion."
Zac Brown Band, Welcome Home
Appropriately titled, this LP takes Zac Brown Band back to their roots of a more traditional country sound, including "Roots" and "Family Table." AllMusic.com says, "The sound of Welcome Home is a warm, comfortable bath" that "is the very definition of music as comfort food." For those who appreciate this melodically inclined country band, it will definitely be a Welcome Home.
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
A must-have for collectors, the 50th-anniversary super deluxe edition of the Beatles' classic 1967 album is packed with fabulous bonuses and extras. Aside from a new stereo mix of the album and track outtakes, the super deluxe set features 33 more recordings from the Sgt. Pepper sessions, unreleased mono mixes, surround-sound audio mixes, a documentary, and commemorative hardcover book.
With '90s nostalgia in full bloom, the 25th-anniversary deluxe edition of the Singles soundtrack is an alt-rock feast for the ears. The set features a remastered version of the original soundtrack, featuring Gen X classics by Alice In Chains, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, and Chris Cornell, plus a bonus disc of previously unreleased songs and rarities, including songs heard in the film but not on the original soundtrack. Also included is a full EP from the late Cornell, featuring an early version of Soundgarden's GRAMMY-winning song "Spoonman."
Miley Cyrus, "Malibu"
Cyrus' "Malibu" does not come in like a wrecking ball. Quite the opposite, actually. A sweet love song that goes back to basics in its instrumentation, "Malibu" could be the soundtrack for your summer fling.
A move toward a more house-sound for Flume, "Hyperreal" features Australian singer Kučka. Her ethereal vocals compliment asymmetric synths and a darker backdrop with crunchy atmospherics.
Haim, "Want You Back"
A mid-tempo tune with the Haim sisters' signature vocals, "Want You Back" continues their brand of pop, this time with a love song. NPR adds that the track features "production that feels like several songs layered up and seeking maximum heart."
LCD Soundsystem, "Call The Police"/"American Dream"
Released as a "double A-side" to their upcoming comeback album, LCD Soundsystem evoke two separate moods with these two tracks. "American Dream" languishes with self-deprecating talk about love while "Call The Police" has instrumentals that, per Pitchfork, sound like "downed live wires …raring to go."
We've gotten used to RiRi dominating the charts, the fashion world and the pop culture zeitgeist. She's an eight-time GRAMMY winner who has earned distinction as the artist with the most digital single sales in RIAA history.
It's hard to fathom that a mere 10 years ago, Rihanna was still a long-haired good girl about to take a turn. With the release of 2007's Good Girl Gone Bad, and a new short hairdo to match, Rihanna ultimately helped meet her stated goal of becoming the "black Madonna."
As the 10th anniversary of Good Girl Gone Bad is upon us, take a look back at five reasons Rihanna's groundbreaking third studio album helped turn her into a bona fide pop sensation and unmistakable trendsetter.
Transition to entertainment icon
Beginning with Good Girl Gone Bad, Rihanna chopped her long, curly hair into a fierce short bob. She adopted a more provocative look, beginning a fashion evolution that would lead her to style icon status on the GRAMMY red carpet, at the Met Gala and beyond. This fashion change was also reflected in her music, which went from primarily Caribbean-inspired jams to pop, dancehall and R&B-infused tracks built to make you move. "I basically took the attitude of the bad girl and I really got rebellious and just did everything the way I wanted to do it," Rihanna told The StarPhoenix in 2007. "I just want to have a little more fun with my music and be a little more experimental in terms of my image and my sound. I just reinvented myself."
Landing the perfect song
Who didn't get "'ella, 'ella, 'ella" stuck in their head after hearing the chart-topping smash "Umbrella"? The catchy repetitive chorus of the song became a defining moment for Rihanna, yet she almost didn't record the song. According to GRAMMY-winning producer/songwriter Chris "Tricky" Stewart, he and co-producer The-Dream shopped the song to Britney Spears' camp first. When her label passed, they presented the record to Mary J. Blige next, who didn't have a chance to hear the tune before L.A. Reid at Def Jam procured it for Rihanna. When the team first heard those famous ''ellas" in the studio, they knew the song was right as rain for RiRi.
First international tour
Having promoted her first two albums with tours in North America, Rihanna took Good Girl … international, marking her first headlining world tour. She visited venues across Europe, North America, Oceania, Asia, and Africa. But the tour wasn't without a bit of controversy. Malaysian officials weren't thrilled with this good girl's provocative "gone bad" look and sultry performance moves. Rihanna agreed to follow local regulations, but postponed her original performance date in the country.
Three releases are a charm
Befitting its mega mark on pop culture, Good Girl Gone Bad has been released a total of three times. First, the original five-time platinum album was released on June 5, 2007, spawning five singles, all of which reached multiplatinum status: "Umbrella," "Shut Up And Drive," "Hate That I Love You," "Don't Stop The Music," and "Rehab." This was followed by 2008's Good Girl … Reloaded, which featured additional tracks such as "Take A Bow" and "Disturbia," and then again with … The Remixes in early 2009. Both "Take A Bow" and "Disturbia" rocketed to No. 1, and the latter earned a GRAMMY nomination for 2008 for Best Dance Recording.
First GRAMMY win
As the first single released from Good Girl Gone Bad, "Umbrella" not only created the perfect storm — staying at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks — it netted RiRi her first GRAMMY. At the 50th GRAMMY Awards in 2008, Rihanna earned four total nominations, including two for "Umbrella": Record Of The Year and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. She ultimately won for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration alongside Jay Z. Rihanna also performed "Umbrella" and "Don't Stop The Music" at the milestone 50th GRAMMYs, marking her stage debut on Music's Biggest Night.