GRAMMY-winning singer Eydie Gorme, best known as one-half of the duo Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, died Aug. 10 in Las Vegas of an undisclosed cause. She was 84. Gorme and her husband Lawrence became a popular duo act via regular nightclub and TV performances throughout the '60s and '70s. Gorme scored her biggest solo hit with "Blame It On The Bossa Nova," which reached No. 7 in 1963. In 1960 Gorme and Lawrence’s first album together, We Got Us, won a GRAMMY for Best Performance By A Vocal Group. In 1966 she won the Best Vocal Performance, Female GRAMMY for "If He Walked Into My Life." "Whether performing solo or with her longtime husband Steve Lawrence, Gorme captivated audiences with her smooth, playful voice, memorable songs and vivacious charm," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "We mourn her loss along with her family, friends, and all who had the pleasure of knowing her, and we celebrate the legacy she has left behind."
"I am much more accustomed to giving awards to others … I am beyond humbled to be receiving this award today," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow at the outset of his address to the roughly 7,000 attendees present to witness the commencement ceremony for the Berklee College of Music graduating class of 2017. Portnow was in attendance to receive the honorary degree of doctor of music from college president Roger H. Brown for his "enduring contributions to American and International culture."
Along with the approximately 1,000 undergraduates who received their degrees on May 13, Portnow was in good company. Sharing in this year's symbolic doctorate honors with him were 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year Lionel Richie, GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams, acclaimed producer/songwriter Todd Rundgren, and South Korean psychedelic guitarist Shin Joong Hyun.
Each recipient spoke of the deeply personal connections that drew them to a career in music, and all five exhorted the assembled graduates to hold fast to the emotive power of their chosen profession.
"The most important thing you can take advantage of in the world of music is to see yourself … music [means] to me self-exploration more than anything else. I encourage everyone here to be brave in that respect, to be fearless in that respect," encouraged Rundgren. Referencing the previous evening's commencement concert, Richie commented, "I wish Michael Jackson would have been with me to share that moment, because what I saw on your faces was the enthusiasm, the passion, the drive, the love, the dreams."
In the closing remarks of his speech, Portnow offered, "If you follow your dreams and keep an open mind on how to achieve them, anything is possible." He then reminded the young graduates that Berklee is the proud alma mater of 275 GRAMMY and 88 Latin GRAMMY Award recipients, "and more [are] surely to come from some of you folks."
Chris Cornell, best known as the powerful-voiced lead singer for Soundgarden, died following a tour stop in Detroit on May 17. According to multiple news reports, Cornell died by suicide. He was 52 years old.
Along with Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam, Soundgarden defined the Seattle alternative rock sound. The Seattle native Cornell formed Soundgarden in the Emerald City in 1984. They released their debut album, Ultramega OK, in 1988, followed by Louder Than Love, in 1989.
In 1991, just as the Seattle scene was enveloping the mainstream, Cornell joined with Pearl Jam members Stone Gossard and Mike McCready, among others, in Temple Of The Dog. Their self-titled album, which spawned radio staples such as "Hunger Strike" and "Say Hello To Heaven," is heralded as an alt-rock classic.
Soundgarden hit their stride in 1994 with their No. 1 hit album Superunknown. The blockbuster album spawned Soundgarden's first two career GRAMMY wins: Best Hard Rock Performance for "Black Hole Sun" and Best Metal Performance for "Spoonman."
Their follow-up, 1996's Down On The Upside, charted at No. 2 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. Soundgarden disbanded in 1997 but regrouped in 2010. Since then, Cornell has been touring regularly with the band, including tour dates as recent as a stop in Detroit on May 17.
In 2001 Cornell fronted the alt-rock supergroup Audioslave, along with Rage Against The Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk. The group released three albums, including 2003's Audioslave, which earned the group one of their three GRAMMY nominations.
Cornell also released five solo albums, including the Top 20 albums Euphoria Morning (1999), Carry On (2007), Scream (2009), and mostly recently, Higher Truth (2015). Among his 14 GRAMMY nominations, Cornell earned a 1999 solo GRAMMY nomination for the track "Can't Change Me" for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. The multitalented singer/songwriter also penned the GRAMMY-nominated track "You Know My Name" for the 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale.
A recovering addict, Cornell was honored with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award in 2007 at the 3rd annual MusiCares MAP Fund event in recognition for his dedication and support of the MusiCares MAP Fund and his devotion to helping other addicts with the recovery process.
"Chris Cornell was one of the influential originators of the 1990s Seattle grunge scene," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "Chris' dynamic stage presence and impressive vocal range made him a true rock-and-roll icon. … Chris' extraordinary talent will forever live on and inspire fellow musicians and fans worldwide."
GRAMMY winners represent the best in music, so it's no surprise they had a strong showing during the 2017 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. From Drake to Cher, Twenty One Pilots and more, here is our GRAMMY-leaning recap of the May 21 awards show.
Drake ran away with the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, taking home 13 awards and setting a new record as the artist with the most wins in a single night. (Adele was the previous record holder with 12.) Drizzy's haul included Top Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, and Top Hot 100 Artist. He also captivated audiences with a memorable performance of "Gyalchester" with Baka in Las Vegas' Bellagio fountain.
The Top Female Artist Award went to 22-time GRAMMY winner Beyoncé, who took home a total of five awards. Rock duo and recent first-time GRAMMY winners Twenty One Pilots also earned five awards, among them Top Duo/Group. GRAMMY winners the Chainsmokers took home four awards, including Top Dance/Electronic Artist.
GRAMMY winner Cher received the Icon Award during the evening to honor her many musical achievements. To cap off the award, Cher performed a high-powered version of her GRAMMY-winning hit "Believe" and "If I Could Turn Back Time."
Speaking of performances, Celine Dion turned in a flawless rendition of her classic "My Heart Will Go On" to celebrate 20 years since the Titanic film theme song catapulted her into the stratosphere. The crowd honored the five-time GRAMMY winner with a standing ovation.