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Helen Reddy, GRAMMY-Winning "I Am Woman" Singer, Dies At 78
The empowerment-minded '70s singer won a GRAMMY for her chart-topping single in 1973
GRAMMY-winning Australian performer Helen Reddy, best known for her empowerment-minded 1972 hit, "I Am Woman," has died at 78.
In 2015, Reddy was diagnosed with dementia and, according to the Guardian, had been living in a Los Angeles nursing home.
Reddy’s children, Traci and Jordan, posted a statement to the singer's official fan page, stating: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th 2020 in Los Angeles."
“She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever."
Reddy won a GRAMMY in 1973 for Best Female Pop Performance for "I Am Woman."
"I would like to thank God, because she makes everything possible," she said while accepting her speech. Reddy was again nominated in the same category in 1975 for "Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady."
While "I Am Woman" earned Reddy pop star status, a GRAMMY win and her first No. 1 hit, as NPR explained in 2018, it was a fight to get Capitol to record the song and then to get radio stations to play it. The single was released in 1971, but it took a year of going to stations across the country, finally hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1972.
But once they did, it struck a chord with women across the nation her where organizing and finding their power in the social justice movements of the '70s. As the outlet asserts, publically referring to God a woman—almost a half-century before Ariana Grande's epic "God is a woman"—at the time was bold, yet appropriate, shortly after the Equal Rights Amendment passed the Senate and Roe v. Wade made history.
"It really resonated for a lot of people," Nadine Hubbs, a professor of musicology at the University of Michigan told NPR. "She was putting into words some really important social changes that were going on at the moment."
"I am a feminist," Reddy told CBC in 1972.
"I would like get into the hearts and minds of women who, for example, wouldn't have a copy of [Gloria Steinem's] Ms. magazine in their house. But these women can be reached and ... I'm trying to find a way to reach them, ... to give them a confidence in themselves that they've never had."
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Melvin Edmonds Of R&B Vocal Group After 7 Dies At 65
Edmonds was the "soul" and "signature element" of the group said member Keith Mitchell
Melvin Edmonds of GRAMMY-nominated late-80s R&B vocal group After 7, known for hits like "Ready Or Not," has died at the age of 65.
His death was confirmed by After 7 group member Keith Mitchell via Facebook. The cause of death has not been officially released. Essence reports Edmonds died Saturday after battling a short illness. The singer had a stroke in 2011 among other health issues, according to CNN.
"I will miss you; I love you, and Melvin, your legacy will live on through the music we created together!!" Mitchell said in the post.
Edmonds was the "soul" and "signature element" of the group, wrote Mitchell, which the two co-founded along with one of Edmonds' brothers Kevon. After 7 had three singles land on the Billboard Hot 100 in the '90s. The singles, "Can't Stop," "Ready Or Not" and "Heat Of The Moment" all hit the top 20. The group was nominated for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for "Can't Stop" at the 33rd GRAMMY Awards.
Beyond a musician, Edmonds was a father of four and brother to five, including Kenny "Babyface," Marvin Jr., Michael, Kevon and Derek.
"Melvin's love for audiences and fans everywhere who supported our music is what drove him on stage and in life. He is and will be missed by my family, fans, and friends," Mitchell said.
Keith Wilder, Heatwave Lead Singer, Dies
The GRAMMY-nominated "Boogie Nights" and "Always And Forever" singer dies at age 65
Keith Wilder, the lead singer of GRAMMY-nominated '70s R&B/funk hitmakers Heatwave, died Oct. 29 at the age of 65. Wilder's death was confirmed by the group's manager, Les Spaine, via Rolling Stone. No specific cause of death has been confirmed, although fellow Heatwave band member Billy Jones told Dayton.com that Wilder died in his sleep.
Wilder, who was born in Dayton, Ohio, formed Heatwave in 1975 in Germany with his brother, Johnnie Wilder Jr., who was serving in the Army. The duo subsequently enlisted songwriter/keyboardist Rod Temperton, drummer Ernest "Bilbo" Berger, bassist Mario Mantese, and guitarists Eric Johns and Roy Carter.
In 1976 the group released their debut album, the platinum-plus Too Hot To Handle, which peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200. The album spawned the hits "Boogie Nights" (No. 2) and "Always And Forever," both of which attained platinum status. Heatwave's sophomore LP, Central Heating, hit No. 10 on the strength of the Top 20 hit "The Groove Line." The group's third album, 1980's Hot Property, was certified gold.
Moving into a new decade, Heatwave released 1980's Candles and 1982's Current. By then, the group had lost Mantese, Wilder Jr. and Temperton, who at that point was emerging as a go-to songwriter for the likes of Michael Jackson, George Benson and Michael McDonald, among others.
Keith Wilder revamped Heatwave for 1988's The Fire, and kept the band alive as a touring entity into the '90s. While Wilder continued to tour in recent years, he was forced to retire from the road after suffering a stroke in 2015.
Wilder scored two nominations with Heatwave at the 20th GRAMMY Awards: Best Arrangement For Voices for "All You Do Is Dial" and Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus for "Boogie Nights"
"Johnnie was a MONSTER singer whose harmony game is unmatched," said Questlove in an Instagram post. "No REAL singer worth their grain of salt NEVER denied his mastery."
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Mel Tillis, Legendary Country Singer/Songwriter, Dies
Songwriter who wrote hits for Kenny Rogers, Tom Jones and Brenda Lee dies at age 85
Mel Tillis, one of the more prolific singer/songwriters in country music history, died Nov. 19 following a battle with intestinal issues. He was 85 years old.
With a catalog of more than 1,000 songs, Tillis released more than 60 LPs over his six-decade-plus career. In the 1970s, Tillis hit a stride with a string of country chart smashes, including "Good Woman Blues," "Heart Healer" and "Coca Cola Cowboy."
What a truly devastating loss. I loved Mel. I will miss him terribly. My thoughts and prayers to all his family.— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) November 19, 2017
In addition to his successful solo career, Tillis wrote a variety of hits for artists such as Brenda Lee ("Emotions"), Webb Pierce ("I'm Tired"), Kenny Rogers ("Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town"), Charley Pride ("The Snakes Crawl At Night"), George Strait ("Thoughts Of A Fool"), Ricky Skaggs ("Honey, Open That Door"), and Tom Jones ("Detroit City"), among others.
Mel Tillis was old school. He said what he thought in his songs & they meant something. Any group needs a song that puts them on the map & the First Edition had that w/ "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town," thanks to Mel. We will always be thankful for that. I'll miss Mel a lot. pic.twitter.com/NLuACgRzkX— Kenny Rogers (@_KennyRogers) November 20, 2017
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British Composer Oliver Knussen Dies At 66
The GRAMMY-nominated composer was known for his operatic adaption of "Where The Wild Things Are" and was awarded the 2015 Queen's Medal for music
British renowned composer and conductor Oliver Knussen has died. The influential GRAMMY nominee worked with many great orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and most recently the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
Knussen's death was announced by his publisher, Faber Music, on July 9. The publisher did not release a cause of death, but the BBC reports that the composer died "after a short illness."
"Knussen was one of the world’s most eminent and influential composer-conductors and leaves behind him a body of work of crystalline concision, complexity and richness," Faber Music said on their website. "His impact on the musical community – both in the U.K. and around the world – was extraordinary, and is a testament to his great generosity and curiosity as a musician, as well as his unfailing love and deep knowledge of the art form."
Born in Glasgow in 1952, Knussen was just 15 years old when he wrote his first symphony. The composer worked with the late children's author Maurice Sendak in the '80s to create an operatic adaptation of "Where The Wild Things Are," one of his most famous works. A year after creating the opera, Knussen once again collaborated with Sendak on an operatic adaptation for another of his books, "Higglety Pigglety Pop!"
Knussen was also the music director of the London Sinfonietta, artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival, and artist in association with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, among other roles. He was nominated for a GRAMMY five times during his career and won many other awards, including the 2015 Queen's Medal for music and the Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music.