News in Review: Paul McCartney, Merle Haggard, Rock Hall of Fame, Irwin Silber, Solomon Burke
First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2010, Volume 17, #11
Written by John Metzger
Tue November 16, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
Paul McCartney, Merle Haggard to Receive Kennedy Center Honors
Each year, the Kennedy Center recognizes several people from the artistic community for the impact they have had upon American culture. This year’s recipients are Paul McCartney, Merle Haggard, composer Jerry Herman, choreographer Bill T. Jones, and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. The ceremony will be held on December 5 in Washington, D.C. President and Mrs. Obama are planning not only to attend the event but also to host the honorees at the White House. The program will be broadcast on CBS on December 28.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Announces Nominees for 2011 Ballot
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has assembled a ballot of potential inductees for its 2011 ceremony, which will be held on March 14 at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Ballots have been sent to more than 500 professionals within the music industry. The current slate of artists includes many previous nominees who have not yet been able to garner enough votes to gain admission to the prestigious institution. These are LL Cool J, Laura Nyro, Donna Summer, Darlene Love, Beastie Boys, Dr. John, Chic, Chuck Willis, and Joe Tex. Six additional performers — Neil Diamond, Tom Waits, Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi, Donovan, and J. Geils Band — are on the ballot for the first time. Only performers who issued their debut single or album prior to 1986 are eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.
Sing Out! Founder Irwin Silber Dies
On September 8, Irwin Silber passed away at the age of 84 after suffering from complications stemming from his longstanding bout with Alzheimer’s disease. Silber founded the folk magazine Sing Out! in 1950. Quickly assuming the mantle of editor, he remained with the publication until 1967. Consequently, he was instrumental in shaping and documenting the folk-music revival as well as the rejuvenated blues scene of the 1960s. As such, Silber was an early champion of Bob Dylan. In late 1964, after the release of Another Side of Bob Dylan, however, Silber chastised the artist for straying from his roots. Silber had seen Dylan perform his new material at the Newport Folk Festival and was troubled by the introspective nature of his songs. In 1967, after leaving his post as editor at Sing Out!, Silber began writing for the weekly paper Guardian. A few years later, he started Paredon, an independent label specializing in protest tunes.
King Solomon Passes Away
Solomon Burke — the self-proclaimed King of Rock and Soul whose stage frequently included a royal robe, crown, and throne — passed away of natural causes on October 10 while en route to a performance in Amsterdam. Burke was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after his plane from Los Angeles touched down at the Schiphol Airport.
Born 70 years ago in Philadelphia, Burke transformed himself from a gospel singer into an R&B sensation in the early 1960s. His hit singles — Cry to Me and Everybody Needs Somebody to Love — served as an inspiration to British bands like the Rolling Stones. Burke’s star had faded by the early 1970s, and disgruntled by his fate, he receded from the spotlight.
Burke’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 set the stage for a full-fledged revival of his career. Collaborating with producer Joe Henry and a host of sympathetic songwriters (including Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, and Brian Wilson), Burke assembled Don’t Give Up on Me. Winning in the category of Best Contemporary Blues Album, it was the only effort in his canon that was honored with a Grammy Award. With striking regularity, Burke reappeared with new albums — Nashville, Like a Fire, and Nothing’s Impossible, among them. Focusing upon various aspects of his approach, each of them not only reminded the world of his groundbreaking early work, but also extended his rich legacy. At the time of his death, Burke was putting the finishing touches upon his latest set Hold on Tight, which was issued last month.
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