Eva Cassidy (1963 – 1996)
|Birth name||Eva Marie Cassidy|
|Born||February 2, 1963
Washington, DC; US
|Origin||Maryland, United States|
|Died||November 2, 1996 (aged 33)
Bowie, Maryland, US
|Genres||Soul, Pop, Jazz, Blues, Folk, Gospel|
|Occupations||Singer, Guitarist, Recording artist, Performer, Landscaper, Painter|
|Instruments||Vocals, Guitar, Piano|
|Labels||BLP (US), Liaison (US), Blix Street (US), Hot (Europe)|
|Associated acts||Chuck Brown, Alison Krauss, Katie Melua, Method Actor|
Eva Marie Cassidy (February 2, 1963 – November 2, 1996) was an American vocalist and guitarist known for her interpretations of jazz, blues, folk, gospel, country, rock and pop classics. In 1992, she released her first album, The Other Side, a set of duets with go-go musician Chuck Brown, followed by the 1996 live solo album entitled Live at Blues Alley. Although she had been honored by the Washington Area Music Association, she was virtually unknown outside her nativeWashington DC, when she died of melanoma in 1996.
Four years later, Cassidy’s music was brought to the attention of British audiences when her versions of “Fields of Gold” and “Over the Rainbow” were played by Mike Harding and Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2. Following the overwhelming response, a camcorder recording of “Over the Rainbow”, taken at Blues Alley in Washington by her friend Bryan McCulley, was shown on BBC Two‘s Top of the Pops 2. Shortly afterwards, the compilation album Songbird climbed to the top of the UK Albums Charts, almost three years after its initial release. The chart success in the United Kingdom and Ireland led to increased recognition worldwide; her posthumously released recordings, including three UK number 1 records, have sold more than ten million copies. Her music has also charted top 10 positions in Australia, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland.
Born on February 2, 1963, at the Washington Hospital Center, Cassidy grew up in Oxon Hill and later Bowie, Maryland, suburbs of Washington, DC. She was the third of four children. Her father Hugh Cassidy, a retired teacher, sculptor, musician, former army medic and world champion powerlifter, is of Scottish and Irish descent, while her German-born mother Barbara Kratzer Cassidy was a horticulturist. From an early age, Cassidy displayed interest in art and music. When she was nine, her father began teaching her to play the guitar, and she began to play and sing at family gatherings.
At age 11, Cassidy began singing and playing guitar in a Washington-area band called Easy Street. This band performed in a variety of styles at weddings, corporate parties, and pubs. Due to her shyness, she struggled with performing in front of strangers. While a student at Bowie High School, she sang with a local band called Stonehenge. During the summer of 1983, Cassidy sang and played guitar six days a week at the theme park Wild World. Her younger brother Dan, a fiddler, was also a member of this working band. She enrolled in art classes at Prince George’s Community College but dropped out after finding them unhelpful.
Throughout the 1980s, Cassidy worked with several other bands, including the techno-pop band Characters Without Names. During this period, Cassidy also worked as a propagator at a plant nursery and as a furniture painter. In her free time, she explored other artistic expressions including painting, sculpting, and jewelry design. Despite holding a belief in God, Cassidy was not part of any organized religion.
In 1986, Cassidy was asked by Stonehenge guitarist and high school friend, David Lourim, to lend her voice to his music project, Method Actor. This brought her to Black Pond Studios, where she met recording engineer and bassist Chris Biondo. Biondo helped her find work as a session singer and later introduced her to Al Dale, who would become her manager. She sang back-ups for various acts, from go-go rhythm and blues band Experience Unlimited to rapper E-40. Biondo and Cassidy, who were in a romantic relationship for a time, formed the five-piece “Eva Cassidy Band” with Lenny Williams, Keith Grimes and Raice McLeod in 1990. They began to perform frequently in the Washington area.
In 1992, Biondo played a tape of Cassidy’s voice for Chuck Brown, the “Godfather of go-go”. It resulted in the duet album The Other Side featuring performances of classic songs such as “Fever“, “God Bless the Child,” and what would later become Cassidy’s signature song, “Over the Rainbow“. The album was released and distributed in 1992 by Liaison Records, the label that also released Brown’s Go-go albums. Brown originally intended to record an additional duet with Cassidy for his next solo album, but this was postponed due to ongoing negotiations between Dale and other labels for a solo deal. Cassidy’s unwillingness to narrow her stylistic focus to one genre hindered her chances of securing a deal. After talks broke down, the two decided to record their own duet album. As a duo, they performed at the Columbia Arts Festival and opened for acts like Al Green and The Neville Brothers.
In 1993, Cassidy was honored by the Washington Area Music Association with a Wammie award for the Vocalist Jazz/Traditional category. The next year she was invited to perform at the event and chose to sing “Over the Rainbow”. A Washington Times review of the event called her performance “a show-stopper”. She took home two Wammies that night, again for Vocalist Jazz/Traditional and also for Roots Rock/Traditional R&B. For a brief period that year, Cassidy signed a deal with Blue Note Records to pair up with pop-jazz band Pieces of a Dream to release an album and tour the country. She sang two tracks in a mainly instrumental album. It was a musically unsatisfying experience for her.
After having a potential contract with Apollo Records collapse when the label went bankrupt, Biondo and Dale decided that she should release her own live album. In January 1996, the material for Live at Blues Alley was recorded over a two-day period at Blues Alley in Washington, DC. Due to a technical glitch on the first night of recording, only the second night’s recording was usable. Unhappy with the way she sounded due to a cold, she was reluctant to release the album. She eventually relented, on the condition that the studio track “Oh, Had I a Golden Thread”, Cassidy’s favorite song, would be included in the release, and that they start working on a follow-up studio album. Her apprehension appeared unfounded as local reviewers and the public responded positively. The Washington Post commented that “she could sing anything — folk, blues, pop, jazz, R&B, gospel — and make it sound like it was the only music that mattered.” The subsequent studio album she worked on was released posthumously as Eva by Heart in 1997. In the liner notes of Eva by Heart, critic Joel E. Siegel described Cassidy as “one of the greatest voices of her generation.”
In 1993, Cassidy had a malignant mole removed from her back. Three years later, during a promotional event for the Live at Blues Alley album in July 1996, Cassidy noticed an ache in her hips, which she attributed to stiffness from painting murals while perched atop a stepladder. The pain persisted and a few weeks later, X-rays revealed that the melanoma had spread to her lungs and bones. Her doctors estimated she had three to five months to live. Cassidy opted for aggressive treatment, but her health deteriorated rapidly. In the early fall, at a benefit concert for her atthe Bayou, she made her final public appearance, closing the set with “What a Wonderful World” in front of an audience of family, friends, and fans. Additional chemotherapy was ineffective and Cassidy died on November 2, 1996 at her family’s home in Bowie, Maryland. In accordance with her wishes, her body was cremated and the ashes were scattered on the lake shores of St. Mary’s River Watershed Park, a nature reserve near Callaway, Maryland.
Farrah Fawcett (1947 – 2009)
Fawcett’s record-breaking poster that sold twenty million copies
|Born||Ferrah Leni Fawcett
February 2, 1947
Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.
|Died||June 25, 2009 (aged 62)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles, California|
|Residence||Santa Monica, California, U.S.|
|Other names||Farrah Fawcett-Majors|
|Education||W. B. Ray High School|
|Alma mater||University of Texas at Austin|
(m. 1973–1982; divorced)
(1979–1997; 2001–2009, her death)
Ferrah Leni “Farrah” Fawcett (February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009) was an American actress and artist. A multiple Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee, Fawcett rose to international fame when she posed for her iconic red swimsuit poster and starred as private investigator Jill Munroe in the first season of the television series Charlie’s Angels (1976–77).
Fawcett later appeared off-Broadway to critical approval and in highly rated and critically acclaimed television movies, in roles often challenging, such as in The Burning Bed and Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story and sometimes unsympathetic, such as in Small Sacrifices.
Ferrah Leni Fawcett was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, the younger of two daughters. Her mother, Pauline Alice Fawcett (née Evans; January 30, 1914 – March 4, 2005), was a homemaker, and her father, James William Fawcett (October 14, 1917 – August 23, 2010), was an oil field contractor. Her sister was Diane Fawcett Walls (October 27, 1938 – October 16, 2001), a graphic artist. She was of Irish, French, English, and Choctaw Native American ancestry. Fawcett once said the name “Ferrah” was “made up” by her mother because it went well with their last name. Her father, who was an oilman, named her “Farah,” after the Arabic word for joy. She later asked to change the spelling to “Farrah.”
A Roman Catholic, Fawcett’s early education was at the parish school of the church her family attended, St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Corpus Christi. She graduated from W.B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi, where she was voted “most beautiful” by her classmates her freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school. For three years, 1965–68, Fawcett attended the University of Texas at Austin. During her Freshman year, she was named one of the “ten most beautiful coeds on campus,” the first time a freshman had been chosen. Their photos were sent to various agencies in Hollywood. David Mirisch, a Hollywood agent, called her and urged her to come to Los Angeles. She turned him down, but he called her for the next two years. Finally, in 1968, the summer following her junior year, with her parents’ permission to “try her luck” in Hollywood, Fawcett moved to Hollywood.
Upon arriving in Hollywood in 1968, she was signed to a $350-a-week contract with Screen Gems. She began to appear in commercials for UltraBrite toothpaste, Noxzema, Max Factor, Wella Balsam shampoo and conditioner, Mercury Cougarautomobiles, and Beautyrest mattresses. Fawcett’s earliest acting appearances were guest spots on The Flying Nun and I Dream of Jeannie. She made numerous other TV appearances, including on Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, Mayberry RFD, and The Partridge Family. She appeared in four episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man with husband Lee Majors and on The Dating Game and S.W.A.T and had a recurring role on Harry O alongside David Janssen.
She had a sizable part in the 1969 French romantic-drama Love Is a Funny Thing. She played the lesbian lover of Raquel Welch in the film version of Myra Breckinridge (1970), which was both a critical and box office failure. In 1971, Fawcett played Kitty Murdock in the television movie The Feminist And the Fuzz, starring Barbara Eden and David Hartman.
Rise to stardom
In 1976, Pro Arts Inc. pitched the idea of a poster of Fawcett to her agent, and a photo shoot was arranged with photographer Bruce McBroom, who was hired by the poster company. According to friend Nels Van Patten, Fawcett styled her own hair and did her makeup without the aid of a mirror. Her blonde highlights were further heightened by a squeeze of lemon juice. From 40 rolls of film, Fawcett herself selected her six favorite pictures, eventually the choice was narrowed to the one that made her famous. The resulting poster, of Fawcett in a one-piece red bathing suit, was a best-seller; selling twenty million copies.
Due to the popularity of her poster, Fawcett earned a supporting role in Michael Anderson‘s science-fiction film Logan’s Run (1976) with Michael York and Roscoe Lee Browne. The film enjoyed a large box office following upon its release.
Fawcett and her husband, television star Lee Majors, were frequent tennis partners with producer Aaron Spelling. Spelling and his business partner eventually chose Fawcett to play Jill Munroe in their upcoming made-for-TV movie, Charlie’s Angels, amovie of the week which aired on March 21, 1976 on ABC. The movie starred Fawcett (then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors), Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith as private investigators for Townsend Associates, a detective agency run by a reclusive multimillionaire whom the women had never met. Voiced by John Forsythe, the Charles Townsend character presented cases and dispensed advice via a speakerphone to his core team of three female employees, whom he referred to as “Angels.” They were aided in the office and occasionally in the field by two male associates, played by character actors David Doyle and David Ogden Stiers. The program quickly earned a huge following, leading the network to air it a second time and approve production for a series, with the pilot’s principal cast minus Ogden Stiers.
The Charlie’s Angels series formally debuted on September 22, 1976. Each of the three actresses were propelled to stardom, but Fawcett dominated popularity polls and was soon proclaimed a phenomenon. She subsequently won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Performer in a New TV Program. In a 1977 interview with TV Guide, Fawcett said: “When the show was number three, I thought it was our acting. When we got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra.”
Fawcett’s appearance in the television show boosted sales of her poster, and she earned far more in royalties from poster sales than from her salary for appearing in Charlie’s Angels. Her hairstyle went on to become an international trend, with women sporting a “Farrah-do”, a “Farrah-flip“, or simply “Farrah hair”. Iterations of her hair style predominated among American women’s hairstyles well into the 1980s.
Fawcett left Charlie’s Angels after only one season in the spring of 1977. After a series of legal battles of her contract with ABC, Cheryl Ladd eventually replaced her on the show, portraying Jill Munroe’s younger sister Kris Munroe. Numerous explanations for Fawcett’s precipitous withdrawal from the show were offered over the years. Because her husband, Lee Majors, was the star of an established television show himself (ABC’s Six Million Dollar Man which aired from 1974 to 1978), the strain on her marriage due to filming schedules that kept them apart for long periods was frequently cited, but Fawcett’s ambition to broaden her acting abilities in films has also been given as an explanation. Fawcett never officially signed her series contract with Spelling owing to protracted negotiations over royalties from her image’s use in peripheral products, which led to an even more protracted lawsuit filed by Spelling and his company when she quit the show. As a result of leaving her contract four years early, Fawcett reluctantly signed a new contract with ABC stating that she would make six guest appearances on the series over a two-year period (1978–80).
Charlie’s Angels was a major success throughout the world, maintaining its appeal in syndication and spawning (particularly in the show’s first three seasons) a cottage industry of peripheral products, including several series of bubble gum cards, two sets of fashion dolls, numerous posters, puzzles, and school supplies, novelizations of episodes, toy vans, and a board game, all featuring Fawcett’s likeness. The “Angels” also appeared on the covers of magazines around the world, from countless fan magazines to TV Guide (four times) to Time Magazine.
In 2004, the television movie Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie’s Angels dramatized the events from the show, with supermodel and actress Tricia Helfer portraying Fawcett and Ben Browder portraying Lee Majors, Fawcett’s then husband.
Nash performing in 2012 as part of Crosby, Stills & Nash
|Birth name||Graham William Nash|
|Born||2 February 1942 (age 71)
England, United Kingdom
|Origin||Salford, Lancashire, England|
|Genres||Rock and roll, pop, folk rock|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, activist, digital photographer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, keyboards, harmonica, drums|
|Labels||Atlantic, ABC, MCA, EMI, Reprise, Artemis|
|Associated acts||The Hollies, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young,Crosby & Nash, David Gilmour, Jackson Browne|
|Martin Signature guitar|
Graham William Nash, OBE (born 2 February 1942) is an English singer-songwriter known for his light tenor voice and for his songwriting contributions with the British pop group The Hollies, and with the folk-rock super group Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Nash is a photography collector and a published photographer. Nash was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1997 and as a member of The Hollies in 2010.
Nash was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, in 1942, his mother having been evacuated there from the Nash’s hometown of Salford, Lancashire because of the Second World War. The family subsequently returned to Salford, where Graham grew up. In the early 1960s he was co-founder with schoolfriend Allan Clarke of The Hollies. Nash was a leading member of The Hollies, one of the UK’s most successful pop and British Invasion groups. Credited on the first album as ‘Group Leader’ and recognised as a key member of the group, plus their public spokesman, he occasionally took a lead vocal. Nash was featured vocally on ‘Just One Look’ in 1964, and sang his first lead vocal on the original Hollies song ‘To You My Love’ on the band’s second album In The Hollies Style (1964). He then progressed to often singing featured ‘bridge vocals’ on Hollies recordings; ‘So Lonely’, ‘I’ve Been Wrong’ 1965, ‘Pay You Back With Interest’ 1966 etc., also by 1966 Nash was providing a few solo lead vocals on Hollies albums & then from 1967 ‘B’ sides to singles.
In 1965 Nash with Allan Clarke & guitarist Tony Hicks formed ‘Gralto Music Ltd’ a publishing company who handled their own songs and later signed the young Reg Dwight (aka ‘Elton John‘ – who played piano & organ on Hollies 1969 and 1970 recordings after Nash’s exit from the group).
Nash led the vocals on Hollies hits such as ‘On a Carousel‘ in 1967. In ‘Carrie Anne‘, also in in 1967, Nash featured both as a lead vocal verse singer, along with Allan Clarke and Tony Hicks, singing in all three chorus harmony vocals. From 1963 he had instigated The Hollies writing their own songs, initially with Clarke. Nash’s first written song with Clarke was the Everlys-inspired ‘Whole World Over’). From 1964 to mid-1966 Clarke, Hicks and Nash wrote as the alias ‘L.Ransford’. Their own names were credited on songs from ‘Stop Stop Stop’ from October 1966 onwards. Nash initially wrote or co-wrote many of the band’s original songs, most often in collaboration with Allan Clarke. Tony Hicks joined the duo up to Nash’s departure from the band in December 1968.