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Deena Weinstein

Both an American Detroit-based hard rock band and the adopted name of its singer and main creative force Vincent Damon Furnier (b Detroit, MI, 4 Feb 1946). Cooper was the son of a minister and the nephew of the storyteller Damon Runyon, after whom he was named. He moved to Arizona, where he attended high school and formed the Nazz. This band eventually took the name Alice Cooper and developed an over-the-top, theatrical shock-rock style that influenced a host of other rock performers.

With snide and clever lyrics, Alice Cooper’s style was mainly hard rock, but some tunes were psychedelic and others would be suitable in a Broadway musical. After moving to Michigan, the band scored numerous hits in the early 1970s. Many of the songs were rebellious youth-focused anthems, including “Eighteen” (Warner, 1971) and “School’s Out” (Warner, 1972). Others centered on ghoulish menace or mere gothic gruesomeness like “Dead Babies” (Warner, ...

Article

Lori Burns and Jada Watson

[Myra Ellen]

(b Newton, NC, Aug 22, 1963). American alternative-rock singer-songwriter, pianist, and record producer. She emerged in the early 1990s amid a resurgence of female singer-songwriters and has been one of the few well known alternative-rock artists to use the piano as her primary instrument. She attended the preparatory division of the prestigious Peabody Conservatory but left the school at the age of 11. She began to play her own music in nightclubs at 14, chaperoned by her father, who was a preacher. After Amos moved to Los Angeles in her late teens to pursue a recording career, her band Y Kant Tori Read released a self-titled album (Atl., 1987). Although this was unsuccessful, Atlantic Records retained her six-album contract.

Amos’s debut solo album, Little Earthquakes (Atl., 1992), earned her critical acclaim for her vocal expressivity, pianistic virtuosity, and fearless exploration of a wide range of personal themes, notably female sexuality, personal relationships, religion, sexual violence, and coming of age. The album ...

Article

Roxanne R. Reed

[Delois Barrett and the Barrett Sisters]

Gospel trio. Its members were Delores [Delois] (soprano), Billie (alto), and Rhodessa (high soprano) Barrett. Hailing from the Southside of Chicago, they grew up with seven other siblings and were members of the Morning Star Baptist Church where they sang in a choir directed by their aunt. As the Barrett–Hudson Singers, Delores and Billie had performed in a group with a cousin, whom Rhodessa later replaced to form the Barrett Sisters. Delores, the eldest and the group’s leader, started singing at the age of six. Her professional career began in earnest after graduating from Englewood High School, when she became the first female to join the Roberta Martin Singers (1944; see martin, Roberta ). Billie and Rhodessa received some formal training, but it was through the Roberta Martin Singers that Delores learned technique and honed her individual style, along with the unique ensemble quality known as the Roberta Martin sound. Delores continued to sing with Martin from time to time, even as the Barrett Sisters took shape. Getting their start as an African American gospel trio, the Barrett Sisters first recorded with the label Savoy (...

Article

Akitsugu Kawamoto

American hip-hop group. It was formed in 1995 in Los Angeles by will.i.am (William James Adams, Jr.; b Inglewood, CA, 15 March 1975; rapping, vocals, various instruments), apl.de.ap (Allan Pineda Lindo, Jr.; b Angeles City, Philippines, 28 November 1975; rapping, drums), and Taboo (Jaime Luis Gómez; b Los Angeles, CA, 14 July 1975; rapping, keyboard). The group grew out of Atban Klann (1991–5), a Los Angeles-based group signed for a time to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records. The Black Eyed Peas developed an approach that fused elements of global pop, jazz-rock, funk, soul, noise music, and a variety of hip-hop styles. Initially considered somewhat of an underground phenomenon, the Black Eyed Peas achieved worldwide commercial success after being joined by Fergie (Stacy Ann Ferguson; b Hacienda Heights, CA, 27 March 1975; rapping, vocals) in 2003. The group’s third and fourth albums, Elephunk (2003) and Monkey Business (2005...

Article

Raoul F. Camus

(b Port Jefferson, NY, April 15, 1923; d New York, June 26, 1981). American cornet and trumpet player and teacher. Because of damage at birth resulting in a withered right arm, he learned to play on instruments that were specially adapted for left-hand playing. Beginning lessons with his father at age five, by the time he was seven he was already performing as a soloist. At thirteen he studied with Del Staigers, considered one of the world’s great cornet soloists. In 1938 he began lessons with Ned Mahoney, cornet soloist with the Goldman Band, who convinced him to study at the Ernest Williams School of Music. In 1943, at the age of twenty, Burke was invited to join the Goldman Band, playing some 1100 solos over the next 32 years. In addition to the Goldman Band, Burke performed with the Cities Service Band of America (1948–56), the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra and the Baltimore SO....

Article

Paul R. Laird

(Dawn)

(b Broken Arrow, OK, July 24, 1968). American singer and actress. Chenoweth began her stage career singing for church functions before earning a BFA in musical theater and a master’s degree in opera performance from Oklahoma City University. Summer stock, beauty pageants, and off-Broadway roles preceded her Broadway debut in Kander and Ebb’s Steel Pier (1997). She portrayed Sally, a role envisioned for her, in the 1999 revival of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (winning a Tony Award) and starred in the play Epic Proportions the same year. Chenoweth has enjoyed a simultaneous television career, appearing in small-screen adaptations of Annie (1999) and The Music Man (2003) and working on series such as the eponymous Kristin, The West Wing, Pushing Daisies, Glee, and Good Christian Belles. Her most memorable role on Broadway was Glinda in Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked (2003), a part that she played for two years in workshops before the premiere and which was tailored to her unique talents. Later credits include Cunegonde in a semi-staged version of ...

Article

Claude Conyers

American ballet dancers, teachers, choreographers, and company directors. Three of the four Christensen brothers made their careers in dance. Members of a Danish Mormon family that had settled in America, they were taught folk and social dancing by their father and grandfather and trained in ballet by various teachers. All three were instrumental in establishing and popularizing ballet in the western United States.

Willam Farr Christensen (b Brigham City, UT, Aug 27, 1902; d Salt Lake City, Oct 14, 2001) was the eldest of the brothers. After touring the vaudeville circuit, he opened a ballet school in 1932 in Portland, Oregon, from which sprang the Portland Ballet. In 1937 he joined the San Francisco Opera Ballet, where, as ballet-master, he staged the first full-length American productions of Coppélia (1939), Swan Lake (1940), and The Nutcracker (1944). Returning to Utah in 1951, he taught ballet at the state university and founded a performing group that eventually became known as Ballet West....

Article

Horace Clarence Boyer

(b Columbia, SC, 1918; d Philadelphia, PA, Sept 4, 1967). American gospel singer. She studied music at Temple University and subsequently became a school teacher. In 1938 she heard Willie Mae Ford Smith sing gospel music in Washington, DC, and decided to adopt the style. She began singing in towns in the Washington area, where she soon became known as the “Sweetheart of the Potomac,” a title that remained with her throughout her career. She began recording in the early 1950s and by 1953 was one of the major gospel stars, specializing in the “song and sermonette” (where the first half of the song is delivered as a sermon and the second half is sung). Her most popular recordings, all made during the 1950s, include “Amen,” “Evening Sun,” and “Stop Gambler.” She performed most often with the support of a male quartet, beginning a song softly and subtly, then building in volume and drama as the song progressed....

Article

John Clemente

Girl group formed in Coney Island, New York, in 1954. Dorothy Jones, (Ethel) Darlene McCrea, and Jones’s cousin Beulah Robertson won third place in the Apollo Theater’s amateur contest. This led to their first single, “All Night Mambo/Don’t let go” (Lamp Records, 1954). The songwriter and manager Jesse Stone got them signed to Atlantic Records, where they recorded during the period 1955–6; their second single, “In Paradise/Passing Time” (1956) was written by Neil Sedaka. The Cookies also backed other artists on the Atlantic roster, with Margie Hendricks replacing Robertson in 1956. Two years later, McCrea and Hendricks accepted Ray Charles’ offer to be part of the Raelettes.

In 1960 Jones assembled another trio, with McCrea’s sister Earl-Jean and cousin Margaret Ross. They undertook studio work with Sedaka and subsequently with Carole King and Gerry Goffin. The Cookies scored their own hits with “Chains” (Dimension) and “Don’t say nothin’ bad (about my baby)” (Dimension). They continued backing other singers and recording demos for Goffin and King, and between ...

Article

David Sanjek

[Mighty Dells, the]

The group collectively grew up in Harvey, Illinois, and initially performed under the name the El-Rays. They recorded an unsuccessful single in 1954 for Chess Records before transferring to Vee-Jay the following year. Their first hit “Oh What A Night” (1956) came soon thereafter. It hit the top five of the R&B singles chart, sold over a million copies, and was awarded a gold record. Their commercial ascendance was interrupted when a member was severely injured in a car accident in 1958. The Dells re-formed in 1960 and initially served as backup singers to other stars including Dinah Washington, Ray Charles, and Barbara Lewis. They rejoined Chess Records in 1966 and a year later released the album There Is, the title track of which was a Top 20 pop hit. Successive achievements on the label include their first Top 10 Pop Hit, “Stay in My Corner” (1968...

Article

Jonas Westover

Rock group. Formed in California in 1970, its original members were Tom Johnston (vocals and guitar), John Hartman (drums), Patrick Simmons (vocals and guitar), and Dave Shogren (bass guitar). Johnston and Simmons have remained with the group for more than four decades. The reference to marijuana in the band’s name did not prevent them from landing a contract with Warner Bros. in 1971, and their second album, Toulouse Street (1972), produced their first hit single, “Listen to the Music.” During this early period the band’s membership shifted often, and they changed their country-rock sound to include a fuller rhythm section and piano to support their distinctive vocal harmonies. They produced a string of successful singles, including “Black Water” (1975), and well received albums, including The Captain and Me (1973), What were once vices are now habits (1974), and Stampede (1975). The addition of the lead singer and principal songwriter Michael McDonald transformed their sound once again, leading to hit singles built around his soulful voice such as “Takin’ it to the Streets” (...

Article

EKV  

Vesna Mikić

[Ekatarina Velika]

Serbian rock band, active in Belgrade (Feb 1982 – Aug 1994). There was no band in Serbian popular music so intrinsically connected to the destinies of its members as the band Katarina II (Cathrine II), later Ekatarina Velika (Ekaterina the Great), or EKV for short. Formed in early 1982 by Milan Mladenović (guitar, lead vocals; d Belgrade, 1994), Dragomir Mihailović Gagi (guitar), Dušan Radmilović Švaba (bass guitar), and Dušan Dejanović (drums), they were joined in 1983 by the Belgrade New Wave scene's ‘femme fatale’ and talented keyboardist Margitta Stefanović Magi (d Belgrade, 18 Sept 2002). Due to a legal dispute among its members, the band's lineup underwent significant change (Bojan Pečar, bass guitar, d London, 13 Oct 1998; and Ivan Ferce Firči on drums, replaced in 1985 by Ivan Ranković Raka); Mladenović-Stefanović, however, always remained at the core of the lineup. Under the new name EKV the band released its second album, which established them as an artsy, sophisticated, yet energetic alternative rock band. Their live performances became more and more spectacular, contributing to their rising popularity, which had peaked by the end of the 1980s. With the beginning of war in the former Yugoslavia, Mladenović’s lyrics tended to be more overtly politically engaged as can be seen in the penultimate album ...

Article

Richard Wigmore

English piano trio. It was founded in 1995 by Susan Tomes (piano), Anthony Marwood (violin) and Richard Lester (cello). Tomes and Lester had both been members of the recently disbanded piano quartet Domus. The Florestan’s early recitals in the UK were immediately hailed for their verve and sensitivity, and the close, subtle rapport between the players. The trio quickly established itself as a leading chamber ensemble. It has toured frequently in Europe, South America, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and made its first US tour, including a Carnegie Hall début, in 2004. In 1999 it became the first piano trio to win the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Chamber Ensemble Award.

For Hyperion the Florestan has made highly praised recordings of much of the standard trio repertory, including works by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Dvořák, Fauré, Debussy and Ravel. The group also champions contemporary repertory, and has had works specially composed for it by Vasks, Beamish, Casken, Judith Weir and Rudi Martinus van Dijk. In ...

Article

Heart  

Ken McLeod

Rock group. It formed in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1973. Heart is composed of Seattle-born sisters Ann (b San Diego, CA, 19 June 1950) and Nancy (bSan Francisco, CA, 16 March 1954) Wilson supplemented bya changing lineup of side musicians. The two collaborate as songwriters, with older sister Ann serving asthe lead vocalist on the majority of the group’s recordings and Nancy as the group’s primary rhythm and lead guitarist. They were among the first women in rock to both write and play their own songs. The band achieved major success in the mid-1970s with their first two albums, Dreamboat Annie (1976) and Little Queen (1977), which spawned a number of top ten singles, including “Dreamboat Annie,” “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man,” and “Barracuda.” After a decline in popularity in the early 1980s, Heart again achieved chart success in 1985 with a self-titled album including the top ten hits “What About Love,” “Never,” “These Dreams,” and “Nothin’ at All.” Their band’s sound has ranged from hard rock and metal numbers (“Barracuda”) to folk-influenced ballads (“Dreamboat Annie”). In ...

Article

Hawaiian falsetto singers and musicians. Of no direct relation to steel guitarist Sol Ho‘opi‘i, Solomon (b Maui, HI, 28 March 1935; d Maui, HI, 2 March 2006) and Richard (b Maui, HI, 15 March 1941) Ho‘opi‘i grew up in Kahakuloa on the remote northwest coast of Maui. From an early age they developed a virtuoso style of duet leo ki‘eki‘e (falsetto) marked by open, robust timbre, and a variety of vocal ornaments. Among these are traditional techniques from Hawaiian chant plus adapted practices such as yodeling, echoing, and percussive effects. Both brothers could sing all four voice parts and complex interplay was common, as on “Kupa Landing” and “I Ali‘i No ‘Oe.” The duo often modulated to higher keys as songs progressed, as in “Haleakala Hula.” Himeni (Hawaiian hymns) were another specialty. Discreet elements of early rock and roll also filtered into their sound, especially when performing at parties....

Article

Jay W. Junker

Hawaiian vocal and instrumental trio. Formed in 1969, Hui Ohana (family group) comprised Ledward Kaapana (b Kalapana, HI, 25 Aug 1948), Nedward “Nicky Boy” Kaapana (b Kalapana, HI, 25 Aug 1948), and Dennis Pavao (b Kalapana, HI, 11 July 1951; d Maui, HI, 18 Jan 2002). They were one of Hawaii’s leading bands in the 1970s, attracting fans of both traditional and popular music. Their popularity extended to other parts of Polynesia, especially Samoa and Tahiti. The trio’s soaring falsetto leads by Dennis Pavao, bright harmonies and prominent slack key guitar by Ledward Kaapana, embodied the spirit of the era, a time when artists were seeking to revive Hawaiian music and perpetuate it in a manner conducive to modern musical contexts.

All three grew up in Kalapana village on Hawai’i’s remote southeast coast. There was no electricity. While there was some radio, Kalapana was a hotbed of homemade music. Parties lasted for days and families were full of excellent musicians, especially the Kaapana clan with slack key master Fred Punahoa and vocalist Tina Kaapana, mother of Ledward and Nedward. Hui Ohana added discreet elements of country and rock to their music. However, most of their style and repertoire came from performing with older family members as typified by “Sweet Lei Mokihana,” “Ku‘u Ipo Onaona,” and “God Bless My Daddy.” They also performed a few newer compositions, such as “Hanalei Moon” and the enormously successful hit “Kona Moon.”...

Article

Tully Potter

String quartet. It was founded in 1935 in Budapest as the New Hungarian Quartet by Sándor Végh, Péter Szervánszky (soon replaced by Lászlo Halmos), Dénes Koromzay (b Budapest, May 18, 1913; d July 15, 2001 in Louisville, CO) and Vilmos Palotai (b Budapest, 21 May 1904; d Switzerland, 1972). In 1936 it gave the Austrian and Hungarian premières of Bartók’s Fifth Quartet. In 1937 Zoltán Székely (b Kocs, 8 Dec 1903 – a close associate of Bartók – became leader, Végh replacing Halmos as second violinist for a year before giving way to Alexandre Moskowsky (b Kerch, Crimea, 22 Oct 1901; d Manchester, 1969). Trapped in the Netherlands under German occupation during World War II, the group’s members played in orchestras and made an intensive study of Beethoven’s quartets. After the war they re-emerged as the Hungarian Quartet, made their US début in 1948 and based themselves at the University of Southern California from ...

Article

Tully Potter

String quartet. It was founded in Budapest in 1909 by Imre Waldbauer (b Budapest, 13 April 1892; d Iowa City, 3 Dec 1953), János Temesváry (b Szamosújvár, 12 Dec 1891; d Budapest, 8 Nov 1964), the composer and musicologist Antal Molnár (b Budapest, 7 Jan 1890; d Budapest, 7 Dec 1983) and Jenő Kerpely (b Budapest, 1 Dec 1885; d Los Angeles, 1954). Known locally as the Waldbauer-Kerpely Quartet, it had some 100 rehearsals before giving the premières of the first quartets of Kodály and Bartók in Budapest on 17 and 19 March 1910. Later that year Debussy’s Quartet was performed with the composer present (his only Budapest concert) and in 1911 the ensemble toured the Netherlands. In 1912 Molnár was replaced on viola by another musicologist, Egon Kornstein (b Nagyszalonta, 22 May 1891; d Paris, 3 Dec 1987). The Hungarian Quartet became its country’s leading chamber ensemble, performing the standard repertory as well as introducing home audiences to a wide range of new music. Its other premières included Bartók’s Second, Third and Fourth Quartets and Kodály’s Second. After ...

Article

David Sanjek

Vocal group. One of the most influential black vocal harmony groups, the Ink Spots recorded over 70 hit recordings over a career that lasted, through various permutations of personnel, for seven decades. The Ink Spots first assembled in 1932 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and initially performed under the names the Four Riff Brothers, the Percolating Puppies, and King, Jack, and Jester. They appeared at New York’s celebrated Apollo Theatre in 1934 and were reputedly influenced by Paul Whiteman to change their name so as not to collide with that of his vocal ensemble, the King’s Jesters. The group signed with RCA Victor in 1935, but did not achieve commercial success, and switched to Decca the following year. The inimitable Ink Spots sound used a format whereby a track opened with a guitar riff, followed by the tenor lead singer’s rendition of the song’s lyric, after which the bass would pronounce that same material in the form of an oral recitation and then conclude with a repetition of the lead vocalist’s performance. That format first took hold of the public consciousness in ...

Article

Greil Marcus

revised by Mickey Valley

Rock-and-roll male vocal duo. The singer, songwriter, and producer Jan Berry (b Los Angeles, CA, 3 April 1941; d Brentwood, CA, 26 March 2004) had his first success with the singer Arnie Ginsberg in the hit song, “Jennie Lee” (1958) which was recorded in Berry’s garage. He then formed a permanent partnership with the singer Dean Torrence (b Los Angeles, CA, 10 March 1941), and until 1966, when Berry was disabled in an automobile accident, Jan and Dean represented rock and roll as mindless fun, following and exploiting every new pop trend; their songs were based on doo-wop harmony and celebrated aspects of southern Californian hedonism such as surfing (“Surf City,” 1963, no.1) and fast cars (“Drag City,” 1963, no.10). Although Berry’s vocal abilities were not up to par and Torrence was little better, each managed to make at least one classic rock recording—Berry on Jan and Dean’s brilliantly orchestrated melodrama “Dead Man’s Curve” (...