Claudia Lennear: Brown Sugar!

thSIQWY3R6 When backing vocalist Claudia, 63, dated Mick Jagger, she inspired one of the Rolling Stones’ greatest rock anthems, as she tells Pauline McLeod

“Around the time Brown Sugar became a hit for The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger and I were always seen together in restaurants and nightclubs in Los Angeles. That’s why people thought the song was about me, and Mick later confirmed that it was.

The airport photo of the two of us was taken at Las Vegas and that moment stands out in my memory because it was the first time I’d ever been on a private plane. I was 17, maybe 18, and I thought we were just going out to the disco in LA. Then we arrived at the airport and I was immediately suspicious when I got to the plane and there were no other passengers apart from Mick, Keith Richards and the record producer Glyn Johns. But I wasn’t nervous. The Stones had a bad-boy image but they were perfect gentlemen.

We flew to Vegas and went to a casino where Mick taught me how to play baccarat then we hopped back on the jet and came home to LA.

Mick and I dated for a long while.

It was an on-off thing because of our different schedules, but we would talk all the time on the phone. He was a lot of fun to be with, although his public persona is quite different to the way he is in private. I found him a quiet guy who was very British, with good manners, so I was always smitten by his behavior.I was also the muse for David Bowie’s song Lady Grinning Soul.I’d seen David’s show in Detroit, he asked me for some input and we struck up a friendship after that. I had to pinch myself a few times. This was the top one per cent of Rock’n’Roll that

I just happened to make friends with. I was on quite a roll, wasn’t I?When I was a kid, my first love was language and I hoped to become a translator. But my family moved to California just as I hit my teenage years and I started going out to see bands. Then I began meeting the movers and shakers in the industry, and my career took off.

Ike Turner – Tina’s husband – hired me on the spot for his band. I was an “Ikette” for three years, until I had a little spat with Tina, but by that time

I was ready to move on anyway.

After that I was a background vocalist for Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Bob Dylan at the first ever benefit gig, The Concert For Bangladesh, at Madison Square Garden. I sang with all kinds of bands and had my own solo album released. But then the 80s came round and the music business began to change. Hip-hop and rap were the new ideas and I didn’t feel I had my finger on the pulse any more. I was a single mother by then, too, so I decided that maybe I should change my career and do something that would bring in a steady pay check.I’m a teacher now, using my language skills, and it’s funny because every time there’s a new intake of students, I can guarantee that one of them will come up to me with, ‘Miss Lennear, we saw this lady on YouTube who has your name…’Life has become rather surreal of late but so exciting because I’m featured in the Oscar-winning documentary about background vocalists, 20 Feet From Stardom. There are now offers coming in for me to sing again, I’m talking record deals and putting bands together, and I feel like I’m picking up where I left off. It is just so cool.”

20 Feet From Stardom is out now.

Writer :Pauline McLeod


The Rolling Stones: On Fire!


The Rolling Stones have announced that they will play 14 shows across Europe in May, June and July as part of their 14 ON FIRE tour.

The Rolling Stones – 14 ON FIRE tour sees Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood back out on the road again after a mammoth run of concerts in the UK and US last year, bringing their iconic music and groundbreaking stage shows to audiences around the globe. The shows are a mix of festivals, stadiums and arenas.

The band will …treat their generations of fans to a set packed full of classic Stones hits such as ‘Gimme Shelter’, ‘Paint It Black’, ‘Jumping Jack Flash’, ‘Tumbling Dice’, ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll’, plus a couple of unexpected gems.

The dates are:

Oslo Telenor Arena, Norway – Monday 26 May 2014

Lisbon Rock in Rio Festival, Portugal – Thursday 29 May 2014

Zürich Letzigrund Stadium, Switzerland – Sunday 1 June 2014

Tel Aviv HaYarkon Park, Israel  – Wednesday 4 June 2014

Pinkpop Festival, Holland – Saturday 7 June 2014

Berlin Waldbühne, Germany – Tuesday 10 June 2014

Paris Stade de France, France – Friday 13 June 2014

Vienna Ernst Happel Stadium – Monday 16 June 2014

Düsseldorf Esprit Arena, Germany – Thursday 19 June 2014

Rome Circus Maximus, Italy – Sunday 22 June 2014

Madrid Bernabéu Stadium – Wednesday 25 June 2014

TW Classic Festival, Belgium – Saturday 28 June 2014

Stockholm Tele2 Arena, Sweden – Tuesday 1 July 2014

Roskilde Festival, Denmark – Thursday 3 July 2014

The Rolling Stones:14 On Fire




The Rolling Stones are deeply sorry and disappointed to announce the postponement of the rest of their 14 ON FIRE tour of Australia and New Zealand following the death of L’Wren Scott.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood wish to thank all of their fans for their support at this difficult time and hope that they will fully understand the reason for this announcement.

The Rolling Stones are planning to reschedule these postponed shows at a later date.

The postponed shows are:

Perth Arena – 19 March – postponed Adelaide Oval – 22 March – postponed Sydney Allphones Arena – 25 March – postponed Melbourne Rod Laver Arena – 28 March – postponed Macedon Ranges Hanging Rock – 30 March – postponed Brisbane Entertainment Centre – 2 April – postponed Auckland Mt Smart Stadium – 5 April – postponed

Australia/New Zealand promoters ask ticket holders to please hold on to their tickets until further notice.  A new schedule of dates is presently being worked on and will be advised as soon as possible.  Information will be made available via rollingstones

Merry Clayton: Gimma Sheltor

Merry Clayton SingingIn the fall of 1969 the Rolling Stones were in a Los Angeles recording studio, putting the final touches on their album Let it Bleed. It was a tumultuous time for the Stones. They had been struggling with the album for the better part of a year as they dealt with the personal disintegration of their founder and multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones, whose drug addiction and personality problems had reached a critical stage. Jones was fired from the band in June of that year. He died less than a month later. And although the Stones couldn’t have known it at the time, the year would end on another catastrophic note, as violence broke out at the notorious Altamont Free Concert just a day after Let it Bleed was released.

It was also a grim time around the world. The assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, the Tet Offensive, the brutal suppression of the Prague Spring–all of these were recent memories. Not surprisingly, Let it Bleed was not the most cheerful of albums. As Stephen Davis writes in his book Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones, “No rock record, before or since, has ever so completely captured the sense of palpable dread that hung over its era.” And no song on Let it Bleed articulates this dread with greater force than the apocalyptic “Gimme Shelter,” in which Mick Jagger sings of a fire “sweepin’ our very street today,” like a “Mad bull lost his way.”

Rape, murder! It’s just a shot away It’s just a shot away

In an interview last November with Melissa Block for the NPR program All Things Considered, Jagger talked about those lyrics, and the making of the song:

One of the most striking moments in the interview is when Jagger describes the circumstances surrounding soul singer Merry Clayton’s powerful background vocals. “When we got to Los Angeles and we were mixing it, we thought, ‘Well, it’d be great to have a woman come and do the rape/murder verse,’ or chorus or whatever you want to call it,” said Jagger. “We randomly phoned up this poor lady in the middle of the night, and she arrived in her curlers and proceeded to do that in one or two takes, which is pretty amazing. She came in and knocked off this rather odd lyric. It’s not the sort of lyric you give anyone–’Rape, murder/It’s just a shot away’–but she really got into it, as you can hear on the record.”

The daughter of a Baptist minister, Merry Clayton grew up singing in her father’s church in New Orleans. She made her professional debut at age 14, recording a duet with Bobby Darin. She went on to work with The Supremes, Elvis Presley and many others, and was a member of Ray Charles’s group of backing singers, The Raelettes. She is one of the singers featured in the new documentary film, 20 Feet From Stardom. In an interview last week with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air, Clayton talked about the night she was asked to sing on “Gimme Shelter”:

Well, I’m at home at about 12–I’d say about 11:30, almost 12 o’clock at night. And I’m hunkered down in my bed with my husband, very pregnant, and we got a call from a dear friend of mine and producer named Jack Nitzsche. Jack Nitzsche called and said you know, Merry, are you busy? I said No, I’m in bed. he says, well, you know, There are some guys in town from England. And they need someone to come and sing a duet with them, but I can’t get anybody to do it. Could you come? He said I really think this would be something good for you.

At that point, Clayton recalled, her husband took the phone out of her hand and said, “Man, what is going on? This time of night you’re calling Merry to do a session? You know she’s pregnant.” Nitzsche explained the situation, and just as Clayton was drifting back to sleep her husband nudged her and said, “Honey, you know, you really should go and do this date.” Clayton had no idea who the Rolling Stones were. When she arrived at the studio, Keith Richards was there and explained what he wanted her to do.

I said, Well, play the track. It’s late. I’d love to get back home. So they play the track and tell me that I’m going to sing–this is what you’re going to sing: Oh, children, it’s just a shot away. It had the lyrics for me. I said, Well, that’s cool. So  I did the first part, and we got down to the rape, murder part. And I said, Why am I singing rape, murder? …So they told me the gist of what the lyrics were, and I said Oh, okay, that’s cool. So then I had to sit on a stool because I was a little heavy in my belly. I mean, it was a sight to behold. And we got through it. And then we went in the booth to listen, and I saw them hooting and hollering while I was singing, but I didn’t know what they were hooting and hollering about. And when I got back in the booth and listened, I said, Ooh, that’s really nice. They said, well, You want to do another?  I said, well, I’ll do one more, I said and then I’m going to have to say thank you and good night. I did one more, and then I did one more. So it was three times I did it, and then I was gone. The next thing I know, that’s history.

Clayton sang with such emotional force that her voice cracked. (“I was just grateful that the crack was in tune,” she told Gross.) In the isolated vocal track above, you can hear the others in the studio shouting in amazement. Despite giving what would become the most famous performance of her career, it turned out to be a tragic night for Clayton. Shortly after leaving the studio, she lost her baby in a miscarriage. It has generally been assumed that the stress from the emotional intensity of her performance and the lateness of the hour caused the miscarriage. For many years Clayton found the song too painful to hear, let alone sing. “That was a dark, dark period for me,” she told the Los Angeles Times in 1986, “but God gave me the strength to overcome it. I turned it around. I took it as life, love and energy and directed it in another direction, so it doesn’t really bother me to sing ‘Gimme Shelter’ now. Life is short as it is and I can’t live on yesterday.”

A Life of Troubles Followed a Singer’s Burst of Fame: The Estelle Bennet Story

From left, Nedra Talley, Estelle Bennett, Phil Spector and Ronnie Bennett in a Los Angeles recording studio in 1963.


Published: February 16, 2009

She was the quiet Ronette, the one people called the prettiest, the one who was content to remain in the shadow of her younger sister, Ronnie, because even in the shadow there’s still some spotlight.

For a few years in the mid-1960s Estelle Bennett lived a girl-group fairy tale, posing for magazine covers with her fellow Ronettes and dating the likes of George Harrison and Mick Jagger. Along with her sister and their cousin Nedra Talley, she helped redefine rock ’n’ roll femininity.

The Ronettes delivered their songs’ promises of eternal puppy love in the guise of tough vamps from the streets of New York. Their heavy mascara, slit skirts and piles of teased hair suggested both sex and danger, an association revived most recently by Amy Winehouse.

But Ms. Bennett’s death last week at 67 revealed a post-fame life of illness and squalor that was little known even to many of the Ronettes’ biggest fans. In her decades away from the public eye she struggled with anorexia and schizophrenia, and at times she had also been homeless, said her daughter, Toyin Hunter.

“I want to know who my mother was,” Ms. Hunter, 37, said in an interview. “From the time I was born she suffered with mental illness; I never really got to know Estelle in a good mental state.”

Those who knew Ms. Bennett in her healthier days portray her as gentle and intelligent, and as playing a critical part in the development of the Ronettes’ style. The eldest of the group, she worked at Macy’s and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, and the look she helped devise for the group was all superlatives: bigger, badder and sexier than anybody. Racial ambiguity lent an exotic element: the Bennett sisters had black, American Indian and Irish blood; Ms. Talley was black, Indian and Puerto Rican.

“We called them the bad girls of the ’60s,” said the singer Darlene Love, who met the Ronettes in 1962, a year before they became famous with “Be My Baby.” “They had the really, really short skirts and they had big, big, big hair. Most of the black entertainers of the ’60s didn’t look like that, but they wanted to be separate from everybody else.”

By the time they met Phil Spector and began recording with him in 1963, the Ronettes had their look precisely calibrated. That August “Be My Baby” went to No. 2, and the Ronettes were instant stars. When they toured Britain in 1964, the Rolling Stones were an opening act.

But even in the early days there were signs that Estelle was fragile. When their grandmother died in 1959, Estelle was shattered, said her cousin, now known as Nedra Talley Ross.

“She was going to buy Mama knee warmers,” Ms. Talley Ross said, “and I remember Estelle being so devastated — screaming, like she would never go on. Just screaming for this thing that would never get done.”

After the Ronettes broke up, in 1966, and Ronnie married Mr. Spector, in 1968, Estelle was lost, Ms. Talley Ross said. She made several failed attempts at a solo career, and when Ronnie Spector, who divorced Mr. Spector in 1974, formed a new version of the Ronettes in the early ’70s it did not include either of her former band mates. (Ms. Spector did not respond to messages left for her.)

Meanwhile, Ms. Bennett was gradually becoming more ill. When she brought her infant daughter to visit, Ms. Talley Ross said, she slept straight through the baby’s crying. Not long after, Ms. Bennett was hospitalized with anorexia, and her grip on reality continued to loosen. In recent years, Ms. Hunter said, she sometimes wandered the streets of New York, telling people that she would be singing with the Ronettes in a jazz club.

“Estelle had such an extraordinary life,” Ms. Talley Ross said. “To have the fame, and all that she had at an early age, and for it all to come to an end abruptly. Not everybody can let that go and then go on with life.”

In 1988 the Ronettes sued Mr. Spector for back royalties, and the suit dragged on for 14 years. Part of the case was dismissed, but the three women won the right to some royalties, and according to Jonathan Greenfield, Ms. Spector’s husband, they received “in excess of $1 million.” After lawyers’ fees, Ms. Hunter said, each woman took home about $100,000. Ms. Talley Ross said the figure was a little higher.

During the litigation Ms. Love was called as a witness, and one day at court she saw Estelle.

“She didn’t remember me,” Ms. Love said. “They cleaned her up and made her look as well as possible. She wore white gloves. She looked the best she could for somebody who lived on the street. It broke my heart.”

Her daughter and her cousin said they also helped her to look her best for the Ronettes’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two years ago. They were worried that the ceremony would overwhelm her, so one of Ms. Spector’s current backup singers performed in Ms. Bennett’s stead. But before the concert Ms. Bennett did give a brief acceptance speech.

“I would just like to say thank you very much for giving us this award,” she said. “I’m Estelle of the Ronettes. Thank you.”


Brian Jones: Rolling Stone In The Sky!

Feb 28th 1942-3rd July 1969600full-brian-jones

Jerry Hall: Happy Birthday!


Bianca Jagger: Happy Birthday!


Ollie Brown: Happy Birthday!


An American drummer, percussionist and record producer. A prolific session musician, Brown has performed on over a hundred albums in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.


Brown was also half of the American dance-pop duo Ollie & Jerry, which had a Top 10 hit with “Breakin’… There’s No Stopping Us” in 1984.In the late 1970s Brown performed on Raydio’s self-titled debut album.This led to a partnership with Raydio bassist and fellow Detroit native Jerry Knight, who was also a prolific session musician.

Together, the two formed the duo Ollie & Jerry, and recorded the song “Breakin’… There’s No Stopping Us” for the 1984 breakdancing-themed film Breakin’.The song was successful, reaching number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.
Ollie & Jerry also performed on the soundtrack for the 1984 Breakin’ sequel Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Their single “Electric Boogaloo” was the lead track from the soundtrack, but was less successful than its predecessor, reaching only number 45 on the R&B chart, and not charting at all on the Billboard Top 40.The Breakin’ 2 soundtrack         album itself, however, did chart, reaching number 25 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart, and number 52 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Brown wrote and performed the song “They’re So Incredible” for the soundtrack to the film Revenge of the Nerds. “They’re So Incredible” is performed by the nerds in the film with different lyrics.During and after his work with Ollie & Jerry, Brown continued his prolific behind-the-scenes work, producing or performing on dozens of albums between 1980 and 2000.


Highlights include the number-one album Bad by Michael Jackson, and the Ray Parker, Jr. single “Ghostbusters”, which Brown produced.In the 1980s, Brown also produced or performed on albums by Blondie, The Jacksons, La Toya Jackson (‘If You Feel the Funk’), DeBarge and Quincy Jones.See More — with Ollie E. Brown.

OTIS BLACKWELL: The Original Hit man

Otis Blackwell



Blackwell worked as a singer/songwriter/pianist in the 50’s,- 70’s. Although his recordings never met with much success, many of the songs that he wrote went on to become very well-known, million-selling songs.

Otis was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1931. He grew up listening to cowboy songs, particularly those by Tex Ritter, and R&B songs by artists such as Chuck Willis. As a teenager he entered and won a contest at the Apollo Theatre in New York City. He was introduced to songwriter Doc Pomus, who encouraged him and helped him early in his career. One of Otis’ early records titled Daddy Rollin’ Stone was released by Jay-Dee in 1953. It was revived later in a version recorded by The Who.

Things changed for Otis Blackwell on Christmas Eve, 1955. That night he sold six songs that he had written for a total of $150. One of the demos included in these six had been recorded with Otis playing piano and the drummer using a cardboard box. It was picked up by Elvis Presley, who did not write his own songs and whose style at the time was to pick songs that he liked from demos that he heard and then use the same arrangement that he had heard on the demo. The song was Don’t Be Cruel, which went to number one in 1956, as did another Presley song the following year that had been written by Otis, All Shook Up. It had been inspired a shaken bottle of Pepsi Cola.

The success of Don’t Be Cruel gave a jolt to the songwriting career of the talented Otis Blackwell. He wrote more songs for Presley, among them One Broken Heart For Sale and Return To Sender. Blackwell admired Presley, and Presley looked to Blackwell for inspiration on the arrangements of some of his early pop songs. Most of what Presley had done to that point had come from the R&B or country fields of music. Otis Blackwell’s compositions were more rock-and-roll, or pop-oriented.

Otis Blackwell continued to record many records, although none of them ever managed to crack the top forty. But it was a different story for many of the songs that he wrote. One of these was Fever, for which Little Willie John took the writing credit, and which became a hit for both Little Willie John and Peggy Lee. There were many other hits written by Otis, such as Hey Little Girl for Dee Clark, and Breathless and Great Balls Of Fire for Jerry Lee Lewis.

Otis Blackwell sometimes wrote songs under the pseudonym John Davenport. He met with a great deal of success as a songwriter and has received a lot of respect within the music industry, even though his name is not well known to the general public. When Stevie Wonder received an award for Best Male Vocalist in 1976, he acknowledged Otis Blackwell as a magnificent songwriter.

In 1977 Blackwell was working on a score for a film about the life of Elvis Presley. During this time, Presley died, and Blackwell was inspired to record The No. 1 King Of Rock’n’Roll as a tribute on his own Fever label. He also recorded some albums in the late 70’s, These Are My Songs and Singin’ The Blues.

Following a lengthy illness, Otis passed away on May 6, 2002 in Nashville. Otis Blackwell had a very successful run as a prolific writer of nearly 1,000 songs. His legacy includes a number of top-selling rock-and-roll records.

Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Debut Albums of all Time

100. Lady GaGa – The Fame
99. The Flying Burrito Brothers – The Gilded Palace of Sin
98. Joe Jackson – Look Sharp!
97. DJ Shadow – Endtroducing…
96. Madonna – Madonna
95. Little Richard – Here’s Little Richard
94. The Who – The Who Sings My Generation
93. The Hold Steady – Almost Killed Me
92. Moby Grape – Moby Grape
91. M.I.A. – Arular
90. Big Star – #1 Record
89. Yaz – Upstairs at Eric’s
88. Daft Punk – Homework
87. The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic
86. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city
85. Rage Against The Machine – Rage Against The Machine
84. Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston
83. Eric B. and Rakim – Paid in Full
82. The Congos – Heart of the Congos
81. Gang of Four – Entertainment!
80. The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man
79. Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley
78. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
77. Drake – Thank Me Later
76. Devo – Are We Not Men? We are Devo!
75. The Go-Go’s – Beauty And The Beat
74. The xx – xx
73. Norah Jones – Come Away With Me
72. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
71. Mary J. Blige – What’s The 411?
70. PJ Harvey – Dry
69. Wire – Pink Flag
68. Talking Heads – Talking Heads: 77
67. 50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Tryin
66. The Stooges – The Stooges
65. Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville
64. The English Beat – I Just Can’t Stop It
63. Cindi Lauper – She’s so Unusual
62. Roxy Music – Roxy Music
61. The Libertines – Up The Bracket
60. Fiona Apple – Tidal
59. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell
58. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
57. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
56. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
55. Missy Elliot – Supa Dupa Fly
54. Metallica – Kill Em All
53. New York Dolls – New York Dolls
52. U2 – Boy
51. The Smiths – The Smiths
50. X – Los angeles
49. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
48. Modern Lovers – Modern Lovers
47. Pink Floyd – Piper at The Gates of Dawn
46. Pearl Jam – Ten
45. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Psychocandy
44. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
43. Jeff Buckley – Grace
42. Oasis – Definitely Maybe
41. Boston – Boston
40. Television – Marquee Moon
39. Lynyrd Skynyrd(Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd)
38. The Police –
Outlandos d’Amour
37. Bruce Springsteen – Greetings From Asbury, Park N.J.
36. The Postal Service – Give Up
35. Weezer – Weezer
34. The Doors – The Doors
33. The Killers – Hot Fuss
32. De La Soul – Three Feet High and Rising
31. Portishead – Dummy
30. Artic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
29. Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
28. The B-52’s – B-52s
27. Van Halen – Van Halen
26. Run-D.M.C. – Run-DMC
25. Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted
24. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
23. The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die
22. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
21. Elvis Costello – My Aim is True
20. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
19. Kanye West – The College Dropout
18. R.E.M. – Murmur
17. The Beatles – Please Please Me
16. The Cars – The Cars
15. Arcade Fire – Funeral
14. Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt
13. The Pretenders – Pretenders
12. The Clash – The Clash
11. Nas – Illmatic
10. Patti Smith – Horses
9. The Band – Music From Big Pink
8. The Strokes – Is This It
7. The Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks
6. N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton
5. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground and Nico
4. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction
3. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced
2. The Ramones – The Ramones
1. Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill

BOBBY WOMACK: Happy Birthday!

Happy 69th Birthday  Mr. Bobby Womack

This website content was created with the help of Ultimate Tinymce!

%d bloggers like this: