JOVM belatedly celebrates Luther Vandross’ 70th birthday.
JOVM (belatedly) celebrates Herbie Hancock’s 81s birthday.
JOVM celebrates soul legend Al Green’s 75th birthday.
I was drinking coffee, chatting with mom and watching NY1 when we both heard the news of DMX’s tragic death at 50. As an artist, DMX had unparalleled success: he’s the few artists of any genre to have his first five albums debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 — and one of the few artists, who can claim two #1 albums on the Billboard charts in the same calendar year. Paraphrasing DMX, he locked down the industry on some ol’ power shit.
If you’re a hip-hop head, you know all the songs and you know about the man’s troubled backstory. My hope is that within the hip-hop community and within the Black community that we can start having serious conversations about how abuse, mental illness and addiction reverberate and impact everyone around us. If we love Earl Simmons, we need to do what we can to save the countless other Earl Simmons out there.
My heart aches for poor Earl and his family. And I also hope that we can wrap them up in the love that we have for DMX in their time of need.
In the meantime, DMX’s music has meant a lot to me — and to countless other fans. We love you Earl. And we’re going to miss you.
The first two weeks of Spring and of the astrological sign Aries is rather auspicious for music — Aretha Frarnkin, Diana Ross, Elton John, Damon Albarn, Lee “Scratch” Perry are all among an incredibly talented and legendary array of artists who were born between March 21-March, 31. Of course, we can’t forget Mariah Carey, who turns 52 today.
Carey is the voice of a ridiculous amount of smash hit songs — many which I know deep in your soul you love, and will happily sing along to in the shower or while doing karaoke. Personally, I’ve always adored her cover of The Jackson 5’s “I’ll be There.” So, to that end, Happy birthday, Mariah. May there be many, many more!
This week is a rather auspicious week in music history: Yesterday Elton John and Aretha Franklin shared a birthday. And today, the legendary Diana Ross turns 77, I firmly believe that we should celebrate our legends while we have them — and Diana Ross is one of the most influential and important out of the entire Motown Records universe.
So I thought the best to celebrate her birthday would be to post some throwback live footage of Ms. Ross doing her thing.
JOVM (belatedly) celebrates Aretha Franklin’s birthday.
JOVM celebrates Elton John’s 74th birthday.
Thanks to a friend’s music history blog, I was reminded that today is Blur frontman and Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn’s 53rd birthday. I’ve been a huge fan of Albarn’s genre-defying work with Gorillaz since their debut album back in 2001. I’ve even seen them twice: once at The Meadows Festival, on which was one of the best music festival days I’ve ever experienced and at the Barclay’s Center about a year later. Both shows were phenomenal displays of animation and some genre-defying, incredibly dance floor friendly material.
So for his 53rd birthday, I wanted to thank Albarn for creating some weird yet infectious music that’s part of my own life story. Thank you, man. Happy birthday! May there be many many more!
Today is February 28, 2021. It’s the last day of February and of Black History Month. Throughout the past month, I’ve featured Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of greens and styles — with the hopes that this series will serve as a sort of primer on the Black experience and on Black music.
While we’re at it, let’s remember the following:
Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.
I’ve often said that hip-hop is the lingua franca of everyone under about 55 or so. And to that end, I’d almost guarantee that everyone from New York to Beijing, from Buenos Aires to Amsterdam from Johannesburg to New Delhi knows and loves the legendary Wu-Tang Cla