Priscilla Maria Veronica White OBE (27 May 1943 – 1 August 2015), known by her stage name Cilla Black, was an English singer, actress and entertainer. Championed by the Beatles, she began her career as a singer in 1963, and her singles “Anyone Who Had a Heart” (1964) and “You’re My World” (1964) both reached number one in the UK. Black had eleven Top Ten hits on the British charts between 1964 and 1971. In May 2010 new research published by BBC Radio 2 showed that her version of “Anyone Who Had a Heart” was the UK’s biggest selling single by a female artist in the 1960s. “You’re My World” was also a modest hit in the US, peaking at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Along with a successful recording career in the 1960s and early 1970s, Black hosted her own eponymous variety show, Cilla, for the BBC between 1968 and 1976. After a brief time as a comedy actress in the mid-1970s, she became a prominent television presenter in the 1980s and 1990s, hosting hit entertainment shows such as Blind Date (1985–2003) and Surprise Surprise (1984–2001).
In 2013 Black celebrated her 50 years in show business. British television network ITV honored this milestone with a one-off entertainment special which aired on 16 October 2013. The show, called The One & Only Cilla Black, featured Black herself and was hosted by Paul O’Grady.
Black signed her first contract with long-time friend and neighbour, Terry McCann, but this contract was never honored as it was signed when she was under age (the age of majority was then 21) and her father subsequently signed her with Brian Epstein.
She was introduced to Epstein by John Lennon, who persuaded him to audition her. Epstein had a portfolio of local artists but initially showed little interest in her. Her first audition was a failure, partly because of nerves, and partly because the Beatles (who supported her) played the songs in their usual vocal key rather than re-pitching them for Black’s voice. In her autobiography What’s It All About? she wrote:
I’d chosen to do “Summertime”, but at the very last moment I wished I hadn’t. I adored this song, and had sung it when I came to Birkenhead with the Big Three, but I hadn’t rehearsed it with the Beatles and it had just occurred to me that they would play it in the wrong key. It was too late for second thoughts, though. With one last wicked wink at me, John set the group off playing. I’d been right to worry. The music was not in my key and any adjustments that the boys were now trying to make were too late to save me. My voice sounded awful. Destroyed—and wanting to die—I struggled on to the end.
But after seeing her another day, at the Blue Angel jazz club, Epstein contracted with Black as his only female client on September 6, 1963. Epstein introduced Black to George Martin who signed her to Parlophone Records and produced her début single, “Love of the Loved” (written by Lennon and McCartney), which was released only three weeks after joining Epstein. Despite an appearance on ABC Television’s popular Thank Your Lucky Stars, the single peaked at a modest No. 35 in the UK, a relative failure compared to début releases of Epstein’s most successful artists (the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas).
Black’s second single, released at the beginning of 1964, was a cover of the Burt Bacharach–Hal David composition “Anyone Who Had a Heart”, which had been written for Dionne Warwick. The single beat Warwick’s recording into the UK charts and rose to No. 1 in Britain in February 1964 (spending three weeks there), selling 800,000 UK copies in the process. Her second UK No. 1 success, “You’re My World”, was an English-language rendition of the Italian popular song “Il Mio Mondo” by composer Umberto Bindi. She also enjoyed chart success with the song in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South Africa and Canada. Both songs sold over one million copies worldwide, and were awarded gold discs.
Black’s two No. 1 successes were followed by the release of another Lennon–McCartney composition, “It’s for You”, as her fourth UK single. Paul McCartney played piano at the recording session and the song proved to be another major success for Black, peaking at No. 7 on the UK charts.
Black belonged to a generation of British female singers which included Dusty Springfield, Helen Shapiro, Petula Clark, Sandie Shaw and Lulu. These artists (other than Petula Clark) were not singer-songwriters but interpreters of 1960s contemporary popular music by song writers and producers. Black recorded much material during this time, including songs written by Phil Spector, Randy Newman, Tim Hardin and Burt Bacharach. All were produced by George Martin at Abbey Road Studios.
Black’s version of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (1965) reached No. 2 on the UK charts in the same week that the Righteous Brothers’s original version of the same song went to No. 1 there (week of 4 February 1965). This was the first of only three occasions in the history of the British Top 40 where the same song, recorded by two different artists, held the top two positions in the chart in the same week.
Being so closely associated with the Beatles, Black became one of a select group of artists in the 1964-65 period (the others in the same position being Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas and Peter and Gordon) to record more than one Lennon–McCartney composition. Black continued to record Lennon-McCartney compositions throughout her time with EMI’s Parlophone (1963–1973); Black’s recordings of “Yesterday”, “For No One” and “Across the Universe” became radio favourites. McCartney said Black’s 1972 interpretation of “The Long and Winding Road” was the definitive version of the song.
Black’s career in the United States, although enthusiastically supported by Epstein and his PR team, was limited to a few television appearances (The Ed Sullivan Show among them), a 1965 cabaret season at the Plaza Hotel in New York, and success with “You’re My World”, which made it to No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was to be her only American Top 30 chart success, and Elvis Presley had a copy on his personal jukebox at his Graceland home. Black herself recognized that to achieve popular status in the USA she would need to devote much time to touring there. But she was plagued by homesickness and a sense of loneliness and returned to the UK.
During 1966 Black recorded the Bacharach-David song “Alfie”, written as the signature song to the 1966 feature film of the same name. While Cher sang “Alfie” on the closing credits of the American release of the film and Millicent Martin on the UK version, Black was the first and only artist to have a hit with the song in the UK (No. 9). “Alfie” went on to become a success for both Cher (in 1966) and Dionne Warwick (in 1967) in the US. Black’s version of “Alfie” was arranged and conducted by Bacharach himself at the recording session at Abbey Road. Bacharach insisted on 31 separate takes, and Black cited the session as one of the most demanding of her recording career. For Bacharach’s part, he said “… there weren’t too many white singers around, who could convey the emotion that I felt in many of the songs I wrote but that changed with people like Cilla Black …”
By the end of 1966, Black had been a guest on Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s show Not Only… But Also, had appeared in a Ray Galton-Alan Simpson revue in London’s West End—Way Out in Piccadilly—alongside Frankie Howerd, had appearanced on The Eamonn Andrews Show and had starred in the television special Cilla at the Savoy, which was one of the most watched music specials of the 1960s.
Epstein’s attempts to make Black a film actress were less successful. A brief appearance in the “beat” film Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey (1965) and a leading role alongside David Warner in the psychedelic comedy Work Is a Four-Letter Word (1968) were largely ignored by film critics. In a 1997 interview with Record Collector magazine, Black revealed she was asked to appear in the film The Italian Job (1969), playing the part of Michael Caine’s girlfriend, but negotiations fell through between producers and her management over her fee.
Epstein died of an accidental drug overdose in August 1967, not long after negotiating a contract with the BBC for Black to appear in a television series of her own. Relations between Epstein and Black had somewhat soured during the year prior to his death, due largely to the fact that Epstein was not paying her career enough attention and the fact that Black’s singles “A Fool Am I” (UK No. 13, 1966) and “What Good Am I?” (UK No. 24, 1967) were not big successes. Apparently Black was also unhappy with Epstein’s public admission that he had taken LSD. In her autobiography, Black claimed that Epstein had tried to pacify her by negotiating a deal that would see her representing the UK in the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest. However, Black refused on the basis that Sandie Shaw had won the previous year’s contest, and that the chances of another British female artist winning were improbable.
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Writing in 1969, the rock music journalist Nik Cohn wrote:
…she makes people glow. In her time, she will grow into a pop Gracie Fields, much loved entertainer, and she’ll become institutionalized.
Read more on her biography here…
Or read Yahoo’s article:
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LYNN ANDERSON – “(I NEVER PROMISED YOU A) ROSE GARDEN” – DIES
Lynn Rene Anderson (September 26, 1947 – July 30, 2015) was a multi-award-winning American country music singer known for a string of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, most notably her 1970 country-pop, worldwide megahit “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden”. Anderson’s crossover appeal and regular exposure on national television helped her to become one of the most popular and successful country singers of the 1970s.
Anderson charted 12 No. 1, 18 Top 10, and more than 50 Top 40 hits. In addition to being named “Top Female Vocalist” by the Academy of Country Music (ACM) twice and “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the Country Music Association (CMA), Anderson won a Grammy Award (earning seven nominations), People’s Choice Award and an American Music Award (AMA). She was named Billboard’s Female Artist of the Decade (1970–1980).
Anderson was the first female country artist to win the American Music Award (in 1974), as well as the first to headline and sellout Madison Square Garden that same year.
Anderson debuted in 1966, at the age of 19, and had her first hit with Ride, Ride, Ride. After a series of Top 10 hit singles on the country charts during the late 1960s, Anderson signed with Columbia Records in 1970. Under Columbia, she had her most successful string of hits. Her signature song, “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden”, remains one of the biggest selling country crossover hits of all time. In addition, the song also went to No. 3 on the Billboard Pop Chart and reached the top of the charts in several countries, an unprecedented achievement at the time. CMT ranks “Rose Garden” at No. 83 on its list of the “100 Greatest Songs in Country Music History”. Anderson continued to record and remained a popular concert attraction until her death, regularly headlining major casino showrooms, performing arts centers and theaters.
1966–1969: Country music success
In 1966, Lynn Anderson released her debut single, “For Better or for Worse”, a duet with Jerry Lane which did not chart. Her first charting single and her third release on the Chart Label, “Ride, Ride, Ride”, hit the Country Top 40. She had her first major hit single, “If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)”, the following year. It peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard country chart. It was followed by another Top 5 hit, “Promises, Promises”, from an album of the same name, which would also spawn a second Top 10 hit, “No Another Time”, in 1968. Then she released “Mother May I”, a Top 25 duet that she recorded with her mother. (The elder Anderson also achieved success as a country artist around the same time, achieving two Top 10 hits—”Mama Spank” (1966) and a trio with Bobby Bare and Norma Jean, “The Game of Triangles” (1967).)
In 1967, Lynn Anderson became a regular performer on The Lawrence Welk Show and toured with the Welk Road Show. Her appearances on the show would later rebound to her benefit. Because of the Welk show’s widespread appeal, she was able to achieve success on the pop charts. In 1969, as her popularity grew, she left the Welk show in favor of sporadic guest appearances. In 1968, Anderson married songwriter and producer Glenn Sutton, who would later produce and write many of her records during her tenure with Columbia. Their marriage lasted nine years. Anderson released her biggest hit single under the Chart label, “That’s a No No”, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Chart in 1969. Soon after, she left the label, signing with Columbia Records in 1970. Chart Records would continue to release Lynn Anderson singles thru the end of 1971, including five Top 20 hits: “He’d Still Love Me”, “I’ve Been Everywhere”, “Rocky Top”, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” and “I’m Alright”.
1970–1980: Pop crossover
After signing with Columbia in 1970, Anderson released the Joe South song, “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden”, which became a major crossover pop hit in 1970 and early 1971. The song was produced by her then husband Glenn Sutton. Anderson actually had to do some arm-twisting to get her producer-husband to allow her to record the song. Sutton was concerned that “Rose Garden” was a song to be sung by a man, with the line “I could promise you things like big diamond rings”. It was Columbia executive Clive Davis who determined the song would be Anderson’s next single released. The single peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard country chart and No. 3 on the Billboard pop chart, becoming an international success. In the United Kingdom, the single reached No. 3 and in Germany it peaked at No. 1 and stayed there for four weeks. The album Rose Garden was released in 1971 and was also hugely successful, receiving platinum certification by the RIAA. Anderson won the Academy of Country Music’s “Top Female Vocalist” Award and the Country Music Association’s “Female Vocalist of the Year” Award in 1970 and 1971, respectively. In addition, she won a Grammy Award.
Lynn Anderson had two No. 1 hit singles on the Billboard country chart in 1971 with “You’re My Man” and “How Can I Unlove You”, both peaking at No. 63 on the Billboard pop chart. In 1972, Anderson had three Top 5 hits on the country charts, beginning with a cover version of the 50s pop hit, “Cry”, followed by “Listen to a Country Song” and “Fool Me”. These songs were included on the Listen to a Country Song album. “Cry” peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard magazine country chart and at No. 16 on the Adult Contemporary chart. In 1973, she had a fourth No. 1 country hit with “Keep Me in Mind”, and an album of the same name was released. Then followed a second 1973 album, Top of the World, whose title track was a No. 2 country hit. It was also a No. 1 pop hit for The Carpenters that same year. However, Anderson’s version was the first to be released as a single and become a hit. The second single released from the Top of the World album, “Sing About Love”, also peaked at No. 3. In 1974, “What a Man My Man Is” was Anderson’s fifth No. 1 country hit. That same year, she also won the American Music Awards’ “Favorite Female Country Artist” Award.
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Anderson died on July 30, 2015 at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee from a heart attack at the age of 67. She had been hospitalized due to pneumonia after returning from a trip to Italy.
Read more of Lynn’s bio here:
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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…
4: Billy Sherrill, 78, American record producer (Tammy Wynette, George Jones).
3: Margot Loyola, 96, Chilean folk singer and musician; Ambros Seelos, 80, German musician and conductor.
2: Mahmoud Guinia, 64, Moroccan Gnawa musician.
1: Cilla Black, 72, British singer (“Anyone Who Had a Heart”, “You’re My World”, “Step Inside Love”), television presenter (Blind Date, Surprise Surprise, The Moment of Truth) and actress, stroke; Shane Redway, 26, Canadian rapper, traffic collision.
31: Red Dragon, 49, Jamaican reggae singer;
30: Lynn Anderson, 67, American country singer (“Rose Garden”), heart attack; Johnny Meeks, 78, American guitarist (Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps) (No additional info available).
27: Rickey Grundy, 56, American gospel musician; Ivan Moravec, 84, Czech concert pianist; Ndidani, 39, South African Maskandi singer.