Posts Tagged ‘singer’

Rock’s Songbird—Christine McVie—has flown free

December 8, 2022

The Rock world has been reeling from the news of the unexpected death of Christine McVie, the longtime co-lead vocalist, keyboardist, and songwriter for Fleetwood Mac. She died Wednesday, November 30, 2022, after a short illness. She was 79. Christine was surrounded by family members at a London hospital when she passed.

Many condolences and remembrances have been pouring in this past week, especially from members of the band attesting to how much she was loved and appreciated as a person and, of course, as one of their foundational musicians. This E News! video contains several quotes from both band and family members alike. Good Morning America aired Celebrating the life and legacy of Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie

You can read more in some of the many articles published about her life. Here are a few: Rolling Stone: Christine McVie, Keyboardist and Singer for Fleetwood Mac, Dead at 79; The Guardian: Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie dies at age 79; and NME’s Mark Beaumont’s excellent piece: Christine McVie, 1943-2022: an eternal songbird.

The Guardian also posted photos and quotes: Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie – a life in pictures, and Christine McVie: a look back at the Fleetwood Mac star’s greatest hits – video obituary.

Christine McVie on writing ‘Songbird’

One of the things that came up in my Instagram feed was this post from Far Out Magazine: Christine McVie on Writing Songbird. They included the audio portion from a Dec 17, 2017 BBC Desert Island Discs interview with Christine McVie that dealt with how she came to write her famous song. They also transcribed that part of the conversation in the Instagram post. Raised on Radio also posted the interview on YouTube. The Songbird section starts at 3:18. You can click CC to see their words.

In a recent post, I quoted Brendan Graham, who said, “the truly special songs write us; we don’t write them. We don’t find them; they find us.” Christine McVie described exactly that kind of magical experience.

She couldn’t sleep, and an unknown song was in her head. “I had to play this song. It was as if I’d been channeled or something!” It came to her at 3 in the morning. “The whole song, complete, chords, words, everything within half an hour,” she explained. Fortunately, she had a piano in her room, but no tape recorder. So she kept playing it without sleeping for fear of forgetting it, until she went into the studio at 9 o’clock the next day to record it on a two-track tape. “I just felt as if it was a universal kind of prayer or something. I just don’t know where it came from. This never happened to me since or before.”

‘Songbird’ would arguably become McVie’s signature song. Originally released as the B-side to ‘Dreams’ in 1977, it ended up on Fleetwood Mac’s world-conquering Rumours album. It wasn’t her biggest hit for the group, but the ballad was a frequent closer at Fleetwood Mac concerts, especially after McVie rejoined in 2014.

McVie later recorded an orchestral version of the song, composed and arranged by multi-Grammy winner Vince Mendoza. It was part of her first-ever compilation highlighting songs from her solo career: ‘Songbird ~ A Solo Collection,’ which came out this year.

Enjoy this beautiful photo collage by CK WOOD Music Productions to Songbird (Fleetwood Mac and Christine McVie).

At 2:03 there’s a photo of Christine wearing a top with the words, Nobody’s Perfekt. This is doubly funny, not only because of the misspelling of the word, perfect, but also because it’s her family name! She was born Christine Anne Perfect. She told Peter Robinson of The Guardian: “I used to joke that I was perfect until I married John.”

Two decades after it first aired, the world discovered Eva Cassidy’s amazing voice singing ‘Songbird’. It was published 2 years after her untimely death at 33. Mick Fleetwood knew Eva and said this about her: “She was brilliant. She had the magic. And I call it, It. She had It!” To find out more about her, see The hauntingly beautiful voice of Eva Cassidy.

Christine’s Family, Early Background, and Later Recognition

Christine Anne Perfect was born on July 12, 1943 to Cyril Percy Absell Perfect and Beatrice Edith Maud Perfect. They also have a son named John. Christine’s family contributed considerably to her development. Her grandfather was the organist at Westminster Abbey. Her father was a concert violinist and music lecturer at St. Peters College of Education at Saltley in Birmingham. Her mother was a medium, psychic, and faith healer. After her brother brought home a Fats Domino songbook, she switched from playing classical piano to blues-based rock and roll.

She studied sculpture at school with the intention of becoming an art teacher and met blues musicians who invited her to join a band. She later left a window-dressing job in London to become a full-time musician. She would soon be invited to join an early version of Fleetwood Mac who would go on, through various iterations, to become one of the top-selling bands of all time.

An introvert by nature, McVie’s creative and spiritual influences informed her musical career and kind personality. She impacted her bandmates in positive ways, at times, the quieter center holding them together as they spun out of control due to the excessive drug-fueled lifestyles and rocky romantic relationships of that era. But they turned their melodramas into musical hits. McVie would be honored with many awards, and in 1998, was inducted with Fleetwood Mac into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

MOJO’s Tribute to Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter Christine McVie

Christine McVie: Her 20 Greatest Songs. In tribute to Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter Christine McVie, who passed away this week, MOJO selects the best tracks from across her career. They also included Christine McVie Remembered. In memory of Christine McVie, who has sadly passed away aged 79, MOJO revisits our 2017 interview with Fleetwood Mac’s singer-songwriter.

Leland Roberts published in Medium: In Memoriam: Christine McVie is Britain’s Greatest Female Popular Music Artist.

The hauntingly beautiful voice of Eva Cassidy

January 21, 2018

Eva Cassidy nature photo cropped

Have you ever heard of Eva Cassidy, or heard her sing? Eva Marie Cassidy (February 2, 1963 – November 2, 1996) was an unpretentious humble girl from small town Bowie, Maryland. She worked hard with her mother in their nursery growing flowers and plants. But Eva also sang. She had the voice of an angel, and delivered songs with purity, passion, and power. She accompanied herself on guitar, and also sang with a band. She would immerse herself in the words, she “connected to the lyric” and lived the songs. Her voice communicated directly to the hearts of her listeners. Rarely was there a dry eye in the place.

British vocal coach Carrie GrantIn the film Eva Cassidy: Timeless Voice, Carrie Grant, a British vocal coach who worked with top recording artists in the UK and US, was amazed when she heard Eva’s voice. After listening to Over The Rainbow, she said, “I cannot imagine what Eva Cassidy was thinking of when she chose to make it sound the way it does. But it’s just genius!” She describes how she redefines the song in unexpected ways, “yet for some reason it just works.”

She also explained the effect that Eva’s voice had on listeners. “She sounds like she’s singing just to you. And that is what makes it so intimate. And that becomes even more profound once you know she’s no longer alive. Because it’s haunting. And it’s personal.”

Eva sang the songs that she liked, regardless of genres, which is why record companies would not sign her during the days of manufactured music. They couldn’t slot her into a specific category. She sang blues, jazz, gospel, folk, old standards, and more. At first she was extremely shy, didn’t care for stage presence or how she dressed. With the help of local musicians she performed at Blues Alley, a local jazz spot in Georgetown, Maryland. One of her shows was later recorded. She sold two locally produced CDs out of the trunk of her car. You can listen to Live At Blues Alley on Spotify. 

chris_biondo photo by john_shore croppedWe might wonder how her singing was recorded in the first place when no company would sign her. One comment on Ain’t No Sunshine explained that the world owes Chris Biondo a debt of gratitude. Chris worked as a bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, recording engineer, and producer. He owned a studio in the 80s and 90s, and Eva would come in for session work. He recognized her ability, and said he “would just roll tape and stay out of her way.” At one point they were romantically involved. Chris “was the one who recognized her transcendent, ageless genius.”

In 1986 Chris began recording the then-unknown singer Eva Cassidy. For the next ten years he worked with Eva to develop her as a recording artist, producing most of her recordings available today. In the years since Eva’s death in 1996, her recordings have sold more than 10 million copies and achieved international renown, including three albums that reached number one in the UK charts. Chris has received numerous Gold and Platinum records in the U.S. and internationally for his work with Eva.

Bill Straw of Blix Street Records signed her up and continues to release and reissue her music, like the 20th anniversary of the new 32 track/2CD Nightbird album, The Best Of Eva Cassidy, Simply Eva, and eight other collections listed there that you can sample.

Her performances of Over The Rainbow, What A Wonderful World, Songbird, Falling Leaves, Time After Time, Sting’s Fields of Gold, and more are legendary, many recorded live in a club.

Sting & David Foster at JUNOS

Sting himself was blown away when he heard her rendition of his song. He put a copy of her Songbird CD into record producer David Foster’s hands who quoted him saying, “‘If you want to hear the greatest version of my song ever’—he didn’t say it in an egotistical way—he said, ‘listen to Fields Of Gold with this girl, it’ll change your life.’ And her voice is life-changing, she’s that spiritual.”  I love that song and remember hearing it on an airplane’s music channel during a flight. It was astounding! I had to find out who this singer was.

A relatively unknown singer in America at the time, somehow her music made its way across the Atlantic. From the first time Sir Terry Wogan, a BBC radio broadcaster, listened to Eva sing, he knew “she was an outstanding talent.” He said, “It was pure sound. A bell-like voice. She had this perfect pitch.” He couldn’t wait to play it on the radio. His was the most listened to program in the country at the time. It created a huge response from many of their seven million listeners wanting to know who she was. Unfortunately she had died two years earlier of cancer at the young age of 33.

Eva Cassidy sings Over The Rainbow at Blues Alley, Georgetown, DC, January 3, 1996When Mark Hagon, a Top of the Pops BBC (TOTP2) producer at the time, agreed to play that homemade video of Eva Cassidy singing Over The Rainbow, people kept calling in for weeks wanting to know her name. The listening public created a demand for her music. It was a groundswell! Sales of her CDs went from a hundred thousand to over a million in the UK. “Radio broke it. Television exploded it.”

Cropped screensaver taken from the video of Eva Cassidy singing Over The Rainbow at Blues Alley, Georgetown, DC, January 3, 1996.

At one point five of her CDs became top sellers at the same time, a feat usually held by the Beatles and Rolling Stones. She was then discovered back home in the USA. ABC Nightline in Washington, DC  researched and produced The Eva Cassidy Story (18:40). It was shown in many countries around the world and within a week of it airing her CDs went to the top of the local charts.

BBC radio broadcaster Terry WoganIn Timeless Voice, Terry Wogan concluded, “You’d have to say about Eva Cassidy that her talent was pretty timeless. The voice has a quality of timelessness about it. Anytime you would hear it, whether it was thirty years ago, or thirty years from now, it’ll still be worth listening to, and still strike a responsive chord in most people’s hearts.”

Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac who knew Eva said, “She was brilliant. She had the magic. And I call it, It. She had It!”

You can listen to her music on the YouTube Eva Cassidy channel. A book about her was written (Sept 29, 2003) by Rob Burley and Jonathan Maitland called, Eva Cassidy: Songbird: Her Story by Those Who Knew Her. Another book, Eva Cassidy Behind the Rainbow, was written (February 1, 2012) by art critic and music lover Johan Bakker.

Watch The Eva Cassidy Story 2001 report on ABC Nightline (18:40).

Watch the documentary film: Eva Cassidy: Timeless Voice (58:06).

Watch the trailer to Eva Cassidy: Timeless Voice, before/after the film.

Long after this was posted, while looking for another source for the ABC Nightline report, which was later taken down, I came across this video: WME Interview with the Late Eva Cassidy (Channel Session). Intriguing!

Found this great Eva Cassidy Website, Telling you about Eva since 1999.

This official Eva Cassidy Fan Club asked to publish my post on Eva as a Guest Blog. They added photos, which inspired me to now do the same.

January 3, 2021 was the premiere via livestream of a new documentary: Eva Cassidy – One Night That Changed Everything.

From her YouTube Official Artist Channel:

Eva Cassidy: 25 years ago, a little known singer, Eva Cassidy, and her producer scraped together enough money to record a gig and self-produce an album. This is the story of one night – 3rd January 1996 – at a jazz club in Georgetown, Washington D.C., a set of recordings that almost never happened, and the extraordinary success that followed told by her band members who played with her that night. No one could have imagined that the audio and video recordings from that night would prove to be the foundation of her unparalleled posthumous worldwide success.

January 6, 2021: Eva Cassidy – Blues Alley concert (12 live performances). Restored footage of Eva Cassidy performing at the Blues Alley jazz club on 3rd January 1996. Recorded by Bryan McCulley.

https://lnk.to/evacassidy

November 29, 2022: True Colors Rotterdam posted a 9-minute video on the life story of Eva Cassidy (1963-1996): The story of Eva Cassidy.

Posts on other great musical artists

Discover and enjoy the amazing soulful voice of young Angelina Jordan. It is jaw-dropping great! || My Mind by YEBBA at Sofar will blow your mind! || Lissie @lissiemusic and her connections to Twin Peaks, Fairfield and #TranscendentalMeditation || Colin Hay’s song—I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You—is so relevant during these tough times || Leonard Cohen said there’s a crack in everything—how the light gets in. It came thru him & lit up a broken humanity. || The hauntingly beautiful music of Davy Spillane played on uilleann pipes and low whistle || Bill Evans’s Peace Piece is musical onomatopoeia || Bobby Hutcherson plays Bouquet with Ron Carter and Herbie Hancock at One Night with Blue Note


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