Tagged with "one"
Meet the first woman to play professional baseball in an all men's leagues - Toni Stone Tags: toni tomboy stone first woman professional baseball men leagues word life production new quality

Toni "Tomboy" Stone made history in 1953 when she joined the Negro Leagues, making her the first woman ever to play professionally in a men's league.

Female baseball player Toni Stone made history in 1953 when she was signed by the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues, making her the first woman ever to play professionally in a men's league. Stone began playing ball when she was only 10 years old. Over the years, many people tried to dissuaded her from the game, including her husband. After baseball, she worked as a nurse. She died in 1996.

Early Life

Born Marcenia Lyle Stone on July 17, 1921, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Toni "Tomboy" Stone made history in 1953 when she was signed to play second base for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues, making her the first woman to play professionally in a men's league.

Stone's parents believed strongly that their four children needed to get a good education. But their athletically inclined daughter didn't share the same talent in the classroom as her siblings. Instead, she loved to compete, and excelled in all kinds of sports including ice skating, track, and the high jump. Baseball, however, was her true love and she spent her off-hours at a local park, soaking up the culture and devoting hours toward improving her own game.

Her parents didn't approve. Around the time she was 10 years old, Stone was forced to sit down with a local priest, whom her parents had invited over in hopes that he could talk their daughter out of her interest in baseball. Instead, toward the end of the sit-down, Father Keith asked Stone to play on his team in the Catholic Midget League.

At age 15, Stone was quietly earning a reputation as something of a phenom. She played with the Twin City Colored Giants, a traveling men's baseball club, and took to the diamond for clubs competing in the men's meatpacking league.

Playing for the San Francisco Sea Lions

In the 1940s, Stone moved to San Francisco to help a sick sister. It was there that her life began to finally change in the way she'd long hoped. But it was a humble start. She would later claim that she had only 50 cents in her pocket upon her arrival, and after staying in the bus station for several nights, she started to scrape together a living by working at a cafeteria and at a shipyard as a forklift operator.

Stone also began what can only be considered a personal reinvention. She changed her name to Toni Stone and dropped 10 years off her age to increase her appeal to a men's team.

It wasn't long before she was playing baseball again, signing on to play with an American Legion club. In 1949, she joined the San Francisco Sea Lions of the West Coast Negro Baseball League. The pay wasn't terrible (about $200 a month) and it enhanced Stone's exposure to high profile managers and team owners.

But it wasn't always an easy life. As a woman, Stone was subject to a barrage of insults from fans and sometimes even teammates who objected to seeing a female compete in a "men's" game. The complicated rules surrounding Jim Crow America only amplified the pressure, as she and other black players had to be careful not to patron white-only restaurants and other establishments.

The Indianapolis Clowns and Kansas City Monarchs

Still, Stone's talent was hard to miss. In 1953, she caught her big break when the Indianapolis Clowns signed her to its roster. The club, which had at one time developed a reputation as a showy kind of team, not unlike what basketball's Harlem Globetrotters would become, was in need of a boost.

Since Jackie Robinson's first appearance in the Majors in 1947, the Negro Leagues had seen attendance and talent drop considerably. The departures included the Clowns' prized second baseman, Hank Aaron. In the wake of all this upheaval, team owner Syd Pollack figured Stone might draw some fans.

Stone, however, played hard and didn't back down from any challenges that came her way. Backed by some pretty good Clowns PR to showcase their new female player, Stone appeared in 50 games that year, hitting a respectable .243—a stretch that included getting a hit off the legendary pitcher, Satchel Paige. She also got the chance to play with some excellent young talent, including Willie Mays and Ernie Banks.

But for Stone, she was a part of the roster and she wasn't. The fact that she was a woman meant that she wasn't allowed in the men's locker rooms. Her opponents showed little deference, either, sometimes coming hard at her on a slide with their spikes pointed up.

Stone's time with the Clowns was short. In the off-season, she was traded to the Kansas City Monarchs. It proved to be a difficult adjustment for her. Age had finally caught up to the fleet-footed Stone, and her new teammates and bosses resented her. At the end of the year, she retired.

Final Years

Toni Stone, who married Aurelious Alberga in 1950, a well-known San Francisco political player who was some 40 years her senior, spent her retirement life in Oakland. Eventually she earned the respect she'd long deserved from the baseball world. In 1993 she was inducted into the Women's Sports Hall of Fame in Long Island, New York.

Toni Stone died of heart and respiratory problems on November 2, 1996, at the age of 75, at an Alameda, California, nursing home.

Source: Biorgraphy.com

This Week's celebrity pick is the legendary Sylvester Stallone
Category: Celebrity Pick
Tags: celebrity pick sylvester stallone word life production new qulaity entertainment featured blog

One of the most popular action stars of all time, Sylvester Stallone is best known for portraying boxer Rocky Balboa and Vietnam War veteran John Rambo.

Synopsis

Born on July 6, 1946, in New York City, Sylvester Stallone is one of the most popular Hollywood action stars of all time, playing such iconic characters as John Rambo and Rocky Balboa. Stallone got his start writing and starring in Rocky. The film was a smash, receiving 10 Oscar nods and winning the award for best picture. Stallone's career took off from there, gaining action star icon status. In 2010, Stallone starred alongside Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jason Statham in The Expendables. In 2012, he reunited with the film's cast for a follow-up, The Expendables 2. Just one week after it's premiere, the film had climbed to the No. 1 spot at the box office, bringing in nearly $28.6 million.

Early Life

Actor, writer, director, producer. Born on July 6, 1946, in New York City. One of the most popular action stars of all time, Sylvester Stallone is best known for portraying two heroic characters on the big screen—boxer Rocky Balboa and War veteran John Rambo. His trademark droopy visage was the result of a forceps accident at the time of his birth. A nerve was severed in the accident, which also left him with slurred speech.

Stallone had a difficult childhood. Both he and younger brother Frank were adversely affected by their parents’ hostile relationship, which later ended in divorce. Sylvester spent some time in foster care. He eventually ended up in Philadelphia, living with his mother and her second husband. There Stallone struggled emotionally and academically. After his expulsion from several schools, he attended a special high school for troubled youth.

After graduation, Stallone eventually went on to college. First, he attended the American College in Switzerland where he studied drama. Stallone then went to the University of Miami, again choosing to focus on the dramatic arts. He left school before completing his degree to go to New York City to pursue an acting career.

Aspiring Actor

While he waited for his acting career to take off, Stallone worked all sorts of jobs to make ends meet. He cleaned up the lions’ cages at the Central Park Zoo, ushered at a movie theater, and even made an appearance in an adult film called A Party at Kitty and Studs (1970). A few uncredited parts in mainstream films, such as Woody Allen’s Bananas (1971) and Klute (1971), soon followed. He had a more substantial role playing a tough guy in the 1974 independent film The Lords of Flatbush with Henry Winkler and Perry King. Around this time, Stallone married Sasha Czack.

In addition to acting, Stallone had an interest in writing. He created a screenplay about a rough-and-tumble thug who struggles for a chance to make it as a professional boxer. According to several reports, Stallone refused to sell the script unless he was allowed to star in it. Despite having a pregnant wife and little money in the bank, he held out until he found two producers, Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, willing to let him play the lead.

Action Hero

Released in 1976, Rocky became a critical and commercial hit. The film earned ten Academy Award nominations, including two for Best Actor and one for Best Original Screenplay. Rocky faced stiff competition in the Best Picture category from such films as Taxi Driver, All the President’s Men, and Network. Proving to be the small film with a powerful punch, Rocky emerged victorious and won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The story of Rocky Balboa, the quintessential underdog, also struck a chord with movie-goers and earned the film more than $117 million at the box office.

To follow up on his breakthrough role, Stallone next starred as a labor organizer in F.I.S.T. (1978). He received some favorable reviews for his work, but the film failed to attract much of an audience. Returning to the film that made him famous, Stallone wrote, directed, and starred in Rocky II (1979). He kept the franchise going a few years later with Rocky III (1982).

That same year, Stallone introduced a new character to movie-goers—John Rambo, a disenfranchised and troubled Vietnam vet—in First Blood (1982). Rambo ends up going to war with the police in a small town after being mistreated by authorities. Once again, Stallone struck box office gold. He went behind the scenes for his next effort, Staying Alive (1983), which he wrote and directed. A sequel to Saturday Night Fever (1977) starring John Travolta, the film did not fare as well as the original.

Trying to branch out as an actor, Stallone starred opposite Dolly Parton in the comedy Rhinestone (1984). The film proved to be a commercial and critical failure. Fans, however, continued to line up to see Stallone in trademark roles in Rocky IV (1985), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rambo III (1988), and Rocky V (1990).

Career Decline

By the mid-1990s, Stallone’s star power as an action hero started to fade. He made a series of forgettable films, including Judge Dredd (1995) and Daylight (1996). Taking a break from big budget action films, Stallone took a supporting role in the independent drama Cop Land (1997) which starred Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, and Ray Liotta. He earned raves for his portrayal of a sheriff in a small New Jersey town largely inhabited by New York City cops.

Returning to his leading man status, Stallone starred in the crime thriller Get Carter (2000), which received mixed reviews. He then wrote, co-produced, and starred in the car-racing drama Driven (2001). It netted more than $32 million at the box office—a long way from his glory days of Rocky. Another effort, Shade (2004), came and went without much notice.

Stallone once again returned to familiar territory to write the final chapter of his most popular creation. The plot of Rocky Balboa (2006) mirrored Stallone’s own career to some extent. The former heavyweight champion, long retired, decides to go for one more big fight. “Things really started to slow down for me about 10 years ago, and I had a lot of time for introspection...It is kind of bittersweet. That is why I wanted to write this film. If I had been cranking out films, very successful ones, I wouldn’t have done this one,” Stallone explained to People magazine in 2007. Fans turned out in droves to see Rocky’s final fight, which earned more than $70 million at the box office.

More recently, Stallone returned his other action persona, John Rambo. In addition to playing the lead, he wrote and directed Rambo (2008). The film lived up the gory legacy of its predecessors. As one Entertainment Weekly critic described it, the film “is up to its boot tops in numbing violence.” Rambo may be maligned by critics, but it was able attract enough fans to bring in $42.7 million at the box office.

In 2010, Stallone starred alongside Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Expendables. The film also features Jason Statham of The Transporter film series, mixed martial arts fighter Randy Couture, and martial arts expert Jet Li. In addition to his performance in the film, Stallone served as director and screenwriter.

Off Camera

After years of being the target of many critical barbs, Stallone has begun to receive some appreciation for his life’s work. He received an honorary Cesar Award, the French equivalent of the Academy Award, in 1992 and an acting award at the Stockholm film festival in 1997. In 2008, Stallone became the first person to receive the Golden Icon Award at the Zurich film festival.

Thrice married, Stallone is currently wed to former model Jennifer Flavin. The couple has three daughters, Sophia, Sistine, and Scarlet. He has two sons, Sage and Seth, from his first marriage to Sasha Czack.

On July 13, 2012, Stallone's eldest son, Sage Moonblood Stallone, was found dead in his Los Angeles home. The 36-year-old actor, director and producer, co-starred with his father in Rocky V and Daylight. Stallone made his first public appearance after his son's death in August 2012, on Good Morning America. Of Sage's death, he said, "Time, hopefully, will heal, and you try to get through it, but it's just something. It's a reality of life. I think it's important to get back and start reliving your life. Otherwise, you can go into a spiral."

Recent Projects

In 2012, Stallone reunited with the cast of The Expendables to co-star in a follow-up film, The Expendables 2. The movie premiered in August of 2012, and within just one week, had climbed to the No. 1 spot at the box office, bringing in nearly $28.6 million. The Expendables 3 is set to release in the summer of 2014.

Source: Biography.com

 

 

“All the squares, go home!” - Sly and the Family Stone Tags: music hall fame stone word life production new quality entertainment word life production

More than four decades after they first stormed the Pop and R&B charts in the winter of 1968 with “Dance To the Music” – a groundbreaking jam that has the distinction of being chosen for the Grammy Hall Of Fame, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame’s "500 Songs That Shaped Rock," and Rolling Stone magazine’s "500 Greatest Songs Of All Time" – the music of Sly and the Family Stone is more vital than ever.

The band's catalog (every single composition penned by Sylvester Stewart aka Sly Stone) includes their three career-defining RIAA gold Billboard #1 Pop/ #1 R&B smashes, “Everyday People,” “Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Again)” and “Family Affair,” and their signature Top 40 hits that began with “Dance To the Music” and went on to include “Stand!,” “Hot Fun In the Summertime,” “Runnin’ Away,” “If You Want Me To Stay,” “Time For Livin’," and more.

Those songs not only inspired an era of youthful rebellion and independence, but also had a potent effect on the course of modern music in general. A dazzling fusion of psychedelic rock, soul, gospel, jazz, and Latin flavors, Sly’s music brought the next step – funk – to a disparate populace of hip artists. From Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, to the halls of Motown and George Clinton’s P-Funk, from Michael Jackson and Curtis Mayfield, down the line to Bob Marley, the Isley Brothers, Prince, Public Enemy, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arrested Development, the Black Eyed Peas, the Roots, OutKast and on and on, Sly’s DNA is traceable to every cell of the musical stratosphere.

It is never enough to reiterate that they were the first hitmaking interracial, mixed-gender band. “Sly and the Family Stone’s music was immensely liberating,” wrote Harry Weinger on the occasion of the group's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction in 1993. “A tight, riotous funk, it was precisely A Whole New Thing. And they were a beautiful sight: rock’s first integrated band, black, white, women, men. Hair, skin. Fringe and sweat. Extraordinary vibes for extraordinary times.” If 1968 was indeed the year that changed the world, then Sly and the Family Stone provided the soundtrack for that change. They would continue to lay out a sound that is truly eternal.

Beginnings

Sylvester Stewart was born the second of five children (Loretta, Sylvester, Freddie, Rose, and Vaetta, known as Vet) in Denton, Texas, on March 15, 1944. His devout African-American family was affiliated with the Church Of God In Christ (COGC) and took their beliefs with them when they moved to Vallejo, California, a northwest suburb of San Francisco. Reared on church music, Sylvester was eight years old when he and three of his siblings (sans Loretta) recorded a 78 rpm gospel single for local release as the Stewart Four.

A musical prodigy, he became known as Sly in early grade school, the result of a friend misspelling ‘Sylvester.’ He was adept at keyboards, guitar, bass, and drums by age eleven, and went on to perform in several high school bands. One of these groups, the Viscaynes, boasted an integrated lineup, a fact that did not go unnoticed in the late 1950s. The group cut a few singles, and Sly also released a few singles as well during that period, working with his younger brother Freddie.

Into the early ’60s, Sly’s musical education continued at Vallejo Junior College, where he added trumpet to his mixed bag, and mastered composition and theory as well. Around 1964, he started as a fast-talking disc jockey at R&B radio station KSOL. His eclectic musical tastes made Sly hugely popular, as he became an early proponent of including R&B-flavored white artists (especially British Invasion bands like the Beatles, the Animals, and the Rolling Stones) into the station’s soul music format. Sly later brought his show to KDIA, where he deejayed right up through the start of Sly and the Family Stone in 1967.

But as early as 1964, the result of a hookup with legendary disc jockey Tom Donahue, Sly had also been tapped as a producer for the San Francisco-based label, Autumn Records. The small label was known for its successes with first generation Bay Area rock bands the Beau Brummels, the Charlatans, the Great Society, and the Mojo Men, all of whom benefited from Sly’s unerring ear. Sly was paired with black singer Bobby Freeman, who had previously recorded one of the Pop/R&B crossover anthems of an era, 1958’s “Do You Want To Dance” (Josie Records). In 1964, Sly produced Freeman’s bona fide #5 Pop hit, “C’mon And Swim” (Autumn), which ironically never appeared on the R&B charts at all.

The stage was set for a quantum leap in 1966. Sly was leading a band called Sly And the Stoners, featuring African-American trumpeter Cynthia Robinson. Freddie was also leading a band, Freddie And the Stone Souls, featuring white drummer Gregg Errico. It was white saxophonist Jerry Martini who urged Sly and Freddie to combine the best of both bands, leading to the birth of Sly and the Family Stone in March 1967. Freddie took over on guitar as Sly quickly mastered the organ. Their sister Rose joined on keyboards and vocals, and bassist/vocalist Larry Graham completed the lineup.

Every band’s story includes their “discovery gig,” and for Sly and the Family Stone it was at a club called Winchester Cathedral in Redwood City, where they frequently played until dawn. They mixed cover tunes with original material, until the originals took over altogether. “When we started doing our own thing,” Freddie told rock writer Bud Scoppa, “it really was our own thing, and we threw all those other things out of the window.” A local CBS Records promotion man caught their act and alerted A&R executive David Kapralik in New York. He flew to the West Coast and wasted no time signing the band to Epic Records and becoming their manager.

I Want To Take You Higher

Sly and the Family Stone upset the Las Vegas status quo when they were booked into a three-month, six-nights-a-week gig at the Pussycat a' Go Go, an engagement that was attended by everyone from James Brown to Bobby Darin. On their night off every Monday, they flew to Los Angeles for their debut album recording sessions at CBS Studios, stretching from June until August 1967. Adding heft were the gospel-soaked backing vocals of sister Vet’s trio, Little Sister (aka the Heavenly Tones).

The resulting album, A Whole New Thing, released at the very end of the year, was a wake-up call that resounded as forcefully as Freak Out, the iconoclastic debut of Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention (which many a rock critic referenced in attempting to analyze Sly). Scoppa cites A Whole New Thing’s “hot-potato trading off of lead vocals, the staccato horn riffs, the archetypal popping attack of Larry Graham’s bass lines, the celebratory lyrics, which espoused community and diversity, the acid-rock flourishes and the racing rhythms.”

On top of their sonic explosion, the band’s onstage appearance was a visual feast, fitted in costumes that skirted the outer limits of hippie psychedelia, thrift-shop chic, and eye-popping one-of-a-kind patterns. Sly himself was attired “like the wildest pimp on the block,” as Barney Hoskyns wrote decades later. If Sly’s funky music rendered Motown’s mannered orchestrations passé virtually overnight, then those mind-blowing outfits sent many a Motor City tuxedo and nightgown into mothballs.

Like Freak Out, however, A Whole New Thing pushed too many boundaries. It was too hip for the room, nor could radio (AM and FM) find a place for Sly’s debut single, the LP’s opening track, “Underdog.” Despite testimonials from the likes of Miles Davis, Tony Bennett and Mose Allison, and liner notes written by KDIA supporter John Hardy, A Whole New Thing did not hit the album charts. That all changed just a few weeks later.

Advised to simplify his approach, Sly gave his instincts free rein. Without sacrificing any of the momentum they had achieved with A Whole New Thing, Epic Records rush released the new single, “Dance To The Music.” The sure-fire hit signaled a new LP, whose tracks (including the single) had mostly been recorded back in September 1967, with a couple dating back to May. So the advent of a catchy, hook-laden single, which vaulted inside the Top 10 on both the Pop and R&B sides, had the effect of sending people back to the music that was waiting under their noses all along. The new LP, titled after its hit Dance To The Music, rose to #11 on the R&B chart but only reached #142 on the Pop chart.

But the music of Sly and the Family Stone did not flourish in a vacuum. America was a country that was struggling with its racial identity and like every great artist who was struggling with his craft in the ’60s, Sly was no exception. The spring and summer of 1968 brought great cataclysms and change as the war in Southeast Asia waged on, and the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy reverberated around the globe. Sly was playing year-round to packed audiences in bigger and bigger venues worldwide, and his third album, Life (with its title tune single), released in November 1968, was simply lost in the tidal wave of events. In retrospect, it was getting dark outside, and the fate of Life was the calm before the storm.

Stand!

Almost as soon as Life had come and gone, in those closing weeks of 1968 and first weeks of 1969, a brand-new song was making waves for Sly and the Family Stone. “Everyday People” was somehow a plea for unity and pride of diversity at the same time, “different strokes for different folks/ And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo-bee/ Oh sha sha – we got to live together.” The song catalyzed and challenged everyone’s feelings about Sly, whose struggles with his success were starting to come into sharper public focus. “Everyday People” finally gave Sly and the Family Stone the RIAA gold Billboard #1 Pop/ #1 R&B hit they were destined for all along.

The Stand! album arrived in April 1969, containing “Everyday People” and its B-side, “Sing A Simple Song.” The follow-up single, “Stand,” while not quite the chart burner as its predecessor (#14 R&B/ #22 Pop), was nevertheless revolutionary in its call to arms: “Stand!/ You’ve been sitting much too long/ There’s a permanent crease in your right and wrong/ Stand!” The single’s B-side took on a life of its own, “I Want To Take You Higher,” a timely re-working of “Higher” from the first LP.

Three hit singles deep (along with several iconic songs, among them “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey” and “Sex Machine”) there was no chart dysfunction this time around. The Stand! album peaked at #3 R&B and #13 Pop, certified on December 1st as Sly’s first RIAA platinum million-seller, on its way to spending a solid two years on the Billboard chart. In the interim, Sly and the Family Stone’s early Sunday morning performance at the Woodstock Music & Arts Fair in August was considered one of the true high points of the festival, as captured in the film and on the soundtrack albums. “Yet for all the utopian euphoria of Stand!,” Hoskyns surmised, “Sly’s position at the intersection of black funk and white hippiedom was problematic and unsustainable.”

A new non-album single was released that same month (August 1969), the infectious, celebratory “Hot Fun In the Summertime” (#2 Pop/ #3 R&B). It was the last new music anyone heard from the group until another new non-album single showed up in late-December ’69, “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” which magically and majestically rose straight to the top. It was “a protracted piece of thunderstruck funk, a one-chord rampage of unprecedented savage power,” as described by longtime Sly observer Joel Selvin of the San Francisco Chronicle. The RIAA gold single (b/w the non-album “Everybody Is a Star”) hit #1 on both sides of the tracks in early February 1970, staying at #1 Pop for a fortnight, and at #1 R&B for a glorious six weeks.

The relentless touring grinded on, as a long respite from formal studio recording sessions erased most of 1970 and ’71. Sly moved the band into the old Jeanette MacDonald mansion in Beverly Hills, and a studio was built in the attic, ostensibly to work on a new album. Instead, tall tales of rampant drug use at home and on the road surfaced in the media. As Selvin wrote, “[Sly] also started showing up late for concerts. Or not showing up at all. Sly cancelled 26 out of 80 shows in 1970, and missed five concerts in a row on a Southern swing in February 1971. He skipped network television appearances. He left the other band members waiting backstage for hours wondering whether he was going to show up or not.”

A Greatest Hits collection was strategically issued for the 1970 pre-Christmas season, gathering earlier hits and the four sides from 1970. The LP hit #1 R&B over Christmas week, and #2 Pop, becoming one of the biggest sellers in the CBS catalog at the time as it moved three million copies. Meanwhile, life at the mansion was becoming the stuff of legend, with visits by everyone from Bobby Womack and Herbie Hancock, to Miles Davis and Billy Preston. Recording was a catch-as-catch-can affair, by all accounts, with surviving tapes and sessions only characterized by Selvin as “dark, simmering grooves and visions from the other side.”

One of those dark grooves was the lilting, melodic “Family Affair” which was issued as Sly and the Family Stone’s long-awaited new single in late-October 1971. The month before, one last promoter had been talked into presenting the band at Madison Square Garden for three nights, which promptly sold-out in advance, breaking MSG box office records at the time. “Family Affair” also broke a record for Sly, hitting #1 Pop (for three weeks) and #1 R&B (for six weeks) in just one month on the street, the fastest (and final) #1 of his career.

“Family Affair” was the lynchpin for the band’s first new studio LP in two-and-a-half years, There’s A Riot Goin’ On, which likewise hit #1 Pop/ #1 R&B within a few weeks of its release in November. A transformative masterpiece, the LP was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999, and is ranked at #99 on Rolling Stone magazine’s "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. " The title paraphrased the chorus of Leiber and Stoller’s classic “Riot in Cell Block #9.” But as Selvin points out, “The label lists the title track: ‘There’s A Riot Goin’ On – 0:00.’ It was Sly’s little joke. The riot was going on in his life.”

Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be Will Be)

The turmoil in which Sly and the Family Stone found itself in 1972 and ’73 was merely a bizarro-world refraction of the turmoil of the world around them. In June 1973, more than a year and a half after There’s A Riot Goin’ On, the band returned with a new single, “If You Want Me To Stay” (#3 R&B/ #12 Pop), and a new LP, Fresh, Sly’s final #1 R&B LP. Discussing the turbulence around them, black music scholar Touré invoked the continuing war in Vietnam (a presence throughout much of Sly’s productive career, unfortunately), the Bloody Sunday massacre in Northern Ireland, the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympic games in Munich, and the Watergate break-in. The departure of original Family Stone members Larry Graham and Gregg Errico also changed the band’s equilibrium, as heard on There’s A Riot Goin’ On and Fresh.

Just five years into his career, Sly’s new single was preparing his listeners for big changes: “I’m about to go and then you’ll know/ For me to stay here/ I’ve got to be me.” But perhaps more telling was the inclusion of an ‘outside’ song, not written by Sly, for the first time on any of his LPs. In this case it was Doris Day’s pensive 1956 Columbia Records chestnut, “Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be Will Be),” sung by Rose Stone, with its evocative refrain, “The future's not ours to see…”

For all intents and purposes, the 1974 RIAA gold album Small Talk (#15 Pop), and its two single releases, “Time For Livin’” (#10 R&B, #32 Pop, Sly’s last Top 40 career entry) and “Loose Booty” (#22 R&B) marked the end of the road for the Family Stone. Members went their separate ways, most notably Freddie joining Larry Graham’s Graham Central Station, a band that owed much of its sound to Sly Stone.

Epilogue

Staying with Epic Records, Sly recorded High On You in 1975 and Heard You Missed Me, Well I’m Back a year later. An LP on Warner Bros. in 1979, Back On the Right Track, featured contributions from Cynthia. A second Warner Bros. album was abandoned by Sly in 1981 and finished by its producer in 1982, Ain’t But the One Way. Sly slipped into seclusion with but a few historic reappearances over the years.

Most notable was the band’s induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993, when he suddenly appeared from the wings, made a brief remark to the audience, and disappeared again. Similarly enigmatic was Sly’s brief participation in a multi-artist tribute to the band at the 2006 Grammy Awards®, a grand affair starring John Legend, Fantasia, Adam Levine, Ciara, Steve Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, and others. All were startled when Sly abruptly waved goodbye to the audience in the middle of “I Want To Take You Higher,” exiting the stage and leaving the stars to complete the song as he disappeared into the night.

A musical visionary of the highest order, Sly Stone carved his way into our American cultural fabric and then, his work done, retreated. The music of Sly and the Family Stone, specifically the singles and LPs of that seminal seven-year period from 1968 to 1975, went on to influence generations that Sly could never have foretold.

For further reading:
Sly and the Family Stone: An Oral History by Joel Selvin (HarperCollins, 1998)
There’s A Riot Going On by Miles Marshall Lewis (Bloomsbury “33 1/3” series, 2006)

Source: Official Website

Tina Turner; Barry White; Sly Stone; O'jays; Marvin Gaye; James Brown, etc. Tags: video month live entertainment sly stone barry white tina turner ojays marvin gaye james

Stone Cold Steve Austin - One of the greatest wrestlers of all time Tags: stone cold steve austin greatest wrestler all time word life production new quality entertainment

Steve Austin is an American professional wrestler and actor born on December 18, 1964 in Edina, Texas. Known as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the pro wrestler won the WWF Championship from 1995-1999. After retiring, he went into acting where he starred in the TV show Nash Bridges (1998-1999) and films The Longest Yard (2005) and The Condemned (2007).

Professional wrestler, born Steve Anderson, on December 18, 1964, in Victoria, Texas. Raised by his mother and stepfather, Ken Williams, he never knew his biological father, and soon took Williams's name, Steve grew up in Edna, Texas, as part of a big family. In high school, he was inducted into the National Honor Society before winning a football scholarship to the University of North Texas. In 1987, just a few credits shy of a degree in physical education, Steve Williams dropped out of college and began working on a loading dock near Houston, Texas.

Professional Wrestling Debut

In 1989, after developing a serious interest in professional wrestling, Williams joined a new wrestling school in Dallas. After graduation, he joined the United States Wrestling Association and in 1990 had his first professional match. During his first year on the tour, Williams traveled around the southern United States, earning $20 a fight and living in his car. In 1991, having dropped his good guy persona and taken on a new name, "Stunning" Steve Austin, he made his World Championship Wrestling (WCW) debut.

During his career with WCW, Austin formed a partnership with "Flyin" Brian Pillman; as the "Hollywood Blonds, they won the 1993 World Tag Team Championship. Austin also won the 1993 WCW United States Championship. In 1994, he tore his tricep while wrestling in Japan and was subsequently fired by WCW, a rejection he would not forget easily. After a stint in Extreme Championship Wrestling, Austin signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in late 1995. Another revamping of his image resulted in a new name, "Stone Cold," a new bald-headed look, and a new signature finishing move, the "Stone Cold stunner."

WWF Success

From 1995 to 1999, Austin won four federation championships and numerous other tag team and individual titles. His persistence became legendary: after suffering a serious nerve injury to his neck in early 1997, Austin came back to win the WWF championship that year. He has a reputation among his fans as an aggressive rebel who defies all authority, especially the infamous owner of the WWF, Vince McMahon. Austin's long-running feud with McMahon, extending to several bouts within the ring, has raised WWF television ratings and increased Austin's popularity. Also known as the "Texas Rattlesnake," Austin is widely considered one of the WWF's most popular wrestlers. In 1998 alone, he made an estimated $1.2 million salary plus a huge sum in merchandising royalties.

Acting Pursuits

In addition to his success in the WWF, Austin has pursued an interest in acting. In 1998 and 1999, he appeared on several episodes of the TV series Nash Bridges as Jake Cage, a renegade policeman assisting the show's good guys.

Austin's marriage to his first wife, Kathy, was annulled. His second wife Jeannie, whom he married in 1995, once served as his valet, Lady Blossom. They have two children, Stephanie and Cassidy.

In January 2000, Austin underwent spinal surgery in order to correct damage done during his years of wrestling, putting him out of commission for six months to a year.

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