Tagged with "ring"
Golden Earring - Ultimate Rock Classic Tags: golden earring ultimate rock classic word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Golden Earring is the best known and internationally most succesful rock band to come out of the Netherlands.

Formed in 1961, Golden Earring has been active for more than 50 years non-stop, which makes Golden Earring the world’s longest surviving rock band, formed a year before The Rolling Stones. The current line-up has been unchanged since 1970.

In 1961 George Kooymans (age 13) and his neighbour Rinus Gerritsen (age 15) formed The Tornados in the Zuiderpark district of their home town of The Hague, The Netherlands. The band’s first line-up mainly played The Shadows and The Ventures covers, as well as other instrumental tunes.

In 1963, as the band found out that there already was a British band called The Tornados, they decided to change their name into The Golden Earrings (after a Peggy Lee song). The band soon had a devoted local following. Under the Golden Earrings moniker the band eventually recorded four albums and had twelve hit singles in the Netherlands between 1965 and 1969, of which ten reached the Dutch Top 10.

One of the band’s sixties singles was their first #1 hit in The Netherlands: 1968’s carnavalesque Dong-Dong-Diki-Digi-Dong, although that tune is now frowned upon by the band and generally regarded as inferior to other early Earrings gems, such as That Day (1966, the first Dutch pop single to have been recorded in the U.K., at London’s Pye Studios, a milestone at the time), Daddy Buy Me a Girl (1966) and the epic Just A Little Bit Of Peace In My Heart (1969).

The band’s lead singer during the early Golden Earrings years was Frans Krassenburg, who was replaced by Barry Hay (ex-The Haigs) in 1967. The band’s drummer for much of the 1960s was Jaap eggermont. His successors were Sieb Warner (1969) and, finally Cesar Zuiderwijk (ex-Livin’ Blues) in 1970.

The band’s international career modestly started to take off in 1969, the year of their psychedelic Eight Miles High album, their first tour of the U.S. and also the year in which the band name was slightly changed into The Golden Earring (the article ‘The’ was dropped within a year). On their early U.S. tours, their long, wild live cover version of The Byrds’ classic Eight Miles High impressed audiences and press. Golden Earring’s 19-minute album version, as well as the stand-alone 1969 single Another 45 Miles, were the first Golden Earring songs to get some U.S. airplay.

A year after these facts, in 1970, a new dummer was recruited, replacing Sieb Warner after his very brief stint. The new line-up was the line-up that is still active today: Barry Hay (lead vocals/guitar/flute), George Kooymans (guitar/vocals), Cesar Zuiderwijk (drums) and Rinus Gerritsen (bass/harmonica/keyboards).

1970 saw a dramatic shift in Golden Earring’s musical style. After the melodic, often Beatle-esque sixties beat of The Golden Earrings and a brief phase of psychedelic and hippie rock, the single Back Home marked the birth of Golden Earring’s trademark heavy, riff-based brand of rock with catchy, sometimes remarkably ‘poppy’ hooks. Back Home hit #1 in the Dutch charts, ‘broke’ Golden Earring in European countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France.

It marked the start of a decade of domestic and international glory. Between 1966 and 1976 seventeen consecutive Earring singles rocketed into the Dutch Top 10, while their international popularity increased, especially after their lengthy 1972 tour of Europe, supporting The Who. The 1973 hit single Radar Love was their breakthrough smash hit worldwide: #13 in the U.S., #5 in Britain, #8 in Australia, #10 in Canada, #5 in Germany, #6 in Belgium, #1 in Spain and also #1 in (last but not least) Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

Radar Love still is a ‘car song’ and classic rock radio anthem of global fame. Between 1969 and 1985 Golden Earring completed thirteen major tours of North America, building a considerable North American fanbase, as well as five headlining tours of Great Britain in 1973 and 1974 alone.

The band failed to achieve similar chart success in the years after Radar Love: the progressive Switch (1975) and To the Hilt (1976) yielded no hits and were clearly not what North American audiences wanted from the ‘Radar Love guys’.

Golden Earring was forgotten by many outside of The Netherland and by 1980 even Dutch audiences started to lose interest: albums such as No Promises… No Debts (1979) and Prisoner Of The Night (1980) were commercial flops, leading to the band’s decision (in 1981) to record a ‘farewell album’ and then call it quits.

The lead single from 1982’s ‘farewell album’ Cut, a Kooymans-penned tune called Twilight Zone, surprisingly became an even bigger hit in the U.S. than Radar Love: #10 in the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 in Billboard Rock Tracks, thanks to heavy MTV rotation of the Dick Maas-directed video. The song (#1 in The Netherlands) did not become as much of a worldwide classic as Radar Love, but revived Golden Earring’s stateside career overnight. The Cut LP was certified ‘gold’ in Canada, where Twilight Zone hit #3 in the charts.

In their native Netherlands the band did manage to extend their creative and commercial peak, this time: the single When The Lady Smiles and the album N.E.W.S. (‘NorthEastWestSouth’), both released in 1984, repeated the success of Twilight Zone and Cut. The ‘Lady’ peaked at #3 in Canada, but was a failure in the U.S. as MTV and even radio stations banned the track because of its controversial video, once again directed by Dick Maas, in which the rape of a nun was shown.

Ironically, given its lack of U.S. success, the song was used by Hillary Clinton during the early stages of her 2008 presidential campaign (her husband had used Radar Love for his campaign, in 1992).

After 1985 things rapidly went downhill for Golden Earring internationally (they would not tour the U.S. again), but - after a creative and financial crisis that lasted throughout the second half of the 1980s - the band scored one of their most lasting Dutch hits in 1991 (the power-ballad, Going To The Run) and discovered a new gold mine in their home country a year later: acoustic concerts in theatres, the concept of MTV Unplugged.

To everybody’s surprise, the band’s acoustic live album, The Naked Truth, slowly became their all-time biggest selling album in Holland. Its sequels, Naked II (1997) and Naked III (2005) also went platinum at least once in The Netherlands.

Golden Earring’s by far most succesful album internationally remains 1973’s Moontan, which sold more than 2.5 million copies outside of The Netherlands and was certified ‘gold’ in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

As of May 2012 Golden Earring now released 25 studio albums, 8 live albums and numerous succesful compilations. Almost all of these records were certified ‘gold’, sometimes ‘platinum’ in The Netherlands. More than anything else, though, the band remained a live force of legendary status in their home country. They still do dozens of live shows each year (electric as well as unplugged), almost exclusively in the Netherlands, although there are still occasional live appearances in Belgium and Germany. 2009 saw Golden Earring’s long overdue return to the United Kingdom: their sold out shows in Ipswich and London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire were their first live appearances in England since 1978.

In 2011 the band recorded their first album of new material since 2003’s Millbrook U.S.A.: Tits ‘n Ass - studio album #25 for the Dutch legends and generally expected to be their final studio LP - was released on 11 May 2012 on Universal Music and hit #1 in the Dutch album charts one week after its release to become Golden Earring’s 8th #1 album in their home country. The album was also certified ‘gold’ in The Netherlands.

Source: last.fm

We celebrate the life of the King of the Ring - Owen Hart Tags: owen hart king ring word life production honoring those lost word life production new

Owen Hart was born on May 7, 1965, in Calgary, Canada, into a large family with 12 children. His father, a professional wrestler, trained him in a basement studio. Hart, a champion college wrestler, joined his father's professional team in 1986 and 1988 entered the World Wrestling Federation. He died on May 23, 1999, when he fell 90 feet during a pre-match publicity stunt.

Professional wrestler Owen Hart was born on May 7, 1965, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The youngest of 12 children, Hart was one of six brothers and four brothers-in-law in the Hart family to become professional wrestlers. The Hart boys studied wrestling from an early age in a basement studio under the watchful eye of their father, Stu, himself a talented wrestler.

Successful Wrestling Career

Owen wrestled at the amateur level and became a Canadian college champion before making his professional debut in 1986 as part of his father's Stampede Wrestling tour. After touring in Europe, Japan, Mexico and Canada, Hart entered the World Wrestling Federation in 1988.

As "the Rocket" or "the Blue Blazer," Hart became a popular fixture in the WWF. His fierce, although staged, rivalry with his older brother, the five-time WWF champion Bret "the Hitman" Hart, attracted viewers, as did their teaming up to form "the Hart Foundation" in 1993. Individually, Owen won the King of the Ring title in 1994 and the Intercontinental title in 1997. After Bret unofficially retired in late 1997, Owen was the only remaining Hart on the professional wrestling scene.

Untimely Death

Over the years, Hart became disenchanted with the outrageous character of the WWF and especially with federation owner Vince McMahon. In early 1999, he was reportedly preparing to retire and spend more time with his family—he had a son, Oje, and a daughter, Athena, with his wife Martha. He thought of beginning a teaching career.

An accident during a pre-match publicity stunt on May 23, 1999, at Kansas City's Kemper Arena put an abrupt and tragic end to those hopes. In front of more than 16,000 fans, most of them totally unaware of the chilling reality of what they were watching, Hart fell some 90 feet when a release mechanism disengaged on a cable affixed to the ceiling from the safety vest he was wearing, hitting his head on one of the wrestling ring's padded turnbuckles. He was later pronounced dead of internal bleeding.

Aftermath

The circumstances surrounding Hart's death sparked much discussion about the increasingly dangerous nature of the WWF's publicity tactics and provoked calls for some action to be taken by the federation to protect its wrestlers. A wrongful death lawsuit filed against the WWF by Hart's family, who accused the wrestling organization of making dangerous demands on Hart in pursuit of money and television ratings. They reached an out-of-court settlement in late 2000. The WWF is pursuing its own lawsuit against the company that manufactured the equipment used during the deadly stunt.

© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.

Remembering Fred “Rerun” Berry Tags: fred rerun berry honoring those lost remembering word life production feature weekly blog

Fred Berry, aka “Rerun” and “Mr. Penguin,” was one of the most iconic dancers, actors and performers in show business history. He was also a good friend of mine. His style of dancing was often imitated but never duplicated. Although overweight, he was smooth and light on his feet and he could out-dance a number of professional dancers.

Born March 19, 1951 in St. Louis, Missouri, Fred grew up in public housing before he and his family later moved to Los Angeles. In the recent SoulTrain.com Diary of an Ex-Soul Train Dancer interview, Don Campbell of the legendary Lockers dance troupe explained that he and Fred first met at the club Maverick’s Flat. Fred was real quiet but after he watched Don dancing he started getting into dancing. Eventually, Fred and Don became close friends and Fred wound up becoming a dancer on Soul Train and became a standout, mixing locking with his own freestyle moves. He later became a part of the Lockers dance troupe and was given the nickname “Penguin.”

Aside from the Lockers, Fred also did outside work, performing in a Dick Clark-produced TV special about the history of dance and also appeared in a club scene in the 1972 movie Hammer starring Fred Williamson.

After performing with the Lockers for four years, Fred auditioned for a new television sitcom for ABC called What’s Happening!!, which was loosely based on the motion picture Cooley High. The role he auditioned for, Rerun, was originally written for a skinny white guy. Fred said that when he showed up for the auditions, the casting directors and producers told him they needed a skinny white guy for the role but Fred kept insisting to them that, “I am a white skinny guy!” Fred’s persistence paid off as the casting directors and producers fell out laughing at the sight of this young, portly black guy proclaiming he was a skinny white guy. The role of Rerun was rewritten for a fat black guy, and Fred won the role.

Fred played the role of Frederick “Rerun” Stubbs, a high school kid who always wore a red tam and rainbow suspenders and loved to eat as well as dance. He was nicknamed Rerun due to repeatedly getting left back and having to “rerun” all of his classes. He was best friends with Roger Thomas and Dwayne Nelson (played by Ernest Thomas and Haywood Nelson, respectively), all of whom often got into typical teen mischief. Rerun often verbally sparred with Shirley Wilson (played by the late comedian Shirley Hemphill), a loudmouth, no-nonsense waitress at the neighborhood teen hangout Rob’s Place. Rerun was also the target of putdowns by Roger’s bratty kid sister, Dee (played by Danielle Spencer), while he and Dwayne were often treated as sons by Roger’s mother Mabel Thomas (played by the late Mabel King).

Although Fred was no longer a part of the Lockers, he never forgot his old companions and helped to get all of them on the fourth episode of the series in which they played a dance group called The Rockets and Rerun wanted badly to become a part of their group.

The character of Rerun, like that of Jimmie Walker’s J.J. character on Good Times, was often criticized for being silly and buffoonish. Black critics of the time felt that those characters gave bad images to impressionable young black kids watching (particularly the characters’ lackadaisical attitudes toward school). But What’s Happening!! was just a comedy. Rerun and J.J., just like Lucy, Ralph Kramden and Carol Burnett’s many characters, were essentially just comedic characters designed to entertain and make people laugh. If there were characters like this in the dramatic landmark miniseries Roots, for example, criticism could be justified (imagine Kunta Kinte yelling “DY-NO-MITE” during that horrible whipping scene).

In hindsight and in all fairness, Rerun was a black kid who was just trying to find his way. His constant eating habits were a sign of insecurity as well as an emptiness he was trying to fill on the inside. Like all teenagers, Rerun was searching for self, his place in the world. When he was cracked on by Shirley or Dee or anyone else, the hurt was evident in Rerun’s eyes; but he persevered, trying to make something of himself. He had big dreams beyond his inner city neighborhood of Watts and wanted to do better and become better, hence his desire to be a professional dancer and an actor before he eventually landed a job at ABC as a TV studio page in the program’s last season.

After What’s Happening!! went off the air in April 1979, Fred continued to do dance work and even reappeared for a brief time as a Soul Train dancer in 1984. He also did some film and TV work, including appearing as Sugar Pimp Dorsey in the 1982 movie Vice Squad and appearing as a breakdancer named Bobo on a 1984 episode of the television sitcom Alice.

In 1985, Fred returned to television in the series What’s Happening Now, which featured all of the original characters of the classic What’s Happening!! series. Rerun had a job as a car salesman, while Roger became a fledgling writer and Dwayne became a computer programmer. However, Fred’s stint on the show was short-lived as he left after one season (the show itself was cancelled in May 1988)
Fred had sporadic work here and there (including a 1993 episode of Martin and in Snoop Dogg’s music video “Doggy Dogg World,” which celebrated 70s black film and TV icons). He moved to New York City in 1997 and opened up an acting school called Rerun’s Acting School. I was one of his students and I had the pleasure of going to his studio suite on West 33rd Street every Saturday morning. I was surprised at how deep his actual voice was. He said he made his voice go high whenever he played the younger role of Rerun. He would have me perform monologues and create commercials and do other acting exercises. I learned so much from this man not only about the acting business but the business of acting and the entertainment business as well.

Fred shared a story with me about the child actress Reina King (sister of actress Regina King) who played Carolyn, Roger Thomas’ adopted daughter on What’s Happening Now. There was an episode which spoofed The Wizard of Oz–in which Carolyn played Dorothy, and the lines called for her to become hurt and sad that her dog Toto was taken away by the Wicked Witch. Reina laughed it off, looking at the plot matter as silly. Fred told me he took her aside and told her that she was an actress and had to take this seriously, so she eventually was able to get through the lines. But this is how Fred was in his acting class. He was totally serious about the acting profession and show business in general. He wanted to be sure that I remembered lines, went to rehearsals prepared and maintained my energy level (I actually made him cry during one of my recitations and he got up and gave me a hug).

Fred also taught dance classes as well at his school and I learned steps from him that I still do today.
I would sometimes go with Fred to a restaurant across the street where his photo was on the wall along with other celebrities. As he would eat his breakfast, I would also see him taking his medicine for his diabetes, which he shared with me he was battling.

Eventually, Fred moved his acting school to Los Angeles, in the hopes of getting more clients. We became good friends during his time in New York City. Once when I was at a dance party, Fred was a special guest and he gave me a shout out as one of his students. I never forgot that.
Fred did some more film work, such as 1998′s In The Hood and 2000′s Big Money Hustlas. Before he moved back to Los Angeles, he had shared with me some footage of an independent film he was working on with Sinbad. He also appeared on the TV sitcom Scrubs and did a cameo in Will Smith’s “Will 2 K” video, pop locking down the Soul Train line. He also appeared in the 2003 film Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. His last TV appearance a few weeks before his passing was on the program Classmates, which reunited former classmates. Fred appeared with Charles Bradshaw, a beefy football player whom he thanked for defending him when other kids teased him because of his weight.

Fred’s last movie role was in The Land of Merry Misfits which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. In our last correspondence, he told me he became a minister and I was very happy for him.

In October 2003 I got a call from former Soul Train dancer Damita Jo Freeman that Fred had passed away, succumbing to Type 2 diabetes. I was saddened to hear about the loss of my friend and I miss him to this day.

Fred Berry, to me, will always be remembered as a lovable, fun person who was smart and intelligent and I was honored to have known him and call him a friend and I learned so much from him. Indeed, Fred “Rerun” Berry, like his famous red tam, will forever be an icon.

Source​–Stephen McMillian

Stephen McMillian is a journalist, writer, actor, filmmaker, performer, former Soul Train dancer, Soul Train historian and soul music and movie historian.

Bruce Springsteen was best known as the Future of Rock! Tags: bruce springsteen future rock roll ultimate classic rock word life production feature blog

Bruce Springsteen ranks alongside such rock and roll figureheads as Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Bob Dylan. Just as those artists shaped popular music, Springsteen served as a pivotal figure in its evolution with his rise to prominence in the mid-Seventies. Early on, he was touted as one of several heirs to Bob Dylan’s mantle. All of these would-be “new Dylans"-who also included Loudon Wainwright, John Prine and Elliott Murphy-rose above the hype, but Springsteen soared highest, catapulting himself to fame on the unrestrained energy of his live shows, the evocative power of his songwriting, and the direct connection he forged with his listeners.

Springsteen lifted rock and roll from its early Seventies doldrums, providing continuity and renewal at a point when it was sorely in need of both. During a decade in which disco, glam-rock, heavy-metal and arena-rock provided different forms of escape into fantasy, Springsteen restored a note of urgency and realism to the rock and roll landscape. Each painstakingly crafted album since his 1973 debut, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., has served as a literate pulse-taking of a generation’s fortunes. As a live performer, he offers himself as a “prisoner” of the music he loves, and each concert has been played as if it might be his last.

Springsteen grew up in the nondescript working-class town of Freehold, New Jersey. “Rock & roll was the only thing I ever liked about myself,” he once remarked. Prior to the release of Greetings from Asbury Park, Springsteen had been a struggling rocker on the Jersey shore for nearly a decade. His early groups included the Rogues, the Castiles, Earth, Child, Steel Mill, Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom and the Bruce Springsteen Band. His break came in 1972, when manager Mike Appel landed him an audience with Columbia Records executive John Hammond Sr. Moving between guitar and piano, Springsteen performed 12 originals at that May 3rd audition and was signed to Columbia, where he remains to this day.

Greetings from Asbury Park didn’t even make the Top 200 until it was belatedly pulled onto the charts by the success of Born to Run in 1975. All the same, it ignited a groundswell of support for Springsteen with such favorites as “Blinded by the Light,” “Growin’ Up” and “Spirit in the Night” Greetings featured such Jersey Shore vets as saxman Clarence Clemons, bassist Garry Tallent, keyboardist David Sancious and drummer Vini Lopez. Rounded out by keyboardist Danny Federici, a longtime Springsteen accompanist, this outfit was tagged “the E Street Band,” after a street in Belmar, New Jersey, where Sancious’ mother lived. Touring incessantly, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band built a grassroots following. Their profile was further raised with the November 1973 release of The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, which included the rousing anthem “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight).”

Springsteen’s national breakout came at mid-decade with Born to Run, a recording milestone that consumed a full year. Densely layered in the rock-orchestral style of producer Phil Spector, every song conveyed an epic sweep, from “Born to Run” and “Thunder Road” to the lengthy side-closers “Backstreets” and “Jungleland.” Prior to its release, Springsteen played a legendary five-night stand at New York’s Bottom Line. By this time, the E Street Band’s classic lineup was set, with Springsteen accompanied by keyboardists Federici and Roy Bittan, guitarist Steve Van Zandt, saxophonist Clemons, bassist Tallent and drummer Max Weinberg.

Fame came quickly for the ascendant star, who simultaneously made the covers of Time and Newsweek in November 1975. However, internal problems were brewing, as Springsteen and Appel squared off in court over management contracts signed years earlier. Springsteen filed a massive suit, charging fraud, undue influence and breach of trust. Appel responded with an injunction that prevented Springsteen from recording. During the two-year legal imbroglio, Springsteen funneled songs to other artists, including Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes ("Fever") and Patti Smith ("Because the Night"). After the bruising lawsuit was settled out of court in 1977, Springsteen turned to Jon Landau-a former Rolling Stone writer/editor and a coproducer of Born to Run-for management. (It was Landau who had written, in a 1974 concert review, “I saw rock and roll’s future-and its name is Bruce Springsteen.") He also began work on his fourth album, Darkness On the Edge of Town.

A year later-and nearly three years after Born to Run-one of rock’s most eagerly anticipated albums was released. Darkness was noticeably sparer than Born to Run, reflecting “a certain loss of innocence-more so than in the other albums,” according to Springsteen. His next release, The River (1980), was a 20-song, four-sided tour de force that exchanged thematic unity for a mix of songs and styles, from playful party rockers to more sobering material like “Independence Day” and “Hungry Heart,” which reached #5 in December 1980. On tour, Springsteen’s live shows were now running upward of four hours.

Springsteen’s follow-up to his hard-won stardom was Nebraska, a low-fi, homemade album that found him putting the brakes on his swelling celebrity. It was a brief respite, however, as 1984’s Born in the U.S.A. album and tour catapulted Springsteen to a level of fame few have ever known.  As an album, Born in the U.S.A. loomed larger than life, much like Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Prince’s Purple Rain from the same period. Born in the U.S.A. ultimately sold 15 million copies, making it Columbia Records all-time best seller. Seven songs from Born in the U.S.A.-more than half the album’s contents-became Top Ten hits in 1984 and 1985. The four-night finale to the 15-month Born in the U.S.A. Tour drew 330,000 people to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Springsteen had become one of rock’s most revered figures, and he didn’t take the charge lightly, saying: “I believe that the life of a rock & roll band will last as long as you look down into the audience and can see yourself, and your audience looks up at you and can see themselves-and as long as those reflections are human, realistic ones.” Even off the road, the Springsteen phenomenon roared on. Lines formed at stores across the country when Live/1975-85 went on sale in the fall of 1986. It wound up selling 3 million copies-an amazing feat for a box set. His next studio record, Tunnel of Love (1987), addressed one-on-one relationships rather than the larger rites of community that had been his preoccupation on Born in the U.S.A.

The longest break between Bruce Springsteen albums was the nearly five years that passed between Tunnel of Love and its followups, Human Touch and Lucky Town, released simultaneously in April 1992. During that hiatus, Springsteen parted ways with the E Street Band, married singer Patty Scialfa and began raising a family. He supported Human Touch and Lucky Town with a tour for which he assembled a new band, retaining only keyboardist Roy Bittan from the old crew. In 1994, Springsteen contributed the somber “Streets of Philadelphia” to the soundtrack of the film Philadelphia. It became his first Top Ten single since “Tunnel of Love” and won four Grammys and an Academy Award.

Springsteen’s Greatest Hits retrospective appeared in late 1995, entering the charts at #1 and reuniting him with the E Street Band on a clutch of new tracks. The video Blood Brothers, which contained unreleased material, documented their low-key studio reconvening. Springsteen closed the year by releasing The Ghost of Tom Joad, a largely acoustic album of spectral songs about marginalized characters struggling to survive in an increasingly troubled America. He supported it with a solo acoustic tour of small halls. It was a far cry from the celebratory rock and roll marathons of the Born in the U.S.A. era, now fully a decade in the past.

The four-CD box set Tracks, which appeared in November 1998, offered 56 unreleased performances and 10 non-album B sides. A single-disc set of highlights, 18 Tracks, came out in April 1999. That same month, Springsteen reunited with the E Street Band for a world tour for the first time since 1988-89’s “Human Rights Now! Amnesty International Tour.” This time, the E Street lineup included both Steve Van Zandt and Nils Lofgren on guitar. With its near-instant sellouts and three-hour performances, it was just like old times for the band and their fans. Springsteen set a record by performing 15 consecutive sold-out shows at the Continental Airlines Arena (formerly the Meadowlands) in New Jersey. He also anted up a new recording-"Lift Me Up,” from the soundtrack for the John Sayles movie Limbo-in 1999. Meanwhile, the tour headed toward a July 1, 2000, finale at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Source: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Let's celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela Tags: celebrating life nelson mandela honoring lost ones word life production feature weekly blog

Rolihlahla Mandela was born into the Madiba clan in Mvezo, Transkei, on July 18, 1918, to Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela, principal counsellor to the Acting King of the Thembu people, Jongintaba Dalindyebo.

His father died when he was 12 years old (1930) and the young Rolihlahla became a ward of Jongintaba at the Great Place in Mqhekezweni.*

Hearing the elder’s stories of his ancestor’s valour during the wars of resistance, he dreamed also of making his own contribution to the freedom struggle of his people.

He attended primary school in Qunu where his teacher Miss Mdingane gave him the name Nelson, in accordance with the custom to give all school children “Christian” names.

He completed his Junior Certificate at Clarkebury Boarding Institute and went on to Healdtown, a Wesleyan secondary school of some repute, where he matriculated.

Nelson Mandela began his studies for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University College of Fort Hare but did not complete the degree there as he was expelled for joining in a student protest.

He completed his BA through the University of South Africa and went back to Fort Hare for his graduation in 1943.

On his return to the Great Place at Mqhekezweni the King was furious and said if he didn’t return to Fort Hare he would arrange wives for him and his cousin Justice. They ran away to Johannesburg instead, arriving there in 1941. There he worked as a mine security officer and after meeting Walter Sisulu, an estate agent, who introduced him to Lazar Sidelsky. He then did his articles through a firm of attorneys, Witkin Eidelman and Sidelsky.

Meanwhile he began studying for an LLB at the University of the Witwatersrand. By his own admission he was a poor student and left the university in 1952 without graduating. He only started studying again through the University of London after his imprisonment in 1962 but also did not complete that degree.

In 1989, while in the last months of his imprisonment, he obtained an LLB through the University of South Africa. He graduated in absentia at a ceremony in Cape Town.

Nelson Mandela, while increasingly politically involved from 1942, only joined the African National Congress in 1944 when he helped to form the ANC Youth League.

In 1944 he married Walter Sisulu’s cousin Evelyn Mase, a nurse. They had two sons, Madiba Thembekile ‘Thembi’ and Makgatho and two daughters both called Makaziwe, the first of whom died in infancy. They effectively separated in 1955 and divorced in 1958.

Nelson Mandela rose through the ranks of the ANCYL and through its work, in 1949 the ANC adopted a more radical mass-based policy, the Programme of Action.

In 1952 he was chosen at the National Volunteer-in-Chief of the Defiance Campaign with Maulvi Cachalia as his deputy. This campaign of civil disobedience against six unjust laws was a joint programme between the ANC and the South African Indian Congress. He and 19 others were charged under the Suppression of Communism Act for their part in the campaign and sentenced to nine months hard labour, suspended for two years.

A two-year diploma in law on top of his BA allowed Nelson Mandela to practice law, and in August 1952 he and Oliver Tambo established South Africa’s first black law firm, Mandela and Tambo.

At the end of 1952 he was banned for the first time. As a restricted person he was only permitted to watch in secret as the Freedom Charter was adopted in Kliptown on 26 June 1955.

Nelson Mandela was arrested in a countrywide police swoop on 5 December 1955, which led to the 1956 Treason Trial. Men and women of all races found themselves in the dock in the marathon trial that only ended when the last 28 accused, including Mr Mandela were acquitted on 29 March 1961.

On 21 March 1960 police killed 69 unarmed people in a protest against the pass laws held at Sharpeville. This led to the country’s first state of emergency and the banning of the ANC and the Pan Africanist Congress on 8 April. Nelson Mandela and his colleagues in the Treason Trial were among thousands detained during the state of emergency.

During the trial on 14 June 1958 Nelson Mandela married a social worker, Winnie Madikizela. They had two daughters, Zenani and Zindziswa. The couple divorced in 1996.

Days before the end of the Treason Trial Nelson Mandela travelled to Pietermaritzburg to speak at the All-in Africa Conference, which resolved that he should write to Prime Minister Verwoerd requesting a non-racial national convention, and to warn that should he not agree there would be a national strike against South Africa becoming a republic. As soon as he and his colleagues were acquitted in the Treason Trial Nelson Mandela went underground and began planning a national strike for 29, 30 and 31 March. In the face of massive mobilisation of state security the strike was called off early. In June 1961 he was asked to lead the armed struggle and helped to establish Umkhonto weSizwe (Spear of the Nation).

On 11 January 1962, using the adopted name David Motsamayi, Nelson Mandela secretly left South Africa. He travelled around Africa and visited England to gain support for the armed struggle. He received military training in Morocco and Ethiopia and returned to South Africa in July 1962. He was arrested in a police roadblock outside Howick on 5 August while returning from KwaZulu-Natal where he briefed ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli about his trip.

He was charged with leaving the country illegally and inciting workers to strike. He was convicted and sentenced to five years' imprisonment which he began serving in the Pretoria Local Prison. On 27 May 1963 he was transferred to Robben Island and returned to Pretoria on 12 June. Within a month police raided a secret hide-out in Rivonia used by ANC and Communist Party activists, and several of his comrades were arrested.

On 9 October 1963 Nelson Mandela joined ten others on trial for sabotage in what became known as the Rivonia Trial. While facing the death penalty his words to the court at the end of his famous ‘Speech from the Dock’ on 20 April 1964 became immortalised:

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

On 11 June 1964 Nelson Mandela and seven other accused: Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Denis Goldberg, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni were convicted and the next day were sentenced to life imprisonment. Denis Goldberg was sent to Pretoria Prison because he was white, while the others went to Robben Island.

Nelson Mandela’s mother died in 1968 and his eldest son Thembi in 1969. He was not allowed to attend their funerals.

On 31 March 1982 Nelson Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town with Sisulu, Mhlaba and Mlangeni. Kathrada joined them in October. When he returned to the prison in November 1985 after prostate surgery Nelson Mandela was held alone. Justice Minister Kobie Coetsee visited him in hospital. Later Nelson Mandela initiated talks about an ultimate meeting between the apartheid government and the ANC.

On 12 August 1988 he was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. After more than three months in two hospitals he was transferred on 7 December 1988 to a house at Victor Verster Prison near Paarl where he spent his last 14 months of imprisonment. He was released from its gates on Sunday 11 February 1990, nine days after the unbanning of the ANC and the PAC and nearly four months after the release of his remaining Rivonia comrades. Throughout his imprisonment he had rejected at least three conditional offers of release.

Nelson Mandela immersed himself in official talks to end white minority rule and in 1991 was elected ANC President to replace his ailing friend Oliver Tambo. In 1993 he and President FW de Klerk jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize and on 27 April 1994 he voted for the first time in his life.

On 10 May 1994 he was inaugurated South Africa’s first democratically elected President. On his 80th birthday in 1998 he married Graça Machel, his third wife.

True to his promise Nelson Mandela stepped down in 1999 after one term as President. He continued to work with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund he set up in 1995 and established the Nelson Mandela Foundation and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

In April 2007 his grandson Mandla Mandela became head of the Mvezo Traditional Council at a ceremony at the Mvezo Great Place.

Nelson Mandela never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and learning. Despite terrible provocation, he never answered racism with racism. His life has been an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived; to all who are opposed to oppression and deprivation.

He died at his home in Johannesburg on 5 December 2013.

*Nelson Mandela's father died in 1930 when Mr Mandela was 12 and his mother died in 1968 when he was in prison. While the autobiography Long Walk to Freedom places Madiba’s father’s death in 1927, historical evidence shows it must have been later, most likely 1930. In fact, the original Long Walk to Freedom manuscript (written on Robben Island) states the year as 1930.

Source: Official Website

Click to download the abridged version of Nelson Mandela's biography

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