Category Archives: Another person taken away from us.
Yesterday morning (17/5/12), Donna Summer died after a long battle with lung Cancer.
LaDonna Adrian Gaines or better known by her stage name Donna Summer was born on December 31st, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts, she was a multi platinum, five time Grammy Award winner with a Mezzo-soprano vocal range, Donna found great ease transitioning from pop to disco to contemporary.
Donna was one of seven children and in her young adult years, she became fluent in German. Summer’s mother was asked about her daughter’s love of singing she was quoted saying “She literally loved to sing. She used to go through the house singing, singing. She sang for breakfast and for lunch and for supper.” At just 10, Summer’s public vocal debut was at her local church, becoming the replacement of a tardy performer, her priest had previously assumed that the performance would be amusing, thinking very little of the traditional slim ten year old girl stature, until she sang, everyone realised that she had a voice that far surpassed her tender age. Summer herself recalled that as she sang, “I started crying, everybody else started crying. It was quite an amazing moment in my life and at some point after I heard my voice came out I felt like God was saying to me ‘Donna, you’re going to be very, very famous’ and I knew from that day on that I would be famous.”. She may have been the church angel, but during her teenage years, she became rebellious, skipping going home to attend parties instead, riding against her parents’ strict curfew. In 1967, weeks
before graduation, Summer left for New York where she was a member of the blues-rock band, Crow. After they were turned down by every record label going, Crow agreed to break up. Summer stayed in NY and auditioned for a role in the musical, Hair. Summer didn’t get the NY role, but was offered a role in the same production, but in Munich so with her parents’ reluctant approval she moved to Germany. Whilst in Germany, she participated in the musicals Ich Bin Ich, Godspell and Show Boat. Within three years, she moved to Vienna, Austria and joined the Viennese Folk Opera. She briefly toured with an ensemble musician group called FamilyTree, the brainchild of producer Guenter “Yogi” Lauke. Summer released her first single, in 1971, which was a cover of The Jaynetts’ “Sally Go ‘Round the
Roses”. In 1975, the magical Love to Love You Baby was created, Donna explained that she had thought of how the song might sound if Marilyn Monroe had sung it and began cooing the lyrics. By early 1976, “Love To Love You Baby” reached #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100, but the song had started controversy due to Summer’s moans and groans and some American and European radio stations, including the BBC, refused to play it. Yet”Love to Love You Baby” found chart success in several European countries, and made the Top 5 in the UK despite the BBC ban.
Awkwardly, Summer was misunderstood and in the 80’s a hate campaign had been launched after her, because she was misquoted and came across as homophobic, being guarded from the hate, Donna eventually found out about the controversy and explained how her words were taken out of context, and that she supported same sex relationships as many of the people she had worked with were homosexual.
During her musical career, Donna had also realised many a Christmas song.
It was claimed that Summer had a sixth sense and that she had known one month before the September 11 Attacks had happened, that she had a premonition revealing that they would fall. Summer who was living in Manhattan she was unable to leave her bedroom after the attacks, and she had blamed her lung cancer on inhaling toxic dust from the fallen towers.
Donna was married twice and had 3 daughters, one from her first marriage and then 2 from her second marriage, Summer also, got her last name from the English translate of Sommer, which was her first husbands last name.
Summer had regularly talked about her early fast paced successful years as a period of confusion and anxiety. By mid-1977, struggling with the media’s crowning her “the first lady of love”, she began suffering from depression and anxiety attacks. Summer mentioned in her memoirs that she had attempted suicide several times. This was all brought on because of her rapid rise to success combined with some big regrets about mistakes in her personal life. During her hard times, she self-medicated on prescription meds, resulting in an addiction. Following a nervous
breakdown at her home in 1979,
Summer went to a local church with her sister and declared herself a born-again Christian. Summer then decided that from then on, she would no longer perform the song that had won her international fame and recognition, ” Love to Love You
Baby”. A quarter of a century later, however, she began performing the song again.
Some famous Donna Summer quotes are listed —
“A friend of mine called and said they’re interested in having you do a song for the new Pokemon. All my kids are grown up, so I’d heard of it, but I didn’t really know what it was.”
“And I mean, I’m established. So I’m not worried about having a hit at this point in my career.”
“Because I’m just an ordinary person that did some extraordinary things.”
“But I like to know that someone is stronger than I am. I want to be able to know that if I get tired, somebody is there to hold up the fort. I like knowing that I can’t pick a refrigerator alone. God did not make me strong enough to do that.”
The Queen of Disco, may be gone too soon, but she will most defiantly not be forgotten.
Vidal Sassoon, the man behind the fancy haircuts and scissors, passed away aged 84 after a battle with leukaemia.
Life for young Vidal, wasn’t an easy start and everything he was famous for was made through hard work and determination.
Born in London to a Jewish family, his mother became a single parent after having enough of his fathers serial womanizing, she couldn’t support her 2 boys, so she painfully gave her sons up to a Jewish orphanage, tragically they could only see their mother once a month and they were never allowed to leave the building for days out with her.
Vidal attended a Christian school, just before it was evacuated because of WWII. After his return to London he left school aged 14 and worked as a messenger before starting an apprenticeship in hairdressing.
When he was 17, World war two was still going on, but he was too young to go in to service, instead he became the youngest member of the 43 Group, a Jewish veterans’ underground organisation. They fought against anti-semitism after the war ended by breaking up Fascist meetings in East London. A newspaper famously referred to him as an “anti-fascist warrior-hairdresser”.
In 1948, at the age of 20, he joined the Haganah (which then became the Israeli Defence Forces) and fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, which began after Israel achieved statehood.
In an interview about his missions with the Israelis he said that it was “the best year of
my life, when you think of 2,000 years of being put down and suddenly you are a nation rising, it was a wonderful feeling. There were only 600,000 people defending the country against five armies, so everyone had something to do.”
Sassoon was trained by Raymond Bessone, in his salon in Mayfair, in 2010 he gave Raymond acknowledgment by saying “He really taught me how to cut hair…. I’d never have achieved what I have without him.”
Sassoon’s first salon opened in 1954 in London, his famous works included the geometric perm and the “Nancy Kwan” hairstyles. They were all modern with low-maintenance. The hairstyles created relied on dark, straight, and shiny hair cut into geometric yet organic shapes. In 1963, Sassoon created a short, angular hairstyle cut on a horizontal plane that was the recreation of the classic ” bob cut.” His geometric haircuts seemed to be severely cut, but were entirely lacquer-free, using completely natural hair to its full potential.
By the early 1980s, after moving to USA, Sassoon had sold
his name to manufacturers of
haircare products and the
multinational Procter & Gamble was applying his name to shampoos and conditioners sold all over the world, with an infamous commercial campaign carrying the slogan “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.” Former salon colleagues had bought Sassoon’s salons and acquired the right to use his name, extending the brand in
salons into the UK and America.
1982 saw Sassoon start the Vidal
Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism , or SICSA, a research centre dedicated to the non-political, interdisciplinary gathering of information about antisemitism.
Sassoon sued Procter & Gamble in 2003, taking his dispute to the Federal Court alleging that P&G was destroying his brand by fixing a marketing scheme so that haircare products (especially Pantene) would benefit more than his own. The suit was settled to their mutual
satisfaction before trial.
Vidal authored several books,
including A Year of Beauty and
Health co-written with his former wife, Beverly Sassoon. He had a short-lived TV series called Your New Day with Vidal Sassoon, which aired in the fall of 1980.
Sassoon was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by the queen in the 2009 Birthday Honours list.
In 2010 a documentary film was commissioned about his life, receiving much acclaim it was released in New York at the Tribeca film festival.
Sassoon’s personal life was just as colourful as his business life, married to his first wife,
Elaine Wood, in 1956, but after just two years marriage, she left Vidal in 1958 for another man.
Vidal Sassoon married his
second wife, actress Beverly Adams in 1967, They had four children: two daughters, Catya (1968–2002), and Eden (born 1973), and two sons, Elan (born 1970) and David.
Sassoon and Adams divorced in
His third wife was Jeanette
Hartford-Davis, they married in 1983 and divorced soon after. In 1992 he then went on to marry Rhonda C. Sassoon.
In June 2011 Sassoon was reported to have been diagnosed with leukaemia two years earlier, and was receiving treatment in Beverly Hills and London, Sadly Sassoon died on 9 May 2012 at his home in Los Angeles with leukaemia being the cause of death.
Even to this day, you see celebrities sporting the bob and many other of his inspired creations, without his flare, hair magazines today, wouldn’t have the outlandish yet beautiful haircuts they do on the front.
The man himself may be gone, but the scissors will still keep snipping those grand haircuts.
A few hours ago, the American legend Richard Wagstaff Clark, who carved a much loved household name for himself as Dick Clark, passed away.
Born November 30, 1929 in
Mount Vernon, New York. Dick became an only child after his older brother Bradley was tragically killed in world war II.
He had a varied career, in 1945, he started working in the mailroom of the family radio station, he was then promoted as a weatherman and then a news announcer, that was the start of great things to come, in a career that spanned almost 70 years, with 3 wives and 3 children later, with careers ranging from a disk jockey to a businessman and leaving every show simply by saying “For now, Dick Clark…so long” and then giving a military salute, Dick Clark became the man who was lovingly referred to as “the worlds oldest teenager” and becoming a name on the tip of peoples tongues of every generation, Dick Clark will most certainly be missed. R.I.P