His death was announced by the radio station that is still broadcasting, who said: “In a pastime populated by unusual people, Ronan was more unusual than all of them combined.” He had been diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2013.
It was also a great year for music — but who knew that the year that produced songs like “Fortunate Son,” “Age Of Aquarius” and “Everyday People” would crown a bubblegum pop tune by a fictional cartoon band as its top song of the year?
“Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies – yes, from the comics – was named No. 1 on Billboard’s Year-End Countdown in 1969.
It seems every conversation about colourism in pop music must come back to Beyoncé. So it was when Mathew Knowles, record exec, former Destiny’s Child manager and Beyoncé’s father, appeared on SiriusXM radio to discuss research by Texas Southern University, where he is a visiting professor. Their study found that over a 15-year period it was lighter-skinned black women – the likes of Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and, of course, Beyoncé – who dominated Top 40 airplay. When asked how different Beyoncé’s career would have been had she been darker-skinned, Knowles was unequivocal: “I think it would’ve affected her success.”
During World War II, with thousands of men shipping off to war, half a dozen all-female, instrumental big bands toured around America. It was a rarity in a musical world dominated by men and, for the most part, their stories have been erased or minimized in jazz history.
Jazz Night in America host Christian McBride has spent years tracing the history of some of these bands and notes that during this flourishing time for all-women groups, the 17-piece International Sweethearts of Rhythm had the most formidable level of popularity.