George Jones dies at 81
Country music legend George Jones was hospitalized in Nashville on April 18.
April 26th, 2013
10:42 AM ET

George Jones dies at 81

George Jones, the country music legend whose graceful, evocative voice gave depth to some of the greatest songs in country music - including "She Thinks I Still Care," "The Grand Tour" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today" - has died, according to his public relations firm.

Jones, 81, died Friday at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, the public relations firm said. He had been hospitalized since April 18 with fever and irregular blood pressure.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Music • Obituary • Showbiz
Levon Helm, co-founder of The Band, dead at 71
Levon Helm performs with The Band at the Fillmore East in New York in May 1969. On the right is Robbie Robertson.
April 19th, 2012
03:52 PM ET

Levon Helm, co-founder of The Band, dead at 71

Levon Helm, the drummer, multi-instrumentalist and singer for The Band who kept the band's heart for more than three decades, died "peacefully" Thursday afternoon, according to his record label, Vanguard Records. He was 71.

"He was surrounded by family, friends and band mates and will be remembered by all he touched as a brilliant musician and a beautiful soul," the record label's statement said.

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Filed under: Music • Showbiz
The Monkees' Davy Jones dead at 66
The Monkees' Davy Jones, shown here at the 2003 TV Land Awards, has died.
February 29th, 2012
01:50 PM ET

The Monkees' Davy Jones dead at 66

[Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET]  Davy Jones, whose charming grin and British accent won the hearts of millions of fans on the 1960s television series "The Monkees," died Wednesday, according to the Martin County, Florida, sheriff's office. He was 66.

A witness told authorities he was with Jones in Indiantown, Florida, when Jones "began to complain of not feeling well and having trouble breathing," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

Jones was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

A Martin County law enforcement source with knowledge of the case said Jones apparently suffered a heart attack.

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Singing legend Etta James dies at 73
Etta James has died, according to her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon. She was 73.
January 20th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

Singing legend Etta James dies at 73

Etta James, whose assertive, earthy voice lit up such hits as "The Wallflower," "Something's Got a Hold on Me" and the wedding favorite "At Last," has died, according to her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon. She was 73.

She died from complications from leukemia with her husband, Artis Mills, and her sons by her side, De Leon said.

She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, and also suffered from dementia and hepatitis C. James died at a hospital in Riverside, California. She would have turned 74 Wednesday.

" This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world," De Leon said. "She was a true original who could sing it all - her music defied category.

"I worked with Etta for over 30 years. She was my friend and I will miss her always."

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Remembering some classic chokes
Distraught Atlanta Braves players sit in the dugout after the Philadelphia Phillies pulled ahead 4-3.
September 29th, 2011
04:31 PM ET

Remembering some classic chokes

The Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals won wild card berths in the playoffs after dramatic victories Wednesday thanks to some major-league choking.

Trailing 7-0 to the American League East champion New York Yankees in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Rays launched an astonishing comeback to win in the 12th inning. The Rays' victory capped a remarkable turnaround, with the Florida-based team having been nine games behind the Red Sox on September 3.

There was similar drama in the National League, as the Cardinals capitalized on the Atlanta Braves' 4-3 loss to the National League East champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Cardinals beat Houston 8-0 to earn the other wild card spot.

Naturally, the teams' massive letdowns led to a large discussion of the biggest chokes in history. It'd be easy to count down the biggest ones in sports history (ahem, Bill Buckner), so instead, we're taking a look at pop culture and business to bring you the products and companies that put a whole lot of hype behind something, only for it to massively fail.

Let us know what other cultural and business "chokes" we may have missed in the comments below.

New Coke

It has long been the epitome of a total marketing fail. On April 23, 1985, after some apparently insanely misleading taste tests, Coca-Cola trotted out a new formula for its tried-and-true flagship soft drink. It had been 99 years since Coca-Cola had tampered with the recipe, and the company quickly learned to appreciate the “if-it-ain’t-broke” adage.

By June, the soft drink king was receiving 1,500 outraged calls a day. Even Coca-Cola had trouble completely spinning it to its advantage, saying consumers “had a deep emotional attachment to the original, and they begged and pleaded to get it back.” The company relented on July 10 – that’s 78 days later, folks – and presented Coca-Cola Classic – i.e. the original formula – to the delight of millions. New Coke was left to the cult following of Max Headroom.

Watch Bill Cosby introduce the product:

And now, you can see Pepsi's brilliant commercial rebuttal.

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Watching Joplin 'debris ball' on radar: ‘You really feel for the people out there’
The tornado's radar signal over Joplin, Missouri, last Sunday.
May 27th, 2011
11:52 AM ET

Watching Joplin 'debris ball' on radar: ‘You really feel for the people out there’

When Gene Hatch reported to work at the National Weather Service’s Springfield, Missouri, office on Sunday afternoon, he knew it was going to be bad.

The national Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, had updated its forecast for southwest Missouri from a slight risk to a moderate risk of severe weather - meaning a stronger possibility of thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes.

The storm eventually produced the deadliest tornado in recorded U.S. history – destroying much of Joplin, Missouri, killing at least 132 people and leaving 156 people missing or unaccounted for.

Hatch, a meteorologist at the Springfield office since 1999, was one of two radar operators on duty that day. He remembers watching as the tornado formed and passed over Joplin. He knew immediately it had been destructive.

“One of the things you can kind of see on radar is what’s called a ‘debris ball,’ where the actual reflectivity patterns on the radar will actually begin to show the debris that’s being lofted by the tornado.

“It looks like a little ball on the tail end of the hook,” he said. “And that was fairly evident fairly quickly as the storm moved through Joplin.”

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Filed under: Joplin • Missouri • Natural Disasters • Weather
'Legend': Remembering Bob Marley
Bob Marley, here performing in Sweden in 1978, has kept his hold on the popular imagination three decades after his death.
May 11th, 2011
01:39 PM ET

'Legend': Remembering Bob Marley

Bob Marley lives.

The reggae star may have died 30 years ago Wednesday, but his music - and impact - are inescapable. “Legend,” the best-of compilation his label, Island Records, originally released in 1984, is among the best-selling albums of all time, with a “Diamond” certification (more than 10 million sold) from the Recording Industry Association of America, more than 1,000 weeks on Billboard’s catalog chart and a listing as No. 46 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Kevin Macdonald, director of “The Last King of Scotland” and the Oscar-winning “One Day in September,” is preparing a documentary on the Jamaican musician.

"He's gone beyond being a famous musician, he's now a philosopher and prophet," he told the BBC last month.  A portion of Macdonald’s film, “Marley,” is scheduled to screen at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday.

And, of course, there’s the endless Marley paraphernalia visible on any college campus: posters, shirts, hats and, well, materiel related to the cannabis plant of which Marley was known to partake.

What was it about this son of a white plantation overseer and Afro-Jamaican woman who continues to inspire three decades after his death at age 36 from a rare form of cancer? Why is Marley the popular face of reggae instead of “Israelites” hitmaker Desmond Dekker, “The Harder They Come” star Jimmy Cliff or pioneering producer Lee “Scratch” Perry?

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April 12th, 2010
12:48 PM ET

Conan O'Brien coming to TBS

Conan O'Brien has a new home... and it's TBS.

According to a press release sent out by the cable network (which, like CNN, is a unit of Time Warner), the comedian is joining TBS to host a late-night show that is expected to debut in November. O'Brien's show will be followed on TBS' schedule by George Lopez's "Lopez Tonight," which will move to midnight.

Read full CNN Marquee blog post

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