Country music veteran George Riddle has lost his battle with throat cancer at the age of 78. The singer/songwriter passed away on Saturday (19Jul14), two months after undergoing surgery to treat his condition.
Riddle began his career as a musician in the 1960s, performing with the late George Jones, and went on to land a regular gig playing the fiddle at country music mecca the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.
As a songwriter, he penned tracks for his close friend Jones, Ray Charles, Tammy Wynette and Melba Montgomery, who turned his tunes The Greatest One of All and Hall of Shame into chart hits.
He was also a beloved classic country radio DJ in his native Indiana.
Kim Kardashian's sex tape co-star Ray J has been charged with a string of crimes related to his alleged bad behaviour in and outside a hotel in Beverly Hills in May (14). The Los Angeles District Attorney has filed sexual battery, resisting arrest, assault and vandalism charges against the singer following his rampage at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
Police who arrested the star originally told TMZ.com that he would not be charged with sexual battery because his contact with a woman on the night in question was "incidental", but it appears the D.A. did not agree.
After leaving the hotel's bar, boozy Ray J allegedly kicked out the window of a police car and spat on an officer. The singer told TMZ.com he smashed the window because he felt claustrophobic.
Game Of Thrones star Alfie Allen has split from British actress Jaime Winstone yet again, according to a U.K. report. The actor, brother of singer Lily Allen, and Ray Winstone's daughter called off their two-year engagement in 2010 but rekindled their romance in January last year (13).
However, the pair has split once more due to conflicting work schedules, according to Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper.
Sources tell editors at the publication that both Allen and Winstone have started new romances.
Cult Swedish star Lykke Li is technically homeless after spending her time crashing at friends' places around the world.
The singer reveals she has been staying with pals because she has yet to buy her own place, but she plans to establish a more settled life once she wraps up her 2014 tour commitments. She tells Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, "I have bags all over the world that I'll probably never see again."
However, Li admits she is having a little trouble deciding where she wants to set down roots. She adds, "For me that's been a big problem: where should my home be? I've neglected that question my whole life."
The perfect home isn't the only thing Li covets - she would love to start a family, too, although she is not so sure about the idea of marriage. She says, "My dream is to live on a ranch and have a family and a garden and kids and lots of instruments. I want to create a beautiful atmosphere and a beautiful childhood..."
"I'm not opposed to marriage - it's never been something that I've dreamt of. I'm pretty shy when it comes to big crowds. I wouldn't want to have a big wedding, and bureaucracy freaks me out. I want to live an uncomplicated life."
Producer William Orbit has defended Britney Spears after critics savaged the pop star following the leak of a tuneless recording of her track Alien.
The Toxic superstar teamed up with Orbit, most famous for his work on Madonna's Ray of Light and Music albums, on the song for her 2013 album Britney Jean. The track came back to haunt Spears this week (beg07Jul14) when a raw clip of the song appeared online, prompting fans to take to social media to mock the singer's out-of-tune vocals.
Orbit has now spoken out in her defence, insisting the singer was warming up to help studio engineers prepare their equipment. In a post on Facebook.com, he writes, "Dearest Music Lovers, I have heard that Britney vocal link that everybody's been discussing. It has been impossible not to as there have been many comments directing my attention to it... I'd like to affirm that ANY singer when first at the mic at the start of a long session can make a multitude of vocalisations in order to get warmed up."
"Warming up is essential if you're a pro, as it is with a runner doing stretches, and it takes a while to do properly. I've heard all manner of sounds emitted during warm-ups. The point is that it is not supposed to be shared with millions of listeners."
"A generous singer will put something down the mic to help the engineer get their systems warmed up and at the right level, maybe whilst having a cup of herb tea and checking through lyrics before the session really kicks off. It's not expected to be a 'take'."
The producer went on to slam the culprit behind the leak, adding, "Whomever put this on the Internet must have done so in a spirit of unkindness, but it can in no way detract from the fact that Britney is and always will be beyond stellar! She is magnificent! And that's that."
Country hitmakers John Anderson, Paul Craft, Tom Douglas and Gretchen Peters are set to be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The four musicians will be feted by officials at the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) at the Music City Center in the Tennessee capital in October (14).
Pat Alger, Chairman of the NSAI Board of Directors, says, "Here in Nashville where the music industry has always been built on a foundation of great songs written by legendary songwriters, each year only a few are elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
"This year we are very pleased to welcome the class of 2014: Tom Douglas and Gretchen Peters in the songwriter category; Paul Craft in the veteran songwriter category and John Anderson as our songwriter/artist."
Douglas is known for penning songs for Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw and Miranda Lambert, who scored huge success with The House That Built Me, while Peters wrote McBride's Independence Day and The Chill Of An Early Fall for George Strait.
Craft famously created Ray Stevens' novelty smash It's Me Again, Margaret and singer/songwriter Anderson is famed for tracks like Swingin, Seminole Wind and Shuttin' Detroit Down, which he co-wrote for John Rich.
Last year's (13) honourees included Alabama star Randy Owen and singer Jeffrey Steele.
Billy Ray Cyrus has paid tribute to a Nevada school teacher who was shot dead last year (13), hailing him as a "true American hero" during a special concert on Saturday night (05Jul14). Michael Landsberry, an Afghanistan war veteran, was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest after trying to talk a 12-year-old gunman into handing over his weapon in October (13), and Cyrus paid his respects to the educator at a show in Incline Village, Nevada over the weekend.
The Achy Breaky Heart hitmaker told the crowd, "Tonight we are here to honour a true American hero. Michael Landsberry made the ultimate sacrifice to save his students after serving three terms in Afghanistan."
The singer presented Landsberry's widow Sharon with a memorial plaque and gave her a "financial gift" of an undisclosed amount, and he said Landsberry represented the Vietnam veteran in his song Some Gave All, which he performed with a large picture of Landsberry behind him.
Cyrus and his father Ronald Ray Cyrus have often paid tribute to unsung American heroes in the past, but the country star's words of respect for Landsberry were the first time he has done so since his father's death in 2006.
He tells the Associated Press, "Just about every year, my dad and I would find an unsung hero and present them with a 'Some Gave All' award. I kind of play everything by ear, and I thought sometime when the time is right, I would love to recognise the sacrifice Michael made."
Tragic blues icon Janis Joplin is set to be immortalised on a postage stamp thanks to officials at the U.S. Postal Service. The Piece of My Heart singer is the latest addition to the organisation's Music Icons series, which has previously included Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix, whose stamp was released in March (14).
Joplin's stamp features a photo of the smiling star, wearing round-rimmed, tinted sunglasses and a feather boa draped over her head from the cover of her 1972 In Concert album.
The stamp will go on sale in August (14).
Joplin died from a drug overdose in 1970.
Soul singer Merry Clayton is facing a long recovery following a car crash in Los Angeles, according to her manager. The star, whose back-up vocal work for Ray Charles and the Rolling Stones was documented in Oscar-winning film Twenty Feet From Stardom, was left severely injured in the smash last week (ends22Jun14).
A post on Clayton's official website after the accident revealed she had suffered "major trauma to her lower extremities", and now her representative Alan Abrahams reveals the performer is staying strong despite the difficult situation.
He tells the New York Post's Page Six column that Clayton has "a long road to recovery", adding: "It's a very serious situation. She's feisty, and she's with us. She's gonna make it."
Soul/gospel singer Merry Clayton has been hospitalised after a car accident in Los Angeles. The star, whose back-up vocal work for Ray Charles and the Rolling Stones was documented in Oscar-winning film Twenty Feet From Stardom, suffered major injuries in the crash on Monday (16Jun14).
The news was announced in a post on her official website, which reads, "Merry was involved in a major automobile accident. Merry sustained severe injuries to her lower body, including major trauma to her lower extremities. We are truly grateful that our dear Merry is still with us."
No further details had been released as WENN went to press.