John Miles, best known for hit single ‘Music’, dies aged 72

Musician John Miles has died at the age of 72, it has been confirmed.

Born in Jarrow, County Durham in 1949, Miles was best known for his 1976 rock ballad ‘Music’.

The musician’s family confirmed his death in an official statement posted on Facebook yesterday (December 6).

“We are devastated to have to announce that ‘Mr Music’ John Miles sadly passed away peacefully after a very short illness,” the message began.

“He was a loving Husband, Father and Grandfather and we will all miss him more than any words could ever express. We kindly ask you to respect our privacy at this extremely difficult time.”

We are devastated to have to announce that ‘Mr Music’ John Miles sadly passed away peacefully after a very short illness…

Posted by John Miles’ Music – Official on Monday, December 6, 2021

It continued: “He will live on forever in our hearts and with the wonderful musical legacy he has left behind. You were our first love and will be our last. Our Husband, Father, Grandfather and hero. We Love you.”

The statement references the opening lyrics from ‘Music’: “Music was my first love/ And it will be my last/ Music of the future/ And music of the past.”

It’s said that the late singer wrote the track in just half an hour while in between shows in Leeds.

Miles released 10 studio albums between 1976 and 1979 – including his debut ‘Rebel’, 1979’s ‘More Miles Per Hour’ and 1985’s ‘Transition’ – and also played in Tina Turner‘s touring band from 1987.

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Miles received an outstanding contribution prize at the Progressive Rock awards 2017. “I think I made a contribution but that was way back in the 70s,” he said in his acceptance speech.

“I suppose it has endured though. And the song ‘Music’ has endured as well, and that was the biggest hit worldwide. I’m a man of few words and there are eight lines of lyrics in that song. I get to work with orchestras these days too, which is fantastic.”

Miles also performed in the band The Influence, which featured drummer Paul Thompson (of Roxy Music) and guitarist Vic Malcolm. Following their split, he relocated to London and signed a deal with Decca Records.

In 1975, the late musician received his first top 20 single with ‘Highfly’. Follow-up track ‘Music’ landed in the top five, with Miles going on to support Elton John off the back of its success.

John Miles was married to his wife, Eileen, for almost 50 years. They had two children and two grandchildren together.

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Tributes paid after country singer Stonewall Jackson dies aged 89

Tributes are being paid to country singer Stonewall Jackson who has died aged 89 after a battle with vascular dementia.

Jackson was a regular at legendary Nashville country venue the Grand Ole Opry since 1956, which is the longest-running stint at the club of any current member.

As Billboard reports, a special show at the Grand Ole Opry will take place on Saturday night (December 11) in tribute to Jackson.

Remembering Jackson, the late country legend George Jones’ wife Nancy said: “Stonewall’s breakout hit ‘Life to Go’ was written by George [Jones] and they both became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 1956.

“They held a special friendship over the years and although Stonewall was retired, he participated in the final George Jones No Show tribute event after he passed. I will always have a special place in my heart for Stonewall. May he rest in peace!”

Following the news of Jackson’s death a host of fellow Grand Ole Opry stars have paid tribute on social media.

‘Whispering’ Bill Anderson wrote: “Stonewall Jackson and I toured the US and Canada together, sharing a lot of laughs and a lot of country music. He was about as ‘genuine’ a person as I’ve ever known. He will certainly be missed…”

The Oak Ridge Boys added: “Saddened to hear of the loss of one of the Honky Tonk heroes of the 50’s and 60’s Grand Ole Opry member STONEWALL JACKSON went home today … Rest Easy sir!!”

After being born and raised in North Carolina, Jackson moved to Nashville and gained a slot at the Opry by music executive Wesley Rose. At the time it made him the only Opry member performing at the club to not have a record contract.

Across his lengthy career Jackson had multiple Number One hits in the US including ‘Don’t Be Angry, ‘Life To Go’ and ‘Waterloo’ before he was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall Of Fame in the early 2010s.

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Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant

A suspect has been arrested in fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant, the philanthropist and wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant.

The 81-year-old was killed in the early hours of Wednesday (December 1) by what was believed at the time to be at least one unknown assailant who was not on-site when officers arrived at the scene, as reported by Variety.

Clarence Avant and a private security guard were present at the time of the shooting but were not injured.

Beverly Hills Police have now revealed (via Rolling Stone) that 29-year-old Aariel Maynor was taken into custody yesterday (December 2) after he allegedly shot himself in the foot at the scene of a separate home invasion in the Hollywood Hills.

Maynor was in possession of an AR-15 rifle at the time of his arrest by LAPD officers, which came about an hour after Avant’s shooting. An “astute watch commander” helped piece together an alleged connection between the two incidents after reaching out to Beverly Hills Police, according to LAPD Deputy Chief Blake Chow.

The suspect allegedly left Trousdale Estates in a vehicle that was picked up by multiple surveillance cameras, including city cameras, heading eastbound out of Beverly Hills, police have said.

At around 3:30am PST on Wednesday, LAPD’s Hollywood division responded to a separate reported shooting on the 6000 block of Graciosa Drive where they found Maynor with a gunshot wound to his foot in the backyard of a residence, according to Chow.

“They interviewed people that were living in that residence. They collected evidence of a burglary and also evidence of a shooting, including the rifle,” Chow said in a statement, identifying the firearm as an AR-15 assault rifle. “It appears as though, yes, he was in the house and collecting property, and then after that, somehow discharged a weapon and apparently shot himself in the foot.”

Jacqueline Avant and Clarence Avant
Jacqueline Avant and Clarence Avant. CREDIT: Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency

According to Beverly Hills police chief Mark Stainbrook, he wasn’t aware of any prior connection between Maynor and the Avant family. “But we’re still investigating that possibility,” he said.

The motive behind Avant’s fatal shooting remains under investigation, Stainbrook said. “At this time we’re looking at only him as a suspect,” he said of Maynor, adding that investigators were working on ballistics evidence recovered from both scenes to possibly match the recovered rifle to Avant’s death.

Jacqueline was known for her philanthropic efforts including being on the board of directors of UCLA’s International Student Center and having acted as president of the Neighbors of Watts.

Her husband, Clarence, has been celebrated by artists including JAY-Z and Diddy for cultivating African American artists’ careers. He’s known for his work at Motown Records, among other labels.

The Avants’ daughter Nicole is married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos and produced a 2019 documentary for the platform about her father titled The Black Godfather.

In a statement, the Avant and Sarandos families said they were grateful for the “outpouring of love, support and condolences” in the wake of the senseless tragedy.

“Jacqueline was an amazing woman, wife, mother, philanthropist, and a 55 year resident of Beverly Hills, who has made an immeasurable positive contribution and impact on the arts community,” the statement said. “She will be missed by her family, friends and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life.”

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Young Dolph laid to rest in Memphis

A private funeral was held for Young Dolph in Memphis on Tuesday (November 30), following the rapper’s death earlier in the month.

The rapper – real name Adolph Robert Thornton Jr – was shot and killed as he entered a bakery, Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies. According to TMZ, a vehicle pulled up outside before someone fired at Young Dolph through the window.

His loved ones have shared photos and videos of the funeral on social media, along with the funeral programme. DJ Akademiks shared further shots of the programme, which included images of his family and children plus his nickname “Main Main” on the front.

Videos coming from Memphis show Dolph’s casket being guided out the cemetery by a police escort.

As reported by Complex, members of Dolph’s family said in a statement following his death “there are no words that exist that sufficiently express the pain we are feeling.

“Losing Adolph, Dolph, Man-Man, changes our lives forever. And while we will take each day as it comes, we are comforted in knowing that he leaves a legacy that reflects his heart. A heart that was for his family. A heart that was for the people.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of love. We are grateful that his godly obligation to show kindness to the world is being acknowledged. As a family, we were blessed to call him our son, our nephew, our brother, our cousin, our partner and our Father. And now, we have the honor of calling him our angel. A role he has always played.”

Tributes were also paid by a range of musicians, including Chance The Rapper, Megan Thee StallionQuavo and Offset, among others.

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Jacqueline Avant, wife of Motown Records’ Clarence Avant, killed in home invasion

Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music executive Clarence Avant, has been fatally shot during a home invasion in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.

The 81-year-old philanthropist was killed in the early hours of today (December 1) by what is believed to be at least one unknown assailant who was no longer on-site when officers arrived at the scene, Variety has reported.

It’s not known at this stage if Clarence – dubbed the ‘Godfather of Black Music’ – was injured in the incident (via TMZ).

The Avants’ daughter Nicole is married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos and produced a 2019 documentary for the platform about her father titled The Black Godfather.

The Beverly Hills Police Department told Variety that a shooting at the 1100 block of Maytor Place in the Trousdale Estates area resulted in a death early on Wednesday, without reporting the name of the person who died. Netflix later confirmed to the publication that Jacqueline was the victim.

Lt. Giovanni Trejo said in a statement: “The City of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Police Department extends our deepest sympathies to the victim’s families.”

Jacqueline was known for her philanthropic efforts including being on the board of directors of UCLA’s International Student Center and having acted as president of the Neighbors of Watts.

Her husband, Clarence, has been celebrated by artists including Jay-Z and Diddy for cultivating African American artists’ careers. He’s known for his work at Motown Records, among other labels.

As a music executive, manager, film producer, label and radio station owner, Clarence has helped launch the careers of Bill Withers, guitarist Dennis Coffey, producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Darryl “L.A.” Reid, and others.

Clarence was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in October under the Ahmet Ertegun Award, which is given to non-performing industry professionals who “have had a major influence on the creative development and growth of rock & roll and music that has impacted youth culture”.

Figures from the entertainment world have started to post reactions to the tragic news. The RootsQuestlove shared a news story on his Twitter, writing: “Wtf!!!!?????”

DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia reposted TMZ‘s story to his Instagram with praying hands emojis. Elsewhere, rapper Mysonne wrote: “Damn … #BoycottBlackMurder 🙏🏾🙏🏾”

Actresses Viola Davis and Yvette Nicole Brown also shared their thoughts. Davis wrote on Twitter: “So sorry for the Avant family. My heart goes out to you!!! OMG!!!! Where are we??!!! WHAT are we?!! 🙏🏿💔”, while Brown wrote: “Dear God! This is devastating news. 💔”

See some more reactions below.

This is a developing story – check back for updates

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