Originally posted on BuzzFeed.com
In the midst of one of the craziest award shows of the year, let’s remember the greats.
1. Britney Spears – “I’m A Slave 4 U,” 2001 VMAs
A true goddess walked among us that day, and still walks among us today. We were blessed with this snake performance, and the world WILL NEVER FORGET.
2. Justin Timberlake – Vanguard Award Performance, 2013
In a single moment, the entire world collectively sobbed at the glorious reunion of NSYNC. And JT was serving dance moves for days.
3. Mariah Carey – “Shake It Off” / “We Belong Together,” 2005
Anthems of the year and the century, TBH.
4. Beyoncé – “Ring The Alarm,” 2006
Beyoncé *literally* fights the police in this performance. She gave tooth and nail to serve you desperate housewife realness.
5. Guns N’ Roses featuring Elton John – “November Rain,” 1992
OK honestly just look at this collaboration. HONESTLY.
6. Lady Gaga – “Paparazzi,” 2009
Classic Gaga at her best. The voice, the costumes, the blood dripping from her eyes. EVERYTHING.
7. Shakira – “Hips Don’t Lie,” 2006
The hips that launched a thousand ships and a thousand memes.
8. Britney Spears and NSYNC – “Baby One More Time” / “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” 1999
This changed us all in a matter of minutes. Serving metallic pants, killer hair, and boy band outfits, Britney and the boys destroyed lives with this performance.
9. Drake – “Hold On, We’re Going Home” / “Started From the Bottom,” 2013
Admit it, you cried from enjoyment and sexual frustration. YAAAS, AUBREY.
10. Christina Aguilera – “Come On Over” / “Livin’ It Up,” 2000
The purple tips, the dance break, and Fred Durst? This is so ’00s it hurts. It hurts sooooo good.
70- Dan Penn
Often working with Spooner Oldham, Penn was an integral part of the Southern soul sound that flowed out of Muscle Shoals and Memphis, and their songs about the hard price lovers pay for their desires became classics: “Dark End of the Street” for James Carr, “I’m Your Puppet” for James and Bobby Purify, “Cry Like a Baby” for the Box Tops (it was Penn who produced “The Letter” for Alex Chilton’s first group). The way he could mix the deep grooves of church music and blues with lighter pop melodies electrified his music, but there was nothing light about his greatest work, “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.” Written with Chips Moman, it was recorded by Aretha Franklin in 1967, and the feminist power of Franklin’s calm preaching about temptation, fidelity and sexual equality was, as Jerry Wexler put it, “perfection.” “I think all the best songs come out of just pure, raw feeling that you can’t quite explain,” Penn once said. “Everything we get is just a gift we can borrow for awhile.”
69- James Taylor
Taylor was one of the most successful and influential artists to emerge from the “singer-songwriter” scene of the early Seventies. By chronicling every aspect of his life — drug addiction, recovery, marriages and divorces, deaths of friends and family members — he created the mold for confessional balladeers from Cat Stevens to Elliott Smith. “It comes out of a sort of mood of melancholy, somehow,” Taylor once told Rolling Stone of his songwriting process. And like Taylor himself, standards like “Fire and Rain,” “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and “Copperline” seem delicate yet are as melodically sturdy as oak trees. As his friend and former guitarist Danny Kortchmar has said, “They’re like Christmas carols. It sounds like they were written a hundred years ago.” Taylor himself knows that some people slag him for the first-person aspect of his writing: “If you think it’s sentimental and self-absorbed, then I agree with you, basically. It’s not for everybody. And it doesn’t pretend to be. But to me, there’s still something compelling to me about doing it.”
68- Jay Z
No hip-hop artist has reached the Billboard Top Ten more times than Jay Z, and none has done more to shape both the culture and music around him. His most indelible songs — “Izzo (Hova),” “99 Problems,” “Big Pimpin'” — mix diamond-sharp rhymes with unshakable hooks. As he notes himself, in the late Nineties and early 2000s, it wasn’t summer without a Jay Z hit blasting out of every car window. Recent highpoints like the Kanye West collaboration “Otis” and 2013’s “Picasso Baby” show that no number of lunches with Warren Buffet or late-night diaper-duty emergency calls can slow down his de Vinci flow and Sinatra roll. He began writing as a childhood hobby — authoring, as he later recalled, “100,000 songs before I had as record deal.” Over the years, his recording-booth ability to conjure intricate verses out of thin air has become legend, but he’s a also master of fitting the right lyric to the right musical mood: “I try to feel the emotion of the track and try to feel what the track is talking about, let that dictate the subject matter,” he has said. “The melody comes second, and then the words.”
67- Morrissey and Marr
“I really believe he’s one of the best lyricists there’s been,” guitarist Johnny Marr said about his songwriting partner in 1989, just after the Smiths’ breakup. “I don’t think anyone’s got his wit or insight or originality or obsession or overall dedication.” Together, in less than four years, the duo wrote more than 70 songs, with Marr working as arranger and producer and Morrissey navigating whole new worlds of misery and disaffection, often with much more wit than he got credit for at the time. Morrissey’s lyrics went hand-in-glove with Marr’s gorgeously-detailed melodies: the lilting car-wreck fantasy “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,” the Bo Diddley-in-space wallflower anthem “How Soon Is Now?,” the homoerotic Afro-pop of “This Charming Man,” the nouvelle vague folk of “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want,” and on, and on, and on. The more you listen, the clearer it becomes that Marr isn’t exaggerating.
66- Kenny Gamble and Leon A. Huff
They scored their first big hit with the Soul Survivors’ “Expressway to Your Heart” in 1967, but by then the team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff had already been working together for five years, and over the following 15, they’d define the sound of Philadelphia soul and help invent disco. Gamble wrote most of their lyrics, and keyboardist Huff most of their music, but their roles were flexible, and so was their style: they wrote poignant love songs (“Me and Mrs. Jones”), rubbery political funk (“For the Love of Money”), and richly orchestrated dance music with the rhythms that became disco tropes (like the Soul Train theme “TSOP”). Gamble and Huff launched Philadelphia International Records in 1971, assembling a crew of musicians and engineers around them, and throughout the Seventies, they were near-permanent fixtures on the R&B charts, working with singers including the O’Jays, Lou Rawls and Teddy Pendergrass.
65- George Harrison
Harrison wrote one of the Beatles’ earliest openly political songs in 1966’s “Taxman” and one of their prettiest late-period tunes in “Here Comes the Sun.” But his songwriting legacy was sealed for good when Frank Sinatra declared “Something,” the group’s second-most-covered song after “Yesterday,” to be “the greatest love song of the past 50 years.” Harrison described songwriting as a means to “get rid of some subconscious burden,” comparing the process to “going to confession.” After the Beatles split, he let his creative impulses run free on the 1970 triple-album solo debut, All Things Must Pass, and enjoyed a strong Eighties comeback with the pop success of 1987’s Cloud Nine as well his stint with the Traveling Wilburys. “If George had had his own group and was writing his own songs back then, he’d have been probably just as big as anybody,” his fellow Wilbury Bob Dylan said.
64- Bert Berns
A kid from the Bronx who fell in love with black and Latino music and even traveled to Cuba during Fidel Castro’s revolution, Bert Berns got his start in 1960 at age 31 as a Brill Building songwriter and went on a run that included hits like “Twist & Shout,” the Exciters’ “Tell Him” and Salomon Burke’s “Cry to Me.” Where other writers of the time strove for sophistication, Berns’ songs communicated a fierce romantic hunger and longing. After working as a producer at Atlantic Records, he established his own labels Bang and Shout, where he collaborated closely with Van Morrison (most famously on the singer’s biggest hit, “Brown Eyed Girl”) and wrote “Piece of My Heart,” which was covered by Big Brother and the Holding Company. Berns, who suffered from chronic health problems since childhood, died of a heart attack in 1967 at 38. Despite his enormous reputation among other songwriters, he remains a relatively obscure figure in pop history. “Bert deserves to be elevated to his rightful place in the music industry,” Paul McCartney recently said.
63- Chrissie Hynde
As the leader of Pretenders, Hynde linked the start-and-go rhythms and abrasive guitars of post-punk to a heartland rocker’s sense of straightforward melody. Hynde had one of the best runs of the New Wave era: winning over a wide pop audience with sharp tunes like “Brass in Pocket (I’m Special),” “Middle of the Road,” and “Back on the Chain Gang” as well as the buoyant “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and ballads like “2000 Miles.” Despite her innate sense of craft, the brash-sounding singer was actually a bit sheepish about her idiosyncratic song structures, admitting, “People talk about songwriting clinics and how to construct a song and I’m sitting there thinking, ‘I didn’t know that!'” Hynde’s lyrics proved even more influential, articulating a complex female toughness that wasn’t just a sexy pose, inspiring guitar-slinging women and self-directed pop stars like Madonna, who said, “It gave me courage, inspiration, to see a woman with that kind of confidence in a man’s world.”
62- Harry Nilsson
Nilsson was a pioneer of the Los Angeles studio sound, a crucial bridge between the baroque psychedelic pop of the late Sixties and the more personal singer-songwriter era of the Seventies. Overdubbing his flawless voice, he was his own angelic choir on songs like “1941” and the Beatles medley “You Can’t Do That,” and he caught the ear of Beatles publicist Derek Taylor, who bought a box of Nilsson records to send to friends. A lifelong friendship with John Lennon — who produced Nilsson’s Pussy Cats during his Lost Weekend period — followed. In songs like “You’re Breaking My Heart” (“. . .so fuck you”), “Gotta Get Up,” and “I Guess the Lord Must Be In New York City” he applied pop color to the darkness of a shut in, and Three Dog Night turned “One” (“. . .is the loneliest number”), into a Top Five hit in 1969. “He had a gift for melody. Which is a rare, inexplicable talent to have,” Randy Newman once said of Nilsson’s easy way with complex melodies and counterpoint. “People like McCartney have it, Schubert, Elton John has it. Harry had that gift.”
61- Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman
Jerome Felder was a Jewish kid from Brooklyn who’d been on crutches since he’d contracted polio at age six. When he started trying to establish himself as a blues singer, he called himself Doc Pomus. But he gave up his performing career in the late Fifties and formed a songwriting partnership with Mort Shuman. Together their ability to match sweet melodies and multi-faceted lyrics was second only to Leiber and Stoller among early rock & roll songwriters. Between 1958 and 1964, they wrote a string of sly, swaggering hits that bridged the divide between R&B and pop — most famously the Drifters’ “Save the Last Dance for Me,” Elvis Presley’s “Little Sister,” Dion’s “A Teenager in Love” and Andy Williams’ “Can’t Get Used to Losing You.” One example of Pomus’ lyrical inventiveness is Ben E. King’s “Young Boy Blues,” a collaboration with Phil Spector, in which every verse is effectively one long sentence. Spector later called Pomus, who died of cancer in 1991, “the greatest songwriter who ever lived.”
The song was released on Beyonce and Jay Z’s 7th wedding anniversary on Tidal, Jay Z’s new music streaming service.
Originally posted on Buzzfeed
1. Dr. Dre
Estimated Net Worth: $700–800M
Legacy: The incredibly influential producer got his break as a part of the rap Group N.W.A. in 1986. Almost three decades later, we haven’t forgotten Dre for introducing us to Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50 Cent. The mogul solidified his icon status when he dropped The Chronic and solidified his place in the millionaire’s club with the sale of Beats by Dre to Apple for $3 Billion.
Quote: “Kids are the ultimate form of motivation. They’re watching. They’re mimicking. They’re an extension of you. So you have to win.”
2. David Geffen
Estimated Net Worth: $6.8B
Legacy: With an impeccable ear for music, Geffen signed no-names turned icons:The Eagles, Tom Waits, Guns N’ Roses. Risky business moves, like releasing Risky Business under his own film company in the ’80s, have paid off big for Geffen who went on to co-found DreamWorks Studios.
Quote: “I thought I’d be a success even back in the mailroom at William Morris.”
3. Richard Branson
Estimated Net Worth: $4.8B
Legacy: The Branson empire started with the introduction of Virgin Records in the ’70s, bringing us some of the biggest names in music (including The Sex Pistols). Today, Virgin Group consists of more than 200 companies in over 30 countries including Virgin Galactic, a space-tourism company.
Quote: “I am prepared to try anything once.”
4. Jack Warner
Legacy: From introducing the world to the first talking picture (“The Jazz Singer”) to the introduction of talents like Bob Newhart and Peter, Paul and Mary, Jack Warner is a name that will be synonymous with Hollywood forever. Today, Warner Bros. Studios is still one of the most influential powerhouses in media across all platforms.
Quote: “It’s funny how the harder I work the more successful I become.”
5. Jay Z
Estimated Net Worth: $520M
Legacy: Hova’s first album, Reasonable Doubt, wasn’t a major commercial success upon release, but is now considered a hip-hop institution. It’s this kind of foresight that makes Jay one of the rap game’s most influential business minds — signing small acts and shaping them into modern day icons. If you’re a fan of
Rihanna, Ne-Yo, and J. Cole, you can address your thank you note to Mr. Carter.
Quote: “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.”
6. Simon Cowell
Estimated Net Worth: $350M
Legacy: Simon began his career as a mailroom clerk at EMI Music Publishing. After working his way up to an executive assistant left the company to pursue other ventures. Cowell is one of the driving forces behind the success of Pop Idol (UK),America Idol, America’s Got Talent, and many more. He has since introduced artists such as, One Direction, Susan Boyle, and Il Divo. In 2004 the mogul was named one the the Top Entertainers of the Year and UK Personality of the Year.
Quote: “When you get your first pay cheque, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
7. Sean Combs
Estimated Net Worth: $700M
Legacy: In 1993, Diddy started Bad Boy Entertainment and began introducing groundbreaking artists like Biggie Smalls, Lil’ Kim, and Faith Evans. His gift and drive earned him “Songwriter of The Year” in 1996. Come 1997 BBE sold nearly $100M recordings.
Quote: “Nobody is going to take you to the front of the line unless you push your way to the front of the line.”
8. Jimmy Iovine
Estimated Net Worth: $970M
Legacy: Want to talk about starting from the bottom? Iovine’s career began as a record studio janitor. Since founding Interscope, Iovine signed legends such as Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and No Doubt. He has also participated in several joint-venture projects such as Beats by Dre. Iovine’s enthusiasm and visions have respectfully placed him at the top.
Quote: “Continue to learn with humility, not hubris. Hubris is boring.”
Happy Birthday Jay Z!!!
Jigga What, Jigga Who
Dirt Off Your Shoulder
On To The Next One
Run This Town
Drunk in Love
Empire State of Mind
Excuse Me Miss
1956 : At Sun Studio in Memphis, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis jam together on a few tunes. Johnny Cash shows up later to get in the picture and complete what will become known as the “Million Dollar Quartet.”
1969 : Jay-Z is born in housing projects in Brooklyn – something he will remind us of many times in his raps.
1971 : During a Frank Zappa concert, the Montreaux Casino in Switzerland catches fire when someone fires a flare gun, inspiring Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water.” Deep Purple were there to record their album Machine Head the following day, but ended up using the Grand Hotel and including the song as a last-minute addition.
1980 : Led Zeppelin makes it official: they will not continue after the death of their drummer John Bonham. They never fully reform, but do play some shows with Jason Bonham filling in for his father.
1993 : Frank Zappa dies of terminal prostate cancer at age 52 in Los Angeles, California.
Yesterday, we posted a new song of Sleigh Bells featuring Tink, and today we have a new Timbaland produced song “Movin’ Bass” with Tink featuring Jay Z and Rick Ross.
Timbaland recently said of Tink, a rising female rapper from Chicago, “She was music and she saved my life… You can’t believe somebody at 19 got it. We don’t see that no more. The last person we saw [like her] was Drake.”
1975 : Bruce Springsteen begins his first UK tour at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, where he learns that his record company has gone overboard with the hype, distributing posters that say: “At last London is ready for Bruce Springsteen.”
1985 : Seven of Jimi Hendrix’s gold records are stolen from his father’s home during a burglary. A few months later, Warner Bros. Records replaces them in a ceremony with Mo Ostin, who signed Hendrix to the label in 1967.
1994 : The Rolling Stones become the first rock act to stream a live concert on the Internet, webcasting a portion of a show from Dallas, Texas.
2003 : Acting on the sexual abuse allegations of a 12-year-old boy who had visited the home, approximately 70 members of California’s Santa Barbara County sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices raid Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. The singer is in Vegas filming a video at the time.
2006 : With the aid of a private jet, Jay-Z plays seven 30-minute sets across the US in one day to promote his comeback album, Kingdom Come.
Rick Ross’ newest album Hood Billionaire is set to be released on November 24th. The latest preview is “Movin Bass” featuring a frequent Ross contributor Jay Z.
“Movin’ Bass” is the latest joint effort between the two artists; they’ve also collaborated on Jay’s “F***WithMeYouKnowIGotIt,” Ross’ “The Devil is a Lie,” DJ Khaled‘s “They Don’t Love You No More” and Kanye West‘s “Monster,” among other tracks.