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Top Vacation Places in the World

1. Bangkok — 22.78 million

Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. The Asian investment boom in the 1980s and 1990s led many multinational corporations to locate their regional headquarters in Bangkok. The city is now a regional force in finance, business, transport, health care, arts, fashion, and entertainment. (Wikipedia)

2. Paris — 19.10 million

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. Paris is one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science and arts. Paris was the second most expensive city in the world. The city is a major railway, highway and air-transport hub served by two international airports. Paris is especially known for its museums and architectural landmarks. (Wikipedia)

3. London — 19.09 million

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea. London has been a major settlement for two millennia. (Wikipedia)

4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates — 15.93 million

Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai. (Wikipedia)

5. Singapore — 14.67 million

Singapore is a sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It has the second greatest population density in the world. (Wikipedia)

6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — 13.79 million

Kuala Lumpur is the largest city in Malaysia. (Wikipedia)

7. New York City — 13.6 million

New York City is the most populous city in the United States. New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, significantly influencing commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. (Wikipedia)

8. Istanbul — 13.4 million

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and the country's economic, cultural and historic center. (Wikipedia)

9. Tokyo — 12.93 million

Tokyo is the capital and most populous prefecture of Japan. Tokyo is the political and economic center of the country, as well as the seat of the Emperor of Japan and the national government. (Wikipedia)

10. Antalya, Turkey — 12.41 million

Antalya is the fifth-most populous city in Turkey. (Wikipedia)

Source: Global Destination Cities Index 2019

The 25 Most Visited Tourist Spots in America

1. Times Square, New York 2. Central Park 3. The Las Vegas Strip 4. Union Station 5. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 6. Grand Central Terminal, New York City 7. Magic Kingdom, Disney World, Florida 8. Lincoln Park, Chicago 9. Disneyland Resort, California 10. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston 11. Balboa Park 12. Disney's Animal Kingdom, Orlando Florida 13. EPCOT, Disney World, Florida 13. Great Smoky Mountains National Park 14. Disney's Hollywood Studios, Orlando, Florida 15. Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco 16. Venice Beach, California 17. Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington 18. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco 19. South Street Seaport, New York City 20. Mackinac Bridge, Michigan 21. Navy Pier, Chicago 22. Grand Canyon, Arizona 23. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah 24. Mall of America, Minnesota 25. Statue of Liberty, New York

Source: The 25 Most Visited Tourist Spots in America

Munich, Germany

It has been two years living in Munich and even today, the city is able to hypnotize me with its unending mysteries and secrets that I endeavor to unravel every day, much like a child opening a Christmas present....

Source: "Living in Munich – The City That Fulfills Every Dream" by Shaira Mohan

St. Louis, Missouri: Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry had a long career as a pioneering rock 'n' roll musician that influenced rock 'n' roll's future. His showmanship and guitar solos impressed the audience, leading to his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. His hit, “Johnny B. Goode,” was put on a golden record with other recordings and launched into space on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977.

Born Charles Edward Anderson Berry in Missouri on October 18, 1926, Chuck Berry was an outstanding American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His work shaped rhythm and blues into the new genre of rock 'n' roll.

As a wayward teenager, he was convicted of armed robbery and spent three years in a Missouri prison. During this incarceration, he formed a singing quartet that performed until his release at twenty-one.

A year later, Berry married Themetta “Toddy” Suggs with a child. He took odd jobs in St. Louis to support his family--from automobile factory worker to janitor to beautician. The family lived in a small house, now a historic place on the National Register.

Berry performed locally in his free time. In search of a recording contract, he traveled to Chicago on a road trip. He met Muddy Waters, who referred him to Chess Records. His version of an old country song named “Ida Red” impressed co-founder Leonard Chess, who signed him. Berry named his song “Maybellene,” and it was a runaway success, selling over one million copies and topping the R&B Billboard chart in 1955. In ‘56, he toured with another smash named “Roll Over Beethoven.” In ‘57, he toured with Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. More than a dozen hit singles followed, including “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Johnny B. Goode.” He acted in films and played himself in Go, Johnny, Go!

In 1959, he was arrested for violating the Mann Act that prohibits human trafficking, and he was sentenced to three years in prison. After his release, he published five albums and toured the U.K. The Beach Boys' hit “Surfin' U.S.A.” was released in 1963, peaking at number three. The song borrowed the melody of Berry's “Sweet Little Sixteen.” He saw chart-topping success in '72, with his light-hearted single, “My Ding-A-Ling.”

In the 1990s, he was sued by various women for having a video camera in the bathroom of his restaurant. The settlement cost him over one million dollars. Later, he served six months for marijuana possession. In 2000, his former pianist, Johnnie Johnson, sued him claiming he co-wrote many of Berry's songs, but the case was dismissed.

When asked about his meteoric rise, he replied, “Well, actually they begin to listen to it, you see, because certain stations played certain music. The music that we, the blacks, played, the cultures were so far apart, we would have to have a play station in order to play it. The cultures begin to come together, and you begin to see one another's vein of life, then the music came together.”

Fremont, California: Tesla Electric Car Factory

From the company that promises, “To accelerate the advent of sustainable transport and electric technology,” the Tesla Model 3 seems to be exactly what it promises: a version of the groundbreaking electric car that most people can actually afford.

The Model 3 is a four-door sedan that looks similar to the Model S from the side and back. Its general characteristics include a high roof and a smooth bob at the front and backend. It also has a blunt nose, which makes it look a little similar to the Tesla Roadster, at least in the front.

According to Car and Driver, the Model 3 is “genetically linked to all of its ancestors,” which fits well with the assertion of Tesla CEO Elon Musk that this particular model could have only been built with the help and support of those who “bought an S or an X” in the past.

Like Tesla's other models, the Model 3 is an electric car, and it provides drivers with 358 miles of range before needing to recharge. There is room for up to five passengers, and drivers can store items in both the front and rear trunks. The car can also increase in speed very quickly and quietly, as it can jump from zero to 60 in 3.1 seconds.

The model also includes the Autopilot feature found in other Tesla cars, all-wheel drive, and is able to use the Tesla Supercharger charging network. It's a sports sedan with electric car capabilities that could be purchased for $46,990.

Whatever the case, Tesla seems to have pulled out all the stops when it comes to the Model 3 and created an impressive, enviable vehicle that is actually energy efficient and affordable too.

Hawaii: The Aloha State

The Hawaiian Islands may have been settled as early as the second century; by 1000, villages near the ocean were farming, and by 1500, populations were spreading to the interiors of the islands. Around 1200, a new social structure had been introduced, separating the people into classes. It also included new laws, including the kapu, a strict code of conduct governing many aspects of Hawaiian life. Religion in Hawaii included a ritual, high priests, four major gods, many lesser deities, and guardians and spirits.

Each island was split up into several subdivisions, with communities usually set up around streams. Important crops included sweet potatoes, bananas, coconuts, and sugarcane. In addition to community crops, Hawaiians also maintained gardens at their homes.

Contact with Europeans started in 1778, when British Captain James Cook traded for supplies with the residents of the island of Kauai. He continued his voyage to the coast of North America and Alaska, then landed on Hawaii Island during his return trip. After Cook's longboat went missing, he tried to kidnap the king. In defense, the king's attendant killed him with a knife.

The Kingdom of Hawaii began in 1795 with the unification of the islands. The kingdom's first king, Kamehameha I, was a great-grandson of Keawe'ikekahiali'iokamoku, a 17th-century king of Hawaii Island. His uncle Kalani'opu'u had encountered Captain Cook, and raised Kamehameha after his father's death. Supporters of Kamehameha overthrew his cousins, making Kamehameha the king of Hawaii Island, and by 1795, Kamehameha had conquered most of the main islands. Kamehameha then built a palace which became the seat of government for 50 years. The king had many wives, but Ka'ahumanu became the most prominent, ruling alongside her stepson Liholiho (Kamehameha II) and as regent for her stepson Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III).

The reign of Kamehameha II saw the beginning of a system of dual-government involving a co-ruler, along with the decline of the Hawaiian religion. He and his wife died of measles while visiting England. Kamehameha III was still a minor, so Ka'ahumanu ruled in his stead, along with a new co-ruler, Boki. They both converted to Christianity shortly after Kamehameha II's death.

Sugar had become a major export after Cook's arrival. By the mid-1800s, there were plantations operating on the main islands. American plantation owners wanted a voice in politics, and in 1843 the U.S. did not interfere with a brief occupation by the British.

The Rebellion of 1887, led by the Hawaiian Patriotic League, resulted in a new constitution, known as the Bayonet Constitution, which they forced Kalakaua to sign. This constitution limited the voting rights of native Hawaiians and Asians, and limited the power of the king. It also granted Americans in the kingdom unprecedented freedoms.

Upon Kalakaua's death, his sister, Lili'uokalani, became queen. In 1893, a group of conspirators, known as the Committee of Safety and made up of legislators and government officials who were American and European citizens, gathered about 1500 non-native men across the street from ‘Iolani Palace. They were supported by U.S. Government Minister John L. Stevens. The men placed Queen Lili'uokalani under house arrest at the palace, and the Kingdom of Hawaii became the Republic of Hawaii.

Hawaii remained a republic for about 5 years, then was annexed by the U.S. in 1898, becoming the Territory of Hawaii. A territorial government was set up in 1900, and sugarcane plantations expanded during this period.

On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy, and Hawaii was placed under martial law until 1945. In 1954, a series of non-violent protests led to the ousting of the Hawaii Republican Party, and the election of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. This also led to labor unions and the decline of the sugar plantations.

Hawaii was admitted to the U.S. as a state on August 21, 1959.

Pearl Harbor: Surprise Attack on Hawaii

It lasted only about 90 minutes, but in that time the Imperial Japanese Navy managed to kill 2,403 Americans, destroy 18 ships and 188 airplanes, and draw the United States into World War II, all on a day of infamy. More than half the American deaths were caused by a single bomb that hit the USS Arizona, whose remains now lie at the bottom of Pearl Harbor as a memorial to the attack on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.

Shortly after 7:30 that Sunday, two Army men manning a new-fangled "radar" at Opana on Oahu's north shore saw more than a hundred blips 136 miles north of the island and notified their superiors at Pearl Harbor. The officer in charge there had confidential information that a dozen stripped-down and unarmed B-17s from the West Coast were due in at about that time on about the same route, so he told the radar men to ignore the blips.

By then, five two-man midget submarines launched from the fleet the previous day had attempted to sneak into the harbor morning. One was spotted and attacked by a pair of U.S. Navy ships cruising offshore. Three others ended up at the bottom of the sea just outside the harbor, but not before they managed to launch several torpedoes. A fifth managed to ground itself twice, and after the second time one of its crewmen swam to shore and became America's first Japanese prisoner of war.

The radar blips were the first wave of the attack, led by Commander Mitsuo Fuchida. His plane led 182 others off the decks of six aircraft carriers stationed about 200 miles north of Oahu. The planes included about equal portions of bombers armed with armor-piercing bombs weighing nearly a ton each, bombers carrying quarter-ton torpedoes, dive bombers and fighters known as Zeros for their rising-sun insignia.

The planes formed two groups, each circling the island to attack Pearl Harbor from the south and from the north to begin the attack at 7:48 a.m. Most of the U.S. Navy personnel were on shore leave that weekend, many of those still aboard ship still asleep. As the attack began, they scrambled from their bunks to battle stations unprepared for battle, costing precious minutes. Army anti-aircraft batteries onshore similarly were unprepared. A few ships managed to get underway to get out of the harbor, but only one made it. Some of the dive bombers attacked Oahu air fields, among them Bellows Field, Ford Island, Hickam Field and Wheeler Field.

Fuchida's wave was followed by another led by Lt. Commander Shigekazu Shimazaki. His fleet included 171 planes armed with smaller bombs to attack other targets on the island. One group attacked airfields such as Barbers Point, Ford Island, Hickam Field and Kaneohe; the other two concentrated on the entire Pearl Harbor area. The second wave wrapped up its attack at about 9:30 and returned to its fleet, which weighed anchor and was headed back to Japan by 1 p.m.

The main targets of the twin attacks were the eight battleships—Arizona, California, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia-- at anchor inside the harbor. The fleet's three aircraft carriers were safely out to sea. The attack managed to hit all of the battleships and the unarmed Utah, a former battleship used only for training. But, it was the attack on the Arizona that was most effective, killing 1, 177.

A 16-inch Japanese shell hit an ammunition magazine on the ship, causing a massive explosion. Burning oil in the water from the explosion and from one on the West Virginia drifted to other ships, including the California, which ordered its men to abandon ship, leaving it to sink. The attack also sank or damaged cruisers, destroyers, a seaplane tender, and a repair vessel that had the misfortune of being moored next to the Arizona.

Six of the battleships were back in service and nine of other types of ships also returned to service by the end of the war, most within a year of the attack. And, the dozen B-17s? They arrived over Oahu low on fuel early during the first wave and tried to land however and wherever they could, one on a golf course. Most remained intact.

Japan's losses included 64 fatalities and one captured, 29 planes lost, and 64 damaged by fire from antiaircraft batteries that managed to get into operation in time for the second wave. One of the planes was damaged while attacking Wheeler and managed to fly to Niihau, the designated rescue point, where the pilot was captured by the locals.

The next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed an emergency joint session of Congress and delivered the speech that called December 7 "a day which will live in infamy." After the speech, Congress voted to declare war.

Pinner, United Kingdom: Elton John

Elton John's career has taken him from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of musical success.

Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight to a father less than delighted with his son's choice of direction in life, Elton changed not only in name, but stature as well - netting numerous awards and accolades usually reserved only for a fortunate few.

One of a small group of artists to be Knighted by the Queen of England and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, John is a true star at an international level. His life and career were not devoid of hardships, but his music and compositions have held up against time as classics.

Near the start of Elton John's early career, he labored as a studio composer and vocalist, but his entry into the world of music began as early as his school years.

Though Elton flunked out at the age of 17, his musical abilities had actually given him an opportunity to excel academically. He was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London at a young age and attended classes there on weekends.

Once he'd left school for good, he devoted much of his time to performing with a band called "Bluesology." He greatly enjoyed the time he spent amongst them and decided to change his name to reflect what the band had meant to him - choosing two of his bandmates' names as his new stage moniker.

It was around this time that he got into studio work and became a resident artist at a local label. For a period of time, Liberty Records employed him alongside another musician by the name of Bernie Taupin as a songwriter. The two spent a year writing lyrics for Liberty artists before switching to the DJM label. It was the year 1969 that bore witness to Elton's first singing release on his album "Empty Sky." However, it wasn't until the following year that he got his big break as a solo recording artist.

Elton's Rise to Notoriety

1970 would come to be a pivotal year in Elton John's development as an artist. It marks the release of his self-entitled album, on which appeared the charting hits, "Your Song" and "Border Song."

This first album had been released in both the U.S. as well as the U.K. - landing John on the radar of an international audience right from the start of his career. From here on out, he was off and running with a series of top albums and stellar hits.

Soon, with the help of his own band, Elton was performing his hit songs in the US and abroad.

During this stretch of time, between 1970 and 1980, Elton John went on to release an astonishing 17 albums and many of his biggest hit singles. Songs like "Rocket Man," "Daniel," "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" came into existence throughout this decade, among many other notable examples. For this reason, the music he produced throughout the 70's is considered the most exemplary of his unique style, sound and genius.

Elton in the 80's

By the time the 80's rolled around, Elton was no longer working with his original band lineup. It is alleged that he was tired and indeed, his output had waned some, with only 1 Elton John album per year being released. He'd seen immense highs, broken records with his chart-topping albums and even had his own star added to the Hollywood walk of fame, but would not stop there. By 1982, he'd dreamt up a fresh new hit song in loving memory of his friend John Lennon entitled "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)" that rose high on the charts and brought him back into the limelight. "That's What Friends Are For" and "Nikita" would follow later in the decade.

It was during the 80's that John brought to the forefront another young star and friend of his, George Michaels of "Wham!." This wasn't the only star he performed with though, the 80's saw Elton recording and playing with acts as diverse as Saxon, the heavy metal band, and Dionne Warwick. His collaboration song with Stevie Wonder, "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues," went on to be a major hit as did "I'm Still Standing."

Elton wasn't without hardships in the 80's though. He unexpectedly lost his voice while on tour in '86 - warranting a critical throat surgery that permanently altered his vocal chords. On top of this, the following year, he was accused by publication "The Sun" of having rented young boys for sexual purposes. He later won a libel case against the Sun over these allegations. Despite such troubles, John pushed through into the 90's with more hits up his sleeve and triumphs to enjoy.

Elton's Evolution

After 2 entire decades' worth of hits, performances and accolades, Elton had little need to continue producing great music, but he did so anyway.

Cue the creation of songs such as "Sacrifice" and "Runaway Train," his duet with Eric Clapton. He didn't stop at producing mere singles and albums though, John then branched out to film and musicals - producing the phenomenally successful score for the animated Disney classic "the Lion King." His Lion King single "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" won him an Academy Award and a Grammy.

1994 marks the year in which Elton John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by none other than Axl Rose of Guns n' Roses. Unfortunately, Elton lost two good friends just 3 years later, one of whom was Princess Diana.

He performed a revised version of his song "Candle in the Wind" at her funeral service in Westminster Abbey which he vowed to never perform again. The iconic song rose to legendary status - setting the record for sales of a single and being the only track to ever be certified Diamond in the United States.

John continued accruing accolades all around with his work on the musical "Aida" and its accompanying album as well as being Knighted by the Queen of England in 1998 for his charitable work. It was also during this decade that Elton and David Furnish began their relationship. They would later go on to marry in 2014 when gay marriage was made legal.

Elton John's Ongoing Success

The singer took to musicals yet again with compositions for "Billy Elliot the Musical" in 2005 which went on to massive success as the 11th longest-running West End musical of all time. John tried his hand at theater alongside his fellow writer Taupin, but their rendition of Anne Rice's vampire novels went over poorly with critics.

Elton shocked many with his contribution to Tupac Shakur's posthumous release, "Ghetto Gospel" in 2005 and continued to sell out huge venues like Madison Square Garden with his public performances. A few years later, in 2009, he shocked many yet again by contributing to an Alice in Chains song entitled "Black Gives Way to Blue." His alt rock contributions far from over, he's sung and played with Queens of the Stone Age as recently as 2013 on their track "Fairweather Friends."

Still performing and even appearing in film (Kingsman, the Golden Circle), the 70 year old musician is admirably active with plans for the future.

His enduring success as a performer and musician has been no accident, but the direct result of his boundless dedication to the arts. Coupled with his commitment to funding AIDS research and generous charity to struggling communities, his impact on the world is not likely to be forgotten for quite some time.

Minneapolis, Minnesota: The Life and Music of Prince

As an artist, Prince broke many barriers throughout his career - challenging a number of social norms to the beat of his own drum.

His incredible career in music now stands as testament to his groundbreaking creativity. However, his incredible success came after a difficult childhood.

Young Prince

Born Prince Rogers Nelson, in Minnesota in 1958 to jazz musician John L. Nelson and singer Mattie Della Shaw, he was given his father's stage name.

Prince faced medical difficulties as a child. Specifically, he was born with a propensity for fits of epilepsy. Peculiarly, while still a child, his epilepsy subsided after his having mentioned to his mother that angels said he'd improve.

At only 7, Prince was writing his own music. Much to his father's delight, the young musician produced his first song at this age, entitled "Funk Machine." Unfortunately, by the time he'd reached 10 years of age, his parents' relationship was on rocky ground.

Prince’s parents divorced and his mother remarried – leading the young artist to struggle in his dealings with both his stepfather and father. He frequently moved between their two separate households until he was kicked out by his father and taken in by the neighbors. For years he lived in their basement - attending high school and remaining active in sports and dance. These neighbors had a son whom Prince befriended who would later go on to be known as Andre Cymone, another successful musician. In 1975, both artists would get a chance to shine, in the same band.

Prince's Burgeoning Career

1975 saw Prince and Andre Cymone inducted into Pepe Willie's funk band "94 East." The opportunity proved invaluable to both young musicians at the time and served to jump start Prince's career. Prince himself wrote an entire song for the band entitled "Just Another Sucker" as well as multiple guitar parts.

94 East's main recorded album was named "Minneapolis Genius – The Historic 1977 Recordings." However, it would turn out to be a demo tape made by Prince with the help of producer Chris Moon that got the young artist his big break.

Moon delivered Prince's demo to a local businessman by the name of Owen Husney who quickly jumped at the chance to sign him under a management contract. With Husney's help Prince recorded yet another demo; this time at Sound 80 Studios. Coupled with a solid press kit produced by Husney's own company, Prince got serious attention from big box labels. Shortly thereafter, he was signed to Warner Bros and on his way to California.

An Expensive First Album and Prince's First Band

Prince came at his new record deal with all he had to offer - writing and producing his entire album (except for "Soft and Wet") solo as well as playing all 27 instruments on it. Although the album wasn't a smash hit, two of its tracks manage to make the charts: "Soft and Wet" and "Just as Long as We're Together."

This first album ended up costing the young musician twice as much as his first advance from Warner Bros. Tough stuff. This didn't quite dismay the eager young performer, though. He put together a brand new band (with his friend Andre Cymone on bass) and put on a show on the 5th of January in 1979. Then, by October, his latest album was already set for release.

Prince's Breakthrough

Prince released his second album "Prince" to substantial success. He nearly topped the Billboard R&B/Black Albums chart - maxing out at number 4 - and the album itself went platinum. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" hit the very top of the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart - becoming the young artist's first top single.

The very next year, Prince followed up his previous success with another. His album "Dirty Mind" was certified gold.

"Dirty Mind" was fairly explicit in its inclusion of sexual content - signaling a slightly edgy turn for the rising star. That edge landed him on the bill for Rick James's "Fire it Up" tour as the opening act.

Prince in the Early 80's

A decade of exemplary musical development, the 80's saw some of Prince's best releases take shape.

Late in '81, Prince released "Controversy," his fourth studio album and opened for the Rolling Stones in support of it. That same year, he launched a small project on the side which he called "the Time." For the Time, he played multiple instruments and performed backing vocals behind singer Morris Day. Controversy received little fanfare, but the following year's album hit home.

In 1982, Prince went ahead with the release of his album "1999." The album did well - selling over 3 million copies and its titular track was a top 10 hit even outside of the U.S. The song "International Lover" earned Prince a Grammy nomination and "Little Red Corvette" became one of Prince's most-played music videos. In fact, "Little Red Corvette" and "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson were the first two black artist-produced videos to see significant repeated play on MTV. Come 1984, Prince would be in video again - on the big screen.

The year 1984 marked the moment in which Prince graduated from well-known musician to full-blown international icon. All this transpired thanks to Prince's major film appearance in "Purple Rain," a movie created almost entirely to show off the musician's talents. Surprisingly, the film did incredibly well - grossing over $68,000,000 throughout the U.S. and spurring the success of the artist's accompanying album by the same name.

Three of Prince's biggest hits debuted in the movie: "Let's Go Crazy," "When Doves Cry" and "Purple Rain." Presumably thanks to these, the movie netted an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score. The album earned Prince 2 Grammy awards as well. For a brief period, that year, Prince had the top single, album and film in the country. Not too shabby. Before the year had ended, even Andy Warhol was taken in by Prince's appeal - crafting a portrait painting of him entitled "Orange Prince."

Interestingly, it was the song "Darling Nikki" off of the Purple Rain album that tipped Tipper Gore, U.S. Vice President Al Gore's wife, off on the importance of 'parental advisory' warning labels, which she advocated for through her foundation, the "Parents Music Resource Center." The entire recording industry ended up going along with the request.

Prince in 1985 and Beyond

After a sudden announcement that he'd no longer be performing live once his next album released, Prince released "Around the World in a Day" in 1985.

The album stuck fast at number 1 on the Billboard 200 for three weeks straight, with the single "Raspberry Beret" taking #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Come 1986, he'd release yet another super successful album entitled "Parade."

Parade went platinum and its first single proved to be one of Prince's most successful so far; "Kiss" went straight to the top on Billboard's Hot 100. Parade was coupled with another film featuring Prince, "Under the Cherry Moon," which was rated poorly enough to earn the artist multiple Golden Raspberry Awards.

The sting of a poorly received movie was offset by the success of Prince's music throughout the year, though. Even a song he'd written for other artists performed well; the Bangles saw great success with "Manic Monday."

Going against his announcement from just a year before, Prince did in fact go on tour with his band "the Revolution." However, right after the tour, he disbanded the band - shelving their unreleased album "Dream Factory" for later release as part of his album "Sign o' the Times" in '87.

Sign o' the Times charted at 6 on Billboard's Top 200 albums, with multiple hit singles including "U Got the Look" and "If I Was Your Girlfriend." He assembled a backing band and set off overseas on a long tour for it - later refusing to continue touring upon returning to the U.S. Later that year, Prince would face his dark side with a new album, and choose not to release it.

"The Black Album" was an instrumental/hip hop creation that Prince suddenly decided not to release. Apparently, he'd come to the conclusion the album itself was evil and no longer wanted to put it out in the open. After stopping its release, he endeavored to craft a new album as its opposite, which he released the following year.

"Lovesexy" ranked 11th on the Billboard 200 and the lead single "Alphabet St." made it to 8th on the Hot 100. The attendant world tour was a major success, but failed to make a profit thanks to substantial expenses. Regardless, as the 80's came to a close, Prince revved into overdrive.

In 1989, he collaborated with Madonna on her album "Like a Prayer" and Tim Burton's "Batman" soundtrack. His "Batman" album topped the charts that year - selling millions of copies.

Prince of the 90's

Prince broke into the 90's with his "Nude Tour" and another film entitled "Graffiti Bridge." The film's identically-named album made it high on the charts, but the film itself flopped big time. Ready to shake things up again, Prince came at 1991 with a whole new band, "the New Power Generation," and a fresh album called "Diamonds and Pearls."

Diamonds and Pearls hit number 3 on the charts with a total of 4 hit singles, including "Cream" and the album's title track. The next year, his twelfth album came out - bearing no name other than an unpronounceable symbol - and it reached the 5th position on Billboard's Top 200.

All was relatively well for Prince up until 1993, when he entered into a dispute with Warner Bros. and, in protest, changed his stage name to the same unpronounceable symbol on his 12th album. This led to him being referred to as "the Artist Formerly Known as Prince." The dispute lingered all the way to the end of '96, when Prince's contract with Warner Bros. finally elapsed. By the time he left Warner Bros. he'd released an additional 4 albums, including the previously shelved "The Black Album," as well as another hit single "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World."

At the end of 1996, Prince released a huge 36-song album named "Emancipation" through his own record company NPG Records. The album went platinum - securing Prince's prominent position in music even without a major label's support. Unfortunately, two years later, the release of his album "Crystal Ball" didn't go over so well, with a number of sales discrepancies and pre-ordering issues to blame. Perhaps because of this, Prince elected to sign with Arista Records in '99 for the release of his newest record "Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic."

Prince at the Turn of the Millennium

The year 2000 saw the reversion from symbol to original name by Prince. His publishing contract with Warner expired, he reverted to "Prince" on stage and on his albums. A number of his releases during this period came out on his website which subsequently became a hub for his community of fans.

In 2004, after a major performance at the Grammy Awards alongside Beyonce, Prince found himself being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That same year, he released yet another album entitled "Musicology" through Columbia Records. Musicology outperformed his other albums released since 2000 and went on to net Prince a pair of Grammies too. The album tour also assisted in making Prince the highest-earning musician in the world, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

Prince's next major album release came out in 2006. The album "3121" made waves with its top notch music videos and Spanish influence. 2006 also saw Prince receive a Webby Award for his use of the Internet to distribute his music, though he suddenly shut his website down mere weeks later. Busy as ever, Prince labored on in 2006 - performing at multiple venues and award shows, opening his own nightclub in Las Vegas and more. He wrote and performed "The Song of the Heart" for the kids' movie "Happy Feet" and landed a Golden Globe for it. Then, in November, he was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame.

Prince gave a performance at the Super Bowl in 2007 that Billboard ranked as the best ever in Super Bowl history. He followed up the massively successful performance with a slew of others around the world. Prince performed at the ALMA Awards, on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, at Coachella and more before the end of 2008. He put out a live album by the name of "Indigo Nights" and a grouping of songs debuted over radio broadcast. More would follow in '09; this time on his new website "" Shortly thereafter, that same year, a Prince triple set of albums released: "Lotusflower," "MPLSoUND" and "Elixer."

2010's and Prince's Passing

2010 set off the artist's "20Ten" album release, but saw him close down - rejecting the Internet music distribution model at the time. His 20Ten tour was completed and followed up with another before the year's end.

Prince’s achievements continued to garner attention in the industry and he was presented with an induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame in December that year. From 2010 to 2014, Prince staged numerous performances and, finally, in 2014, re-signed with Warner Bros. Records for future releases.

2014 marked the year in which Prince ran the first leg of his "Hit N Run" tour, which revolved around the creative concept of announcing concert dates and locations the day of their occurrence on his Twitter feed. His related album "Hit n Run Phase One" came out in 2015, as did its 'Phase Two' continuation. These proved to be his last albums.

In 2016, Prince set off on his final tour the "Piano and a Microphone Tour" featuring only him and a custom piano. The tour was extremely well-received, but came to a screeching halt when the star succumbed to illness. He battled with influenza, canceling and rescheduling shows to rest and recover. Sadly, on April 21, Prince was found to be unresponsive and later pronounced dead at his own home, due to an accidental overdose of fentanyl at the age of 57.

Although his time was cut short, Prince packed a huge amount of achievement into his life. His music is still fresh in the minds and hearts of his many devout followers worldwide.

The Life of Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix, as he exists today, is a cultural icon among few greats.

His deft musicianship, experimental music and riveting performances drove fans wild during his brief career. Had his life not been cut short, much more astounding music would likely have been made by the far-out performer.

Although he is cherished in memory by many today, his life and career took a number of interesting and devastating turns before he reached age 30 - leaving the world with a legendarily tragic life story and the music he made throughout it.

Jimi's Troubled Childhood

Jimi Hendrix was born to another name; Johnny Allen Hendrix. Four years after his birth, in 1946, his parents elected to change his name to James Marshall Hendrix - like his father and late brother.

Hendrix's childhood was, unfortunately, that of a child to impoverished parents. His father struggled to support his family after an honorable discharge from the military. The two went on to have 3 additional children, but they were all given up to foster care.

Jimi's childhood experiences would later be disclosed in private to one of his girlfriends, whom he told of the sexual abuse he suffered from a man in uniform. This difficult period of his life likely shaped his later outlook and interests dramatically.

Jimi's Introduction to Music

In the 50's, a young Hendrix caught the attention of a social worker while attending elementary school in Seattle. He had a habit of carrying a broom with him and using it to emulate a guitar. Despite the social worker's efforts to sway them, the school directors were not convinced to buy the child a guitar, and so Jimi went without for some time.

In 1957, Jimi obtained his first instrument. He'd had a stroke of luck while assisting his father with an odd job and came across an old ukulele which he was allowed to keep. The thing had only one string left to play, but Jimi's fascination with it was limitless.

He followed along to his favorite songs by Elvis and others - picking up the tunes by ear and plucking at his one-stringed uke with zeal.

Just a year later, he'd obtain his first guitar and begin developing his playing. Unfortunately, that same year, he'd lose his mother to cirrhosis.

Growing Guitar God

Jimi set about developing his guitar skills in the midst of the tremendous loss of his mother. He played his $5 acoustic guitar in his first band, "the Velvetones" until it became apparent that he'd need a louder instrument to be heard over the group. Around this time, in 1959, he also met Billy Davis, whom he was friends with from then on.

Halfway through 1959, his father bought him his first electric guitar, and Jimi was off and running in the local music scene.

His first big gig was at Seattle's Jewish Temple De Hirsch Sinai, where he managed to get himself fired in between sets for excessive showboating. His next success came when he joined the "Rocking Kings" and began playing regularly with them in local venues. Unfortunately, hardship would soon find him once more - leading him shockingly far away from his burgeoning career in music and into unsettling terrain.

Jimi Joins the Army

A less-than-19-year-old Hendrix, presented with an ultimatum by authorities after being caught in stolen cars on multiple occasions, would choose a stint in the U.S. military over prison time.

Thus it went, Jimi enlisted in the army May 31, 1961. Eight weeks of basic training later, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He wasn't enthusiastic about his stay in the military though - writing home disparaging remarks about the experience to his father.

It proved a difficult time for him overall. He managed to have his guitar shipped out to his base, which helped him cope somewhat. Still, he couldn't quite cut it in the army - according to his superiors who soon found a way to discharge him. An injury sustained on a jump gave Hendrix an out, but his discharge was on the grounds of unsuitability.

Back on the Music Scene

Jimi was doubtless delighted to have left the military, but the time he'd spent there hadn't been entirely a loss. During his stay, he'd met and jammed with fellow recruit Billy Cox, who'd played bass. When Cox left the military in 1963, they both moved to Tennessee to start a band called the "King Kasuals."

It was during this time that Jimi first learned to play guitar with his teeth, so as not to be upstaged by the other guitarist in their band who also knew the trick. The band rose in relative notoriety - playing as a resident band at Club del Morocco, a popular venue in the area at the time, among others.

Hendrix also found time to play as backing musician for a number of prominent acts at the time. These included the likes of Ike & Tina Turner as well as Sam Cooke.

Jimi Makes the Move

Hendrix eventually chose to leave Tennessee in search of a more fulfilling solo career. He settled in Harlem, New York and played local venues - winning the Apollo Theater's amateur contest at one point. However, it was a chance audition with none other than the Isley Brothers that got him his biggest break yet. He applied and landed the position as guitarist of their backing band.

He left the band in 1964, tired of the monotony, but not before recording their two-part single, "Testify."

He joined Little Richard's backing band and recorded "I Don't Know What You Got (But It's Got Me)" with him in 1965. While in Hollywood, Jimi ended up recording two tracks with singer Rosa Lee Brooks; "My Diary" and "Utee." That same year, he made his first televised appearance playing on Nashville's "Channel 5 Night Train." In the same month, he was booted from Little Richard's band for butting heads over showboating, among other things.

Hendrix returned to the Isley Brothers' band for a short while and recorded with them once more before moving on to an R&B band by the name of "Curtis Knight and the Squires." He recorded with this band as well as King Curtis at the time.

Come 1966, Jimi was ready for more changes and decided to form a band of his own.

Rise to Stardom

Hendrix created his own band, "Jimmy James and the Blue Flames," in Greenwich Village, NY.

The band landed a few residencies at local clubs and saw minor success. However, it was a chance introduction to former "Animals" member Chas Chandler who'd taken an interest in managing artists, that catapulted Jimi to true stardom. Chas took Jimi to London and helped him build his soon-to-be-famous band, "the Jimi Hendrix Experience."

Partnered with drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding, Jimi would soon see a level of success that had, up to that point, eluded him.

The band's first show was played as Johnny Hallyday's supporting act in France at the Novelty in Evreux. Later that year, the band would be signed to Track Records. "Hey Joe" and "Stone Free" were recorded that same year, the former of which peaked at 6 on the UK charts. 1967 saw songs like "Purple Haze" and "The Wind Cries Mary" recorded to great success.

That same year, Hendrix would give one of his most memorable performances, in which he set his guitar on fire, at the London Astoria. He'd do the same once more at the Monterey Pop Festival.

'67 also saw the release of Jimi's band's first full-length album, "Are You Experienced?" which featured an eclectic mix of influences and peaked at number 2 on the charts. Another album followed shortly thereafter; "Axis: Bold as Love" to little fanfare. Then another, "Electric Ladyland", in 1968, which went on to be considered Hendrix's greatest album. The album included his only US top 40 song, a cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower."

The End of the Experience

1969 marked the end of the original Experience lineup as Hendrix's and Redding's mounting frustration formed a rift between them. With his old friend Cox on bass, Jimi played the Woodstock Music and Art Fair that year as the main event. The crowd had reached an incredible size of roughly 400,000 people to catch his performance. He played his iconic rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" during this performance, which featured on a later documentary of the fair.

In 1970, Hendrix released his LP "Band of Gypsys" to appease his former manager Ed Chalpin, with whom he'd run into legal trouble over their old contract. The LP featured live material by his new band and was released by Capitol Records.

Jimi's Final Tour

The "Cry of Love" tour in 1970 was the guitarist's final tour, the American leg of which ended in Honolulu. During this tour, he played for the largest crowd of his career at the Atlanta International Pop Festival, on July 4. Some 500,000 people were in attendance.

Unfortunately, during the European leg of the tour, Hendrix played his final show - an impromptu jam session with "War" - before passing away 48 hours later.

The details surrounding Hendrix's death are hazy and inconclusive. The official cause was cited as asphyxiation while intoxicated. His untimely death lent an air of martyrdom to his status as a rock and roll icon that has since transformed him into an immortal musical icon.

Jimi Hendrix, the rock legend and troubled musician will forever be remembered for his contributions to music history.

Cyndi Lauper Biography

Singer, Cyndi Lauper is widely regarded as one of the first female recording artists to embrace being different and unique while building a massive following.

Her musical success came as a result of not only her memorable songs and unique style, but her enduring dedication to honoring uniqueness in all its forms.

She has had a long and illustrious career in the music industry and is still working on new projects to this day; however, things were not always easy for her and her life actually got off to a pretty rocky start.

Childhood and Inspirations

Born Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper to parents who divorced when she was only 5, Cyndi spent the bulk of her youth growing up in Ozone Park, a small neighborhood in Queens, New York City. Her birth took place in Brooklyn and her earliest years were spent there before moving to Ozone Park at 4.

Cyndi's mother took charge of her and her two siblings (Fred and Ellen) following her divorce - raising them to share in her own love of art by frequenting events and museums in Manhattan. Lauper's time in school was reputedly riddled with hardships, but her interest in music steadily grew and blossomed.

At age 12, she was already writing songs of her own.

Cyndi’s Early Career

Cyndi fled home at 17 in an effort to leave her stepfather's abuse behind and set about joining the work force.

In a flash, she found herself in Canada. Anguished, she spent two weeks soul-searching in the woods with her dog before finally venturing all the way to Vermont.

She bounced between multiple odd jobs and took art classes at Johnson State College at the time to satisfy her thirst for creative expression.

The 70's saw Lauper performing with multiple cover bands such as "Doc West" and "Flyer." Nearing the decade's end, in '77, she suffered a vocal cord injury that threatened to keep her from ever singing again, but recovered with the help of a vocal coach.

It was her stint as lead vocalist of "Blue Angel" that gave her a taste of success. She and the band were signed by Polydor Records thanks to Steve Massarsky, their manager at the time. However, when their self-titled album tanked commercially (despite being acclaimed by critics), the band fell apart - firing Massarsky, who then sued them for $80,000.

Cyndi spent the difficult period that followed bankrupt and working in various retail stores as well as waitressing. It was the time she spent working in thrift stores that allegedly sparked her fashion transition to "thrift-store chic" that would later serve to seriously set her apart from other artists at the time.

Cyndi's Rapid Rise to Fame

Cyndi went back to singing and finally caught her chance at success in a bar in New York. Her singing had caught the ear of David Wolff, who then got her signed by Portrait Records.

Cue the gestation and release of her debut album, "She's So Unusual."

"She's So Unusual" took the world by surprise. Cyndi's unique style and sound catapulted her to international icon status in a flash and her album went on to be the first female debut album with 4 top-five hits on Billboard's "Hot 100."

Songs like "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Time After Time" were veritable pop sensations at release and have since become truly legendary offerings of the genre.

Awards poured in from all directions with nominations for Record of the Year and Album of the Year in the mix. It actually won a Grammy for Best Album Package!

Her fame grew even larger as she began making appearances in WWF events alongside Hulk Hogan, a move that fit perfectly with her raw and unrestrained image.

Continued Success and Achievement

In 1986, Cyndi put out her album "True Colors" which was massively successful, though to a lesser degree than her first. It tackled tough subjects tastefully - championing the struggles of the LGBT community and setting the philosophical tone for her many musical efforts to come.

The titular track charted at #1 on Billboard's "Hot 100" and ended up being licensed to Kodak for the company's commercials.

This period saw Lauper debuting in film, though her first movie appearance did very poorly. The movie itself, "Vibes," was a flop in all respects, but the song Cyndi released for it ("Hole in My Heart (All the Way to China)") did quite well in Australia.

Her third album, "A Night to Remember" had only 1 hit; Roy Orbison's "I Drove All Night," a number 6 single.

Marriage, Albums and More

Although Lauper's wide scale fame is still confined to her early two albums, she has yet to stop fervently producing thoughtful music.

After marrying actor David Thornton in 1991, Cyndi went on releasing albums, one after another to significantly less commercial success than her first 3. In fact, both her albums "Sisters of Avalon" and "Shine" were released exclusively in Japan.

She jumped back into acting as well - starring in "Life with Mikey" and "Mad About You," the latter of which won her an Emmy. A slew of cameos and accomplishments followed as well as the birth of her son Declyn W. Thornton.

Her albums "Bring Ya to the Brink" and "Memphis Blues" were very well received and featured charting hits. In the case of "Memphis Blues," the entire album held the #1 spot on Billboard's Blues Albums chart for 14 weeks straight!

Cyndi's Musical, Most Recent Album and Legacy

In 2012, a musical entitled "Kinky Boots" opened in Chicago. It was hugely successful, with 13 nominations and 6 wins at the Tony Awards. Best of all, Cyndi had composed the music and lyrics herself - landing a Tony Award for Best Original Score in the process.

She released her most recent album, "Detour" in 2016; a country album she'd been working on with top producers.

Lauper continues inspiring others to this day and will forever be admired as the world's first big female star to take a strange sense of style mainstream. A true icon in the world's eyes, Cyndi Lauper's impact on music, art and even fashion won't likely be forgotten any time soon.

Whitney Houston Biography

Few American singers have accrued quite the widespread appeal that Whitney Houston was able to amass during her lifetime.

Whitney's miraculous vocal abilities and charming appearance earned her a spot in everyone's hearts halfway through the 80's. A series of achievements and accolades ensued soon after her debut, culminating in the early nineties. Unfortunately, her life took a drastic turn for the worse after her marriage to singer Bobby Brown. Although she was able to make a small comeback in 2009, the height of her fame was never fully regained.

Whitney's Early Career

Whitney Houston was born on the 9th of August in the year 1963.

New Jersey was her birthplace and where she initially got her start in music. Her gifted singing ability seems to have run in her family; her cousin, mother and godmother were incredibly influential figures in music. Her cousin was actually Dionne Warwick and her godmother the one and only Aretha Franklin. Her mother, Cissy Houston, was minister of the church choir in which a young Whitney first began to wow and woo audiences. Congregations reputedly found her incredible to watch and listen to. Soon the entire world would follow suit.

It was around the time she turned 15 that Whitney began modeling successfully. Her natural beauty landed her on the cover of Seventeen Magazine. She was one of the first black women to do so. Houston continued on with music though - seeking out an opportunity at a record deal and big success in the industry. At 19, she got her big break as a newly-signed artist under Arista Records, thanks to Clive Davis who had signed her immediately after seeing her perform. After debuting on the Merv Griffin Show with a cover of "Home" from Oz-based musical remake, "The Wiz," Whitney and Davis worked closely together on her first album. In 1985, her debut album was released and Whitney's life changed forever.

Houston's Liftoff to Fame

Whitney was quickly catapulted to immense success and notoriety upon the release of her self-titled first album.

Over 14 non-consecutive weeks, Whitney's sensational first album topped the charts and dominated the airwaves. Iconic songs such as "How Will I Know" and "Saving All My Love for You" earned her critical acclaim, unparalleled fame and prestigious awards. "Saving All My Love for You" actually won Whitney a Grammy in 1986! With a huge mass of fans to please, Whitney released her second album in 1987. This album, titled "Whitney," did just as phenomenally as her first - earning her another Grammy for the smash hit, "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." This time around, she completed a tour of the world to great success.

At this time, Houston historically appeared and performed at Nelson Mandela's birthday!

Whitney's Move to Movies

After two incredibly successful albums, Whitney found her way onto the big screen - first appearing in "The Bodyguard" with Co-star Kevin Costner in 1992. The movie did tremendously well, but the accompanying soundtrack stole the show, due in no small part to her cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You." The song rose to the top of the charts and stuck there for 14 solid weeks, while the soundtrack earned her 3 Grammys. She went on to release hit albums for and star in two more movies (Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife), but began to experience serious difficulties in her personal life shortly thereafter.

Whitney's Downfall

Whitney's marriage to singer, Bobby Brown back in 1992 had gone from good to terrible in short time - devolving into a torrid fit of drug abuse and alleged domestic violence.

She and Bobby had entered into very rocky terrain in their relationship and, unfortunately, things did not progress in a positive direction. A series of public incidents began to erode her stature in the public eye and give rise to serious concerns over her health. It was a 2005 reality show with Bobby Brown as the focus that greatly defiled Houston's reputation - showing all of the worst moments the couple went through in 2004.

Their ailing relationship did not benefit from the massive publicity of the reality show and their many personal problems earned Whitney very little sympathy from viewers. Her 1998 album, "My Love is Your Love" and collaboration with Mariah Carey in "The Prince of Egypt" garnered awards but her 2002-release, "Just Whitney..." did pretty poorly. Once the reality show hit, her public image was tarnished almost irreparably. Soon, she was being recognized as coiner of the phrase "Hell to the No" rather than the incredible singer she had previously won the world over as. It was hard to imagine her coming out such a serious funk in her career, but more importantly in her own personal life and health.

Her Comeback and Passing

Houston's life had been severely derailed, but she somehow found the strength to pull herself together after a messy split with Bobby Brown and a slew of familial issues. She'd succeeded in obtaining custody of her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown, and managed to put together a successful new album entitled "I Look to You." However, her live performances were no longer what they used to be and her voice was reputedly less impressive after years of substance abuse.

Despite the difficulties with her voice, Whitney appeared to be coming back strong. She was set to star as a judge on "The X Factor" and sing alongside Jordin Sparks in upcoming movie musical, "Sparkle," but unfortunately passed away tragically before these plans could fully mature.

It was at a Beverly Hilton hotel in LA that Whitney allegedly drowned accidentally.

Clive Davis had been holding a Grammy party there and Houston had spent her last days at the pre-Grammy parties in the area. Official autopsies revealed traces of cocaine in her system as well as the telltale signs of a debilitating heart condition. Houston's substance use had finally taken its toll it would seem, but many are unsure of the true details of her death.

Although her life was cut short, her incredible singing legacy lives on to this day - inspiring millions worldwide to value, appreciate and even take up music themselves.

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