HAPPENINGS TEN YEARS TIME AGO

March 12 to 18, 1997

Jermaine Stewart, the 80s soul star whose biggest hit was "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off", dies of AIDS-related liver cancer, aged 39. Initially finding fame as a dancer on the long-running TV show Soul Train, Stewart also sang backing vocals for the likes of The Temptations, Tavares, Shalamar and Culture Club.


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I am risen, Lazarus-like, from a couple of weeks in flu-ravaged purgatory, a desperate condition accompanied by much attendant chest-rattling coughing and colourful spluttering. So apologies for my recent absence here. What passes for normal service will hopefully resume next week, with a return to the daily blogs as advertised at the top of this page.


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HAPPENINGS TEN YEARS TIME AGO

March 5 to 11, 1997

The Notorious B.I.G. is shot dead as he sits in a car outside the Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles. Police confirm they are investigating links between the killing and the slaying of Tupac Shakur in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas six months earlier, fuelling tabloid stories of a feud between the East Coast and West Coast rap communities. Biggie's demise comes just days after Death Row Records president Marion 'Suge' Knight receives a nine-year sentence for parole violations.


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More on Joe Strummer and The 101’ers

Following my somewhat nostalgic post about calling in at the Elgin and being reminded of many great nights there watching Joe Strummer and The 101’ers in their short-lived scruffy pomp, I’ve received the following email from reader Peter Cabret.


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What I’ve been playing most recently has been Neon Bible, the second album from The Arcade Fire, the follow-up to Funeral and possibly one of the most keenly-anticipated albums of the year, for which great things are predicted and will probably happen.


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Thanks to everyone who wrote in to identify the clip of Dylan playing “Mr Tambourine Man” that I posted.


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Someone’s put up large printed signs all down Stockwell Road and around Brixton Academy, large black letters on a bright orange background, their authorship unknown but their message starkly clear.


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You’ll have to excuse me if I sound as hoarse as a hacksaw this morning and seem more than a little rough around the edges, but I am in slow recovery from an extraordinary night in the company of The Hold Steady, who for today at least are officially the best rock’n’roll band on the planet.


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This is just a quick postcript to my last blog, about Joe Strummer and The 101'ers.


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I found myself last night for the first time in decades in Ladbroke Grove, an old stomping ground, not much-visited since I lived around there for a year of largely wild times that ended badly in 1977 with a recuperative fortnight in intensive care.


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Editor's Letter

The new Uncut revealed! Arctic Monkeys, Neil Young, Kate Bush and Warren Zevon in new issue


Next month, Arctic Monkeys play two shows at London’s Finsbury Park to more than 100,000 people, which makes it a reasonable moment to look back at the band’s journey from the Sheffield suburb of High Green to their current all-conquering place in a rock pantheon where they are...