Famous Virgo People
A Famously Popular Author
Stephen King--9/21/1947--is a well known and loved author of horror, science fiction, suspense and fantasy novels, who often places his settings and characters in his home state of Maine. He has tried throughout his prolific career to bring the short story back into literature, as he got his own foot in the door by writing short stories for magazines when he was just starting out.
King graduated from the University of Maine, where he met his wife Tabitha, a novelist, and they have three grown children together (and now four grandchildren). Both of Stephen King's sons are also writers, Joseph Hillstrom King, who goes under the pen name of Joe Hill, and Owen King.
King taught high school English for one year, when he got an advance for Carrie, the horrific tale of a girl who is always teased, and gets her revenge on prom night. Apparently he was not happy with the way the book was coming along, and threw it in the trash. Luckily, Tabitha took it back out and convinced him to finish it. At the time they were hurting for money, and one of the children was sick, so when the royalty check of $2500.00 came, they were able to buy the necessary antibiotics.
King has gone on to publish fifty books, all best sellers. He writes in a very conversational tone which is very reader friendly. He considers The Tower Series to be his Magnum Opus, and wrote the first book at the ripe age of nineteen. Although I am a big fan, I only read The Tower books in 2010, and now realize that a high percentage of his books are related to The Tower, so King has had this tale on his mind for many years now.
King Critically Wounded in Auto Accident
Stephen King had a terrible accident in 1999, when he was run over by a van, while taking his daily walk, and had to endure many operations. He found that the driver already had several drunken driving convictions, and only asked that this person's driving privileges be taken away. In a turn of events as creepy as one of King's novels, the person who ran him over passed away about one year later.
King is also part of a small rock group made up of other writers, dubbed The Rock Bottom Remainders, such as Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry and Amy Tan, to name a few, and they play small venues to raise money for charity. The characters in many of his books listen to familiar rock tunes, and it is fun to see which ones he uses. He has gone on the record as saying he believes wealthy people, himself included, should pay more income tax because it is the moral and sensible solution to the economic problems the U.S. currently faces. He did write one book, Duma Key, in a Florida location, but so far his tales still take place in Maine. He and Tabitha do live in FL during the ME winters. He wrote a nonfiction book On Writing, where he gives great advice to would be writers.
Favorite Writings of Stephen King
Stephen King also has an endearing way of writing a note to his Constant Readers in every book he writes, explaining why he wrote certain things or how he got his ideas. Not all of his works are scary, a favorite of mine is Bag of Bones, a haunted love story, and a film based on a short story, about an innocent man imprisoned for 17 years, in a collection called Different Seasons. So the "King of Horror" title is not completely correct. If you are not familiar with this author, give him a try. King has tried many mediums for his work, including books on tape, CD's, free ones online, and one called The Plant, where it was only released online, and readers were on an honor system to pay for it after they downloaded it, at $1.00. He says about 60% were honest. If you want to escape and read something that scares you more than your own life, Stephen King is the author for you!
Jersey's Own Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen—9/23/49—is a songwriter, singer, and musician from New Jersey, who memorializes the Jersey shore and regular, working class people in his works. Although a big hit in his own state, he had trouble getting attention in other places. His songs tell long stories, much like Bob Dylan’s. Finally he went for broke to make one more album to reach for success, and spent a lot of studio time on Born to Run. “Miami” Steve Van Zandt finally stepped in to help with the horn section of 10th Avenue Freeze Out, and eventually joined Springsteen’s E Street Band. They played songs from Born to Run at The Bottom Line, a club in NYC, and one Rolling Stone writer called the set, “One of the 50 minutes that changed Rock and Roll.”
The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle did not do well at first, but later became a classic. His "Rosalita (Come out Tonight)" is a song that evokes memories of walking on the boardwalk, eating junk food, and having fortunes told by the gypsy readers that are a big part of the Jersey shore experience. The E Street Band, now consists of Steve Van Zandt, (who later played Silvio on the Sopranos) Garry Tallent, Nils Lofgen, Patti Scialfa, Max Weinburg, and Roy Bittan. Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici have passed on. The lineup changed over the years.
Springsteen Becomes "The Boss"
In September of 1979, the band participated in a “No Nukes” concert to protest nuclear war at Madison Square Garden. Springsteen was always known as a private person and a perfectionist. His group called him “The Boss” and although he did not like it, the name stuck.
Springsteen began making more social commentaries as his career progressed. "Born in the USA" is an angry song about the way the Vietnam Vets were treated upon coming home from war. Many politicians want to use the song for their campaigns, but never really listened to the words, only the refrain, not realizing Bruce’s anger about the Vets was vented in that song. Some wanted to make "Born to Run" the NJ State Song, but once again, when one listens, it discusses lack of opportunity and jobs, advising people to “get out while you’re young.”
Springsteen did not wish to endorse anyone’s campaign with his music at that time. A video from "Dancing in the Dark" helped Courtney Cox to jump start her career; she hops onto the stage to dance while the band is playing. Springsteen married Julianne Phillips in 1985, but the marriage was not a successful one, and they split when Springsteen’s relationship with his backup singer Patti Scialfa became public. The two of them relocated to CA and married in 1991. His style in LA was more laid back, and some disliked that he changed from being NJ’s poster boy. Springsteen won multiple Grammys and an Academy Award for “Philadelphia” the movie about a lawyer dying of AIDS, at the time when people knew little about AIDs and how it was transmitted.
Streets of Philadelphia
President Obama Honors Bruce Springsteen
Bruce moved back to NJ in the later 1990s, and manages to keep a low profile for someone of his fame. He and his family live on a horse farm in Colts Neck, NJ, own another NJ home, and also one in FL and in CA. After the 9/11 attacks, Bruce made a comeback album, The Rising, based on conversations he had with people who lost loved ones that day. It was his most successful work in 15 years, and he played 10 sold out shows in Giant's Stadium in NJ.
He has been an advocate for Asbury Park, a lovely seaside town which has gone to seed, as many towns down the Jersey shore have, along with Atlantic City. In later works, Springsteen discusses personal themes such as personal commitment and dissatisfaction with everyday life situations. He normally kept his own political stances private, but after Hurricane Sandy devastated much of the Jersey Shore, Republican Governor Chris Christie, President Obama, and Bruce Springsteen worked together to help victims and raise money. It turned out that Christie had been a big Springsteen fan, and had seen over 50 of his concerts! So despite their differences, they were together at a lot of benefits.
Springsteen openly supported Barack Obama in his campaign, and his song "The Rising" played over the loud speakers after Obama made his victory speech, followed by "This Land is Your Land" with Pete Seeger. In January of 2010, he participated in a concert to help Haiti's Earthquake victims, organized by George Clooney. Bruce Springsteen won a Kennedy Center Honor, and the kind words from President Obama that, "Springsteen incorporated the life of regular Americans in his palette of songs and his concerts are beyond typical Rock and Roll concerts, apart from being high energy concerts, they are "communions." Obama ended with, "While I am the President, he is The Boss." Not bad for somebody who was once just a young guy from New Jersey.
Rachael Ray 8/25/68—is a popular and well known cook (she rejects the “chef” title) who first got noticed on the Food TV Network, on her show 30 Minute Meals, where she enthusiastically and vivaciously demonstrated how people only needed 30 minutes to be able to prepare and cook a healthy meal, no matter how busy their lives were. Rachael also has a show on Food TV where she travels to various countries and shows how a visitor can eat three delicious meals there for under $40.00 a day. Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels is yet another show this ball of energy hosts.
Rachel's Family Was in the Restaurant Business
Ray’s family came from upstate New York, and then moved to Cape Cod, where they ran four restaurants. She worked in a fresh food market for Macy’s, and finally managed a pub called The Sagamore on Lake George, NY, a popular vacation spot. She talked to many people who had fears about cooking while she had that job, which eventually landed her the 30 Minute Meal Show. She was featured often on Oprah, who went in with a production company to produce Rachael’s first show.
Rachel is Very Organized
She has a very relaxed style of cooking, not even measuring sometimes, except for eye. She uses Extra Virgin Olive Oil in practically everything, and calls it EVOO, which is now in the dictionary. Ray claims she hates to bake because of all the measuring, and can’t make a decent cup of coffee. But her zeal and ability to show people how to make a quick and healthy meal from scratch has made her very popular. She shows how to save time in the kitchen, by gathering all the necessary ingredients, having a large “garbage bowl” or the “GB”, nearby to put scraps, and then stands in one place at the kitchen counter, without wasting time. This writer "discovered" her show while recovering from a painful back injury, and Ray taught me a few tricks about how to save time by not crossing your kitchen over and over again to get what you need. Her organizational skills while cooking are amazing!
Animal Rights Activist
She is also an animal rights activist, and gives to charity in their behalf. In 2005 her magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray was launched, and it’s still going strong. She has been in a few chef’s cook off’s, but claims they make her too nervous. She became a spokesperson for Nabisco in 2006, and in 2007, West Point Home launched a line of bed and bath products which carry Rachael Ray’s name. She became Dunkin Donuts celebrity endorser in 2007, playing on the fact she claimed she cannot make a good cup of coffee herself. Rachael Ray also has a line of pet food called “Nutrish,” and all the proceeds go to her charity Rachael’s Rescue, to assist at risk animals. She also is part of a charity called “Yum-o” (she makes up a lot of her own words) which she began with the help of President Bill Clinton, as part of a campaign to help children eat healthier foods. If you have the chance to watch one of her shows, she will charm you, yet has a practical and doable plan to make a healthy meal in little time.
A Kitchen Whirlwind
She got married in 2005 in Tuscany, Italy, to John Cusimano, a lawyer and singer in the rock band Cringe. She owns two homes, one in upstate New York and one in Manhattan. She claims her Sicilian grandfather inspired her to cook, and insists that fresh ingredients are the key to having good tasting food. She has critics, who claim her 30 Minute Meals do not include prep time, but that is true of any cooking show, other people do the prep. She has many interesting recipe ideas, though some may find them too spicy, it is inspiring to watch her zip around her retro kitchen and whip up something that looks delicious. Ray has won several Emmy Awards for Daytime TV for her shows.
Beyonce Knowles—9/4/81—is likely the most well known and accomplished singer, dancer, songwriter, and entertainer of this decade. She was born and raised in Houston, TX, when her dance instructor realized that Beyonce had a remarkable vocal range for a child of eight. She honed her singing skills in her church choir, and went on to be part of the girl group Destiny’s Child, with whom she made four albums.
The third one, Survivor, was released in 2001, sold 10 million copies worldwide to date, also coining the phrase “Bootylicious.” It also earned the group a Grammy Award for best R&B performance by a group or duo. Knowles starred opposite Mike Myers in the 2002 comedy Austin Powers in Goldmember, playing Foxxy Cleopatra. She also recorded her first solo number, “Work It Out” for the film’s soundtrack. Beyonce performed opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. in The Fighting Temptations, and was featured in her then boyfriend (now husband) Jay-Z’s video 03 Bonnie and Clyde in the same year.
Beyonce’s career was growing by leaps and bounds, and she released her first solo album, Dangerously in Love, in June 2003. It remains her bestselling album to date. The lead single, "Crazy in Love", featured Jay-Z, and spent 8 consecutive weeks as number one on the Billboard charts. This album won a then record of 5 awards at the 46th Annual Grammys. Beyonce took the tour to Europe in 2004, but first returned to Destiny’s child to record their last album together. The band did go on the road to promote the album and it did well, but they disbanded for good, reuniting only to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Beyonce starred in a Broadway musical called Dreamgirls, based on a 1960’s singing group, in 2006, along with Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson. The role won Beyonce 2 Golden Globe Awards and she wrote several songs, including, "Listen", which won her Best Original song. She continued to collaborate with Jay-Z, amid rumors they were romantically linked, and they married in New York in 2008. They were named a “power couple” in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2006.
Beyonce has an “alter ego” and showed her off in her album I Am Sasha Fierce in 2008. Many songs featured on this album are about being a liberated woman, and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” began the first major dance craze of the 2000’s. Beyonce says she was inspired by watching old Ed Sullivan shows and seeing how coordinated the girl groups were in their choreography. The single was nominated in 9 categories at the MTV Video Awards, prompting controversy when a tune from Taylor Swift won in the Best Female Video category. Beyonce's perfectionism in whatever she tried to accomplish is a very Virgo trait, and she is comparable to Michael Jackson in talent and fame.
Put a Ring on it
Other Beyonce Roles
Beyonce starred as Etta James in a musical biography in 2008, and sang her classic hit, “At Last” at Barack Obama’s Inaugural Ball when he and First Lady Michele danced their first dance as President and First Lady. Is there anything Beyonce cannot do?
She was able to let her Sasha Fierce alter ego go when she felt more secure voicing her stronger opinions. She told the world that she and Jay-Z were expecting their first child at the 2011 MTV Music Award show, and set off a Twitter record for the most tweets per second recorded about a single event. In January of 2012 their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, was born in New York. On June 13, 2017, Beyonce gave birth to twins, Rumi and Sir.
Most people are blown away by Beyonce’s live vocal performances, and she likes to dress sexy when on stage. She admits to being influenced by Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, Prince, Cher, and Tina Turner, among others. Many performers are influenced by Beyonce as well, including Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cirus, and Blondie front woman Debbie Harry, one of the first women to rap.
Beyonce is a generous philanthropist, endorsed several products in commercials, has several perfumes made for her by Tommy Hilfiger, and is beginning a fashion line. She and Jay-Z were cited a “power couple” once again, this time in the Guinness Book of World Records, in 2009, for earning $122 million dollars together that year. Her list of achievements is so extensive; the only person that she compares to in her time is probably Michael Jackson. Beyonce has reworked a song of hers to align with First Lady Michele Obama’s campaign to fight childhood obesity, and it is called “Move Your Body.” One can only imagine what the future holds for this talented woman.
Buddy Holly That'll Be The Day
Buddy Holly—9/7/36—2/3/59—His real name was Charles Hardin Holley, but he was surely an American Pioneer of Rock and Roll. Born in Lubbock, TX, he saw Elvis Presley sing in Lubbock in 1955, and liked the rockabilly style. Holley opened for Presley in a show, and this brought him some attention from a talent scout from Nashville. He opened for Bill Haley and His Comets, and this was his transition to Rock.
Holley signed a contract with Decca Records in 1956, but they spelled his name wrong, as Holly, so he kept it that way. His band, The Crickets, consisted of Holly on vocals and lead guitar, Niki Sullivan on guitar, Joe B. Mauldin on bass, and Jerry Allison on drums. They were produced by Owen Bradley, but in the 3 recording sessions they did with him in Nashville, did not have much creative freedom. Holly recorded “That’ll Be the Day” and two forgettable other songs, so Decca did not want to renew his contract, nor allow him to record for anyone else for 5 years.
So Holly began recording in Clovis, Mexico to get around this problem and signed on with Coral Records. "That’ll be The Day" became a hit, and the Crickets played "Peggy Sue" on the Ed Sullivan show in 1957. Holley was liked by an all black audience at the Apollo, and introduced them to Rock and Roll/Rockabilly. In fact, the Crickets were often the only white people in the neighborhoods where they played. Virgo people are nervous, and one can see this in the video clip, but Holly's quirks make him more endearing.
Holly met a woman in 1958, Maria Santiago, and at their first dinner he gave her a red rose and a marriage proposal. They got married in Lubbock in August of 1958. Maria said meeting Buddy was like “magic.” Holly got more ambitious than his band mates and moved to New York, breaking up the band. Holly set the standard rock band; two guitars, bass and drums. He was one of the first to write, produce and perform his own songs. He sometimes played with Little Richard or Chuck Berry, and it is said that when he saw John Lennon playing with his glasses on, he felt better about his own! Both Lennon and McCartney cite Holly as one of the people who influenced and inspired them. A 17 year old Bob Dylan attended a Holly concert 2 nights before his death, and said he felt like Holly was with him many times when he was performing.
Holly had some wonderful material, "Words of Love", "Not Fade Away", "Peggy Sue", "Oh Boy","I’ll Just Pretend", "It Doesn’t Matter Anymore", "It’s Raining in My Heart", and so many more. Holly was invited to play at a Winter Dance Party in the Midwest, featuring Dion and the Belmonts, Ritchie Valens, JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson, so he chartered a small plane to take him to Moorehead, MN, where the plane crashed soon after takeoff.
They all died in the crash, and band mate Waylon Jennings had given up his seat on that plane. Apparently he wanted to take a bus, and joked to Holly that he hoped his plane would crash. Those words haunted him for years. This tragic death happened when rising star Buddy Holly was only 22 years old. Don McLean’s line in American Pie is about the loss of Holly, described as “the day the music died.” His wife Maria was 2 weeks pregnant at the time of Holly’s loss.
Holly bridged the racial divide in music which had previously existed in America. He made country music, rhythm and blues, and regular blues familiar to white audiences who were not familiar with it. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones says, “Holly influenced everybody” and Bruce Springsteen said, “I play Holly before I go on stage every time, it keeps me honest.” The Grateful Dead played "Not Fade Away" over 500 times. Buddy Holly only released three records in his short lifetime, but they changed the course of music forever. Gary Busey was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Buddy Holly. A street and museum in Lubbock are dedicated to Holley’s memory. On 9/7/2011, on what would have been Holly’s 75th birthday, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Gary Busey did a great job singing and playing guitar when he got the part of Buddy Holly in the movie. But if you see what you think is Holly, and it's in color, it's Busey. There was no color TV when Holly was alive! Gasp!
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© 2012 Jean Bakula