Natalie Cole: The Legend’s Daughter Was a Star, Too

Natalie Cole, the daughter of legendary pop and jazz crooner Nat King Cole, was such a talented singer in her own right that she could have changed her name and still been a huge star. Famous People We Lost in 2015 » She soared to stardom in 1975, winning a Grammy for best female R&B performance as well as best new artist for her hit single “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love).” That song made it to the top of Billboard’s …

Fred Thompson: He Didn’t Just Play a Lawyer on TV

With his imposing stature and deep voice, Fred Thompson, who played district attorney Arthur Branch on the long-running TV series Law & Order, was utterly believable as a tough-but-wise authority figure. But Thompson, who passed away Nov. 1 at age 73 in Nashville, didn’t just play a lawyer — he was one in real life. He first gained public attention as minority counsel for the Senate Watergate committee in 1973, when his questioning exposed a secret White House taping system. …

Cory Wells: He Was One Voice of Three Dog Night

You might not recognize Cory Wells by name, but you undoubtedly know his voice – in particular, his vocal on Three Dog Night’s 1970 chart-topping single “Mama Told Me (Not to Come),” in which he artfully feigns panic after wandering into a particularly debauched soiree: Want some whiskey in your water? Sugar in your tea? What’s all these crazy questions they’re askin’ me? Famous People We’ve Lost in 2015 » Wells, who passed away on Oct. 20 at age 74 in …

Don Featherstone: Father of the Plastic Lawn Flamingo

You may not know sculptor Don Featherstone, but you’ve seen his signature creation grace myriad suburban lawns over the past six decades as an icon of Americans’ affection for tacky. >> Famous People We’ve Lost in 2015 Featherstone, who died June 22 at age 79 in Fitchburg, Mass., was the father of the pink plastic lawn flamingo. He created the original in 1957 for Union Products, a Massachusetts-based plastics manufacturer. Here are some facts about the artist and his famous bird. …

Ben E. King: He Sang ‘Stand by Me’

R&B singer Ben E. King, who passed away April 30 at age 76 in Hackensack, N.J., had a smooth, unaffected baritone and soulful delivery that earned him a string of top 10 singles between the late 1950s and early 1960s, both as a member of the Drifters and as a solo artist. But it was one song, “Stand by Me,” that ensured musical immortality for the North Carolina native. After becoming a hit in 1961, the song enjoyed a second …

Percy Sledge: He Sang ‘When A Man Loves a Woman’

Back in 1966, a soul singer named Percy Sledge scored a No. 1 hit with his first single, “When a Man Loves a Woman” — a plaintive ballad about obsessive, all-consuming passion and the heartbreak it inevitably inflicts. The Alabama native, who died April 14 at age 74 in Baton Rouge, La., managed to put himself in the soundtrack of countless ’60s boomer romances. Here are some facts about a hit that still resonates and the man who created it. …