It’s with much sadness that we report that DJ/producer Peter Rauhofer has died at 48 after a battle with brain cancer. The Austrian-born artist and head of Star 69 Records was a regular on New York’s house scene for decades, performing and producing under the names Club 59 and Size Queen; holding residencies at the Roxy and Stereo; remixing the likes of Cher, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Yoko Ono, and Pink; and winning a Grammy in 2000 for his remix of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.”
No joke: To promote last night’s State of the Union address, the White House created a short YouTube clip featuring images of Barack, Hillary, and numerical graphs flowing by to the tune of a pretty bro-y dubstep track. We seriously had to do a double-take (and a double fact-check), so click on through and judge for yourself. (And yes, we know that’s a ghastly photo illustration up top.)
We share the world’s shock and sadness at the death of Whitney Houston, who was found dead yesterday in her Los Angeles hotel room; she was 48 years old.
Houston was a ferociously talented singer who helped introduce R&B to a universal audience; her music and her acting helped break down racial barriers, and she used her stature to campaign against apartheid and raise enormous sums for charities ranging from the United Negro College Fund to the American Red Cross’s Gulf Crisis Fund.
She was also a notoriously troubled individual who struggled with drugs and a tumultuous relationship with the singer Bobby Brown. The hard living took its toll on Houston’s voice, and her erratic behavior cast her, in the public eye, as yet another celebrity who had lost the plot.
In many ways, she was an early victim of our voracious and unkind celebrity culture, which builds up stars only to knock them down and then feed hungrily upon their failings. But her real achievements were musical. As The New York Times‘ Ben Sisario pointed out on Twitter, “Without Whitney, there’d be no Mariah, no Xtina, half the contestants on “Idol.” She’s the model who took gospel completely into pop.”
And while we Houston is best known for ballads like “I Will Always Love You” and other songs that came off like Hallmark cards misted with air freshener, there’s more to her catalogue than that overblown, melismatic pop. Bill Laswell recruited her to sing on Material‘s 1982 album One Down, where she joined a diverse, credentialed cast including Nile Rogers, Fred Frith, Nona Hendryx, The Golden Paleminos’ Nicky Skopelitis, and saxophonist Archie Shepp. And Houston’s place in dance-music culture is enshrined with her glorious 1992 rendition of Ashford & Simpson’s “I’m Every Woman,” made famous by Chaka Khan. Produced by Narada Michael Walden, Houston’s version is as pure a fusion of house music and pop imaginable—an inspiring testament to a life spent bringing people together, even if the burden was too much for one woman.