Music News: Singer and actor Della Reese dies at 86

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Della Reese performs at B.B. King's 80th birthday celebration in 2005.
Della Reese performs at B.B. King's 80th birthday celebration in 2005. (Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Actor and singer Della Reese has died, suffering from diabetes, at age 86. Reese was a popular singer in the 1950s — her biggest hit, "Don't You Know," went to #2 in 1959 — but ultimately achieved greatest fame as a television actor. She made her small-screen debut in 1968, on The Mod Squad, and ultimately became the first black woman to host a national TV variety show (Della, 1969-70). Her highest-profile role came in her 60s, when she spent a decade playing a heavenly supervisor on the hit show Touched By an Angel. (New York Times)

Another great singer, Warren "Pete" Moore, has died of an undisclosed cause at age 78. Moore was an original member of the Miracles, and co-writer of classic songs including "The Tracks of My Tears" and Marvin Gaye’s hit "Ain't That Peculiar."

"I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Warren 'Pete' Moore, a fine human being and valued member of the Motown family," said label founder Berry Gordy in a statement. "Pete was an original member of my very first group, the Miracles. He was a quiet spirit with a wonderful Bass voice behind Smokey Robinson’s soft, distinctive lead vocals and was co-writer on several of the Miracles hits."

Moore was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of the Miracles, in 2012. (Rolling Stone)

Flaming Lips wrapping paper?

Whatever you're getting the music fan on your holiday shopping list, here's something to wrap it in: official Flaming Lips wrapping paper, designed by Wayne Coyne and based on the artwork for the band's newest album Oczy Mlody. Proceeds from sales of the wrapping paper will go to fight homelessness in the band's hometown of Oklahoma City. (Rolling Stone)

Fox News bans Gene Simmons

Fox News has banned Gene Simmons from its premises, after the KISS frontman "crudely insulted female Fox staffers, taunted them and exposed his chest, and otherwise behaved like the 'demon' character he plays on stage," reports the Daily Beast. Simmons was at the network to promote his new book, titled On Power. Among Simmons's on-air comments was one that might seem to refer directly to himself. "I'm a powerful and attractive man, and what I'm about to say is deadly serious," he declared. "Men are jackasses."

Swedish women speak out against sexual abuse in music industry

Robyn, Tove Lo, and Nina Persson (the Cardigans) have signed an open letter, along with thousands of other Swedish women, denouncing sexual abuse and harassment in their country's music industry. "We demand zero tolerance for sexual exploitation or violence. Sexual assault or violence will have consequences in terms of terminations of contracts," reads the letter in part. "We will put shame back where it belongs — with the perpetrators and the people protecting them." (Pitchfork)

Shirley Manson responds to Morrissey remarks on sexual assault

What can you say when a widely-admired musician makes comments defending the actions of alleged abusers Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey? Shirley Manson of Garbage had a pithy response, shared via the band's Twitter account. "Morrissey has lost the f---ing plot," begins the tweet, which you can read in full here. (Billboard)

Mary J. Blige, JAY-Z lead NAACP Image Award nominations

The NAACP has announced the nominations for this year's Image Awards, which honor outstanding people of color in media and the arts. Mary J. Blige and JAY-Z lead the nominations, with five nods each. JAY-Z was a nominee for Entertainer of the Year, along with Bruno Mars, Issa Rae, Chance the Rapper, actor Chadwick Boseman, and film director Ava DuVernay. The awards will be presented on Jan. 15. (Billboard)


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