It happened to Otis Redding and Janis Joplin, too — but they were already famous when they died. Twin Cities area high-school musician Zach Sobiech is rocketing up the charts in the aftermath of his death on Monday from a rare form a cancer at age 18.

The song Sobiech wrote for family and friends to bid them farewell, "Clouds," went to No. 1 on iTunes mere hours after his funeral Thursday, and Billboard magazine reports that the tune will likely debut high on its Hot 100 chart next week, probably in the top 20. That would put the Stillwater High student from Lakeland in the company of Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. The EP he released under the band moniker A Firm Handshake, "Fix Me Up" — which features "Clouds" and six other songs — also reached No. 2 on the iTunes album chart Friday.

"Clouds" had already attracted plenty of attention prior to Sobiech's death, with more than 4 million views of the video on YouTube. He rerecorded the song and formally released it as a single in conjunction with the St. Paul-based music-for-charity organization Rock the Cause, whose nonprofit status helps funnel money from the sales of "Clouds" and Sobiech's other songs toward the Children's ­Cancer Research Fund.


Snooki meets Gov. Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was never a fan of MTV's "Jersey Shore," saying it unfairly cast the state in a negative light. So when Nicole Polizzi, better known as Snooki, got to meet Christie Friday, their exchange was a tad awkward. Christie and "Jersey Shore" cast members appeared separately on NBC's "Today" show during filming in Seaside Heights to talk about the state's storm recovery. Seaside is where "Jersey Shore" was filmed. In a later exchange captured on video by the Asbury Park Press, an unsmiling Snooki told Christie that she hoped he would "start to like us." Christie responded, "Well, we'll do our best." After they parted ways, Snooki looked at the camera and said, "He just doesn't like us."

What did she throw? Amanda Bynes appeared disheveled in a long blond wig and sweats Friday in New York criminal court where she was charged with reckless endangerment after police said she heaved a marijuana bong out the window of her 36th-floor Manhattan apartment. The former child star, 27, was arrested Thursday evening, after building officials at her midtown apartment called police to complain she was rolling a joint and smoking pot in the lobby. "My client completely denies illegally throwing anything out of her window," said attorney Andrew Friedman.

associated press