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In Memoriam: January 2013

February 4th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

It was carnage in January, as far as music deaths went. Strangely, none of the 30-odd new arrivals in music heaven (or hell) were big headline deaths.

Of course, Patti Page, who died on the first day of the new year, and Patty Andrews, the last surviving Andrews Sister who passed away on the second-last day of the month, were household names back in the day, but neither passing caused much of a stir. I suppose when you are 85 and 94, your deaths are sort of expected.

For funk fans, the deaths of Ohio Players singer Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner and Mandrill”s Lou Wilson was big news.  And fans of eclectic music that is rooted in blues will mourn the passing of Jef Lee Johnson, at only 54, and the quite remarkable Precious Bryant (google her story).

Claude Nobs, the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, died on January 10, after an 11-day come caused by a ski accident. He is the “Funky Claude” in Deep Purple”s Smoke On The Water, a reference to Montreux casino that burnt down during a Frank Zappa concert.

Perhaps one for the collectors is Trevor Gordon“s House Without Windows, written by Barry Gibb with the Gibb Brothers doing backing vocals.


Patti Page, 85, pop singer, on January 1
Patti Page – How Much Is That Doggie In The Window (1953)

Jon Fromer, 66, protest singer and television producer, on January 2
Jonathan, David and Elbert – Three Kids (1965)

Sammy Johns, 66, country singer-songwriter, on January 4
Sammy Johns – Chevy Van (1975)

Lou Wilson, 71, member of funk band Mandrill, on January 7
Mandrill – Livin’ It Up (1976)

Tom Ebbert, 93, trombonist with jazz band Dukes of Dixieland, on January 7

Liz Lands, 73, soul singer, on January 7
Liz Lands – One Man”s Poison (1967)

Kent Abbott, 32, member of Canadian emo band Grade, on January 7

Tandyn Almer, 70, musician, songwriter and composer, on January 8
The Association – Along Comes Mary (1966, as composer)

Rex Trailer, 84, western singer and TV host (Boomtown), on January 9
Rex Trailer ““ Hoofbeats (1955)

Karl Potter, 62, jazz percussionist, on January 7

Claude Nobs, 76, Swiss founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, on January 10
Deep Purple ““ Smoke On The Water (1972)
Neil Larsen & Buzz Feiten – Casino Lights (live at Montreux, 1982)

Hansi Schwarz, 70, member of Swedish band The Hootenanny Singers (with future Abba member Bjorn Ulvaeus), on January 10
The Hootenanny Singers ““ Marianne (1965)

George Gruntz, 80, Swiss jazz musician, on January 10

Trevor Gordon, 64, English singer and guitarist, member of duo “60s The Marbles, on January 10
Trevor Gordon and the Bee Gees – House Without Windows (1965)

John Wilkinson, 67, rhythm guitarist of Elvis Presley”s backing band TCB, on January 11
Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds (live, 1973)

Precious Bryant, 71, American blues, gospel, soul and country musician, on January 12
Precious Bryant ““ Fever (2002)

Sam Pace, 68, member of soul group The Esquires, on January 14
The Esquires – Girls In The City (1970)

Nic Potter, 61, bassist with English prog-rock band Van der Graaf Generator, on December 15
Van der Graaf Generator – Out Of My Book (1970)

Claude Black, 80, jazz pianist, on January 17

Steve Knight, 77, keyboardist of ’60s hard rock band Mountain, on December 18
Mountain – Mississippi Queen (1970)

Bob Engemann, 78, member of The Lettermen, on January 20
The Lettermen – Where Or When (1963)

Tony Douglas, 83, country singer, on January 22
Tony Douglas ““ My Last Day (1981)

Sally Starr, 90, TV personality and rockabilly singer, on January 25
Sally Starr – Rocky The Rockin” Rabbit (1958)

Gregory Carroll, 83, doo wop singer with The Four Buddies and The Orioles, and songwriter, on January 25
The Four Buddies – I Will Wait
The Orioles – Crying In The Chapel (1953)
Doris Troy – Just One Look (1963, as co-writer)

Leroy “˜Sugarfoot” Bonner, 70, singer of funk legends Ohio Players, on January 26
Ohio Players – I’ve Got To Hold On (1968)
Ohio Players – Funky Worm (1973)

Brian Bailey, 69, member of British novelty band Moldy Warps, on January 27

Jef Lee Johnson, 54, jazz-blues musician, on January 28
Jef Lee Johnson – One For Right Now (2002)

George Higgs, 82, blues musician and leader of the Friendly Five Gospel Quartet, on January 29

Butch Morris, 65, jazz cornetist, composer and conductor, on January 29

Victor Ntoni, 65, South African jazz musician, on January 29
Black Coffee – Wathula Nje (2010, as songwriter and bassist)

Ann Rabson, 67, member of blues trio Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women, on January 30

Patty Andrews, 94, last surviving member of The Andrews Sisters, on January 30
Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters – Don’t Fence Me In (1944)

(PW in comments)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    February 4th, 2013 at 08:01 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Douglas
    February 4th, 2013 at 16:44 | #2

    I hope everyone understands the importance of the monthly In Memoriam posts. It’s a fitting tribute to those artists we know and love as well as a recognition to the ones who have been long forgotten.
    As always, thanks Dude.

  3. Trod
    February 4th, 2013 at 18:05 | #3

    These always make me sad.

  4. Rhod
    February 5th, 2013 at 10:57 | #4

    Thanks Amd for another great effort in bringing us Inmemoriam January 2013. I appreciate the time and effort.



  5. February 5th, 2013 at 12:04 | #5

    Thanks so much for keeping up this monthly effort. For an annual review (compilations and podccasts), visit BasementRug.com.

  6. Lisa
    February 5th, 2013 at 19:29 | #6

    I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate this monthly update, Amd. As a fan of ridiculously obscure artists (which I am sure you already knew), I can’t count on the normal obituaries to keep me updated on the sad (and too often untimely) passings of some old favorites.

    BTW, are you associated with the Dead Rock Stars Club? Another great read, though often I think they tend to stretch certain “celebs'” “MUSICAL” connections. But I can also be pretty sure that if someone who ever played a note of music is dead, they’re on the list.

  7. halfhearteddude
    February 6th, 2013 at 09:26 | #7

    Thanks all for the kind words.

    I consult the Dead Rock Stars Club, who do indeed stretch the idea of music stardom. Still, it’s a great resource. They do miss a few that I catch, though.

  8. Anders Franzén
    February 9th, 2013 at 12:19 | #8

    Wasn’t the whole Mexican group ‘Kombo Kolombo’ found dead in january? Victims of the Mexican gang wars.

  9. halfhearteddude
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