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In Memoriam – August 2014

September 4th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments


Last week I switched on our local talk radio station, one that never plays music during weekdays. And there it was, playing George Michael”s “Kissing A Fool”. My first thought was: “Shit, did George Michael die?”, which would explain the music.

My second, rather cynical, thought was: “Oh well, that means we”ll have a headline death for In Memoriam”. When “Kissing A Fool” was over, a Billy Joel song came on, alerting me to the fact that George Michael was still happily alive. It seems the radio station merely had transmitter problems and was filling, ahem, dead air. All this is to say that this month, the Reaper was easy on the superstars and legends of music, presumably having had his fill in the world of cinema. But two August music-related deaths merit particular mention.

The producer and record company co-owner Henry Stone helped start the careers of Ray Charles in 1952, James Brown a few years later, Betty Wright in the “60s, and a host of disco artists, such as George McCrae, Gwen McCrae and KC and the Sunshine Band ion the TK label, which he co-owned. As a distributor in the 1960s he helped bring the records from labels such as Atlantic, Stax and Motown to the public.

For people living in Britain in the 1980s, Mike Smith was a household name, as a DJ on BBC”s Radio 1 and as a presenter on Top of the Pops. He was largely inoffensive, even vaguely likeable. But in 1986 our lad fancied himself a bit of a censor. Two years earlier Radio 1″ priggish DJ Mike Read decided to be a guardian of public morality when he abruptly stopped playing Frankie Goes to Hollywood”s “Relax” and banned it from his show. It”s the only significant thing anyone will ever remember of Mike Read.

So in the summer of 1986, Mike Smith decided to follow his namesake”s example by banning the Jesus and Mary Chain”s “Some Candy Talking”. The BBC, perhaps burnt by their experience of helping to turn a minor hit into a mega-seller, declined to follow Smith”s moralising lead.  The song peaked at number 13 on the UK charts. Say what you like, but Mike Smith was a bitter foe of tooth decay.


Rod de”Ath, 64, Welsh drummer for Rory Gallagher, on August 1
Rory Gallagher – Cross Me Off Your List (1976)

Michael Johns, 35, Australian singer-songwriter & American Idols contestant, on August 1

Mike Smith, 59, English radio DJ and Top off the Pops presenter, on August 1
The Jesus and Mary Chain – Some Candy Talking (1986)

Olga Voronets, 88, Russian folk singer, on August 2

Kenny Drew Jr, 56, jazz pianist and composer, on August 3
Kenny Drew Jr – Waltz In A Minor (1999)

Val Eddy, 88, jazz musician and singer, on August 4

Jake Hooker, 61, Israeli-born guitarist of Arrows and songwriter, on August 4
Arrows – I Love Rock ‘n Roll (1975, also as co-writer)

Richie Taylor, 61, Irish rock musician and music journalist, on August 4

Henry Stone, 93, record company executive (TK Records) and soul/disco producer, on August 8
Timmy Thomas – Why Can’t We Live Together (1971, as record executive)

Andre Bush, 45, jazz guitarist, on August 8
Nnenna Freelon – Them There Eyes (2005, on guitar)

Robert “˜Bo” Boehm, 55, Australian alt-rock musician, on August 8

Johnny Ray Allen, 56, ex-bassist with roots rock band The Subdudes, on August 8
The Subdudes – Any Cure (1989, also as co-writer)

Rick Parashar, 50, record producer (Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains), on August 15
Pearl Jam – Even Flow (1991, as producer)

John Blake Jr, 67, jazz violinist, on August 15

Billy Rath, 66, bassist with Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, on August 16
Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers – I Wanna Be Loved (1977)

Ralph Morman, 65, singer with The Joe Perry Project, Savoy Brown, on August 17
Savoy Brown – Cold Hearted Woman (1981)

Pierre Vassiliu, 76, Swiss-born French singer, on August 17
Pierre Vassiliu – Qui C’est Celui-Là (1973)

Derek Rieth, 43, percussionist with Pink Martini, body found after suicide on August 20
Pink Martini – Amado Mio (1997)

Joseph “˜Powda” Bennett, 76, Jamaican folk musician (Jolly Boys), on August 20

Jean Redpath, 77, Scottish folk singer-songwriter, on August 21
Jean Redpath – Lady Mary Ann (1976)

Aldo Donato, 66, Italian singer and composer, on August 24
Aldo Donati – Venezia A Decembre (1982)

Jason Curley, 42, bassist of Australian rock band Tumbleweed, on August 25
Tumbleweed – Acid Rain (1992)

Uziah “˜Sticky” Thompson, 78, reggae singer and percussionist, on August 25
Peter Tosh ““ Apartheid (1977, on percussions)

Tim Williams, ca 30, bassist of thrash band Suicidal Tendencies, on August 26

Peret, 79, Spanish singer, guitarist and composer, on August 27
Peret ““ Borriquito (1971)

Jan Groth, 68, singer of Norwegian rock bands Aunt Mary, Just 4 Fun, on August 27

Joe Bethancourt, 68, folk musician, on August 28
Joe Bethancourt – Nine Yards Of Other Cloth (2004)

Glenn Cornick, 67, bassist of Jethro Tull (1968-70), on August 28
Jethro Tull – Nothing To Say (1970)

Stuart Gordon, violinist and guitarist with British pop band The Korgis, on August 28
The Korgis – Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime (1980)

Jimi Jamison, 63, singer (Survivor, Cobra) and songwriter, on August 31
Survivor – Burning Heart (1985)
Jim Jamison – I’ll Be Ready (Baywatch Theme, also as songwriter)

(PW in comments)


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  1. halfhearteddude
    September 4th, 2014 at 07:15 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. dogbreath
    September 4th, 2014 at 13:32 | #2

    Many thanks again for compiling the month’s death list which reminded me of ones I’d somehow missed during August, such as Rod de’Ath (whose surname is now suitably appropriate) and Jimi Jamison who I was watching being interviewed in a Survivor doc only a short while ago. Gone but not forgotten….

  3. Rhod
    September 5th, 2014 at 22:53 | #3

    Thanks Amd

    A lot of hard work has gone into this posting. Much appreciated



  4. GarthJeff
    September 8th, 2014 at 15:33 | #4

    I’m a big fan of The Korgis. It’s the first time I’ve got to hear ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime’ as an instrumental….Excellent. I’ve got the original and fast versions…..and now the instrumental. Thanks for your efforts and surprises Dude.

  5. February 28th, 2016 at 14:29 | #5

    Sometime’ as an instrumental….Excellent.

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