Home > In Memoriam > In Memoriam – March 2019

In Memoriam – March 2019

March saw the fall of at least three stone-cold legends, and tragic death of an up-and-coming band.

The Great Baritone
The voice of an Engel has fallen silent with the death at 76 of the versatile Scott Walker. The obits have covered Walker’s life and career, and it needs no rehashing here. But it’s worth noting that few artists have had a career that spans teen idol pop, interpretative chanson, avant-garde and neo-classical music — and fewer still who could pull it off as Walker did (though, in some cases, I have to rely on critical consensus rather than my own judgment).

The Drummer of a Thousand Hits
He might have lived till he was 90 and not contributed anything to pop music in a long time, but to those who knew his role in music history will have grieved the death of Hal Blaine. The two mixes I put together of songs Blaine played on, as part of the Wrecking Crew, tell only a small part of his story. They are, of course, worth revisiting. Blaine was a total pro, knowing when to hold back, when to let go, and when to innovate (with snowchains on Bridge Over Troubled Water, in an elevator shaft on The Boxer, with a glass ashtray on Dean Martin’s Houston).  And he was a total gentleman; his acts of kindness and generosity are legendary. The world was richer with Hal Blaine in it. And look at his “farewell letter” (click to enlarge), issued in January”¦

The Guitar Pioneer
Without Dick Dale, how might things have been for the Beach Boys or Jan & Dean or any of the surf guitar bands? No doubt, Dale was massively influential, not only in producing the sound of surf rock, but also in pushing the limits of guitar and amplifier technology in his cooperation with Leo Fender. Heavy metal owes Dick Dale! Born Richard Mansour, he was from Lebanese stock, and so incorporated his love of Arab music in his sound. His most famous song, Misirlou, is a good example of that (though that song was a cover of a much older Greek tune).

The Top Ranker
For many people of my generation in the UK or Europe, the ska revival spearheaded by bands such as The Specials or The Beat was a cultural marker. The Beat’s co-frontman Rankin Roger was a symbol of that new kind of music that made political statements you could dance to. After The Beat split, Ranking Roger joined General Public, a supergroup comprising fellow Beat frontman Dave Wakeling, Clash guitarist Mick Jones, Specials bassist Horace Panter, and Dexys Midnight Runner keyboardist Mickey Billingham and drummer Stoker. That outfit was more successful in the US than in the UK, partially thanks to the inclusion of the hit Tenderness (more new wave than ska) in John Hughes movies. Ranking Roger continued to perform and record, sometimes with acts like Big Audio Dynamite and Sly & Robbie, also touring with the reformed Police in 2007 as special guest.

The Rock & Roll Writer
As a member of doo-wop band Danny & The Juniors, David White co-wrote one of the great rock & roll classics with At The Hop. He went on to write Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay, then co-wrote Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me, Cubby Checker’s The Fly, and Len Barry’s 1-2-3. He formed The Spokesman with songwriting and production partner John Madara and a radio DJ to issue the right-wing answer record to Barry McGuire’s Eve Of Destruction, titled Dawn Of Correction. The opening verse goes: “The western world has a common dedication to keep free people from Red domination. And maybe you can’t vote, boy, but man your battle stations, or there’ll be no need for votin’ in future generations.”

The Comeback Man
Fans of The Blues Brothers will know at least one song co-written by R&B singer Andre Williams: his Shake A Tailfeather, a 1967 hit for James & Bobby Purify, was sung in the movie by Ray Charles. Williams recorded it towards the end of his long career which produced a number of minor hits but never brought the big breakthrough. In between, he wrote Stevie Wonder’s first-ever song (Thank You For Loving Me), helped produce The Contours and Ike Turner, was a roadie for Edwin Starr, and wrote for the Parliament/Funkadelic collective. Drug addiction in the 1980s ended in a spell of homelessness. The 1990s saw a return to recording, including a 1998 album of rather lewd songs, and a 2000 country-flavoured album (which included a most sinister rendition of Excuse Me, I Have Someone To Kill, featured on Any Major Murder Songs). His last album came out in 2016.

The ‘Punk’ Guitarist
Residing on the shortlist for the Any Major Guitar mixes is the Tom Robinson Band’s 2-4-6-8 Motorway. The superb guitar solo was played by Danny Kustow, who has died at 63 (and played that solo when he was 22). The TRB broke up in 1979, and Kustow did session work with bands like Gen X. He reunited with Robinson for his hit 1984 War Baby.

The Arranger of Classics
Much of the sound of the early 1960s was shaped by Stan Appelbaum, who arranged classic hits of The Drifters (such as Save The Last Dance For Me, There Goes My Baby) and Ben E. King (such as Stand By Me, Spanish Harlem), as well as hits such as Connie Francis’ Where The Boys Are and Brian Hyland’s Sealed With A Kiss and Ginny Come Lately. Others for whom Appelbaum arranged include Lavern Baker, Al Martino, Bobby Vinton, The Coasters, Ray Peterson, Brooke Benton, Lonnie Donegan, Damita Jo, Sam Cooke, Paul Anka, Johnny Preston, Dion, Curtis Lee, Gene Pitney, Cliff Richard, Sammy Davis Jr. and others. Along the way he arranged for jazz musicians like Cal Tjader and Don Cherry, and mentored Neil Sedaka, who first recorded with the Stan Appelbaum Orchestra. Before all that, in the 1950s, he arranged for several jazz greats, including Benny Goodman and Sarah Vaughan. Applebaum was also composed for commercials, with his best-known work being PanAm Airlines Makes the Going Great.

The Blues-Rock Voice
In October we lost Ray Owen, original singer of UK blues-rock band Juicy Lucy. On the first of the month, Owen’s successor in the group, Paul Williams, passed away at 78. With his first band, the Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, he played alongside future Police guitarist Andy Summers. Next Williams joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, replacing future Fleetwood Mac legend John McVie. He recorded only one album with Juicy Lucy (where he sang alongside future Whitesnake guitarist Mick Moody). In 1973 he joined Tempest, which also included guitarist Allan Holdsworth, whom Williams went on to join in is I.O.U. jazz-fusion outfit.

A Cruel End
Having released two critically well-received albums, the Liverpool duo Her’s was expected to go a long way towards stardom. That was brutally cut short when members Stephen Fitzpatrick, 24, and Audun Laading, 25, died alongside their tour manager, Trevor Engelbrektson, in a head-on traffic collision in Arizona, during a 19-date US tour. They were on their way from a gig the night before in Phoenix to Santa Ana in California when they collided with a pick-up truck which apparently was travelling in the wrong direction. The other driver also died.

 

Stan Applebaum, 97, arranger and conductor, on February 28
Sarah Vaughan & Billy Eckstine – Passing Strangers (1957, as arranger & conductor)
Neil Sedaka with Stan Applebaum and his Orchestra – Stairway To Heaven (1960)
LaVern Baker – No Love So True (1962, as arranger)
Ben E. King – Don’t Play That Song For Me (1962, as arranger)

Paul Williams, 78, English singer, on March 1
Paul Williams & The Big Roll Band – Gin House (1964)
Juicy Lucy – Thinking Of My Life (1970, also as writer)
Allan Holdsworth – Checking Out (1982, on lead vocals)

Al Hazan, 84, musician, producer and songwriter, on March 2
Ritchie Valens – Hi-Tone (1959, as writer)

Janice Freeman, 33, singer, contestant on The Voice (US), on March 2

Leo de Castro, 70, New Zealand soul singer and guitarist, on March 3
Johnny Rocco Band – Heading In The Right Direction (1975, on lead vocals)

Kate Cook, 36, singer, contestant on Australian Idol, on March 3

Keith Flint, 49, singer of The Prodigy, suicide on March 4
The Prodigy – Firestarter (1996)

Sara Romweber, 55, drummer of pop-rock band Let’s Active, on March 5
Let’s Active- Horizon (1988)

Jacques Loussier, 84, French jazz pianist, arranger and composer, on March 5
Jacques Loussier Trio – Bach’s Prelude Nº 1 In C Major (1959)
Go-Betweens – Part Company (1984, on synth)

Mike Grose, original bassist of Queen (in 1970), on March 6

Charlie Panigoniak, 72, Canadian Inuktitut singer and guitarist, on March 6

Raymond ‘Don Ray’ Donnez, 76, French producer and conductor, on March 7
Santa Esmeralda – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood + Esmeralda Suite (1977, as producer, co-writer)
Don Ray – Standing In The Rain (1978)

Eddie Taylor Jr., 46, blues singer and guitarist, on March 8
Eddie Taylor Jr. – The Sky Is Crying (2015)

George “˜Sax”™ Benson, 90, jazz saxophonist, on March 9
Frank Sinatra – Learnin’ The Blues (1955, on trombone)
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971, on tenor saxophone)

Asa Brebner, 65, guitarist, singer and songwriter, on March 10
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Lover Please (1979, as member)

Charlie Karp, 65, musician and songwriter, on March 10
Joan Jett – Too Bad On Your Birthday (1980, as co-writer)

Hal Blaine, 90, legendary session drummer, on March 11
The Crystals – He’s A Rebel (1962, on drums)
Dean Martin – Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes (1964, on drums)
Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (1967, on drums)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Boxer (1970, on drums)
America – Ventura Highway (1972, on drums)

Danny Kustow, 63, English guitarist with the Tom Robinson Band, on March 11
Tom Robinson Band – Glad To Be Gay (1978)
Tom Robinson – Atmospherics (Listen To The Radio) (1983)

Danny Ben-Israel, 75, Israeli psychedelic rock musician, on March 11

John Kilzer, 62, singer and songwriter, suicide on March 12
John Kilzer – Red Blue Jeans (1988)

Dick Dale, 81, surf music guitarist, on March 16
Dick Dale and his Del-Tones – Lets Go Trippin’ (1962)
Dick Dale and his Del-Tones – Misirlou (1963)
Dick Dale – The Wedge (1963)

Justin Carter, 35, country singer, in accidental shooting on March 16

Dewayne ‘Son’ Smith, half of comedy country duo The Geezinslaws, on March 16
The Geezinslaw Brothers – Peel Me A Nanner (1967)

David White, 79, singer-songwriter with Danny & the Juniors, on March 17
Danny & The Juniors – At The Hop (1957)
Lesley Gore – You Don’t Own Me (1964)
The Spokesmen – The Dawn Of Correction (1965)

Andre Williams, 82, R&B singer, on March 17
Andre Williams – Jail Bait (1956)
Andre Williams – Only Black Man In South Dakota (1998)
Andre Williams – Shake A Tailfeather (2015, also as co-writer)

Yuya Uchida, 79, Japanese singer and actor, on March 17
Flower Travellin’ Band – Hiroshima (1972)

Bernie Tormé, 66, Irish rock guitarist, singer and songwriter, on March 17
Bernie Tormé – Too Young (1983)

Arkadiy Aladyin, 61, drummer of Russian rock band Poyushchiye Gitary, on March 21

Scott Walker, 76, singer-songwriter and producer, on March 22
Scotty Engel – When Is A Boy A Man (1957)
Walker Brothers – Love Her (1965)
Scott Walker – Montague Terrace (In Blue) (1967)
Walker Brothers – No Regrets (1975)
Scott Walker – Only Myself To Blame (1999)

Ranking Roger, 56, singer with English ska band The Beat, General Public, on March 26
The Beat – Stand Down Margaret (1980)
General Public – Tenderness (1984)
Ranking Roger – Mirror In The Bathroom (Dub Mix) (1991)

Stephen Fitzpatrick, 24, half of English rock duo Her’s, in car crash on March 27
Audun Laading, 25, Norwegian-born half of English rock duo Her’s, in car crash on March 27
Her’s – What Once Was (2016)

Joe Flannery, 87, booking manager and friend of The Beatles, on March 28

Billy Adams, 79, rockabilly singer, on March 30

Simaro Lutumba, 81, member of Congolese band TPOK Jazz, on March 30
TPOK Jazz – Zenaba (1973)

Geoff Harvey, 83, Australian musician and music director, on March 30

Nipsey Hussle, 33, American rapper, shot on March 31
Nipsey Hussle – The Hustle Way (2009)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    April 2nd, 2019 at 07:18 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Dave Berthiaume
    April 2nd, 2019 at 18:29 | #2

    What a tragic month for musical losses. My appreciation for Scott Walker has grown immensely since researching him for my radio show after his death. What an amazing artist! Check out the great doc “30th Century Man” which streams on YouTube.
    And “Dawn Of Correction”?!? WTF? From the guy who wrote “At The Hop”? Mind blown.

  3. halfhearteddude
    April 3rd, 2019 at 07:28 | #3

    “Dawn Of Correction” featured on a mix of right-wing songs I once put up. There were a few other surprising ones in that lot.

    http://www.halfhearteddude.com/2012/11/right-wing-pop/

  4. Rhodb
    April 5th, 2019 at 22:28 | #4

    Wow a lot of work this month . The reaper has been working overtime.

    The usual great work inputting these together

    Regards

    RhodB

  5. August 3rd, 2019 at 23:41 | #5

    This file” https://rapidgator.net/file/7e55ddc8f1295ce7dbf0e834bcbb207e/IM_1903.rar.html” can’t be found. Previous and later files can.
    //Roffe

  6. halfhearteddude
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