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Music Deaths of the Decade: Behind the Scenes

December 24th, 2019 Leave a comment Go to comments

 

In the previous review of the significant music deaths of the past decade, we remembered 30+ recording artists with their recordings, and listed a whole lot more by way of honorary mention. Here we pay tribute to the people behind the scenes — shamefully almost all men — who made the music happen: songwriters, producers, session musicians and so on.

Several songs chosen here to pay these tributes cover various men in one go. And still, there are many who others who were shortlisted, and whose names should not be forgotten, my subjective and somewhat random choices notwithstanding: Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Otis, Bill Strange, Marvin Hamlisch, Vince Montana, Shadow Morton, Andy Johns, Johnny Allen, Bob Crewe, Michael Masser, Harold Battiste, PF Sloan, Alphonse Mouzon, Robert Stigwood, Leon Ndugu Chandler, Lewis Merenstein, Larry Muhoberac, George Young, George Avakian, Norman Gimbel, Henri Belolo, Dave Batholomew, Tony Hall, Donnie Fritts, Robert Hunter, Bob Esty, Motown Funk Brothers Bob Babbitt, Gil Askey, Eddie Willis and Melvin ‘Wah-Wah’ Ragin… (and apologies for any big name I left out).

All of them featured in the In Memoriam series, with songs and most of the time, an abstract on their musical achievements.

Some became the subject of retrospectives of their work (all of the mixes are still live, as far as I can tell): Nick Ashford, Bobby Keys, Ricky Lawson, Rod Temperton, Louis Johnson, Joe Osborne. The great Hal Blaine got his tributes, in Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, before he died this year.

Admittedly, picking one song to sum up a person’s career is not always fair. Take Chips Moman, reduced here to co-writer status. The man wrote several classics, produced many others, and founded the founding the American Sound Studio in Memphis. I initially picked Elvis’ Suspicious Mind for this collection, but since there was another Elvis song that had to run, we have Moman being represented by Aretha Franklin.

Likewise Rick Hall, reduced to the producer of the Candi Staton song. Hall changed Aretha Franklin’s career to turn her into a soul diva. He founded the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals which was a hit machine for Aretha, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, Etta James, and others. Among the session people he worked with in the 1960s was drummer Jerry Carrigan, whom we encounter doing stick-work on George Jones’ 1980 hit He Stopped Loving Her Today. In the way the wold of music is small, Hall wrote for George Jones in the 1950s. There are many crossed paths over these two mixes.

EDIT: On the day I posted this, we also lost songwriter Allee Willis who co-wrote the theme of Friends, Pointer Sisters’ Neutron Dance, and a whole bunch of Earth, Wind & Fire hits, including September, In The Stone and Boogie Wonderland.

The mix exceeds the CD-R length, so again no home-waked covers. PW in comments.

1. MFSB – Soul Train Theme (1973)
Don Cornelius (Presenter) February 2012

2. Al Green – So Tired Of Being Alone (1972)
Willie Mitchell (Producer, label owner) January 2010
Andrew Love (Tenor Sax; half of Memphis Horns) April 2012
Wayne Jackson (Trumpet; half of Memphis Horns) June 2016

3. Carpenters – Goodbye To Love (1972)
Hal Blaine (Drums) March 2019
Joe Osborn (Bass) December 2018
Tony Peluso (Lead Guitar) June 2010

4. George Jones – He Stopped Loving Her Today (1980)
Curly Putman (Co-writer) October 2016
Jerry Carrigan (Drums) June 2016

5. Warren Zevon – Mohammed’s Radio (1976)
Bobby Keys (Saxophone) December 2013

6. Carole King – Will You Love Me Tomorrow? (live, 2008)
Gerry Goffin (Co-writer) June 2014

7. Barbra Streisand – One Less Bell To Answer/A House Is Not A Home (1971)
Hal David (Co-writer) September 2012

8. Aretha Franklin – Do Right Woman, Do Right Man (1967)
Chips Moman (Co-writer) March 2016

9. Al Jarreau & Randy Crawford – Your Precious Love (1982)
Tommy LiPuma (Producer) March 2017
Nick Ashford (Co-writer) August 2011
Ricky Lawson (Drums) December 2013

10. Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – Back Together Again (1979)
Reggie Lucas (Co-writer, Guitar) March 2018

11. Billy Joel – Rosalinda’s Eyes (1979)
Phil Ramone (Producer) March 2013
Ralph MacDonald (Percussion) December 2011
Hugh McCracken (Guitar) March 2013

12. The Pointer Sisters – Yes We Can Can (1973)
Allen Toussaint (Writer) November 2015

13. The Blues Brothers – Everybody Needs Somebody (1980)
Donald “Duck” Dunn (Bass) May 2012
Matt “Guitar” Murphy (Guitar) June 2018

14. Human League – The Things That Dreams Are Made Of (1981)
Martin Rushent (Producer) June 2011

15. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five – The Message (1982)
Sylvia Robinson (Producer, Co-writer) September 2011

16. Michael Jackson – Off The Wall (1979)
Rod Temperton (Writer) October 2016
Louis Johnson (Bass) May 2015
George Duke (Synth) August 2013

17. Dave Grusin – Friends And Strangers (1980)
Larry Rosen (Producer) October 2015

18. Candi Staton – I’m Just a Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin’) (1972)
Rick Hall (Producer, studio owner) January 2018
Jimmie Haskell (Arranger) February 2016

19. Baby Washington – I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face (1964)
Jerry Ragovoy (Writer) July 2011

20. Etta James – At Last (1960)
Phil Chess (Producer, label owner) October 2016

21. Elvis Presley – I Want To Be Free (1957)
Jerry Leiber (Co-writer) August 2028
Scotty Moore (Guitar) June 2016
J.D. Fontana (Drums) June 2018
Gordon Stoker (Backing vocals, with Jordanaires) March 2013

22. Johnny Cash – Ballad Of A Teenage Queen (1958)
‘Cowboy” Jack Clement (producer, co-writer) August 2013

23. The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows (1966)
George Martin (Producer) March 2016
Geoff Emmerick (Engineer) October 2018

24. The Rolling Stones – Shine A Light (1969)
Clydie King (Backing vocals) January 2019

25. Simon & Garfunkel – 7 O’clock News, Silent Night (1969)
Bob Johnston (Producer) August 2015

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  1. halfhearteddude
    December 24th, 2019 at 10:10 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. 5 cents
    December 24th, 2019 at 20:33 | #2

    Thanks for a year of outstanding posts. Merry Christmas.

  3. Pete
    January 24th, 2020 at 01:07 | #3

    Hi Dude, Another fantastic selection and fitting tribute to the many creative geniuses Behind The Scenes. Thanks for your hard work and dedication to your craft.

    Cheers, Pete

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