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In Memoriam – January 2023

February 2nd, 2023 6 comments

In January the world lost its oldest person on record, a French nun who died at the age of almost 119 (she is now in the Top 4 of oldest people on record ever). But seeing as Sister André Randon never contributed meaningfully to the world of rock & roll, she won’t feature on this month’s list.

Nor will the man who gave his name to the Marshall Tucker Band. I am not the only person in the world who took it as read that the southern rock band was founded and led by Mr & Mrs Tucker’s martially-named son. Turns out, it wasn’t. The band on its Facebook page picks up the story: “In the early days when we were rehearsing in an old warehouse in Spartanburg, we found a keychain inscribed with [Marshall Tucker’s] name. We needed a name asap… and the rest is history! Marshall was blind since birth but amazingly could play the heck out of the piano.” Mr Tucker plied his trade as a piano tuner, and died in January at the age of 99.

And in January we lost three guitar legends: Jeff Beck, Tom Verlaine, and Dennis Budimir.

The Folk-Rock Legend
He was born to sing harmony, David Crosby once said. Cass Elliott knew that, and at one of her parties, she introduced ex-Byrds man Crosby to ex-Hollies man Graham Nash and Buffalo Springfield alumnus Stephen Stills, with the suggestion that their voices would work well together. They did, with Stills and Nash taking on the lion’s share of the creative work on CSN(&Y) albums — though Crosby, never a child of gratuitous modesty, fancied himself a better songwriter than the others. But Crosby, with his expressive, mellifluous voice, was at the centre of the harmonies.

The Byrd’s breakthrough was also due to its harmonies. Mr Tambourine Man featured on Roger McGuinn on instruments (on the chiming guitar; the rest were Wrecking Crew guys like Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel and Leon Russell). But it is the harmonies, with Crosby in the mix, that made the cover of the track by Bob Dylan (who very much was not a harmonies kind of guy) so special. Eventually, Crosby was kicked out of The Byrds. Crosby later said he would have kicked Crosby out himself.

By all accounts the son of the Oscar-winning cinematographer was a mellow soul who could turn character and exasperate you. Crosby said what he thought, and what he thought wasn’t always charitable (look up how his friendship with Neil Young ended). Crosby would continue to work with Stills, Nash and Young for decades, despite their differences. Perhaps it was the shared trauma of recording the Déjà Vu album that created a bond: during the sessions, all four had their hearts broken, three of them by break-ups, and Crosby by the death in a traffic accident of his girlfriend Christine Hinton. In the end, his relationship with all three soured, though he remained on speaking terms with Stills.

David Crosby became as famous for his prodigious use of drugs and unconventional domestic arrangements (he wrote a song called Triad about it), and after he got off drugs (while in jail for being in possession of cocaine and a loaded gun), for being an outspoken spokesman for his sub-culture on numerous docus. These included one on Crosby himself, in which the man was brutally honest about his many failings.

Crosby has been widely acclaimed, but the most unexpected honour must have come from the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. In 2010 it ranked his critically-panned 1971 solo debut If I Could Only Remember My Name second in a (highly subjective and culturally narrow but otherwse quite good) list of Top 10 Pop Albums of All Time, behind The Beatles’ Revolver.

The Guitar Legend
Rolling Stone magazine once named Jeff Beck one of the five all-time greatest guitarists; some people claim that he should top any list of rock guitarists. That, of course, is as futile an exercise as it is to name the “greatest-ever football player” or “best Sesame Street character” (well, Oscar the Grouch or Cookie Monster, obviously, but you get the drift).

AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine regarded Beck “as innovative as Jimmy Page, as tasteful as Eric Clapton, and nearly as visionary as Jimi Hendrix”, but unable to achieve sustained mainstream success “primarily because of the haphazard way he approached his career”, and often working without a “star singer” to make his music more popularly accessible.

There’s something to it: Beck won six Grammys and was nominated for many more: I knew none of the Grammy-rated records. As a solo act, he scored only two UK Top 20 hits, both releases of Hi Ho Silver Lining, which reached the Top 20 in 1967 and again in 1972. He scored no UK hit with the Jeff Beck Group nor with his other outfit, the “supergroup” Beck, Bogert & Appice. Jeff Beck, it’s safe to say, was a musician’s musician.

Beck contributed to many artists’ music, most notably on Stevie Wonder’s Lookin’ For Another Pure Love on the Talking Book album.

Not long after Beck, The Yardbird’s original guitarist, Top Topham, died at 75. Topham was replaced by Eric Clapton before the group became famous. Unlike Beck, Clapton or Jimmy Page, Topham never became a guitar legend.

The Motown Pioneer
It seems fitting that Tamla-Motown’s first-ever national hit was titled Money (That’s What I Want), and its co-writer was cheated out of a lot of it… The song, a hit in 1960, sounded like it was sung by an old hand; in fact, singer and co-writer Barrett Strong was all of 18 when he recorded it in 1959.

Berry Gordy disputed that Strong co-wrote Money – a song that would be widely covered, including by The Beatles – saying that Strong’s credit was a clerical error, and had his credit later removed. But eyewitnesses, including the session’s engineer, say that Strong laid down the distinctive piano riff before Gordy even turned up at the studio.

After a series of flops, Strong went to work in Detroit’s auto industry, but returned to co-write several Motown classics, especially for The Temptations: Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone, Just My Imagination, I Wish It Would Rain, Cloud Nine, I Can’t Get Next To You, Psychedelic Shack, Ball Of Confusion, Superstar, I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You), and others

He also co-wrote the double-hit I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye’s That’s The Way Love Is and Too Busy Thinking About My Baby, The Dells’ Stay In My Corner, Gladys Knight’s Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me and The End Of Our Road, War (first recorded by The Temptations but a hit for Edwin Starr); and the Undisputed Truth’s Smiling Faces Sometimes (also initially a Temptations song; though Papa… was originally recorded by the Undisputed Truth, see Any Major Motown Originals). The Marvin Gaye track Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home) was not a Motown hit, but became a UK #1 for Paul Young in 1983.

Strong left Motown in the early 1970s and returned to singing, releasing five albums between 1975 and 2008.

The New Wave Forerunner
As the leader, singer, guitarist and songwriter of Television, Tom Verlaine was at the vanguard of New York’s CBGB punk rock scene which also included the likes of the Ramones and Blondie. But, like Blondie, Television were more sophisticated than the punk label suggests, and arguably more a forerunner of what would come to be called new wave.

Verlaine had been something of a jazz prodigy as a kid who had been turned on to rock by the Rolling Stones, so he was trained to experiment and improvise. His guitar work is regarded as influential; with his Fender guitars, Verlaine was pivotal in introducing the surf sound of the early 1960s into the punk of the 1970s.

After Television, Verlaine had a productive solo career, wit even David Bowie covering his song Kingdom Come on Scary Monsters. Verlaine was a keen collaborator, including with ex-girlfriend and CBGB alumn Patti Smith.

The Fantasy Drummer
The year 2023 started with the sad news of the death of Fred White, drummer of Earth, Wind & Fire, and brother of the late Maurice and bassist Verdine. Fred had already been an established session drummer — having worked with acts like Little Feat, Linda Ronstadt, and Donny Hathaway — before he joined his brothers in EWF in 1974, just in time for the breakthrough That’s The Way Of The World album. He was still only 19

He stayed with the band throughout its long peak years, leaving in 1984. He went on to drum for acts like Toto, Sergio Mendes, Rick Springfield, Jennifer Holliday, Phyllis Human, Rod Stewart, ABC and others.

The King’s Daughter
If you’re the daughter if Elvis Presley, can you ever hope to measure up to your dad? Lisa Marie Presley was a pretty good singer with a powerful voice, and — unlike her dad — she could write songs. In a remix of In The Ghetto that merges her voice with Elvis’ vocals, Lisa Marie did not expose herself as a fraud, though the choice of song was not ideal. Five years later, in 2012, she released a second duet, I Love You Because, which worked beautifully.  On the same album, she released a track called You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, which is quite different from the song which the next victim of The Reaper helped make famous.

But Lisa Marie never really had the chance to step out of her dad’s shadow, as a musician or as a person. It has been said that as a bride, she was a trophy for Elvis-fanatic Nicolas Cage, the ultimate memorabilia in his collection. I don’t know whether that’s true, but their marriage lasted only a few months. Her marriage to Michael Jackson — the “King of Pop” wedded to the daughter of the King of Rock & Roll — seemed grotesque, though we cannot know or judge the hearts if those two people at that time. One area where Lisa Marie was able to use her surname to good effect was in her philanthropy, especially those initiatives that preceded and followed her time as a Scientologist.

The B in BTO
Well, Robbie Bachman was one of the Bs in Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The drummer was the younger brother of frontman Randy Bachman, with whom he had played in BTO predecessor band Brave Belt, and founding guitarist Tim Bachman. Robbie left the band in 1979, and legal troubles and disagreements with Randy made BTO reunions difficult. There was one in the late 1980s, but then Randy left. Later Robbie successfully sued Randy over the use of the Bachman-Turner Overdrive name.

Robbie is credited with designing the familiar BTO logo.

The Wrecking Crew Guitarist
Readers of a certain age may remember David Cassidy as Keith in the Partridge Family laying down some serious guitar licks. Chances are that those axeman moves were the work of Dennis Budimir, the Wrecking Crew guitarist who has left us at the age of 84, on the same day as fellow guitarist Jeff Beck. And when he (or Louie Shelton or Tommy Tedesco) was not making teenage girls swoon with his guitar work, Budimir was also a serious jazz musician.

Budimir backed acts like The Fifth Dimension, Jimmy Webb, Van Dyke Parks, Elvis Presley, TThe Association, Burt Bacharach, Bobbie Gentry, Helen Reddy, The Hues Corporation, Sergio Mendes, Clarence Carter, Freda Payne, Maria Muldaur, Randy Newman, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell, Ravi Shankar, Harry Nilsson, Cher, Bill Withers, Marlena Shaw, Brian Wilson, Barbra Streisand, Melissa Manchester, Dusty Springfield, Judy Collins, Ringo Starr (including on Back Off Boogaloo), Juice Newton (incl. Angel Of The Morning), Carpenters, Frank Zappa, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Waits, George Harrison, Robert Palmer, Natalie Cole, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart, and many more.

Like all Wrecking Crew alumni, he also played in many of the Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” records.

In jazz he worked with the likes of Chico Hamilton (as a member of his quintet), Harry James, Gene Krupa, Bud Shanks, Keely Smith, Les McCann, Stan Kenton, Gabor Szabo, Bob Thiele, Nelson Riddle, David Axelrod, Lalo Schifrin, Lou Rawls, Julie London, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Ammons, Peggy Lee, Quincy Jones, Jon Lucien, Henry Mancini, Lee Ritenour, Milt Jackson, Stan Getz, Jimmy Smith, Rodney Franklin, Dave Grusin, Eric Dolphy, Toots Thielemans, Diane Schuur, and others.

Budimir also released a string of jazz albums of his own in the 1960s, and appeared on many soundtracks, including Quincy Jones’ award-winning The Color Purple, Bill Conti’s The Right Stuff, Elmer Bernstein’s Ghostbusters, and Randy Newman’s Toy Story.

A word of explanation: The featured track by The Monkees was first partially recorded in 1968, with Budimir and fellow Wrecking Crew regulars like the late Earl Palmer and Mike Melvoin, and completed in 2016 with Peter Tork on lead vocals for the band’s Good Times! album.

The Aussie Soul Singer
One of Australia’s premier pop singers, especially in the field of soul, Renee Geyer described herself, with more humour than pinpoint accuracy, as “a white Hungarian Jew from Australia sounding like a 65-year-old black man from Alabama”. Indeed, daughters of Holocaust survivors are rare in soul music. Geyer was named Renée after a woman who had saved her mother from the monstrous Dr Mengele at Auschwitz.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Geyer had hits in Australia with her cover of James Brown’s It’s a Man’s Man’s World, Heading In The Right Direction, Stares And Whispers (on which she was backed by Stevie Wonder’s band), and Say I Love You. Sher never broke through internationally, despite a long stay in the US. There she became a sought-after backing singer in the 1980s for acts like Sting (on tracks like Englishman In New York and Fragile) Chaka Khan, Joe Cocker, Neil Diamond, Men At Work, Buddy Guy, Toni Childs, Paul Anka, Jackson Brown, Bonnie Raitt, and others.

The Swedish Cult Singer
I’ve said it before: doing the In Memoriam gives me a chance to discover some good music I had never known about. One such gem is Swedish pop singer Doris, who has died at 75. Her 1970 album Did You Give The World Some Love Today, Baby apparently is a cult classic, especially after its re-release in the 1990s. It incorporates pop, soul, psychedelic, funk, folk, country, schlager… it’s really good fun.

Doris Svensson started recording in 1960 as a 13-year-old and sung with several groups. Did You Give The World Some Love Today, Baby was her debut album. When it didn’t sell well, Doris left the music business. Doris was inducted into the Swedish Music Hall of Fame in 2018.

The Video Man
I never really include directors of music videos in the In Memoriams, but British video and TV specials director Bruce Gowers, who has died at 82, merits inclusion for being a pioneer in the development of a promotional tool that changed music.

Gowers directed VH-1 staple videos such as several for Queen, including Bohemian Rhapsody and Somebody To Love, 10cc’s I’m Not In Love, Bee Gees Staying Alive, Rod Stewart’s Tonight’s The Night and Da Ya Think I’m Sexy, Kansas’ Dust In The Wind, Player’s Baby Come Back, Ambrosia’s How Much I Feel, Chaka Khan’s I’m Every Woman, Alicia Bridges’ I Love the Nightlife, Michael Jackson’s She’s Out Of My Life and Rock With You, Supertramp’s Logical Song and Breakfast in America, Christopher Cross’ Ride Like the Wind,  The Jackson’s Can You Feel It, Prince’s 1999, John Cougar’s Hurts So Good and Jack And Diane, Huey Lewis & The News’ The Heart of Rock & Roll, Arrested Development’s People Everyday, and loads more hits.

Gowers also directed many music shows and specials, and comedy specials (for acts like George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and, most famously, Eddie Murphy’s Delirious). Music specials included Live 8 Philadelphia; Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration; Genius: A Night for Ray Charles; MTV Unplugged With Paul McCartney; and Rolling Stones: Bridges to Babylon.As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

Fred White, 67, drummer of Earth, Wind & Fire, on Jan. 1
Donny Hathaway – Little Ghetto Boy (1972, on drums)
Deniece Williams – Watching Over (1976, on drums, also as co-writer)
Earth, Wind & Fire – Magic Mind (1977, also as co-writer)
Earth, Wind & Fire – Star (1979)

Lázaro Valdés, 83, Cuban jazz musician, on Jan. 1
Lázaro Valdés – Quimbara (2011)

Sebastian Marino, 57, guitarist with metal bands Overkill, Anvil, on Jan. 1

Gangsta Boo, 43, rapper with hip hop band Three 6 Mafia, on Jan. 1
Gangsta Boo – Victim Of Yo Own Shit (2001)

Kingsize Taylor, 83, British rock & roll singer and guitarist, on Jab. 2
King Size Taylor and The Dominos – Stupidity (1964)

Alan Rankine, 64, Scottish keyboardist, guitarist and producer, on Jan. 3
The Associates – Party Fears Two (1982, also as co-writer)
Alan Rankine – The Sandman (1986)

Notis Mavroudis, 77, Greek guitarist and composer, on Jan. 3

Gordy Harmon, 79, singer with soul band The Whispers (1963-73), on Jan. 5
The Whispers – I Was Born When You Kissed Me (1966)

Kevin Lemons, 44, gospel singer, on Jan. 6

Jeff Blackburn, 77, rock songwriter and guitarist, on Jan. 6
Neil Young – My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue) (1979, as co-writer)

Danny Kaleikini, 85, Hawaiian singer, on Jan. 6

Steve James, 72, folk-blues singer, songwriter and guitarist, on Jan. 6

Tony Pantano, 74, Italian-born Australian singer, songwriter and actor, on Jan. 7
Tony Pantano – Every Time You Touch Me (1971)

Slim Newton, 90, Australian country singer-songwriter, on Jan. 8
Slim Newton – Redback On The Toilet Seat (1973, also as writer)

Séamus Begley, 73, Irish traditional musician, on Jan. 9

Frank Wyatt, musician, songwriter with prog-rock group Happy The Man, announced Jan. 10
Happy The Man – Open Book (1978, also as writer)

Jeff Beck, 78, guitar legend, on Jan. 10
The Yardbirds – For Your Love (1965, as member)
Jeff Beck – Hi Ho Silver Lining (1967, also as writer)
Stevie Wonder – Lookin’ For Another Pure Love (1972, on guitar)
Jeff Beck – Nessun Dorma (2010)

Dennis Budimir, 84, session guitarist with The Wrecking Crew, on Jan. 10
Chico Hamilton Quintet – Good Grief, Dennis (1959, as member)
The Fifth Dimension – Living Together, Growing Together (1973, on rhythm guitar)
Joni Mitchell – Trouble Child (1974, on electric guitar)
The Monkees – Wasn’t Born To Follow (1968/2016, on guitar)

Haakon Pedersen, 64, Norwegian singer, on Jan. 11

Robbie Bachman, 69, Canadian drummer of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, on Jan. 12
Brave Belt – Crazy Arms, Crazy Eyes (1971, as member)
Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Takin’ Care Of Business (1973)
Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Roll On Down The Highway (1975, also as co-writer)

Lisa Marie Presley, 54, singer-songwriter, on Jan. 12
Elvis Presley with Lisa Marie Presley – In The Ghetto (2007)
Lisa Marie Presley – You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet (2011)

Thomasina Winslow, 57, blues musician, on Jan. 13
Thomasina Winslow – I’m Goin’ Away (2002)

Keith Beaton, 72, tenor singer with soul group Blue Magic, announced Jan. 14
Blue Magic – Stop To Start (1973)

Matthias Carras, 58, German pop singer, on Jan. 14

Yukihiro Takahashi, 70, drummer of Japanese electropop band Yellow Magic Orchestra, on Jan. 14
Yellow Magic Orchestra – Computer Game (1978, also as co-writer)
Yukihiro Takahashi – Drip Dry Eyes (1981)

J. Harris, 31, singer, American Idol contestant, on Jan. 15

Doris, 75, Swedish pop singer, on Jan. 15
Doris – Did You Give The World Some Love Today, Baby (1970)
Doris – Don’t (1970)

Bruce Gowers, 82, British television and music video director, on Jan. 15
Ambrosia – How Much I Feel (1978, as video director)

Johnny Powers, 84, American rockabilly singer and guitarist, on Jan. 16
Johnny Powers – Long Blond Hair, Red Rose Lips (1957, also as writer)

Larry Morris, 75, singer of New Zealand garage rock band Larry’s Rebels, on Jan. 17
Larry’s Rebels – Dream Time (1967)

Renee Geyer, 69, Australian jazz and soul singer, on Jan. 17
Renee Geyer – It’s A Man’s Man’s World (1973)
Renee Geyer – Stares And Whispers (1977)
Sting – Englishman In New York (1988, on backing vocals)

T.J. deBlois, 38, drummer of metal band A Life Once Lost, on Jan. 17

Van Conner, 55, bassist of grunge band Screaming Trees, on Jan. 17
Screaming Trees – Nearly Lost You (1992)

David Crosby, 81, folk-rock singer and songwriter, on Jan. 17
The Byrds – All I Really Want To Do (1965, as member; lead on bridge)
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Almost Cut My Hair (1970, as writer & lead vocals)
David Crosby – Laughing (1971, also as writer)
David Crosby – Time I Have (1994, also as writer)

Gary Smith, producer, announced Jan. 18
Juliana Hatfield – Everybody Loves Me But You (1992, as producer)

Marcel Zanini, 99, Turkish-born French jazz musician, on Jan. 18

Rudy Englebert, 72, ex-bassist of Dutch band Herman Brood & His Wild Romance, on Jan. 19

Stella Chiweshe, 76, Zimbabwean mbira player, on Jan. 20

B.G., The Prince of Rap, 57, US-born German-based rapper and dance musician, on Jan. 21
BG, The Prince Of Rap – The Power Of The Rhythm (1992)

Nikos Xanthopoulos, 88, Greek actor and folk singer, on Jan. 22

Top Topham, 75, original guitarist The Yardbirds, on Jan. 23
Christine Perfect – I’m On My Way (1969, on guitar)

Carol Sloane, 85, jazz singer, on Jan. 23
Carol Sloane – Taking A Chance On Love (1962)

Cindy Williams, 75, actress and duetist as part of Laverne & Shirley, on Jan. 23
Penny Marshall & Cindy Williams – Five Years On (1977)

Jackson Rohm, 51, country and pop singer-songwriter, on Jan.24
Jackson Rohm – Never Alone (2018)

Dean Daughtry, 76, co-founder and keyboardist of Atlanta Rhythm Section, on Jan. 26
Classics IV feat. Dennis Yost – Traces (1968, as member)
Atlanta Rhythm Section – Champagne Jam (1978)

Floyd Sneed, 80, Canadian drummer of Three Dog Night, on Jan. 27
Three Dog Night – Rock & Roll Widow (1970, also as co-writer)

Tom Verlaine, 73, rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, on Jan. 28
Television – Venus (1977)
Tom Verlaine – Words From The Front (1982)
Tom Verlaine – Stalingrad (1990)
Tom Verlaine – Blue Light (2006)

Odd Børre, 83, Norwegian pop singer, on Jan. 28

Barrett Strong, 81, soul singer and songwriter, on Jan. 29
Barret Strong – Money (1959, also as uncredited co-writer)
The Temptations – I Heard It Through The Grapevine (1969, as co-writer)
Barrett Strong – Man Up In The Sky (1976, also as co-writer)
Barrett Strong – I Wish It Would Rain (2001, also as co-writer)

Heddy Lester, 72, Dutch singer and actress, half of duo April Shower, on Jan. 29
April Shower – Railroadsong (1971)

Charlie Thomas, 85, tenor singer with The Drifters (1958-67), on Jan. 31
The Drifters – Sweets For My Sweet (1961, on lead vocals)
The Drifters – When My Little Girl Is Smiling (1962, on lead vocals)

Donnie Marsico, 68, singer of rock band The Jaggerz, on Jan. 31
The Jaggerz – The Rapper (1970)

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In Memoriam – December 2022

January 5th, 2023 5 comments

What a depressingly brutal, never-ending pestilent month closed down the year 2022! The list of music people who deserved a write-up is much longer than what I could find the time for. Those who might have featured most other months include Maxi Jazz of UK dance group Faithless, Lars Lönndahl (the “Swedish Sinatra”), the drummer of the Young Rascals or the bassist of The Tubes, Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown, rock & roll singer Charlie Gracie, and more.

It was a truly awful month for soul fans, with three huge losses and a few smaller ones, and for English new wave/punk/indie/dance fans, for Portugal and Sweden….

Lastly, if you are of a sensitive nature, better don’t translate the title of the song by Italian band Stadio.

 

The Philly Soul Man
In July we lost Delfonics singer William ‘Poogie’ Hart, now the writer, producer and arranger of most of those great hits by The Delfonics (and The Stylistics and The Spinners) has left us. Thom Bell was in the vanguard in defining Philly Soul in the late 1960s and the ’70s, along with his collaborators Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

The son of Jamaican immigrants once sang in a band with Gamble, Huff and Daryl Hall, the future sidekick of John Oates. A classically-trained musician, Bell first worked for the Cameo/Parkway label, writing a series of songs and producing Chubby Checker and, by 1967, The Del Fonics (who’d soon streamline their name). With Poogie Hart, Bell wrote harmonies-heavy hits which would shape what we’d come to call Philly Soul, such as the parentheses-heavy classics La-La (Means I Love You), Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time), and Ready Or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love). Bell also produced and arranged these tracks, and many others he didn’t co-write.

Other hits he wrote (many of them with Linda Creed) include The Stylistics’ I’m Stone In Love With You, You Make Me Feel Brand New, Betcha by Golly Wow, People Make The World Go Round, Ebony Eyes, Break Up To Make Up, Stop Look Listen (To Your Heart), and You Are Everything (the latter two were later covered by Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye); The Spinners’ I’ll Be Around, Ghetto Child, and The Rubberband Man (Bell only produced Could It Be I’m Falling In Love); Dusty Springfield’s Brand New Me (covered to great effect by Aretha Franklin); New York City’s I’m Doin’ Fine Now. (Links are to mixes that feature these tracks.)

Bell produced all the big Stylistics, Spinners and Delfonics hits, as well as records by acts like The O’Jays (including Backstabbers), Dionne Warwick (including her chart-topping duet with The Spinners, Then Came You), Johnny Mathis, Billy Paul, Ronnie Dyson, New York City, Elton John (including the 1979 hit Mama Can’t Buy You Love) and others. After Philly Soul faded away, Bell produced hits such as Deniece Williams’ It’s Gonna Take A Miracle James Ingram’s I Don’t Have The Heart.

In November we also lost Joseph Tarsia, in whose Sigma Sound Studios Bell created many of these hits.

The Pointer Sister
With the death on New Year’s Eve of Anita Pointer, there is only one surviving Pointer Sister, namely Ruth (who keeps carrying the Pointer flame with her daughter and granddaughter). Bonnie left us in 2020, and June in 2006.

Anita was the last sister to join the group. At one point, she was also in charge of making the most unexpected impact when she and Bonnie wrote the country-soul song Fairy Tale, a 1974 hit on which Anita took the lead vocals. It not only earned the sisters a Grammy for best country song but also a place on the stage of the usually integration-sceptic Grand Ole Opry. The following year, the song was covered by Elvis Presley. For the sisters, singing country was a normal extension of what they had grown up with. In 1986, Anita went on to have a country hit with Earl Thomas Conley, titled Too Many Times. The following year she released her only solo album.

Anita took the lead on many of Pointer Sister hits, including Yes We Can Can, Slow Hand, Fire (the original of which featured on Any Major Soul Originals Vol. 2), and the wonderful I’m So Excited.

The Specials One
Few artists manage to score hits with three different groups and then make a mark as a critically-acclaimed solo act. Terry Hall did so as lead singer of The Specials, then with his trio Fun Boy Three, then with The Colourfield — all in the space of just six years, between 1979 and ’85.

With The Specials he inspired a generation, in Britain and in many parts of Europe, of ska or two-tone fans. In 1981, Hall suddenly left The Specials and founded Fun Boy Three with two fellow Specials alumni. That group had hits of their own, and two more with Bananarama. One of these collaborations, with Bananarama as the headliners, was a cover of The Velvelettes’ Really Saying Something — and we lost a Velvelette in December, too.

In 1983, after four Top 10 hits — including Our Lips Are Sealed, which Hall wrote with The Go-Go’s Jane Wiedlin — the trio split. Hall went on to found The Colourfield, another trio, which scored one hit with the wonderful Thinking Of You (featured on A Life In Vinyl 1985 Vol. 1). Further bands and collaborations — notably with the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart and Steven Duffy — followed.

For much of his life Hall suffered from depression, a result of a horrifying crime of sexual abuse when he was 12. Known for his political principles, humility and kindness, Hall was widely mourned after his death by cancer at only 63.

The Soul Builder
It was a fiddle-playing hillbilly who changed rhythm & blues music so fundamentally that the record label he co-founded and ran has become a byword for soul music. Jim Stewart, who has died at 92, was the co-founder of Stax Records, the label that gave us a galaxy of soul stars such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, William Bell, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Eddie Floyd, the Bar-Kays, Johnnie Taylor, The Staple Singers, and so on. The label’s name was a contraction of the first letters of Stewart’s surname and that of co-founder Estelle Axton, his sister.

Stax was a non-racial oasis in segregated Memphis, with even the house session band racially mixed. Atlantic Records sent many of their acts to record at Stax; Atlantic also was a distributor for Stax, and screwed over the label royally in the late 1960s. This and the death of Redding forced the label to rebuild itself, as a subsidiary of Paramount. It did so to spectacular effect in the early 1970s, giving us the eternal gift that is Isaac Hayes, culminating in 1972’s Wattstax concert, the “Black Woodstock”. Even Elvis Presley recorded at Stax.

But financial troubles soon hit, especially owed taxes. Stewart lost almost all he had trying to save Stax. He returned to producing in the 1980s, but soon left the music business.

 

The Inspirer
As half of the folky Canadian singing-songwriting duo Ian & Sylvia, Ian Tyson helped inspire the greats of the genre which his country would soon give to the world, such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Gordon Lightfoot. The latter would later have a hit with his cover the duo’s Early Morning Rain, which featured in Any Major Orginals – The 1970s.

Tyson and Sylvia Fricker started performing in 1959, and had a number of hits as Ian & Sylvia and later with their band The Speckled Bird. They hosted a TV show, and in 2005 the Tyson-composed Four Strong Winds topped a poll by CBC Radio One listeners of the all-time greatest Canadian song. It has been covered by many great artists, including Canadians Neil Young and The Band.

Ian and Sylvia divorced amicably in 1975. Tyson enjoyed a long solo career in folk and country music.

The Strangler
In the first vanguard of punk in the UK were The Stranglers, though they could be better described as a pub-rock band. They certainly were older than the other bands in that vanguard, and drummer Jet Black was older than the other Stranglers. Black, who has died at 84, was in his late 30s when punk happened, and had success as a businessman before co-founding The Stranglers in 1974. He had 23 UK Top 40 singles with the band.

Black, born in 1938 as Brian Duffy, stayed with The Stranglers until 2018, when poor health forced his retirement.

The Velvelette
The narrative with Motown bands usually involve housing projects, high schools or factories. Not so with the Velvelettes, who had their roots at the music school of the Western Michigan University. There students Bertha Barbee-McNeal — who has died at 82 — and Mildred Gill formed The Velvelettes, roping in Bertha’s cousin Norma, Mildred’s sister Carolyn, and a friend. And it was their performances on campus that brought them to Motown’s attention in 1962.

The Velvelettes never broke huge — their biggest hit was the superb Needle In A Haystack, which reached US #45 — but they occupy a firm place in Motown’s history. By 1967, Bertha and all but one of the group left. Bertha went on to raise a family, obtained a masters degree in music education, and worked in that field in the Michigan city of Kalamazoo.

The Bob
The kindly Bob McGrath was a fixture of my childhood as one of the adults on Sesame Street, whose cast he joined at its inception 1969 and remained with for the following 36 years. Before he was Bob on Sesame Street, McGrath was a singer with easy listening legend Mitch Miller in the 1960s, and Miller presented an album of McGrath singing easy listening songs (it’s not my cup of tea, I have to say). McGrath also enjoyed a string of hits in Japan, singing in Japanese.

How decent a guy was Bob? Well, he remained married to his wife for 64 years, till his death at the age of 90.

 

The Composer
In June we lost Julee Cruise, who gave a voice to the theme of Twin Peaks. Now the theme’s composer Angelo Badalamenti, has followed her at the age of 85. The New York-born film and television composer had a rich vein of film scores, many with director David Lynch, including Blue Velvet, The Straight Story and Mulholland Drive. Badalamenti also scored films such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The City of Lost Children, Holy Smoke!, and A Very Long Engagement.

In his long career, which started in 1962, he also recorded with acts like Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey, Pet Shop Boys, Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithfull, and David Bowie.

The Krautrock Guitarist
As the leader of the groups Ash Ra Tempel (with drummer Klaus Schulze and bassist Hartmut Enke) and Ashra in the 1970s and 80s, Manuel Göttsching was one of the most influential guitarists of the Krautrock genre. Born in 1952 in West-Berlin, he drew his influences widely, from the pop and rock of the 1960s he grew up with, from classical music, and from the free jazz which encouraged the trained classical guitarist to improvise. According to Wikipedia, “his style and technique influenced dozens of artists in the post-Eno ambient and Berlin School of electronic music scenes in the 1980s and 1990s”, a statement I’m not qualified to cast doubt on.

The GOAT
I don’t know if Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo have conveyed their crooning skills to record, but Brazilian football legend Pelé made a couple of compentent turns as a bossa nova singer, in 1969 in a duet with Regina Elis (written by Pelé himself) and in 1977 for the Sergio Mendes-produced soundtrack to a film about the GOAT’s life. On the latter, Pelé was accompanied by singer Gracinha Leporace (who also happened to be Mendes’ wife). On saxophone we hear Gerry Mulligan, on drums Jim Keltner — both also legends in their fields.

The Latino Belgian
Among the most unusual exponents of Latin music were the Chakachas, whose recording career spanned almost 20 years, from 1958 to 1977. Formed in Brussels, its members were all Flemish Belgians (and a Dutchman), including bandleader and percussionist Gaston Bogaerts, who has died at 101.

In the 1950s and 1960s — a time when cultural appropriation was not a problem yet — the Chakachas created Latin dance music, and even entered the lower reaches of the UK charts once, The group may be best known for their superb 1970 Latin funk song Jungle Fever, or perhaps 1972’s funk groover Stories.

 

The Casey
When The Beatles were one of several beat groups among many, their rivals for Merseybeat supremacy included Cass & the Cassanovas, whose leader Brian Casser (a.k.a. Casey Jones) has died at 86. Casser also ran his own club in Liverpool, the Casanova Club, where The Silver Beetles appeared. There is a story according to which it was Casser who suggested that the young band change the spelling of their proposed rebranded name from The Beatals to The Beatles.

Having moved to London, Casser restyled himself as Casey Jones, and formed Casey Jones and The Engineers, with whom he recorded a 1963 single, One Way Ticket. The group at one point included pre-fame Eric Clapton and Tom McGuinness. Soon Casey moved to Germany, where his group, now Casey Jones & The Governors, followed in the Beatles’ footsteps with a residency at Hamburg’s Star Club. The group had a few hits in West Germany, including Don’t Ha Ha, a reworking of Huey Smith’s Don’t You Just Know It.

Casey remained in Germany, working later as a DJ, and died there on December 27.

The Moog Co-inventor
One featured track here isn’t much to listen to, except as a historic artefact: “Jazz Images – A Worksong And Blues” was the first piece of music ever written for the Moog synthesizer by the instrument’s co-inventor, Herbert Deutsch, who has died at 90.

For pop music, the introduction of the Moog was a moment of revolution, with Giorgio Moroder being at the forefront in popularising it through his song Son Of My Father, which became a global hit in Chicory Tip’s cover in 1972.

The Hep Swede
In the 1960s, one of Sweden’s biggest groups was the Hep Stars, whose keyboard player, Benny Anderson, went on to become a global star and musical genius as one of the Bs in ABBA. At the height of their success, the Hep Stars’ lead singer was Svenne Hedlund, who has died at 77.

Hedlund was also a member of the band Idolerna, and with his US-born singer wife Charlotte formed the duo Svenne & Lotta in the late 1960s, having a string of minor hits in Europe as Sven & Charlotte (they divorced in 2014). The featured songs by the duo were written by old pals: Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA. Dance is a cover of the ABBA album track, Funky Feet was intended for ABBA’s Arrival album but was rejected because it supposedly sounded too much like Dancing Queen.As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

Andrew Speight, 58, Australian-born saxophonist, in train accident on Dec. 1

Jo Carol Pierce, 78, singer-songwriter and playwright, on Dec. 2
Jo Carol Pierce – Borderline Tango (1995)

Svenne Hedlund, 77, Swedish singer (Hep Stars), on Dec. 3
The Hep Stars – Sunny Girl (1966)
Sven & Charlotte – Dance (While The Music Still Goes On) (1974)
Svenne & Lotta – Funky Feet (1977)

Bobby Naughton, 78, jazz vibraphonist and pianist, on Dec. 3
Bobby Naughton – Nauxtagram (2014)

Alexandre Zelkine, 84, French folk music singer, on Dec. 3

Jamie Freeman, 57, British singer and songwriter (actor Martin’s brother), on Dec. 3
The Jamie Freeman Agreement – Steel Away (2013)

Manuel Göttsching, 70, German musician (Ash Ra Tempel) and composer, on Dec. 4
Ash Ra Tempel – Daydream (1973)
Ashra – Sunrain (1977)

Jim Stewart, 92, co-founder of Stax Records, producer, on Dec. 5
Otis Redding – Respect (1965, as producer)
Wilson Pickett – 634-5789 (Soulsville) (1966, as producer)
The Soul Children – Hearsay (1972, as producer)
Shirley Brown – Woman To Woman (1974, as co-producer)

Bob McGrath, 90, actor and singer (Sesame Street), on Dec. 4
Bob McGrath – On The Street Where You Live (1965)
Bob and Sesame Street Cast – People In Your Neighborhood (1969)

Hamsou Garba, 63, Niger singer, on Dec. 5

Jess Barr, 46, guitarist of alt.country band Slobberbone, on Dec. 5
Slobberbone – Pinball Song (2000)

Alexandre Zelkine, 84, French folk music singer, on Dec. 5

Jet Black, 84, drummer of The Stranglers, on Dec. 6
The Stranglers – (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) (1977)
The Stranglers – Nice ‘n’ Sleazy (1978)
The Stranglers – Always The Sun (1986)

Hamish Kilgour, 65, co-founder of New Zealand indie band The Clean, found Dec. 6
The Clean – Flowers (1982)

Peter Cooper, 52, country singer, songwriter, producer, exec, journalist, on Dec. 6
Peter Cooper – Wine (2008)

Fionna Duncan, 83, Scottish jazz singer, on Dec. 6

Carmen Jara, 85, Spanish copla singer, on Dec. 6
Carmen Jara – Amor que te di (1966)

Quin Ivy, 85, soul songwriter and producer, on Dec. 7
Percy Sledge – When A Man Loves A Woman (1966, as co-producer)
Bill Brandon – Rainbow Road (1969, as producer)

Roddy Jackson, 80, rock & roll singer, songwriter and pianist, on Dec. 7
Roddy Jackson – I’ve Got My Sights On Someone New (1958)

Mack Allen Smith, 84, rockabilly and blues singer, on Dec. 7
Mack Allen Smith – Skeleton Fight (1964)

Leno, 73, Brazilian singer, guitarist and composer, on Dec. 8

Djalma Corrêa, 80, Brazilian musician and composer, on Dec. 8
Djalma Correa – Salsa (1984)

Yitzhak Klepter, 72, guitarist of Israeli bands The Churchills, Kaveret, on Dec. 8

Gaston Bogaerts, 101, bandleader and percussionist of Belgian Latin-funk band Chakachas, on Dec. 9
Les Chakachas – Eso es el amor (1958)
Chakachas – Jungle Fever (1970)
Chakachas – Stories (1972)

Herbert Deutsch, 90, co-inventor of the Moog synthesizer, composer, on Dec. 9
Herbert Deutsch – Jazz Images – A Worksong And Blues (1960s, first music written for Moog)

Tony Hill, rhythm guitarist of UK-based rock group The Misunderstood, announced Dec. 10
The Misunderstood – I Can Take You To The Sun (1966, also as co-writer)

J.J. Barnes, 79, soul singer, on Dec. 10
J. J. Barnes – Hold On To It (1968)
J.J. Barnes – She’s Mine (1976)

Tshala Muana, 64, Congolese singer, on Dec. 10
Tshala Muana – Cicatrice d’amour (1985)

Zak Godwin, 57, rock guitarist and singer, in hit-and-run on Dec. 10
Zak Godwin – Missin’ The Muse (2000)

José Ángel Trelles, 78, Argentine singer, musician and composer, on Dec. 10

Tracy Hitchings, 60, former lead singer of UK prog-rock group Landmarq, on Dec. 10
Landmarq – Prayer (Coming Home) (2012)

Georgia Holt, 96, singer and actress (mother of Cher), on Dec. 10
Georgia Holt – I Sure Don’t Want To Love You (2013)

Angelo Badalamenti, 85, film and television composer, on Dec. 11
Christine Hunter – Santa Bring Me Ringo (1964, as co-writer and arranger)
Nina Simone – I Hold No Grudge (1967, as co-writer)
Angelo Badalamenti – Theme from Twin Peaks (1990, as writer and conductor)

Stuart Margolin, 82, TV actor, singer and songwriter, on Dec. 12
Shango – Day After Day (It’s Slippin’ Away) (1969, as co-writer)

Roberto Ferri, 75, Italian singer and songwriter, on Dec. 12

Ekambi Brillant, 74, Cameroonian makossa singer, on Dec. 12
Ekambi Brillant – Ayo Mba (1977)

Sol Amarfio, 84, Ghanaian drummer of Afro-funk band Osibisa, on Dec. 13
Osibisa – Flying Bird Anoma (1976)

Lalo Rodríguez, 64, Puerto Rican salsa singer, on Dec. 13
Lalo Rodriguez – Tu No Sabes Querer (1980)

Grand Daddy I.U., 54, rapper with Juice Crew, on Dec. 13
Grand Daddy I.U. – Something New (1990)

Kim Simmonds, 75, founder and guitarist of English rock group Savoy Brown, on Dec. 13
Savoy Brown – Cold Hearted Woman (1981)

Benjamin Bossi, 69, saxophonist of new wave band Romeo Void, on Dec. 13
Romeo Void – A Girl In Trouble (Is A Temporary Thing) (1984)

Koji Ryu, 60, member of Japanese pop band C-C-B, on Dec. 14

Rock Nalle, 79, Danish rock musician, on Dec. 14
Nalle – Amanda (1980)

Djene Djento, 59, Cameroonian singer-songwriter, on Dec. 14

Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss, 40, DJ on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, suicide announced Dec. 14

Dino Danelli, 78, drummer of The Rascals, on Dec. 15
The Young Rascals – Good Lovin’ (1966)
The Young Rascals – How Can I Be Sure (1967)

Shirley Eikhard, 67, Canadian singer-songwriter, on Dec. 15
Shirley Eikhard – Say You Love Me (1976, as writer)

Bertha Barbee-McNeal, 82, founding member of The Velvelettes, on Dec. 16
The Velvelettes – Needle In A Haystack (1964)
The Velvelettes – These Things Will Keep Me Loving You (1966)

Rick Anderson, 75, bassist of The Tubes, on Dec. 16
The Tubes – Don’t Touch Me There (1976)
The Tubes – The Monkey Time (1983)

Jean-Paul Corbineau, 74, singer-songwriter with French folk-rock band Tri Yann, on Dec. 16
Tri Yann – Si mort à mors (1981, also as co-writer)

DJ Shog, 46, German trance DJ and producer, on Dec. 16

Charlie Gracie, 86, rock & roll singer, on Dec. 17
Charlie Gracie – Butterfly (1957)

Yuji Tanaka, 65, drummer of Japanese rock band Anzen Chitai, on Dec. 17

Terry Hall, 63, English singer and songwriter, on Dec. 18
The Specials – Gangsters (1983)
Fun Boy Three – The Tunnel Of Love (1983)
Colourfield – Castles In The Air
Terry Hall – Sonny And His Sister (1997)

Martin Duffy, 55, keyboardist with English groups Felt, Primal Scream, on Dec. 18
Felt feat. Elizabeth Fraser – Primitive Painters (1985)
Primal Scream – Rocks (1994)

Sandy Edmonds, 74, New Zealand pop singer, on Dec. 19
Sandy Edmonds – Daylight Saving Time (1967)

Randy Begg, 71, drummer of Canadian pop band Wednesday, on Dec. 20
Wednesday – Last Kiss (1973)

Iain Templeton, drummer of British rock band Shack, on Dec. 20
Shack – Natalie’s Party (1999)

Anton Habibulin, 44, guitarist of Russian rick band Tantsy Minus, on Dec. 20

Claudisabel, 40, Portuguese singer, car accident on Dec. 20
Claudisabel – Não Vou Voltar A Chorar (2002)

Mauro Sabbione, 65, keyboardist of Italian pop group Matia Bazar, on Dec. 21

Harvey Jett, 73, guitarist of rock band Black Oak Arkansas (1970–74), on Dec. 21
Black Oak Arkansas – Hot And Nasty (1971)

Walter ‘Wolfman’ Washington, 79, blues singer and guitarist, on Dec. 22
Walter ‘Wolfman’ Washington – It’s Rainin’ In My Life (2011)

Thom Bell, 79, Jamaican-born soul songwriter, producer and arranger, on Dec. 22
The Delfonics – Ready Or Not Here I Come (1969, as co-writer, co-producer, arranger)
The Stylistics – You Make Me Feel Brandnew (1973, as co-writer, producer)
Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye – You Are Everything (1974, as writer)
The Spinners – Rubberband Man (1976, as co-writer, producer)

Big Scarr, 22, rapper, on Dec. 22

Maxi Jazz, 65, musician, rapper, singer, songwriter of UK electronic band Faithless, on Dec. 23
Maxi Jazz – What More Can I Say? (1992)
Faithless feat. Dido – One Step Too Far (2002, also as co-writer)

Massimo Savić, 60, Croatian singer of Yugoslav rock band Dorian Gray, on Dec. 23

Madosini, 78, South African traditional musician, on Dec. 24
Madonisi – Uthando Luphelile (1997)

Mampintsha, 40, member of South African kwaito band Big Nuz, on Dec. 24
Big Nuz – Serious (2013, also as co-writer)

Freddie Roulette, 83, blues guitarist and singer, on Dec. 24
Freddie Roulette – Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven (1999)

Luther ‘Guitar Junior’ Johnson, 83, blues singer and guitarist, on Dec. 25
Luther Johnson – Luther’s Blues (1976)

Camilo Azuquita, 76, Panamanian salsa singer and composer, on Dec. 25
Camilo Azuquita – Borombon (1969)

Penda Dallé, 64, Cameroonian Mokassa musician and artist, on Dec. 26

Lasse Lönndahl, 94, Swedish singer and actor, on Dec. 26
Lars Lönndahl – Tangokavaljeren (1949)

Alexander Shevchenko, 61, Russian singer, composer and producer, on Dec. 26

James ‘Jabbo’ Ware, 80, jazz saxophonist, on Dec. 26

Ashley Henderson, bassist of Australian soul-funk band Stylus, announced Dec. 27
Stylus – I Just Don’t Wanna Fall In Love (1976, also as writer)
Stylus  Funky Fig (1976, also as co-writer)

Harry Sheppard, 94, jazz vibraphonist, on Dec. 27

Brian Casser, 86, British rock & roll singer and guitarist, announced Dec. 27
Casey Jones and His Engineers – One Way Ticket (1963)
Casey Jones & The Governors – Don’t Ha Ha (1964)

Jo Mersa Marley, 31, Jamaican reggae musician, Bob’s grandson, on Dec. 27

John Neff, 71, musician, songwriter, producer, engineer, producer, on Dec. 27
Buffy Sainte-Marie – Starwalker (1992, on bass)

Pat Briggs, member of industrial band Psychotica, on Dec. 27

Scott Nash, bassist of Australian hard rock band Asteroid B-612, on Dec. 28
Asteroid B-612 – Edge A Little Closer (1994)

Linda de Suza, 74, Portuguese singer, on Dec. 28
Linda de Suza – Un Portugais (1978)

Black Stalin, 81, Trinidadian calypso musician, on Dec. 28

Ian Tyson, 89, Canadian folk singer and songwriter, half of Ian & Sylvia, on Dec. 29
Ian & Sylvia – Four Strong Winds (1963, also as writer)
Ian Tyson – Fifty Years Ago (1963, also as writer

Pelé, 82, Brazilian football legend and bossa nova singer, on Dec. 29
Pelé & Elis Regina – Perdão, Não Tem (1969, also as writer)
Pelé & Gracinha – Meu Mundo é Uma Bola (1977)

Margriet Eshuijs, 70, Dutch singer, on Dec. 29

Giovanni Pezzoli, 70, drummer of Italian pop-rock group Stadio, on Dec. 29
Stadio – Grande figlio di puttana (1982)

Vivienne Westwood, 81, British fashion designer and punk pioneer, on Dec. 29
The Sex Pistols – Who Killed Bambi (1979, as co-writer)

Jeremiah Green, 45, drummer of indie band Modest Mouse, on Dec. 30
Modest Mouse – The View (2004)

Anita Pointer, 74, singer and songwriter with the Pointer Sisters, on Dec. 31
The Pointer Sisters – Fairy Tale (1974, also as co-writer and on lead vocals)
The Pointer Sisters – Fire (1979, also on lead vocals)
The Pointer Sisters – I’m So Excited (1982, also as co-writer and on lead vocals)
Anita Pointer – Temporarily Blue (1987)

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In Memoriam – November 2022

December 6th, 2022 6 comments

In a busy month for the Reaper, the age-range of victims he claimed was huge: the oldest was 104, the youngest 24. The former first appeared in stage in 1930 and had her first hit in 1939; the latter, Danish singer Hugo Helmig, had his first international hit in 2017. I had never heard of Helmig before, but he clearly was an appealing artist. As I’ll explain later, the In Memoriam series is a good way of discovering new music; I enjoyed checking out Helmig’s music, and feel sad that there won’t be any more of it.

Another death of a singer I had never heard of before touched me this month. Jake Flint, a singer-songwriter in the red dirt sub-genre of country, should have started a tour last Friday. Instead he died in his sleep at the age of 37. The tragic kicker: Flint died a day and a half after his wedding… His widow Brenda wrote: “We should be going through wedding photos but instead I have to pick out clothes to bury my husband in.”

 

The Perfect Christine
Nothing against the name McVie, but why would you take that name when your birth-name was Perfect, literally. When Christine Perfect married Fleetwood Mac’s John McVie she took his surname, to become Christine McVie — even though she had already enjoyed success with her “maiden” name, as a solo act and as the lead singer of Chicken Shack. With the latter, she had a big hit with a cover of Etta James’ I’d Rather Go Blind. In 1969 and 1970, she was voted female vocalist of the year in the UK music weekly Melody Maker.

Few would have bet on it that Christine McVie would become the first of the classic Fleetwood Mac line-up to die, even though at 79, she was the oldest. She just seemed the most grounded of the lot, the one least likely to overdo the drug and the booze.

Her songwriting contribution to Fleetwood Mac was immense, with songs such as Over My Head, Warm Ways, Say You Love Me, Don’t Stop, Songbird, You Make Loving Fun, Oh Daddy, Think About Me, Love In Store, Hold Me, Little Lies, and Everywhere. On the Fleetwood Mac’s 1988 Greatest Hits album, half of the 16 tracks were written or co-written by Christine McVie. Shhe was the centre of Fleetwood Mac.

Remember Her Name
She should have been a superstar, as a singer, an actress and a dancer. The 1980 film Fame set Irene Cara up for both, with her having already made a mark in the title role of the musical drama Sparkle. She played a central role in Fame, performed the superb title song, sang the showstopper Out Her On My Own, and was part of the other great Fame track, I Sing The Body Electric. Cara was the first singer to perform two Oscar-nominated songs at an Academy Awards show. With her talents and beauty, she should have been the biggest star in the world.

It didn’t go that way. Three years after Fame, Cara had a mega-hit with Flashdance…What A Feeling, one of the great pop sings of the 1980s, which she also co-wrote and for which she won an Oscar. But again, the huge success didn’t translate into great, well, fame. In 1984 she had a final US Top 10 hit, with the mediocre Breakdance. Her total US chart history: Three Top 10 hits, two Top 20s, one Top 40, two Top 100s.

Because of a long-running law suit with her record label over unpaid royalties (which she eventually won, after eight years), Cara was effectively blacklisted, with RSO — the label for which she had helped make so much money through the Fame soundtrack — sending out threatening letters to other labels, warning them off Cara. Her recording career ground to a halt after her 1987 Carasmatic album, until in 2011 she formed an R&B group called Hot Caramel, with whom she released one CD. Cara also recorded in Spanish (she was half-black Cuban, half-Puerto Rican). Before she was blackballed, she appeared in a few movies, contributed to soundtracks, and did backing vocals. In the 1990s, she had a few minor dance hits in Europe

The Black Monroe
In the 1950s, Joyce Bryant was known as the “Black Marilyn Monroe”, and inspired singers like Etta James to play with sexuality in their music. Born in 1928, Bryant made her mark as a nightclub singer in the 1940s. One night she decided to paint her hair silver in a bid to upstage Josephine Baker. It became her trademark. A young woman of great courage, she broke the colour barsin Miami when she performed at a whites-only club, despite threats and the KKK burning her in effigy.

Regarded as one of the first black sex symbols, Bryant also had a successful recording career in the early 1950s, scoring a hit with her version of Love For Sale, which got banned from radio for being too raunchy. And suddenly in 1955, she left the music business because it clashed with her fervent religious beliefs as a Seventh Day Adventist, and because she was disgusted with the exploitative club culture, with its gangsters and violence against women (she once was beaten in her dressing room after rejecting the advances of a man). She’d later return in the 1960s as a vocal coach and opera singer.

By then, Bryant was immersed in civil rights activism and social upliftment projects, often working with Rev Martin Luther King Jr.

The Pub Rock Executioner
The roots of UK punk are diverse, but leading among them was the pub rock scene, some of whose exponents, such as The Stranglers, were considered part of the punk vanguard. Perhaps the most influential of those on punk and the post-punk wave was Dr. Feelgood, a blues-rock band formed in 1971. Its co-founder and guitarist was Wilko Johnson, whose moniker is a near anagram of his real name, John Wilkinson. His percussive fingerstyle guitar playing (without a pick) has been so influential that in some circles he became a cult figure.

Johnson, who has died at 75 after a long battle with cancer, founded a string of bands after leaving Dr. Feelgood in 1977, but in 1980 he joined an already successful band, Ian Dury’s Blockheads, for a few years. He was a friend of collaborations, the most high-profile of these may be the one he struck up with Who frontman Roger Daltrey in 2014.

In between, Johnson filled the central part in perhaps the most pivotal scene in the TV series Game Of Thrones: he played the executioner who cut off Ned Stark’s head. He was well-qualified for that role — his BA degree in English and Literature included courses on Anglo-Saxon and ancient Icelandic sagas, which pretty much is the GoT universe.

 

The Sinatra Discoverer
It is quite mind-blowing that until just a couple of weeks ago, a singer who had helped a still quite unknown Frank Sinatra along the way to stardom was still with us. Louise Tobin died on November 26 at the age of 104 — 92 year after she first performed on stage. In the 1930s she was singing with bandleaders like Benny Goodman while being married to another famous bandleader, Harry James. It was on Tobin’s recommendation that James signed Frank Sinatra to his first gig fronting a big band, in March 1939, before the kid moved on to Tommy Dorsey. It was with Harry James and his Orchestra that Sinatra recorded his first record, a commercial flop.

That same year, Tobin had a big hit as the vocalist for Benny Goodman with I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (a Rodgers & Hart song Sinatra would sing in 1954 for the film Pal Joey). Tobin recorded and performed with a string of big bands in the 1940s; her reputation was such that Johnny Mercer wrote a song about her, Louise Tobin Blues. In the 1950s Tobin withdrew from music to raise her sons.

She made a well-received comeback in 1962, and toured extensively for many years. In between, she co-owned a jazz club in Denver with second husband Peanuts Hucko, at which both also performed.

The Bob Marley Keyboardist
Do you remember Grace Jones’ 1983 song My Jamaican Guy? It was about reggae keyboardist Tyrone Downie, who has died at 66. By the time Grace serenaded about him, Downie was already a veteran of Jamaica’s reggae scene, as a recording artist in his own right and as keyboardist for several top acts, including Bob Marley & The Wailers (on albums like Exodus, Babylon By Bus, Kaya, Survival, and Uprising), and Peter Tosh (such as Legalize It, Equal Rights), sometimes also contributing backing vocals. He was also part of the Marley & The Wailer’s live band.

He also backed acts like Burning Spear, Johnny Nash, Dennis Brown, Rita Marley, Grace Jones, Tom Tom Club, Ian Dury, Sly & Robbie, Garland Jeffreys, Deniece Williams, Marcia Griffiths, Freddie McGregor, Gregory Isaacs, Black Uhuru, Ziggy Marley, Youssou N’Dour, Shabba Ranks and many others.

The Lo-Fier
It is a shame that cancer claimed Mimi Parker, singer and drummer of indie band Low, just a few weeks before Christmas, since the band released a string of Christmas-themed songs over a three-decade career, with titles such as Just Like Christmas, If You Were Born Today (Song for Little Baby Jesus), Santa’s Coming Over, and Some Hearts (At Christmas Time). And yet, when it comes to long battles with cancer and the bastard is winning it, release may be a matter of joy. And as a Mormon, Parker believed that death would not be the end. I hope Mimi’s was a good death.

Low were Parker and husband Alan Sparhawk, plus the occasional bassist. Mimi was mostly in charge of the low-fi sound, which is said to have reflected her quiet nature, while Alan was the rockier component.

The Sound Man
Philly Soul is mostly the creation of Gamble, Huff and Bell, but it was also the sound of Joseph Tarsia, in whose Sigma Sound Studios much of the Sound of Philadelphia was created. And often, Tarsia would be involved in the recordings as an engineer, alone or with other engineers.

In the 1960s, Tarsia worked as a recording engineer with Cameo Parkway Records (whose roster included future Philly legends such as Dee Dee Sharp and Bunny Sigler). In 1967 he decided to set up his own studio. He sold his car, house and other possessions, and leased an old studio in Philadelphia, upgrading its equipment from 2-track to 8-track. Among the early clients were The Delfonics, who recorded their 1968 La La I Love You album there. Soon the studio had to run around the clock to accommodate demand that ranged from Aretha Franklin to ZZ Top.

In 1976 Tarsia opened three studios in New York, also named Sigma Sound Studios. Among those who recorded there were Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Whitney Houston, Madonna, and Paul Simon.

 

The Woodwinder
As a session musician who could chip in on the sax, clarinet, flute, oboe, English horn, piccolo or pretty much any woodwind instrument, Gene Cipriano by 2019 had played 58 successive years in the Academy Awards orchestra.

A long-time collaborator with Henry Mancini — for whom he played the flute on the timeless theme of Peter Gunn — and other film composers, going back to the 1950s, Cipriano played on many soundtracks, including the original West Side Story. For Some Like It Hot, Cipriano played the saxophone parts for Tony Curtis’ character. Later film contributions included Hatari!, The Tomas Crown Affair, Escape From Alcatraz, The Wild Bunch, Charade,  And Justice For All, Airplane!, The Right Stuff, Romancing The Stone, The Color Purple, The Goonies, The Karate Kid, Cocoon, The Naked Gun, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Bad Boys, and many others. Add to that a huge list of TV music he played on.

In the 1950s he played for people like Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé, Nat King Cole, and Anita O’Day. As a member of the Wrecking Drew, he backed acts like Glen Campbell, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Mason Williams, Frank Zappa, The Monkees, The Beach Boys, Barbra Streisand, Michael Franks, Neil Diamond, Judee Sill, The 5th Dimension, Boodstone, Andy Williams, Dennis Coffey, Etta James, Peggy, Anne Murray, Nancy Wilson and John Denver. Later he played with the likes of Tom Waits, Lionel Richie, Prince, Frank Sinatra (on the Duets album), Natalie Cole (Unforgettable), Lady Gaga, Gregory Porter, and Barry Manilow, Michael Bublé, and Daft Punk.

The Nazareth Singer
In July we lost the lead guitarist of Nazareth’s classic line up, Manny Charlton; in November the Scottish hard rock band’s lead singer, Dan McCafferty, followed him. McCafferty had been a founding member of the group in 1968, and stayed with it until health forced his retirement in 2013. So it his voice that can’t make up its mind whether to love or hate the band’s best-known hit, a cover of the Everly Brothers’ Love Hurts.

Nazareth fun fact: The group didn’t name itself after Jesus’ hometown in Galilee but after the town by the same name in Pennsylvania, which got namechecked in The Band’s song The Weight.

The Post-punk Pioneer
In Public Image Ltd, or PiL, John Lydon and Jah Wobble were the stars, but fans will credit Keith Levene, who has died at 65, with being an at least equally important member of the band, as a guitarist, songwriter and producer. He was a member when PiL was formed as a post-Sex Pistols vehicle for Lydon, who at the same time dropped his Johnny Rotten moniker. Levene left PiL in 1983 over creative differences.

Levene was also a founding member of The Clash, and persuaded Joe Strummer to join the band. He left before The Clash recorded anything, but contributed the song What’s My Name to their first album.

The Star Rapper
I am so out of touch with the latest in popular music that I had no idea who rapper Takeoff was when his death, killed by what seems to be stray bullets in a shoot-out, was announced. It turns out that as a third of the hip hop trio Migos, the 28-year-old had scored a number of US Top 10 hits, including Stir Fry, MotorSport featuring Nicki Minaj & Cardi B, and Walk It Talk It featuring Drake. Her scored two #1 albums, and two Grammy nominations.

Remarkably, the man born as Kirshnik Khari Ball rapped in Migos with his uncle, Quavo, as well as a cousin — a true family affair. Shortly before the rapper’s killing on November 1, Takeoff and Quavo released a video for the song Messy. Apparently at 2:40 one can see a poster with the legend “RIP” next to Takeoff. In a spooky mindfuck, Takeoff was killed in a shooting at 02:40.

 

The Apple Outlaw
As a young record company exec with Capitol in the 1960s, Ken Mansfield oversaw the careers of acts like The Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, Bobbie Gentry, Lou Rawls, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard among others, but his biggest-name charges were The Beatles. And The Fab’s were so impressed with Mansfield’s promotion work for them in the States that they appointed him US manager of their new Apple label in 1968.

In that role Mansfield was one of the organisers of The Beatles’ famous rooftop concert in 1969, an event he later wrote a book about (another book he wrote on The Beatles apparently is the only one that received the approval of Paul, George, Ringo and Yoko, other than the Anthology). In the film footage of the Rooftop Concert, you can spot him wearing the white coat.

It was Mansfield whose intervention persuaded The Beatles to release Hey Jude as a single, instead of Revolution. Hey Jude was thought to be too long, so Mansfield played the two contenders to a sample of US radio DJs. They told him that Hey Jude would be a hit, even at its length. And so it turned out to be…

After the Apple adventure, Mansfield became a prolific, especially records by outlaw country musicians such as Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser. He also produced acts like Claudine Longet, Don Ho and Nick Gilder.

The Discovery
One of the great things about doing this series is to discover artists and music I’d never heard of. If these acts were still a going concern when circumstances conspired to make them known to me, then these discoveries are bitter-sweet, because there won’t be any new music made by them. So it is in the case of English soul singer Noel McKoy, whose death at 62 prompted me to investigate his music. I loved almost everything I heard of his retro-tinged soul music, and the acid jazz stuff he did with the James Taylor Quartet (not that James Taylor).

The Boomtown Rat
Where do #1 artists go when their group sinks? Garry Roberts, who has died at 72, scored a string of hits as guitarist behind Bob Geldof in The Boomtown Rats, including two #1s (Rat Trap; I Don’t Like Mondays) and seven more Top 20 hits between 1977-80. The Boomtown Rats, which Roberts had co-founded with pyjama-clad keyboardist Johnny Fingers, disbanded in 1986.

Subsequently, Roberts gigged as a sound engineer before becoming a financial adviser. After 15 years he was disillusioned with the insurance industry (who can blame him?) and became a central heating engineer. All the while, he kept playing with a reconstituted Boomtown Rats.

The Smurf Xenophobe
Vader Abraham didn’t mind his immigrants small and blue, but the Smurfs singer didn’t like them brown. For a short while, the Dutch singer and songwriter Pierre Kartner, one-time member of 1960s million-selling band Corry & de Rekels, brutalised much of Europe with his grating Smurfs songs. He also turned his talents to writing racist songs. In the 1970s — before he became the beloved father of the Smurfs — he asked in song: “What shall we do with the Arabs here? They can’t be trusted with our pretty women here.” He also warbled about the unemployed being to blame for their own condition since they all are drunks in bars. What a total klootzak! Later Kartner recorded a campaign song with far-right populist Pim Fortuyn. Alas, it wasn’t titled “Alle verdomde Smurfen haten me nu omdat ik een dweper ben”.

In his time Kartner is said to have written thousands of songs. Of those, one, Het kleine café aan de haven, was a hit that merited being recorded in different languages throughout Europe, for singers like Mireille Mathieu, Joe Dassin, Engelbert Humperdinck, Audrey Landers, Demis Roussos, and Peter Alexander (whose ingratiating German version, Unsere kleine Kneipe, was a big hit in Germany in 1977). It wasn’t very good, but at least it wasn’t intrinsically annoying nor did it promote racism.As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

Joseph Tarsia, 88, engineer and owner of Sigma Sound Studios, on Nov. 1
Daddy Kae & Yvonne – Eleven Commandments Of Woman (1966, as engineer)
The Delfonics – La La Means I Love You (1968, as engineer)
The O’Jays – I Love Music (1975, as engineer)

Takeoff, 28, rapper with hip hop trio Migos, murdered on Nov. 1
Migos – Stir Fry (2016)
Migos feat. Drake – Walk It Talk It (2018)

Gerd Dudek, 84, German jazz saxophonist, clarinetist and flautist, on Nov. 3

Noel McKoy, 62, British soul singer, on Nov. 3
James Taylor Quartet with Noel McKoy – Love The Life (1993)
Noel McKoy – Love Under Control (1998)
Noel McKoy – Fly Away With Me (2009)

Nicole Josy, 76, half of Belgian duo Nicole & Hugo, on Nov. 4

Carmelo La Bionda, 73, half of Italian disco duo La Bionda and songwriter, on Nov. 5
La Bionda – One For You, One For Me (1978, also as co-writer)

Mimi Parker, 55, singer and drummer of indie band Low, on Nov. 5
Low – Sleep At The Bottom (1998)
Low – Everybody’s Song (2005)
Low – Some Hearts (At Christmas Time) (2016)

Aaron Carter, 34, pop singer, on Nov. 5
Aaron Carter – Aaron’s Party (Come Get It) (2000)

Tyrone Downie, 66, Jamaican keyboardist, producer and arranger, on Nov. 5
Tyrone Downie – Movie Skank (1972)
Peter Tosh – Legalize It (1976)
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Is This Love (1978, on keyboards)

Tame One, 52, rapper, on Nov. 5

Dan Fawcett, 52, guitarist of Canadian rock band Helix (2202-04), found Nov. 6

Hurricane G, 52, rapper, on Nov. 6
Hurricane G. – Somebody Else (1997)

Joe Baque, 100, jazz pianist, on Nov. 6

Don Lewis, 81, synth pioneer, singer, engineer, on Nov. 6
The Don Lewis Experience – And They’ll Know

Ali Birra, 72, Ethiopian singer, on Nov. 6

Jeff Cook, 73, singer and musician with country band Alabama, on Nov. 7
Alabama – Mountain Music (1982)

Michel Bühler, 77, Swiss chanson singer-songwriter, on Nov. 7
Michel Bühler – Mon Père (1976)

Claes-Göran Hederström, 77, Swedish singer, on Nov. 8

Dan McCafferty, 76, singer of Scottish rock band Nazareth, on Nov. 8
Nazareth – Broken Down Angel (1973, also as co-writer)
Dan McCafferty – The Honky Tonk Downstairs (1978)
Nazareth – Where Are You Now (1983)

Will Ferdy, 95, Belgian singer, on Nov. 8

Garry Roberts, 72, guitarist of The Boomtown Rats, on Nov. 8
The Boomtown Rats – Looking After No 1 (1977)
The Boomtown Rats – Someone’s Looking At You (1979)

PierreVader Abraham’ Kartner, 87, Dutch singer, racist and songwriter, on Nov. 8
Mireille Mathieu – Le vieux café de la rue d’Amérique (1976, as co-writer)

Gal Costa, 77, Brazilian singer, on Nov. 8
Gal Costa – Meu nome é Gal (1969)
Gal Costa – Festa do interior (1982)

Mattis Hætta, 63, Norwegian singer, on Nov. 9

Nik Turner, 82, musician with rock band Hawkwind, on Nov. 10
Hawkwind – Master Of The Universe (1972, also as co-writer)
Nik Turner – The Visitor (Space Gypsy) (2013)

Chris Koerts, 74, guitarist of Dutch pop group Earth and Fire, on Nov. 10
Earth and Fire – Memories (1972)

Keith Levene, 65, English guitarist with Public Image Ltd, songwriter, on Nov. 11
The Clash – What’s My Name (1977, as writer)
Public Image Ltd – Public Image (1978)
Public Image Ltd – Flowers Of Romance (1981, also as co-writer, engineer)

Rab Noakes, 75, Scottish folk singer, songwriter and drummer, on Nov. 11
Rab Noakes – Together Forever (1970)

Sven-Bertil Taube, 87, Swedish folk singer and actor, on Nov. 11

Gene Cipriano, 94, woodwind musician and session musician, on Nov. 12
Henry Mancini – Theme from Peter Gunn (1958, on flute)
Barbra Streisand – Love (1971, on oboe and clarinet)
Claudia Lennear – Goin’ Down (1973, on baritone sax)
Daft Punk – Beyond (2013, on bass clarinet)

Jerzy Połomski, 89, Polish singer and actor, on Nov. 14

Mick Goodrick, 77, jazz guitarist, on Nov. 16

B. Smyth, 28, R&B singer and songwriter, on Nov. 17
B. Smyth – Win Win (2023)

Ken Mansfield, 85, producer and label manager (Apple), on Nov. 17
Claudine Longet – Wake Up To Me Gentle (1972, as writer and producer)
Jessi Colter – What’s Happened To Blue Eyes (1975, as co-producer)

Tommy Facenda, 83, rock & roll singer and guitarist, on Nov. 18
Tommy Facenda – High School USA (1959)

Nico Fidenco, 89, Italian singer and film composer, on Nov. 19
Nico Fidenco – Legata ad un granello di Sabbia (1961; Italy’s first million-seller)

Danny Kalb, 80, guitarist and singer with blues-rock band Blues Project, on Nov. 19
The Blues Project – Two Trains Running (1966, on lead vocals)

DJ Sumbody, South African dance musician and producer, shot on Nov. 20

Joyce Bryant, 95, American singer and civil rights activist, on Nov. 20
Joyce Bryant – Drunk With Love (1950)
Joyce Bryant – Love For Sale (1952)
Joyce Bryant – After You’ve Gone (1953)

David Ornette Cherry, 64, jazz musician, on Nov. 20

Wilko Johnson, 75, guitarist (Dr. Feelgood), songwriter, actor, on Nov. 21
Dr. Feelgood – Roxette (1974, also as writer)
Wilko Johnson – When I’m Gone (1980)
Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey – Ice On The Motorway (2014)

Pablo Milanés, 79, Cuban singer-songwriter, on Nov. 22
Pablo Milanés – El Guerrero (1983)

Erasmo Carlos, 81, Brazilian singer-songwriter, on Nov. 22
Erasmo Carlos – Sentado à beira do caminho (1969)

Hugo Helmig, 24, Danish singer-songwriter, on Nov. 23
Hugo Helmig – Please Don’t Lie (2017)

Shel Macrae, 77, singer, guitarist with British pop band The Fortunes, announced Nov. 23
The Fortunes – Things Go Better With Coke (1967)
The Fortunes – Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again (1971)

Irene Cara, 63, pop/soul singer, songwriter and actress, on. Nov. 25
Irene Cara – Makin’ Love With Me (1979)
Irene Cara – Out Here On My Own (1980)
Irene Cara – Flashdance (What A Feeling) (Extended Version) (1983)
Hot Caramel – Stop Frontin’ (2011, as founder-member, lead singer, synth, producer)

Sammie Okposo, 51, Nigerian gospel singer, on Nov. 25

Don Newkirk, 56, hip-hop and R&B musician, composer and producer, on Nov. 25
Don Newkirk – Do You Feel Like I (2021)

Louise Tobin, 104, jazz singer, on Nov. 26
Benny Goodman and His Orchestra – I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (1939, on lead vocals)
Benny Goodman and His Orchestra – There’ll Be Some Changes Made (1941, on lead vocals)
Peanuts Hucko & Louise Tobin – The Man I Love (1984)

Jake Flint, 37, red dirt country singer-songwriter, on Nov. 27
Jake Flint – Cold In This House (2020)

Galit Borg, 54, Israeli singer, in a traffic accident on Nov. 28

Christine McVie (Perfect), 79, English singer, keyboardist and songwriter, on Nov. 30
Chicken Shack – I’d Rather Go Blind (1969, as member and on lead vocals)
Fleetwood Mac – Songbird (1977, as writer and on lead vocals)
Christine McVie – Got A Hold On Me (1984, also as co-writer)
Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere (1987, as co-writer and on lead vocals)

Steve ‘Cast Iron’ Smith, singer with British punk band Red Alert, on Nov. 30
Red Alert – Third And Final (1980)

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In Memoriam – October 2022

November 3rd, 2022 4 comments

What a terrible month for Carly Simon, who lost her two sisters on successive days. Generally, it was a month that claimed several strong women, and a ghastly month for country music.

But the WTF Death of the Month must be that of Amou Haji. The 94-year-old Iranian was billed “The Dirtiest Man in the World”, on account of not having washed in 65 years. He didn’t bother anybody. Amou Haj lived in a hole and ate the meat of dead animals he found. Still, just a few months ago, the villagers persuaded Amou Haj to take a bath. I’m not saying that cleanliness kills you, but soon after Amou Haj had his first confrontation with soap and water in six and a half decades, he died…

The Dead Killer
Music history is filled with scumbags whose art we admire despite our objections to their character. These scumbags appear throughout the history of art (think of Caravaggio, a genius as well as a killer). Jerry Lee Lewis occupies a place of honour in the Artists’ Hall of Infamy. Marrying his 13-year-old cousin was just one strike against Lewis (and it screwed up his career). Of course he also beat his child-bride, as he did almost all of his seven wives. And the death of his fifth wife… well, let’s just say that a case has been made that Lewis’ nickname “The Killer” was not just a hilarious moniker. He earned that nickname long before Wife 5’s suspicious death, in high school, when he tried to strangle a teacher. The man was also a racist and a man given to extreme acts violence. To cut a very long and nasty story short, the man was a sociopath. And he knew it, and seemed pretty pleased about it.

But Lewis also provided at least two incendiary records to the canon of rock & roll, which placed him at the very vanguard of the nascent movement. After the deaths in recent years of Little Richard, Fats Domino and Chuck Berry, Lewis was the last man standing of that vanguard. His contribution, the immediate massive impact notwithstanding, was also the slightest of that rarified group. Of course, even if we reduce his output to just Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On and Great Balls Of Fire, that contribution was huge.

Lewis is one of those artists whose personality has actively put me off from seeking out his catalogue, even as I rather liked those things I’ve stumbled across. It’s not that there is a code I subscribe to — for every Gary Glitter or R. Kelly whose music I avoid there’s a Michael Jackson whom I’ll cheerfully listen to, despite all the allegations. I’ll listen to Lewis stuff, and even enjoy it, but his death won’t encourage me to investigate his body of work.

The Coal Miner’s Daughter
After Kitty Wells broke barriers for women in country music in the 1950s, Loretta Lynn stepped up the cause for women in the 1960s and ’70s. The country legend did controversial songs about the stigma of divorce especially for women, the Pill, sexual autonomy, domestic abuse (in the unsubtly-titled Fist City), and war widowhood (during the Vietnam War, one may add), and did many other songs that spoke to and for women. Some of them were humorous; indeed, Loretta had a way of making funny songs without them becoming novelty records. Her duets with Conway Twitty in the 1970s are a good example of that, especially the superbly-titled You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly.

Many of Loretta’s songs were from her own life. The autobiographical Coal Miner’s Daughter (later also the title of her best-selling memoirs and subsequently a hit film) is a macro example of that; and sometimes they were small touches. On the child-bearing anthem One’s On The Way, she exclaims “Gee, I hope it ain’t twins again!” Her last birth, six years earlier, produced twins.

While Loretta was progressive in many of her lyrics, she was no feminist. Women’s liberation was, for her, at best a necessary evil. Politically she supported mostly Republicans, with the exception of Jimmy Carter. Towards the end of her life she stumped for Trump — precisely the sort of man she censured and mocked in many of her songs.

The Country Folk Pop Singer
Known primarily as a country singer, Jody Miller started out as a folk and pop singer, and in 1965 even participated in the Sanremo Song Festival in Italy, singing “Io che non vivo (senza te)”, a year before Dusty Springfield had a hit with an English version of the song as You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me (the story of that features on The Originals 1960s Vol. 1). Miller also recorded a string of songs in German (with quite good diction for that kind of thing; check out the Stars Sing German mix). Her breakthrough came with Queen Of The House, an answer record to the Roger Miller hit King Of The Road, which won her a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

She followed that with Home Of The Brave, a pop chart hit which due its (mild) anti-bigotry lyrics didn’t even make the country charts. Nevertheless she enjoyed a decent country career throughout the 1970s, especially as a fine interpreter of older hits. Quite remarkable is her lovely 1971 version of The Chiffons’ He’s So Fine, which prominently features a guitar line very similar to that of My Sweet Lord; the George Harrison track which the publishers of He’s So Fine claimed ripped of the song they had bought.

Miller retired temporarily from music in 1979 to breed horses. In 1987 she returned as a country gospel artist. In that field she was highly-respected. In 1999 she was inducted into the Country Gospel Music Hall of Fame — among the other inductees that year was Loretta Lynn.

The Motown Writer
Just a couple of months after the great Lamont Dozier died, another writer of Motown classics left us in Ivy Jo Hunter. Like Dozier and the Holland brothers, Hunter tried his hand at becoming a singer but ended up behind the scenes, as a keyboardist, producer and songwriter. Hunter co-wrote Dancing In The Streets for Martha & The Vandellas, Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead and I’ll Keep Holding On for The Marvelettes, Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever and Ask The Lonely for the Four Tops, Behind A Painted Smile for the Isley Brothers, Can You Jerk Like Me for The Contours, among others.

Motown didn’t release any of Hunter’s own recordings until much later, other than a soon-out-of-print album of his songs in 1969. In the 1970s Hunter went his own way, working with Funkadelic and in 1979 co-writing and producing graduation anthem Hold On (To Your Dream) for erstwhile Dramatics singer Wee Gee.

The Backing Leader
It was a really tough month for country music. After Kitty Wells and Jody Miller, Nashville mourned Anita Kerr, whose impressive vita included singer, arranger, composer, conductor, pianist and producer. Fulfilling all or any of these roles, she was central to the development of the Nashville sound in the 1950s. The Anita Kerr Singers provided backing vocals on countless country recordings, many of them classic hits. If it wasn’t The Jordanaires crooning background vocals on a country record in the 1950s to mid-‘60s, then it was the Anita Kerr Singers. And besides all that, Kerr often arranged and co-produced those recordings, usually with the A-Team of session musicians in the studio and not always credited.

Kerr and her singers debuted on record when they trilled in the background to Red Foley’s song Our Lady Of Fatima, a #16 hit in 1950 (Foley and Kerr were both Catholics, which explains this strange subject matter). They went on to back — with Kerr often also arranging — acts like Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, Skeeter Davis, Dean Martin, Don Gibson, Burl Ives, Ernest Tubb, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Chet Atkins, Hank Snow, Brenda Lee, Perry Como, Pat Boone, Rosemary Clooney, Bobby Vinton, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, Floyd Cramer, Al Hirt and many others.

The group also recorded in its own rights, winning a Grammy in 1965 for singing Henry Mancini songs (incongruously beating The Beatles’ Help album in the best vocal group performance category). In a neat reversal, the singers from the country world dug into the repertoire of Ray Charles, who had enjoyed great success with reinterpreting country songs.

In 1965, Kerr packed in the Nashville country scene, and moved to LA, and in 1970 to Switzerland. In both places she recorded easy listening covers with reconstituted Anita Kerr Singers. In Switzerland, Kerr and husband Alex Grob set up Mountain Studios at Montreux Casino in 1975. Bought in 1979 by Queen, it has been the place of many noteworthy recordings.

The Songwriter
Last year and a few weeks ago, I compiled mixes to highlight my Top 20 albums of 1971 (with a second volume making it a Top 40), and 1972. If I make it as far as 2024, I shall compile my Top 20 albums of 1974. And that list will include the only album songwriter Bettye Crutcher ever released, the awkwardly titled Long As You Love Me (I’ll Be Alright). That album included the wonderful Up For A Let Down, which featured on Any Major Soul 1974.

Crutcher should have had a career in front of the mic, but most of her work was behind the scenes, as a songwriter and occasionally as producer. In the 1960s, Crutcher wrote a string of soul songs for artists on the Stax roster, as a third of the writing collective We Three. Their best-known hit is Johnnie Taylor’s widely-covered 1968 hit Who’s Making Love. In the 1970s, Crutcher wrote extensively with Mack Rice (the original singer of Mustang Sally), and a lot for Canadian-born soul singer Eric Mercury, whom we lost in March this year (a Crutcher co-wrote also appeared on Any Major ABC of Canada). She also wrote the majestic I’m Gonna Hate Myself In The Morning for Betty Wright. It is represented here by Otis Clay, an alumnus of Hi Records, for which Crutcher also wrote.

Crutcher, the only woman in Stax’s creative department, attended the Grammys in 1969, where Who’s Making Love was nominated. Also attending was John Lennon. “I wanted so much to meet him,” she later recalled, “but I found out that he wanted to meet me.”

After Stax folded in the mid-1970s, Crutcher retired from the music industry, other than writing the occasional song, and became an antiques dealer and jeweller.

The Older Sister
Perhaps Lucy Simon, who has died at 82, should be most famous for greater things than being the older sister of Carly Simon, with whom she formed a folk duo in the 1960s. The Simon Sisters came from a privileged background — their father was the co-founder of publishing giants Simon & Schuster, but their mother was also a social activist and singer. All three daughters went into music: oldest sister Joanna went into opera; Lucy and Carly into folk music as The Simon Sisters. In October, Joanna died one day (!) before Lucy, at the age of 84. Both were killed by cancer.

Starting in 1964, The Simon Sisters released three albums, appeared on TV and had a minor hit with Lucy’s adaptation of the poem Winkin’, Blinkin’ And Nod — the first song she ever wrote. As the 1960s fizzled out, Lucy got married and Carly pursued a solo career in LA, marrying fellow folkie James Taylor. Lucy would periodically do backing vocals on her sister’s recordings.

In the mid-1970s, Lucy returned full-time to music, recording two albums: 1975’s eponymous album was a folk affair, 1977’s Stolen Time an AOR effort. On the latter, Carly Simon and James Taylor did backing vocals on about half of the songs. But neither album did brisk business.

In 1980 Lucy and husband David Levine produced the Grammy-winning album In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record, on which some top stars (Doobie Brothers, George Benson, Bette Midler, Al Jarreau, Dr John, and, of course, Simon and Taylor) recorded songs for children which their boomer parents could groove to (truth be told, other than Ernie & Cookie Monster doing their turn, I suspect almost everything else bored the kids stiff). They also oversaw the sequel album in 1982. That set also included an all-star cast; among them Bruce Springsteen with his version of Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town. That album also won a Grammy in the Best Recording for Children category.

Lucy then went into writing music for stage musicals, scoring notable successes with The Secret Garden and Doctor Zhivago.

The Enginering Producer
If you produce one classic album in your life, then doing it with Santana’s Abraxas — with Black Magic Woman, Oye Como Va, Samba Pa Ti etc —  isn’t a bad way to go. Of course, Fred Catero, who has died at 89, produced many other albums. And he engineered on many hit records for acts like Peaches & Herb, The Buckinghams, Blood Sweat & Tears, Big Brother & Holding Company, Janis Joplin, Linda Ronstadt, Chicago, Taj Mahal, Herbie Hancock, The Pointer Sisters, Bobby Womack, LaBelle and many others.

In the 1980s he founded the independent Catero Records label for jazz acts, with Herbie Hancock as the headliner act.

The Gay-Country Singer
Strangely, I’ve never considered the notion of there being a gay country scene. But whatever there is by way of gay country, it was spearheaded by the band Lavender Country, led by Patrick Haggerty, who has died at 78. In 1973, Lavender Country released the first known gay-themed album in country music.

The eponymously-titled album was funded by gay rights activists in Seattle, and only a thousand copies were pressed. That might not be the only reason why we haven’t seen Lavender Country on stage of the Grand Ole Opry singing their songs like Come Out Singing, Back In The Closet Again, Straight White Patterns, or the timeless Cryin’ These Cocksucking Tears.

The band released their second album, Blackberry Rose, almost 50 years later, in February this year. In the intervening decades, Haggerty (who in the 1960s was kicked out of the Peace Corps for being gay!) was the only permanent member.

The Legend
Most of us probably associate Angela Lansbury with the TV series Murder, She Wrote, in which Jessica Fletcher’s presence at any social event would lead to at least one murder, which the author-sleuth would then solve. The episode would always end with a freeze-frame of Ms Fletcher laughing. Was she laughing at us, having committed all these murders herself, directly or by plotting, and framing some poor saps for them?

Lansbury, an all-round quality person, also appeared in the 1944 film that has given us the modern term “gaslighting”. Gaslight was more Hitchcockian than a film typical of director George Cukor. I recommend Gaslight highly.

Lansbury’s credits were many (The Manchurian Candidate!), and they included several eminent stage musicals, including Mame and Gypsy. As such, Lansbury featured on this funkin’, rockin’, soulin’ blog before, with her song We Need A Little Christmas from Mame, on Any Major X-Mas Favourites.

Another singing British actor left us this month in Robbie Coltrane, whose recording career was shortlived.

Expenses in running this joint are coming up again at the end of the year. If you are enjoying what you read, please consider buying me coffee to help keep this place going.

As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

Bin Valencia, 61, drummer of Argentine metal band Almafuerte, on Oct. 1

Mary McCaslin, 75, folk singer-songwriter, on Oct. 2
Mary McCaslin – Sunny California (1979)

Mon Legaspi, 54, bassist of Filipino rock band Wolfgang, on Oct. 3

Janet Thurlow, 96, jazz singer, on Oct. 4
Lionel Hampton Orchestra – I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me (1951, on vocals)

Loretta Lynn, 90, country singer-songwriter, on Oct. 4
Loretta Lynn – I’m A Honky Tonk Girl (1960)
Loretta Lynn – Coal Miner’s Daughter (1970)
Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty – You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly (1978)
Loretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose (2004)

Lenny Lipton, 82, poet and lyricist, on Oct. 5
Peter, Paul & Mary – Puff (The Magic Dragon) (1963, as co-writer)

Ann-Christine Nyström, 78, Finnish singer, on Oct. 5

Jody Miller, 80, folk and country singer, on Oct. 6
Jody Miller – Magic Town (1965)
Jody Miller – Liebelei hat keinen Sinn (1965)
Jody Miller – He’s So Fine (1971)
Jody Miller – Soft Lights And Slow Sexy Music (1978)

Ivy Jo Hunter, 82, Motown songwriter, singer and keyboardist, on Oct. 6
The Marvelettes – Danger! Heartbreak Dead Ahead (1965, as writer and co-producer)
Ivy Joe Hunter – Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever (1969, also as co-writer)
Wee Gee – Hold On (To Your Dreams) (1979, as co-writer and producer)
Ivy Jo Hunter – Running Through My Fingers (1991, also as co-writer)

Fred Catero, 89, producer and engineer, on Oct. 6
Blood, Sweat & Tears – Spinning Wheel (1968, as recording engineer)
Santana – Hope You’re Feeling Better (1970, as producer)
Webster Lewis – Give Me Some Emotion (1979, as engineer)

Winston Henry, 74, Trinidadian calypso artist, on Oct. 7

Ronnie Cuber, 80, jazz saxophonist, on Oct. 7
Ronnie Cuber – Cumana (1978)
Chaka Khan & George Benson – We Got The Love (1978, on baritone saxophone)

Chuck Deardorf, 68, jazz bass player, on Oct. 9

Andrés Cuervo, 34, Colombian singer-songwriter, on Oct. 9

Kenny Clayton, 86, British jazz pianist, producer, arranger, conductor, on Oct. 10
Kenny Clayton – Strawberry Fields (2008)

Anita Kerr, 94, singer, choir leader, arranger, pianist, producer, on Oct. 10
Tennessee Ernie & The Dinning Sisters – Rock City Boogie (1952, as co-writer)
Jim Reeves – He’ll Have To Go (1960, on backing vocals)
The Anita Kerr Quartet – Too Little Time (1965)

Angela Lansbury, 96, British actress and musicals singer, on Oct. 11
Angela Lansbury – If He Walked Into My Life (1969)

Willie Spence, 23, American Idol runner-up (2021), in car crash on Oct. 11

Monsta O, 56, American rapper, on Oct. 12

Verckys Kiamuangana Mateta, 78, Congolese bandleader, composer, label founder, on Oct. 13
Verckys & Son Ensemble – Bankoko Baboyi (1969, also on saxophone)

Mike Schank, 56, American musician and actor, on Oct. 13

Christina Moser, 70, Swiss half of Italian new wave duo Krisma, on Oct. 13
Chrisma – Lola (1977)

Steve Roberts, 68, drummer of British punk band U.K. Subs, by suicide on Oct. 13
U.K. Subs – Keep On Running (1981)

Robbie Coltrane, 72, Scottish actor, comedian, occasional singer, on Oct. 14
Robbie Coltrane – New Orleans (1988)

Marty Sammon, 45, blues pianist, on Oct. 15
Buddy Guy – Let The Door Knob Hit Ya (2010, on piano)

Mikaben, 41, Haitian singer, songwriter and producer, on Oct. 15

Joyce Sims, 63, soul singer-songwriter, on Oct. 15
Joyce Sims – (You Are My) All And All (1985)
Joyce Sims – Come Into My Life (1987)

Noel Duggan, 73, guitarist, singer with Irish folk group Clannad, on Oct. 15
Clannad – Theme From Harry’s Game (1982)
Clannad feat. Bono- In A Lifetime (1986)

Paul Dufour, 74, original drummer of UK rock band Libertines, announced Oct. 16

Robert Gordon, 75, rockabilly singer, on Oct. 18
Robert Gordon feat. Link Wray – The Way I Walk (1978)

Franco Gatti, 80, singer, musician with Italian pop band Ricchi e Poveri, on Oct. 18
Ricchi e Poveri – Sarà perché ti amo (1981)

Joanna Simon, 85, opera singer, sister of Carly Simon, on Oct. 19
Carly Simon – Older Sister (1974)

Lucy Simon, 82, folk-rock singer and songwriter, sister of Carly Simon, on Oct. 20
The Simon Sisters – Calico Pie (1968)
Lucy Simon – Silence Is Salvation (1975)
Lucy Simon – If You Ever Believed (1977)
The Doobie Brothers – Wynken, Blynken And Nod (1980, as producer, co-writer)

Bettye Crutcher, 83, soul singer and songwriter, on Oct. 20
Johnnie Taylor – Who’s Making Love (1968, as co-writer)
Eric Mercury – If I Make It To The Top (1973, as co-writer)
Bettye Crutcher – Up For A Let Down (1974, also as co-writer)
Otis Clay – I’m Gonna Hate Myself In The Morning (1982, as co-writer)

Zuri Craig, 44, actor and singer, on Oct. 21

Robert Gordy, 91, singer, songwriter, publishing executive, on Oct. 21
Bob Kayli with Barry Gordy Orchestra – Everyone Was There (1958, as singer, co-writer)

Luiz Galvão, 87, songwriter with Brazilian rock band Novos Baianos, on Oct. 22

Don Edwards, 86, western singer, on Oct. 23
Don Edwards – Deep Water, Ice And Snow (1992)

Gregg Philbin, bassist of REO Speedwagon (1968-77), on Oct. 24
REO Speedwagon – Ridin’ The Storm Out (1973)

Paul Stoddard, singer of metalcore band Diecast, on Oct. 25

Christie Nelhlick, drummer of rock band ROX, announced Oct. 26
ROX – American Kan Kan (1979)

Agustín Ramírez, 70, singer-songwriter with Mexican band Los Caminantes, on Oct. 26

Geraldine Hunt, 77, soul and disco singer and songwriter, on Oct. 27
Geraldine Hunt – Can’t Fake The Feeling (1980, also as co-writer)

Bruce Arnold, 76, singer and songwriter of rock band Orpheus, announced Oct. 28
Orpheus – Cant Find The Time (1968, also as writer)

Jerry Lee Lewis, 87, rock & roll and country singer and pianist, on Oct. 28
Jerry Lee Lewis – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On (1957)
Jerry Lee Lewis – Hound Dog (1974)
Jerry Lee Lewis – Sunday Morning Coming Down (2010)

H. Peligro, 63, drummer of the Dead Kennedys, on Oct. 28
Dead Kennedys – Bleed For Me (1982)

Robin Sylvester, c.71, British bassist of rock band RatDog, On Oct. 29
The Rubinoos – Early Winter (2000, on bass)

Ryan Karazija, 40, founder of Icelandic electronica project Low Roar, announced Oct. 29
Low Roar – Give Me An Answer (2017)

John McGale, 66, member of Canadian rock band Offenbach, on Oct. 30
Offenbach – Sad Song (2000)

Danny Javier, 75, member of Filipino band APO Hiking Society, on Oct. 31

Patrick Haggerty, 78, singer-songwriter of country band Lavender Country, on Oct. 31
Lavender Country – Come Out Singing (1973)
Lavender Country – Don’t Buy Her No More Roses (2022)

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In Memoriam – September 2022

October 4th, 2022 3 comments

After last month’s carnage, the Reaper mercifully returned to the normal swing of things. He still took at least three artists who made a huge difference in their respective fields.

One artist who doesn’t get listed is Rommy Hunt Revson, who was a nightclub singer but never released any records (as far as I can ascertain). Her claim to fame resides outside the world of music: she invented the scrunchie, the fabric-covered elastic hair tie. After a year-long marriage to Revlon heir John Revson, then 43-year-old Rommy fashioned the tie to manage her brittle hair for a job interview in 1987. She patented the idea and made millions of it, until the patent expired in 2001. She never needed to return to the stages of smokey nightclubs.

The Game-changer
It can be argued that Coolio helped break a mold when his Gangsta’s Paradise became a massive hit. For the first time, a G-Funk rapper who actually knew life in the ghetto and rapped about it topped the US charts, and his song even became the year’s biggest hit. He was by no means the first credible hip hop artist to have a hit, nor even the first G-Funk rapper. Dr Dre preceded Gangsta’s Paradise in the Top 10 by a couple of years. But the mega-success of Gangsta’s Paradise helped make “gangsta rap” acceptable in polite society and white executives’ offices.

Coolio, despite his uncool name, came from the gangsta rap pool that was inhabited by the likes of Ice Cube and Dr Dre. But Dre wasn’t scoring soundtracks of mainstream movies, Snoop didnkt have Michelle Pfeifer, in his videos, and Ice Cube was yet to become a domesticated family movie actor. After Gangsta’s Paradise was a crossover hit, the mainstream doors were opened for others.

Before he embarked on his solo career, first blowing up with 1994’s great Fantastic Voyage, Coolio had been a member of gangsta rap outfit WC & The Maad Circle, which at one point toured with Ice Cube. Coolio still had a few hits after 1995’s Gangsta’s Paradise, but his career had fizzled out by the end of the 1990s. By 2004, he took part in a German talent TV show featuring artists trying out for a comeback, going up against the likes of Haddaway and eventual winner Smokie singer Chris Norman. Coolio, a man who had his share of legal and drug problems, then made more reality TV appearances than albums, but he remained a stage performer till the end.

The Jazz Hitmaker
Eight years to the day that we lost jazz keyboard legend Joe Sample, another jazz keyboard legend departed in Ramsey Lewis. In the 1960s, Lewis was among the few jazz artists to cross over into the mainstream, enjoying million-selling hits with his interpretations of songs like Wade In The Water, Hang On Sloopy, and especially The In-Crowd (the latter a US #5 hit).

Among the latter members of the Ramsey Lewis Trio was a young Maurice White, who’d go on to lead Earth, Wind & Fire to massive success. White would later produce and co-write Sun Godess, a 1975 hit for Lewis. For a few years Lewis toured with Earth, Wind & Fire, whose members would also guest on his albums.

Lewis wasn’t always loved by the critics or jazz purists, with his eclectic approach and supposed commercialism a source of regular criticism. The musician was unapologetic about “diluting” his jazz with other forms of popular music.

Apart from releasing more than 60 albums, Lewis also hosted a popular smooth jazz radio show from Chicago, and in 2006 presented a 13-episode Legends of Jazz TV series. A keen mentor to younger musicians, he set up a foundation to foster musical education among children.

The Freestyler
There are moments in compiling this monthly feature that I fear: the death of a giant in a field of music with which I have no affinity. This month, this is the case with jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, who has died at 81. I like jazz, but I have little interest in the avant-garde side of the genre, nor in the dissonant interplay of free jazz, even as I acknowledge that these sub-genres require an artistry much greater than my capacity to appreciate it. But there is a flip-side to my apprehension: it forces me to look into the life and work of such an artist.

No doubt, Sanders was a pioneer in his field. He joined John Coltrane’s band just as “Trane” (as his fans call him) went avant-garde. As a solo act, Sanders introduced spiritualism and African rhythms into his free jazz, influencing and playing with many young musicians along the way. There are many who regard as Sanders’ masterpiece the 30-minute free-jazz workout “The Creator Has A Master Plan” from 1969’s Karma LP. I’d never have listened to it had Sanders not died (or if I’d never started this series 12 years ago). But I listened to it, and I‘m very glad I did. This led me to seeking out more of Sanders’ music. Man, I’ve missed out on a lot, just because of that, at least in this instance, misleading “free jazz” label!

In the latter parts of the 1970s, Sanders experimented with a more commercial jazz-fusion and R&B sound, collaborating with the great soul singer Phyllis Hyman, but the great commercial success never came. In addition, Sanders had perpetually strained relationships with the many labels that signed him.

The Doobie Drummer
As a drummer of The Doobie Brothers, which he co-founded, John Hartman played on all the great hit albums and singles throughout the 1970s. Hartman recorded almost exclusively with the Doobies, a two-track excursion on Carly Simon’s 1976 album Another Passenger aside — and those included other Doobie Brothers.

As the group’s co-founder and thanks to his presence, the physically imposing Hartman was considered the Doobies’ leader in the early years of its success. He left the group after the 1978 Minute By Minute album, in order to breed horses. He briefly returned for a tour and two albums in the later 1980s. But Hartman’s dream was to become a policeman. He attended police academy, but his past association with drugs — and presumably having led a band named after drug slang — meant that no police department was willing to give him a job…

Here’s a bizarre twist: Hartman’s death was announced on September 22, but it appears that he had died almost nine months earlier, on December 29, 2021!

The Singing Actress
The noted Greek actress Irene Papas is best known for her roles in films such as as The Guns of Navarone (1961), Zorba the Greek (1964) and Z (1969), but she also was a recording artist, mostly in collaboration with Jon Vangelis, whom we lost in May this year. It was with Vangelis that Papas caused controversy in 1972, when she laid down an orgasmic-sounding chant of “I was, I am, I am to come” to the awkwardly-titled Aphrodite’s Child track ∞ (Infinity). Previous to that, Papas had released an album of songs by Mikis Theodorakis, whom we lost last year in September.

By then she was already in exile. Papas left Greece in 1967, when the right-wing military junta grabbed power. Over the following seven years, Papas campaigned for a cultural boycott of Greece. She returned home after the junta fell in 1974, and never moved away again.

The Reggae Man
Born in London as Angus Gaye to parents from Grenada, Drummie Zeb became a pivotal figure in the UK’s reggae movement as the lead singer and drummer of Aswad. He played on all of the band’s 15 albums. Apart from his work with Aswad, Drummie Zeb also did session work — notably on Janet Kay’s 1979 UK #2 hit Silly Games — and produced other acts, including Ace of Base’s 1994 hit cover  of Aswad’s own Don’t Turn Around. He is the first Aswad alumnus to leave us.

The Nashville A-Teamer
Whenever a member of a session collective dies, there’ll be an opportunity to list loads of pop classics they appeared on. So it is with Ray Edenton, a session guitarist associated with Nashville’s ‘A’ Team, who has died at the age of 95. You may not know the names of these musicians, but you’ve heard the songs. Edenton played on classics such as the Everly Brothers’ Bye Bye Love and Wake Up Little Susie, Johnny Cash’s Orange Blossom Special, Roy Orbison’s In Dreams and Dream Baby, Brenda Lee’s Break It To Me Gently, Patsy Cline’s Sweet Dreams, Roger Miller’s King Of The Road, Lyn Anderson’s Rose Garden, Mac Davies’ It’s Hard To Be Humble, Don McLean’s Crying — and many others on which he wasn’t credited. He also played on clean-shaven Willie Nelson’s recordings of Hello Walls, Crazy and Funny How Time Slips Away, and later on several bearded Nelson albums.

Edenton also backed acts like Marty Robbins, Elvis Presley, Loretta Lynn, Roy Orbison, Chet Atkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones, Ray Price, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Faron Young, Country Joe McDonald, Tom T. Hall, Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge, Leon Russell, The Statler Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Don McLean, Charlie Rich, Neil Young, Crystal Gayle, B.J. Thomas, Reba McEntire, Sammy Davis Jr., Merle Haggard, J.J. Cale and many others.

A WW2 veteran, Edenton was closely associated with 1950s country legend Webb Pierce, whom he backed on almost all hits. As a regular backing guitarist at the Grand Ole Opry and a player known for his innovation, especially as a rhythm guitarist, Edenton was a highly sought-after country session musician until his retirement in 1991.

The Holly Writer
Buddy Holly wrote several stone-cold rock & roll classics, but two of his bigger hits were not by his hand. Oh Boy and Rave On were written by rockabilly singer Sonny West with Bill Tilghman. Producer Norman Petty arbitrarily attached his name to the credits, as was his custom.

Previously West — who has died at 85, just weeks after Crickets drummer Jerry Allison — had tried to sign with Sun Records in Memphis, but was rejected. Staying with his sister near Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, Texas, West looked around for other opportunities to make it as a musician, and eventually found one with Petty in his remote studios in Clovis. There he recorded one self-penned single, Rock-Ola Ruby, as Sonee West, before he bumped into Bill Tilghman, who proposed collaborating on songs for which he already had some basic lyrics.

When West presented Oh Boy — initially titled All My Love — to Petty, the manager declined to have the writer record it for release (a demo was recorded in February 1957, but remained unreleased until 2002, when it appeared on West’s Sweet Rockin’ Rock-Ola Ruby album). Instead, Petty gave the song to Buddy Holly and The Crickets. West reported having been a little bitter about it, because he had written the song for himself, not for Holly. Petty also gave Rave On, a song he didn’t rate, to Holly. West’s original recording of that is on The Originals: The 1950s.

West’s recording career would never take off, with a number of cuts remaining unreleased.As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

John Hartman, 72, drummer of the Doobie Brothers, on Dec. 29, 2021 (announced Sept. 22)
Doobie Brothers – Rockin’ Down The Highway (1971)
Doobie Brothers – Another Park, Another Sunday (1974)
Doobie Brothers – Minute By Minute (1978)

Angus ‘Drummie Zeb’ Gaye, 62, lead singer, drummer of UK reggae band Aswad, producer, on Sept. 2
Aswad – Back To Africa (1976)
Janet Kay – Silly Games (1979, on drums)
Aswad – Pull Up (1986)

Pat Stay, 36, Canadian rapper, stabbed on Sept. 4

John Till, 76, Canadian guitarist of Janis Joplin’s backing group Full Tilt Boogie Band, on Sept. 4
Janis Joplin – Cry Baby (released 1971, on guitar and backing vocals)

Art Rosenbaum, 83, folk banjo player and filmmaker, on Sept. 4

Dave Sherman, 55, bassist and singer of doom metal band Earthride, on Sept. 7

Sonny West, 85, roackabilly songwriter and musician, on Sept. 8
Sonee West – Rock-Ola Ruby (1956, also as writer)
Sonny West – All My Love (Oh Boy) (1957, also as co-writer)
Buddy Holly – Rave On (1958, as co-writer)

Marciano Cantero, 62, singer of Argentine pop band Enanitos Verdes, on Sept. 8
Los Enanitos Verdes – Tus Viejas Cartas (1986)

Carol Arnauld, 61, French singer-songwriter, on Sept. 9
Carol Arnauld – C’est pas facile (1986)

Herschel Sizemore, 87, bluegrass mandolinist, on Sept. 9
Hershel Sizemore – Rebecca (1979, also as writer)

Trevor Tomkins, 81, drummer with UK jazz-fusion group Gilgamesh, on Sept. 9
Gilgamesh – Darker Brighter (1978)

Ramsey Lewis, 87, jazz pianist and composer, on Sept. 12
Ramsey Lewis Trio – The ‘In’ Crowd (1965)
Ramsey Lewis with Earth, Wind & Fire – Sun Goddess (1974)
Ramsey Lewis – Whisper Zone (1980)
Ramsey Lewis – Keys To The City (1987, also as co-writer)

Dennis East, 73, South African singer, songwriter and producer, on Sept. 12
Stingray – The Man In My Shoes (1979, as member on lead vocals & as writer)

PnB Rock, 30, rapper, shot in a robbery on Sept. 12
PnB Rock -Selfish (2016)

Jesse Powell, 51, R&B singer, on Sept. 13
Jesse Powell – You (1996)

Brother Cleve, 62, keyboardist of neo-lounge act Combustible Edison, announced Sept. 13
Combustible Edison – Dior (1998)

David Andersson, 47, guitarist of Swedish metal band Soilwork, on Sept. 14

Irene Papas, c.93, Greek actress and singer, on Sept. 14
Aphrodite’s Child – ∞ (Infinity) (1972, on vocals)
Irene Papas – Little Orange Tree (1979)

Paul Sartin, 51, English folk singer, musician and composer, on Sept. 14

Jim Post, 82, folk singer-songwriter, on Sept. 14
Friend & Lover – Reach Out Of The Darkness (1968, as member and writer)

Cherry Valentine, 28, English drag artist, on Sept. 16

Marva Hicks, 66, soul singer and actress, on Sept. 16
Marva Hicks – Never Been in Love Before (1991)

Eddie Pleasant, 95, country songwriter and producer, on Sept. 17

Diane ‘Belgazou’ Guérin, 74, Canadian singer and actress, on Sept. 18
Belgazou – Entre Mozart et Jagger (1987)

Jamie Roy, 33, Scottish DJ and producer, on Sept. 20

Kyle Maite, 37, guitarist of pop-punk band Hit The Lights, on Sept. 20
Hit The Lights – All Messed Up (2018)

Anton Fier, 66, drummer, bandleader, composer and producer, on Sept. 21
The Golden Palominos – Alive And Living Now (1991, as leader; Michael Stipe on vocals)

Ray Edenton, 95, country session guitarist, on Sept. 21
Kitty Wells & Red Foley – One By One (1959, on guitar)
Willie Nelson – Hello Walls  (1962, on rhythm guitar)
Country Joe McDonald – Roll On Columbia (1969, on guitar)

Stu Allan, 60, English dance music DJ, mix compiler and producer, on Sept. 22

Robert Marlow, 60, English new wave singer, on Sept. 22
Robert Marlow – The Face Of Dorian Gray (1983)

Gord Kirchin, 60, lead singer of Canadian metal band Piledriver, on Sept. 22

Pharoah Sanders, 81, jazz saxophonist, on Sept. 24
Pharoah Sanders – Thembi (1971)
Pharoah Sanders feat. Phyllis Hyman – As You Are (1978)
Pharoah Sanders – You’ve Got to Have Freedom (1987)

Sue Mingus, 92, producer and manager, wife of Charles, on Sept. 24

Boris Moiseev, 68, Russian pop singer and dancer, on Sept. 27

Coolio, 59, hip hop artist and actor, on Sept. 28
WC & The Maad Circle – Dress Code (1991, as member)
Coolio – Fantastic Voyage (1994)
Coolio – C U When U Get There (1997)

Joe Chambers, country guitarist, songwriter, Musicians’ Hall of Fame founder, on Sept. 28
Randy Travis – Old 8×10 (1987, as co-writer)

Prins Póló, 45, Icelandic singer-songwriter, on Sept. 28

John Mortensen, singer and bassist of rock band Mono Men, on Sept. 28
Mono Men – Watch Outside (1992)

David Malachowski, 67, blues rock guitarist, on Sept. 29
Savoy Brown – When It Rains (2004, on rhythm guitar)

Keith ‘Wonderboy’ Johnson, 50, gospel singer, on Sept. 30

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In Memoriam – August 2022

September 7th, 2022 6 comments

This In Memoriam drops a bit later than usual due to travel commitments. In as far as this unpaid gig is concerned, the travelling couldn’t have been worse timed (though it otherwise was a great trip), for August was harvest time for the Reaper, with ‘60s soul taking a hit in particular. Especially poignant: The Seekers’ lead singer Judith Durham died just ten days after Tom Springfield, the man who wrote all those hits that made her and The Seekers so famous in the 1960s. Tom’s life story is also quite something… Also worth noting: The Grim Reaper claimed the singer of a band called Grim Reaper.

The Cricket
The music has finally died with the passing of the final surviving member of Buddy Holly’s Crickets. Jerry Allison, who has died at 82, was the man who gave Holly’s great hit Peggy Sue its title. Buddy initially had as the song’s heroine Cindy Lou, but Allison asked him to rename it Peggy Sue, because that was the name of his estranged girlfriend — and future wife. This earned Allison a songwriting credit, and quite rightly, because Holly couldn’t have made those percussive P and G sounds with the name Cindy. The drummer also co-wrote That’ll Be The Day (credited) and Not Fade Away (uncredited).

Allison stuck to drumming on the Crickets’ records, but also tried his hand at singing — which clearly was not his most potent power — on a couple of singles. In 1958 he released the single Real Wild Child — a song he had heard Johnny O’Keefe play on stage in Australia — under the moniker Ivan, and with Buddy Holly on guitar. It featured on Any Major ABC of the 1950s. His second single, with a b-side titled That’ll Be Alright, was released, coincidentally, the day after Buddy Holly died in the plane which Allison didn’t take.

After Buddy’s death in 1958, bassist Joe B. Mauldin (died 2015) and guitarist Niki Sullivan (died 2004) soon left the group, but Jerry successfully continued the Crickets franchise — which Mauldin rejoined in 1976 — performing until his retirement in 2016. The Crickets were no hit machines, but they were influential, releasing original versions of future hits, such as I Fought The Law (written by guitarist Sonny Curtis, on The Originals: The Classics) and More Than I Can Say (Curtis and Allison, The Originals: 1980s Vol. 1)

The Hitmaker
With the brothers Holland, Lamont Dozier formed a veritable hit-machine for Motown. The landmark hits Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote and produced for acts like The Supremes, Four Tops, Martha And The Vandellas are listed in the notes for Holland-Dozier-Holland Songbook, which dropped a week after Dozier’s death.

It was with Motown that the young Dozier got his first break as a singer, releasing a few singles, mostly co-written by Berry Gordy, on the subsidiary Anna label, first as Lamont Anthony and eventually under his own name. These went nowhere, but by 1962 Gordy teamed the young singer up with another young vocalist, Brian Holland, who’d already scored hits as the co-writer of Please Mr Postman and Little Stevie Wonder’s Fingertips. They released some singles as a duo that went nowhere. But the two were also put to work behind the scenes, being entrusted especially with the hitherto luckless teenage trio The Supremes. They had little success, until Brian’s brother Eddie, also a Motown recording artist, joined them as lyricist.

After falling out with Berry Gordy, Holland-Dozier-Holland founded their own label, Invictus, in 1970. There their charges included the Freda Payne, Chairmen Of The Board, 100 Proof Aged In Soul, Flaming Embers, Glass House, Honey Cone. They produced and co-wrote hits — for contractual reasons as Edith Wayne — such as Band Of Gold, Give Me Just A Little More Time, Everything’s Tuesday, Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup), Sunday Morning People, or Westbound No. 9.

On that label Dozier released his biggest solo hit, Why Can’t We Be Lovers, a US #9. In 1973 he split from the Holland brothers and released a string of very good solo albums, including the acclaimed and pleasingly-titled Black Bach, with Dozier featured on the cover in the form of a bust. In 1977 he released Going Back To My Roots, later covered to great success by Odyssey (Dozier’s original featured on Any Major Originals: Soul Vol. 1)

Later in his career he worked with Phil Collins on his Grammy-winning song Two Hearts and the Four Tops’ (quite awful) Loco In Acapulco, and wrote the musically great but lyrically awkward Invisible for Alison Moyet.

The Sandy
The musical career of Olivia Newton-John in many ways followed the way of her character in Grease. First there was the clean-cut Sandy Olsson from Australia singing about the banks of the Ohio in such a way that few noticed that she was wholesomely trilling about a murder. Then Livvy flicked her tongue, said “Tell me about it, stud”, and did songs like Totally Hot and Physical, which were not about the agreeable properties of a spicy vindaloo or bracing aerobics. Totally Hot featured on Any Major Disco Vol. 2.

She was already a well-known singer when she represented Britain in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with a gospel-flavoured song, Long Live Love. While Swedish entry ABBA won, Newton-John finished joint 4th (The story of that Eurovision is recounted on the ABBA Recovered mix post)

Like Sandy, Olivia was never in the cool crowd. She hung out with Cliff Richard, after all. But she came from a pretty cool family. Born in Cambridge, England, her maternal grandfather was German Nobel-awarded scientist Max Born. Her father, Bryn Newton-John, worked on the Enigma project at Bletchley Park during World War 2. In that position, he arrested the leading Nazi Rudolf Hess.

The Guitar Wrecker
If you hear a guitar on any of those legendary Phil Spector records of the 1960s, chances are that you’re hear Bill Pitman playing, usually alongside fellow guitarist Tommy Tedesco, and Hal Blaine on drums. If the ukelele opening of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head puts you instantly in a good mood, thank Pitman for that.

The session guitarist, who has died at 102, played on innumerable hits alongside his colleagues from the Wrecking Crew collective. While the members of bands like The Beach Boys, The Monkees or The Association were doing other things, the Wrecking Crew recorded their music. In the case of the Beach Boys, it was under Brian Wilson’s direction. He had Pitman play on the Pet Sounds album and on hits such as Good Vibrations.

The Wrecking Crew once even stood in for The Byrds, doing the instruments on their debut hit single, Mr. Tambourine Man. Pitman was on guitar that day. The other session-Byrds were Hal Blaine (drums), Larry Knechtel (bass), Jerry Cole (guitar) and Leon Russell (keyboards).

And we can thank Pitman for Phil Spector the Producer. Pitman’s only ever guitar lessons pupil was a teenage Phil, back in the 1950s. It was Pitman who advised Spector that he wouldn’t cut it as a professional jazz guitarist. Spector took his advice and became a songwriter, arranger and producer instead.

Like many other Wrecking Crew members, Pitman made his start in jazz, backing acts like Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé, Buddy Rich, Orrin Tucker and others. His father had been a musician, and Bill wanted to become a musician already at the age of five, in 1925. Coming from that generation and background, the pop and rock music Pitman helped to create was really foreign to him. The running joke was that if Pitman didn’t like a recording, it was sure to become a hit.

Apart from appearing on pop hits and as sideman on jazz records, Pitman also played on countless movie and TV scores, including (for TV) Star Trek, Bonanza, Ironside and (most recognisably) The Wild, Wild West, and (on film) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Paint Your Wagon, M*A*S*H, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Dirty Dancing and Goodfellas.

The Impression
Before there was The Impressions, there was The Roosters, founded in Chatanooga in 1958 by Sam Gooden with the brothers Arthur and Richard Brookes. By 1960, they had recruited Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield in Chicago and changed their name. In 1962 Butler and the Brookes brothers left to reduce The Impressions as a trio, with Mayfield, Gooden and Roosters alumnus Fred Cash. When Mayfield left in 1970 to be replaced by Leroy Hutson, and when Hutson left to be replaced by a string of other lead singers, Gooden and Cash remained in the band throughout until The Impressions’ farewell tour in 2018.

Gooden rarely took the lead on the group’s songs, but was often prominently heard on call-and-response songs, such as the gospel-tinged It’s All Right. With Gooden’s death at 87, Cash is the last surviving member of the classic 1962-70 line-up of The Impressions.

The Jazz Giant
One of the giants of jazz whose names is known mainly to fans of the genre has died at 93. Creed Taylor produced a Who’s Who of Jazz from the 1950s onwards, and in the 1960s he helped bring the bossa nova to the US, producing the landmark 1963 album by Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto which featured The Girl From Ipanema. He’d produce many more records by those two legends, as well as by Astrud Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Two years earlier, Taylor had produced Ray Charles’ landmark album Genius + Soul = Jazz. In the 1960s he founded CTI Records, on which (or its subsidiary Kudu) he nurtured the careers of jazz fusion greats such as of George Benson, Grover Washington Jr, Bob James, Hubert Laws, Stanley Turrentine, Eumir Deodato, Walter Wanderley, and others.  Also produced by Taylor on CTI were acts like Chet Baker, Gabor Szabo, Milt Jackson, Paul Desmond, Patti Austin, Yusef Lateef, Jeremy Steig, and Nina Simone. He also produced Esther Philips hit disco version of What A Difference A Day Makes.

Among others he produced before that on labels such as ABC Paramount, MGM, A&M and especially Verve were — deep breath now — Chris Connor, Herbie Mann, Kal Winding, Quincy Jones, Lambert Hendricks & Ross, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Jack Teagarden, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Gene Ammns, Sonny Stitt, Cal Tjader, Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Anita O’Day, Pat Thomas, Lalo Schifrin, Jimmy Smith, Coleman Hawkins, Kenyon Hopkins, Wes Montgomery, Willie Bobo, Johnny Hodges, Donald Byrd, Jackie & Roy, Little Eva, Roland Kirk, Nat Adderley, Milton Nascimento, Eric Gale, Idris Muhammad, Phil Upchurch, Keith Jarrett, Roland Kirk, and many others.

The Seeker
In the 1960s, Judith Durham was the global voice of Australian pop as the lead singer of The Seekers. The group found their breakthrough in 1964 after making an impression on board of a cruise liner sailing from Australia to the UK. Instead of returning down under as planned, they stayed in the UK, and went on to put together a string of international hits. These included six UK Top 10 hits, including two #1s (I’ll Never Find Another You and The Carnival Is Over, both in 1965). Their biggest hit worldwide was Georgy Girl in 1965.

Durham left The Seekers in 1968 to start a solo career, with no great chart success outside Australia, while band member Keith Potger went on to have a string of hits with The New Seekers. The latter had a hit in 1971 with a song from a Coca-Cola ad; in 1966 The Seekers had recorded a different commercial for the brand, with Durham on vocals.

The Hitwriter
Just ten days before Durham, the writer of all those hits for The Seekers died at 88. Tom Springfield started his string of 1960s hits as a member of The Springfields, which featured his sister Mary, better known as Dusty Springfield, on vocals. They had a number of UK hits, and broke in the US with the country-ish Silver Threads And Golden Needles.

Born Dionysius Patrick O’Brien to Irish parents in London, Tom trained in the 1950s to be a spy, for which he had to immerse himself in Russian culture. The spy thing didn’t work out, but it inspired him in his songwriting, especially in his second-most famous song, The Carnival Is Over (the most famous, obviously, is Georgy Girl).

Springfield retired from music in the early 1970s.

The Girl Band Pioneer
R&B pioneer Della Griffin has died at 100, having made her greatest contribution to music in the 1950s. In 1951 she was the leader of one of the first R&B girl groups, The Enchanters (not to be confused with the 1960s doo-wop band of that name), which Griffin served as lead singer and as drummer — at a time when women were not expected to swing the sticks. Griffin also played the alto saxophone and piano.

The Enchanters released a string of records on Jubilee in 1951/52, but soon two of the foursome left the group. The other half, Griffin and Gloria Alleyne (later more famous as Gloria Lynne) carried on as The Dell-Tones. The new group released a number of records on Brunswick and toured extensively, but never broke through. In 1957, Griffin and some variation of the ever-changing Dell-Tones line-up joined forces with doo-wop pioneers The Orioles to form a The Kings And Queens, releasing one single. Soon the members of the Dell-Tones went their own ways, with Griffin taking time out from music in an (unsuccessful) bid to have a family. While Griffin never had children, she fostered more than a dozen children, many of whom would visit her daily till her final day.

After returning to music in the 1960s, Griffin was mainly a stage performer rather than recording artist, and having moved into jazz, with a voice more than reminiscent of that of her friend Billie Holiday. Her first solo record came out only in 1978, produced by The Orioles’ leader Sonny Til. Three more albums followed in the 1990s.

The Motown & Stax Singer
She was the first female singer to be signed to Berry Gordy’s Tamla label and had The Miracles and The Marvelettes backing her, but Mable John, who has died at 91, never broke through on the Motown roster. After Gordy let her go in 1962, she joined The Raelettes, Ray Charles backing singers, until in 1966 she signed for Stax. John had some success there with her Porter/Hayes-penned debut single, Your Good Thing (Is About to End), but never broke through. In 1968 she rejoined The Raelettes until leaving secular music for gospel in 1973. John returned briefly in 1991 on Motown’s UK subsidiary, Motorcity, with a very good dance record titled Time Stops.

Mable John featured on the Any Major Soul mixes covering 1960-63, 1966 and 1967.

The Soul Sister
On the same day as Mabel left us, fellow underrated soul singer Inez Foxx departed at the age of 79. Foxx made her name as an explosive live act with her brother Charlie. They made a breakthrough early in their career in 1963 with Mockingbird, their soul reworking of a famous lullaby, which — like many of their singles, credited only to Inez. It would be covered later by the likes of James Taylor & Carly Simon and Aretha Franklin. The Foxxes couldn’t replicate the success of that #7 pop hit, perhaps hamstrung by an unmerited perception that they were a novelty act.

Inez also co-wrote The Drifters hit I Love You 1000 Times with then-husband Luther Dixon. She recorded until the mid-1970s, including a very good solo album, At Memphis, in 1973. A track from that features here and another on Any Major Soul 1973: Vol. 1.

The Composing Pianist
If you have seen a film made in the past 50 years, you very likely will have heard at some point the work of film score composer and pianist Michael Lang (not to be confused with the Woodstock impresario of the same name who died in January). He recorded more than 2,500 film scores, and worked as a musician with virtually every major film composer, including John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Silvestri, James Horner, Henry Mancini, John Barry, Elmer Bernstein, Dave Grusin, John Debney, Jerry Fielding, Bill Conti, John Barry, Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, Randy Newman, and Hans Zimmer.

Lang also served as sideman and session pianist to many stars, including Leonard Cohen, Seals & Crofts, Cass Elliott, Harry Nilsson, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Herb Alpert, Natalie Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin, Marlena Shaw, Sarah Vaughn, Billy Preston, Judy Collins, Lalo Schifrin, Stan Getz, Tom Waits, Jose Feliciano, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Kenny Rogers, Vince Gill, Milt Jackson, Frank Zappa, Lee Ritenour, Bud Shank — and Lamont Dozier, who followed Lang three days later.
The Rhinestone
In August I posted the Any Major Party mix, including The Rhinestones’ Party Music. A week later Rhinestones singer and guitarist Kal David died. He also featured on The Rhinestones’ One Time Love, which opened the Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 12, which dropped earlier this year.

Born David Ruskin, he first made music in the early 1960s as the leader of a Chicago band called Kal David and The Exceptions. Fellow members included Peter Cetera, who’d later join Chicago, and Marty Grebb, who’d join The Buckinghams. David and Grebb (who died in January 2020) would find each other again in The Fabulous Rhinestones.

Before that, David and future Poco guitarist Paul Cotton (In Memoriam – July 2021) recorded a couple of albums as Illinois Speed Press. With the Fabulous Rhinestones/Rhinestones, he released three very good but commercially less than successful albums. With his wife, Lauri Bono, he recorded several more albums. He also backed other musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, Ringo Starr, John Mayall, BB King, Johnny Rivers and Robbie Dupree.

Since 1995, David voiced the animatronic lounge singer Sonny Eclipse at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café at Walt Disney World.

The Condor Pasa
When in 1965 Simon & Garfunkel played at the Théâtre de l’Est parisien in Paris, they shared the bill with a Peruvian folk outfit called Los Incas, who played a tune called El Condor Pasa. Paul Simon was so taken with the sound of Los Incas that he became friends with the frontman, Polish-born Jorge Milchberg, and even toured with the band. When Simon asked Milchberg about El Condor Pasa, he was told that it was Milchberg’s arrangement of an old folk tune. So Simon wrote English lyrics which he and Garfunkel recorded their vocals over Los Incas’ base track.

Milchberg, who has now died at 93, had not been clear on the facts. El Condor Pasa had in fact been written in 1913 by Daniel Alomía Robles and originally recorded by Orquesta del Zoolagico (featured on Any Major Originals: The Classics); Milchberg has rearranged the tune, demonstrably not an old folk song, in 1963. After an amicable court case — Simon was gracious about it, as was only right, and the Robles family absolved him of any responsibility — the writing credit went to Robles, Simon & Milchberg.

The Mystery
It is fitting that her death went unreported for almost a month, because Q Lazzarus was the most elusive of artists, literally so. In the 1980s, the singer born as Diane Luckey performed with her backing band The Resurrection (of course) while she was also gigging as a taxi driver.

One day, film director Jonathan Demme got into her cab. At the time, she was playing a demo of her song Goodbye Horses, in preparation for a recording session the next day. Demme was impressed by the song, and upon learning that the artist was his driver herself, Demme became a fan.

In 1986, he used her song The Candle Goes Away in Something Wild. Two years later, he featured Goodbye Horses in Married To The Mob, and again in 1991 in Silence Of The Lambs (the scene in which where serial killer Buffalo Bill applies make-up in front of a mirror). In Philadelphia, Demme used Q Lazzarus’ cover of the Talking Heads’ Heaven.

Despite all that exposure, Q Lazzarus never had a recording contract. After Philadelphia, she simply vanished for two decades. Not even her friends knew where she was, and locating her became something of an obsession for some. She was rediscovered in 2019 by documentary-maker Eva Aridjis — when she was a passenger in a cab Q Lazzarus was driving! They became friends, and Aridjis began putting together a documentary on the singer; it will now appear posthumously.As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

Q Lazzarus, c.62, cult singer, on July 19
Q Lazzarus – Goodbye Horses (1991)
Q Lazzarus – White Lines (1991)

Tom Springfield, 88, English musician and songwriter, brother of Dusty, on July 27
The Springfields – Silver Threads & Golden Needles (1962, as writer)
Jean DuShon – I’ll Never Find Another You (1965, as writer)
The Seekers – Georgy Girl (1967, as co-writer)
Dusty & Tom Springfield – Morning Please Don’t Come (1970, as writer)

Dod Copland, 59, lead singer of Scottish punk band Toxik Ephex, on July 28
Toxik Ephex – Final Epitaph (1991)

Nicky Moore, 75, singer of English metal group Samson, on Aug. 3
Samson – Life On The Run (1982)

Margot Eskens, 82, German Schlager singer, on Aug. 4
Margot Eskens (with Jonny Dane) – Cindy, oh Cindy (1959)

Sam Gooden, 87, singer with soul group The Impressions, on Aug. 4
The Impressions – It’s All Right (1963)
The Impressions – Woman’s Got Soul (1964)
The Impressions – Aware Of Love (1967, on lead vocals)

Sandy Dillon, 62, singer-songwriter, on Aug. 4

Michael Lang, 80, pianist and composer, on Aug. 5
Herb Alpert – Rise (1979, on electric piano)
Lionel Richie – Wandering Stranger (1982, on piano)
Natalie Cole & Nat King Cole – Unforgettable (1991, on piano)

Young Slo-Be, 29, American rapper, shot on Aug. 5

Judith Durham, 79, singer of Australian folk-pop group The Seekers, on Aug. 5
The Seekers – A World Of Our Own (1965)
The Seekers – Things Go Better With Coca-Cola (1966)
Judith Durham – The Olive Tree (1967)

Diego Bertie, 54, Peruvian singer and actor, on Aug. 5
Imágenes – Buenos Tiempos (1988, as member)

Daniel Lévi, 60, French singer-songwriter, on Aug. 6
Daniel Lévi – l’envie d’aimer (2000)

Torgny Söderberg, 77, Swedish songwriter, on Aug. 6

David Muse, 73, saxophonist and keyboardist of soft-rock band Firefall, on Aug. 6
Firefall – Just Remember I Love You (1977)

Gord Lewis, 65, guitarist of Canadian rock band Teenage Head, discovered on Aug. 7
Teenage Head – Some Kinda Fun (1982)

Darryl Hunt, 72, bassist with The Pogues, on Aug. 8
The Pogues – Lullaby Of London (1988)

Olivia Newton-John, 73, British-Australian singer, on Aug. 8
Olivia Newton-John – Till You Say You’ll Be Mine (1966)
Olivia Newton-John – A Little More Love (1978)
Olivia Newton John & Cliff Richard – Suddenly (1980)

Lamont Dozier, 81, soul songwriter, producer and singer, on Aug. 8
Lamont Anthony – Let’s Talk It Over (1960, as performer)
The Supremes – Baby Love (1964, as co-writer and co-producer)
Lamont Dozier – Let Me Start Tonite (1974)
Alison Moyet – Invisible (1984, as writer)

Ray Majors, 73, English rock singer and guitarist, announced Aug. 9
Ray Majors – Leave Me Be (2000)

Jussi Hakulinen, 57, Finnish singer-songwriter, on Aug. 9

Della Griffin, 100, R&B and jazz singer and drummer, on Aug. 9
The Enchanters – I’ve Lost (1951, on lead vocals)
The Kings & Queens – I’m So Lonely (1957, on lead vocals)
Della Griffin – But Beautiful (1978)

Abdul Wadud, 75, jazz and classical cellist, on Aug. 10
Michael Franks – Living On The Inside (1978, on cello)

Karina Vismara, 31, Argentine folk singer-songwriter, on Aug. 10

Bill Pitman, 102, Wrecking Crew session guitarist, on Aug. 11
Jeri Southern – Isn’t This A Lovely Day (1958, on guitar)
The Crystals – Da Doo Ron Ron (1963, on guitar)
Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walking (1966, on guitar)

Darius Campbell Danesh, 41, Scottish singer-songwriter, on Aug. 11
Darius – Colourblind (2002)

Zelito Miranda, 68, Brazilian singer, on Aug. 12

Keith Jamieson, 74, Australian country singer-songwriter, on Aug. 12

Egle Martin, 86, Argentine singer and actress, on Aug. 14
Egle Martin – El Dombe (1970)

Rico, c.51, Scottish singer-songwriter, on Aug. 14
Rico & Gary Numan – Crazier (2004)

Svika Pick, 72, Polish-born Israeli singer and songwriter, on Aug. 14
Dana International – Diva (1998, as co-writer)

Butch Thompson, 78, jazz pianist and clarinettist, on Aug. 14

Tokollo Tshabalala, 45, member of South African kwaito trio TKZee, on Aug. 15
TKZee – We Love This Place (1998)
TKzee – Fiasco (2000)

Hans Magnusson, 73, saxophonist of Swedish dansband Thorleifs, on Aug. 15

Steve Grimmett, 62, singer of English heavy metal band Grim Reaper, on Aug. 15
Grim Reaper – Never Coming Back (1985, also as co-writer)

Kal David, 79, rock and blues guitarist and singer, on Aug. 16
Illinois Speed Press – Here Today (1969, as member)
The Fabulous Rhinestones – Living On My Own Time (1972, as lead singer and writer)
Kal David & Lauri Bono – Are You Lonely For Me Baby (2018)

Roy Tyler, singer with The Gospel Hummingbirds, announced Aug. 17
Gospel Hummingbirds – That Same Thing (1991)

Eva-Maria Hagen, 87, German actress and cabaret singer; mother of Nina, on Aug. 16
Eva-Maria Hagen – Und als wir ans Ufer kamen (1981)

Rolf Kühn, 92, German jazz clarinettist and bandleader, on Aug, 18
Rolf Kühn & His Orchestra – Playmate (1974)

Warren Bernhardt, 83, jazz pianist, on Aug. 19
Warren Bernhardt – Manhattan Update (1980)

Ted Kirkpatrick, 62, drummer, songwriter of Christian metal band Tourniquet, on Aug. 19

Jorge Milchberg, 93, founder of Peruvian folk bands Los Incas & Urubamba, on Aug. 20
Los Incas – El condor pasa (1963, also as arranger)
Urubamba – Kacharpari (1981, also as co-writer)

Helen Grayco, 97, jazz singer, actress, on Aug. 20
Helen Grayco – Teach Me Tonight (1954)

Monnette Sudler, 70, jazz guitarist, on Aug. 21
Monnette Sudler – Other Side Of The Gemini (1990)

Zalo Reyes, 69, Chilean singer, on Aug. 21

Robert Williams, 72, Greek singer and composer, on Aug. 21
Robert Williams – I Believe You’re The One (1978)

Fredy Studer, 74, Swiss jazz drummer and percussionist, on Aug. 21

Jaimie Branch, 39, jazz trumpeter and composer, on Aug. 22

Jerry Ivan Allison, 82, drummer of The Crickets and songwriter, on Aug. 22
Buddy Holly and The Crickets – That’ll Be The Day (1957)
Ivan – That’ll Be Alright (1959)
The Crickets – My Little Girl (1963)
Nanci Griffith – I’ll Move Along (1997, on percussions)

Stuart Anstis, 48, ex-guitarist of British metal band Cradle of Filth, announced Aug. 22

Margaret Urlich, 57, New Zealand singer, on Aug. 22
Margaret Urlich – Slipping Away (1999)

Piotr Szkudelski, 66, drummer of Polish rock band Perfect, on Aug. 22

Creed Taylor, 93, jazz producer, founder of CTI Records, on Aug. 23
The Creed Taylor Orchestra – Out Of This World (1960)
Ray Charles – One Mint Julep (1961, as producer)
Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto – Desafinado (Off Key) (1963, as producer)
Grover Washington – Mister Magic (1975, as producer)

Carlo Nuccio, 69, drummer, on Aug. 24
Tori Amos – Precious Things (1991, on drums)

Kimmo Blom, 52, Finnish singer, announced Aug. 25

Joey DeFrancesco, 51, jazz organist and saxophonist, on Aug. 25
Joey DeFrancesco feat. Joe Doggs – But Not For Me (2003; Doggs is Joe Pesci)

Mable John, 91, soul singer, on Aug. 25
Mabel John – Who Wouldn’t Love A Man Like That (1960)
Mable John – Same Time, Same Place (1967)
Mable John – Time Stops (1991)

Inez Foxx, 79, soul singer, on Aug. 25
Inez & Charlie Foxx – Mockingbird (1963)
Inez & Charlie Foxx – Tightrope (1967)
Inez Foxx – Let Me Down Easy (1973)

Luke Bell, 32, country singer-songwriter, discovered on Aug. 29

John Duckworth, 79, drummer of garage rock band Syndicate of Sound, announced Aug. 29
Syndicate Of Sound – Rumors (1966)

Ted Butterman, 87, Dixie jazz trumpeter, on Aug. 31

Mark Shreeve, 65, British songwriter, electronic music composer with Redshift, on Aug. 31
Mark Shreeve – The Ice Queen (1986)

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In Memoriam – July 2022

August 2nd, 2022 4 comments

There were no real “headline deaths” in July, but there were many fascinating stories — the musician who was stolen from his family; the hip hop artist executed by a military junta; the guy who wrote the James Bond theme and had to fight for that recognition; the hit singer who first helped eradicate polio and later became the first black game show host in the US; the centenarian who once played for both Frank Sinatra and Frank Zappa; the actress who has died while the biggest current film is still on circuit…

The Stolen
At a time when the cultural genocide of indigenous people by colonialists  — and their descendants, right up well into the past century — is in the global spotlight, not least thanks to Pope Francis’ huge apology in Canada for the Catholic Church’s involvement in it, the death of Archie Roach is poignant. Roach, an Aboriginal Australian, wrote a moving and instructive song about cultural genocide in 1988, titled Took The Children Away, and released it in 1990 as his debut single.

He wrote from personal experience, having been part of the “Stolen Generations” who were victims of a racist Australian policy that was implemented from 1905 until the 1970s, whereby indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and placed in orphanages. Roach was taken from his family at the age of 2. He never saw his mother again, though as an adult he eventually reunited with his family. He spent his life as an activist for the rights of indigenous people. It is to Australia’s shame that this is still necessary.

As a musician, Roach enjoyed a high reputation. Apart from headlining his own tours, he was a support act for Joan Armatrading, Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg, Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega and Patti Smith. Between 1990 and 2020, Roach released 10 studio albums, two live album, and a soundtrack.

The Delfonic
With the death of William ‘Poogie’ Hart, both  classic line-ups of the great soul trio The Delfonics are down to just one man standing, Hart’s brother Wilbert. The brothers founded The Orphonics, which would be renamed The Delfonics after they were signed by legendary producer Thom Bell — after Poogie’s talent was spotted in a barber shop.

William Watson co-wrote most of The Delfonics’ songs with Bell, including soul standards such as La-La (Means I Love You), Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time), and Ready Or Not Here I Come. On The Delfonics records, William Hart did the falsetto and high tenor voices.

The Sinatra Favourite
Frank Sinatra’s favourite horn player has died at 101. Vincent DeRosa was one of the few musicians Sinatra ever publicly praised. De Rosa, who started used career as a young teenager in 1935, backed Sinatra for many years, including on that great run of records in the 1950s.

DeRosa played in big bands and as session man for jazz acts in the 1950s like Ella Fitzgerald, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Mel Tormé, Louis Armstrong, Carmen McRae, Peggy Lee, and Julie London, and later fusion artists like David Axelrod, Lalo Schifrin, Chuck Mangione, Stanley Clarke, Horace Silver, Jean-Luc Ponty and Stanley Turrentine.

He played for pop, soul and rock acts such as The Monkees, Fifth Dimension, Harry Nilsson, José Feliciano, Frank Zappa, Tower of Power, Rita Coolidge, The Temptations, Neil Diamond, Boz Scaggs, Minnie Riperton, Earth Wind & Fire, The Emotions, Glen Campbell, Natalie Cole and many others.

DaRosa also played on countless film soundtracks, including many classic ones with Henry Mancini, who composed his Oscar-winning theme to the film Days of Wine and Roses with DeRosa in mind. You’ll have heard DeRosa play in the scores of films such as Carousel, Oklahoma, The Ten Commandments, The Music ManThe Magnificent Seven, My Fair LadyHow The West Was Won, The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Doctor Dolittle, Jaws, Rocky, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Heaven Can Wait, E.T., Psycho 2, Romancing The Stone, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Empire Of The Sun, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Back To The Future 2, Dances With Wolves, Edward Scissorhands, and more.

The All-Rounder
Few people can boast a resumé that includes having helped to eradicate polio, going on to have charting hits, then become the first black game show host in the US, and a film, TV and stage actor. This was the extraordinary trajectory of Adam Wade. Born in 1935, Wade was first a lab assistant with Dr Jonas Salk on the polio research team before he began a singing career, in which he took Nast King Cole as his inspiration. In 1961, he had three US Top 10, country-flavoured hits: Take Good Care Of Her, As If I Didn’t Know, and The Writing On The Wall.

His music career fizzled out, but in 1975 Wade became the first black host of a TV game show, Musical Chairs. Later he hosted a talk show, Mid-Morning LA. He was a regular on soap operas and sitcoms, appeared in a number of Blaxploitation movies, and had success as a stage actor in musicals. In 1977 he returned to music with a rather good self-titled soul album.

The 007 Composer
You know the tune the moment you hear it. The word “iconic” is these overused and too often criminally misapplied, but the James Bond Theme is just that: iconic. It was written by Monty Norman, who had died at 94. “Hold it right there,” you might exclaim at this point, “the theme was the work of John Barry!” Yes and no. The tune was written by Norman, despite Barry’s protestations to the contrary. Two libel suits have confirmed Norman’s authorship; he had based it on a piece he had written some years earlier for an unproduced musical. Barry arranged the tune to make it so instantly recognisable. See Norman play the theme on his piano.

Born as Monty Noserovitch in London, Norman started out as a big band singer with several orchestras, including Ted Heath’s. in the 1950s and into ’60s, but began composing in the late ’50s. In 1962 he wrote the theme and score for the first Bond film, Dr. No. By then he had written, as lyricist or composer, several stage musicals, including the English version of Irma la Douce and Expresso Bongo, which has been described as the first rock & roll musical. Other musical hits include Songbook (or The Moony Shapiro Songbook in New York) and 1982’s Poppy.

The Hit Writer
If you were going to soundtrack a film about Britain in the 1960s, you might end up using tracks written by Alan Blaikley, who has died at 82. The best-known of these hits, created with Ken Howard, are Have I The Right? for The Honeycombs and The Legend Of Xanadu for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich (both UK #1s), and Me And My Life for The Tremeloes. For Dave Dee and his friends, Blaikley and Howard wrote a string of other Top 10 hits from 1966-68: Hold Tight, Hideaway, Save Me, Okay!, Zabadak, and Last Night In Soho.

Howard and Blaikley were also the first British composers to write for Elvis Presley, including his hit I’ve Lost You. They also wrote and produced The Bay City Roller’s original version of Manana, which appeared on Any Major Hits of 1972 Vol. 2 which I posted last month. They also wrote two West End plays and several TV themes.

Before he became a hitmaker, Blaikley produced radio programmes on BBC, in the course of which he interviewed C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Enid Blyton. And between 1981 and 2003, Blaikley was a psychotherapist.

The Hayes Pianist
When Isaac Hayes started as a young, aspiring musician, Sidney Kirk was struggling alongside him. It was Kirk, who has died at 78, who spotted the newly-opened American Sound Studio in Memphis, encouraging Ike to audition for owner Chips Moman. Hayes did, and released his first (unsuccessful) record in 1962. Kirk, meanwhile, left Memphis for the US Air Force. One day, Kirk’s sister received a call from a club that wanted Sidney’s services as a pianist for a New Year’s Eve gig. With the piano man being away, his sister arranged for Hayes to get the gig. Despite his limitations as a pianist, Hayes won over the audience, and kicked off a glittering career.

By the time Kirk returned from the Air Force, Hayes had made a name for himself at Stax as a songwriter and producer of note, and he had started his recording recording. As soon as Kirk was available, he was drafted into Ike’s band, playing keyboards and piano on several Hayes albums (including Shaft) and on stage (including the famous Wattstax performance). Kirk also backed acts like Dionne Warwick, Albert King, Rufus Thomas, and Denise LaSalle.

The Happy Monday
With his brother Shaun on lead vocals, bassist Paul Ryder, who has died suddenly at 58, enjoyed cult status with Manchester rock band Happy Mondays. While the band scored only two UK Top 10 hits, both reaching  #5 in 1990, they spearheaded the “Madchester” scene, which drew from rock, psychedelia, funk and Northern soul. By 1993 The Happy Mondays had split, just as their heirs arrived to ride the Brit Pop wave. The group reunited periodically, mostly but not always with Paul Ryder on bass.

The Big Mama
Movie-goers may have seen Shonka Dukureh in the film everybody seems to talk about, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. In the film, she played Big Mama Thornton, the blues singer who originally performed Hound Dog. On July 21, Dukureh died suddenly at the age of 44, while the film that promised her breakthrough was still on circuit.

The singer was planning to release her debut album, in the blues genre. Previously she had been a backing singer, on stage with acts like Nick Cave, Mike Farris, Jamie Liddell, and singer-rapper Doja Cat.

The Executed Dissident
In 2000, Phyo Zayar Thaw and his band Acid released Burma’s first hip-hop album, which featured thinly-veiled criticisms of Burma/Myanmar’s regime. 22 Years later, Thaw was executed by the regime, as a dissident.

After co-founding an anti-regime activist youth movement called Generation Wave, Thaw was detained and tortured in 2008, and then sentenced to jail, serving his term until 2011. A year after his release, Thaw, by then 31 years old, won a seat in parliament for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. The February 2021 coup ended that career.

In November, Thaw and other activists were arrested and in a mock trial in January sentenced to death, on charges of plotting terror acts against civilians. On July 23 it was announced that Thaw and three other activists had been executed by hanging.As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

Irene Fargo, 59, Italian singer and stage actress, on July 1
Irene Fargo – Come una Turandot (1992)

Tristan Goodall, 48, songwriter, guitarist of Australian roots band The Audreys, on July 2
The Audreys – Banjo And Violin (2006, also as co-writer)

Antonio Cripezzi, 76, singer and keyboardist of Italian pop band I Camaleonti, on July 3
I Camaleonti – Applausi (1968)

Alan Blaikley, 82, English songwriter, arranger and producer, on July 4
The Honeycombs – Have I The Right (1964, as co-writer)
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich – Bend It (1966, as co-writer)
Elvis Presley – I’ve Lost You (1970, as co-writer)

Manny Charlton, 80, lead guitarist of Scottish rock band Nazareth, on July 5
Nazareth – Bad Bad Boy (1973)
Nazareth – Love Hurts (1974)

Van Christian, 62, singer and guitarist of rock band Naked Prey, on July 5
Naked Prey – One Even Stand (1988, also as writer)

Mark Astronaut, singer of British punk band The Astronauts, on July 7
The Astronauts – Back Soon (1981)

Adam Wade, 87, pop singer and game show host, on July 7
Adam Wade – As If I Didn’t Know (1961)
Adam Wade – Keeping Up With The Joneses (1977)

Barbara Thompson, 77, English jazz saxophonist, on July 10
Barbara Thompson – Little Annie-Ooh (1979)
Marti Webb – Take That Look Off Your Face (1980, on saxophone)

Chantal Gallia, 65, Algerian-born French singer, on July 10

Monty Norman, 94, English composer, on July 11
Cliff Richard & The Shadows – The Shrine On The Second Floor (1960, as co-writer)
The John Barry Seven – James Bond Theme (1962, as composer)

David Dalton, 80, British-born founding editor of Rolling Stone, on July 11
The Unfolding – Play Your Game (1967, as vocalist and writer)

Edana Minghella, 63, British jazz singer, on July 13

Michael James Jackson, 65, American music producer, on July 13
Pablo Cruise – Island Woman (1975, as producer)
Kiss – Lick It Up (1983, as producer)

B. Crentsil, 78, Ghanaian high-life singer, composer and guitarist, on July 13

William Hart, 77, singer with soul band The Delfonics and songwriter, on July 14
The Delfonics – Can You Remember (1968, also as co-writer)
The Delfonics – Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time) (1970, also as co-writer)
The Delfonics – Think It Over (1973, also as writer)

Paul Ryder, 58, bassist of English rock band Happy Mondays, on July 15
Happy Mondays – Kinky Afro (1990)
Happy Mondays – Sunshine And Love (1992)

Ruba Say, 56, rock musician, on July 16

Idris Phillips, 64, guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter, on July 16
Dawud Wharnsby feat. Idris Phillips – Let It Go (2011, on guitar and as co-writer)

César ‘Pupy’ Pedroso, 75, Cuban pianist and songwriter, on July 17
Los Van Van – Calla Calla (1988, as member and writer)

Héctor Tricoche, 66, Puerto Rican salsa singer-songwriter, on July 17
Héctor Tricoche – En Cuba No Falta Nada (2007)

Povl Dissing, 84, Danish rock singer and guitarist, on July 18

Dani, 77, French singer, actress and model, on July 18
Dani – Papa vient d’epouser la bonne (1969)

Vincent DeRosa, 101, jazz and soundtrack horn player, on July 18
Harry James and his Orchestra – The Man With The Horn (1947, on French horn)
Ella Fitzgerald – You’re An Old Smoothie (1959, on horns)
The Monkees – Someday Man (1969, on French horn)
Boz Scaggs – What Do You Want The Girl To Do (1976, on horns)

George Kinney, singer of psychedelic rock band Golden Dawn, on July 18
The Golden Dawn – My Time (1968, also as co-writer)

Henkie, 76, Dutch singer, on July 19

Michael Henderson, 71, soul singer and jazz bass guitarist, on July 19
Miles Davis – Black Satin (1972, on bass guitar)
Michael Henderson – Won’t You Be Mine (1977)

Jody Abbott, 55, drummer of rock band Fuel, on July 20
Fuel – Falls On Me (2003)

Frankie Davidson, 88, Australian singer, on July 20

Shonka Dukureh, 44, blues singer and actress (Elvis), on July 21
Ashley Cleveland – Going To Heaven To Meet The King (2009, on backing vocals)
Shonka Dukureh – Hound Dog (2022)

Núria Feliu, 80, Spanish singer and actress, on July 22

Zayar Thaw, 41, Burmese politician and hip hop artist, executed on July 23
Nitric Acid – Generation Driven By Faith (c.2011, as performer and writer)

Vittorio De Scalzi, 72, singer of Italian prog-rock band New Trolls, on July 24
New Trolls – Un’Ora (1970, also on guitar and as co-writer)

Bob Heathcote, 58, bassist of metal band Suicidal Tendencies, on July 24

Sandy Roberton, 80, British record producer, on July 25
Steeleye Span – Fisherman’s Wife (1970, as producer)

Darío Gómez, 71, Colombian Música popular singer, on July 26
Darío Gómez – Mejor Es Que Te Marches (1992)

Sidney Kirk, 78, soul keyboard player, on July 27
Isaac Hayes – Never Gonna Give You Up (1971, on piano)
Isaac Hayes – Theme from Shaft (1973, on keyboard)
Lou Bond – Why Must Our Eyes Always Be Turned Backwards (1974, on organ)

JayDaYoungan, 24, rapper, shot on July 27

John Grenell, 78, New Zealand country singer, on July 27
John Grenell – Dance All Night Down (Otago Way) (1990)

Mick Moloney, 77, Irish folk musician, on July 27

Bernard Cribbins, 93, English actor and novelty song singer, on July 27
Bernard Cribbins – The Hole In The Ground (1962)

Pino d’Olbia, 87, Italian singer, on July 27

Jim Sohns, 75, singer of blues-rock group Shadows of Knight, on July 29
The Shadows of Knight – Oh Yeah (1966)

Ulises Eyherabide, 55, Argentine rock musician, on July 29

Archie Roach, 66, Australian singer-songwriter, on July 30
Archie Roach – Took The Children Away (1990)
Archie Roach – Love In The Morning (1993)
Archie Roach – It’s Not Too Late (2016)

Raymond Raposa, 41, Indie singer-songwriter as Castanets, on July 30
Castanets – No Voice Was Raised (2005)

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In Memoriam – June 2022

July 5th, 2022 4 comments

As I trawl the corners of the interwebs for the monthly music deaths, I sometimes come across the passing of other interesting people which I might otherwise have missed. One of them is the death at 95 of Ms Ann Turner Cook on June 3. She was an author, but that wasn’t her best claim to fame: she was and still is the infant on the branding of Gerber range of baby foods, having modelled for it in 1928 without knowing much about it. Her identity was revealed only 50 years later, in 1978. A teacher before she became a crime novelist, Ann had four children — I like to think they were all fed Gerber products.

The Duo’s Half
The man who put the Seals in Seals & Croft has departed. Jim Seals, who died at 79, was half of a duo that followed in the folk-rock stream of Crosby, Stills & Nash and the soft rock of Poco, but also adding influences from other genres, especially soul. Seals and Darrell “Dash” Crofts were more than harmonising singer-songwriters; both were multi-instrumentalists, with Seals playing guitar, saxophone and fiddle, and Crofts (still going at 83) drums, mandolin and keyboards. The pair had a string of hits, though their best moment might have been when the Isley Brothers turned Seals & Crofts’ 1972 hit Summer Breeze into a stone-cold soul classic, driven by a blazing guitar solo.

The duo split, having been dropped by Warner Bros., in 1980, reuniting briefly twice, in 1991 and 2014. After1980, Seals retired from music and moved with his family to Costa Rica, where he became a coffee farmer.

The Hair Man
The Hippie culture found its expression on stage in the musical Hair. First staged in October 1967 — the Autumn of Love — work on its script began already in 1964, when even hip men were still sensibly coiffured. Hair was written by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, with the latter principally the lyricist. Rado left us in June at the age of 90. Ragni, his friend since they met while acting on an Off-Broadway stage in 1964, died in 1991.

A drama graduate, James Radomski spent two years in the US Navy, then did post-grad work at the Catholic University of America in DC. He studied acting under Lee Strasberg, recorded his own songs with his band James Alexander and the Argyles, staged his first Broadway production in 1963, and played Richard the Lionheart in the original Broadway production of The Lion in Winter. All that before Hair made its debut.

Rado’s post-Hair work included the much-adapted anti-war musical The Rainbow Rainbeam Radio Roadshow, or just Rainbow.

The Theme Singer
Her 1989 song Falling served as the theme of Twin Peaks, though stripped of her vocals. With Julee Cruise’s ethereal vocals, it went on to become a hit. She also had a role in the cult series, as a bar singer, in the pilot episode and the one in which the killer is revealed.

A frequent collaborator with film composer Angelo Badalamenti — who with Twin Peaks director David Lynch wrote Falling — Cruise had her first big break in 1985 with Mysteries Of Love, which featured in another Lynch project, Blue Velvet.

Cruise released four albums between 1990 and 2011, but collaborated widely, acted on stage, and toured with the B-52’s in the 1990s as replacement for Cindy Williams. And it was a B-52’s song, Roam, that was playing when she gently died by suicide on June 9, at the age of 65.

The Disco Man
As a songwriter, producer and arranger, Patrick Adams enjoyed success in soul, disco and dance music. In the ’70s and ’80s, he wrote for or arranged or produced for soul acts like Black Ivory, Candi Staton (including her hit When You Wake Up Tomorrow), Eddie Kendricks, Jimmy Ruffin, The Main Ingredient, Ben E. King, Melba Moore, The Salsoul Orchestra, Ray Charles, Sharon Brown, Skipworth & Turner, and many others.

In disco, he wrote and produced Musique’s horticultural classic In The Bush, and co-wrote Inner City Express’ Dance And Shake Your Tambourine. He also worked with the Gary Toms Empire and Herbie Mann in his disco phase.

In 1991, his song Touch Me, which he co-wrote in 1984 for Fonda Rae, was a global hit for British singer Cathy Dennis. In 1997, his Keep On Jumpin’, originally a hit for Musique, became a big dance hit for Todd Terry feat. Martha Wash & Jocelyn Brown (the latter having been a member of Musique).

Adams also engineered for acts like Keith Sweat, Eric B. & Rakim, Heavy D. & The Boyz, Salt ‘N’ Pepa, and a young R. Kelly.

The Harmonica Man
You will have heard Tommy Morgan’s harmonica many times, if not on record then in films or on TV. Morgan died at 89 three days after the 80th birthday of Brian Wilson, for whom he played on the Pet Sounds album and on Good Vibrations.

Morgan’s harmonica can be heard in the themes of Sanford and Son (Quincy Jones’ The Streetbeater) and Rockford Files, and on countless scores, including the Grammy-winning one of the mini-series Roots. It is estimated that he played on 600 film scores, from Giant in 1955 via Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Rosemary’s Baby in the ’60s, Blazing Saddles in the ’70s, The Color Purple and The Right Stuff in ’80s, to Dances With Wolves and The Shawshank Redemption in the ’90s, and Lincoln and Monsters Inc. in the new millennium.

Morgan played his first session as a 17-year-old in 1950, for the Andrews Sisters. Apart from Good Vibrations, he played on hits such as the Carpenters’ Rainy Days And Mondays, The Hollies’ He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother, Neil Diamond’s Beautiful Noise, The Bangles’ Eternal Flame, Linda Ronstadt’s Skylark, and on records by the likes of The Monkees, Roy Orbison, The Bee Gees, Merle Haggard, Randy Newman, Mac Davies, Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Olivia Newton-John, Dolly Parton, James Taylor, Michael Jackson. He was a backing musician on the Elvis ’68 comeback special, and if you hear any harmonica on those Phil Spector Wall of Sound productions, they are most likely Morgan’s.

The Hair Bassist
As far as I can determine, bassist Alec John Such is the first member of Bon Jovi to pass on. Such was a member of the classic line up from 1983 to 1994, which means he played on such hits as Livin’ On A Prayer, You Give Love A Bad Name, Wanted Dead or Alive, Bad Medicine, Born To Be My Baby, I’ll Be There For You, Lay Your Hands On Me, Living In Sin, Bed Of Roses, and Always.

The Hitmaker
Almost 16 years after his death was falsely reported, songwriter Paul Vance departed for good. Vance was the co-writer and often producer of hits such as Perry Como’s Catch A Falling Star, Brian Hyland’s Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (which Vance was inspired to write by his daughter, who was too shy to wear a bikini, itsy bitsy or otherwise), Johnny Mathis’ What Will Mary Say, The Cuff Link’s Tracy,  Clint Holmes’ Playground In My Mind, and David Geddes’ Run Joey Run (which featured Vance’s bikini-shy daughter Paula on the female vocals).

The Soul Multitasker
Multiple Grammy-winner Bernard Belle, brother of soul singer Regina, was a pioneer of New Jack Swing in the 1990s, in collaboration with Terry Lewis. He co-wrote and/or produced for acts like Michael Jackson (including Remember The Time), Hi-Five (including I Like the Way [The Kissing Game]), Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, Patti LaBelle, Glenn Jones, Aaron Hall, Jaheim, Keith Sweat, Al B. Sure, and, of course, his sister.

After becoming a born-again Christian, he worked in gospel music, with acts like Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Blackstreet, and BeBe & CeCe Winans.As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

Paul Vance, 92, songwriter and producer, on May 29
Perry Como – Catch A Falling Star (1957, as co-writer)
The Detergents – Leader Of The Laundromat (1964, as co-writer)
Paul Vance – Dommage, Dommage (Too Bad, Too Bad) (1966, also as co-writer)

Kelly Joe Phelps, 62, blues musician, on May 31
Kelly Joe Phelps – Lead Me On (1994)

Dave Smith, 72, synth pioneer, inventor of Midi, on May 31

Deborah McCrary, 67, singer with gospel band The McCrary Sisters, on June 1
The McCrary Sisters – Skin Deep (2013)

Leroy Williams, 85, jazz drummer, on June 1

Hal Bynum, 87, country songwriter and singer, on June 2
Kenny Rogers – Lucille (1977, as co-writer)
Hal Bynum – Last Summer (1998)

El Noba, 25, Argentine cumbia singer, in traffic accident on June 3

Grachan Moncur III, 85, jazz trombonist, on June 3
Grachan Moncur III – Thandiwa (1965)

Trouble, 34, rapper, shot on June 5

Alec John Such, 70, bassist of Bon Jovi, on June 5
Bon Jovi – Runaway (1984)
Bon Jovi – Bad Medicine (1988)
Bon Jovi – Bed Of Roses (1992)

Mikhail Vladimirov, 55, guitarist of Russian rock bands Mify, Chizh & Co, on June 6

Jim Seals, 79, half of soft-rock duo Seals & Crofts and songwriter, on June 6
Seals & Crofts – We May Never Pass This Way (Again) (1973, also as co-writer)
The Isley Brothers – Summer Breeze (1973, as co-writer)
Seals & Crofts feat. Carolyn Willis – Get Closer (1976, also as co-writer)

Eric Riebling, 59, bassist of rock band The Affordable Floors, on June 8
The Affordable Floors – The Red Room (1988)

Wolfgang Reisinger, 66, Austrian jazz percussionist, on June 8

Julee Cruise, 65, singer and musician, on June 9
Julee Cruise – Falling (1989)
Julee Cruise – In My Other World (1993)

Dario Parisini, 55, Italian guitarist and composer, on June 9

Commander Tom, German DJ and producer, on June 9
Commander Tom – Attention (2004)

FBG Cash, 31, rapper, shot on June 10

Amb. Osayomore Joseph, 69, Nigerian high-life pioneer, on June 11
Osayomore Joseph – Idami (2022)

Dawit Nega, 34, Ethiopian singer and musician, on June 12

Gabe Baltazar, 92, jazz alto saxophonist, on June 12
Anne Richards & The Stan Kenton Orchestra – It’s a Wonderful World (1961, on alto sax)

Joel Whitburn, 82, music historian, on June 14

Big Rude Jake, 57, Canadian musician, on June 16
Big Rude Jake – Swing Baby! (1996)

Ken Williams, 72, soul singer, songwriter, producer, on June 17
Peaches & Herb – The Ten Commandments Of Love (1968, a co-producer)
The Main Ingredient – Everybody Plays The Fool (1973, as co-writer)

Gian Pietro Felisatti, 72, Italian producer and songwriter, on June 18

Brett Tuggle, 70, rock keyboardist and songwriter, on June 19
David Lee Roth – Just Like Paradise (1987, as co-writer and on keyboards)

Jim Schwall, 79, member of blues group Siegel–Schwall Band, on June 19
Siegel-Schwall Band – You Don’t Love Me (1967)

Dennis Cahill, 68, guitarist of US/Irish folk group The Gloaming, on June 20
The Gloaming – Casadh an tSúgáin (2016)

James Rado, 90, playwright and composer (Hair), on June 21
Ronald Dyson & Company – Aquarius (1967)
Petula Clark – Good Morning Starshine (1970)

Artie Kane, 93, film score composer, on June 21

Edgar O. de Haas, 92, jazz bassist, on June 22
Peter, Paul & Mary – Polly Von (1963)

Patrick Adams, 72, disco & R&B producer, arranger and composer, on June 22
Black Ivory – Can’t You See (1976, as arranger)
Musique – In The Bush (1978, as writer and producer)
Cathy Dennis – Touch Me (All Night Long) (1991, as co-writer)

Paulo Diniz, 82, Brazilian singer, on June 22
Paulo Diniz – Pingos de amor (1971)

Massimo Morante, 69, guitarist of Italian prog-rock band Goblin, on June 23
Goblin – Chi (1976)

Tommy Morgan, 89, harmonicist and session musician, on June 23
Tommy Morgan – Off Shore (1958)
The Hollies – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (1969, on harmonica)
Quincy Jones – The Streetbeater (1973, on harmonica)
James Taylor – Caroline I See You (2002, on harmonica)

Bernard Belle, 57, soul producer and songwriter, on June 23
Michael Jackson – Remember The Time (1992, as co-writer)
Glenn Jones – Call Me (1992, as co-writer and producer)

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In Memoriam – May 2022

June 2nd, 2022 4 comments

 

The month of May was mercifully less brutal than April, but its music deaths gave us a few good stories, such as those of Régine, the singing inventor of discotheques, Dylan sidekick Bob Neuwirth, or Ronnie Hawkins, who first brought The Band together. Hawkins also connects with Neuwirth through Dylan, and with the Yes drummer Alan White, who also died in May, through John Lennon.

In the comments to last month’s In Memoriam, a reader issued generous praise about this series, but was puzzled as to the omission of two important Benelux artists, from the write-ups. I can understand his point. Here’s the thing, though: In April, there was an excess of significant musicians, or those with particularly interesting backstories, or those whose music has meant something special to me. I check every death for significance and/or stories to tell. Each narrative takes a good while to research and write (and to edit; sometimes I need to shorten them). But at some points I have to draw a line at the amount of work I can do on this series due to the time it demands of me – after all, I do this for no payment (other, perhaps, than the occasional coffees some readers buy me) and have work and family commitments to account for. In April there were 13 entries, which is an absurd amount of work. This month, there are “only” eight, which is still a heap of work. Any other month, depending on my time available, I might well have included Arno Hintjens or Henny Vrienten. And still, there are a few artists whom I would have liked to feature this month — for example Cathal Coughlan of Microdisney or Rick Price of The Move or R&B singer Jewell or Bernard Wright or Norm Dolph — but due to travel, work commitments and an inconvenient bout of illness, I just lacked the time. Sometimes these things are just a roll of the dice…

The Composer
Few prog-rock starts go on to become composers of at least two of the greatest pieces of movie music. But so it was with Vangelis, who wrote the magnificent score for 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) and the Oscar-winning theme of Chariots Of Fire (1981). He also composed the scores for films such as Blade Runner (1982), Missing (1982), Antarctica (1983) and The Bounty (1984).

All the while, he also created prog-rock albums with Jon Anderson, lead singer of Yes, as Jon & Vangelis. That recalled his initial breakthrough, when Vangelis — initially still credited by his proper name, Evángelos Papathanassíou was part of Greek proto prog band Aphrodite’s Child, along with a pre-moms’-favourite Demis Roussos. Vangelis was the band’s keyboardist, flautist and songwriter. Aphrodite’s Child had a string of hits in Europe in the late 1960s and are regarded as influential on prog-rock — Jon Anderson was a fan before he became a prog-rock legend himself — and as pioneers of the concept album.

Vangelis also composed the official anthem of the 2002 football World Cup, and over the past two decades collaborated with NASA and the European Space Agency on symphonic music projects, the last part of which was released just last year.

The Unlikely Pop Legend
It seemed unlikely that of all Depeche Mode members, Andy Fletcher would be the first to go. He also was the one who looked least like a pop legend. “Martin’s the songwriter, Alan’s the good musician, Dave’s the vocalist… and I bum around,” he once said. But he did more than bum around. By all accounts, he was the glue that held Depeche Mode together, and the business brains of the operation. And he knew that, too. In 2013, he described himself as “the tall guy in the background without whom this international corporation called Depeche Mode would never work”.

The Discotheque Inventor
As the month began, the eventful life of French entertainer Régine ended at the age of 92. Born in Belgium in 1929 as Rachelle Zylberberg to Jewish parents, Régine was saved from the Holocaust when she was given shelter in a convent. After the war, she moved to Paris were in the 1950s she effectively invented the discotheque by replacing the old jukeboxes with dedicated disc jockeys working turntables at the Whisky à Gogo. By 1957, she opened the first of her many discotheques around the world (including New York’s famous Régine’s). At one point she owned 22 discos at the same time.

By then she had also made a name for herself as a chanteuse and songwriter who influenced many singers of her generation. Her recording career spanned half a century, from 1959 top 2009.

The Yes Drummer
It was sad month for Jon Anderson: first his collaborator Vangelis died, then long-time Yes drummer Alan White departed from this mortal coil. White replaced original Yes drummer Bill Bruford in 1972, and never left the band for the next 50 years.

Before joining Yes, White made a name for himself as a drummer for the Plastic Ono Band, appearing at the legendary Toronto concert that gave rise to a live album, and on Lennon’s Imagine album. He also swung the sticks to magnificent effect on Lennon’s hit Instant Karma. White also played for George Harrison on All Things Must Pass, and for acts like The Alan Price Set, Joe Cocker, Gary Wright, Donovan, Suzi Quatro and others.

The Dylan Sidekick
In the history of Bob Dylan, folk singer-songwriter Bob Neuwirth, who has died at 82, will be remembered as a one-time best friend, road manager, enforcer and loyal sidekick. He was there when Dylan went electric at Newport and on the UK tour with the “Judas” moment. On the cover of Highway 61 Revisited, we see the lower half of Neuwirth, wearing an orange-and-white striped top and holding a camera. On the video of Subterranean Homesick Blues (the one with the cue cards), the just off-screen Neuwirth has an animated conversation with Allen Ginsberg. After Dylan’s motorbike accident in 1966, Neuwirth receded from the hub of Dylan’s world, but returned a decade later for the Rolling Thunder Revue tour.

By then he had introduced Kris Kristofferson to Janis Joplin, and Joplin to KK’s song Bobby McGee. Neuwirth also co-wrote Joplin’s posthumously-released a capella song Mercedes Benz.

Neuwith, a man of sharp wit and cutting tongue, didn’t record his first album until 1974. It featured guest stars such as Kris Kristofferson, Booker T. Jones, Rita Coolidge, Chris Hillman, Cass Elliot (just before her death), Dusty Springfield, Don Everly and Richie Furay, but it was no commercial success. Between 1988-99, he released four more albums, but by then Neuwirth was making his name more as an abstract painter than a music act.

The Hawk
Another one-time Dylan associate left us in May in US-Canadian rock & roll and country singer-songwriter Ronnie Hawkins. In 1975, Dylan cast Hawkins to play the part of “Bob Dylan” in his movie Renaldo and Clara.

Hawkins, born in Arkansas two days after Elvis Presley, began his career in the 1950s when he enjoyed a number of rock & roll hits — mostly covers and knock-offs — with his band The Hawks. That group played a part in rock history as a precursor of The Band: its ever-changing line-up included first Levon Helms as of 1957 and Robbie Robertson in 1960 before Richard Manuel and Rick Danko joined in 1961, and soon after them Garth Hudson. In late 1963 they left Hawkins to form their own band. Hawkins was later reunited with The Band at their farewell concert, which recorded for the film The Last Waltz (he played with them on Who Do You Love)

In Toronto, Hawkins also hosted and accompanied John Lennon and Yoko Ono during their Bed-In campaign.

The Country Cousin
Country singer Mickey Gilley grew up with his cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart and rockabilly pianist Carl McVoy. By the time Gilley hit the big time as a country crooner in the mid-1970s, the careers of Jerry Lee and McVoy had long been on the slide. Gilley was smart enough to recognise a change of wind in country music when in 1980, on the back of the Urban Cowboy soundtrack, his music became more pop-oriented. Between 1980-86, he released 19 singles, of which 18 were country Top 10 hits (nine of them reaching #1)

The Spinal Tap Drummer
Few drummers enjoy a resurrection, but Ric Parnell did. Originally, he featured in the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap as Mick Shrimpton, one of the string of Spinal Tap drummers who meet a freakish death. But when Spinal Tap, on the back of the film’s success, became a recording concern, Parnell was resurrected, to swing the sticks as Mick’s twin brother, Ric Shrimpton.

Parnell initially broke through as a member of British rock band Atomic Rooster, from 1971-74. In between he recorded with Italian rock band Triton, scoring a 1973 hit with a cover of Satisfaction. Short-lived gigs in a number of bands followed. He also did some session work, including on Toni Basil’s 1980 #1 hit Mickey.As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

 

Ray Fenwick, 75, English guitarist and producer, on April 30
Spencer Davis Group – Time Seller (1968, as member)
Ray Fenwick – I Wanna Stay Here (1971)

Ric Parnell, 70, English drummer and actor, on May 1
Atomic Rooster – Save Me (1973, as member)
Spinal Tap – Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight (1984, as member)

Régine, 92, French singer, songwriter, actress and discotheque pioneer, on May 1
Régine – Ca n’sert à rien (1965)
Régine – On la chante (1973)
Régine – La vie by night (1981)

DJ Delete, 30, Australian DJ and music producer, on May 1

Peter Frohmader, 63, German electronic composer and musician, on May 2
Peter Frohmader – Funebre (2010)

María José Cantilo, 68, Belgian-born Argentine singer-songwriter, on May 2

Howie Pyro, 61, bassist of punk band D Generation, on May 4
D Generation – Wasted Years (1993)

Albin Julius, 54, leader of Austrian experimental rock project Der Blutharsch, on May 4

Jewell, 53, R&B singer, on May 6
Snoop Doggy Dogg feat Jewell- Who Am I (What’s My Name)
Jewell – Woman To Woman (1994)

Mickey Gilley, 86, country singer, on May 7
Mickey Gilley – Room Full Of Roses (1974)
Mickey Gilley – Lonely Nights (1981)
Mickey Gilley – Your Memory Ain’t What It Used To Be (1985)

Dennis Waterman, 74, English actor and singer, on May 8
Dennis Waterman – I Could Be So Good For You (1979)

Doug Caldwell, 94, New Zealand jazz musician, on May 10

Richard Benson, 67, British-Italian guitarist, singer and TV host, on May 10
Richard Benson – Renegade (1984)

Trevor Strnad, 41, singer of metal band Black Dahlia Murder, on May 10

Norman Dolph, 83, songwriter and producer, on May 11
The Velvet Underground – All Tomorrow’s Parties (1968, as producer)
Reunion – Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me) (1974, as writer)

Patricia Cahill, 77, Irish singer, on May 11

Andy Chaves, 32 member of reggae-rock band Katastro, in car crash on May 12

Ben Moore, 80, American soul singer, on May 12
James & Bobby Purify – Get Closer (1976, as Bobby Purify II)

Rosmarie Trapp, 93, member of the Von Trapp family, on May 13

Lil Keed, 24, rapper, on May 13

Ricky Gardiner, 73, Scottish guitarist and composer, on May 13
Beggars Opera – Two Timing Woman (1973, as founder member)
David Bowie – Sound And Vision (1977, on guitar)
Iggy Pop – The Passenger (1977, as co-writer and on guitar)

Robert Cogoi, 82, Belgian singer, on May 15

Deborah Fraser, 56, South African gospel singer, on May 15

Vangelis Papathanassiou, 79, Greek keyboardist and film composer, on May 17
Aphrodite’s Child – Rain And Tears (1968, as member and co-writer)
Aphrodite’s Child – It’s Five O’Clock (1969, as member and co-writer)
Jon & Vangelis – I’ll Find My Way Home (1981, also as co-writer)
Vangelis – Conquest Of Paradise (1992, as composer)

Rick Price, 77, bassist of English bands The Move, Wizzard, on May 17
The Move – When Alice Comes Back To The Farm (1970)
Wizzard – See My Baby Jive (1973)

Paul Plimley, 69, Canadian free jazz pianist and vibraphonist, on May 18

Bob Neuwirth, 82, folk singer-songwriter, on May 18
Janis Joplin – Mercedes Benz (1971, as co-writer)
Bob Neuwirth – Just Because I’m Here (Don’t Mean I’m Home) (1974)
Bob Neuwirth – Life Is For The Living (1990)

Wim Rijken, 63, Dutch singer and actor, on May 18

Cathal Coughlan, 61, singer of Irish indie bands Microdisney, Fatima Mansions, on May 18
Microdisney – Town To Town (1987)
Fatima Mansions – Angel’s Delight (1990)

Bernard Wright, 58, American soul singer, jazz fusion keyboardist, on May 19
Bernard Wright – Spinnin’ (1981)
Bernard Wright – Who Do You Love (1984)

Guido Lembo, 75, Italian singer and guitarist, on May 19

Thom Bresh, 74, country guitarist and singer, on May 23
Tom Bresh – Home Made Love (1976)

Jean-Louis Chautemps, 90, French jazz saxophonist, on May 25
Elton John – Honky Cat (1972, on saxophone)

Guillaume Bideau, 44, French singer of Danish heavy metal group Mnemic, on May 25

Alan White, 72, English drummer of Yes, on May 25
John Lennon – Instant Karma (1970, on drums, piano)
Gary Wright – Get On The Right Road (1972)
Yes – Wonderous Stories (1977)
Yes – Owner Of A Lonely Heart (1983)

Andy Fletcher, 60, co-founder and keyboardist of Depeche Mode, on May 25
Depeche Mode – Dreaming Of Me (1981)
Depeche Mode – But Not Tonight (1986)
Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence (1990)

Steve Broughton, 72, drummer of the Edgar Broughton Band, on May 29
Edgar Broughton Band – Hotel Room (1971)

Sidhu Moose Wala, 28, Indian singer, actor and politician, shot dead on May 29

Ronnie Hawkins, 87, rock & roll, country singer-songwriter, on May 29
Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks – Forty Days (1959)
Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks – I Feel Good (1961)
The Band with Ronnie Hawkins – Who Do You Love (1978)
Ronnie Hawkins – Making It Again (1984)

Dakis, 78, Greek singer, on May 29
Dakis – Mourir ou vivre (1967)

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In Memoriam – April 2022

May 5th, 2022 5 comments

It was not a safe month to be a Canadian singer; quite a few died in April, including Susan Jacks, singer of the Poppy Family and wife of singer Terry Jacks, and Native American country singer Shane Yellowbird, who was only 42 (the featured song is from a 2007 album titled Life Is Calling My Name). On the other end of the spectrum, one of the behind-the-scenes people who was at the centre of shaping rock & roll passed away at the age of 104.

One name featured already last month: the death of Bunny Simpson of reggae trio Mighty Diamonds came only three days after the death in a drive-by shooting of fellow band member Tabby Shaw, but since they cut across two months, I included Simpson on both lists.

Most poignantly, on the day before Mental Health Month was to begin, one of country music’s great stars died from mental illness.

The Pioneer
Who knows how rock & roll might have turned out had Art Rupe — born in 1917 as Arthur Goldberg, the son of Jewish immigrants — not decided in 1944 to invest $200 into buying loads of different records by black artists. Rupe’s idea was to analyse these records and arrive at a formula for producing hits in what was then called “race music”. He decided the future was in a fusion of swing and gospel. Soon he founded the LA-based Specialty Records, which quickly thrived. Rupe also spearheaded a wave of gospel recordings. His mantra of fusing genres, set out in the 1940s, would become that of rock & roll and soul music, with his particular recipe immensely influential.

In the 1950s, Rupe discovered acts like Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Larry Williams and Little Richard, with whom he’d be at the vanguard of rock & roll. Price’s 1952 song Lawdy Miss Clawdy is a fair claimant (among several) for “first rock & roll record”. And Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti — the original lyrics of which Rupe ordered cleaned up — was one of the great points of explosion in the nascent genre.

Rupe also launched the career of Sam Cooke, though the erstwhile gospel singer enjoyed his secular success at RCA — after Rupe, something of a purist, had told Cooke to take his smooth secular songs elsewhere. One of these songs was You Send Me (interestingly, the great drummer Earl Palmer played on many Specialty records, including Tutti Frutti, but also on the RCA release You Send Me. There’ll be a retrospective of Palmer’s work later this year).

Like other label bosses, Rupe offered hardnosed contracts to artists and paid paltry royalties; unlike many of his colleagues, he actually paid these royalties (though Little Richard did have to take him to court at one point) and treated his artists with a measure of ethics. But by the end of the 1950s — as Little Richard moved into religion and Sam Cooke out of it — Rupe left the music business to invest in gas and oil. His long life, which begun while World War I was still raging, ended at the age of 104 on April 15.

The Folk-Rock Pioneer
Compiling songs on which Earl Palmer played in April clearly was hazardous to the lives of those connected to them. One of the songs I picked for that forthcoming collection was High Flying Bird, the 1963 hit for Judy Henske. On April 27 the folk singer died at the age of 85.

In the early 1960s, Henske’s folk stylings gave her much exposure beyond the folk scene. With husband Jerry Yester of the Lovin’ Spoonful, she became part of the early Laurel Canyon scene (which, in turn, is the subject of next week’s mix, which will include a track by Henske and Yester). She is credited as being an influence on the folk-rock scene; in 1969 she and Yester recorded a baroque/psych-rock album for the label owned by fellow Laurel Canyon resident Frank Zappa.

The High School ‘President’
Usually high schools in the movies are named after presidents or such-like luminaries. In Grease, the school was named after singer Bobby Rydell, who was one of the big stars in the period of Grease’s setting. Rydell first broke through in 1959 with Kissin’ Time, which reached US #11, followed by his first Top Ten hit, We Got Love. A string of hits and a few movie roles followed over the next five years, when the presciently-titled #4 hit Forget Him gave Rydell his last taste of big chart action.

Rydell stayed in music, and in 1976 had a minor hit with a disco version of Sway. Mostly he toured the nostalgia circuit, often alongside Frankie Avalon, who appeared in Grease.

The Country Legend
The last day of April brought the news of the death at 76 of country star Naomi Judd, matriarch of the Judd family which included actress Ashley and singer Wynnona. With the latter, Naomi formed a hugely popular duo The Judds — the duo was to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame the following day.

Naomi had been suffering mental health problems, with the medication prescribed for her depression and anxiety causing severe side-effects. The family framed Naomi’s death as her having lost a long battle with mental illness. They avoided giving the details of the mechanics of her death, which clearly was deliberately done by way of reframing and refocussing the narrative on mental illness as a potentially lethal disease. The destigmatisation of mental health disorders is important. Whether bleeping out the S word is the best way of doing so is up for debate (I might suggest that this word, too, requires destigmatisation), but it is right to say that somebody died from a mental health disease, just as somebody might die of cancer or heart disease.

The Funk Brother
As a member of The Funk Brothers, Motown’s in-house backing collective, guitarist Joe Messina had a hand in countless classics. The trouble is, Motown didn’t always credit which musicians played on which track. But we know that Messina, who has died at 93, played on Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On album and all Temptation albums of the early 1970s. Messina also played on hits such Going To A Go-Go by The Miracles, Dancing in The Street by Martha & The Vandellas, I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) by the Four Tops, For Once In My Life by Stevie Wonder, Your Precious Love by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Someday We’ll Be Together by The Supremes, and many others. Often he was one of three guitarists on one record, all innovating in ways that would help create the Motown sound.

Messina was among the top talents of Detroit’s jazz scene recruited by Gordy in the early days of Motown, and had played with acts like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Milt Jackson. He put down his guitar for two decades after Motown moved to LA in 1972, opening carwash and jewellery businesses instead of making gold records. He eventually returned to music after 21 years, to release his only jazz album, Messina Madness. He’d also jam with local jazz acts. In the early 2000s he was part of the Funk Brothers reunion that would result in the superb documentary Standing In The Shadows Of Motown.

Of the 13 Funk Brothers, only one is now alive, percussionist Jack Ashford, who is turning 88 on May 18. Watch this great interview from 2005 with Joe Messina.

The Trucker
If you need trucking music — and, yes, I have a growing playlist on that theme brewing — then country drawler C.W. McCall was your man. His signature song was 1975’s CB radio hit Convoy, which so captured the imagination that Sam Peckinpah made a film based on it, starring Kris Kristofferson and Ali McGraw.

For all his polluting with diesel fumes, McCall had an environmental conscience, as he showed on his 1976 song There Won’t Be No Country Music (There Won’t Be No Rock ‘N’ Roll). He later became an environmental activist and mayor of a small town in Colorado. But he probably was no woke lefty snowflake commie liberal — last year, McCall gave express permission for his hit Convoy to be used by the so-called Freedom Convoy protests in Canada, which was not exactly a liberal scene.

The Sax Man
You will have heard the saxophone work of Andrew Woolfolk on any number of Earth, Wind & Fire records. Woodfolk was not the sax player who played the great solo on the live version of Reasons (that was Don Myrick), but he was part of the horn section that helped shaped disco. As a young jazz musician in New York in 1973, the Denver-born Woodfolk was ready to enter a career in banking when his old school friend Philip Bailey drafted him to succeed saxophonist and flautist Ronnie Laws in Earth, Wind & Fire, a band which had just begun to gain traction. Woodford remained with the EWF until 1993. His soprano sax helped the band become legends.

In between, Woodford also did session work for the likes of Deniece Williams, Valerie Carter, Stanley Turrentine, Level 42, Philip Bailey, Tracie Spencer, Ruby Turner, Phil Collins, and others.

The Soul Singer
Early in April I was beginning the process of shortlisting tracks for the 1982 compilation in the Any Major Soul series. That gave me occasion to sample Bloodstone’s album of that year, We Go A Long Way Back. That album featured the superb Go On And Cry (which featured on Any Major Soul 1982-83), but the group’s best-known hit was 1973’s Natural High. A couple of days later, founding member, singer and bassist Charles Cormack, who wrote that track, died at the age of 75. But by 1982, he had just quit the band, only to return two years later, staying with Bloodstone until 2020.

With Cormack’s death, only keyboardist and singer Harry Williams survives of the original line-up, which went back to 1962.

The Electronic Pioneer
German musician Klaus Schulze is regarded as a pioneer in electronic music and as such an important influence on dance music, ambient and new wave. He also veered into other genres, such as jazz and classical (especially Wagner). As a composer he influenced the film score master Hans Zimmer.

Schulze started out as a drummer for Tangerine Dream, but after one album in 1970 switched to keyboards founded Ash Ra Tempel, which he also left after one album. In his career, Schulze released some 60 albums.

The Singing  Actress
In March French-Italian singer and actress Catherine Spaak featured on Any Major Beatles in Italian, with her 1966 cover of Yesterday. Almost exactly month later, she passed away at 77. Better known as an actress whose career started when she was a teenager, Spaak also had a career as a singer, styling herself in the 1960s on Françoise Hardy. That wasn’t entirely at random: Spaak was produced by Ezio Leoni, one of the fathers of Italian pop, who also produced Hardy at one point. Having issued her first single in 1962, she released seven albums between 1964 and 1978, three of them collaborations with then-husband Johnny Dorelli.

The Punk Pioneer
Before the Sex Pistols and The Damned, punk had The Saints, who released a punk single, I’m Stranded, in 1976 before any other non-US act of the genre, a few months even before The Damned’s New Rose — and they were Australian. Formed in Brisbane, the band was an antipodean answer to the Ramones. Their voice was that of 19-year-old Chris Bailey, who has died at 65. In the UK, The Saints managed only chart entry, 1977’s The Perfect Day, which reached #34.

Through various line-up changes, the Kenya-born Bailey kept The Saints going, also releasing solo records, which were more mainstream rock.

The Hippie Executive
Born in grey England, budding young music executive Andy Wickham wanted sunshine and found it in LA. Living among the coterie of present and future stars in Laurel Canyon (whose alumnus Judy Henske died soon after him), Wickham was the hippie among the stiffs at Warner Bros. when he signed the likes of Joni Mitchell (already in New York before both of them ended up in LA), Neil Young (sort of), Van Morrison, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris and others for the label. Warners had discovered him when Wickham handled the publicity for the groundbreaking Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

Wickham also did some producing, among others for the Everly Brothers, Nancy Sinatra, Phil Ochs, and Van Dyke Parks.

The Swedish Colleague
What must it be like to have played in a band with a future pop legend? That is something which until April 13 Lennart Hegland, bassist of 1960s Swedish folk/pop band Hep Stars might have been able to answer. The band had already enjoyed some success when they discovered future ABBA co-supremo Benny Anderson and invited him to join the band. Benny quickly made his mark, writing many of the group’s songs, some with his friend and future ABBA colleague Björn Ulvaeus. The featured track is the first of their joint compositions.

The Hep Stars split amid some acrimony in 1969. After which Hegland and some other members formed the Gummibandet, which also enjoyed some success in Sweden.As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

 

Andy Wickham, 74, English-born music executive and producer, on March 29
Nancy Sinatra – Hook And Ladder (1971, as producer)

Fitzroy ‘Bunny’ Simpson, 70, singer with reggae trio Mighty Diamonds, on April 1
Mighty Diamonds – Right Time (1975)

Roland White, 83, bluegrass mandolin player, on April 1

C.W. McCall, 93, American country singer and songwriter, on April 1
C.W. McCall – Convoy (1975)
C.W. McCall – There Won’t Be No Country Music (There Won’t Be No Rock & Roll) (1976)

Archie Eversole, 37, rapper, on April 3

Joe Messina, 93, guitarist with Motown’s The Funk Brothers, on April 4
The Temptations – I’m Losing You (1966)
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Your Precious Love (1967)
Stevie Wonder – For Once In My Life (1968)

Bobby Rydell, 79, pop singer and actor, on April 5
Bobby Rydell – We Got Love (1959)
Bobby Rydell – Forget Him (1963)

Paul Siebel, 84, singer-songwriter, on April 5
Paul Siebel – Louise (1970, also as writer)

Helen Golden, 81, Dutch jazz singer, on April 6

Larry Holley, 96, Buddy Holly’s bigger brother, on April 7

Con Cluskey, 86, member of Irish pop group The Bachelors, on April 8
The Bachelors – I Wouldn’t Trade You For The World (1964)

Pastelle LeBlanc, 42, member of Canadian folk trio Vishtèn, on April 8

John Rossi, drummer of swing revival band Roomful of Blues (1970-98), on April 9
Roomful of Blues – Dressed Up To Get Messed Up (1984)

Chris Bailey, 65, lead singer of Australian punk band The Saints, on April 9
The Saints – I’m Stranded (1976)
The Saints – Ghost Ships (1984)

Mario Martínez, guitarist of Spanish new wave group La Unión, on April 10
La Unión – Lobo Hombre en París (1984)

Charnett Moffett, 54, jazz bassist, on April 11
Charnett Moffett – Softly As In A Morning Sunrise (1987)

Charles E. McCormick, 75, bassist and singer with soul group Bloodstone, on April 12
Bloodstone – Natural High (1973)
Bloodstone – Give Me Your Heart (1975, also as writer)

Jacek Szymkiewicz, 47, Polish songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, on April 12

David Freel, 64, singer and guitarist of undue group Swell, on April 12
Swell – Off In My Head (1998)

Tim Feerick, 34, bassist of rock band Dance Gavin Dance, on April 13

Lennart Hegland, 79, bassist of pioneering Swedish beat band Hep Stars, on April 13
The Hep Stars – Isn’t It Easy To Say (1966)

Trygve Thue, 71, Norwegian guitarist and producer, on April 14

Orlando Julius, 79, Nigerian saxophonist, singer and bandleader, on April 14
Hugh Masekela – Mama (1975, on saxophone and backing vocals)

Art Rupe, 104, founder of Specialty Records, producer, on April 15
Jimmy Liggins and His Drops Of Joy – Baby I Can’t Forget You (1947, as label owner)
The Soul Stirrers featuring Sam Cooke – Wonderful (1956, as label owner)
Little Richard – Good Golly, Miss Molly (1958, as label owner)

Leo Boni, 57, Italian-American singer and guitarist, on April 15

Koji, 49, rhythm guitarist of Japanese visual kei rock band La’cryma Christi, on April 15
La’cryma Christi – Siam’s Eye (1994)

Bill Bourne, 68, Canadian folk singer-songwriter, on April 16
Bill Bourne – Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (2012)

James Johnson, 82, blues guitarist, on April 16
Slim Harpo – Baby Scratch My Back (1966, on guitar)

Hollis Resnik, 67, stage musical singer and actress, on April 17

Rick Turner, 78, member of psych rock band Autosalvage, and luthier, on April 17
Autosalvage – Parahighway (1968)

Re Styles, 72, Dutch-born singer with rock band The Tubes (1977-80), on April 17
The Tubes – Prime Time (1979)

Catherine Spaak, 77, Belgian-Italian singer and actress, on April 17
Catherine Spaak – Perdono (1962)
Catherine Spaak – Punto d’amore (1976)

Roderick ‘Pooh’ Clark, 49, singer with soul band Hi-Five, on April 17
Hi Five – I Can’t Wait Another Minute (1991)

Paolo Noël, 93, Canadian singer, actor and TV presenter, on April 17

Jerry Doucette, 70, Canadian musician, on April 18
Jerry Doucette – Mama Let Him Play (1977)

José Luis Cortés, 70, Cuban timba flutist, composer, and bandleader, on April 18
José Luis Cortés y NG La Banda – Química Perfecta (2000)

Guitar Shorty, 87, blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, on April 20
Guitar Shorty – Let My Guitar Do The Talking (2004)

Orrin Hatch, 88, Republican US senator, Mormon gospel singer and composer, on April 23

Arno Hintjens, 72, lead singer of Belgian new wave band TC Matic, on April 23
TC Matic – O La La La (C’est Magnifique) (1981)

Willi Resetarits, 73, Austrian singer and comedian, on April 24

Henny Vrienten, 73, singer and songwriter of Dutch ska band Doe Maar, on April 25

Andrew Woolfolk, 71, saxophonist with Earth, Wind & Fire, on April 25
Earth Wind & Fire – Spasmodic Movements (1973, on lead soprano sax)
Earth, Wind & Fire – Can’t Hide Love
Valerie Carter – Trying To Get To You (1977, on soprano sax)
Tracie Spencer – Hide And Seek (1988, on soprano sax)

Susan Jacks, 73, Canadian singer-songwriter with The Poppy Family, on April 25
The Poppy Family – Which Way You Goin’ Billy (1969)
Susan Jacks – Elusive Butterfly (1980)

Shane Yellowbird, 42, Canadian country singer, on April 25
Shane Yellowbird – Pickup Truck (2007)

Julie Daraîche, 83, Canadian- Québécoise country singer, on April 26

Klaus Schulze, 74, German electronic musician and composer, on April 26
Tangerine Dream – Asche zu Asche (1970, on drums)
Klaus Schulze – Conquest Of Paradise (1994)

Ica Novo, 70, Argentine folk singer, composer and guitarist, on April 26

Randy Rand, 62, bassist of US hard rock band Autograph, on April 26
Autograph – Turn Up The Radio (1984)

Judy Henske, 85, folk singer, on April 27
Judy Henske – Buckeye Jim (1963)
Judy Henske – Day To Day (1966)
Judy Henske & Jerry Yester – Snowblind (1969)

Roberto Lecaros, 77, Chilean jazz musician and composer, on April 29

Tarsame ‘Johnny Zee/Taz’ Singh Saini, 54, Asian-British singer of Stereo Nation, on April 29
Johnny Zee – Hoon Ta Main Nachchna (1989)

Allen Blairman, 81, jazz drummer, on April 29
Allen Blairman – Till You See The Sun Shining Bright (Keep On Moving’ Baby) (2016)

Gabe Serbian, 45, hardcore punk drummer and guitarist, on June 30

Naomi Judd, 76, half of country duo The Judds and songwriter, on April 30
The Judds – Love Is Alive (1985)
The Judds – Change Of Heart (1988, also as writer)
The Judds – Love Can Build A Bridge (1990, also as co-writer)

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