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In Memoriam Vol. 3

January 1st, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Darren of the Inveresk Street blog rightly pointed out that most of the musicians who died in 2009 featured in the two previous posts lived to a ripe age. As every year, there were exceptions. Poor Taylor Mitchell, for example, was only 19 and had just released her debut album when she was attacked and killed by coyotes. Others who died young in 2009 included Jeff Hanson (31), Steven Gately (33), guitarist Jack Rose (38), Chris Feinstein of The Cardinals (42), Vic Chesnutt (45), Jay Bennett (45) and, of course, Michael Jackson (50) (EDIT: as well as former Nick Cave sideman Rowland S. Howard on December 30). Granted, it”s not a death epidemic of 1970/71 proportions. I”ve tried to pay tribute to a few forgotten people in pop, including session musicians of whom we may know nothing but whose work we know well. What would When A Man Loves A Woman be without Barry Beckett’s keyboard, and Motown without the Funk Brothers, whose drummer Uriel Jones died in 2009?

* * *

Barry “˜The Bear” Beckett, 66, soul keyboard player, producer and A&R man, on June 10
(Percy Sledge ““ When A Man Loves A Woman)

Jeff Wingfield, 69, briefly lead guitarist of The Left Banke, on June 11
(The Left Banke – She May Call You Up Tonight)

Bobby Graham, 69, British session drummer who appeared on classics such as The Kinks” You Really Got Me, Petula Clark”s Downtown and the song featured here, on September 14
(Dusty Springfield – I Only Want To Be With You)

Larry Knechtel, 69, guitarist and keyboard player of Bread (the guitar solo on Guitar Man is his) who as a session man collaborated with Phil Spector on the Wall of Sound productions and played the piano on Simon & Garfunkel”s Bridge Over Troubled Water, August 20
(Bread – The Guitar Man)

Vic Chesnutt, 45, singer-songwriter, on December 25
(Vic Chesnutt – You Are Never Alone)

Tim Hart, 61, singer with folk-rockers Steeleye Span, on December 24
(Steeleye Span – John Barleycorn)

James Gurley, 70, guitarist of Big Brother & the Holding Company and Janis Joplin”s ex-lover, on December 20
(Big Brother & the Holding Company – Combination Of The Two)

Mick Cocks, guitarist with Rose Tattoo (and the fourth member of the group to die since 2006), on December 22
(Rose Tattoo ““ Fightin” Sons)

Kelly Groucutt, 63, bassist of the Electric Light Orchestra whose backing vocals can be heard on the featured track, on February 19
(ELO – The Diary Of Horace Wimp)

Stephen Gately, 33, singer and former member of Boyzone, on October 10
(Stephen Gately – New Beginning)

Hank Crawford, 74, jazz and R&B saxophone player, on January 29
(Hank Crawford ““ Wildflower)

Dan Seals, 67, half of cumbersomely named soft rock duo England Dan & John Ford Coley, on March 25
(England Dan & John Ford Coley – Some Things Don’t Come Easy)

Winston Mankunku Ngozi, 66, South African jazz master, on October 22
(Winston Mankunku Ngozi – Lagunya Khayelitsha)

Louie Bellson, 84, legendary jazz drummer, on February 14
(Louie Bellson – Hot)

Les Paul, 94, guitar inventor and virtuoso, on August 13
(Les Paul – Meet Mister Callaghan)

Yvonne King, 89, of the King Sisters (not the King Singers!), on December 13
(The King Sisters – Sweet Leilani)

Soupy Sales, 83, comedian, on October 22
(Soupy Sales – My Baby’s Got A Crush On Frankenstein)

Jimmy Boyd, 70, juvenile star of the 1950s who sang the original of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, on March 7
(Frankie Laine & Jimmy Boyd – Tell Me A Story)

Duke D’Mond, 66, singer with English comedy troupe The Barron Knights, on April 9
(The Barron Knights – A Taste Of Aggro)

Renato Plagiari, 66, half of the one-hit wonders Renée & Renato and the voice of the UK”s late “70s Just One Cornetto commercial, on July 27
(Ren̩e & Renato РSave Your Love)

Maurice Jarre, 84, film composer, on March 29
(Maurice Jarre – Doctor Zhivago Theme)




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  1. bubba
    January 1st, 2010 at 10:27 | #1

    Like I mentioned in my comment for In Memoriam Vol 2, Aussie guitar player Rowland S. Howard passed away the other day. He played with Nick Cave and Cramps(?) and has released solo albums.

    And Vic Chesnutt spelled his name with one “S”, not Chessnutt … but I’ve seen it spelled ChesTnutt … please show the dead respect.

  2. January 1st, 2010 at 11:07 | #2

    Thanks for the correction, but not for your pompous conclusion, bubba. I do think that spending a fair amount of time listing 60-odd musicians and compiling their music in tribute over three mixes indicates that I am showing the dead some respect.

  3. January 1st, 2010 at 17:08 | #3

    once again a nice post .. thank you

  4. side3
    January 1st, 2010 at 20:03 | #4

    The amount of cool records Larry Knechtel played on is amazing…bass of The Byrds’ “Mr Tambourine Man”? “Pet Sounds”? ….


  5. dickvandyke
    January 1st, 2010 at 22:03 | #5

    Never has the phrase ‘The Soundtrack to Our Lives’ been more apt when listening to your exceptional In Memoriam series.

    A fitting tribute to many and so well put together.

    Thank you.

    May they rest in peace

  6. Liz P
    January 2nd, 2010 at 02:15 | #6

    Nicely done, Dude. That’s quite the collection you’ve put together. Thanks for that. :)

  7. jb
    January 2nd, 2010 at 02:45 | #7

    This has been an excellent series. I always miss a few each year because they happen when I’m on vacation or just not paying attention (in 2009 it was Hank Crawford and Jimmy Boyd), and it’s good to be reminded.

    Happy New Year to you and yours from me and mine.

  8. whiteray
    January 2nd, 2010 at 03:24 | #8

    I usually miss some, too. Maurice Jarre? Damn.

  9. Rhod
    January 2nd, 2010 at 23:10 | #9

    Great finish to a great series, time and effort well spent



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