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In Memoriam – December 2014 – Part 1

December 15th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

In Memoriam - December 2014I will be unable to post a complete In Memoriam for December until late in January. But the Grim Reaper has wreaked havoc in the first half of this month (five listed deaths on December 3 alone!), so the first half of the month will be covered now; the second half, hopefully less lethal, will go with the January round-up.

As December began, the Rolling Stones received a double shock with the deaths first of long-time saxophonist Bobby Keys, and next day of ex-Small Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, who also recorded with them. McLagan played on the 1978 hit Miss You, but the saxophone is played not by Keys but by Mel Collins.

With Ian McLagan”s death, only one of the Small Faces is still alive; drummer Kenney Jones is the last man standing. McLagan was active in the music industry till the end, most lately playing on Lucinda Williams” new album. In the interim he appeared on albums by old Faces pals like Rod Stewart (starting with Gasoline Alley) and Ronnie Wood, as well as on albums by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and John Mayer.

Adding to the overlap, Bobby Keys also played for McLagan”s Faces, and on McLagan’s 1979 Troublemaker and 1981 Bump Into The Night albums. Bobby Keys” story is covered by last Monday”s post with a collection of songs he played on.

Quick: how many of the big soul groups of the 1960s or “70s can you think of who can still come together in their classic line-up? With the death of Sonny Bivins of The Manhattans on December 3 and Winfred “Blue” Lovett a week later (FFS, The Grim Reaper, FFS!), I can think only of The Stylistics and Sly & the Family Stone.  Between them, Bivins and Lovett were responsible for two of the band”s greatest hits: the former wrote There”s No Me Without You, Lovett wrote Kiss And Say Goodbye (his is the spoken intro), which was originally intended for Glen Campbell. The featured song It’s That Time Of Year is a seasonal Christmas offering.

A few weeks before her sudden death at 35, the hugely talented South African singer Lulu Dikana had supported John Legend on his tour of her country. Dikana”s death must have been hard on her 15-year-old son, but spare a thought also for her sister, Zonke Dikana, perhaps the bigger star in South Africa: last year her older sister died, now her other sister. Their father, Viva Dikana, was a well-known drummer. He died in 2009.

Few deaths can be more satisfying for a performer than to die on stage. So it was for 60-year-old Italian singer Giuseppe “˜Pino” Mango, widely known only by his surname. On December 7 he was on stage in the southern Italian town of Policoro when he sang the opening bars of his 1984 hit Oro. Suddenly he raised his arm, said “excuse me” and collapsed. He died of a heart attack shortly after in hospital. The next day his 75-year-old brother Giovanni died as well.


Bobby Keys, 70, rock saxophonist , on Dec. 2
The Rolling Stones – Live With Me (1969)
The Jim Carroll Band – City Drops Into The Night (1980)
Sheryl Crow – There Goes The Neighborhood (2003)

Ian McLagan, 69, keyboardist of the Small Faces, on Dec. 3
Small Faces – Sorry She’s Mine (1966)
Rolling Stones – Miss You (1978)
Ian McLagan – La De La (1979)

Sonny Bivins, 78, singer with The Manhattans, on Dec. 3
The Manhattans – It’s That Time Of Year (1966)
The Manhattans – It’s Gonna Take A Lot To Bring Me Back (1970)
The Manhattans – There’s No Me Without You (1973, also as writer)

Graeme Godall, 82, co-founder of Island Records, on Dec. 3

Lulu Dikana, 35, South African soul singer, on December 3
Lulu Dikana – Falling Deeper (2014)

Paul Ferrara, 76, jazz drummer, on Dec. 3
Louis Prima – Felicia No Capicia (1959, on drums)

Nick Talbot aka Gravenhurst, 37, British singer-songwriter and writer, announced on Dec. 4

Bob Montgomery, 77, songwriter, on Dec. 4
Buddy Holly ““ Heartbeat (1958, as writer)
Eddy Arnold – Misty Blue (1967, as writer)

Brian Goble, 57, member of Canadian punk band Subhumans, on Dec. 7

Mango, 60, Italian singer-songwriter and musician, on Dec. 7
Mango ““ Oro (1984)

Earl Hayes, 34, American rapper, suicide on Dec. 8

Sheila  Stewart, 77, Scottish singer and author, on Dec. 9

Winfred “˜Blue” Lovett, 74, bass singer of The Manhattans, on Dec. 10
The Manhattans – Kiss And Say Goodbye (1976)
The Manhattans ““ Hurt (1976)

Dawn Sears, 53, country singer, on Dec. 11
Dawn Sears – Close Up The Honky Tonks (1994)

John Hampton, 61, engineer and producer (White Stripes, Gin Blossoms), on Dec. 12


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  1. halfhearteddude
    December 15th, 2014 at 08:29 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. December 15th, 2014 at 18:09 | #2

    I’m glad the grim reaper gave you a heads up about this month. Bloody hell he’s been busy.

  3. dogbreath
    December 16th, 2014 at 12:43 | #3

    Many thanks for part one of December’s “grim reapings” and, without wishing to sound too morbid, I look forward to part two later. I echo your hopes for a shorter list over the next two weeks – still reeling from the all too sudden loss of Bobby Keys and Ian McLagan. Happy Holidays!

  4. Carlos
    December 16th, 2014 at 21:56 | #4

    Tks a lot once again for your big and good efforts!

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