Archive for February, 2023

Any Major George Harrison Songbook

February 23rd, 2023 9 comments


On 25 February we mark the 80th anniversary of the birth of George Harrison. That deserves a Songbook mix.

I won’t be the first person ever to marvel at the circumstance that George Harrison was only the third-best songwriter in The Beatles. That’s the man who wrote the best songs on The Beatles’ perhaps best album, Something and Here Comes The Sun (a time when the other two struggled to finish their songs).

George was perhaps the most innovative of the three innovators, even though some of these innovations I could do without [you within you].

He was the first Beatle to release a solo album, and the first have a solo UK #1 hit, in January 1971 with My Sweet Lord (I’ve discussed before what I think of the plagiarism charges brought by the publishing company who owned the rights to He’s So Fine), and the first to release a bona fide classic album, the three-LP set All Things Must Pass. And George sort of invented charity concert festivals. I wonder whether Geldof thought to invite him to appear at Live Aid…

And George was the first Beatle to die of natural sources (if we discount Stu Sutcliffe, of course), though he almost became the second Beatle to be murdered, when in 1999 he was stabbed 40 times by an intruder. By then George was already battling throat cancer, which had been diagnosed in 1997. Fucking cigarettes! He died on 29 November 2001, at the age of only 58.

Harrison’s solo career after All Things Must Pass isn’t always appreciated. McCartney produced more hits (and Ringo as many UK Top 10 hits as George); Lennon created more material for discussion. George produced a couple of stinkers (Going Troppo!), and after All Things Must Pass no real classics, so it is indeed easy to overlook his solo career. But that would be to ignore some excellent music, as the Beatles Reunited series might have shown. Only seven of the tracks here were originally Beatles releases.

Something that struck me as I compiled this Songbook was that Harrison’s solo stuff is more accessible to interpretation in cover versions than that by Paul McCartney, whose post-Beatles Songbook I ran last year. Remarkably, George’s material adapts well to soul music — not surprisingly, given that the first version of My Sweet Lord was recorded by Billy Preston. It sounds more like the Edwin Hawkins Singers rip-off Harrison had intended to be than a Chiffons number. Fittingly, the cover here falls within the soul-gospel genre.

A few Harrison compositions here were not recorded by him. He co-wrote Cream’s Badge with Clapton (the title is Clapton’s misreading of Harrison’s handwritten word “Bridge”), and played rhythm guitar on the recording. It seems fitting that George’s close friend Clapton should appear twice on this mix, with Badge and his quite lovely recording of Love Comes To Everyone, a song that appeared originally on George’s self-titled 1979 album (the one with the wonderful Blow Away, for which no good cover seems to exist). The men shared their music and their loves…

Harrison also co-wrote Ringo Starr’s big hit Photograph, writing the gorgeous melody and helping Ringo with the lyrics. It was his first writing credit with Starr, though Harrison had also contributed, uncredited, to the Ringo hits It Don’t Come Easy and Back Off Boogaloo. The recording of the hit version of Photograph (an earlier Harrison-produced take was discarded) featured George on 12-string acoustic guitar, plus Nicky Hopkins on piano, Klaus Voormann on bass and Jim Keltner on drums — all of whom were playing at the time on the recording of Harrison’s Living In The Material World LP — with a saxophone solo by Bobby Keys. Jim Keltner and Bobby Keys have both been subject of Any Major Collections.

Sour Milk Sea was written specifically as a debut single for Apple Records signing Jackie Lomax. George wrote it in 1968 during his Maharishi phase, and the lyrics promote transcendental meditation. The song was in the running for the White Album, and The Beatles recorded a demo of it. In the end it was given to Lomax, with three Beatles playing on it (Lennon took the day off, presumably) and Eric Clapton and Nicky Hopkins chipping in on the Harrison production. Alas, the single flopped.

The mix ends with another Maharishi-inspired track and White Album contender. Circles was demoed by The Beatles at Harrison’s Esher home in 1968. Harrison eventually re-recorded it for 1982’s Gone Troppo album.

As ever: CD-R length, home-meditated covers, and the above text in PDF format included. Password in comments.

1. George Harrison – Dark Horse (Live) (1991)
2. Olivia Newton-John – What Is Life (1972)
3. Ringo Starr – Photograph (1973)
4. The Lambrettas – I Want To Tell You (1981)
5. Nick Heyward – If I Needed Someone (1996)
6. Ocean Colour Scene – Wah Wah (2005)
7. Eric Clapton – Love Comes To Everyone (2005)
8. Kenny Lattimore – While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1998)
9. Billy Preston – All Things Must Pass (1970)
10. The Three Degrees – Isn’t It A Pity (1972)
11. Richie Havens – Here Comes The Sun (1971)
12. Bobby Womack – Something (1970)
13. Ralfi Pagan – I’d Have You Anytime (1973)
14. John Gary Williams – My Sweet Lord (1972)
15. Cream – Badge (1969)
16. Loose Ends – Tax Man (1966)
17. Jackie Lomax – Sour Milk Sea (1969)
18. David Bowie – Try Some, Buy Some (2003)
19. Low – Long Long Long (1998)
20. Leon Russell – Beware Of Darkness (1971)
21. The Beatles – Circles (1968)
22. Tony Bennett – Give Me Love, Give Me Peace (1973)


Previous Songbooks:
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 1
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 2
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 1
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Lamont Dozier
Laura Nyro
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Paul McCartney Vol. 2
Rod Temperton
Steely Dan

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Bacharach & David Songbook Vol. 2

February 14th, 2023 15 comments


The 1960s had a generation of songwriters which in its breadth and quality is ummatched.

Jimmy Webb, Bob Dylan, Lennon & McCartney, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon, King & Goffin and the rest of the Brill Building scene, Holland/Dozier/Holland and Smokey Robinson and the rest of the Motown crew, Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Curtis Mayfield, Hayes & Porter, Ray Davies, the evil John Phillips, Bert Berns, Crewe & Gaudio, James Brown, Sly Stone, Neil Diamond, Lee Hazlewood, Shadow Morton, Jagger & Richards, Stephen Stills, Van Morrison, and God knows whom I have forgotten and whose name you’ve just shouted out, unable to understand their inexplicable omission.

I don’t think it is remotely possible to name a “greatest” from that lot, but Burt Bacharach was a towering figure in that collection of genius songsmiths. His collaborations with Hal David, which comprises almost all of Burt’s 1960s prime, are near the level of Cole Porter, who perhaps was the greatest songwriter of all time (of course, Porter did music & lyrics himself).

Many of these songwriters and tunesmiths have already left us, some may follow soon. Burt Bacharach followed Hal David to the great recording studio in the sky last week. So this mix — a long overdue Vol. 2 to the Bacharach/David Songbook I posted in 2017 —  is by way of tribute to this giant in popular music. A third Bacharach/David mix will follow later in the year; it will include some songs that didn’t make it on this collection, and a few versions of songs that did.

Long-time readers of this blog will recall that I have previously put up three Bacharach Songbooks:
The Bacharach/David Songbook Vol. 1
Bacharach: The Lesser Known Songbook
Covered With Soul: Bacharach/David Edition
Any Major Originals: Bacharach Edition

As ever, this mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-trumpeted covers.

1. Gwen Guthrie – (They Long To Be) Close To You (1986)
2. Robin McKelle & The FlyTones – Walk On By (2013)
3. Jennifer Warnes – Don’t Make Me Over (1979)
4. Luther Vandross – A House Is Not A Home (1980)
5. James Brown – What The World Needs Now Is Love (1976)
6. Lyn Collins – Reach Out For Me (1972)
7. Jimmy Ruffin – Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (1970)
8. The Dells – I Just Dont Know What To Do With Myself (1972)
9. Barbara Acklin – The Look Of Love (1969)
10. Dionne Warwick – I Say A Little Prayer (1967)
11. Dusty Springfield – TwentyFour Hours From Tulsa (1964)
12. Nancy Sinatra – Wishin’ And Hopin’ (1966)
13. Dee Dee Warwick – Alfie (1969)
14. Jackie Trent – Make It Easy On Yourself (1969)
15. Bobbie Gentry – I’ll Never Fall In Love Again (1969)
16. The Fifth Dimension – One Less Bell To Answer (1970)
17. Gabor Szabo & Lena Horne – A Message To Michael (1970)
18. Pretenders – The Windows Of The World (1988)
19. Neil Diamond – Do You Know The Way To San José (1993)
20. Rumer – You’ll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart) (2016)
21. Ronald Isley & Burt Bacharach – In Between The Heartaches (2003)
22. Bob Marley and The Wailers – What’s New Pussycat (1965)


Previous Songbooks:
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 1
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Lamont Dozier
Laura Nyro
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Paul McCartney Vol. 2
Rod Temperton
Steely Dan

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Any Major Forever Love

February 9th, 2023 10 comments

This year for me will be one of weddings. Not my own, of course. Any Major Dudette and I have been married for more than half our lives now. As Orleans say in their song, we’re still having fun and she’s still the one. But three young couples in our family and circle of friends will marry this year.

The Dudette and I will celebrate one of those milestone anniversaries this year, and as we are attending those three weddings, we hope that when those couples will in the future mark their milestone anniversaries, they shall feel about their marriage the way The Dudette and I feel about ours.

Sure enough, all those years have not been without problems, but even when it approached the verge of the abyss, we came back from it — and stronger! Are there things I’d change about The Dudette, or she about me? Of course, but none of that darkens our love and — this is, I think, the key to a good marriage — our friendship. The Dudette is my best friend, just as John Deacon of Queen wrote about his wife Veronica (in happy news, John and Veronica are still together, having just recently celebrated 48 years of marriage).

So this mix is intended to reflect long-time love, not the first flushes of romance with its attendant physical attraction — though the physical attraction may last the course — but the romance of having grown together, fused by love and time, having become one. These songs address these dynamics in different ways. Some specifically address having been together for a long time, others can apply also to younger love. All featured songs, I think, tell the story of love that has grown to be strong and lasting.

If you are among the fortunates to have that kind of relationship, you might play this mix for your loved one, maybe on Valentine’s Day. Or play just those songs that resonate with you, of course.

And if you are not among those privileged people — because life didn’t work out that way or because you are still seeking it — I hope you might simply enjoy the music. If you like your love music a little more disappointing, you might like Any Major Unrequited Love or Any Major Impossible Love.

This mix is a companion to the Any Major Love mix which I posted in 2015, also just before Valentine’s Day (like the other love mixes, it’s still up). One track from that mix is recycled here, but in a live version: Neil Young’s Harvest Moon. It’s a song I’d love to play for Any Major Dudette as I hold her close and look in her eyes. If only she liked it… The version here is from a live performance at the Ryman Theater in LA; the swishing percussion beat you hear is created by… a broom! And Glen Campbell song here covers the track that closed Any Major Love.

There are other tracks on Any Major Love that might have suited this Forever Love mix well. Let’s Stay Together, of course, or Ben Fold’s The Luckiest, which I nearly recycled as well, but include here in a live version as a bonus track.

And a different companion compilation: Any Major Babymaking Music Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-cuddled covers and the above text in PDF. PW in comments.

1. The Presidents – 5-10 15-20 (25-30 Years of Love) (1971)
2. Blood, Sweat & Tears – You’ve Made Me So Very Happy (1968)
3. Queen – You’re My Best Friend (1975)
4. Orleans – Still The One (1976)
5. Keith Whitley – When You Say Nothing At All (1988)
6. Neil Young – Harvest Moon (live) (2005)
7. Glen Campbell – Grow Old With Me (2008)
8. John Legend – All Of Me (2013)
9. Al Jarreau – We’re In This Love Together (1981)
10. Minnie Riperton – Simple Things (1975)
11. O.C. Smith – Friend Lover Woman Wife (1969)
12. Andre de Villiers – Memories (1999)
13. Brandi Carlile – The Story (2007)
14. Kacy Crowley – Kind Of Perfect (2004)
15. The Cure – Love Song (1989)
16. Modern English – I Melt With You (1990)
17. Cowboy Junkies – Anniversary Song (1993)
18. Jack Johnson – Do You Remember (2005)
19. Dan Seals – One Friend (1987)
20. Collin Raye – In This Life (1992)
21. Alan Jackson – I’d Love You All Over Again (1989)
22. Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt & Dolly Parton – When We’re Gone, Long Gone (1999)
Bonus Tracks:
Eastmountainsouth – So Are You To Me (2003)
Ben Folds – The Luckiest (live) (2002)


Previously in Any Major Love:
Any Major Love
Any Major Love in Black & White
Any Major Unrequited Love
Any Major Impossible Love

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In Memoriam – January 2023

February 2nd, 2023 7 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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