REMEMBERING…

ROCK AND ROLL ARTISTS’ ‘ SO

LONG FOR NOW’ BUT NOT

‘GOOD-BYE’

 

Just after we talked about the great Herb Reed, fabulous bass player and founding member of the Platters (in previous post) we came upon too long a list of other rock and roll greats and important people who have recently left us. Most of the basic information comes to us from the excellent ‘Cashbox Canada’. Using this as a basis, our goal here  is to add to the reviews with music and videos in our effort to help keep these artists alive. Lucky for us, music lives on through the magic media of records, CDs, radio and now video. So, just think of these artists as on tour and enjoy the marvelous sounds they have left us until we see them again. Check back early and often to ‘Remembering’ page above for recent updates.

But first, let’s look back at a couple of artists, not know as rock and roll artists as  much as fine actors who made that common  plunge into rock and rol for a record or twol, first Lori Martin, of National Velvet fame (TV 1960-62) and Don Grady of My Three Sons 

written by Don Brady

 

 

Ravi Shankar Dies at 92

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 12/14/2012 – 00:29

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Submitted by Don Graham

Ravi Shankar, musician, composer and India’s best-known contemporary musician passed away this week in San Diego California. These days, Shankar is perhaps best known as the father of singing star Norah Jones but in the 1960’s, he was responsible for bringing Eastern music to the West through his relationship with the Beatles and George Harrison. He brought the mystical sound to the Liverpool band’s Sgt. Pepper album with Harrison playing a sitar on “Within You, Without You. “ Stunning performances at Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock Festival  in 1969 cemented Shankar’s place in Western musical history and allowed him to become an ambassador of Eastern wisdom to a generation that was searching for new values. Brian Jones used a sitar on the Rolling Stones classic “Paint It Black.”

The sitar is a remarkable instrument, intricately made and has a unique and ethereal sound. I actually saw one in the 60’s when guitar player and producer Bill Hill of Chestnut Tree Productions acquired one in a swap with a fan. “ I was playing  with a Fender Showman with 2 15” JBL speakers when a fan came to me and asked if I wanted to buy a sitar. His dad was in the merchant navy and had brought it back from India. I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy it but he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He offered me the sitar for one of my 15” JBLs. At the the end of the gig I extracted the speaker and made the trade. Beautiful instrument, real ivory, gorgeous wood and ambient sound.”

 

Jenni Rivera Dies in Small Plane Crash

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 12/14/2012 – 00:15

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Mexican superstar Jenni Rivera was killed in a plane crash in the early morning hours of December 10th. She was 43 years old. Four other passengers and two pilots were also aboard the plane.

There were no survivors. The flight was headed from Monterrey to Toluca, after Rivera performed in Monterrey on Saturday night. Mexico’s transportation ministry says the plane lost contact with radar at 3:15 AM, not far from  Monterrey, Mexico.

“There is nothing recognizable, neither material nor human” in the wreckage found in the state of Nuevo Leon, Ruiz Esparza said. The impact was so powerful that the remains of the plane “are scattered over an area of 250 to 300 meters. It is almost unrecognizable.”

A California driver’s license with Rivera’s name and picture was found amidst the crash site debris.

No immediate cause was given for the plane’s crash. The wreckage was found near the town of Iturbide in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Oriental, where the terrain is very rough.

Born in Long Beach, California, Rivera was at the top of her career and was perhaps the most successful female singer in grupero, a male-dominated regional style influenced by the norteno, cumbia and ranchero styles.

 

Former Host Tom Kelly of Singalong Jubilee Passes Away

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 12/07/2012 – 10:21

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Submitted by Mel Shaw

Tom Kelly, singer/songwriter, passed away after a heart attack on November 25th in his  home town of Burlington, Ontario  and Canada has lost another marvelous soul of music. His passing silences another voice of reason and compassion for others.

Tom was a writer of songs all his life. He had recently finished creating material for a new project he called, Legacy. From his explanations of the songs and spoken word narratives I know his creativity was alive and well.

Tom was quiet, thoughtful and compassionate. His relaxed personality was known by many friends and music industry acquaintances.

The general public never had that three minute song to identify his career nor did he have a major music happening to make him and his songs a household name. Tom didn’t mind. He was all about the words and a melody to lift the spirits of those who were listening.

One highlight he fondly recalled was back awhile, when It looked like Tom was on his way to national fame’  He  took over the hosting of Singalong Jubilee on the CBC in Halifax. He was stepping into the studio spotlight of the program that the legendary host and singer, Bill Langstroth, had built by introducing the magic Maritime music to the nation.

 

Dave Brubeck Dies One Day Short of his 92nd Birthday

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 12/07/2012 – 10:11

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Jazz great Dave Brubeck has died at the age of 91of heart failure while on his way to a cardiology appointment. He was with his son, Darius on the way to appointment when his son noticed something not right. He dialed 911 and was met at the hospital by medical staff. Brubeck’s career spanned from World War II to the present. He formed the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951 and was the first jazz musician to make the cover of Time Magazine in 1954.

His best known album “Time Out” was released in 1959 and was the first ever jazz album to sell a million copies and is still selling today. The opening track “Blue Rondo ala Turk” is classic Brubeck. Based loosely on Mozart’s “Blue Rondo” it starts in 9/8 time. The piano and saxophone piece eventually intercuts between Brubeck’s piano and the more common 4/4 jazz rhythm. The album also featured Brubeck’s signature tune “Take Five”, in 5/4 time that actually charted as a single in 1961.

In 2009 he was still touring at age 88 and later in that year was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honour, The Kennedy Center Honors are awarded annually for exemplary lifetime achievement in the performing arts. Brubeck and his wife Iola had 5 sons and a daughter and 4 of his boys Chris on bass and trombone, Dan on drums Matthew on cello and Datius on keyboards played with the London Symphony in a December 2009 birthday tribute to Brubeck.

 

DoWop Singer Earl ‘Speedo’ Carroll Passes On

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 11/30/2012 – 09:55

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Earl Carroll the lead singer of the do-wop group The Cadillacs  died on Nov. 25 of a stroke and diabetes at a New York nursing home. He was 75 years old.
In a 1994 interview via The Daily News in New York Carroll explained how he got his nickname. “I always liked to take my time, do things at my own pace,” he said. “Since I was a kid, the other guys would be telling me, ‘C’mon, hurry up, Speedy.’
Carroll was the lead singer on the 1955 hit by the Cadillacs “Speedo” which was titled after his nickname. Carroll went on to join The Coasters but left them in 1990 to reform The Cadillacs.
In the 1990s, Carroll  made a new life for himself as a custodian at a New York public school. The children called Earl “Speedo” and he was later the subject of a children’s book, That’s Our Custodian by Ann Morris. He left the school job in 2005 and continued to sing with The Cadillacs until his health forced him to quit.
He was a big part of the PBS series honoring Doo Wop, hosted by Jerry Butler.

 

Major Harris of The Delfonics Passed Away From Heart Entertainment

Submitted by cashbox on Thu, 11/15/2012 – 20:40

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Major Harris, a former member of the “Philadelphia sound” soul group the Delfonics and singer of the 1975 hit “Love Won’t Let Me Wait,” has died in Richmond. He was 65. His sister, Catherine Thomas, told the Associated Press that Harris passed away Friday morning from congestive heart and lung failure after being rushed to a hospital.

The Richmond native was born Feb. 9, 1947, and grew up in a musical family. His father was a guitarist and his mother led the church choir, Thomas said. In his teens, Harris was tall for his age and was able to get into clubs to watch musicians perform, she said.

“He always appeared to be older, which gave him a lot of ins to a lot of older places,” Thomas joked. She said he didn’t drink in the clubs back then, but he was pursuing his career. Music, she said, “was his life.”

Harris made the rounds with several music groups in the 1960s, including the Charmers, Frankie Lymon’s Teenagers and Nat Turner’s Rebellion. He then joined the Delfonics in the early 1970s, replacing Randy Cain in the group.

R.B. Greaves (Take A Letter Maria) Dies of Cancer

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 10/12/2012 – 12:54

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Submitted by Sandy Graham
R. B. Greaves, a pop singer whose “Take a Letter, Maria” was a 1969 hit, has died in Los Angeles. He was 68 and was the nephew of the legendary R&B singer, Sam Cooke. Greaves died of prostate cancer on Sept. 27 at his home, said Craig Harvey, Los Angeles County coroner’s chief of operations.
Ronald Bertram Aloysius Greaves III, was born on 28 November 1944, on a U.S. Air Force Base in Georgetown, (the former British) Guyana.Living in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, he recorded several soul singles as Sonny Childe, but it was after moving to the United States that he scored his biggest hit as R.B. Greaves and the hit ‘Take A Letter Maria.”
There are many other songs about infidelity hitting the top of the charts with “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel in 1968; “Me And Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul in 1972; “Torn Between Two Lovers” by Mary MacGregor in 1977, and a personal favourite of mine, the hauntingly beautiful duet of Jose Feliciano and Gloria Estefan and ‘Tengo Que Decirte Algo’ where a wife confesses her affair, and her husband lovingly forgives her.

 

Raylene Rankin God Speed and Fare Thee Well Love

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 10/05/2012 – 13:53

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Submitted by Don Graham

Raylene Rankin, a member of the internationally acclaimed Canadian Celtic-country band The Rankin Family, has died after a long fight with cancer at the young age of 52.

Rankin and her four siblings — John Morris, Jimmy, Cookie and Heather — formed the group more than 20 years ago and are credited with taking Cape Breton Celtic music to the mainstream. It’s a sad loss for a family that has already endured so much tragedy. In 2000 John Morris died when the truck he was driving to a hockey game plunged into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Sister Geraldine passed away in 2007.

Rankin had three bouts of cancer. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, it returned again in 2009. In 2011, she was told the cancer had spread to her liver and she immediately began aggressive chemotherapy.

The Rankin Family performed together for 10 years, during which time they sold more than two million records, won six Juno awards, three Canadian Country Music Awards and 15 East Coast Music Awards.In 1999, members of the group went their separate ways to pursue different personal and creative paths.

God speed and fare thee well Raylene Rankin, you will be missed.

Kathi Macdonald A Singer’s Singer Passes On

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 10/05/2012 – 13:42

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Submitted by Don Graham
As a singer, it’s always nice to get the call to sing on someone’s album. Kathi Macdonald got that call many times from rock legends like The Rolling Stones, Leon Russell, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Long John Baldry, Nils Lofgren, Delaney and Bonnie, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge and Ike and Tina Turner. That’s how respected she was and proves the value and talent attributed to the power of Kathi’s voice.  Her soulful, passionate vocals and her phrasing, great timing and tone are good reasons her vocals are such an important part of so many hit records.
Born in Anacortes in Washington State in 1948 and living in Seattle, Macdonald performed professionally for the first time when she was 12 years old. Kathi recalls her parents (after coming home from a night at the local Elks club) waking her up and having her sing from her crib. The first song she fully learned was “Goodnight Irene” by Huddie Leadbetter and at age 2 she would sing all 5 verses from her crib. She was used to late night singing at a very young age.
At 19 years old she moved to San Francisco and joined Ike and Tina Turner as an Ikette. She then did some work with Big Brother & the Holding Company, post Janis Joplin. In 1972 she recorded “Insane Asylum” for Capitol Records. The album was Co-Produced by David Briggs and Pete Sears. Sears was also musical arranger and played keyboards and bass, as well as writing several of the album’s songs with Kathi.

Andy Williams His Talent Was Wider Than a Mile – Now Crossing in Style

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 09/28/2012 – 11:07

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Submitted by Sandy Graham
On Friday, November 4, 2011, it was reported in the press that American crooner Andy Williams had been diagnosed with bladder cancer. The singer confirmed the news during an appearance that weekend at his Moon River Theater in Branson. He traveled to Houston, Texas for chemotherapy treatments and then moved with his wife, Debbie, to Malibu, California, to be closer to cancer specialists in the Los Angeles area.
On July 19, 2012, Williams’ theater announced that Andy Williams had returned to Branson following cancer treatment and was “in good spirits and getting stronger every day” and had hoped to take the stage as scheduled in September. However, on September 25, 2012, Williams died at the age of 84, having suffered from bladder cancer for a year.
I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Andy Williams in the late 1970’s and one of his greatest characteristics, besides the amazing voice, was his wicked sense of humour. At one show at Hamilton Place in Ontario, he came out to a rousing round of applause, then stopped in his tracks, turned his back on the audience, pretended to do up his fly, then did an about face and said ‘okay that’s a bit better!’. The same slapstick humour prevailed when he would come out after intermission with the then popular Kodak Instamatic camera and say, ‘you are such a great audience I want to take a picture of you all!’ Then he would hesitate for a second and say ‘ I can’t seem to get you all in the photo. Can you sit just a little bit closer together?’. Perfect delivery.

 

 

Sam (Sniderman) the Record Man Passes away in Toronto

Submitted by cashbox on Mon, 09/24/2012 – 08:32

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Submitted by Joanne Smale on behalf of the Sniderman Family.

Iconic Canadian record retailer, Sam Sniderman, passed away peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by loved ones, in Toronto on Sunday September 23. He was 92.

Known widely as Sam the Record Man, Mr. Sniderman joined his brother, Sid, in a small retail store on College Street in Toronto in 1937 – Sniderman Radio Sales and Service. Together they built a chain of Sam the Record Man stores that literally spanned the country.

“Sam was the last of the great Canadian showmen that were able to establish themselves as household names purely through the force of their personality”, said Brian Robertson, a close family friend and Chairman Emeritus of the Canadian Recording Industry Association.  “He was a mentor to literally hundreds of Canadian artists and musicians and the Yonge Street record store and Sam’s presence there was the centre of the Canadian music industry’s universe for over three decades”.

Sam Sniderman was a Member of the Order of Canada, was an inductee of the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, received the Governor General award and Honourary doctorates from Ryerson University and University of Prince Edward Island.

He is survived by his sons Bobby and Jason, as well as their wives Marlaina and Karen, grandchildren Zachary, Jhase, Cosmo and Echo.

Joe South Don’t It Make You Wanna Go Home?

Submitted by cashbox on Thu, 09/06/2012 – 22:24

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Submitted by Don Graham

Someone asked me just the other day “Who’s your favourite songwriter? Who inspired you as a writer?” Without hesitation I said “Joe South!” And now, few days later came the news that he has passed on. He died at his home in Flowery Branch, Ga., Wednesday morning (Sept 5). He was 72.

In 1958, he recorded his debut single, a novelty tune called “The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor.” In 1959, South wrote a couple of songs which were recorded by rocker Gene Vincent  “I Might Have Known” and “Gone Gone Gone”.

Aside from being a prolific songwriter, South was also a prominent sessionman, playing guitar on Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools”, Tommy Roe’s “Sheila”, Marty Robbins sessions and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde album. Some list South on the electric guitar part that was added to Simon & Garfunkel’s first hit “The Sounds of Silence” although others credit Al Gorgoni and/or Vinnie Bell instead.

R.I.P. John Stockfish Sundown, You Better Take Care

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 08/31/2012 – 14:28

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Submitted by Don Graham

The original bass player for Gordon Lightfoot, who with guitarist Red Shea formed the back up band for the legendary Lightfoot, passed away on Monday, August 20th, 2012 of natural causes. He was 69.

A self-taught musician who also trained at the Royal Conservatory of Music, John began his musical life touring extensively throughout Europe and North America as the bassist for Tommy Danton and the Echoes.

For a few years in the early 60s, he performed as part of the band on the daily CBC Music Hop show hosted by Alex Trebec, and the CTV television music show After Four, backing up the stars of the day like Bobby Curtola.
The highest profile part of his musical career began in 1965 as the bassist for Gordon Lightfoot during the successful United Artists years. John was an integral of the Lightfoot sound during the concert tours and recording sessions, Many times we saw the trio and small coffee houses in Montreal, so close and personal and an amazing sound.

John’s bass line for Sundown Lightfoot’s big record that peaked at number one in 1974 was a big part of the records success and sonic quality.
In 1969, John moved to New York where he lived, recorded, and performed with the late Jim Croce. This included appearances on both the Mike Douglas Show and the Today Show at the beginning of Croce’s career.

Scott McKenzie Passes Away, May he find some “gentle people there”

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 08/24/2012 – 11:12

Scott McKenzie

Submitted by Don Graham

Scott McKenzie of whom producer Lou Adler once said “ He sings like an angel. Scott McKenzie has one of the most beautiful voices to ever have a rock ‘n’ roll hit”  has died at age 73 in Los Angeles, California. He is perhaps best known for his 1967 hit single “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair).” “San Francisco” was written by John Phillips, the leader of the 1960’s group The Mamas and the Papas. But McKenzie sang it and it has stood as an anthem for the 1960s flower power movement for decades.

Phillips and McKenzie, along with Dick Weisman, formed The Journeymen in 60’s, which Phillips left to form the Mama and Papas. McKenzie was originally pegged to be a Papa but declined to pursue a solo career. That cleared the way for Nova Scotian Denny Doherty to join. McKenzie would later replace Doherty in a 90’s version of the group.

Canadian guitarist Bob Cohen of Montreal worked with a version of that band that included Scott McKenzie and remarked what a nice guy he was and said of the signature song “San Francisco”, ” We all know what that song meant to our generation and for years I played it in bars with different singers. The first time Scott McKenzie opened his mouth to sing it while I was on stage with him, the feeling was indescribable.  No one but him could do that song justice.”

Bob Birch, Elton John’s Bass Player Dead at 56

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 08/17/2012 – 01:10

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Bob Birch, a bassist who played with Elton John for 20 years, was found dead this morning of an apparent suicide. The 56-year-old died of what police believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

 Reports that Birch’s body was found around the corner from his home in Los Angeles with a single bullet wound in his head. Elton John’s website confirmed the news with a statement: “We are very sad to report the sudden death today of Bob Birch, Elton’s bass player and backing vocalist, in Los Angeles. Bob had been a member of the Elton John band since 1992, the longest-serving bassist in Elton’s touring band.”

In addition to Sir Elton, the longtime sideman performed and recorded with  a seemingly endless list of star musicians, including Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, Cher, Tina Turner, Sting and the Backstreet Boys. Among his many credits with John, he performed on “Candle in the Wind 97,” the tribute song to Princess Diana.

He is survived by his wife, Michelle, and son, Jonathan.

Marvin Hamlisch: Nobody Did it Better

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 08/10/2012 – 09:19

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Award winning composer Marvin Hamlisch has passed away at the age 68 . He lived in New York but died in Los Angeles, California on Monday August 6th after a brief illness.  Hamlisch was best know for his theatre work but also spent a lot of time on the pop charts. His composition of “Sunshine, Lollipops and Roses”, a huge hit for Leslie Gore in the 60’s and Barbara Streisand’s  “The Way We Were” became a classic love song. “The Way We Were” also won the composer an Oscar. He is one of eleven people to win an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony and one of two to win all three as well as  a  Pulitzer Prize.

Mr. Hamlisch had a long association with Barbara Streisand that began when, at 19, he became a rehearsal pianist for her show “Funny Girl.” He told Current Biography in 1976 that Ms. Streisand was reluctant to record what became the pair’s greatest collaboration, “The Way We Were.” “I had to beg her to sing it,” he said. “She thought it was too simple.” Mr. Hamlisch prevailed, though, and the song became a  # 1 pop single, an Oscar winner and a signature song for Ms. Streisand. They continued to work together across the decades. Mr.Hamlisch was the musical director for her 1994 tour and again found himself accepting an award for his work, this time an Emmy.

Larry Hoppen Lead Singer of Orleans Dies

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 07/27/2012 – 01:03

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Larry Hoppen, “the voice” of 70’s group Orleans has passed away at the age of 61. The Woodstock, New York band’s biggest song was “Still The One” which, with hits like “Dance With Me’ and ‘Love Takes Time”, cemented the band Orleans place in the history of music in the 70’s.

Hoppen formed Orleans in 1972, with John Hall and Wells Kelly. Hoppen’s brother Lance and Jerry Marotta would later join the group, creating the classic-period quintet that released the 1976 album “Waking and Dreaming.”

The band charted three top-20 singles in its lifetime, during which Larry Hoppen, vocalist and guitarist, was always a member. This year the band was celebrating 40 years in the business with concerts in New York and Pennsylvania scheduled for July 27 and July 28. These dates have been cancelled but shows for later in the year will go on as scheduled in Hoppen’s “honour.”

In a posting on Hoppen’s official Facebook page, his wife, Patricia Smith Hoppen, wrote: “For those who don’t already know, Larry passed away yesterday. … For his fans, I am deeply sorry for YOUR loss. I know he will be missed. I will (ask) that my family’s privacy be respected during this horrible time.”

The posting did not cite a cause of death.

Deep Purple Founder Jon Lord Dies at Age 71

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 07/20/2012 – 10:54

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Another page is turned in the story of rock n roll history as we bid goodbye to yet another 60’s icon; Jon Lord, Deep Purple’s co-founder and former keyboard player, has died at age 71.

A BBC Report says that Lord had been in treatment for pancreatic cancer since last August. A statement said he died at the London Clinic on Monday July 16 2012, surrounded by his family.

Lord co-founded Deep Purple in 1968 and co-wrote many of the band’s songs, including “Smoke On The Water.” He played with the metal pioneers until they split in 1976, and again from 1984–2002. Lord played with other bands and musicians throughout his career, including The Artwoods, Whitesnake and Paice as well as Ashton & Lord.


Born in Leicester, England on June 9, 1941, Jon Lord began playing piano at an early age, taking classical music lessons. He received a scholarship to drama school in London at the age of 19, and started his London band career in 1960 with jazz ensemble the Bill Ashton Combo.

Lord also had a career as a composer and has composed various concertos that have been performed by Deep Purple and the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Deep Purple recorded six studio albums and have sold over 150 million units.

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Submitted by Don Graham

The first queen of country music Kitty Wells has gone home. Miss Wells passed away July 16, 2012 at her home in Nashville at age of 92. She surrounded by family and friends.

Her 1952 breakthrough hit “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” catapulted her to fame and paved the way for future female country singers. At that time in country music, female singers weren’t accepted as main stage entertainers and were given a small role as a “guest” and then left the stage to let the male singers carry on with the show. Kitty Wells changed all that and paved the way for Loretta Lynn to break through as a major female country music star.  It’s safe to say that without the pioneering of Kitty Wells the careers of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Reba, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Michelle Wright and right up to Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert would not have been.

“It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”  was the answer song to Hank Thompson’s “ Wild Side of Life”. Wells wasn’t sure about the song but took the offer to record it Owen Bradley’s studio because of the $125 union scale recording payment. “I wasn’t expecting to make a hit,” said Wells later. ” I just thought it was another song.”

In 1976, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame .Wells became the second female country singer to be elected with Patsy Cline being the first to be honoured as a solo act in 1973. In 1991, Wells was presented a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Legendary Funk Brothers bassist Bob Babbitt Dies of Cancer

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 07/20/2012 – 10:41

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

If his name doesn’t seem familiar to you, the thumping bass of dozens of Motown hits was his calling card, putting the funk into the Funk Brothers sound. As a member of the un-credited backing band at Motown Studios from 1966-1972, Bob Babbitt was on numerous hits including Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed Sealed Delivered (I’m Yours), Edwin Starr’s ‘War’, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’  ‘Tears of A Clown’ and ‘Just My Imagination’ (Running Away With Me) by the Temptations, Marvin Gaye’s Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology), Edwin Starr’s War, Gladys Knight & The Pips’ Midnight Train To Georgia and The Capitols’ Cool Jerk to name a few tunes.

Babbit was born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh in 1937. He got his start playing in nightclubs in his hometown, then finally cutting his first Top Ten hit ‘Flamingo Express’ with the Royaltones in 1961. He caught the ear of the legendary Del Shannon, and became his tour mate which led him to finally land in Detroit City.

 

Legendary Funk Brothers bassist Bob Babbitt Dies of Cancer

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 07/20/2012 – 10:40

Bob Babbitt and the Funk Brothers.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

If his name doesn’t seem familiar to you, the thumping bass of dozens of Motown hits was his calling card, putting the funk into the Funk Brothers sound. As a member of the un-credited backing band at Motown Studios from 1966-1972, Bob Babbitt was on numerous hits including Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed Sealed Delivered (I’m Yours), Edwin Starr’s ‘War’, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’  ‘Tears of A Clown’ and ‘Just My Imagination’ (Running Away With Me) by the Temptations, Marvin Gaye’s Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology), Edwin Starr’s War, Gladys Knight & The Pips’ Midnight Train To Georgia and The Capitols’ Cool Jerk to name a few tunes.

Babbit was born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh in 1937. He got his start playing in nightclubs in his hometown, then finally cutting his first Top Ten hit ‘Flamingo Express’ with the Royaltones in 1961. He caught the ear of the legendary Del Shannon, and became his tour mate which led him to finally land in Detroit City.

Don Grady of My Three Sons Had Musical Career

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 06/29/2012 – 00:21

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Don Grady passed away after a long battle with cancer at the age of 68.  Most people associate Don Grady only with his acting credits, which include a period in the late ’50s spent as a Disney Mouseketeer and a long-running stint as Robbie Douglas, the character he played for a dozen years on the television sitcom My Three Sons during the ’60s and early ’70s. But how many  realize that the actor had a musical career both during and after his My Three Sons days ?

Frances Williams Preston Former BMI CEO Dies in Nashville

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 06/15/2012 – 10:35

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Frances Williams Preston, passed away on Wednesday morning of congestive heart failure in Nashville, Tennessee at age 83.

Preston, who worked with top songwriters as president of the royalties company Broadcast Music Inc., BMI, was said to have been the first female executive in the state of Tennessee and was definitely a pioneering female in the music industry.

Preston was president of the New York-based BMI, which collects and distributes royalties to songwriters, from 1986 to 2004. Prior to that, she was head of the company’s office on Music Row in Nashville, where she was born and raised.

During her career, Preston worked with a host of writers and artists including Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings and Tammy Wynette. As BMI president, she oversaw a company that represented Paul Simon, Janet Jackson, Sting and others. Sting and others. Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame member Dick Damron reached at his Alberta home working closely with Preston and had this to say; “ She was always very good to me during my Nashville days! Great lady.”

Preston received the highest Grammy award given to a non-performer, the National Trustees Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1998.

The well respected Preston was a member of the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Bob Welch 1945-2012

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 06/08/2012 – 17:39

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Bob Welch, a former member of Fleetwood Mac of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. He was 66.

Welch was found with a chest wound in his south Nashville home on Thursday, June 7, 2012. Welch apparently had experienced health issues recently. Police said a suicide note was left by Welch.
Bob Welch was a guitarist and vocalist for Fleetwood Mac from 1971 to 1974. He went on to form the group Paris in 1976, and had hits including “Sentimental Lady” in 1977 and “Ebony Eyes” in 1978 The song was originally written by Welch (the original 1972 version by Fleetwood Mac and in 1977 as a solo hit for Welch when he recorded it on his first solo album, French Kiss. His other singles included “Precious Love” in 1979 and “Hot Love, Cold World” in 1978.

When Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, Welch was not included in the group. “It basically comes down to the fact that they don’t like me any more,” he told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland at the time. “I guess they can do what they want. I could understand it if I had been a sideman for a year. But I was an integral part of that band … I put more of myself into that band than anything else I’ve ever done.”

Arthel “Doc” Watson 1923 – 2012 Was Blind But Now Can See

Submitted by cashbox on Wed, 05/30/2012 – 14:53

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Submitted by Don Graham

Doc Watson passed away in North Carolina on May 29th, 2012 at the age of 89.

Arthel Watson was born in Deep Gap North Carolina in 1923. An eye infection caused him to lose his vision before he reached the age of one. Despite his handicap he was taught to work hard and as a boy his brother and he were told if they chopped down some old, dead chestnut trees on their property they could sell the wood to the local tannery. With his profits, Arthel bought a Stella guitar for ten dollars and a career was born. While doing a radio show , the announcer mentioned that Arthel was a difficult name to pronounce and perhaps Watson should come up with a simple nickname. An audience member yelled out “ Call him Doc.” And Doc he was for the rest of his life.

Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees Dies of Cancer

Submitted by cashbox on Mon, 05/21/2012 – 12:32

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Robin Gibb passed away May 20, 2012. Gibb had been battling colon and liver cancer since last year and fell into a coma for a week in mid-April after falling gravely ill with pneumonia. He emerged from the coma and, according to reports, was making an impressive recovery however it was short lived.
A statement from a spokesperson says “The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time.” Gibb had been ill for months and in November, 2011, Robin revealed that he had been battling liver cancer – which had spread from his colon – for several months. Since then there have been varying reports that he was on the mend, some saying he was in remission. This month, however, he had to back out of attending the London Premiere of the classical work Titanic Requiem, which he composed with his son Robin John.

Donald “Duck “ Dunn 1941- 2012

Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 05/18/2012 – 12:08

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Stax recording artist and member of Hall of Fame group, Booker T. and the  M.G.’s ,died while tour in Tokyo, Japan.  The Memphis born was 70 years old.
Apart from being a member of Booker T and The M. G.’s and the original bass player for The Blues Brothers, some of the hits he was responsible for the bottom end are:  Dock of The Bay, Respect, I’ve Been loving You Too Long by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett’s In The Midnight Hour and Sam and Dave’s Hold On, I’m Coming.
He formed his first band with guitar great Steve Cropper who was on tour in Japan with Duck when he passed. The band was called the Royal Spades which became The Mar-Keys. When Cropper left the band to become a session musician, Dunn followed and they became the house band at Stax.
He was a bass player’s bass player and influenced many with his style and steadiness. Bass player George Gardos, co-writer on Mountain’s For Yasgurs Farm was saddened and said “He was my lifetime best bass player influence, Simple, Solid, Soulful, the 3 essences of great bass playing. Hard to believe… RIP.
RIP Duck Dunn, heaven‘s band just got a little funkier!

The Last Dance for Donna Summers

Submitted by cashbox on Thu, 05/17/2012 – 15:01

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Donna Summer’s death has been announced today, May 17, 2012, losing her battle with cancer at the age of 63 years old. Her illness was basically kept a secret by her own wishes. She was actually currently working on a new album. Summer won five Grammys and six American Music Awards, and sold millions of albums. Her best-known hits include Grammy “Hot Stuff,” “I Feel Love,” “Bad Girls” and “She Works Hard for the Money.”

BEASTIE BOY ADAM YAUCH (a.k.a. MCA) DEAD AT 47 YEARS OLD

Submitted by cashbox on Sat, 05/05/2012 – 15:00

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

A post on the Beastie Boys website reads, “It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam “MCA” Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer.”

In 2009, Yauch revealed in a video posted online that he was being treated for cancer in a parotid gland and a lymph node. He had since undergone surgery and radiation therapy, and was pursuing alternative treatment, including a vegan diet. It was reported in early 2011 that the rapper was cancer free, but he was quick to take to the Beastie Boys website and refute the reports.
Yauch co-founded the Beastie Boys in 1979. The group started out as a hardcore punk band but later turned to rap and rock and became the lineup of Yauch, Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad Roc” Horowitz (later, “Mix Master Mike” Schwartz would join in). They burst onto the music scene in 1986 with the seminal album Licensed to Ill, which spawned the classic hit “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!).”

Yauch sat out the Beastie Boys’ induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April, and his treatments delayed the release of the group’s most recent album, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2, which was eventually released in April, 2011.

Levon Helm Remembered by Hawkins

Submitted by cashbox on Thu, 04/26/2012 – 21:49

Levon Helm.jpg

Courtesy of CTV

Levon Helm, the legendary drummer and singer with the popular rock-and-roll group The Band, died Thursday after losing his 14-year battle with throat cancer.

Helm was 71.

The three-time Grammy Award winner had been fighting throat cancer since 1998. He passed away at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York surrounded by family.
“He just played two weeks ago,” Ronnie Hawkins told CTV’s Canada AM on Friday.

“It’s been a very sad two, three days, but we were told. We were kind of expecting it,” Hawkins said during a phone interview from Lakefield, Ont.

The Juno-winning rockabilly star was one of the first musicians to work with Helm and the members of The Band.  The group, comprising Helm, Rick Danko, Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel met as the backing group to journeyman Hawkins in the late 1950s.

Those were happy times, according to Hawkins. “We laughed at everything. We were learning. We didn’t know nothin’,” Hawkins, said with a laugh.  “All we wanted to do was play. Canada was a promised land for us,” he said.

During his career, Helm was most widely known for the songs he sang with The Band that found their way onto the pop charts.  Those earthy, folk-rock tunes included “Up On Cripple Creek,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “Don’t Do It.”  Helm and The Band also became Bob Dylan’s backing band, touring with the singer in 1965, 1966 and 1974.

 

AL DAVIS

was for the underdog, as he noted on occassion. He was the  Oakland Raiders owner, coach, general manager and much more for almost 50 years. . He was a true character, in the good sense – a throwback with his ‘Fifties’ pompadour, jumpsuits and all. Though he was a man for the working class, which is why the folks of Oakland loved him, even after he took the football team to Los Angeles for 10 years before coming back. Davis may have lost the winning magic at the end but he will always be remembered for those ‘black and white’ ‘just win baby’ teams of the Sixties thru the 90s and his unique, individual, colorful character uncommon anymore…

Autumn Leaves performer ROGER WILLIAMS, long-time piano player extraordinaire, with the top selling piano solo of all time, AUTUMN LEAVES, passed on after a long and ‘fighting’ bout with pancreatic cancer. Never seen anyone so tough as Williams, who proudly worked through his illness, with a busy schedule, including his marathon performances. 87 years young. See more at /RANDOM NOTES, where we let Roger live on.. as he always will..

Actress Patricia Neal Dies at 84

Legendary actress Patricia Neal died Sunday at her home on Martha’s Vineyard. She was 84.

Neal reportedly had been suffered from lung cancer. “She faced her final illness as she had all of the many trials she endured: with indomitable grace, good humor, and a great deal of her self-described stubbornness,” the family said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Neal, who won an Oscar for her work in the 1963 film “Hud” alongside Paul Newman, starred with numerous Hollywood veterans, including John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, and Tyrone Powers.

Neal suffered several family tragedies. She had five children with British writer Roald Dahl, but two of them died in childhood. When she was pregnant with their fifth child in 1965 she had three massive strokes and was in a coma for three weeks.

“I almost died many times from broken hearts – when my daughter Olivia died, when my baby son Theo was hit by a car, and when I had my strokes. There were many who didn’t think I would pull through,” said Neal in her biography. “I’ve learned many lessons in life, but the most important is this – be tenacious and determined, even in old age.

MITCH MILLER

‘Mr Singalong’ & Top Record Producer at 99

Mitch Miller, an influential record producer who became a hugely popular recording artist and an unlikely television star a half century ago by leading a choral group in familiar old songs and inviting people to sing along, died on Saturday in Manhattan. He was 99.

 

NBC, via Photofest

Mitch Miller on his NBC show, “Sing Along With Mitch,” in about 1964. Its diet of old favorites was an alternative to rock ‘n’ roll. More Photos »

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His daughter Margaret Miller Reuther confirmed the death Monday morning, saying her father had died after a short illness at Lenox Hill Hospital. Mr. Miller lived in Manhattan.

Mr. Miller, a Rochester native who was born on the Fourth of July, had been an accomplished oboist and was still a force in the recording industry when he came up with the idea of recording old standards with a chorus of some two dozen male voices and printing the lyrics on album covers.

The “Sing Along With Mitch” album series, which began in 1958, was an immense success, finding an eager audience among older listeners looking for an alternative to rock ’n’ roll. Mitch Miller and the Gang serenaded them with chestnuts like “Home on the Range,” “That Old Gang of Mine,” “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” and “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.”

When the concept was adapted for television in 1961, with the lyrics appearing at the bottom of the screen, Mr. Miller, with his beaming smile and neatly trimmed mustache and goatee, became a national celebrity.

By then he had established himself as a hit maker for Columbia Records and a career shaper for singers like Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Mathis, Doris Day, Patti Page and Frankie Laine. First at Mercury Records and then at Columbia, he helped define American popular music in the postwar, pre-rock era, carefully matching singers with songs and choosing often unorthodox but almost always catchy instrumental accompaniment.

Mr. Bennett’s career took off after Mr. Miller persuaded him to record the ballad “Because of You,” backing him with a lush orchestral arrangement by Percy Faith. It reached No. 1 on the pop charts in 1951.

Ms. Clooney was making a mere $50 a recording session when Mr. Miller asked her to record “Come On-a My House,” an oddity based on an Armenian folk melody written by the playwright and novelist William Saroyan and his cousin Ross Bagdasarian, who later went on to create Alvin and the Chipmunks. Ms. Clooney was dubious. “I damn near fell on the floor,” she recalled.

They had a heated argument. But in the end Ms. Clooney agreed to record the song, and it became a giant hit, establishing her as a major artist.

“Nothing happened to me until I met Mitch,” she later said.

By the end of the 1950s Mr. Miller’s eye and ear for talent and songs had been critical in making Columbia the top-selling record company in the nation.  MORE

Art Linkletter, TV Host, Dies at 97

By WILLIAM GRIMES
Published: May 26, 2010

Art Linkletter, the genial host who parlayed his talent for the ad-libbed interview into two of television’s longest-running shows, “People Are Funny” and “House Party,” in the 1950s and 1960s, died on Wednesday at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 97.

The death was confirmed by Art Hershey, a son-in-law.

From his early days as an announcer on local radio and a roving broadcaster at state fairs, Mr. Linkletter showed a talent for ingratiating himself with his subjects and getting them to open up, often with hilarious results.

He was particularly adept at putting small children at ease, which he did regularly on a segment of “House Party,” a reliably amusing question-and-answer session that provided the material for his best-selling book “Kids Say the Darndest Things!”

Famous Poster Came Out the Year of Art’s Birth, 1913, for sale here

Television critics and intellectuals found the Linkletter persona bland and his popularity unfathomable. “There is nothing greatly impressive, one way or the other, about his appearance, mannerisms, or his small talk,” one newspaper critic wrote. Another referred to his “imperishable banality.”

Millions of Americans disagreed. They responded to his wholesome, friendly manner and upbeat appeal. Women, who made up three-quarters of the audience for “House Party,” which was broadcast in the afternoon, loved his easy, enthusiastic way with children.

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Editorial Comment: I came to appreciate Art Linkletter greatly in recent years. I liked him for his positive, timeless outlook, helping seniors, living life to the fullest, life extension, a man of many talents. What he was most known for, his TV show ‘Kids Say The Darndest Things’ may have been a bit contrived and pre-arranged when we look back, but perhaps that was the programming then; again, I liked the man who overcame tragedy to be one of the last Will Rogers, if you will. He backed up his healthy approach to life, living 97 years. I was hoping he might go on forever; no such luck. Who will replace him? Steve Allen was not as positive re. living in today’s society yet told it like it was and I admired him for that, when most people todaoy go with the current, often classless trends; we lost him early , at 78, a few years ago. Paul Harvey left us acouple years ago; they tried but nobody could replace him on his radio show, though Huckaby is making a valiant effort on a similar project. Your comments welcomed… BK

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