A Sad Day in Music

Today’s news of the death of Joe Strummer hits hard, and I think it may be, on some levels, Gen X’s equivalent of the loss of John Lennon, but on a smaller scale. While other punkers have passed on (Sid Vicious, for example), none who have left had the impact of Strummer. The Clash, led by Strummer, inspired U2, Billy Bragg, and countless other rockers who have imbued their music with politics and causes. Bragg is most eloquent with his words describing Stummer’s impact on his own music. It is a terrible loss. An interesting Brief History of Punk examines the late 70s heyday, when it emerged from the underground.

3 Responses to “A Sad Day in Music”

  1. jennifer Says:

    I And we slack too much to have a lennon for our very own.

  2. Mike Richards Says:

    The loss of Joe Strummer will probably be the last for this year, and hopefully for a long time. We have lost many, many fine people in the entertainment business this year including:

    John Entwistle – bassist with The Who. The Ox died in his sleep in Las Vegas of a heart attack. Traces of cocaine were found in his blood.

    Ted Demme (film/video director)(heart failure while playing a celebrity basketball game)

    Esquivel – Juan Garcia Esquivel, the ’60s “Space Age Bachelor Pad” lounge music composer who became a belated hero for a community of ’90s post-angst alternative irony buffs, died at his home in Jiutepac, Morelos, Mexico on January 3. He was 83. Esquivel had been bedridden with a back injury for nearly 10 years. Three months before he died he suffered a stroke that left him unable to speak and caused paralysis in one-half of his body. He had a second stroke on December 30, 2001 that led to his death.

    Erma Vernice Franklin – singer and sister of Aretha Franklin died in September at age 44, of cancer.

    Ray Brown – Brown of The Modern Jazz quartet is considered to be one of the most accomplished bass players in all of jazz. Brown was once married to Ella Fitzgeral. The marriage ended in 1952. On July 2nd, Ray had gone to his hotel room to take a nap after playing golf and died in his sleep. Brown was 75.

    Peter Bardens – leader of 1970s U.K. prog rock band Camel, played his last show 6 months (after being diagnosed with a brain tumour) before he passed away in L.A. with Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Ben Harper, and Shelia E.

    Hank Cosby – veteran songwriter, saxophone player and producer for Motown Records and a member of the famous Funk Brothers. Cosby co-wrote several of Stevie Wonders big hits including Fingertips Part 2, My Cherie Amour, and three of my all time favourite Motown songs: Stevie Wonder’s – I Was Made To Love Her, Uptight Everything’s Alright, and Smoke Robinson/Miracles – Tears Of A Clown. Hank died at the age of 73 after a lengthy illness. Stevie Wonder played My Cherie Amour at Cosby’s funeral.

    Johnny Griffith – keyboard player for Motown Records and The Funk Brothers, a classically trained musician, died November 10, at age 66.

    Howard Richard ‘Pistol’ Allen – drums – yet another member of the famed Funk Brothers. Howard played on the Supremes’ hit ‘Baby Love,’ Martha and the Vandellas’ ‘Heat Wave,’ and on Marvin Gaye’s ‘How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).’
    Howard Allen died on 30th June 2002, after a long battle with cancer.

    Richard Harris (actor/singer)(hodgkin’s disease) Harris was 72.

    Lionel Hampton – the great jazz vibraphonist died on 31st August from heart failure. He was 93 or 94 depending on what bio you read.

    Barbara Randolph – singer – Barbara had the honour of joining the group the Platters after the departure of Zola Taylor. Barbara toured briefly with Maryin Gaye replacing Tammi Terrell in the ’60’s. She died of cancer in July. (Her mother was actress Lillian Randolph.)

    Otis Blackwell (a.k.a. John Davenport) – He was a prolific songwriter, penning more than 1,000 tunes, some of which have become popular classics.
    Otis wrote ‘Great Balls Of Fire’ for Jerry Lee Lewis, ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ for Elvis Presley (number one on the pop charts for 11 weeks in 1956) and ‘Fever’ for the late Peggy Lee, amongst others. Blackwell died on the 6th of May 2002 from a heart attack in Nashville, Tennessee where he resided, following a stroke that occurred in 1991.

    Lonnie Donegan singer – Lonnie is considered the founding father of British pop music, and the musician who provided the original inspiration for John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and a host of others. By the time the Beatles shook up the music world in the mid-1960s Donegan’s glory days were over, and he had retreated to comedy and cabaret, but between 1956 and 1962 he notched up an incredible 26 hits. Donnigan was 71.

    Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes a.k.a Lisa Nicole Lopes – singer – Lisa, singer with TLC, was killed in a car crash in Honduras on April 26. Lisa was 30.

    Rosemary Clooney – jazz singer/actor – Clooney, who co-starred with Bing Crosby in the film White Christmas, had been battling a recurrence of lung cancer. She died in June at age 74.

    Weldon Irvine – accomplished musician who worked in the jazz field for years with such artists as Nina Simone, Billy Cobham and Randy Brecker. Weldon’s songs were sampled by A Tribe Called Quest and Ice Cube amonst many other rap artists. He, also, played instruments on several rap tunes.
    Weldon died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound in April, in New York at age 58.

    Big John Patton – organ/piano – John worked with Lloyd Price, Lou Donaldson, Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, Calvin Keys, the late Arthur Prysock, the late Sonny Stitt, Johnny Griffin and Grant Green amongst others. Big John Patton died on the 19th March 2002, at age 66.

    Hnery Knowles – Henry Knowles of the Nardcore band Agression passed away in August from leukemia and hepatitis c.

    Huey Davis, the guitarist for the Sixties group, The Contours, died at his home in Detroit on the 23rd February 2002. Davis was born in 1939.

    Doreen Waddell, 36 – singer – Former singer with Soul II Soul of Clarendon Villas, Hove, U.K., died after being hit by three cars as she fled a shop after being caught shoplifting. She leaves behind a four year old son. Waddell sang lead vocals on Soul II Soul’s 1989 Club Classics Volume I album. She was 36.

    Michael Houser – guitarist – The lead guitarist and pioneer of one of Athens premier bands, Widespread Panic, died after a bout with a pancreatic cancer. Houser, 40, died at his Athens home.

    Karl Chambers – drums – Chambers played for on many Philly sessions during the Sixties and Seventies. Karl was recruited by the Gamble & Huff organisation and was a key part of several classic slices of soul music, for the label, including sessions for MFSB, The O’Jays, The Three Degrees, Archie Bell and the Drells along with further sessions for Gladys Knight and the Pips and the Tymes. Karl played the drums on the Delfonics hit ‘La La Means I Love You’, ‘Ain’t Nothing But A Houseparty’ by the Showstoppers and on the Intruders ‘Cowboys To Girls’. Karl also played in a band called Toomorrow (see above), a group fronted by a youthful Olivia Newton John in 1970. Karl was the brother of guitarist Roland Chambers. He died in February of cancer at age 55.

    Mickey Newbury – songwriter – Credited with helping usher in a new era of country music songwriting, Newbury, in the ’60s, Newbury had hits in four different genres: Eddy Arnold scored a top country hit with Here Comes the Rain, Baby; Solomon Burke had an R&B hit with Time is a Thief; Kenny Rogers had a pop and rock hit with Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), and Andy Williams had an easy-listening hit with Sweet Memories. Mickey died in September after a long battle with a blood disease. He was 62.

    Tim Rose – folk singer – died in London in September. Rose turned down the offer to replace Brian Jones in The Rolling Stones. Rose left the music business and became a construction worker in New York. Nick Cave recorded Rose’s “Long Time Man” and Rose learnt that his albums had been reissued in the UK. He began playing again the late 1990s and up to this year. Rose was 62.

    Willis Draffen – founder member of the soul band Bloodstone, died on the Friday the 8th of February. He was 56. He was a diabetic. He had become ill as he was in the process of organizing a stateside tour for the band.

    Duane West – singer with The From 1982 until 1999 Ernest Duane West was the smooth baritone member of the group. He worked in the earlier part of his career as a singer in the Southern Gentlemen Quartet with Sonny James. He then was tapped to fill an opening in the Jordanaires and joined the group that has appeared on countless record-
    ings, from Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” to most of Elvis’s biggest Nashville-recorded hits. The
    quartet was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998. Ernest Duane West was only 61.

    Jerry Fuller – drummer – Born in Calgary, Alberta in April of 1939, Fuller spent his entire music carrer as a drummer. His highlight was playing drums with Duke Elllington. Fuller can be heard on the Ellington CD, North Of The Border. He died in his sleep in Toronto, in July. Jerry was 63.

    Ray Coniff – Ray Conniff, the Grammy Award-winning composer and bandleader whose arrangements epitomized the Big Band sound while spawning such albums as “S’Wonderful” and “Somewhere My Love,” has died. He was 85.
    Conniff died Saturday at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido after falling down and hitting his head.. He had suffered a stroke in April.

    Conniff had more than 100 recordings and produced 25 Top 40 albums for Columbia Records. He rendered such classics as “Besame Mucho” and “New York, New York,” in a career that spanned six decades.

    Derek Bell – harpist – The Chieftens harpist Derek Bell died suddenly in late October. Bell had just been cleared to return home after minor
    surgery and routine health exams. The Chieftains had just finished a U.S. tour on Sept. 30 in Nashville. Bell was 66.

    And finally,

    Charles Frazier – sax/flute – Frazier passed away in September at the age of 95. He was the last living musician that recorded with King Oliver.

    Peggy Lee (jazz singer)(heart attack)

    Rudy Robinson – He was at various times (in Detroit) a music writer, arranger, producer, promoter and keyboardist whose associates included:
    The Temptations, Spinners, Dramatics, Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Diana Ross, David Ruffin, Liza Minelli, Isaac Hayes, Johnny Taylor, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, among others. (heart attack at 61)

    Zac Foley – bassist with U.K. popsters EMF (He died from a cocktail of drink and drugs).

    Webster Lewis – funk/jazz musician – pianist, clarinetist, conductor and arranger worked with such artists as Herbie Hancock and Barry White, died of diabetic complications at age 59, in November.

    Waylon Jennings (country singer/songwriter/guitarist)(diabetes-related illness)

    Mick Tucker – drummer for 1970s U.K. glam rock band, The Sweet. Remember Little Willy, Ballroom Blitz, Fox On The Run, Love Is Like Oxygen? Mick died in February after a 5 year battle with leukemia. His wife Janet and daughter Aysten, 22, were at his bedside.

    Joe Schermie – bassist, Three Dog Night (died suddenly in March from a massive heart attack)

    Billy Mitchell – former singer with the Washington-based rhythm-and-blues group the Clovers who was best known for his rendition of ‘Love Potion No. 9,’ died on the 5th of November at Washington Hospital Center after a stroke. He had colon cancer. He was 71.

    John “Speedy” Keene – A close friend and associate of The Who, and a member of Thunderclap Newman. Keene was a talented musician (drummer), signer and songwriter, author of the psychedelic classic Armenia, City In The Sky, which opened The Who’s classic 1966 LP The Who Sell Out. (This was the only time the ‘Oo used a track written for them by another composer). Keene is best remembered for Thunderclap Newman’s perennial 1969 hit Something In The Air.

    Dudley Moore – actor/comedian/musician – Dudley will be best remember for his role in Arthur. Moore was 66. (pneumonia as a complication of progressive supranuclear palsy)

    Marc Moreland – guitarist – Wall Of Voodoo guitarist and songwriter Marc Moreland died in March, in Paris of kidney failure at the age of 44. Moreland — a member of one of L.A.’s first punk rock bands, the Skulls –founded the more sophisticated group Wall Of Voodoo in 1978 with vocalist Stan Ridgway. The band recorded six albums for IRS from 1980-88; its song “Mexican Radio” became an early MTV staple> Moreland later worked with Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde and recorded under his own name. Mark was 44.

    Frank Tovey – singer/musician – Frank Tovey aka Fad Gadget died in April at his home in London of heart failure at the age of 46. Frank had suffered from heart problems since his childhood. Frank Tovey will be best remembered as one of the Electronic pioneers who, alongside Human League, Cabaret Voltaire and The Normal, were at the forefront of the U.K. Electronic Movement of the late ’70s/early ’80s. Tovey had recently toured with Mute label mates Depeche Mode and was working on a new album and tour.

    Layne Staley – singer – Staley, 34-year-old singer from Seattle’s Alice In Chains was found dead in April from a drug overdose.

    James Dewar – drummer – Jimmy Dewar, former drummer for guitarist Robin Trower, died of pneumonia on May 16 in the U.K. Dewar was 59.

    Gwen Sales – Scottish violinist and artist was killed in a car crash at the age of 30. Sales appeared in the Michael Flatley touring show Lord Of The Dance and was a well-loved figured on the folk scene. She died in Chicago, where she lived with her husband, American guitarist Dennis Cahill. Sales was also an accomplished artist having done some album artwork.

    Dee Dee Ramone aka Douglas Calvin – bass guitar -Dee Dee, founding member of The Ramones, was found dead at his home in Hollywood. Cause of death, accidental drug overdose.

    Robin Crosby – guitarist – A longtime member of Ratt, Crosby was a big part of penning some of Ratt’s most familiar songs. Crosby his battle with HIV/Aids in June.

    Michael Stewart – singer/musician/writer/producer – Michael Stewart, two-time Grammy nominee who lead the popular 1960s folk-rock group We Five and produced Billy Joel’s breakthrough “Piano Man’ album, died in November at age 57 after a long illness.

    Rich Dangel – guitarist – After jamming with current and former bandmates at a 60th birthday concert in Tacoma, Northwest guitar giant Rich Dangel died of an aneurysm at his Seattle home.
    Dangel was a member of the seminal Northwest rock band the Wailers and is credited with creating the opening guitar chords of garage band staple “Louie Louie.” Dangel was 60.

    Mary Hansen – singer/guitarist with U.K. band Stereolab was killed December 9th, in East London on Monday after being hit by a truck while riding her bicycle. Mary was 36.

    Zal Yanovsky – Lovin’ Spoonful – Zalman Yanovsky died of a heart attack at his home in Onatario just six days before his 58th birthday on December 14.

    AND we must not forget Joey Ramone (Jeffrey Hyman) leader of the great punk rock band, The Ramones. Joey passed away in April of 2001 from lympathic cancer. Joey has often been called the godfather of punk rock.

  3. Tim Says:

    Giusseppe Codeluppi of Italian hardcore legends Raw Power passed away of heart failure at the young age of 44. Giusseppe(along with brother Mauro) was a founding member of RP.

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