Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Members of Rock & Roll Heaven, Part 11

Inside The Rock Era's exclusive presentation of Rock & Roll Heaven* continues with our salute to the great stars of the Rock Era who have passed in 2016:

Carlo Mastrangelo (left, above), the bass voice behind the Belmonts, died April 4 at the age of 77 in Boynton Beach, Florida.  

The group formed in the Bronx, New York in 1958.  They are best known for the #5 hit "A Teenager In Love" in 1958.

After Dion left the group for a solo career, Carlo took over as lead singer.  

Gayle McCormick, whose captivating voice helped Smith score a big hit with "Baby It's You", died March 1 of cancer in St. Louis, Missouri at age 67.

"Baby It's You" rolled to #5 in 1969.

Henry McCullough, guitarist with Paul McCartney & Wings from 1971-73, died June 14 in Ballywindelland, Ballymoney, Northern Ireland.  McCulloch, who suffered a heart attack four years ago, never fully recovered, according to his agent, Nigel Martyn.  

McCullough is best known for his improvised solo on the #1 song "My Love".

He also played on another #1 song, "Live And Let Die". 

Henry also worked with the group Donovan, Joe Cocker (who he performed with at Woodstock), Marianne Faithfull, People, Spooky Tooth and Eric Burdon, among others, was 72. 

Fred McFarlane, who wrote "Show Me Love" for Robin S. and also wrote for Madonna, Evelyn "Champagne" King, Force MD's and others, died September 3.

McFarlane, who also collaborated with Cyndi Lauper, Mary J. Blige, Expose, Jason Derulo, Vanessa Williams and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, among others, was 55.

Lewis Merenstein, producer of the landmark Van Morrison album Moondance as well as Astral Weeks, died September 6 of pneumonia at the age of 81 in New York City.

Morrison had already enjoyed hits with "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Domino", before getting Merenstein to produce Astral Weeks.  While that album wasn't successful, Morrison again asked Merenstein to be the executive producer on Moondance, which became a critical and commercial success.  It is now regarded as one of the best albums of all-time.

Chips Moman (above, with Elvis Presley), who helped revive the career of Elvis Presley and also produced for Dusty Springfield, B.J. Thomas and Willie Nelson, died June 13 in LaGrange, Georgia one day after his 79th birthday. Moman had been suffering from a disease of the lungs. 

Moman hitchhiked to Memphis, Tennessee and soon was playing guitar on tour for Johnny Burnette and Gene Vincent.  Chips moved to Los Angeles to work as a session guitarist and co-wrote the #1 smash "Last Night" by the Mar-Keys. 

Upon his return to Memphis, Moman became an engineer and helped turn Stax Records into a powerhouse.  Moman wrote songs, played guitar engineered and/or produced for the Ventures and other groups.  

In 1964, Moman founded the American Sound Studios in Memphis.  At American, Moman produced for Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin, the Box Tops and many others.  Moman played guitar and wrote one of the songs on Aretha Franklin's breakthrough album, I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You.

In 1968, Moman produced the Box Tops' hit "Cry Like A Baby".

The following year, Chips produced Neil Diamond's album which yielded one of his biggest career hits.

Moman also produced the comeback album for Presley, From Elvis in Memphis.

Moman wrote the #1 song "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" for B.J. Thomas, which won him a Grammy Award.

In 1982, Moman produced Willie Nelson's biggest career hit, "Always On My Mind".

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