Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Members of Rock & Roll Heaven, Part Nine

Inside The Rock Era continues our annual tribute with a look at more of the people we lost this year:

Kashif, six-time Grammy nominee who, did session work for the Four Tops, Tavares, Gloria Gaynor and Stephanie Mills, had eight Top 20 R&B hits and produced for Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, Kenny G., George Benson, the Average White Band and Evelyn "Champagne" King", died September 25 in Los Angeles at age 59.  

From 1974-78, Kashif was a member of B.T. Express.  He then played keyboards for Mills and began playing for the other artists mentioned above.

Kashif scored hits on the R&B chart before turning to his other talents.  Kashif had a unique ability to combine synthesizers with drum machines and was increasingly in demand after producing Mills.  In 1985, Arista head Clive Davis selected Kahif to arrange and produce Houston's debut album.  He wrote and produced "Thinking About You" and produced Whitney's breakthrough hit "You Give Good Love".

Kashif worked his magic again on Houston's follow-up album Whitney, playing keyboards and synthesizer, programming and coming up with rhythm arrangements, singing background vocals and producing one of the songs on the album.

Bob Krasnow, chairman of Elektra Records and one of the guys you can blame for co-founding the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame", was born in Rochester, New York;died December 11 at the age of 82 in Wellington, Florida.

Krasnow played a key role in the success of Ike and Tina Turner at Loma Records in the 1960's.  In 1968, Krasnow co-founded Blue Thumb Records and signed Buddy Guy, Hugh Masakela and T. Rex.

While at Warner Brothers Records, Krasnow signed the group Funkadelic.  In 1983, he took over as chairman of Elektra Records.  He fired 90% of the artists and rebuilt the once-great label, signing Metallica, Anita Baker, Motley Crue, 10,000 Maniacs, the Cure, the Sugarcubes, and others.

Baker exploded onto the scene in 1986 with her album Rapture.

Baker went on to become The #60 Female Artist of the Rock Era*, recording such songs as this #3 smash from 1988.

Bob's ears helped sign another of The Top 100 Female Artists of the Rock Era*,Tracy Chapman, in the mid-'80s.

Metallica has now sold over 120 million albums, and scored the big hit "Enter Sandman" in 1991.

Bassist Greg Lake, an original member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer and later a member of Asia, died December 7 in London at the age of 69.

The news came nine months after Lake's bandmate Keith Emerson died.  Guitarist Steve Hackett, an early member of Genesis, said "Music bows its head to acknowledge the passing of a great musician and singer, Greg Lake."

Rick Wakeman, elite keyboardist in Yes, said, "Another sad loss with the passing of Greg Lake...You left some great music with us my friend & so like Keith, you will live on."

Lake was born in Bournemouth, England and began playing guitar at age 12.  He co-founded King Crimson with friend Robert Fripp in 1969.

After the breakup of that group, Emerson, who had opened for King Crimson on a tour of North America, asked Greg to be a singer in his new band.  With drummer Carl Palmer, ELP debuted live at the Guildhall in Plymouth in 1970 and wowed fans at the Isle of Wight Festival.  

Emerson, Lake & Palmer were one of the leading exponents of progressive rock, with each of their first seven albums attaining Gold status in the United States.  They were one of the best live performing acts of the period, featuring an elaborate stage show.  ELP broke up in 1979 with Lake joining the group Asia briefly.

Gary Loizzo, singer and guitarist with the American Breed, died January 16 at the age of 70 of pancreatic cancer.  Loizzo later became a music engineer with Styx, REO Speedwagon, Bad Company and Survivor.

The American Breed scored a Top 5 smash in 168 with "Bend Me, Shape Me". 


In 1979, Loizzo engineered Styx's highly-successful Cornerstone album.  

He later went on to serve in the same capacity on Styx albums through 2015, including Paradise Theater and Kilroy Was Here.  

John Loudermilk, who wrote one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*, "Indian Reservation" for Paul Revere & the Raiders, died of bone cancer September 21 in Christiana, Tennessee at the age of 82.

Revere and the Raiders enjoyed a #1 hit with "Indian Reservation" in 1971.

Loudermilk wrote dozens of songs that became hits.  In addition to the classic mentioned above, he also wrote "Tobacco Road" for the Nashville Teens, "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" for the Casinos and "This Little Bird" for Marianne Faithfull.

Jim Lowe, who had the #1 hit "The Green Door" in 1956, died December 12 at age 93 in East Hampton, New York after a long illness.

Lowe was a successful DJ after graduating from college and recorded the song the same year he started at WCBS in New York City.  

Lonnie Mack died April 21 at age 74 from natural causes in Nashville, Tennessee.  Mack worked with the Doors, James Brown, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dobie Gray, Freddie King, Albert Collins and others.

Mack scored a Top 5 hit with the Chuck Berry song "Memphis" in 1963.  

After several other tries failed to generate significant interest, Mack utilized his talent as a guitarist to play on songs such as "Roadhouse Blues" by the Doors. 

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