Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Members of Rock & Roll Heaven

1945:  Ritchie Adams, lead singer of the Fireflies ("You Were Mine" from 1959), who wrote "Tossin' And Turnin'" for Bobby Lewis and "After The Lovin'" for Engelbert Humperdinck, was born in Brooklyn; died March 6, 2017 after a long illness.
Allsup worked with entertainers such as Buddy Holly[4] and Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. Allsup was touring with Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson when he lost a fateful coin toss with Valens for a seat on the plane that crashed, killing Valens, Holly, Richardson, and the pilot on February 3, 1959. Allsup moved to Los Angeles, played with local bands, and did session work, including a songwriting credit for The Ventures', "Guitar Twist".[6] (aka "Driving Guitars")
He returned to Odessa, Texas, where he worked with Ronnie Smith, Roy Orbison, and producer Willie Nelson.[5] In 1968, he moved to Nashville, where he did session work and produced Bob Wills', 24 Great Hits by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. In the mid 1970's Tommy served as the producer for a pair of Asleep at the Wheel albums.
In 1979, he started a club, "Tommy's Heads Up Saloon", in Dallas. The club was named for Allsup's coin toss with Valens 20 years beforehand.[7]
He died on January 11, 2017, at 85 years old in a hospital in Springfield, Missouri after complications from hernia surgery.[1][8][9]

Ilene Berns (born Ilene Holub, May 1, 1943 in Cleveland, Ohio – February 20, 2017 in Miami, Florida[1]) was a record company director.
Berns worked as a go-go dancer in New York City nightclubs before meeting her husband Bert Berns, the songwriter and record producer and founder of Bang Records. They had three children (Brett, Cassandra and Mark) before Bert died of heart failure on December 30, 1967.
A widow at the age of twenty-four Berns set out to carry on her late husband's legacy. After re-releasing material from such Bang Records artists as Van Morrison and Neil Diamond, she discovered Mississippi singer/songwriter Paul Davis. She relocated Bang Records to Atlanta, Georgia in 1970 and presided over a decade of success with Paul Davis ("Ride 'Em Cowboy", "I Go Crazy", "Sweet Life"); she also signed and developed Atlanta-based R&B funk group Brick ("Dazz") and singer/songwriter Peabo Bryson.

Chuck Berry, one of the stars in Rock's infancy who is credited with the invention of the duckwalk, was found dead this morning at his home near Wentzville, Missouri.

Berry wrote and recorded the standard "Johnny B. Goode".

Chuck enjoyed another of his biggest hits with "Sweet Little Sixteen".

Berry was 90.

Buddy Bregman, composer, arranger and producer for the artists just prior to and just after the start of the Rock Era, died January 8 from complications of Alzheimer's disease at the age of 86.

Bregman worked with such greats as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Paul Anka, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis, Jr., Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin, Eddie Fisher, Buddy Rich, Judy Garland and many others.
1954:  Tom Coyne, mastering engineer for the Rolling Stones, the Four Seasons, Taylor Swift, Dionne Warwick, Kool and the Gang, Adele, Billy Ocean, Bruno Mars, Frankie Valli, Mark Ronson and the Weeknd, died April 12, 2017 from multiple myeloma in Morristown, New Jersey.  Coyne won six Grammys in his career among 18 nominations.

1947:  Jim Fuller, lead guitarist and co-songwriter for the Surfaris, was born in Monrovia, California; died March 3, 2017 in Monrovia.

1946:  John W. Geils, Jr,, founder, singer-songwriter and lead guitarist of the J. Geils Band, was born in New York City; died of natural causes on February 20, 2017 in Groton, Massachusetts.
1948:  Geoff Nicholls, longtime member of Black Sabbath who played guitar, bass and keyboards for the group, was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England; died January 28, 2017 of lung cancer.

Sonny Geraci, lead singer of the Outsiders and later Climax, died Sunday.

Geraci led the Outsiders to four hits, including the smash "Time Won't Let Me", which reached #5 in 1966.

Later, Geraci led the group Climax when they scored the #3 smash "Precious And Few".

Geraci suffered a brain aneurysm in April of 2012 and never fully recovered.  He was 69.

1940:  Sandy Gallin, CEO of Mirage Entertainment and Sports, who managed the careers of Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Dolly Parton and others and produced over 20 movies and Broadway plays, was born in Brooklyn; died April 21, 2017 of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  (Note:  Some websites lazily say he was born in New York City, which of course consists of several independent boroughs.  Gallin was born in Brooklyn, according to the newspaper 'The New York Times'.)

1944:  Cuba Gooding, Sr. of the Main Ingredient and father of actor Cuba Gooding, Jr., was born in the Bronx; was found dead in his car in Los Angeles on April 20, 2017.

1949:  Sib Hashian, drummer of Boston, was born in Boston, Massachusetts; died March 22, 2017 after collapsing in the middle of performing on a cruise ship near Nassau, Bahamas.

1945:  Rosie Hamlin, leader of Rosie & the Originals and songwriter of the group's biggest hit ("My Angel Baby"), was born in Klamath Falls, Oregon; died March 30, 2017 in Belen, New Mexico

Alan Henderson of Them

On February 8, 2017, after being hospitalized for exhaustion in Los Angeles, Jarreau cancelled his remaining 2017 tour dates.[27] He died of respiratory failure, at the age of 76, just two days after announcing his retirement.[11][28][29]

1936:  Tommy LiPuma, producer who worked with Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Miles Davis, Natalie Cole, Anita Baker, Diana Krall, George Benson, Al Jarreau, Dave Mason and Dr. John, among many others, was born in Cleveland, Ohio; died March 13, 2017 after a brief illness in New York City. 

1938:  Sylvia Moy, who wrote "I Was Made To Love Her" and "My Cherie Amour" for Stevie Wonder, "This Old Heart Of Mine" (with Holland-Dozier-Holland) for the Isley Brothers, co-wrote "It Takes Two" for Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston and "Honey Chile" for Martha and the Vandellas, was born in Detroit, Michigan; died April 15, 2017 of complications of pneumonia in Dearborn, Michigan.

1956:  Paul O'Neill, songwriter, composer and producer and the mastermind behind the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, was born in New York City; died of a chronic illness April 5, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.

1970:  Tommy Page, best known for his hit "I'll Be Your Everything", was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey; died of suicide March 3, 2017 in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania at the age of 46.
Sylvester Potts, who became lead singer of the Contours in 1961, has died at the age of 78.

Potts joined the group just prior to their big hit "Do You Love Me" in 1962.

1930:  Lyle Ritz, ukelele player and bassist with the legendary studio backing group The Wrecking Crew, who compiled over 5,000 credits including "Good Vibrations" for the Beach Boys, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by the Righteous Brothers and "A Taste Of Honey" for Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, was born in Cleveland, Ohio; died March 3, 2017 in Portland, Oregon.  Ritz also played for Linda Ronstadt, the Monkees, Sonny & Cher and Dean Martin and played bass on television soundtracks including The Rockford Files and Kojak.

Joan Elise Sledge (September 13, 1956 – March 10, 2017[4]), better known as Joni Sledge, was an American singer–songwriter and producer. Sledge was best known as a founding member of the American family vocal group Sister Sledge.[5][6] Sledge died from natural causes on March 10, 2017 at age 60.[7]

On 12 January 2017, Larry Steinbachek's sister Louise Jones told BBC News he had died the previous month after a short battle with cancer, with his family and friends at his bedside.[11]

1926:  Tony Terran, versatile trumpet player with The Wrecking Crew, was born in Buffalo, New York; died March 20, 2017 in Los Angeles.  Terran played on recordings by the Beatles, Elvis Presley, the Bee Gees, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Chicago, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Perry Como, Bonnie Raitt, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Benny Goodman, among others.  He is famous for being in the Desi Arnez Orchestra on the classic television show I Love Lucy, and also played on recordings of Star TrekMission ImpossibleCheersThe Brady BunchGet SmartHappy DaysThe Carol Burnett Show, and I Dream of Jeannie and movie soundtracks such as All the President's MenAn Officer and a GentlemanGreaseRocky III and IIIGhostbustersClose Encounters of the Third Kind and The Natural.

1956:  Banner Thomas, bassist with Molly Hatchet ("Flirtin' With Disaster"), was born in Orange Park, Florida; died April 10, 2017 of pneumonia in Jacksonville, Florida.

Butch Trucks, drummer for the Allman Brothers Band and the uncle of guitarist Derek Trucks, who joined the group in 1999, died yesterday in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Trucks, a co-founder of the group, was 69.

Ware (February 16, 1940 – February 23, 2017) was an American music artistsongwriter and composer. Besides a solo career as a performer, Ware was best known for producing hits for other artists including Michael JacksonQuincy JonesMaxwellMinnie Riperton and Marvin Gaye, co-producing the latter's album, I Want You.


Leon Ware was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He started his career as a songwriter in 1967. He co-wrote along with Ivy Hunter and Steve Bowden for The Isley Brothers recording of "Got to Have You Back". In 1971, Leon would collaborate with Ike & Tina Turner, co-writing six songs on their United Artist album called Nuff Said. The album reached the top 40 of the R&B charts and also appeared in the pop charts. Later that year, Ware began collaborating with Arthur "T-Boy" Ross, younger brother of Diana Ross. One of the songs they wrote was "I Wanna Be Where You Are" recorded by Michael Jackson for his album, Got To Be There.[1] The single reached the runner-up position of the R&B charts and peaked at 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972. Ware's songwriting success led to a contract as an artist to United Artists, releasing his self-titled debut album.
Ware wrote for numerous artists during this period including Donny Hathaway and The Miracles. In 1974, Quincy Jones booked Ware as songwriter and performer for two songs off Jones' Body Heat album. The song, "If I Ever Lose This Heaven", hit the R&B charts in September of the year and was covered by the Average White Band. Ware worked with Minnie Riperton on Jones' album and collaborated again on Riperton's album, Adventures in Paradise album, composing Riperton's R&B hit, "Inside My Love". Ware and T-Boy Ross worked on demos for Ware's second album, this one to be issued on Motown Records and also for T-Boy Ross to win a deal.[1] One of the demo recordings, "I Want You", was heard by Berry Gordy, who decided the song would be a good fit for Marvin Gaye.[1] Gaye heard the other demos and decided to record much of it on what would be his next album, I Want You.[1] Buoyed by the number-one title track, the album peaked at number-one on the R&B charts and reached the top ten of the Billboard 200 selling over a million copies.
Having given away the material for his album, Ware began again on a solo effort for Motown. The result would be Ware's second album, Musical Massage. Released in September 1976, the album failed to generate similar success and was not properly promoted.[1] Ware produced the Shadows In The Street album for the group Shadow, which was released in 1981.[2] Ware continued his songwriting and producing career while also releasing solo albums between 1979 and 2008. During that period, Ware wrote for Teena MarieJeffrey OsborneLoose EndsJames IngramMelissa ManchesterKrystolBobby Womack and Lulu, co-writing the latter's European hit, "Independence" in 1993. Ware helped to produce singer Maxwell's debut album, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite, released in 1996, and considered one of the landmark albums of the neo-soul genre. At the same time of that success, Ware's earlier work became a heavy source of samples in hip-hop music.
As of 2009, Ware was recovering from treatment for prostate cancer, and credited his friend and fellow songwriter Adrienne Anderson with directing him to appropriate medical care.[3] He died on February 23, 2017.[4]