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Bryan MacLean 12/1998

Bryan MacLean of the LoveDecember 25, 1998 – Bryan Andrew MacLean was born in Beverley Hills, California on September 25, 1946. Bryan’s father was an architect to the Hollywood stars and his mother an artist and a dancer. Neighbour Fritz Loew of the composers Lener & Loew recognized him as a melodic genius at the age of three as he doodled on the piano. Bryan’s gift for music was duly noted and he was given piano lessons and taught classical arrangement theory. Bryan’s early influences were more Billie Holliday and George Gershwin rather than Robert Johnson, although he confessed a strong obsession for Elvis Presley. During his childhood he wore out show music records from ‘Guys & Dolls’, ‘Oklahoma’, ‘South Pacific’ and ‘West Side Story’.

His first girlfriend was Liza Minelli and they would sit at the piano together and sing songs like ‘The Wizard of Oz’. He learned to swim in Elizabeth Taylor’s pool and his father’s best friend was Robert Stack from T.V’s ‘Untouchables’. At 17 Bryan encountered the Beatles, “Before the Beatles I had been into folk music. I had been showing my art work at a panel shop (I wanted to be an artist in the bohemian tradition) – where we would sit around with banjos and do folk music, but when I saw ‘A Hard Days Night’ everything changed. I let my hair grow out and I got kicked out of three high schools.”

Bryan started playing guitar in 1963/64. He got a job at the Balladeer before it changed its name to the Troubadour Club, playing back-up blues guitar. It was here he met the pre Byrds Jet Set while dating Jackie De Shannon and he became ‘fast friends’ with David Crosby. He moved away from home and by early 1965 he became road manager for the Byrds on their first Californian tour with the Rolling Stones. He managed one more cross-country tour with the group after they hit big with ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ but the exhausting 30 one nighters broke him physically and when the Byrds left for their first U.K. tour in the summer of 1965 they left Bryan behind.

After an unsuccessful audition for a part in the Monkees Bryan got into a car on Sunset Strip which Arthur Lee was driving. Arthur had a band called the Grass Roots doing a residency at the Brave New World Club and being street wise knew Bryan’s ‘connections’ with the Byrds. He knew all of the scene that followed the Byrds would follow Bryan if he invited him to see the band play at the club as the Byrds were out of town and sure enough after a couple of weeks the crowds were lined up and down the street for blocks. Bryan desperately wanted to join the band and he said, “I’d give my right arm to be in your group.” To which Arthur responded “No – you’re going to need it!” The Grass Roots became Love when another group registered a hit with the name.

Love were rapidly gaining a reputation as the ‘street band’ and Jac Holzman’s Elektra Records snapped them up and they hit big with their version of the Bacharach/David song ‘Little Red Book’ and a very successful first album to which Bryan contributed the beautiful ‘Softly To Me’ as well as co-writing two others and the Byrds arrangement of ‘Hey Joe’ which he sang. In a staggering progression in just nine months Love put out their second album “Da Capo” and the storming hit single – a pre punk blast of a song ‘7 & 7 is’. Bryan’s beautiful ‘Orange Skies’ was just one of the “6 sides of an uncut diamond” that formed side one of this classic “flower power” album. As the band threatened to implode with addiction to hard drugs taking hold; sessions for what would turn out to be one of the classic albums of the “summer of love” began. Bryan’s ‘Alone Again Or’ was the opening cut on ‘Forever Changes’ and although Arthur mixed Bryan’s lead vocal under his own harmony vocal it is still Bryan’s song that Love are remembered for as it has gone on to become a radio classic and Bryan lived most of his life on its royalties as it was covered by the Damned and UFO amongst others. Although Arthur’s songs crowded out Bryan’s, it is Bryan who believed he influenced Arthur more than the other way around. “What you have on the second and third Love albums is a black guy from L.A. writing show tunes.”

Bryan admits to an addiction to heroin at this point in his life and had a near death experience where he overdosed after leaving Love. Meanwhile band members Ken Forssi (bass) and Johnny Echols (lead guitar) were busted for heroin and armed robbery – they were known as the ‘Doughnut Stand Robbers!’ – and served time in San Quentin and the original Love fell apart.

After an aborted attempt at a solo career – his demos were rejected by Elektra – Bryan wrote film music that wasn’t used and tried without success to record an album for Capitol records in New York. He hit a real low point and shortly afterwards became a Christian, “I was alone in a hotel room in New York and I had lost practically everything. It occurred to me that I was in a tail-spin so I thought ‘well, why don’t I pray?’ So I did and nothing happened for about two or three weeks. At the end of that time, I was sitting in a drug store on 3rd Avenue having a drink and suddenly the drink turned to sand in my mouth and I left the bar and when I reached the pavement and daylight I knew something had changed and from that point on my life has been totally different.

Bryan joined a Christian Fellowship Church called the Vineyard, “The guy that led the church was the guy that converted Bob Dylan.” During Friday night Bible stints Bryan took the concert part of the session and was so amazed at the reaction he gradually assembled a catalogue of his Christian songs. His next move was to open a Christian night club in Beverley Hills called ‘The Daisy’ and when it closed in 1976 Bryan considered going full-time into the ministry but decided once again to devote himself to music. He played an unsuccessful reunion with Arthur in 1978 on two dates but wasn’t paid so he turned down the offer to join Arthur in a U.K. tour as the ‘original’ Love. Ironically the Bryan MacLean band got a gig supporting Arthur Lee’s Love at the Whisky in 1982 which resulted in a stoned Arthur constantly interrupting Bryan’s show and when physically rejected from the stage he threw a cup of hot coffee over Bryan, leaving him with, “a great sense of loss, over someone who’d once been a close friend.”

There were several attempts in the early 80’s to make a solo album for Rhino, which never came out due to Bryan’s continued problems with alcohol. In 1986 Bryan agreed to take Arthur’s place at a gig, as Arthur was too unwell to play the date.

Debbie Boone had a hit with Bryan’s song ‘You Light Up My Life’ which was on her album for which she won a Grammy in 1990 and he worked for a period with his half sister, Maria McKee writing one song for the debut album by Lone Justice ‘Don’t Toss Us Away’ while she went on to success, Bryan sank into obscurity. Then along with Arthur in the early 90’s he started to make a comeback.

Bryan freely admitted that the small amount of success he had with Love nearly killed him and indeed it was some thirty years on from his late 60’s hey day with Love that his Love demos were discovered by his mother Elizabeth in their garage and after 2 years of persistent and patient shopping around record companies a deal was struck with Sundazed and the CD ‘ifyoubelievein‘ was released in 1997 and was critically well received. He had completed a spiritual album of “spooky Christian music” and was about to record a brand new studio album. His famous song ‘Alone Again Or’ had been used on a Miller Draft advert in the U.S. and he’d just recorded a Spanish language version of the same song for the large Hispanic audience.

The mantle of Love had fallen on Bryan as his Love partner Arthur Lee was just two years into a twelve-year jail sentence for firearm offences.

It is a cruel irony that fate should deal him such a blow just as he was finally beginning to resurrect his career. Bryan died from a heart attack on December 25, 1998 in a restaurant. He was 52.

In the album’s liner notes, MacLean adds, “The music that is presented in this collection was written decades ago, when I was in the band Love, and was written with that band in mind, and had been intended to be performed by, and associated with the band, Love. I firmly believe that if things had been the other way around, by now, you probably would’ve already heard a great deal, if not all of what is assembled here. For one thing, I would’ve stuck around the band a lot longer, not feeling the frustration of having such a backlog of unpublished, and unperformed material, and the natural unfulfilled desire for recognition, or even vindication.”

“It’s, in a sense, the Love record that never was: solo demos and home recordings of fourteen original MacLean songs, all written in the earliest and most vital years of Love and all but three virtually unheard in any form since MacLean wrote them,” said David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine.


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Johnny Moore 12/1998

Johnny MooreDecember 30, 1998 – Johnny Moore was born Born John Alfred Moore in Selma, Alabama on December 14th 1934. He moved to Cleveland when he was a teenager. After singing in the church choir, he made his name with the Hornets, a doo-wop and gospel group. When the Drifters came to town, the young Johnny introduced himself backstage, showed off his falsetto and was hired on the spot at age 21.

He was first heard with the group on “Adorable”, a single recorded in September 1955 under the supervision of Nesuhi Ertegun (Ahmet’s brother) in Los Angeles. The song was a big hit and Atlantic soon released “Ruby Baby”, a Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller composition culled from the same session. Backing Moore at the time were Gerhard Trasher (tenor), his brother Andrew (baritone) and Bill Pinkney (bass).

By the time the Drifters recorded “Fools Fall in Love” in New York the following year, Andrew Trasher and Pinkney had been replaced by “Carnation” Charlie Hughes (baritone) and Tommy Evans (bass). They lost momentum and were soon eclipsed by the discharged McPhatter as Moore in turn was also drafted.

By 1958, major surgery was needed and Treadwell, who owned the rights to the group’s name, sacked the entire line-up and hired the Crowns – whose lead singer was Charlie Thomas – to fulfil the Drifters’ contractual obligations; they also assumed their name. Ben E. King was only in the studio to teach them his “There Goes My Baby” when he was asked to take over from Thomas (who continued to sing with the group) by the engineer Jerry Wexler.

Using soaring strings and a symphonic approach that prefigured the Spector wall of sound, Leiber and Stoller helped the Drifters cross over from the R&B market and hit No 2 on the pop charts. Following “Dance With Me”, “This Magic Moment” and “Save the Last Dance For Me” (a US No 1), Ben E. King argued with Treadwell over salaries and royalties and left for a solo career which started on a high. The immortal “Spanish Harlem” and “Stand By Me” (which Treadwell had turned down) looked like overshadowing the Drifters but, thanks to Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman’s “Sweets for My Sweet” (a British No 1 for the Searchers in 1963) and Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s sublime “Up on the Roof” the group came back in 1962.

After the gospel-like “On Broadway”, the Drifters, now comprising Rudy Lewis, Charlie Thomas, Gene Pearson, Johnny Terry, Abdul Samad and the returning Johnny Moore – who had briefly attempted a solo career as Johnny Darrow – were due to record with the producers Bert Berns and Mike Leander in June 1964.

After returning from the forces, he recorded as a soloist under the name “Johnny Darrow”, before rejoining the Drifters, now comprised of four new members, and became the lead singer in 1964 when their lead Rudy Lewis was found dead of a heart attack on the day of the session, Moore stepped into the lead role once again and the Drifters cut the poignant “Under the Boardwalk”, which reached No 4 in America. Johnny took over the lead vocals. Subsequently, he became permanent lead.

On another roll, the Moore-led Drifters worked with the finest writers from the Brill Building, the New York song factory. They cut Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann’s “Saturday Night at the Movies” and Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich’s “I’ll Take You Where the Music’s Playing” before losing direction as Atlantic made inroads into the rock market.

By 1971, the Drifters were relying on compilation albums and the cabaret circuit to earn a living. George Treadwell died and Faye, his second wife, assumed managerial control of the group still led by the trusted Johnny Moore (she later documented her trials and tribulations in Save the Last Dance For Me: the musical legacy, a book written with Tony Allan and published in 1993). The following year, Clyde McPhatter died but the Drifters came back stronger than ever.

Reissues of “At the Club” and “Come On Over to My Place” had been unlikely UK Top 10 hits in 1972 and the Drifters signed a deal with Bell Records the following year. Moving to Britain, they soon found another great bunch of songwriters in Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway, Geoff Stephens, Barry Mason, Les Reed and Tony Macaulay who proved apt at recreating the group’s classic ballad sound.

Starting with the soulful “Like Sister and Brother” and carrying on with the bouncy “Kissin’ in the Back Row of the Movies”, “There Goes My First Love”, “Can I Take You Home Little Girl”, “Hello Happiness” and “You’re More Than a Number in My Little Red Book”, the Drifters’ easy-listening incarnation became regulars on Top of the Pops in the mid-Seventies. However, none of the singles charted in America and the advent of disco saw the group retreat into nostalgia again.

In early 1982, the exhausted Moore quit and, with Joe Blunt and Clyde Brown, launched his own outfit, Slightly Adrift, based in London, where he had settled and married. Confusion reigned as Faye Treadwell ended an 11-year-old agreement with Henry Sellers, the group’s British promoter.

Various former members of the Drifters (by then numbering a conservative 50 plus) toured under the group’s name, incurring the wrath of supper- club promoters and punters alike who would see the act billed in different cities on the same night. Reuniting briefly with Ben E. King in 1984, Moore re-established his claim to the mantle but King left again when “Stand By Me” reached number one in 1987 after being featured in a Levi’s television commercial.

By then the Drifters had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, one of only three vocal groups at the time. Their huge repertoire of perennial million-sellers had become a staple of golden oldies stations and Bruce Willis thought nothing of impersonating Johnny Moore when covering “Under the Boardwalk” with the Temptations.

Beaming and smiling, Johnny Moore remained at the helm of the Drifters to the end. This versatile vocalist and supreme interpreter could claim to have sung on more than 80 per cent of their records. Indeed, he sang “Come On Over to My Place” on the BBC television show Winton’s Wonderland alongside Jimmy Nail, Jimmy Tarbuck and Barbara Windsor two weeks prior to his death. It was a measure of how far Moore and the Drifters had travelled into the mainstream.

He remained with the group when it moved to the United Kingdom in the 1970s, and remained the group’s longest serving member- he was in the group until his death in 1998. He died suddenly in London, while on the way to hospital on Dec 30, 1998 at age 64. He was given a posthumous Pioneer Award in 1999 by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.


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Frank Sinatra 5/1998

Frank SINATRAMay 14, 1998 – Frank Sinatra  was born on December 12, 1915

American singer and actor; arguably the most important popular music figure of the 20th century, his only real rival for the title being Elvis Presley. He began his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, he became a successful solo artist in the early to mid-40s, being the idol of the “bobby soxers.”

His professional career had stalled by the 1950s, but it was reborn in 1954 after he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his performance in From Here to Eternity. He signed with Capitol Records and released several critically lauded albums, In the Wee Small Hours, Songs for Swingin’ Lovers, Come Fly with Me, Only the Lonely and Nice ‘n’ Easy. Continue reading Frank Sinatra 5/1998

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Eddie Rabbitt 5/1998

eddie-rabbittMay 7, 1998 – Eddie Rabbitt was born on November 27th 1941 in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up in New Jersey from where he moved to Nashville to start a career as a songwriter in the late 1960s, springboarding to a recording career after penning such hits as “Kentucky Rain” for Elvis Presley in 1970 and “Pure Love” for Ronnie Milsap in 1974.

One of country music’s most innovative crossover artists during the late ’70s and early ’80s, Eddie Rabbitt made contributions to the format that have often gone overlooked. Especially in songs like the R&B-inflected “Suspicions” and the rockin’ “Someone Could Lose a Heart Tonight,” Rabbitt challenged the commonly recognized creative boundaries of the idiom. After he moved to Nashville, it took a few years to get his recording career off the ground, while he paid the rent through songwriting, authoring Elvis Presley’s “Kentucky Rain” and Ronnie Milsap’s “Pure Love.”

Eddie continued to write professionally until 1975, when he signed with Elektra Records’ newly established country division. Initially, Rabbitt made recordings that were decidedly country — mostly uptempo material, like “Two Dollars in the Jukebox” and “Drinkin’ My Baby (Off My Mind)” — with thick, inimitable harmonies, most of them overdubbed by Rabbitt himself.

However, with the assistance of his then-associates David Malloy and Even Stevens, Rabbitt’s records became “progressively progressive.” In 1976, he started a string of Top Ten hits that ran uninterrupted until 1989. During that time, he had 16 number one singles, including “Drinkin’ My Baby (Off My Mind)” (1976), “You Don’t Love Me Anymore” (1978), “Every Which Way But Loose” (1979), “Drivin’ My Life Away” (1980), “I Love a Rainy Night” (1980), “Step by Step” (1980), and “You and I,” a 1982 duet with Crystal Gayle, all of which which also topped the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks.

His duets “Friends and Lovers” and “You and I”, with Juice Newton and Crystal Gayle respectively, later served as the themes for the soap operas Days of Our Lives and All My Children.

In the late ’80s he returned to more traditional sounds, as his country shuffle “On Second Thought” demonstrates, but it was too late for Rabbitt to return to the top of the country charts, since he had already been supplanted by a newer generation of artists. The terminal kidney ailment of his son Timmy also factored in his decision to only sporadically record and perform during the ’90s.

In 1997, Rabbitt was diagnosed with lung cancer; the disease claimed his life on May 7, 1998. The LP From the Heart was issued posthumously.

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Linda McCartney 4/1998

linda mccarthyApril 17, 1998 – Linda Louise, Lady McCartney (Wings) was born Linda Eastman on September 24, 1941 in New York City.  Prior to marrying Paul, she was a professional photographer of celebrities and contemporary musicians, with her work published in music industry magazines. Her photos were also published in the book, Linda McCartney’s Sixties: Portrait of an Era, in 1992.

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Wendy Williams 4/1998

wendy-o-williamsApril 6, 1998 – Wendy Williams was born on May 28, 1949 in Webster, New York. She studied clarinet at the Community Music School program of the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music and later was a clarinetist in her high school’s concert band. At the age of six, she appeared tap-dancing on the Howdy Doody show as a member of the “Peanut Gallery”.

She had her first run-in with the law at the age of 15, when she was arrested for sun bathing nude. Williams attended R. L. Thomas High School in Webster at least partway through the tenth grade, but left school before graduating. Her schoolmates and teachers recalled Williams as a “shy and pretty girl, an average student who played in the junior high band, paid attention to her hair and clothes, and who spoke so softly you had to lean toward her to hear her.

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Cozy Powell 4/1998

cozypowellApril 5, 1998 – Colin Trevor Cozy Powell/Colin Flooks (birthname) was born December 29th 1947 in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and was adopted.  He started playing drums at age 12 in the school orchestra.

The first band Powell was in, called the Corals, played each week at the youth club in Cirencester. At age 15 he had already worked out an impressive drum solo. The stage name ‘Cozy’ was borrowed from the jazz drummer Cozy Cole.

The semi-professional circuit was next, with semi-pro outfit The Sorcerers, a vocal harmony pop band. The late nights and usual on-the-road exploits began to affect his education, and Powell left to take an office job to finance the purchase of his first set of Premier drums. The Sorcerers performed in the German club scene of the 1960s.

By 1968 the band had returned to England, basing themselves around Birmingham. Powell struck up friendships with fellow musicians like Robert Plant and John Bonham (both at the time unknowns in Listen), future Slade vocalist Noddy Holder, bassist Dave Pegg and a young Tony Iommi. The Sorcerers now became Young Blood, and a series of singles were released in late 1968–69. The group then linked up with The Move’s bassist/singer Ace Kefford to form The Ace Kefford Stand. Five recorded tracks are available on the Ace Kefford album ‘Ace The Face’ released by Sanctuary Records in 2003. Powell also began session work. Powell with fellow Sorcerers Dave and Denny Ball formed Big Bertha.

By 1970 he played with swamp rocker Tony Joe White at the Isle of Wight Festival and went on to work with the Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Graham Bonnet & The Hooligans, Gary Moore, Robert Plant, Whitesnake, Brian May, Emerson,Lake and Powell, Black Sabbath and as a soloist, top session player and freelance drummer.

To cash in on his chart success the drummer formed Cozy Powell’s Hammer in April 1974. The line-up included Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake/Jethro Tull on guitar), Clive Chamen (bass), Don Airey (keyboards) and Frank Aiello (Bedlam) on vocals. Clive Chamen was replaced on bass by Neil Murray in the band in early 1975 for the RAK Rocks Britain Tour. “Na Na Na” was a UK No. 10 hit, and another single “Le Souk” was recorded but never released. Sharing a love of the power-trio set up (Cream), Cozy Powell formed a band with guitarist Clem Clempson and bassist Greg Ridley (Humble Pie), but when this fell apart Cozy temporarily quit the music business to take up motorcycle racing.

In 1975 he joined Rainbow. Powell and Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple) were the only constants in the band’s line-up over the next five years, as Blackmore evolved the sound of the band from a neo-classical hard rock/heavy metal to a more commercial AOR sound. Rainbow’s 1979 Down to Earth LP (from which singles “Since You Been Gone” and “All Night Long” are taken) proved to be the band’s most successful album thus far; however, Powell was concerned over the overtly commercial sound. Powell decided to leave Rainbow, although not before they headlined the first ever Monsters of Rock show at Castle Donington, England on 16 August 1980. The festival was Powell’s last show with the band.

After Powell left Rainbow he worked with vocalist Graham Bonnet (he too an ex-Rainbow member) on Bonnet’s new project called Graham Bonnet & The Hooligans, their most notable single being the UK top 10 single “Night Games” (1981), also on Bonnet’s solo Line Up album. For the rest of the 1980s, Powell assumed short-term journeyman roles with a number of major bands – Michael Schenker Group from 1981 to 1982, and Whitesnake from 1982 to 1985. In 1985 he started recording with Phenomena for their self-titled first album, which was released the same year, when he joined up with Keith Emerson and Greg Lake as a member of Emerson, Lake & Powell. He also worked briefly with another new supergroup named Forcefield along with Bonnet and later Tony Martin on vocals, former Ian Gillan Band Ray Fenwick and former Focus Jan Akkerman on the guitars, Neil Murray and later Laurence Cottle on bass. Cottle would eventually join as a session player for the recording of Black Sabbath’s Headless Cross and again was replaced by Murray following that tour.

Powell worked with Gary Moore in 1989, followed by stints with Black Sabbath from 1988 to 1991, and again in 1994–1995. Between late 1992 and early 1993, Powell put together an occasional touring band using the old band name ‘Cozy Powell’s Hammer’ featuring himself on drums, Neil Murray on bass, Mario Parga on guitar and Tony Martin on vocals and occasional rhythm guitar/synth module. The band performed throughout Europe and appeared on German television. Powell made headlines in 1991 when he appeared on the BBC children’s programme Record Breakers, where he set a world record for the most drums (400) played in under one minute, live on television.

Powell along with Neil Murray were members of Brian May‘s band, playing on the Back to the Light and Another World albums. He played with May opening for Guns N’ Roses on the second American leg of their Use Your Illusion tour in 1993. The duo also served a spell with blues guitarist Peter Green in the mid-nineties. Powell briefly joined Yngwie Malmsteen for the album Facing the Animal in 1997. Powell’s last recording session was for Colin Blunstone‘s The Light Inside, alongside Don Airey, which was released shortly after Powell’s death. The final solo album by Cozy Powell Especially for You was released in 1998 after his death, and featured American vocalist John West, Neil Murray, Lonnie Park, Michael Casswell and others.

Powell died on 5 April, 1998 following a car accident while driving his Saab 9000 at 104 mph (167 km/h) in bad weather on the M4 motorway near Bristol. He had been dating a married woman who was having troubles with her husband. Upset, she phoned him on 5 April 1998 and asked him to come quickly to her house which was approximately 35 miles away. As he was driving to her house she phoned him again and asked “Where are you?” He informed her he was on his way and then she heard him say “Oh shit!” followed by a loud bang.

Powell was ejected through the windscreen and died at the scene.According to the BBC report, at the time of the crash Powell’s blood-alcohol reading was over the legal limit, and he was not wearing a seat belt, in addition to talking with his girlfriend on his mobile phone. The official investigation also found evidence of a slow puncture in a rear tyre that, it was suggested, could well have caused a sudden collapse of the tyre with a consequent loss of control of the car. He was 50.

He was living at Lambourn in Berkshire at the time and had returned to the studio shortly before his death to record with Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green. At the time of death Cozy had recently had to pull out of tour rehearsals with Yngwie Malmsteen, having suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident. One of his last phone calls, to Joe Geesin (his fanclub editor), was to express distress about this, to describe the physio treatment he was undergoing, and to voice his enthusiasm for the then forthcoming Brian May tour.

A memorial plaque in Cirencester was unveiled on January 7th, 2016, in a ceremony led by Brian May with Suzi Quatro, Bernie Marsden, Neil Murray, Don Airey and Tony Iommi, also in attendance.

Powell appeared on at least 66 albums, with contributions on many other recordings. Many rock drummers have cited him as a major influence. Considered to be one of England’s finest drummers and very much in demand for rock and pop records, Cozy is legendary for his heavy-hitting style that he made to work with many kinds of rock music, whether it be for the thundering pop productions or the softer rock ballads

(Cozy died in hospital following a car crash, driving his Saab 9000 in bad weather on the M4 motorway near Bristol. While talking to his girlfriend on his mobile phone, he lost control and crashed into the central barriers.

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Rob Pilatus 4/1998

Milli VanilliApril 2, 1998 – Robert ‘Rob’ Pilatus  (Milli Vanilli) was born June 8th 1965 in Munich, Germany. The son of an African American soldier and a German mother, he was later adopted by a German family and raised in Munich. He worked as a model and break dancer before joining Milli Vanilli, a pop/dance music project formed by Frank Farian in Germany in 1988, fronted by Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus.

Their debut platinum album “Girl You Know It’s True” became a worldwide platinum hit and produced five hit singles including 3 No.1 hits, “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You”, “Baby Don’t Forget My Number” and “Blame It On The Rain”. The album won them the 1990 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. In reality however Pilatus and Morvan served as the public faces for singers Charles Shaw and Brad Howell, whom Farian thought were vocally talented but lacked a marketable image.

Despite the enormous success, the duo were a frequent target of rumours and allegations of onstage lip-synching and not having sung on the album. Charles Shaw, one of the actual vocalists, told a reporter the truth, but retracted his statement after Farian paid him $150,000.

When Pilatus and Morvan pressured Farian to let them sing on the next album, Farian admitted to reporters on 15 November 1990 that they had not performed on the recordings. Milli Vanilli’s Grammy Award was withdrawn four days later, and Arista Records dropped them from its roster and deleted their album and songs from their catalog, making Girl You Know It’s True the largest-selling album to ever be taken out of print. A court ruling in the United States allowed anyone who had bought the album to receive a refund.

Farian later attempted an unsuccessful comeback for the group without Pilatus and Morvan. Months after the scandal, Pilatus and Morvan appeared in a commercial for Carefree sugarless chewing gum. In it the duo lip-synched to an opera recording. An announcer asked, “How long does the taste of Carefree Sugarless Gum last?” The record began to skip and the announcer added, “Until these guys sing for themselves.”

In 1991, Pilatus called the Los Angeles Times threatening suicide; he had to be retrieved from a hotel balcony by police.

In 1992, Pilatus and Morvan signed with a new label, Taj, and released Rob & Fab, an album featuring their own voices, but the album only sold around 2,000 copies. The label went bankrupt shortly thereafter.

After this failed comeback attempt, Rob turned to a life of crime and in 1996, he served three months in jail for assault, vandalism and attempted robbery. He also spent six months on drug rehabilitation, before returning to Germany.

He died from a drug overdose on April 2, 1998 at the age of 32 in a Frankfurt hotel room — possibly the victim, former producer Frank Farian told the German media, of a combination of alcohol and prescription pills.

On February 14, 2007, it was announced that Universal Pictures was developing a film based on the story of Milli Vanilli’s rise and fall in the music industry.

Milli Vanilli partner Fabrice Morvan released a statement, saying in part, ”Milli Vanilli was not a disgrace. The only disgrace is how Rob died, all alone….Where were the ones that pushed us to the top, who made the millions?”

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Judge Dread 3/1998

Judge DreadMarch 13, 1998 – Judge Dread was born Alex Minto Hughes on May 2nd 1945.

Although often dismissed as a novelty act, Judge Dread was actually a groundbreaking artist. Not only did he put more reggae records onto the U.K. chart than anyone else (Bob Marley included), he was also the first white artist to actually have a reggae hit in Jamaica. The Judge also holds the record for having the most songs banned by the BBC, 11 in all, which incidentally is precisely the number of singles he placed on the charts.
Judge Dread was born Alex Hughes in Kent, England. In his teens, he moved into a West Indian household in the Caribbean neighborhood of Brixton. Hughes was a large man, which helped determine his early career as a bouncer at the Brixton’s Ram Jam club. He also acted as a bodyguard for the likes of Prince Buster, Coxsone Dodd, and Duke Reid. There was a spell as a professional wrestler, under the mighty moniker the Masked Executioner, and even a job as muscle for Trojan Records, collecting debts.

By the end of the ’60s, Hughes was working as a DJ with a local radio station and running his own sound system. It was Prince Buster who provided the impetus for Hughes’ metamorphosis into a recording artist. The DJ was so taken by Buster’s seminal “Big Five” that he went into Trojan’s studio to record his own follow-up. Over the rhythm of Verne & Son’s “Little Boy Blue,” Hughes recited a slew of hilariously rude nursery rhymes. It was by sheer chance that Trojan label head Lee Gopthal walked by during the recording; impressed, he immediately signed the DJ. His song was titled “Big Six” and Hughes chose the name Judge Dread in honor of Buster. The single was released, aptly enough, on the Trojan label imprint Big Shot. Initially an underground hit, once Trojan signed a distribution deal with EMI later in 1972, the single rocketed up the charts, even though the distributors refused to carry the record. The song was also a hit with a radio ban as well, and Trojan’s disingenuous cries that it wasn’t about sex were met with the same scorn as Max Romeo’s “Wet Dream,” the first of the rude reggae hits. The ban was no more effective this time either, and the single rocketed to number 11, spending six months on the chart. “Big Six” was just as enormous in Jamaica, and before the year was out Dread was in Kingston performing before an excited crowd. Those nearest the stage assumed the white man milling around was Dread’s bodyguard or perhaps his manager, at least until he stepped up to the mic. An audible gasp arose from the crowd as no one in Jamaica had considered the possibility that the Judge was white.

Back in Britain, “Big Seven” was even bigger than its predecessor, thrusting its way up to number eight. It too was an innuendo-laced nursery rhyme, toasted over a perfect rocksteady rhythm and reggae beat. In the new year, “Big Eight” shot up the chart as well. Amazingly though, Judge Dread’s debut album, Dreadmania, failed to even scrape the bottom reaches of the chart. However, the British continued to have an insatiable desire for his singles. In the midst of all this rudeness, in faraway Ethiopia people were dying, so he helped organize a benefit concert starring the Wailers and Desmond Dekker, and also released the benefit single “Molly.” The single was the first of Dread’s releases not to boast a single sexual innuendo, but radio stations banned it anyway and the charity record failed to chart. In an attempt to receive some airplay, Dread released singles under the pseudonym JD Alex and Jason Sinclair, but the BBC wasn’t fooled and banned them regardless of content.

The artist’s second album, Working Class ‘Ero, which arrived in 1974, also failed to chart. “Big Nine,” released that June, and “Grandad’s Flannelette Nightshirt,” which arrived in December, turned out to be just as limp. Judge Dread seemed to have lost his potency and both singles lacked the thrusting naughtiness of their predecessors. However, the DJ shot back up the chart the following year with “Je T’aime,” a cover which managed to be even more suggestive than the original. The ever-enlarging “Big Ten” took the artist back into the Top Ten that autumn; and the “Big” series eventually ended at a ruler-defying 12. A new album, Bedtime Stories, just missed the Top 25, while the double A-sided single “Christmas in Dreadland”/”Come Outside” proved to be the perfect holiday offering. The hits kept coming, although none would again break into the Top 25. In the spring, The Winkle Man sidled its way up Number 35. The Latin flair of “Y’Viva Suspenders” proved more popular in August 1976, but failed to give a leg up to the Last of the Skinheads album.

Britain was now in the grips of punk, but Judge Dread was bemoaning the lack of reggae in clubs, and wishing to “Bring Back the Skins,” one of a quartet of songs on his February 1977 5th Anniversary EP. However, the artist was capable of writing more than rude hits. One of his songs, “A Child’s Prayer,” was picked out by Elvis Presley, who intended on recording it as a Christmas present for his daughter. However, he died before he had the chance. In the autumn, the delightfully daft barnyard mayhem of “Up With the Cock” scraped into the Top 50. Dread’s raging affair with the charts ended in December 1978, with the holiday flavored “Hokey Cokey”/”Jingle Bells.” It had been quite a run and 1980’s 40 Big Ones summed it all up.

Dread sporadically continued releasing albums, which were still bought by hardcore fans. He also continued touring, playing to small, but avid audiences. His last show was at a Canterbury club, on March 13, 1998. As the set finished, the consummate performer turned to the audience and said, “Let’s hear it for the band.” They were his final words. As the mighty Judge walked offstage, he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 52.

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Falco 2/1998

FalcoFebruary 6, 1998 – Falco was born Johann (Hans) Hölzel in Vienna, Austria on February 19th 1957. Falco began to show signs of unusual musical talent very early. As a toddler, he was able to keep time with the drumbeat in songs he heard on the radio. He was given a baby grand piano for his fourth birthday; a year later, his birthday gift was a record player which he used to play music by Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, and the Beatles. At age five, he auditioned for the Vienna Music Academy, where it was confirmed that he had perfect pitch.

In 1963, Hölzel began his schooling at a Roman Catholic private school; four years later, at age ten, he switched to the Rainer Gymnasium in Vienna. Shortly thereafter his father Alois Hölzel left the family. From then on, Hölzel was raised by his mother and grandmother and remained very close to them all his life.

He left school at sixteen in 1973 due to absenteeism. His mother then insisted he begin an apprenticeship with the Austrian employee pension insurance institute, but this only lasted a short time. At seventeen, he volunteered for eight months of military service with the Austrian army.

In 1974 he became the bassist for the music group, Umspannwerk. He had entered the Vienna Music Conservatory in 1977, but left after one semester to “become a real musician”. For a short time, he lived in West Berlin while singing in a jazz-rock band and exploring the club scene. When he returned to Vienna he was calling himself “Falco”, reportedly in tribute to the East German ski jumper Falko Weißpflog (he changed one letter to make the name more international), and playing in the Austrian bands Spinning Wheel and Hallucination Company.

En route to becoming an international rock star in his own right, he was bass player in the Austrian hard rock-punk rock band Drahdiwaberl (from 1978 until 1983). With Drahdiwaberl he wrote and performed the song “Ganz Wien” (“All of Vienna”), which he would also include on his debut solo album, Einzelhaft (Solitary Confinement). He also played bass with the space disco band Ganymed in 1981.

In 1981, a solo effort written by Robert Ponger and Falco, ‘Der Kommissar,’ reached number one in German-speaking countries and Scandinavia by January 1982 and was followed by his first album, ‘Einzelhaft.’ In 1985 he recorded the single ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ which became a worldwide hit by 1986 topping the charts in the United States, Austria, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Russia, Sweden, South Africa, and New Zealand. The follow up album, ‘Falco 3′ included ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ as well as a second international hit, ‘Vienna Calling.’

With “Rock Me Amadeus” he is the first and only artist to date whose principal language was German to score a number-one hit in the U.S. His estate claims he has sold 40 million albums and 20 million singles to date, which makes him one the second best selling Austrian singers ever. Udo Jurgens outranks every one with more than 100 million album sales worldwide.

Later that year, he was awarded a Golden Bambi as the most successful German-language pop singer of the year. His international fame faded as quickly it had grown however, and he failed to chart any of his five released albums outside of Germany and Austria after 1987. His attempt to re-enter the American charts with the 1992 song ‘Titanic’ which netted him a number of awards, but failed to chart.

In the spring of 1993 he headed a successful tour of Austria, Germany, Switzerland and European Russia, but he would not record again for three years. In 1996 he released the single, ‘Naked’ which sold well in Austria, but was a flop elsewhere. He began work on an album in the summer of 1997, but remained unhappy with the work throughout, postponing the release date several times.

On February 6, 1998, while vacationing in the Dominican Republic, his car collided with a bus while he reportedly was attempting to merge into highway traffic near the resort city of Puerto Plata. He succumbed to injuries sustained, his body was returned to Austria for burial. The coroner revealed that he was under the influence of alcohol, cocaine and marijuana at the time of the accident.

Falco died of severe head injuries He was 40 years 11 months 18 days old.

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Carl Wilson 2/1998

Carl WilsonFebruary 6, 1998- Carl Dean Wilson was born on December 21, 1946 in Hawthorne, California. From his pre-teens he practiced harmony vocals under the guidance of his brother Brian, who often sang in the family music room with his mother and brothers.

Inspired by country star Spade Cooley, at the age of 12, Carl asked his parents to buy him a guitar, for which he took some lessons. In 1982, Carl remembered from this time: “The kid across the street, David Marks, was taking guitar lessons from John Maus, so I started, too. David and I were about 12 and John was only three years older, but we thought he was a shit-hot guitarist. John and his sister Judy did fraternity gigs together as a duo. Later John moved to England and became one of the Walker Brothers. He showed me some fingerpicking techniques and strumming stuff that I still use. When I play a solo, he’s still there.”

While Brian perfected the band’s vocal style and keyboard base, Carl’s Chuck Berry-esque guitar became an early Beach Boys trademark. While in high school, Carl also studied saxophone.

Turning 15 as the group’s first hit, “Surfin'”, broke locally in Los Angeles, Carl’s father and manager, Murry (who had sold his business to support his sons’ band), bought him a Fender Jaguar guitar. Carl developed as a musician and singer through the band’s early recordings and the early “surf lick” sound quickly evolved into the rock sophistication of “Fun, Fun, Fun”, recorded in 1964 when Carl was 17. By the end of 1964, he was diversifying, favoring the 12-string Rickenbacker that was also notably used by Roger McGuinn in establishing the sound of the Byrds and by George Harrison of The Beatles during this era. Dave Marsh, in The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll (1976), stated that Pete Townshend of The Who expanded on both R&B and white rock “influenced heavily by Beach Boy Carl Wilson.”

Carl’s lead vocals in the band’s first three years were infrequent. Although all members of the band played on their early recordings, Brian began to employ experienced session musicians to play on the group’s instrumental tracks by 1965. Unlike the other members of the band, Carl often played alongside with session musicians. He also recorded his individual guitar leads during the Beach Boys’ vocal sessions, with his guitar plugged directly into the soundboard. His playing can be heard on tracks like 1965’s “Girl Don’t Tell Me” and 1966’s “That’s Not Me”.

In 1965 he took over as lead singer in and part running the band in 1966, and then fully in 1970.

In 1969, the Beach Boys’ rendition of “I Can Hear Music” was the first track produced solely by Carl Wilson. By then, he had effectively become the band’s in-studio leader, producing the bulk of the albums during the early 1970s.

Though Carl had written surf instrumentals for the band in the early days, he did not gain prominence as a songwriter until the 1971 album Surf’s Up, for which he composed “Long Promised Road” and “Feel Flows”, with lyrics by the band’s then manager Jack Rieley. Carl considered “Long Promised Road” his first real song. After producing the majority of Carl and the Passions – “So Tough” (1972) and Holland (1973), Carl’s leadership role diminished somewhat, due to Brian’s brief public reemergence and because of Carl’s own substance abuse problems.

For L.A. (Light Album) (1979), Carl contributed three songs, among them “Good Timin'”, co-written with Brian five years earler, which became a Top 40 American hit. Carl’s main writing partner in the late 1970s was Geoffrey Cushing-Murray, but for Keepin’ the Summer Alive (1980) he wrote with Randy Bachman of the band Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Carl told Michael Feeney Callan, writer-director of the 1993 documentary The Beach Boys Today (a celebration of the Beach Boys’ 30th anniversary), that Bachman was his favorite writing partner, accordingly: “Basically because he rocked, and I love to rock”.

As a producer and vocalist, Carl’s work was not confined to the Beach Boys. He was widely regarded to have had one of the finest voices in rock and his voice appears as a backing vocal on many recordings by groups and solo singers during the 1970s, while he also produced records for other artists, such as Ricci Martin (son of Dean Martin) and South African group the Flame, two members of which later temporarily joined the Beach Boys’ line-up. He lent backing vocals to many works, including Chicago’s hits “Baby, What a Big Surprise” and “Wishing You Were Here” (with Al Jardine and brother Dennis), Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (with Bruce Johnston), David Lee Roth’s hit cover of “California Girls”, Warren Zevon’s “Desperados Under the Eaves”, and the Carnie/Wendy Wilson holiday track “Hey Santa!” Carl also recorded a duet with Olivia Newton-John, titled “You Were Great, How Was I?”, for her studio album, “Soul Kiss” (1985). It was not released as a single.

In 1981 he released a solo album, Carl Wilson, followed by Youngblood, in 1983. By the time of its release in 1983 he had rejoined the Beach Boys. Although Youngblood did not chart, a single, the John Hall-penned “What You Do To Me”, peaked at number 72, making Wilson the second Beach Boy to land a solo single on the Billboard Hot 100. Additionally, the song cracked the top 20 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.[6] Wilson frequently performed that song and “Rockin’ All Over the World” (from the same album), as well as “Heaven” from the 1981 album, at Beach Boys’ concerts in the 1980s. “Heaven” was always announced as a tribute to brother Dennis, who drowned in December 1983.

The Beach Boys’ 1985 eponymous album prominently featured Wilson’s lead vocals and songwriting, highlighted by his “It’s Gettin’ Late” (another top 20 Adult Contemporary hit) and the “Heaven”-like “Where I Belong”.

In 1988, the Beach Boys scored their biggest chart success in more than 20 years with the US Number 1 song “Kokomo”, co-written by Mike Love, on which Carl sang lead in the chorus. After this, Love increasingly dominated the band’s recorded output and became the driving force behind the album Summer in Paradise (1993), the first and only Beach Boys album with no input from Brian in any form. In 1992, Carl told Michael Feeney Callan his hope was to record new material by Brian. “Speaking for myself”, he told Callan, “I only want to record inspired music“.

Carl continued recording through the 1990s and participated in the Don Was-led recordings of Brian’s “Soul Searchin'” and “You’re Still a Mystery”, songs conceived as the basis of an aborted Brian Wilson/Beach Boys album.[citation needed] He also recorded the album Like a Brother with Robert Lamm and Gerry Beckley, while continuing to tour with the Beach Boys until the last months of his life.

A cigarette smoker since the age of 13, Carl was diagnosed with lung cancer after becoming ill at his vacation home in Hawaii, in early 1997. Despite his illness, Carl continued to perform while undergoing chemotherapy. He played and sang throughout the Beach Boys’ entire summer tour which ended in the fall of 1997. During the performances, he sat on a stool, but he stood while singing “God Only Knows”.

Carl died of lung cancer at the age of 51 in Los Angeles, surrounded by his family, on February 6, 1998, just two months after the death of his mother.


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Carl Perkins 1/1998

Carl Perkins19 January 1998 – Carl Perkins was born April 9th 1932 near Tiptonville, Tennessee, the son of poor sharecroppers, Buck and Louise Perkins (misspelled on his birth certificate as “Perkings”). He grew up hearing Southern gospel music sung by whites in church, and by African American field workers when he started working in the cotton fields at age six. During spring and autumn, the school day would be followed by several hours of work in the fields. During the summer, workdays were 12–14 hours, “from can to can’t.” Perkins and his brother Jay together would earn 50 cents a day. With all family members working and not having any credit, there was enough money for beans and potatoes, some tobacco for Perkins’ father Buck, and occasionally the luxury of a five-cent bag of hard candy.

During Saturday nights Perkins would listen to the radio with his father and hear the Grand Ole Opry, and Roy Acuff’s broadcasts on the Opry inspired him to ask his parents for a guitar. Because they could not afford a real guitar, Perkins’ father fashioned one from a cigar box and a broomstick. When a neighbor in tough straits offered to sell his dented and scratched Gene Autry model guitar with worn-out strings, Buck purchased it for a couple of dollars.

For the next year Perkins’ taught himself parts of Acuff’s “Great Speckled Bird” and “The Wabash Cannonball”, which he had heard on the Opry. He also cited the fast playing and vocals of Bill Monroe as an early influence.
Perkins began learning more about playing his guitar from a fellow field worker named John Westbrook who befriended him. “Uncle John,” as Perkins called him, was an African American in his sixties who played blues and gospel on his battered acoustic guitar. Most famously, “Uncle John” advised Perkins when playing the guitar to “Get down close to it. You can feel it travel down the strangs, come through your head and down to your soul where you live. You can feel it. Let it vib-a-rate.

Because Perkins could not afford new strings when they broke, he retied them. The knots would cut into his fingers when he tried to slide to another note, so he began bending the notes, stumbling onto a type of “blue note.”
Perkins was recruited to be a member of the Lake County Fourth Grade Marching Band, and because of the Perkins’ limited finances, was given a new white shirt, cotton pants, white band cap and red cape by Miss Lee McCutcheon, who was in charge of the band.
In January 1947, Buck Perkins moved his family from Lake County, Tennessee, to Madison County, Tennessee. A new radio that ran on house current rather than a battery and the proximity of Memphis made it possible for Perkins to hear a greater variety of music.

At age fourteen years, using the I IV V chord progression common to country songs of the day (three chords and the truth), he wrote what came to be known around Jackson as “Let Me Take You To the Movie, Magg” (the song would convince Sam Phillips to sign Perkins to his Sun Records label). In these years Perkins  also worked during the day at Colonial Baking Company in Jackson Tennessee as a baker.

Most of the music stuff Perkins did in the early years was early country with an occasional rock-a-billy influence. Sun label owner Sam Phillips commenting on Perkins’ playing, has been quoted as saying that, “I knew that Carl could rock and in fact he told me right from the start that he had been playing that music before Elvis came out on record … I wanted to see whether this was someone who could revolutionize the country end of the business.

That same autumn in 1955, Perkins wrote “Blue Suede Shoes” after seeing a dancer get angry with his date for scuffing up his shoes. Several weeks later, on December 19, 1955, Perkins and his band recorded the song during a session at Sun Studio in Memphis. Phillips suggested changes to the lyrics (“Go, cat, go”) and the band changed the end of the song to a “boogie vamp”. Presley left Sun for a larger opportunity with RCA in November, and on December 19, 1955, Phillips, who had begun recording Perkins in late 1954, told Perkins, “Carl Perkins, you’re my rockabilly cat now.

Released on January 1, 1956, “Blue Suede Shoes” was a massive chart success. In the United States, it scored No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s country music charts (the only No. 1 success he would have) and No. 2 on Billboard’s Best Sellers popular music chart. On March 17, Perkins became the first country artist to score No. 3 on the rhythm & blues charts. That night, Perkins performed the song during his television debut on ABC-TV’s Ozark Jubilee (Presley performed it for the second time that same night on CBS-TV’s Stage Show; he’d first sung it on the program on February 11).

In the United Kingdom, the song became a Top Ten success, scoring No. 10 on the British charts. It was the first record by a Sun label artist to sell a million copies. The B side, “Honey Don’t”, was covered by the Beatles, Wanda Jackson and (in the 1970s) T. Rex. John Lennon sang lead on the song when the Beatles performed it before it was given to Ringo Starr to sing. Lennon also performed the song on the Lost Lennon Tapes.

In the next four decades as singer, guitarist, songwriter, a pioneer of rockabilly music, his influence as the quintessential rockabilly artist played a big part in the development of every generation of rockers since, from Jimi Hendrix to the Beatles’ George Harrison to the Stray Cats’ Brian Setzer.

Other Perkins’ songs include “Turn Around”, “Gone Gone Gone” “Dixie Fried”, “Put Your Cat Clothes On”, “Right String, Wrong Yo-Yo”, “You Can’t Make Love to Somebody”, “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby”, “That Don’t Move Me”, “Boppin’ the Blues” “Jive After Five”, “Rockin’ Record Hop”, “Levi Jacket (And a Long Tail Shirt)”, “Pop, Let Me Have the Car”, “Hambone”, “Pink Pedal Pushers”, “Anyway the Wind Blows”, “Pointed Toe Shoes”, and “Sister Twister” among many others. Carl was inducted into the Rock and Roll, the Rockabilly, and the Nashville Songwriters Halls of Fame; and was a Grammy Hall of Fame Award recipient.

Following the death of his brother Jay in 1958, Carl signed a deal with Columbia. Songs by country influenced singers such as Buddy Knox and the Everly Brothers were crossing over to the pop charts. Carl had some more minor pop hits with records such as Pink Pedal Pushers and Pointed Toe Shoes, but he eventually went back to country music. He signed with the Dollie label in 1963 and joined his friend Johnny Cash’s road show in 1965. He stayed with Cash for ten years, performing solo at times, and occasionally writing songs. Carl continued recording country songs into the 70’s. His brother Clayton passed away in 1974.

In the mid-70’s he appeared at the Wembley Festival in England and advertised his new album, Old Blue Suede Shoes Is Back Again, on British television. He worked with a five-man band that included his sons Stan and Gregg. He also collaborated with other notable artists over the years, including his work on the album The Million Dollar Quartet with Cash, Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis and on The Trio Plus with Lewis, Charley Pride, and The Judds and Billy Ray Cyrus.

Carl Perkins appeared in the 1985 film Into The Night and won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1986 for Blue Suede Shoes. He took his place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Carl Perkins was not only an international legend and entertainer, but locally he was a civic minded patron and founder of the Exchange Club – Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. In 1979, the news media in Jackson carried a local story about a child who died as a result of child abuse. Carl, a resident of Jackson, saw the child’s picture and thought the child resembled one of his own children. He was so moved by the tragic story, he helped to organize a successful concert and the proceeds generated were combined with funds received through a National Exchange Club Grant. This allowed the center to open its doors in October 1981. This was the first Exchange Club Center in Tennessee and the fourth nationwide.

In later years, Carl suffered a series of strokes. Though he had been ill, the news still stunned us all on January 19, 1998 when it was announced that Carl Perkins had died in Jackson. Carl had battled serious illness before. He was such a gentle soul. It just seemed he had always been and would continue to be the quiet king of rockabilly music.

The tributes were appropriate. A local radio special that included comments from everyone from Dolly Parton to Chet Atkins, Paul Simon to Johnny Rivers, Willie Nelson to Tom T. Hall.

A funeral service at Lambuth University that had everyone from Rufus Thomas to George Harrison, Jerry Lee Lewis to Ricky Scaggs, Garth Brooks to Sam Phillips, Narvel Felts to Wynona Judd in the chapel.

Only Carl Perkins could have drawn together such diversity in talent and generations. They all came because he had touched their lives. We still remember because he touched ours. Whether the music, the man, or the child abuse center named in his honor and for which he did so much, he lived, we shared and it all continues. Thanks, Carl for it all!

He died after two strokes on 19 January 1998 at 65 years of age.



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Junior Wells 1/1998

Junior WellsJanuary 15, 1998 – Junior Wells was born Amos Blakemore on December 9th 1934.

There is dispute however whether he was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in West Memphis, Arkansas, or that his birth was in West Memphis, Arkansas. Initially taught by his cousin, Junior Parker, and Sonny Boy Williamson II, Wells learned how to play the harmonica by the age of seven with surprising skill. He moved to Chicago in 1948 with his mother after her divorce and began sitting in with local musicians at house parties and taverns.

Wild and rebellious but needing an outlet for his talents, he began performing with The Aces (guitarist brothers Dave and Louis Myers and drummer Fred Below) and developed a more modern amplified harmonica style influenced by Little Walter. In 1952, he made his first recordings, when he replaced Little Walter in Muddy Waters’ band and appeared on one of Muddy’s sessions for Chess Records in 1952.

His first recordings as a band leader were made in the following year for States Records. In the later 1950s and early 1960s, he also recorded singles for Chief Records and its Profile Records subsidiary, including “Messin’ with the Kid”, “Come on in This House”, and “It Hurts Me Too”, which would remain in his repertoire throughout his career. His 1960 Profile single “Little by Little” (written by Chief owner and producer Mel London) reached #23 in the Billboard R&B chart, making it the first of two Wells’ singles to enter the chart.

Wells’ album Hoodoo Man Blues (1965) on Delmark Records featured Buddy Guy on guitar. The two worked with the Rolling Stones on several occasions in the 1970s. His album South Side Blues Jam came out in 1971) and On Tap in 1975. His 1996 release Come on in This House includes slide guitarists, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Derek Trucks, and others.[Wells made an appearance in the film Blues Brothers 2000, the sequel to The Blues Brothers, which was released in 1998.]

From Wells’ “Hoodoo Man Blues” album cover Junior gives this story: “I went to this pawnshop downtown and the man had a harmonica priced at $2.00. I got a job on a soda truck… played hookey from school … worked all week and on Saturday the man gave me a dollar and a half. A dollar and a half! For a whole week of work. I went to the pawnshop and the man said the price was two dollars. I told him I had to have that harp. He walked away from the counter – left the harp there. So I laid my dollar-and-a-half on the counter and picked up the harp. When my trial came up, the judge asked me why I did it. I told him I had to have that harp. The judge asked me to play it and when I did he gave the man the 50 cents and hollered “Case dismissed!” (1948)

In 1997 Wells began to have serious health problems. He was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer and suffered a heart attack while undergoing treatment, which sent him into a coma. in the Fall. Sadly Wells stayed in the coma until he passed away in Chicago on January 15, 1998.

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Sonny Bono 1/1998

Sonny BonoJanuary 5, 1998 – Salvatore Phillip “Sonny” Bono  was born on February 16, 1935 in Detroit Michigan to a first-generation Sicilian-American family. His family moved to the Los Angeles area when he was seven years old. Bono began his music career working for music producer Phil Spector in the early 1960s as a promotion man, percussionist and “gofer.” Even Spector – in his crazy haze – could see that this Salvatore kid was dedicated, so he eventually bumped him up to co-producing and backup singer. However, money was still tight, so as a struggling musician, Bono reportedly made deliveries for a butcher shop. A few industry people still remember the strange but ambitious man with the cutting-edge Caesar haircut who used to come to studios to promote new songs while still wearing a bloodstained butcher’s apron.

Not having finished High School, in the 1950s he works a variety of odd jobs including truck driver and waiter. His professional music career began as singer and songwriter at Dig Records, owned by R&B legend Johnny Otis. His first marriage in 1954 ends in divorce after one child, Christy.

The song “Needles and Pins,” released in 1963 was one of his first hits, but it was not until Bono became the other half of the singing duo Sonny & Cher that his career took off. But much drama ensued before the soon-to-be-couple became the oddball duet hitmakers that they became during the still straight-laced mid-1960s. At the age of 16, a certain Cherilyn Sarkisian had quit school and headed to Hollywood, where she worked odd jobs and spent nights immersed in the music scene of the Sunset Strip. Through a mutual friend she met Bono, who offered the runaway a spare bed in his apartment, allaying her fears by assuring her that he “didn’t find her attractive in the slightest.” The 16-year-old Cher also allayed the 27-year-old’s fears by assuring him she was 18. Despite his initial comments to her, Bono saw a spark in the intensely frightened oddball teen, and helped land her work as a session singer with Spector hitmakers like The Ronettes and The Righteous Brothers. By the time Cher turned 18 in 1964, she and Bono’s friendship had turned into love. The couple were married, and shortly after, Spector gave the new bride her first shot at music stardom with the Bono-penned and Beatle-inspired novelty single, “Ringo, I Love You” (1964), which was released (and flopped) under the name Bonnie Jo Mason.

Having fallen for the young Cher, Bono wrote, arranged and produced a number of hit records for the new singing duo, including the classic pop tunes “I Got You Babe”, “Little Man” and “The Beat Goes On” in the mid-1960s. They also produced something even more meaningful: a daughter, Chastity Bono, born March 4, 1969. With gold records in hand, the pair moved on to conquering another medium: television. Bono and Cher shared billing in the quintessential variety show, “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.” Bono’s self-deprecating humor worked well for the show and fans lapped up Cher’s constant putdowns of Bono’s inability to sing and his height (he was 5’ 5”). The show lasted until 1974, when the couple’s divorce took its toll on them personally and professionally. In fact, Cher would later site the show and Bono’s control issues as two of the reasons their marriage ended. Bono continued with “The Sonny Comedy Revue” (CBS, 1974) that only lasted a few episodes. Audiences were not ready to see Sonny solo. Realizing this, in a surprising move, the now defunct couple decided to give another shot at a variety show even though their divorce had finalized. “The Sonny and Cher Show” premiered in the fall of 1976, although audiences felt the magic and chemistry between the couple was gone for good. In the meantime, Cher had also remarried, to Allman Brothers Band‘s rocker and in those days notorious drug addict Greg Allman – with whom she had her second child, Elijah Blue in 1976 – and it made for an awkward and unfunny two seasons before getting cancelled just a year later.

Post-Cher, Bono continued acting, appearing in TV shows such as “Fantasy Island” (ABC, 1978-1984) and “The Love Boat” (ABC, 1977-1986). He reportedly became disillusioned with his showbiz career on the set of “Fantasy Island,” with some people on the set recalling that while he was shooting a scene with the pint-sized Herve Villechaize as Tattoo, Bono forgot Tattoo’s name. As second lead, Villechaize did not take this very lightly and lashed out at Bono. In an interview about the incident, Bono said that he “literally asked himself what the hell he was doing there.” It appeared as though he had had enough of acting, yet Bono continued to appear in movies, albeit in small roles. On the big screen, he played the part of mad bomber Joe Seluchi in “Airplane II: The Sequel” (1982) and the part of Franklin Von Tussle in John Waters’ “Hairspray” (1988).

In the 1990s, Bono appeared as one of several celebrities seen on a wall of video screens monitoring aliens running amok in Earth in the 1997 film “Men in Black” starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. In 1992, FOX-TV announced that it was making an autobiographical movie about Sonny & Cher. True to form, Bono suggested that distinguished actor Kevin Costner play him and outrageous (and oversized) TV personality Roseanne Arnold be cast as Cher. Another film titled “And the Beat Goes On: The Sonny and Cher Story” aired on ABC in 1999, based on Bono’s autobiography, which Cher was reportedly not happy with. In fact, for the vast majority of the rest of Bono’s life, Cher and her ex were often at odds, with little good to say of the other. Their one touchstone was their daughter, Chastity, who eventually came out as a lesbian. Being that Bono was definitely the more conservative – i.e. Republican – of the two parents – and with Cher being a gay icon at that point – it was surprising to learn years later that Bono was far more accepting of his daughter’s sexual identity than his liberal-minded ex-wife. However, the often at-odds couple did have one last grasp at glory – though they did not know it at the time. In 1987, both were guests on “Late Night with David Letterman” (NBC, 1982-1993) and during the show, Letterman was able to convince the reluctant couple to reunite in song. When Sonny and Cher sang “I Got You Babe” together for the first time in decades, it was a moment in television history and was surprisingly affectionate, with the couple singing with arms around one another.

Despite being off the radar in light of Cher’s comeback as an Academy Award-winning actress, Bono’s personal life was just as interesting as his career. Married four times, he had had a daughter, Christine, with his first wife, Donna Rankin, whom he married in 1954 and divorced in 1962. It is recorded that Cher considered briefly committing suicide because of Bono’s infidelities during their marriage but after Cher and Chastity, he married Susie Coelho in 1981, from whom he split in 1984. Bono married again in 1986 at age 51, this time to the much younger Mary Whitaker. The couple had two children, Chianna and Chesare. In an interview, Bono acknowledged an illegitimate son, Sean, born in 1964, from an affair with Mimi Machu. Fortunately for Bono, the fourth time was the charm, as his marriage to Mary Bono finally brought him the personal happiness and calm he had longed for all his life.

Enter Politics

Bono became interested in politics late in life, when he wanted a bigger sign for a restaurant he was opening in Palm Springs, CA where he had relocated. He encountered so much red tape from the city that he resolved to change things by running for mayor. It was a surprising move for someone who had never even registered or voted before. With conservative talk radio announcer Marshall Gilbert as his campaign manager, Bono ran for mayor and won the election. He served from 1988 to 1992. He also initiated the creation of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, now held each year in his memory.

After an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 1992, Bono then tried his luck in Congress, where he was elected in 1994 to represent California’s 44th District. He quickly made his stamp on the floor; he was one of 12 co-sponsors of a House Bill extending copyright. While the bill never made it to the Senate, a similar bill was passed later, named the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in his honor. ( I wonder if it covers royalties due for the current revival of Little Man in an Amazon commercial with a mini pony). During his tenure in Congress, he became an advocate of the restoration of the Salton Sea, where a park was named in his honor. He also tried to get federal aid to preserve the habitats of the endangered species in Riverside, CA. But he was not a bleeding heart either; when the Endangered Species Act required millions of dollars from local government and property owners to protect Stephens’ Kangaroo rat in Riverside, he remarked, “We all love the environment, but we have placed creatures above people. A rat is a rat.” When asked about illegal immigration, Bono once said, “What’s to talk about? It’s illegal.”

Bono was an avid skier, frequenting the Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe, CA, for more than 20 years. Ironically, it was his much-beloved sport that eventually took his life. On Jan. 5, 1998, while on a family vacation at the resort, the former Singer-TV personality-turned-politician died of injuries after hitting a tree while skiing. In newspaper accounts, the resort manager said that Bono was skiing alone at the top of the Orion slope when he crossed beneath a chairlift and struck a tree. He was only 62. Bono’s widow, Mary, was elected to finish the remainder of the Congressional term. His former co-star and ex-wife Cher gave a moving, tear-inducing eulogy at his funeral – one which even she was not emotionally prepared to make after years of estrangement – after which the attendees sang the song “The Beat Goes On.” The epitaph on Bono’s headstone at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California, read: “And the beat goes on.

Salvatore ”Sonny” Bono (62) American record producer, singer, actor, and politician born in Detroit but attended Inglewood High School in Inglewood, California, but did not graduate. He began his music career working at Specialty Records where his song “Things You Do to Me” was recorded by Sam Cooke, and went on to work for the legendary record producer Phil Spector in the early 1960s as a promotion man, percussionist and “gofer”. One of his earliest songwriting efforts was “Needles and Pins” which he co-wrote with Jack Nitzsche. Later in the same decade, he achieved commercial success, along with his then-wife Cher, as part of the singing duo Sonny and Cher. Bono wrote, arranged, and produced a number of hit records with singles like “I Got You Babe” and “The Beat Goes On”. He also played a major part in Cher’s early solo career with recordings such as “Bang Bang” and “You Better Sit Down Kids”. Sonny later went into acting and politics

He was 62 years, 10 months and 20 days old when he died on 5 January 1998. 

Enjoy one of my favorites in a Russian video back in the 1960s. Little Man