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Robert Lee (Pops) Popwell 11/2017

November 27, 2017 – Robert Lee (Pops) Popwell (the Young Rascals) was born on the 29th of December 1950 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Popwell started his career in the ’60s. He quickly got work in the jazz and R&B worlds.

As a member of the house band The Macon Rhythm Section (with Johnny Sandlin, Pete Carr, Paul Hornsby and Jim Hawkins) for the Capricorn Records Studio in Macon Georgia, from 1968 he recorded with Doris Duke, Hubert Laws, Deryll Inman, The Atlanta Disco Band, Johnny Jenkins, and Livingston Taylor. Continue reading Robert Lee (Pops) Popwell 11/2017

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Tom Petty 10/2017

tom petty and the heart breakers front manOctober 2, 2017 – Tom Petty was born on October 20, 1950 in Gainesville Florida. Growing up in the town that houses the University of Florida, music became the young Petty’s refuge from a domineering, abusive father who despised Tom’s sensitivity and creative tendencies—but would later glom on to his son’s rock-star fame for status. In the summer of 1961, his uncle was working on the set of Presley’s film Follow That Dream in nearby Ocala, and invited Petty to come down and watch the shoot. He instantly became an Elvis Presley fan, and when he returned that Saturday, he was greeted by his friend Keith Harben, and soon traded his Wham-O slingshot for a collection of Elvis 45s.

Continue reading Tom Petty 10/2017

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Dave Hlubek 9/2017

September 3, 2017 – Dave Hlubek was born on August 28, 1951 in Jacksonville, Florida. At the age of 5 or 6, Hlubek and his family moved to the naval base in Oahu, Hawaii, where he attended Waikiki Elementary School. From there, Hlubek’s father was transferred and the family moved to Sunnyvale, California, then to Mountain View, and finally settling in San Jose. It was the South Bay that Dave called home during the next few years, before moving back to Jacksonville, Florida, around 1965. There he attended and graduated from Forrest High School.

Hlubek, founded the band Molly Hatchet in 1971. Vocalist Danny Joe Brown joined in 1974, along with Steve Holland, guitarist in 1974. Duane Roland, Banner Thomas and Bruce Crump completed the line up in 1976. Continue reading Dave Hlubek 9/2017

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Erik Cartwright 7/2017

July 9, 2017 – Erik Cartwright (FOGHAT) was born on July 10, 1950 in New York City and grew up in Minisink Hills, Pennsylvania. A 1968 graduate of East Stroudsburg High School, he became one of the area’s prominent rock guitarists, alongside his friend G.E. Smith. Erik’s first gig as a professional musician was with the band Dooley in Allentown, PA.

In 1970-1971 he studied at the famous Berklee School of music before His early guitar work is featured on singer Dan Hartman’s It Hurts to Be in Love (1981). His first album as a co-leader was the self-titled debut of Tears (1979), with Nils Lofgren on piano. Right after he had just recorded the Tears album the invitation to join Foghat, and replace original lead guitarist Rod Price, came. Continue reading Erik Cartwright 7/2017

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Jimmy Nalls 6/2017

June 25, 2017 – Jimmy Nalls (Sea Level) was born James Albert Nalls III on May 31, 1951 in Washington DC. In 1970, he moved from the suburbs of his home in Arlington, Virginia, to New York City to play with Australian folk singer Gary Shearston and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary. Jimmy Nalls quickly became an in-demand session guitarist at New York’s famed Record Plant studio, and played with several musicians and bands with ties to then up-and-coming Capricorn Records in Macon, Georgia, such as  singer/songwriter Alex Taylor’s band while Taylor was a Capricorn Records label mate of the Allmans’.

It was during this period that Nalls first worked with future Allmans keyboardist Chuck Leavell, an association that would prove fruitful for both musicians after the Allmans’ 1976 split. 

Continue reading Jimmy Nalls 6/2017

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Steve Wright 1/2017

January 16, 2017 – Steve Wright (Greg Kihn Band) was born in El Cerrito California in 1950.

Wright had played in a band called Traumatic Experience with El Cerrito residents John Cuniberti and Jimmy Thorsen.
After changing their name to Hades Blues Works (later, Hades) they expanded into a quartet with Craig Ferreira in 1970

In 1975 Greg Kihn had already signed to Berserkley Records and had a song included on the album Beserkley Chartbusters before entering the studio to record the debut album with a new band consisting of Wright, Robbie Dunbar and Larry Lynch – the Greg Kihn Band.

What followed was 20 years of recording and touring with several monster hits composed by Steve Wright and Greg Kihn.  Continue reading Steve Wright 1/2017

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Dallas Taylor 1/2015

Dallas Taylor January 18, 2015 – Dallas Taylor Jr. was born April 7th 1948 in Denver, Colorado, and grew up mostly in San Antonio and Phoenix. His father, a pilot who had flown in World War II, was later killed performing stunts in an air show. His parents had been divorced years earlier. It was his mother, the former Violet Cantu, who set him on his career path: When he was 10, she took him to see the movie “The Gene Krupa Story,” about the legendary drummer. She died of a heart attack when he was 13.

He dropped out of high school to become a musician and moved to Los Angeles, where he immersed himself in the rock subculture. In the pre-Woodstock 1960s, he played with John Sebastian, and he recorded an album with the short-lived  psychedelic band Clear Light one of the better-remembered psychedelic one-shots of the ’60s. Clear Light recorded one album on Elektra before splitting up. Their California psychedelia was very much in the mold of fellow Elektra artists Love, Tim Buckley, and especially the Doors.

Continue reading Dallas Taylor 1/2015

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Joe Lala 3/2014

Joe-LalaMarch 18, 2014Joe Lala  (Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young) was born on November 3rd 1947 in Ybor City and raised in Florida’s Tampa area.

He started out playing the drums in several Florida bands, before forming the band Blues Image. He also occasionally sang lead vocals, most notably on the song “Leaving My Troubles Behind”.

As a drummer and percussionist, he worked with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Manassas, The Bee Gees, Whitney Houston, Joe Walsh, Andy Gibb and many others. He played the trademark congas that drove the Bee Gees’ 1976 US chart-topper You Should Be Dancing, subsequently included on the multi-million selling Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Lala provided the wide selection of percussive effects on Barbra Streisand’s 1980 worldwide No. 1 album Guilty, and contributed to Whitney Houston’s eponymous 1985 debut album. Throughout his career, Lala accumulated 32 gold records and 28 platinum records.

Continue reading Joe Lala 3/2014

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Kevin
Peek
2/2013

Kevin PeekFebruary 14, 2013 – Kevin Peek (Sky) was born Dec 21, 1946 in Adelaide, Australia. He initially played classical percussion in the Adelaide Conservatorium of Music, before teaching himself the guitar.

In 1967 Peek formed a Psychedelic pop, progressive rock group, James Taylor Move but left by May 1968, moving to London. He returned to Adelaide, Australia, to join a newly formed rock band Quatro which, despite a contract from England’s Decca Records, proved artistically unsuccessful. For a time, following their move to London, he and his fellow Adelaide-born bandmates—guitarist Terry Britten, bassist Alan Tarney, and drummer Trevor Spencer—made their livings as session musicians together, playing with everyone from the New Seekers and Mary Hopkin (Earth Song, Ocean Song) to Cliff Richard, whose regular backing band they became on stage and on record during the 1970s. Peek also worked with Manfred Mann, Lulu, Tom Jones, Jeff Wayne (War of the Worlds), and Shirley Bassey, among others. He wrote the music for the internationally broadcast “Singapore Girl” television advertisements for Singapore Airlines.

In 1979, he joined the classical/progressive rock quintet Sky. In association with classical guitarist John Williams, keyboardist Francis Monkman, bassist Herbie Flowers, and drummer Tristan Fry, Peek played on seven studio albums with the band, before departing in 1985. Peek recorded three albums—Guitar Junction, Awakening, and Life & Other Games— but achieved greater prominence through his work with Sky and his session work with Olivia Newton-John, Kiki Dee, Sally Oldfield, the Alan Parsons Project, and the London Symphony Orchestra (in association with Francis Monkman on their Symphonic Rock: British Invasion releases). He also played on various soundtracks, including Monkman’s music for The Long Good Friday.

 

He also wrote the theme music for the internationally-broadcast “Singapore Girl” television advertisements for Singapore Airlines. “Even by the late 80s Sky was still a very well-known band and I think a lot of people jumped on that bandwagon because they wanted to be close to Kevin.”

However, by 1994 Peek had landed himself in jail, serving three years for an elaborate factoring fraud scheme, run out of that same studio.

 

And again following a failed business venture and bankruptcy, in 2010 he was prosecuted in Perth, Western Australia on two counts of making a false statement to deceive or defraud. A full trial was originally scheduled for 2011, later adjourned until 2012 and ultimately never took place as Peek died of melanoma in a Perth hospice on 11 February 2013, aged 66 years.

He was again up on fraud charges at the time of his death, more than 200 of them, regarding his relationship with an import-export business. Prosecutors were poised to argue the business had been a classic multi-million dollar ponzi scheme.

In life, internationally-revered guitarist Kevin Peek was a difficult man to put in a box. With rafts of financial impropriety hanging over the larger-than-life character over the past two decades, at one time landing him in jail, Peek also became a difficult man to track down.

In death, the enigmatic former guitarist for the progressive 70s British rock group Sky, remains as elusive as ever.
After his passing, tributes had started to filter through social media as whispers of the beloved Australian musician’s demise spread through Perth’s tight-knit recording studio community.

It was like working for Benny Hill.

“Kevin was always a very mysterious character,” said Soundbyte Studios director Julian Douglas-Smith who worked as a sound engineer for Peek from the late 80s to the early 90s. Adelaide-born Peek had returned to Australia after a successful career on the British rock scene and taken up part ownership over the West Perth studio.

His stories were littered with names like Elton John, Keith Richards, Tom Jones and Cliff Richard.
Any situation could be reduced to a witty one-liner when Peek was around.
“It was like working for Benny Hill,” Douglas-Smith said. “It was just bizarre.
“You could never have a serious conversation with him – he was always laughing.”
It was the 80s and Peek was a legitimate international rock star, people would have done anything to be close to him.

“He was larger than life,” Douglas-Smith said. “He was a true eccentric and an incredibly talented musician.”
“I think a lot of people were enamored by him and taken in by the fact that he was a rock star.”

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Bob
Welch
6/2012

bob-welchJune 7, 2012 – Bob Welch (Fleetwood Mac) was born on July 31, 1945 in Los Angeles, California, into a show business family. His father was the successful Hollywood movie producer Robert Welch, best known for his work with Bob Hope. Neighbors were Yul Brunner and Jonathan Winters. As a youngster, he learned clarinet, switching to guitar in his early teens and developed an interest in jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock music.

After graduation from high school, the younger Welch moved to Paris for a while, but returned to Los Angeles shortly after. After dropping out of university he joined the Los Angeles-based interracial vocal group The Seven Souls as a guitarist in 1964. When the band broke up in 1969 Bob moved to Paris and started a trio and became friends with future CBS correspondent Ed Bradley.

In 1971 while living there, he received a phone call from Mick Fleetwood asking him to come to London. Fleetwood met him at the airport, Welch told the Nashville Tennessean in 2003. “He was driving a yellow VW. He was 6-6 and weighed about 120 pounds. He was a strange-looking human being.”Welch was invited to join Fleetwood Mac, and along with fellow newcomer Christine McVie, Bob helped to steer the band away from Peter Greene/Jeremy Spencer’s blues roots into a more melodic direction.

During the time he spend with Fleetwood Mac they released their album Future Games in 1971, Bare Trees in 1972, this album included Welch’s song Sentimental Lady, Mystery To Me in 1973 (included Bob’s son Hypnotized), also that year the band released Penguin and Bob’s final album with Fleetwood Mac Heroes are Hard To Find in 1974.

Things became problematic between Bob and other guitarist Danny Kirwan, due to the latter’s alcohol abuse. Kirwan left the band in August 1974 after he refused to go on stage at a concert after an argument with Welch and Mick Fleetwood fired him. Welch then left the band in December 1974, after a brief affair with Christine McVie, much to the dislike of bass player John McVie and was replaced  by Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham.

Welch left the band amid the chaos of the McVie divorce, just prior to mainstream success with the 1975 album “Fleetwood Mac” and then “Rumors,” Fleetwood Mac’s acclaimed 1977 superhit album.

The following year he created Paris, the Hard Rock band with Todd Rundgren, Thom Mooney, Hunt Sales and bassist Glenn Cornick (Jethro Tull). Paris released their first album “Paris” and “Big Towne, 2061” in 1976, the band split up the following year, after which Welch then embarked on his solo career.

He scored a massive hit with “Ebony Eyes” in 1977. The album from which it was culled, “French Kiss,” featured a number of former Fleetwood Mac members, as well as a rendition of “Sentimental Lady,” a song originally recorded with Mac but reworked by Welch.

French Kiss his first solo album was released in September 1977, Three Hearts in 1979, The Other One that same year followed by Man Overboard in 1980 and Bob Welch in 1981. The albums contained several singles successes including “Hot Love, Cold World”, “Ebony Eyes”,  and “Precious Love”. His next album Eye Contact was released in 1983 the same year he became addicted to heroin.

Bob then met his wife Wendy Armistead Welch at Johnny Depp’s club the Viper Room, when it still was called Central. They got married in 1985, moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1990, and had no children.
Wendy Welch was given credit by her husband, in his own words he said:

The time frame between 1984-1998 was a story for me of pulling out of major depression, drug addiction and extreme negativity, which I was able to do, thanks to a. the LA Sheriff’s Dept (busted), b. Cedars Sinai hospital (in a coma 2 weeks), and, especially, c. a lovely lady named Wendy Armistead, who helped me stop beating my head against a brick wall ! During this time Wendy helped me to get back into reading music again, to want to do a band again, (the Touch, Ave. M), and to regain my musical and personal identity, which had gotten pretty trashed.

In 1999,  after three years  clean of drugs he released Bob Welch Looks At Bop. Between 2003 and 2004 he released His Fleetwood Mac Years & Beyond I and II, and Live at Roxy in 2004.

After having spinal surgery and been told he would not get better, Bob pulled the trigger on himself in his Nashville home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest on June 7, 2012. He was 66.

Wendy found her husband with wound shot to the chest at their home around noon. Media later quoted Wendy talking about the spinal surgery Bob had, the doctor telling him he would not get better and adding that he did not want her to have to take care of an invalid. He left a suicide note, but its content were not  revealed.

Fleetwood Mac and its former and some current members were inducted in  the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, however Bob was not.

“My era was the bridge era,” Welch told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1998, after he was excluded from the Fleetwood Mac line-up inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “It was a transition. But it was an important period in the history of the band. Mick Fleetwood dedicated a whole chapter of his biography to my era of the band and credited me with ‘saving Fleetwood Mac.’ Now they want to write me out of the history of the group.”

• Mick Fleetwood, who hired Welch in 1971 after the departure of Peter Green, said Welch was a key part of the band’s evolution. “He was a huge part of our history which sometimes gets forgotten. Mostly his legacy would be his songwriting abilities that he brought to Fleetwood Mac, which will survive all of us,” said Fleetwood. “If you look into our musical history, you’ll see a huge period that was completely ensconced in Bob’s work.”

 although Stevie Nicks and Welch weren’t in Fleetwood Mac at the same time, she released a statement expressing her admiration and regrets: “The death of Bob Welch is devastating …. I had many great times with him after Lindsey and I joined Fleetwood Mac. He was an amazing guitar player — he was funny, sweet — and he was smart — I am so very sorry for his family and for the family of Fleetwood Mac — so, so sad …”

• David Adelstein, who served as Welch’s keyboard player from 1977 through 1982 said: “For me, they were very exciting times back then. We were the opening act for Dave Mason back around February 12, 1978, our first show at Rocklyn College, NY. A short time later, Bob was leading us up the stairs to what was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen, Cal-Jam II. We opened the show with a 10:00 AM call! That was a rush — 250,000 people in the crowd at the old Ontario Motor Speedway. During that tour, Bob opened shows for not only Dave Mason, but for Jefferson Starship, Heart, Beach Boys, Styx, Allman Bros. and of course [Fleetwood] Mac (a great billing — the best of both worlds)”When it came to the follow up album, Bob and his producer, John Carter, gave me my first opportunity to play on that album. When it came around to the third album, Bob gave myself and guitarist Todd Sharp the opportunity to include an original song on the album. This launched my songwriting career. All in all, I have awesome memories from my time playing with Welch, sharing dinners at some wonderful restaurants (he appreciated great food), along with his love of music and that included all kinds of music! The circle of friends here in the LA area … are already missing him much.”

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Davy Jones 2/2012

davy jonesFebruary 29, 2012 – David “Davy” Jones (The Monkees) was born on December 30th 1945 in Manchester, England and at age 11 began an acting career, appearing on the soap opera ‘Coronation Street’, produced by Granada Television in Manchester, where in 1961 he played Colin Lomax, the grandson of Ena Sharples.

However, after the death of his mother when he was 14, Davy made a career change and became a jockey, training with Basil Foster for awhile. (Jones cared for Foster in his later years, bringing him to the United States and providing him with financial support).

Even though he could have been one of the greats according to insiders, he was soon back in the public entertainment eye, first on stage in London’s West End and then on Broadway, playing the Artful Dodger, in the show Oliver!, which was nominated for a Tony Award. He also had a starring cameo role in a hallmark episode of The Brady Bunch television show and later reprised parody film; Love, American Style; and My Two Dads.

On February 9th 1964, Davy appeared with the Broadway cast of Oliver! on The Ed Sullivan Show, the same episode on which The Beatles made their first appearance. Jones said of that night, “I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage, I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that.” At that time Jones was considered one of the great teen idols.

Following his Ed Sullivan appearance, Jones signed a contract with Ward Sylvester of Screen Gems (then the television division of Columbia Pictures). A pair of American television appearances followed, as Jones received screen time in episodes of Ben Casey and The Farmer’s Daughter.

Jones debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in the week of 14 August 1965, with the single “What Are We Going To Do?” The 19-year-old singer was signed to Colpix Records, a label owned by Columbia. His debut album David Jones, on the same label, followed soon after. In 1967 the album was issued in the UK, in mono only, on the Pye Records label. A collector’s item today.

From 1966 to 1971, Jones was a member of the Monkees, a pop-rock group formed expressly for a television show of the same name. With Screen Gems producing the series, Jones was shortlisted for auditions, as he was the only Monkee who was signed to a deal with the studio, but still had to meet producers Bob Rafelson’s and Bert Schneider’s standards. Jones sang lead vocals on many of the Monkees’ recordings, including “I Wanna Be Free” and “Daydream Believer”.

The NBC television series the Monkees was popular, and remained in syndication. After the group disbanded in 1971, Jones reunited with Micky Dolenz as well as Monkees songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart in 1974 as a short-lived group called Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. In the period after disbanding the Monkees he went back to TV and fashion and some half assed efforts in music.

A Monkees television show marathon (“Pleasant Valley Sunday”) broadcast on 23 February 1986 by MTV resulted in a wave of Monkeemania not seen since the group’s heyday. Jones reunited with Dolenz and Peter Tork from 1986 to 1989 to celebrate the band’s renewed success and promote the 20th anniversary of the group. A new top 20 hit, “That Was Then, This Is Now” was released (though Jones did not perform on the song) as well as an album, Pool It!.

Monkees activity ceased until 1996 when Jones reunited with Dolenz, Tork and Michael Nesmith to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band. The group released a new album entitled Justus, the first album since 1967’s Headquarters that featured the band members performing all instrumental duties. It was the last time all four Monkees performed together.

In February 2011, Jones confirmed rumors of another Monkees reunion. “There’s even talk of putting the Monkees back together again in the next year or so for a U.S. and UK tour,” he told Disney’s Backstage Pass newsletter. “You’re always hearing all those great songs on the radio, in commercials, movies, almost everywhere.” The tour (Jones’s last) came to fruition entitled, An Evening with The Monkees: The 45th Anniversary Tour.

Not much later on February 29, 2012, the leap year day, Davy died from a massive heart attack at age 66.

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Lesley Duncan 3/2010

lesley_duncanMarch 12, 2010 – Lesley Duncan was born in Stockton-on-Tees in England on August 12th 1943.

She left school while only 14 years old. At 19, while working in a London coffee bar, she and her brother were placed on weekly retainers by a music publisher. Within a year Duncan had signed her first recording contract, with EMI, and appeared in the film What a Crazy World.

Her songs were often about life and its problems, “Everything Changes” and “Sing Children Sing”.

Continue reading Lesley Duncan 3/2010

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Barry Beckett 6/2009

barry-beckettJune 11, 2009 – Barry Beckett was born on February 4, 1943 in Birmingham, Alabama. His father, Horace, was an insurance salesman who also dabbled on guitar and for a time hosted a local radio program. He attended the University of Alabama, where, according to The Times Daily of Florence, Ala., he first heard the music of two of the Swampers, Johnson and Hawkins, who were then playing in a band called the Del-Rays. He was working with a blues producer in Pensacola, Fla., when he was asked to join the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.

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Micky Waller 5/2008

micky-wallerMay 6, 2008 – Micky Waller was born in Hammersmith, London on September 6th 1941.

The son of a council clerk of works, Waller was evacuated as a war baby to his Aunt Nora’s home in Belper, Derbyshire. After he returned to his parents’ home in Greenford, Middlesex, his father encouraged his interest in drumming by taking him to see the 1955 film The Benny Goodman Story; Gene Krupa’s big-band drumming virtually hypnotised the teenager. Waller took lessons with Jim Marshall, maker of the world-famous Marshall amplifiers, and later partly credited his unusual style to the fact that as a lefthander he had learned on a righthanded set of drums, which may have been the reason why he was notoriously known for not having a complete kit with him when showing up for gigs or sessions.

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Martin Fierro 3/2008

Martin FierroMarch 13, 2008 – Martin Fierro was born on January 18th 1942.

Unlike the famous, but epically somber poem by Argentinian poet José Henriquez published in two parts, El Gaucho Martín Fierro(1872) and La Vuelta de Martín Fierro (1879 Martin Fierro was a magnificent and funny Session saxophone player in the San Francisco Bay Area who was also known as “the Meester” to his many loving fans.

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Denny Doherty 1/2007

Denny DohertyJanuary 19, 2007 – Denny Doherty was born on November 29th 1940 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1960, aged 19, Doherty started his musical career in Halifax in 1956 with a band called the Hepsters. With friends Richard Sheehan, Eddie Thibodeau and Mike O’Connell, the Hepsters played at clubs in the Halifax area.

The band lasted about two years. Sheehan recalls that they drew crowds wherever they went due to Denny’s incredible voice. In 1960, at the age of 19, Doherty, along with Pat LaCroix and Richard Byrne, began a folk group called The Colonials in Halifax, Nova Scotia. When they got a record deal with Columbia Records, they changed their name to The Halifax Three. The band recorded two LPs and had a minor hit, “The Man Who Wouldn’t Sing Along With Mitch”, but broke up in 1963. Coincidentally, they separated at a hotel called “The Colonial” in Los Angeles.

In 1963, Doherty established a friendship with Cass Elliot when she was with a band called “The Big 3.” While on tour with “The Halifax III”, Doherty met John Phillips and his new wife, model Michelle Gilliam.

A few months later, The Halifax III dissolved, and Doherty and their accompanist, Zal Yanovsky, were left broke in Hollywood. Elliot heard of their troubles and convinced her manager to hire them. Thus, Doherty and Yanovsky joined the Big 3 (increasing the number of band members to four). Soon after adding even more band members, they changed their name to “The Mugwumps”. The Mugwumps soon broke up also due to insolvency. The Mamas & the Papas song “Creeque Alley” briefly outlines this history. Yanovsky went on to join The Lovin’ Spoonful with John Sebastian. Doherty then joined John Phillips’ new band, “The New Journeymen.”

“The New Journeymen,” needed a replacement for tenor Marshall Brickman. Brickman had left the folk trio to pursue a career in television writing, and the group needed a quick replacement for their remaining tour dates. Doherty, then unemployed, filled the opening. After the New Journeymen called it quits as a band in early 1965, Elliot was invited into the formation of a new band, which became “The Magic Cyrcle.” Six months later in September 1965, the group signed a recording contract with Dunhill Records. Changing their name to The Mamas & the Papas, the band soon began to record their debut album, “If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears“. The group burst on the national scene in 1966 with the top 10 smash “California Dreamin’.” The Mamas and the Papas broke new ground by having women and men in one group at a time when most singing groups were unisex.

In late 1965 however, Doherty and Michelle Phillips started an affair. They were able to keep it secret during the early days of the band’s new-found success. When the affair was discovered, John and Michelle Phillips moved to their own residence (they had been sharing a house with Doherty), and the band continued recording together. Eventually the group signed a statement in June 1966 with their record label’s full support, firing Michelle from the band. She was quickly replaced by Jill Gibson, girlfriend of the band’s producer Lou Adler. Gibson’s stint as a “Mama” lasted two and a half months.

Due to fan demand, Michelle Phillips was allowed to rejoin the band in August 1966, while Gibson was given a lump sum for her efforts. The band completed their second album (titled simply, The Mamas and the Papas) by re-recording, replacing, or overlaying new vocal parts by Michelle Phillips over Jill Gibson’s studio vocals.

After a continuing string of hit singles, many television appearances (including a notable and critically well-received TV special featuring the music of Rodgers and Hart), a successful third studio album (The Mamas and the Papas Deliver in March 1967), and the groundbreaking sociological impact of the Monterey International Pop Festival (which had been organized by John Phillips and Lou Adler) in June 1967, an ill-fated trip to England in October 1967 fragmented the already damaged group dynamic. Cass Elliot quit, after a stinging insult from John Phillips, but returned to complete her parts for the group’s overdue fourth album The Papas and the Mamas, which was finally released in May 1968. By then, Michelle Phillips had given birth to Chynna Phillips (in February 1968) and a formal statement had been released, announcing the group’s demise.

“Monday, Monday” won the band a Grammy for best contemporary group performance. Cass Elliot left the band in 1968 for a solo career, which brought an end to this amazing band.

Cass Elliot and Doherty remained friends. After the band’s breakup, Elliot had a hit solo show. She eventually asked Doherty to marry her, but he declined. Doherty released a few solo LPs and singles. Of note are 1971’s Watcha Gonna Do? and 1974’s Waiting for a Song. The latter LP went unreleased in the U.S. and featured both Michelle Phillips and Cass Elliot on background vocals. The recordings would be Elliot’s last, as she died a few months after the record was finished. Doherty was stunned and saddened to hear about her death in 1974 at age 32. He and John and Michelle Phillips of the group attended her funeral.

In 1982, Denny joined a reconstitution of the Mamas and the Papas consisting of John Phillips, his daughter Mackenzie Phillips and Elaine Spanky McFarlane, which toured and performed old standards and new tunes written by John Phillips.

In 1993, Doherty played the part of Harbour Master, as well as the voice-overs of the characters, in Theodore Tugboat, a CBC Television children’s show chronicling the “lives” of vessels in a busy harbour loosely based upon Halifax Harbour.  This program is based an the villages & coves around were Denny was born; the big harbour itself is modeled after Halifax Harbour, in Nova Scotia, Canada.

In 1999, Doherty also played “Charley McGinnis” in 22 episodes of the CBC Television series Pit Pony.

In 2003, Doherty was co-author and performer in the well recieved Broadway show called “Dream a Little Dream: The Mamas and the Papas Musical,” which traced the band’s early years, its dizzying fame and breakup. It was well received and garnered favorable reviews. The show was in part a response to John’s PBS documentary Straight Shooter: The True Story of John Phillips and The Mamas and the Papas. It featured music from the group and focused on his relationship with Mama Cass. It was, he said, to “set the record straight”.

In 2004, Doherty appeared on Sharon, Lois & Bram’s 25th Anniversary Concert special titled “25 Years of Skinnamarink” that aired on CBC on January 1, 2004 at 7:00pm. He sang two songs with the trio: “California Dreamin'” and “Who Put the Bomp?”.

Doherty appeared in the Canadian TV series Trailer Park Boys, Season 7 Episode 10 (season finale) as FBI Special Agent Ryan Shockneck. Filming was completed just shortly before his death in early 2007. The episode ended with “This episode is dedicated to the memory of DENNY DOHERTY.”

Denny Doherty died on 19 January 2007 at his home in Mississauga, a city just west of Toronto, of kidney failure following surgery on a abdominal aneurysm. He was 66.

 

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Freddie Marsden 12/2006

GerryandThePacemakers2December 9, 2006 – Frederick John Freddie Marsden was born on October 21, 1940 in Liverpool England’s Dingle area. His brother, Gerry, followed two years later. Their father, Fred, was a railway clerk who entertained the neighbours by playing the ukulele. With the vogue for skiffle music in the mid-Fifties, he took the skin off one of his instruments, put it over a tin of Quality Street and said to Freddie, “There’s your first snare drum, son.”

In 1957 the brothers appeared in the show Dublin to Dingle at the Pavilion Theatre in Lodge Lane. Studies meant little to either of them – Freddie left school with one O-level and worked for a candlemaker earning £4 a week, and Gerry’s job was as a delivery boy for the railways. Their parents did not mind and encouraged their musical ambitions. On leaving Francis Xavier grammar school, Freddie bought a full kit from his earnings as a candle maker.

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Farka Touré 3/2006

Ali Farka ToureMarch 7, 2006 – Farka Touré  was born Ali Ibrahim Touré in 1939 in the village of Kanau, on the banks of the Niger River in the cercle of Gourma Rharous in the northwestern Malian region of Tombouctou.

His family moved to the nearby village of Niafunké when he was still an infant. He was the tenth son of his mother but the only one to survive past infancy. “The name I was given was Ali Ibrahim, but it’s a custom in Africa to give a child a strange nickname if you have had other children who have died”, Touré was quoted as saying in a biography on his Record Label, World Circuit Records. His nickname, “Farka”, chosen by his parents, means “donkey”, an animal admired for its tenacity and stubbornness: “Let me make one thing clear. I’m the donkey that nobody climbs on!” He was descended from the ancient military force known as the Arma, and was ethnically tied to the Songrai (Songhai) and Peul peoples of northern Mali.

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Carlo Little 8/2005

Carlo Little of the All StarsAugust 6, 2005 – Carlo Little aka Carl O’Neil Little was born on December 17, 1938 in Shepherd’s Bush, London and raised in Wembley, Middlesex where some of his townpeeps were Keith Moon, Ginger Baker and Charlie Watts. Apparently the town was a breeding ground for famous drummers.

In 1960 after coming out of the service, he met David Sutch and they formed The Savages with amongst others Nicky Hopkins who lived locally. Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages toured the UK and became known for their unique British rock and roll shows. The bulk of the band members, including Little, left in 1962 to join the Cyril Davies All Stars, and recorded a single “Country Line Special”, an instrumental track which influenced Keith Richards and Ray Davies in their guitar playing. He also played a few gigs with the young Rolling Stones and was asked by Brian Jones to join permanently before they hired Charlie Watts as their official drummer in January 1963. In 1998, during the Stones’ European tour, he was invited as an official guest backstage at one of their Paris concerts.

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Tyrone Davis 2/2005

Tyrone DavisFebruary 10, 2005 – Tyrone Davis was born Tyrone Fettson on May 4th 1928 near Greenville, Mississippi. He moved with his father to Saginaw, Michigan, before moving to Chicago in 1959.

His early records for small record labels in the city, billed as “Tyrone the Wonder Boy”, failed to register until successful Chicago record producer Carl Davis signed him in 1968 to a new label, Dakar Records that he was starting as part of a distribution deal with Atlantic. He suggested that he change his name and he borrowed Carl’s last name Tyrone Davis.

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Spencer Dryden 1/2005

Spencer Dryden with Grace SlickJanuary 11, 2005 – Spencer Dryden was born in New York City on April 7, 1938. His father, a British actor and director, was a half-brother of Charlie Chaplin but Dryden carefully concealed his relationship to his celebrious uncle, preferring his talents to stand on their own merits, rather than on any potentially nepotistic influences of his uncle Charlie’s name.

His parents divorced in 1943, but Spencer fondly recalled playing at his famous uncle’s Hollywood studio as a child. In the late 40s Spencer became friends with jazz fan Lloyd Miller also born in 1938 and living down the street on Royal Boulevard in Rossmoyne in Glendale. Miller said they should start a band and encouraged Spence to play drums. Since Spence didn’t have a drum set, Miller fashioned Dryden’s first drum by thumb tacking an old inner tube over a wooden barrel with no ends. Miller would pump his player piano, play cornet or clarinet and Spence would bang out beats on the drum.

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Niki Sullivan 4/2004

NikiSullivan-1958April 6, 2004 – Niki Sullivan (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) was born June 23rd 1937 in South Gate, California. During the summer of 1956, the 19-year-old Sullivan first met Holly, by way of his high school friend Jerry Allison, at a jam session in Lubbock, Texas. Holly was impressed by his guitar-playing talents and offered him the chance to join both of them, as well as Joe B. Mauldin in a band. Sullivan readily accepted the offer, and thus the Crickets were born.

While trying to record “Peggy Sue” after many unsatisfactory takes, Sullivan ended up kneeling next to Holly while he played, and when cued flipped a switch on Holly’s Stratocaster, allowing him to break into the now-famous rhythm guitar solo. He also helped sing on back up and arrange the music to “Not Fade Away” (which he helped write), “I’m Gonna Love You Too”, “That’ll Be the Day” and “Maybe Baby”. It was around this period that he also wrote and produced the single “Look to the Future,” which was recorded by Gary Tollett and The Picks, who often did back-up vocals for the Crickets.

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Sammy Samwell 3/2003

sammy samwellMarch 13, 2003 – Sammy Samwell was born Ian Ralph Sawmill on January 19th 1937.

Not many residents in Sacramento, California knew that a British rock legend walked among them for two decades prior to his death. He was a gentle soul, a music-biz lifer, and the twinkle in his eye belied more rock influence than most players here could conjure up in a lifetime.

Imagine being a pivotal player in rock ’n’ roll in 1958—that was just a handful of years after Jackie Brenston made the very first rock ’n’ roll song, “Rocket 88,” and one year after Elvis was drafted. It was when guitarist Samwell, then 21, penned “Move It” for his band’s lead singer, Cliff Richard, the first British rock star.

In 1999, that shakin’-all-over ditty was voted one of the top 10 rock ’n’ roll records of all time by BBC Radio. In America, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tapped it as one of 500 songs that shaped the genre. Most importantly, John Lennon called “Move It” the most influential British record ever made.

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Dudley Moore 3/2002

dudley mooreMarch 27, 2002 – Dudley Moore was born on April 19th 1935. As an actor, musician, comedian and composer he first came to prominence as one of the four writer-performers in Beyond the Fringe in the early 1960s and became famous as half of the popular television double-act he formed with Peter Cook.

Dudley was bullied from an early age, and had an unhappy family life; seeking refuge from his problems he became a choirboy at the age of six and took up piano and violin. He rapidly developed into a talented pianist and organist and was playing the pipe organ at church weddings by the age of 14. He attended Dagenham County High School where he received musical tuition from a dedicated teacher, Peter Cork, who became a friend and confidant.

His musical talent won him an organ scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford. He soon became an accomplished jazz pianist and composer. He began working with such leading musicians as John Dankworth and Cleo Laine. In 1960, he left Dankworth’s band to work on Beyond the Fringe. During the 1960s he also formed the “Dudley Moore Trio”. His early recordings included “My Blue Heaven”, “Lysie Does It”, “Poova Nova”, “Take Your Time”, “Indiana”, “Sooz Blooz”, “Bauble, Bangles and Beads”, “Sad One for George” and “Autumn Leaves”.

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Doc
Pomus
3/1991

doc pomusMarch 14, 1991 – Doc Pomus was born Jerome Solon Felder on June 27th, 1925 in Brooklyn, New York, he was a son of Jewish immigrants. Having had polio as a boy, he walked with the help of crutches. Later, due to post-polio syndrome, exacerbated by an accident, Felder eventually relied on a wheelchair.

Big Joe Turner turned him onto the Blues and using the stage name “Doc Pomus“, teenager Felder began performing as a blues singer. His stage name wasn’t inspired by anyone in particular; he just thought it sounded better for a blues singer than the name Jerry Felder. Pomus stated that more often than not, he was the only Caucasian in the clubs, but that as a Jew and a polio victim, he felt a special “underdog” kinship with African Americans, while in turn the audiences both respected his courage and were impressed with his talent. Gigging at various clubs in and around New York City, Pomus often performed with the likes of Milt Jackson, Mickey Baker and King Curtis. Continue reading Doc Pomus 3/1991