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RIP, Tom Petty (October 2, 2017) American Rock Great

Posted by themusicsover on October 2, 2017

Tom Petty
October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017

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Tom Petty, the iconic American singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer passed away peacefully following a massive heart attack he had suffered earlier in the day.  He was 66.  Born in Gainesville, Florida, Petty, like many kids his age, had their first rock and roll moment after witnessing Elvis Presley. But unlike other future rock stars, it wasn’t The King’s appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show that changed his life forever – it was a more personal encounter.  Turns out Petty’s uncle was working on the Presley film, Follow That Dream that was filming nearby, and he invited the 10-year-old down to the shoot. Petty was able to watch Presley up close and in person doing what he did best, albeit in an entirely different arena. He soon traded his slingshot to a buddy for some Elvis 45s, and he was on his way.  Petty’s first band of note – that would reform for kicks in 2007 – was Mudcrutch, which he put together in 1970. Six years later, they morphed into Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. During the next several years, they released a series of hit singles and albums that appealed equally to the fans of the current “heartland rock” movement led by Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen, and the punk and new wave movements which were grabbing hold on the east and west coasts, as well as in the UK.  Over the next four decades, Petty, both with the Heartbreakers and solo, sold upwards of 80 million albums, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.  Throughout his career, Petty collaborated with many of the biggest names in music, perhaps most famously, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and George Harrison as the Traveling Wilburys.  This “supergroup” recorded two well-received albums together, 1988’s Vol. 1 and 1990’s Vol. 3.  Others of note with whom Petty had memorable collaborations with were Stevie Nicks, Johnny Cash, Dwight Twilley, and Del Shannon, whose career he revived in 1982 with the album, Drop Down and Get Me.  In 2002, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while November, 2015 saw the much-lauded release of the best-seller, Petty: The Biography, by Warren Zanes.  Around that time he partnered with SiriusXM on Tom Petty Radio, a channel devoted entirely to his music and the music he loved. By all accounts, he was very hands-on with it, making sure the content would be loved by his fans. On Monday, September 25th, 2017, the band played their last of three spirited shows at the Hollywood Bowl in their adopted hometown of Los Angeles, to cap off the hugely successful 40th Anniversary Tour – their longest in 15 years. One week later, Top Petty was gone.

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RIP, Charles Bradley (September 23, 2017) American Soul Singer

Posted by themusicsover on September 23, 2017

Charles Bradley
November 5, 1948 – September 23, 2017

2011. Photo by Vince Hans

Charles Bradley, the revered soul singer who found success late in life, died after a his battle with stomach cancer at the age of 68.  Born in Gainesville, Florida, Bradley moved to New York City at the age of eight to live with his mother who had left him with his grandmother when he was a toddler. In 1962, his sister took the young teen to James Brown’s legendary show at the Apollo Theater, and like many kids who saw the Godfather of Soul perform, Bradley immediately took to practicing Brown’s songs and dance moves.  When he was 14, he ran away from home to escape his family’s life of poverty. He spent the first couple of years living on the streets until he found Job Corps who taught him to cook and help him find a job.  The next 25 years or so found Bradley working as a chef mostly along the west coast and into Canada while playing small club gigs along the way.  Bradley moved back to New York to be with his mother in 1996, and finally started making some decent money impersonating James Brown under the stage name, Black Velvet.  It was during one of these shows that he was discovered by up-and-coming soul revival label, Daptone Records.  After releasing a series of 7″ singles by him, Daptone put out Bradley’s debut album, No Time For Dreaming, in  2011. Two more albums followed, including 2016’s Changes, which included his staggering cover of the Black Sabbath song of the same name.  In 2012, the documentary, Soul of America, which told his story and included live performances, was released to critical acclaim.  Label mate and soul great, Sharon Jones lost her battle with cancer on November 18, 2016.

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RIP, Mark Selby (September 18, 2017) Blues Rock Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on September 18, 2017

Mark  Selby
September 2, 1961 – September 18, 2017

Photo by Roger Pistole. Courtesy of Moraine Music Group

Mark Otis Selby, who made a big mark on music with a string of hits he co-wrote with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and with his own wife, Tia Sillers, passed away at home on Monday, September 18, 2017 from cancer. The Nashville-based recording artist, songwriter, session guitar player and producer released albums on Vanguard Records and his songs have been recorded by a wide array of artists. With Shepherd, his co-writes include “Deja Voodoo,” “Slow Ride,” “Last Goodbye,” and “Blue on Black,” which was #1 for 17 weeks and Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Song of the Year. He also wrote the Dixie Chicks’ first Number One single “There’s Your Trouble” and had his songs recorded by many other artists including Wynonna, Little Big TownTrisha Yearwood, Johnny Reid, Jo Dee Messina, Lee Roy Parnell and Keb’ Mo’. A highly-regarded session player, Selby played on recordings by the likes of Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd. Born and raised in Oklahoma, Selby spent his youth harvesting wheat and playing in bands throughout the Midwest before moving to Hays, Kansas to attend Fort Hays University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music. Selby was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date.   In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to MusicCares in memory of Mark. grammy.com/musicares/donations

 

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RIP, Harry Dean Stanton (September 15, 2017) Character Actor & Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on September 15, 2017

Harry Dean Stanton
July 14, 1926 – September 15, 2017

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Harry Dean Stanton, the beloved character actor and singer/musician passed away from natural causes at the age of 91. To many, he was that down-on-his-luck bad guy whose face they’d seen in many of his 250+ films but whose name they could never remember.  Stanton was also a singer who haunted LA clubs for decades, playing in front of adoring fans of both his music and his films.  Born in Irvine, Kentucky, Stanton served in the US Navy during WWII. Upon his return to the states, he eventually settled in Los Angeles where he took up acting. Throughout his career, he earned critical praise for his work in art house and mainstream movies alike.  His long resume includes, Paris, Texas, Two-Lane Blacktop, Repo Man, Christine, and  The Green Mile.  His TV credits are equally impressive, having appeared on Gunsmoke, Two And A Half Men, Big Love and more.  As for his career/hobby as a musician, Stanton sang and played the guitar and harmonica in his own band, the Harry Dean Stanton Band (or as it had previously been called, Harry Dean Stanton Stanton & the Repo Men), mostly playing covers LA’s seedier clubs throughout the ’80s and ’90s. But, he could also be found on stage alongside the likes of Bob Dylan, Chaka Khan, Bing Crosby, and Bono.  In 2014 Omnivore Records released his debut album – at the age of 88 – Partly Fiction.  A soundtrack to the documentary, Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, it collected his intimate and sometimes heart-breaking covers of American folk classics.

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RIP, Grant Hart (September 14, 2017) Drummer For Husker Du

Posted by themusicsover on September 14, 2017

Grant Hart
March 18, 1961 – September 14, 2017

Photo Credit: 99thFloor via Wikimedia Commons

Grant Hart, drummer and co-songwriter for the influential alternative rock band, Husker Du lost his battle with liver cancer.  He was 56. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Hart was just 10 years old when his older brother was killed by a drunk driver.  Hart took over his brother’s record collection and drum set, and within a few years, he was playing in small local bands.  In 1979, while working at legendary St. Paul record store, Cheapo Records, Hart met customer, Bob Mould. They, along with drummer, Greg Norton, formed Husker Du shortly thereafter.  The band started out as hardcore punk but eventually crossed over to a a bit more mainstream sound with Hart being credited by some as bringing melody to punk rock. It was a time when the music scene in the Twin Cities was thriving with the likes of Prince, the Replacements, and Soul Asylum, to name a few. In all, Husker Du released six studio albums, two live albums, and a couple of EPs before calling it quits in 1987.  Hart went on to release a handful of solo albums and EPs before forming Nova Mob in 1989. After Nova Mob’s run, he returned to making solo records.

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