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Archive for the ‘Early Rock’ Category

RIP, Chuck Berry (March 18, 2017) Rock and Roll Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on March 18, 2017

Chuck Berry
October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017

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As one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, Chuck Berry refined the early sounds of rhythm and blues, added catchy teen-centric lyrics, and turned up the volume of his guitar.  By doing so, he became one of the most influential artists pop music has ever known. Launching his recording career during the mid ’50s, Berry created songs that not only became a part of  America’s fabric, but would be played on radios, at parties, in concerts, on television, and in movies for the next 60 years. His remarkable output included such unforgettable songs as  “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and “Rock and Roll Music.”  On stage, he stood head and shoulders above most of his peers by adding a showmanship that included dazzling guitar solos, and of course, that “duck walk” across the stage.  His direct influence is staggering –  the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Beach Boys, Michael JacksonBruce Springsteen, U2, Prince, Ted Nugent, Tom Petty, and George Thorogood  (to name just a very few) have all cited him as a significant influence or honored him in some way.  In 1986, Berry was deservedly part of the initial class inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he went on to receive countless accolades for the rest of his life.  And of course, a pop music-related “Best Of” list that does not include him or one of his records somewhere near the top, should be taken to the shredder.  Chuck Berry was 90 when he passed away in his home on March 18, 2017. Cause of death was not immediately released.

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Died On This Date (March 8, 2016) George Martin / Legendary Beatles Producer

Posted by themusicsover on March 8, 2016

George Martin
January 3, 1926 – March 8, 2016

george-martinGeorge Martin was a classically trained musician, record producer, and talent scout who most famously took a chance on the Beatles after they had been turned down by most other British record labels at the time.  What followed was a collaboration that changed not only the musical landscape of the era, but also what would become popular music and pop culture for decades to come.  With Martin as producer (and so much more) on the Beatles’ original albums, they scored 30 #1 singles in the UK and 23 in the US – and millions in sales, of course. Of the list of Beatles collaborators who were referred to as “the Fifth Beatle,” it was Martin who actually deserved the title.  That alone on a person’s resume is enough to cruise through the rest of his or her life, but not Martin.  Over the next six decades, he had a big hand in the success of the likes of Elton John, Dire Straits, Cheap Trick, ELO, and Celine Dion, to name a few.  Martin also worked extensively in film, either arranging, scoring or producing. Two of the most famous songs he produced for films were Shirley Bassey‘s “Goldfinger” for Paul McCartney‘s “Live and Let Die” from the James Bond movies of the same name.  He’s been recognized with six Grammys, an Academy Award, and countless other accolades.  George Martin was 90 when he died in his sleep on March 8, 2016.

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Posted in Composer, Early Rock, Easy Listening, Engineer, Musician, Pop, Producer, Rock | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Died On This Date (March 8, 2016) George Martin / Legendary Beatles Producer

Died On This Date (December 27, 2015) Stevie Wright / The Easybeats

Posted by themusicsover on December 27, 2015

Stevie Wright
December 20, 1947 – December 27, 2015

Stevie-WrightStevie Wright was an English-born singer and songwriter best remembered as the lead singer of Sydney, Australia’s Easybeats.  The band, and Wright in particular, are widely regarded as Australia’s first international pop stars. Formed in 1964, the Easybeats quickly rose to the top of the heap of local bands that were direct byproducts of the British Invasion.  In fact, the group first found its footing in a tiny hangout in pub basement that was dubbed Beatle Village.  Within a year, the Easybeats were signed to Parlophone Records and quickly built a sizable following throughout Australia.  By the end of 1965, they were playing to sell-out crowds and sparking their own Beatlemania-like hysteria coined, “Easyfever.”  The band’s hits included “She’s So Fine,” “Come And See Her,” “Sorry,” and most notably, “Friday On My Mind,” their only true international hit.  After the band split up in 1969, Wright fronted a handful of other bands and launched a solo career.  In 1972, he performed as Simon the Zealot in the Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar.  In 1986, Wright reunited with the Easybeats for a brief Australian tour.  He ultimately retired in 2009.  On December 27, 2015, Stevie Wright died of pneumonia.  He was 68.

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Died On This Date (April 27, 2015) Jack Ely / The Kingsmen Singer On “Louie Louie”

Posted by themusicsover on April 27, 2015

Jack Ely
September 11, 1943 – April 27, 2015

Photo by Gino Rossi

Photo by Gino Rossi

Jack Ely was an American singer and musician who is most famously remembered as the lead vocalist on the Kingsmen‘s classic garage anthem, “Louie Louie.”  Born in Portland, Oregon, Ely was classically trained on the piano at an early age, but switched to the guitar after seeing Elvis Presley on TV.  He co-founded the Kingsmen in 1959, and after spending the next few years playing local fashion shows and such, he and the band recorded “Louie Louie,” which went on to become one of the most influential, if not easiest to play, rock and roll songs of all time. It reportedly cost just $36 to record.  After leaving the group shortly after the release, Ely formed a new band, the Courtmen who made a handful of records and toured the region.  He enlisted in the Army in 1966 but upon his return in 1968, he didn’t have much luck restarting his music career.  In later years, he devoted his time to speaking against drug and alcohol abuse.  Jack Ely was 71 when he died following a long illness on April 27, 2015.

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Died On This Date (February 16, 2015) Lesley Gore / Had Iconic Hit with “It’s My Party”

Posted by themusicsover on February 16, 2015

Lesley Gore (Born Lesley Goldstein)
May 2, 1946 – February 16, 2015

lesley-goreBorn in New York City, Lesley Gore was just 16 years old when she recorded her first, and biggest hit, “It’s My Party,” a song that helped define her generation.  Several major hits followed including, “You Don’t Own Me,” “Judy’s Turn To Cry,” and “She’s A Fool.”  In 1965, Gore received a Grammy nomination for “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows,” and another nominations came 1981, but this time as a co-writer for “Out Here On My Own,” from the immensely popular Fame soundtrack.  Gore acted in several television shows throughout her career as well, most notably, portraying Pussycat, one of Catwoman’s cohorts, in two episodes of Batman.  Gore continued to tour well into the ’90s and released what would become her final album, the critically acclaimed Ever Since, in 2005.  Lesley Gore lost her battle with cancer on February 16, 2015.  She was 68.

What You Should Own

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Click to find at amazon.com


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