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Archive for the ‘Gospel’ Category

Died On This Date (February 20, 2013) Cleotha Staples / The Staple Singers

Posted by themusicsover on February 20, 2013

Cleotha Staples
1934 – February 20, 2013

cleotha-staplesCleotha Staples, along with her siblings, Mavis, Pervis and Yvonne, and their father, Pops Staples, made up one of the most influential soul groups of the 20th Century.  Formed in Chicago by Pops in 1948, the Staple Singers got their start singing in churches in and around Chicago.  In 1957, they released their first hit single, “Uncloudy Day.”  In 1970, the group signed with Stax Records and began releasing a string of hits that ran through much of the decade.  Their hits included “I’ll Take You There,” “Respect Yourself,” and “Let’s Do It Again.”  In 1976, they performed an epic version of “The Weight” with the Band in the latter’s  legendary swan song film, The Last Waltz.  In 1999, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Cleotha was the oldest of the Staples sisters, and it is her beautiful soprano that can be heard on their classic recordings.  She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease through most of the 2000s, and passed away on February 20, 2013.  She was 78.

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Died On This Date (August 12, 2012) Willa Ward / Gospel Music Icon

Posted by themusicsover on August 24, 2012

Willa Ward
December 13, 1920 – August 12, 2012

Willa Ward was a singer who was part of one of the most influential gospel groups of all time, the Ward Singers.  Formed in the early ’40s, the group, which initially included Ward’s mother, Gertrude Ward and sister, Clara Ward, became the world’s first, and at the time, biggest crossover spiritual groups.  The Ward Singers released over 80 records during what is considered the golden age of gospel, the mid ’40s to late ’50s.  Songs like “How I Got Over You” (one of Gospel’s first million sellers) and “Surely God Is Able,” and lively concerts helped them pack arenas and large theaters around the United States.  They are said to have directly influenced Aretha Franklin and Little Richard.  In the late ’50s, Ward left the group to sing pop music.  Over the course of her career, she sang back up for the likes of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Patti LaBelle, and Chubby Checker.  Willa Ward was 91 when she passed away on August 12, 2012.

Thanks to Henk de Bruin for the assist.

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Died On This Date (July 3, 2012) Andy Griffith / Beloved Actor & Grammy Winning Singer

Posted by themusicsover on July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith
June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012

Although known the world over for his portrayal of two iconic television characters, Andy Griffith was also a Grammy-winning singer.  Regularly exposed to music from a young age, Griffith gravitated toward the arts while in school.  While growing up, he performed in many local productions while learning to sing and play the trombone.  After graduating from college with a degree in music, Griffith headed to Broadway.  But by the late ’50s he was earning rave reviews for his performances in films like A Face In The Crowd and No Time For Sergeants.  In 1960, Griffith began starring as Sheriff Andy Taylor, the non-gun toting lawman in the television comedy series, The Andy Griffith Show.  The program, which ran until 1968, went on to become one of the most beloved television series of all time.  Another of Griffith’s iconic characters came in the form of Ben Matlock in the legal drama series, Matlock.    The popular show, which began in 1986, ran until 1995, after which Griffith went on to appear in countless films and television programs.  Being a trained singer and musician afforded Griffith the opportunity to perform in some of his acting roles, most notably, The Andy Griffith Show and A Face In The Crowd.  Over the years, he released over a dozen albums which were generally Southern Gospel. His 1996 album, I Love To Tell The Story: 25 Timeless Hymns, sold over a million copies and earned him two Grammys.   Griffith stayed active well into the 2000s with numerous cameos and such.  On July 3, 2012, it was reported that Andy Griffith passed away of natural causes. He was 86.

Read about Andy Griffith’s influence on Bob Dylan.

What You Should Own

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Just As I Am: 30 Favorite Old Time Hymns - Andy Griffith

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Died On This Date (February 1, 2012) David Peaston / Popular R&B and Gospel Singer

Posted by themusicsover on February 1, 2012

David Peaston
March 13, 1957 – February 1, 2012

Born in St. Louis, MO, David Peaston grew up to be a successful Gospel and R&B singer during the ’90s.  After starting out as a teacher, Peaston moved to New York City during the early ’80s in order to pursue a career in music.  After winning several televised singing competitions, he was signed to Geffen Records who released his first single, “Two Wrongs (Don’t Make It Right,” which reached #3 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1989.  Several charting singles and popular albums followed.  His mother, Martha Bass, was part of the Clara Ward Singers, while his sister, Fontella Bass has enjoyed tremendous success as a singer as well. David Peaston died from complications of diabetes on February 1, 2012.  He was 54.


What You Should Own

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Died On This Date (January 6, 2009) Rev. Claude Jeter / The Swan Silvertones

Posted by themusicsover on January 6, 2012

Claude Jeter
October 26, 1914 – January 6, 2009

Photo by Jack Vartoogian

Photo by Jack Vartoogian

Reverend Claude Jeter was a much respected gospel singer and founding member of the Swan Silvertones, one of the genre’s most beloved groups.  And for a time, he was also a member of the equally respected Dixie Hummingbirds.  As a singer, Jeter is said to have inspired the likes of Eddie Kendricks, Al Green and Paul Simon who has claimed that Jeter’s “Mary Don’t You Weep” inspired him to write “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.”  Simon returned the favor years later by hiring Jeter to sing on his There Goes Rhymin’ Simon album.  The Reverend Claude Jeter was 94 when he passed away on January 6, 2009

What You Should Own

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Heavenly Light - The Swan Silvertones

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