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Archive for the ‘Producer’ Category

RIP, Pete Overend Watts (January 22, 2017) Mott The Hoople

Posted by themusicsover on January 22, 2017

Pete Overend Watts
May 13, 1947 – January 22, 2017

Top row center, with Mott the Hoople.

Pete Overend Watts was the founding bassist for British glam rock band, Mott the Hoople. The band, which featured Ian Hunter on lead vocals during their “classic years,” had originated as the Buddies, made a few more name changes,  until finally settling on Mott the Hoople when Hunter joined in 1969.  After failing to find a large audience after the release of four albums, the band was on the verge of disbanding when David Bowie stepped in and convinced them to give it another go with him producing.  The resulting album, All The Young Dudes and the Bowie-penned single of the same name kicked the band into overdrive and helped solidify their place as deities of the glam rock movement of the mid-’70s.  West continued to play in different incarnations of Mott the Hoople through 1981 and then again for two reunions during the 2010s.  He also worked as a producer, most famously for Hanoi Rocks.  Pete Overend Watts died of throat cancer on January 22, 2017.  He was 69.

Thanks to Bruce Kilgour for the assist.

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RIP, Mike Kellie (January 19, 2017) Drummer For Spooky Tooth & The Only Ones

Posted by themusicsover on January 19, 2017

Mike Kellie
March 24, 1947 – January 19, 2017

Photo credit: Joe Vitale

Mike Kellie was an English drummer who found acclaim with, primarily, Spooky Tooth and the Only Ones.  Born in Birmingham, England, Kellie was self-taught and began playing in the St. Michael’s Youth Club band while in his teens. It wasn’t long before he was asked to join Wayne and the Beachcombers, his first “real” band.  In 1967, Spooky Tooth was launched with Kellie on drums. Although it would change line-ups throughout the years, at the time it included Gary Wright, Greg Ridley and Keith Emerson.  The band’s second album, Spooky Two is considered a classic rock staple and spawned their most popular songs, “Waiting For The Wind,” “Evil Woman,” and “Feelin’ Bad.”  In 1976, Kellie joined the Only Ones, an influential power pop/new wave band that was a far cry from the more proggy sounds of Spooky Tooth.  The band released three studio albums for CBS Records. Their most famous record was 1978’s “Another Girl, Another Planet.”  The song has since been heard in numerous movies and commercials, and has been recorded by Blink-182, the Lightning Seeds, and the Replacements to name a few.  Throughout the balance of his career, Kellie was on board for a reunion or two by Spooky Tooth and the Only Ones, while being in demand as a session player.  He can be heard drumming on records by the likes of Johnny Thunders, the Who, Joe Cocker, Peter Frampton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Traffic and George Harrison.  Mike Kellie was 68 when he passed away on January 19, 2017.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.

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RIP, Leon Russell (November 13, 2016) Legendary Musician, Songwriter & Producer

Posted by themusicsover on November 13, 2016

Leon Russell (Born Claude Russell Bridges)
April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016

Photo by Carl Lender

Photo by Carl Lender

Leon Russell was a celebrated musician, singer, songwriter and producer whose early work as a session player alone was enough to rightfully find him a home in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Add to that his credits as a songwriter, and you have one of the most respected artists we have ever known.  Born in Oklahoma, Russell began playing the piano at just four years old.  By high school, he and schoolmate David Gates, of future Bread fame, had a band together. Over the next couple of years Russell needed a fake ID to play the clubs of Tulsa. And then, at just 16 years old, he headed to Los Angeles to take a crack at becoming a session musician. Russell quickly built a solid reputation and became one of the first people called into the studio or on stage to lend his talents.  The list of artists or their producers that mad that call is staggering – it includes the Byrds, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, the Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand, and the Beach Boys.  And as part of the famed Wrecking Crew of L.A. studio musicians, the list goes on. Russel’s first hit as a songwriter came by way of Joe Cocker‘s 1969 recording of his “Delta Lady.”  As the ’70s dawned, Russell began making his own albums while producing others.  And thanks in part to the success of “Delta Lady,” he became a go-to songwriter for hopeful pop and rock stars.  In 1970, he released his self-titled debut. The album spawned one of his most famous songs, “A Song For You” which has been covered by a diverse list of artists that includes Ray Charles, Zakk Wylde, Andy Williams, Herbie Hancock with Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Willie Nelson, and Amy Winehouse. Russell spent the rest of the ’70s on a seemingly endless recording and touring cycle. He eventually slowed down, but became no less productive and influential.  The next three decades found him working with the likes of New Grass Revival and Bruce Hornsby while releasing several more of his own albums which leaned more bluegrass and country than much of his ’70s output. In 2010, Elton John (who called Russell his biggest influence as a pianist, singer and songwriter) and Bernie Taupin partnered with Russell on The Union, which resulted in a return-to-the-charts for both. The outstanding album, produced by T-Bone Burnett, and credited equally to both John and Taupin, entered the Billboard charts at No. 3, Russell’s highest charting album since 1972 and John’s highest since 1976.  Rolling Stone called it one of the best 30 albums of 2010.  The new-found exposure for Russell found him touring heavily up through the first half of 2016 when a heart attack sidelined him. Not discouraged, plans were being made to hit the road again in 2017.  Unfortunately, while still recovering from the heart attack, Leon Russell died quietly in his sleep on November 14, 2016.  He was 74.

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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: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Died On This Date (February 4, 2016) Maurice White / Founder of Earth, Wind & Fire

Posted by themusicsover on February 4, 2016

Maurice White
December 19, 1941 – February 4, 2016

Maurice-WhiteMaurice White was the founder and co-lead singer of the highly influential R&B band, Earth, Wind & Fire.  Formed in Chicago in 1969, the band went on to sell over 100 million albums, making them one of the most successful bands of the 20th century.  For over four decades, the group dazzled audiences around the world thanks in part to their dynamic horn section and energetic live shows.  White was born in Memphis, Tennessee and gravitated toward music at an early age along with childhood friend, Booker T Jones.  As a teenager, White moved to Chicago where he found work as a session drummer for the legendary label, Chess Records.  He played on numerous records by the likes of Etta James, Muddy Waters, the Impressions, and Buddy Guy.   In 1966, he joined Ramsey Lewis Trio with whom he recorded nine albums and received his first Grammy for the single, “Hold It Right There.”  Three years later, he formed Earth, Wind & Fire and went on to produce most of the their albums.  In all, the group earned six Grammys along with countless other awards and accolades.  During the ’80s, White was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Due to that, he ultimately retired from touring in 1994, but continued to oversee the band’s business side while producing their records and those by others.   His most notable successes outside of Earth, Wind & Fire were releases by the Emotions and Deniece Williams.   The stunning list of other collaborators includes Barbra Streisand, Weather Report, Neil Diamond, and Minnie Riperton.  Maurice White was 74 when he passed away on February 4, 2016.  Cause of death was not immediately released but likely attributed to his long battle with Parkinson’s.

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Posted in Composer, Disco, Funk, Musician, Pop, Producer, R&B, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »