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Archive for the ‘Singer’ Category

RIP, Lonnie Brooks (April 1, 2017) Chicago Blues Legend

Posted by themusicsover on April 1, 2017

Lonnie Brooks (Born Lee Baker)
December 18, 1933 – April 1, 2017

According to a press release from Alligator Records, Lonnie Brooks passed away on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at the age of 83. Cause of death was not immediately released. Over the course of his 60-year career, Brooks recorded 11 full albums and dozens of 45s for a number of labels. His career began in Port Arthur, Texas in the mid-1950s. Recording under the name Guitar Junior, he scored a string of regional hits, including “Family Rules” and “The Crawl” for the Goldband label. The success of his singles led to numerous southern tours and a busy performance schedule that included dancehalls, juke joints and roadhouses across Texas and Louisiana. In 1959, Brooks befriended the great Sam Cooke, who suggested his move to Chicago. Once settled, he changed his name to Lonnie Brooks (Chicago already had a Guitar Junior) and became infatuated with the sound of deep Chicago blues. He soon landed a job as a sideman with blues hitmaker Jimmy Reed, with whom he toured and recorded. Brooks cut a handful of singles throughout the 1960s, while appearing on a number of Chicago blues and R&B recording sessions. He played nightly in the bars on the South and West sides of Chicago and in Gary and East Chicago, Indiana. In 1969, Capitol Records released Brooks’ first album, Broke an’ Hungry, under his old stage name, Guitar Junior.  In 1978, Brooks recorded four songs for Alligator Records’ Grammy-nominated Living Chicago Blues anthology. This led to a full contract with the label. His Alligator debut, Bayou Lightning, was released in 1979. The album, along with Brooks’ roof-raising live performances, brought him to the attention of Rolling Stone, which ran a six-page feature on the legendary musician. The album won the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque Award from the 1980 Montreux Jazz Festival. Constant touring in the U.S. and abroad kept Brooks in the public eye. His scorching 1980 live performance of “Sweet Home Chicago” on the Blues Deluxe album (resulting in Brooks’ second Grammy nomination) is now considered the quintessential version of the song.  His final two releases, 1996’s Roadhouse Rules and 1999’s Lone Star Shootout, showed Brooks at his very best – an electrifying guitarist with full-throated vocals, clever original songs, and a dedication to having fun.   Lonnie’s last recording appearance was as a guest on his son Ronnie Baker Brooks‘ latest album, Times Have Change.

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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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RIP, Leon Ware (February 23, 2017) Successful R&B Songwriter & Producer

Posted by themusicsover on February 23, 2017

Leon Ware
February 16, 1940 – February 23, 2017

Photo by David Corio. Source: rollingstone.com

Leon Ware was an American singer, songwriter and producer who was celebrated for the many hits he crafted for others.  Born in Detroit, Ware began writing professionally in 1967.  Later that year, the first recording note of a song he co-wrote was released; “Got To Have You Back,” by the Isley Brothers.  A couple of years later, he hooked up with Ike & Tina Turner to co-write six songs on their album,  Nuff Said.  What followed was nearly four decades of hit songs for the likes of Michael Jackson, Minnie Riperton, Quincy Jones, and Marvin Gaye.  In Gaye’s case, every song on his I Want You album was penned or co-penned by Ware who also produced the landmark album. It sold over a million copies and is considered a must-have for any album collection.  Ware also recorded nearly a dozen albums of his own, the most successful being 1979’s Inside Is Love, and the most recent, 2008’s Moon Ride.  Leon Ware was 77 when he died of prostate cancer on February 23, 2017.

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RIP, Al Jarreau (February 12, 2017) American Jazz Singer

Posted by themusicsover on February 12, 2017

Al Jarreau
March 12, 1940 – February 12, 2017

Al Jarreau was an internationally renowned jazz vocalist who, over the course of his career, earned seven Grammy’s while garnering over a dozen more nominations.  To this day, he’s the only vocalist to win a Grammy in three different categories – in his case, jazz, pop and R&B.  Born in Milwaukee, Jarreau spent much of youth singing at local church and school events.  He continued singing through high school and college where he performed with jazz trio which included George Duke.  By  the early ’70s, Jarreau was performing at top clubs in Los Angeles as well as  on TV shows like The Dinah Shore Show, The Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.  He signed with Warner Bros. Records in 1975 and went on to release 16 studio albums and several more live and compilation albums.  His debut, 1975’s We Got By was released to critical acclaim, and introduced him to new fans the world over.  1981 found Jarreau releasing what would become his best-selling album, Breakin’ Away.  Jarreau continued to record and tour through much of the rest of his life.  On February 8th, 2017, he cancelled his current tour and was hospitalized for exhaustion.  Four days later, February 12th, Al Jarreau, passed away at the hospital surrounded by this family and friends. He was 76. Cause of death was not immediately released.

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RIP, John Wetton (January 31, 2017) King Crimson; Asia

Posted by themusicsover on January 31, 2017

John Wetton
June 12, 1949 – January 31, 2017

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John Wetton was an English bassist and singer who is best remembered for his time with King Crimson and for fronting his own popular prog-rock band, Asia.  After several years of playing and singing in local bands, Wetton was invited by Robert Fripp to join King Crimson as bassist and lead singer.  The year was 1972, and over the next two-plus years, he performed on the band’s critically acclaimed Larks’ Tongues in AspicStarless and Bible Black, and Red.  Following the release of Red, King Crimson went on hiatus, s0 Wetton worked with several other groups, including Roxy MusicWishbone Ash, and Uriah Heap.  In 1980, he formed Asia, a super group with Geoff Downes, Steve Howe, and Carl Palmer.  The band’s self-titled debut of 1982 reached #1 on the US and UK charts and went on to sell over 8 million copies worldwide.  In later years, Wetton released several solo albums while collaborating with the likes of Steve Hackett and Renaissance. In 2006, he reunited with the original members of Asia to release Phoenix, their first since 1983.  They went on to release a handful of new studio albums over the next several years.   John Wetton died of colon cancer on January 31, 2017.  He was 67.

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