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Archive for the ‘Singer’ Category

RIP, Don Williams (September 8, 2017) Country Music Legend

Posted by themusicsover on September 8, 2017

Don Williams
May 27, 1939 – September 8, 2017

The Country Music world mourns the loss of one of its most distinctive song stylists with the passing of Don Williams after a short illness. He was 78.

A native of Floydada, Texas, Williams was born May 27, 1939. He grew up in Portland, TX, graduating there in 1958. Music had always been a part of his upbringing, entering – and winning – a talent contest when he was just three years old. For his efforts, Williams received an alarm clock. He began playing guitar during his teen-age years, learning the songs that he heard on the radio during that period. He and his friends played in local bands around the area.

In 1969, Williams soon found his way to Nashville. By 1971, he had a songwriting contract with the publishing company owned by Jack Clement. The next year would see Williams ink a recording deal with Clement’s JMI Records. He made his chart debut with “The Shelter of Your Eyes” in 1973, and was soon hitting the charts time and again with a much more laid-back sound than a lot of the music coming out of Nashville at the time. 1974 would see Williams top the charts for the first time with “I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me.” From that point all the way through 1991, each Williams single would hit the Top-40 on the Billboard Country charts. His 1970s hits included such chart toppers as “Tulsa Time,” “She Never Knew Me,” and “It Must Be Love.” His career grew steadily through label shifts to ABC/Dot, MCA, Capitol, and finally RCA. Williams also gained a devoted following overseas in such unlikely spots as England, Ireland, and New Zealand , and even South Africa and Kenya – where he reached superstar status. He was named the Male Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1978.

The 1980s saw no slow-down in Williams’ recorded output, with the singer notching his biggest hit with 1981’s “I Believe In You,” which not only topped the Country charts, but crossed over to No. 24 on the Hot 100. By this time, he had earned the nickname “The Gentle Giant” for his trademark mellow sound, and the hits continued to pile up throughout the rest of the decade – “Stay Young,” “If Hollywood Don’t Need You,” and “One Good Well” being three of his biggest of the 1980s. His final top ten came in 1991, with “Lord Have Mercy On A Country Boy,” a song that Josh Turner – a Williams fan – would record in 2006.

Though the changing of the guard at radio slowed down Williams’ chart success, he continued to perform for sold-out crowds in America and abroad, playing a final tour in 2006. However, retirement was not in the cards for the singer, who returned to the road in 2010 – the same year that he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Williams’ return to the spotlight also included a pair of albums on Sugar Hill, 2012’s And So It Goes, and 2014’s Reflections, which included contributions from Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, and Keith Urban. It was a sign of his enduring appeal that both albums hit the Top-20 on the Billboard Country Albums charts – his biggest rank there in three decades.

In 2016, Williams decided that the time was right for his final performance, calling it a career after one of the most successful careers in the history of the Country Music business. “It’s time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home. I’m so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support,” the 76-year-old Williams said in a statement at the time. Last year also saw the final release of Williams’ career, a live CD and DVD recorded in Ireland. In 2017, the singer was the subject of a tribute album, Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams, that included performances of his hits by artists such as Lady Antebellum and Garth Brooks. [Source: Webster Public Relations]

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RIP, Walter Becker (September 3, 2017) Steely Dan

Posted by themusicsover on September 3, 2017

Walter Becker
February 20, 1950 – September 3, 2017

By Arielinson – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikipedia

Walter Becker was the co-founder, co-songwriter, guitarist, and bassist for the immensely successful rock band, Steely Dan. Formed with Donald Fagen in 1972, the band built a sizable cult following almost immediately for their unique blend of pop, rock, traditional jazz and R&B behind clever lyrics.  Joined in the studio by top-tier session players, Steely Dan went on to record some of the most popular songs and albums of the ’70s.  Over the course of their first eight years, they released a remarkable seven albums – only 1979 going without.  Even more astonishing, among those seven albums, one was Double Platinum in the US, five were Platinum, and the other went Gold. Those included Aja, Can’t Buy A Thrill, Pretzel Logic, and Katy Lied.  In all, Steely Dan has sold over 40 million album worldwide.  As a band, Steely Dan went on hiatus in 1981, but both musicians carried on with other work.  For Becker’s part, he moved with his family to a more quiet life in Hawaii where he farmed avocados while working as a producer.  A few of his more notable clients were Michael Franks, Rickie Lee Jones, and China Crisis who credited him as being an official member of the band.  He and Fagen regrouped as Steely Dan in 1993 and immediately went on a well-received tour, their first in almost two decades.  In 2000, they released Two Against Nature, their first album since 1980.  It earned them four Grammys including Album of the Year. The following year found them being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  During the latter years of Becker’s career – while still touring and recording with Steely Dan – he released a solo album, guested on other albums and did some song co-writes.  On September 3, 2017, Walter Becker passed away, and by all accounts, it was unexpected. Cause of death was not immediately released.  He was 67.

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RIP, Dave Hlubek (September 3, 2017) Founder Of Molly Hatchet

Posted by themusicsover on September 3, 2017

Dave Hlubek
August 28, 1951 – September 3, 2017

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Dave Hlubek was the founder and lead guitarist for the popular Jacksonville, Florida rock band, Molly Hatchet. Formed in 1971, the group helped pioneer what would quickly come to be known as southern rock, which included equal parts rock ‘n roll, country, and blues, with a lot of  southern culture, electric guitar and boogie thrown in for good measure.  The band’s inclusion in the sub-genre reportedly baffled Hlubek, as he considered them to be a heavy metal band who just happened to be from the south. Molly Hatchet hit the ground running with their self-titled debut in 1978. It quickly went platinum in the US, and was followed a year later with their most successful album to date, Flirtin’ With Disaster, which sold over 2 million copies in the US alone. In all, Hlubek’s Molly Hatchet albums sold upwards of 24 million copies world wide.  In 1987, Hlubek and the band parted ways, and he went on to live a quieter life in order to kick some potentially life-stealing bad habits.  After a time he did just that, and he went back to work as a session player while taking part in various southern rock super groups.  In 2005, with his life back in order, Hlubek re-joined Molly Hatchet with whom he went on to record, and when his then-deteriorating health permitted, perform live until the time of his passing. On September 3, 2017, Dave Hlubek suffered a fatal heart attack.  He was 66.

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RIP, Gregg Allman (May 27, 2017) Southern Rock Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on May 27, 2017

Gregg Allman
December 8, 1947 – May 27, 2017

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Gregg Allman was the lead singer, keyboardist and primary songwriter for the Allman Brothers Band, which he formed with his brother, Duane Allman, in 1969.  The Allman Brothrers went on to become one of the most influential rock bands America has ever produced.  Albums like The Allman Brothers Band, At Fillmore East, and Eat A Peach are considered landmark recordings of the ’70s. Their marriage of rock to country, blues and jazz – along with unmatched improvisational skills, laid the foundation of the Southern Rock scene which exploded in their wake. Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, and the Marshall Tucker Band are just a handful of bands from the American South who built successful careers due in large part to the Allman Brothers’ direct influence. Between their formation in 1969, and ultimately calling it a day in 2014, the band released 11 studio albums and 16 official live albums while playing countless live shows during their on-again off-again run.  During one break during the ’80s, when most thought his career was over, Allman released a handful of solo albums including Laid Back and I’m No Angel, both of which went gold.  His most recent solo album, 2011’s Low Country Blues, was also his highest charting, debuting at #5 on the Billboard charts.  In recent years, Gregg Allman suffered from a series of health issues and ultimate lost his life to complications of liver cancer.  He was 69 years old when he passed on.

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RIP, Chris Cornell (May 17, 2017) Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog

Posted by themusicsover on May 17, 2017

Chris Cornell (Born Christopher Boyle)
July 20, 1964 – May 17, 2017

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Chris Cornell was Seattle singer, songwriter and guitarist who will forever be remembered as one of the primary architects of grunge, a sub-genre or alternative rock.  If a singer is lucky, she or he will find critical acclaim and commercial success by fronting just one band. But Cornell achieved that three times, with Soundgarden, Audioslave and early on, with Temple of the Dog, a one-off tribute to his friend, Mother Love Bone‘s Andrew Wood, who died of an overdose in 1990, just as the Seattle scene was about to change pop music forever. Born and raised in Seattle, Cornell found himself drawn to the Beatles as a child, reportedly spending most of his days between 9 and 11 years old, devouring a collection of Beatle records he found in a neighbor’s basement.  After learning to play the guitar and drums, Cornell joined a local cover band called the Shemps during the early ’80s.  It was with the Shemps that he forged his musical relationship with Kim Thayil and Hiro Yamamoto, which lead to the formation of Soundgarden in 1984.  The band went on to release six studio albums, with 1994’s Superunknown debuting at #1 and going on to sell over 9 million copies worldwide.  In all, Soundgarden sold upwards of 25 million albums.  With Audioslave, which Cornell co-founded with Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine, Cornell and the band moved more toward a ’70s rock vibe.  The band released three albums which sold more than 4.5 million albums in the US alone.  As a solo artist, Cornell achieved success with four releases and had the rare opportunity to record the theme song for a James Bond film, 2006’s Casino Royale.  The single, “You Know My Name,” charted in several places, most notably, the UK, where it peaked at #7.  After initially disbanding in 1997, Soundgarden reformed in 2010 and released  King Animal in 2012.  It was their first album in 16 years and debuted at #5 on the Billboard charts. It was while on tour with Soundgarden in 2017 that Chris Cornell passed away. Found deceased in his hotel room following a May 17th performance in Detroit, the local Medical Examiner ruled his death a suicide by hanging. He was 52.

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