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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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RIP, Col. Bruce Hampton (May 2, 2017) Influential Rock Guitarist

Posted by themusicsover on May 2, 2017

Col. Bruce Hampton (Born Gustav Berglund)
April 30, 1947 – May 2, 2017

Photo by Roger Gupta via Wikimedia

Bruce Hampton, more commonly known as Col. Bruce Hampton, was a bluesy avant-garde guitarist whose work has been credited for being a main inspiration on countless musicians, and in particular, jam bands who took a shine to his improvisational skills. Born in Knoxville, TN, Hampton’s first band of note was the blues rock outfit, Hampton Grease Band whose first album, Music To Eat was released by Columbia Records in 1971.  Never publicly proven one way or another, legend has it that it is the 2nd worst selling album in Columbia Records history – barely nudged out by an unknown yoga album.  True or not, the band soon parted ways with Columbia and found a more fitting home on Frank Zappa‘s Bizzare Records,  before calling it quits in 1973.  Hampton went on to release dozens of albums under different monikers over the next four decades and guesting on countless others while performing live in front of adoring fans around the world.  In 1992, Hampton helped launch the H.O.R.D.E. (Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere ) festival tour.  Taking their cue from the recently launched Lollapalooza tour, founding band Blues Traveler imagined a traveling show where improvisational bands of every stripe could come together for the enjoyment of like-minded fans.  Besides Hampton’s Aquarium Rescue Unit, bands on the inaugural run included Phish, Widespread Panic and the Spin Doctors.  On May 1, 2017, the still very much active Col. Bruce Hampton was honored with a 70th birthday concert in Atlanta, GA. The all-star event included performers such as John Popper, Peter Buck, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, and Warren Haynes alongside members of Phish, Widespread Panic, Leftover Salmon, and more.  While performing “Turn on Your Love Lovelight” during the encore, Hampton collapsed in a way that many in the audience initially assumed it was part of the show.  When it was realized that he was indeed suffering from a medical emergency, he was carried offstage and taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead during the early hours of May 2, 2017. Cause of death was not immediately released.

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RIP, Allan Holdsworth (April 16, 2017) Acclaimed Fusion Guitarist

Posted by themusicsover on April 16, 2017

Allan Holdsworth
August 6, 1946 – April 16, 2017

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Allan Holdsworth was a highly influential jazz fusion guitarist who, over the course of 40+ years released 12 well-regarded albums and played on records by the likes of Jean-Luc Ponty, Soft Machine, Bill Bruford, and Stanley Clarke. Born in Bradford, England, Holdsworth was taught music by his pianist father from an early age.  Although he didn’t pick up the guitar, until he was 17, he was a quick-learn and more or less made that his instrument of choice from then on.  Holdsworth eventually relocated to London and joined the prog rock band, Igginbottom who released one album in 1969.  He spent most of the ’70s playing in prog and fusion bands while collaborating with many to the genre’s best known and respected artists.  He released his first solo album, Feels Good To Me, in 1978, and continued to record and perform live to adoring fans for the better part of the next four decades.  His chord progressions were complex and his solos very intricate, so it is no surprise that later guitar greats like Eddie Van Halen, Tom Morello, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Joe Satriani have all sited him as a major influence.  Allan Holdsworth was 70 when he passed away on April 16, 2017.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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RIP, John Geils (April 11, 2017) Founder Of The J. Geils Band

Posted by themusicsover on April 11, 2017

John Geils
February 20, 1946 – April  11, 2017

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John Geils, known professionally as J. Geils, was the founder and lead guitarist of the popular Boston blues rock band, the J. Geils Band.  From an early age, Geils was surrounded by jazz and blues music thanks to his dad’s influence.  As a child, he could work out Miles Davis’ music on the trumpet and drums. He also taught himself the by listening to the likes of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters on the radio.  When it came time for college, Geils chose Northwestern University where he played trumpet in the marching band.  He soon moved over to Worcester Polytechnic University where he met Peter Wolf, Danny Klein, Magic Dick Salwitz and Seth Justman, and the J. Geils Band was soon formed. They released their first album in 1970, but even though they received plenty of FM airplay and marveled concert audiences all over the country, it took another 12 years and 11 albums before they hit #1 with Freeze Frame.  The band have several charting singles throughout their run, including “Musta Got Lost,” “Freeze Frame,” “Love Stinks,” and most famously,  “Centerfold.”  The J. Geils Band broke up in 1985, after which, Geils began driving race cars and opened an auto restoration shop.  In 1996, he sold the shop and went on to participate in band reunions over the next two decades before retiring in 2012.  On April 11, 2017, local police paid a well-being visit on J. Geils’ home only to find him deceased at the age of 71.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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