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Posts Tagged ‘Aretha Franklin’

RIP, George Michael (December 25, 2016) British Pop Star

Posted by themusicsover on December 26, 2016

George Michael (Born Georgios Panayiotou)
June 25, 1963 – December 25, 2016

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As one-half of the pop vocal duo, Wham!, George Michael rose to stardom during the mid-’80s. Formed with schoolmate, Andrew Ridgeley in 1981, Wham! released just three studio albums, but that was enough to sell over 25 million copies during their short run of five years.  Born in London, Michael began his musical journey busking Queen songs (and more) on the London Underground.  He also worked as a DJ for neighborhood school parties and at local clubs.  In 1981, he and Ridgeley formed Wham!, who went on to release several worldwide hits, including “Careless Whisper,” “Freedom,” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.”  After parting ways with Ridgeley in 1986, Michael launched an even more successful solo career.  His first “solo” single, “I Knew You Were Waiting,” a duet with Aretha Franklin, debuted at #1 in both the US and UK. He followed that with the album Faith in October of 1987.  The album sold over 25 million copies and was named Album of The Year at the 1989 Grammy Awards.  In all, Michael sold more than 100 million albums during his solo run and won two Grammys along with numerous other accolades.  George Michael was just 53 when passed away in his sleep on December 25, 2016.  Initial reports point to heart failure as the cause of death.

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Died On This Date (March 15, 2015) Mike Porcaro / Bassist For Toto; Session Great

Posted by themusicsover on March 15, 2015

Mike Porcaro
May 29, 1955 – March 15, 2015

mike-porcaroMike Porcaro is perhaps best remembered as the longtime bassist for Toto, however, he didn’t become an official member until he replaced original bassist, David Hungate, in 1982.  He went on to tour and record with the band until his retirement in 2007. He can be heard on such Toto albums as Isolation, Fahrenheit,  The Seventh One, and their popular soundtrack to the motion picture Dune. As an in-demand session player, Porcaro’s list of credits reads like a who’s who of popular music of the past five decades.  That list includes albums by Aretha Franklin, Cher, Country Joe McDonald, Dan Fogelberg, Donna Summer, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Sparks, Steve Perry, Stevie Nicks, and Wanda Jackson.  In 2007, Porcaro retired from playing due to a numbness he was feeling in his fingers, and three years later, it was announced that he was suffering from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or as it is more commonly known, “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”  On March 15, 2015, Mike Porcaro finally lost his brave battle with the disease.  He was 59.

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Died On This Date (June 19, 2014) Gerry Goffin / Celebrated Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on June 19, 2014

Gerry Goffin
February 11, 1939 – June 19, 2014

gerry-goffinGerry Goffin was arguably America’s most prolific hit lyricist. During the second half of the 20th century, no fewer than 50 songs that he penned the lyrics for made the Top 40.  Born in Brooklyn, New York, Goffin married Carole King who also happened to be his song writing partner throughout the ’60s. As part of the legendary Brill Building collective, Goffin and King wrote such pop and rock standards as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Take Good Care Of My Baby,” “The Loco-Motion,” “Go Away Little Girl,” and “Pleasant Valley Sunshine.”  The seemingly endless list of artists who made their songs into hits includes Little Eva,  the Shirelles, the Four Seasons, Bobby Vee, Dion & the Belmonts, Grand Funk Railroad, the Monkees, and Aretha Franklin.  Goffin also had successful writing partnerships with Barry Goldberg, Barry Mann, Michael Masser, and Russ Titelman.  He was nominated for an Academy Award in for his co-write on the theme song to the 1975 film, Mahogany, which was sung by Diana Ross. Goffin also wrote the Whitney Houston hit, “Savin’ All My Love for You.”  He and King were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.  Gerry Goffin was 75 when he died of natural causes on June 19, 2014.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus at Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.

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Died On This Date (March 30, 2013) Phil Ramone / Legendary Record Producer

Posted by themusicsover on March 30, 2013

Phil Ramone
January 5, 1941 – March 30, 2013

phil-ramonePhil Ramone was a successful record producer who, over a career that spanned some five decades, was awarded 15 Grammys, one Emmy, and countless other accolades.  A child prodigy born in South Africa, Ramone, was playing the violin at age three, and performing for Queen Elizabeth II before he hit his teens.   During the ’40s, he moved to the United States where he attended The Julliard School before becoming a U.S. citizen in 1953.  In 1959, Ramone opened his own studio, A & R Recording and quickly built a name for himself due to his use of the latest technologies.  Artists he went to produce landmark albums with include Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Aretha FranklinFrank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Chicago and Barbra Streisand.  And albums he produced for Ray Charles, Billy Joel, and Paul Simon each went on to earn Album Of The Year awards at the Grammys.  Ramone also recorded Marilyn Monroe‘s notorious rendition of “Happy Birthday To You” to President John F. Kennedy.  He was also considered one of the industry’s top innovators.  In 1982, his digitally recorded version of Billy Joel’s 52nd Street became the first album to be released on compact disc in Japan.  He was also largely responsible for Surround Sound for movies.  Phil Ramone was 72 when he passed away on March 30, 2013.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Paul Bearer for the assist.

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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.



Posted in Gospel, Singer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »