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Posts Tagged ‘Billy Preston’

Died On This Date (January 8, 2015) Andrae Crouch / The Father of Modern Gospel Music

Posted by themusicsover on January 8, 2015

Andrae Crouch
July 1, 1942 – January 8, 2015

andrae-crouchAndrae Crouch was a Gospel music pioneer in that he almost single-handedly crossed it over to the mainstream over the course of his career.  Crouch took to music at an early age, and had already written his first Gospel song by the time he was 14.  In 1960, he formed his first group, the Church of God in Christ Singers, that also counted Billy Preston as a member.  That lead to the Disciples which lasted until 1979, when Crouch went on to his successful solo career.  His best known songs are “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory),” “Soon and Very Soon,” and “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power.”  Over the years, Crouch collaborated with the likes of Elton John, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Madonna (to name just a few).   He also contributed original music to several films and television shows, most notably,  The Lion King and The Color Purple,  for which he earned an Academy Award nomination.  Throughout a career that spanned nearly 50 years, he won seven Grammys, four Dove Awards, and numerous other accolades.  Andrae Crouch was 72 when he died on January 8, 2015 while in the hospital after suffering a heart attack five days earlier.

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

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Posted in Gospel, Musician, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Died On This Date (January 7, 2014) Maureen Gray / Philly Sound Singer & Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on January 7, 2014

Maureen Gray
DOB Unknown – January 7, 2014

maureen-grayMaureen Gray was a beloved soul singer whose strong and impassioned voice exemplified what became known as the Philly Sound.  Born in New York City, Gray was just five years old when she made her professional debut at Carnegie Hall.   She sang just one song that night, “Steam Heat” from Pajama Game, and received her first standing ovation.  At just 12 years old, she came to the attention of Chancellor Records who released her first record, “Today’s The Day,” which became an instant hit in the Philly area, making her the envy of her classmates.   Later, she had a Billboard charting hit with “Dancin’ The Strand,” and several other marginal hits. Gary went on to be an in-demand session singer, recording with the likes of Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Bob Marley, David Bowie, George Harrison, and John Lennon.  Maureen Gray was 65 when she died of a rare bile duct cancer on January 7, 2014.

What You Should Own

Click to find at amazon.com

Click to find at amazon.com



Posted in R&B, Singer | Tagged: , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Died On This Date (May 26, 2013) Clarence Burke, Jr / The Five Stairsteps; Had Hit With “O-o-h Child”

Posted by themusicsover on May 26, 2013

Clarence Burke, Jr.
May 25, 1949 – May 26, 2013

clarence-burke-jrClarence Burke, Jr. was the front man for the legendary soul group, the Five Stairsteps.  Formed by five siblings in 1965, the “First Family of Soul,” as they were known, is perhaps best remembered for their Top 10 single, “O-o-h Child,” which was released in 1970.  Throughout the years, the song has been covered, sampled and used in films and television countless times.  Burke was not only the lead singer of the group, but was also their guitar player, choreographer and primary songwriter.  During the mid ’70s, the Stairsteps, as they were then known, were introduced to the George Harrison by Billy Preston.   Harrison soon signed them to his Dark Horse Records who released their final hit, “From Us To You,” in 1976.  The group soon broke up so Burke formed the Invisible Man’s Band who had a minor disco hit with “All Night Thing” in 1980.  That band split up the following year after which Burke continued on as a solo artist for the remainder of his life.  Clarence Burke Jr. was 64 when he passed away on May 26, 2013.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

What You Should Own

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Click to find at amazon.com



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Died On This Date (February 16, 2013) Tony Sheridan / Early Beatles Collaborator

Posted by themusicsover on February 16, 2013

Tony Sheridan (Born Anthony McGinnity)
May 21, 1940 – February 16, 2013

tony-sheridanTony Sheridan was an early English rock and roll singer, guitarist and songwriter who is most often recognized for his work with the pre-fame Beatles.  He holds the honor of being only one of two non-Beatles to ever be credited on one of the groups recordings – the other being Billy Preston.  Sheridan is also the only non-Beatle to sing lead on a single with them that charted (“My Bonnie”). Sheridan took an early liking to music, and at age seven, already knew how to play the violin.  He soon switched to the guitar, and by the time he was 16, he was fronting his own band.  Within a few years, he was either backing or sharing the stage with American musicians while they toured through the UK.  That list includes Gene Vincent, Conway Twitty, and Eddie Cochran.  During the early ’60s, Sheridan was recording in Hamburg and generally hired pick-up bands to back him on stage.  In 1961, thanks to a mutual admiration, he hired the Beatles, who at the time, were made up of Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and Pete Best.  Polydor producer, Bert Kaempfert, caught their act and convinced Sheridan to record with them.  The songs recorded during those 1961 sessions included, most famously, “My Bonnie,”  “The Saints,” “Cry For A Shadow,” and “Ain’t She Sweet.”  The latter two were utilized by the Beatles.  The 1st US pressing of “My Bonnie”/”The Saints” is one of the most collectible 45’s out there with a mint copy fetching $15,000 back in 2007.  During the mid-’60s, Sheridan moved his style to a more jazz and blues sound but unfortunately, most of his fans didn’t go along for the ride.  Although his record sales dwindled, he still remained a popular live act for many years.  In 1967, Sheridan went over the Vietnam to perform for the American troops.  During one such trip, he and his band were fired upon, killing one musician and leading to false reports that Sheridan himself, was killed. For his efforts during the war, the US Army made Sheridan an honorary Captain.  He continued to perform and record until heart surgery forced him into retirement in 2012. Tony Sheridan was 72 when he passed away on February 16, 2013.

Thanks to Brett Ortone at Go Aloha Entertainment for the assist.

What You Should Own

Click to find at amazon.com

Click to find at amazon.com



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Died On This Date (April 29, 2012) Jim McCrary / Rock Photographer

Posted by themusicsover on April 29, 2012

Jim McCrary
August 31, 1939 – April 29, 2012

© Jim McCrary / From jimmccrary.com

Jim McCrary was an award-winning photographer whose portfolio includes some of the most iconic rock album covers in history.  Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, McCrary was mostly self-taught by the time he enrolled in a college photography program.  In 1967, McCrary was hired by A&M Records where he was their chief photographer.  Over the next seven years, he took photographs that ended up on the covers of over 300 albums, many of which are some of the famous in rock history.  They include Carole King’s Tapestry, the Carpenters’ Now and Then, and Joe Cocker‘s Mad Dogs and Englishmen, to name just a few.  The list of other artists he captured lasting images of  includes Gram Parsons, Cat Stevens, Lee Michaels, Styx, and Billy Preston.  In 1974, McCrary opened his own studio in Hollywood where he worked for the better part of the next 20 years.  That was followed by a photography supply store.  Jim McCrary was 72 when he died of complications from a chronic nervous system disorder on April 29, 2012.

Thanks to Henk de Bruin at 2+ Printing for the assist.

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