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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Marley’

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.

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Died On This Date (September 1, 2009) Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson / Reggae’s Steely & Clevie

Posted by themusicsover on September 1, 2010

Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson
DOB Unknown – September 1, 2009

steelySteely Johnson was a keyboardist and noted Jamaican reggae producer who worked with Cleveland Browne as Steely & Clevie.   Formed in the late ’80s while playing on Bob Marley’s Confrontation, the dancehall production team went on to work which such artists as No Doubt, the Specials and Bounty Killer.  Johnson’s first significant gig was playing with Sugar Minott during the ’70s.  He also worked with Augustus Pablo and co-founded the Roots Radics.  Suffering from diabetes and kidney problems, Johnson was in New York seeking treatment.  He died of heart failure at Brookhaven Hospital on September 1, 2009.

Thanks to Stephen Brower for the assist.

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Play Studio One Vintage - Steely & Clevie

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Died On This Date (August 9, 1971) Leslie Kong / Notable Early Reggae Producer

Posted by themusicsover on August 9, 2010

Leslie Kong
1933 – August 9, 1971

leslie_kongLeslie Kong was unique in that he was a Chinese Jamaican and therefore seemed an unlikely person to be one of the founding fathers of reggae.  Kong owned a record store in Kingston when he heard a young Jimmy Cliff singing outside in 1961.  Kong had an epiphany and launched his own label, Beverley’s which was instrumental to the early development of ska, rock steady and reggae.  Kong recorded Cliff’s first record as well as Bob Marley’s earliest singles in 1962.  Other key reggae artists that Kong recorded during their early years were Desmond Dekker, Joe Higgs, Toots & The Maytalls, and Derrick Morgan.  Kong has the distinct honor of producing reggae’s first International hit with Dekker’s “007 (Shanty Town)” in 1967.  In August of 1971, Leslie Kong suffered a fatal heart attack.  Many believe it was due to a curse that the Wailers’ Bunny Livingston placed on him after a business dispute.  He was just 38.


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Died On This Date (August 2, 1997) Fela Kuti / Afro-Beat Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on August 2, 2010

Fela Kuti
October 15, 1938 – August 2, 1997

An afro-beat pioneer, the Nigerian born Fela Kuti was considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.  Born to politically active parents in 1938, Kuti later went to London to study medicine, but switched to music.  While in college he formed his first band which introduced a sound that married jazz, funk and the West African traditional music, later to be called afro-beat.  While visiting the United States in 1969, Kuti was introduced to the Black Power movement, which would strongly influence his beliefs and music moving forward.  He soon became a target of the Nigerian government due to the confrontational lyrics in his songs.  His house was burned down and he was beaten by soldiers on multiple occasions.  But he kept doing what he did best, make great music with a strong message of the people.  To many, his voice and words were as important as Bob Marley’s were.  Fela Kuti died from complications of AIDS  on August 2, 1997.

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Best of the Black President - Fela Kuti

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Died On This Date (July 1, 1999) Dennis Brown / Prolific Reggae Star

Posted by themusicsover on July 1, 2010

Dennis Brown
February 1, 1957 – July 1, 1999

Dennis Brown was a Jamaican reggae star who, over the course of his astonishing 30-year career made over 75 albums. He was much respected by peers and fans the world over for his lovers rock style of reggae. One fan in particular carried tremendous weight within the community, that being Bob Marley, who called Brown “the crown prince of reggae.” Literally growing up in the center of Jamaica’s music scene, the young Brown would witness then and future reggae stars going to and from recording sessions. Bitten by the bug, Brown was just 11 years old when he recorded his first hit, a cover of the Impressions’ “No Man Is An Island,” and by 13, he was releasing his first album. By 1975, Bob Marley was calling him the best reggae singer in the world, and by the time he turned 22, he was already considered a reggae legend the world over. Sadly, ganja wasn’t Brown’s only mind recreation of choice as he developed an addiction to cocaine, perhaps say some, due to the phenomenal recording and performance pace he kept throughout his career. That addiction would prove fatal when he was rushed to the hospital with what turned out to be a collapsed lung. Dying on the operating table on July 1, 1999, many believe the typically non-fatal condition became deadly because of his substance abuse.

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Money In My Pocket - Dennis Brown

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