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Posts Tagged ‘Cher’

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 (August 15, 2012) Bob Birch / Journeyman Bassist; Played With Elton John, Billy Joel, Cher

Posted by themusicsover on August 15, 2012

Bob Birch
July 14, 1956 – August 15, 2012

Photo by Alexander Klink

Bob Birch was a respected bassist who worked both in the studio and on the road with some of pop music’s biggest stars.  Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Birch was exposed to the greats at Motown at an early age.  Fist playing the saxophone, Birch won several awards while in school.  He eventually took up the bass and earned a scholarship to Wayne State from which he graduated with a degree in music.  During the early ’80s, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music.  During his early days in L.A., Birch played on a multi-platinum Jazzercise album.  One of Birch’s first gigs as a touring bassist was for Jose Feliciano.  In 1992, Birch was hired by Elton John and went on to be his primary touring and studio bassist.  The list of artists Birch also performed live or recorded numbers in the dozens if not hundreds.  It includes Billy Joel, Cher, George Michael, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Gregg Allman, Brian Wilson, and Bruce Hornsby.   He also played on such soundtracks as The Scorpion King and The Replacements.  Bob Birch died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on August 15, 2012.  He was 56.

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Died On This Date (February 15, 2012) Clive Shakespeare / Co-founder Of Sherbet

Posted by themusicsover on February 15, 2012

Clive Shakespeare
June 3, 1949 – February 15, 2012

Photo by Lewis Morley

Clive Shakespeare was an English-born Australian guitarist and producer whose band Sherbet, which he co-founded in 1969, went on to become one Australia’s most popular rock bands during the ’70s.  With hits like “Howzat,” “Summer Love,” and “Cassandra” the band became huge in their homeland, while finding additional fans all over the world.  The group had several Australian gold and platinum albums and were reportedly the first from there to reach over $1 million dollars in sales.  The group was managed by the legendary Roger Davies who has also counted such clients as Tina Turner, Olivia Newton-John, Cher, and Janet Jackson.  Sherbet disbanded in 1979 but reunited throughout the years.  As a producer, Shakespeare collaborated with the likes of popular Australian singer-songwriter, Paul Kelly.  Clive Shakespeare died of prostate cancer on February 15, 2012.  He was 62.  Former band mate, Harvey James passed away in January 15, 2011.

Thanks to Paul Bearer for the assist.

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Died On This Date (August 25, 2000) Jack Nitzsche / Iconic Record Producer

Posted by themusicsover on August 25, 2010

Bernard “Jack” Nitzsche
April 22, 1937 – August 25, 2000


Jack Nitzsche was a respected arranger, composer, producer and session musician who was involved in many of the greatest west coast pop recordings of the ’60s and ’70s.  His first significant contribution to pop music came in 1955 when he co-wrote “Needles And Pins” with Sonny Bono.  The song was a hit for Jackie DeShannon and was later recorded by the Searchers, Cher and the Ramones.  By the early ’60s, Nitzsche was working as an arranger for Phil Spector,  orchestrating the celebrated “wall of sound” on hits like Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep Mountain High.”  Nitzsche was also part of the famed Wrecking Crew, a group of studio musicians that included Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, and Hal Blaine.  Much like their Motown counterparts, the Funk Brothers, the Wrecking Crew were the faceless band behind many ’60s pop hits coming out of Los Angeles.  They could be heard on records by the likes of the Monkees and the Beach Boys. Nitzsche also worked on classic recordings by the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, Graham Parker and Willy DeVille to name a few.  During the ’70s, Nitzsche created the music for several motion pictures including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Starman, 9-1/2 Weeks, and An Officer And A Gentlemen, for which won the best song Oscar for “Up Where We Belong.”  Jack Nitzsche died of cardiac arrest at the age of 63.

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Died On This Date (July 25, 1989) Steve Rubell / Co-founder of Studio 54

Posted by themusicsover on July 25, 2010

Steve Rubell
December 2, 1943 – July 25, 1989

At left with Ian Schrager

At left with Ian Schrager

Steve Rubell was a New York business man who teamed up with friend Ian Schrager to open Studio 54, the Mahanttan nightclub that became the epicenter of the ’70s disco phenomenon.  The disco opened in April of 1977 and quickly became the late night destination of the rich and famous.  It would not be unusual for one to bump into the likes of Elton John, Liza Minnelli, David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Warren Beatty, Cher, John Lennon or Steve Buckingham. On many nights, Rubell would stand at the front door and randomly decide who could enter based on their looks or wardrobe.   Two years after the club opened, Rubell and Schrager were charged with tax evasion and other charges and were later convicted and sentenced to 3-1/2 years in prison.  After his release from prison, Rubell opened another club and a hotel, but nothing ever matched the excitement of Studio 54.  In 1985, he discovered he had AIDS which likely had a hand in his death from hepatitus on July 25, 1989.

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