Posted by themusicsover on January 17, 2012
Johnny Otis (Born Ioannis Veliotis)
December 28, 1921 – January 17, 2012
Referred to as the “Godfather Of Rhythm and Blues,” Johnny Otis was a man of many aspirations and musical talents. Born and raised in the San Francisco area, Otis went on to become a successful bandleader, producer, songwriter, journalist, talent scout, arranger, disc jockey, vibraphonist, drummer, club owner, merchant, and even politician. His most popular contribution to popular music came by way of “Willie and the Hand Jive,” which sold over 1.5 million copies, rose to #9 on the pop charts, and has since been recorded by the likes of George Thorogood, Levon Helm, Eric Clapton, Cliff Richard, and New Riders of the Purple Sage, to name just a few. A child of Greek immigrants, Otis actually lived and worked as part of the African-American community while employing mostly black musicians for his bands. He began making an impact on music during the late ’40s when he opened a nightclub in the Watts section of Los Angeles. It was there that he made his first discovery, Little Esther Phillips, who went on to have several pop and R&B hits of her own. Other future greats he is credited for discovering and working with during their early years include Big Jay McNeely, Jackie Wilson, Hank Ballard, Etta James and Big Mama Thornton, whose signature song, “Hound Dog,” was produced by Otis. In 1958, Otis recorded the self-penned “Willie and the Hand Jive” which quickly became a smash with both black and white audiences and went on to become one of the most iconic songs of the era. A tireless performer, Otis and his band toured the world well into the 2000s. During the ’60s, he made an unsuccessful run for the California State Assembly. Many blamed the loss on the fact that he ran under his virtually unknown birth name. In 1994, Otis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in later years, he hosted “The Johnny Otis Show” on San Francisco radio station, KPFA. Due to declining health, he did his last show in August of 2006. His son, Shuggie Otis, had hits of his own during the ’70s. Johnny Otis was 90 when he passed away in his home on January 17, 2012
Thanks to Paul Bearer for the assist.
What You Should Own
Click to find at amazon.com
Posted in Arranger, Blues, Club Owner, Early Rock, Musician, Producer, R&B, Rock, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: Big Jay McNeely, Big Mama Thornton, Cliff Richard, Eric Clapton, Etta James, George Thorogood, Hank Ballard, Jackie Wilson, Johnny Otis, Levon Helm, Little Esther Phillips, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Shuggie Otis | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themusicsover on August 28, 2011
May 28, 1952 – August 28, 2011
Photo by Paul Rider
Tom Hibbert was an English journalist who found fame for his sometimes less than flattering pieces on rock musicians throughout the ’80s and ’90s. After dropping out of Leeds University during the ’70s, Hibbert played in a handful of local bands before giving up his rock star dreams and moving on to a life in journalism. Over the course of his career, he wrote music and pop culture columns for the New Music News, Q, and Smash Hits where he ridiculed the likes of Paul McCartney, Johnny Rotten, and David Bowie. Perhaps his biggest moment came in 1987, when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher employed Hibbert to interview her in an attempt to appeal to young voters. The plan backfired as the interview revealed such decidedly non-hip nuggets as her favorite singer being Cliff Richard, and song being “How Much is That Doggie in the Window.” Hibbert spent the last decade of his life in ill health and ultimately died from complications of diabetes on August 28, 2011. He was 59.
Thanks to Kelly Wilson at New Releases Now! for the assist.
Posted in Journalist | Tagged: Cliff Richard, David Bowie, Johnny Rotten, Margaret Thatcher, Paul McCartney, Tom Hibbert | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themusicsover on March 18, 2011
Terence “Jet” Harris
July 6, 1939 – March 18, 2011
Photo by Harry Hammond
Jet Harris was a bassist who is perhaps best remembered as one of the founding members the English pop band, the Shadows. Originally a jazz musician, it is widely believed that Harris was one of the first, if not THE first English musician to start playing the electric bass. The year was 1958, and before long, Harris was playing in a group called the Drifters who were serving as Cliff Richard’s backing band. They soon changed their name to the Shadows who would ultimately go on to release nearly 70 charting singles in the U.K. Richard himself, would later go on to have a very successful solo career. In 1962, Harris left the Shadows due to friction within the group. He went on to release a handful of moderately successful solo records, and played briefly in the Jeff Beck Group, but by the early ’70s, he was out of the music business and working various manual labor jobs. He returned to playing in the late ’80s and continued to do so up until just prior to his death. In 1998, Fender Guitars recognized him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for popularizing the electric bass in Britain. On March 18, 2011, Jet Harris died following a two-year struggle with cancer. He was 71.
Thanks to Su for the assist.
Posted in Musician, Rock | Tagged: Cliff Richard, Jeff Beck, Jet Harris, The Shadows | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themusicsover on November 26, 2009
June 16, 1942 – November 26, 1973
John Rostill was an English musician and songwriter who is perhaps best remembered as a bassist for one of England’s most successful rock groups, the Shadows. With 69 UK charting singles (including 17 #1s) they have been recognized as England’s third most successful charted singles act in history. Only Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley sit above them. They are also credited for being one of the very first and most influential rock bands to come to prominence in the years leading up to the Beatles. After playing around London, at times backing such visiting acts as the Everly Brothers, Rostill was hired by the Shadows as a replacement for Brian Locking. He played with the band from 1963 to 1968. After the group broke up in 1968, Rostill performed in Tom Jones’ touring band during the early ’70s. He was also a successful songwriter, having been recorded by Presley and Olivia Newton-John (“Let Me Be There,” “If You Love Me, Let Me Know,” and “Please Mr. Please”). By late 1973, the Shadows had reformed and Rostill was about to join back with them when tragedy struck. On November 26, 1973, John Rostill, 31, was accidentally electrocuted while working in his home studio.
What You Should Own
Click to find at amazon.com
Posted in Composer, Musician, Rock, Songwriter | Tagged: Brian Locking, Cliff Richard, Elvis Presley, John Rostill, Olivia Newton-John, The Beatles, the Everly Brothers, The Shadows, Tom Jones | 3 Comments »