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Posts Tagged ‘Del Shannon’

Died On This Date (August 2, 2012) Jimmy Jones / Early ’60s Hit Maker

Posted by themusicsover on August 2, 2012

Jimmy Jones
June 2, 1930 – August 2, 2012

Born in Birmingham, Alabama,  Jimmy Jones got his start in show business as a tap dancer after he moved with his family to New York City as a teen.  By the mid ’50s, Jones was singing in local doo-wop groups, but soon went solo.  In 1959, he recorded “Handy Man,” a song that he co-wrote, for Cub Records.  The record soared to #3 on the US singles chart and topped the charts in the UK as well.  That was quickly followed by “Good Timin,'” which did nearly as well.  Each sold over a million copies. In later years, both Del Shannon and James Taylor had hits with “Handy Man.” Jones continued to perform and record, though with no other major hits,  until the time of his death.  He has been cited as popularizing the use of a falsetto voice in pop music, a style that was later used by the likes of Frankie Valli and the Bee Gees.   During the ’90s, Jones enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to the Northern Soul movement in the UK.  Jimmy Jones was 82 when he passed away on August 2, 2012.

Thanks to Henk de Bruin for the assist.

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Jimmy Jones

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Died On This Date (July 16, 2012) Bob Babbitt / Legendary Motown Funk Brothers Bassist

Posted by themusicsover on July 16, 2012

Bob Babbitt
DOB Unknown – July 16, 2012

Bob Babbitt was a Pittsburgh-born journeyman bassist who can rightfully claim to have played on more than 25 gold and platinum albums along with over 200 top 10 hits.  As part of the legendary Motown house band known as the Funk Brothers from 1966 to 1972, Babbitt can be heard playing on such timeless classics as Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” the Temptations‘ “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me),” Edwin Starr’s “War,” and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles‘ “The Tears Of A Clown” to name just a few. Prior to his stint at Motown, Babbitt played on several Del Shannon records, including “Little Town Flirt” and “I Go To Pieces.”  Following his run at Motown, Babbitt continued his hit-record contributions as part of Philadelphia International Records’ answer to the Funk Brothers, MFSB. Within that capacity, for instance, he played on several hits by the Spinners.  Babbitt also recorded or performed live with such superstars as Jimi Hendrix, Phil Collins, Jim Croce, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, and Bonnie Raitt.  During the ’80s, he played on several prominent commercial jingles and even dabbled in jazz with Herbie Mann and Stanley Turrentine. In 2002, he was profiled in the award-winning Funk Brothers documentary, Standing In The Shadows Of Motown.  In March of 2011, Babbitt made his last television appearance with Jacob Lusk during American Idol’s Motown Week.  Bob Babbitt died of brain cancer on July 16, 2012.  He was 74.

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Died On This Date (August 3, 2010) Bobby Hebb / Had Huge Pop Hit With “Sunny”

Posted by themusicsover on August 3, 2010

Bobby Hebb
July 26, 1938 – August 3, 2010

Bobby Hebb was a Nashville singer-songwriter who had a huge pop hit with “Sunny” in 1966.  No less an authority than Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) lists it at #25 on its list of the top 100 songs of the century.  “Sunny” is also one of the most covered songs in pop music history.  It has been recorded by James Brown, Del Shannon, Stevie Wonder, Nick Cave, and Frank Sinatra, to name a few.  Hebb’s first break came when he was still just a child.  After performing on a local television program, he landed a spot playing spoons behind Roy Acuff on the Grand Ole Opry.  He later sang back up on Bo Diddley’s recording of “Diddley Daddy.”  On the day following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Hebb’s brother, Harold Hebb was stabbed to death in a fight outside a Nashville club.  Those two events rocked Hebb’s world enough that he sought solace in his songwriting, which lead to the optimistic lyrics of “Sunny.”  The song soon became an international hit and helped land Hebb a spot opening for the Beatles on their U.S. tour.  He continued to release respectable hits over the years as well as pen a few for others.  Bobby Hebb was 72 when he passed away on August 3, 2010.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums for the assist.

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Sunny - Bobby Hebb

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Died On This Date (February 23, 2003) Howie Epstein / Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Posted by themusicsover on February 23, 2010

Howie Epstein
July 21, 1955 – February 23, 2003

Before Howie Epstein became a member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers he was playing behind John Hiatt in the ’70s (Slug Line, Two Bit Monsters), and Del Shannon in the ’80s.  It was while working on a Petty-produced Del Shannon album, that Epstein was offered a spot in Petty’s band.  He jumped at the chance and made his live debut alongside Petty on September 1, 1982.  Four days later, he was playing in front of one of the biggest rock crowds in history at the legendary US Festival in Southern California.  In 1988, Epstein met and began a romantic and professional relationship with Carlene Carter who was the daughter of June Carter and Carl Smith, and recently divorced from Nick Lowe.  Epstein helped revive Carter’s career which included a Grammy nomination in 1991.  Epstein was also building a solid reputation as a producer, even earning a Best Contemporary Folk Album Grammy for John Prine’s The Missing Years.   Epstein died on February 23, 2003 from the effects of drug abuse, although not from an overdose.

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Damn the Torpedoes (Deluxe Version) - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

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Died On This Date (February 8, 1990) Del Shannon / Early ’60s Rock ‘n Roll Star

Posted by themusicsover on February 8, 2010

Del Shannon (Born Charles Westover)
December 30, 1934 – February 8, 1990

With Tom Petty

Del Shannon was a country leaning rock ‘n roll star of the early ’60s.  His hits included “Hats Off to Larry,” “Little Town Flirt,” and 1961’s “Runaway,” which became a #1 single.  Shannon continued to release moderate hits until he turned to producing during the mid ’60s.  In a 1968 comeback attempt, Shannon released an album more fitting of the time, the psychedelic leaning The Further Adventures of Charles Westover.   Although it was considered his masterpiece by many critics and core fans alike, it failed to produce any hit singles and struggled with sales.  Shannon all but vanished from the music business during the ’70s, only to resurface in 1981 thanks to the help of fan, Tom Petty who produced and lent his Heartbreakers to his Drop Down and Get Me.  The album was a welcome return, and Shannon continued to release albums throughout much of the ’80s.  Around that time, his “Runaway” found a new audience by way of the NBC television drama, Crime Story, for which it became the theme song.  As the ’90s dawned, there was talk that Shannon was to replace the recently deceased Roy Orbison in the Traveling Wilburys.  Sadly however, Shannon, who reportedly struggled with depression, fatally shot himself at his Canyon Country, California home on February 8, 1990.  He was 55.

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Drop Down and Get Me - Del Shannon

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