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Posts Tagged ‘Donovan’

Died On This Date (October 2, 2012) Big Jim Sullivan / Legendary UK Session Guitarist; Played On Over 1000 Charting Singles

Posted by themusicsover on October 2, 2012

Jim Sullivan
February 14, 1941 – October 2, 2012

Big Jim Sullivan was one of the most requested and prolific session guitarists that England ever produced.  Over a career that spanned over 50 years, he played on around 1000 records that charted in the UK, more than 50 reached number one.  Legend has it that he played on upwards of 3000 records a year during the height of his career.  Sullivan was just 14 when he started learning to play the guitar, and in just two years, he was playing professionally.  In 1959, he joined a band called the Wildcats who were backing Marty Wilde at the time.  The following year, the Wildcats backed Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent on the infamous UK tour that ultimately took Cochran’s life.  Over the next two decades, Sullivan became one of the most in-demand guitarists in the business.  He also gave a young Ritchie Blackmore guitar lessons and helped convince Jim Marshall to make his now famous amps.  During this time, Sullivan was one of the earliest to make use of feedback, the fuzzbox and talkbox, which was made into more or less a household name by Peter Frampton on his classic Frampton Comes Alive album of 1976. The short list who employed Sullivan to play on their records is made up of the Kinks, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithfull, David Bowie, Donovan, and Frank Zappa.  He was also a familiar face playing alongside Tom Jones on his American variety show.  Sullivan also found time to record several albums of his own as well. Big Jim Sullivan was 71 when he passed away on October 2, 2012.  He was reportedly suffering from diabetes and heart disease at the time of his death.

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

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Died On This Date (May 30, 2003) Mickie Most / Record Producer

Posted by themusicsover on May 30, 2010

Mickie Most
June 20, 1938 – May 30, 2003

Mickie Most with Suzi Quatro on left

Mickie Most was an English producer and label owner who had a run of Number One hits with a stable of artists that included the Animals, Donovan, Suzi Quatro and Herman’s Hermits.  Most started his career as a performer in London coffee houses where he met future partner and Led Zeppelin manager, Peter Grant.  He had a semi-successful run during the late ’50s and early ’60s but grew tired of the touring so he explored opportunities on the business side of music.  He started out in sales and merchandising and soon landed a gig in production at Columbia Records.  His first act was a little band he found called the Animals who he helped record a worldwide hit with “House Of The Rising Sun,” and in turn received a Grammy for Producer Of The Year in 1964.  Then came Herman’s Hermits who had a string of hits that at one time rivaled the Beatles.   Other artists he recorded included Lulu, Jeff Beck, the Seekers, Nancy Sinatra, the Yardbirds and Brenda Lee.   In 1968, Most partnered with Peter Grant to open RAK Management and a year later, RAK Publishing and RAK Records.  Artists signed to RAK Records included Suzy Quatro, Sweet, Hot Chocolate, and Chris Spedding.  By the ’80s, he had discovered Kim Wilde and produced her worldwide smash, “Kids In America.”  And later appeared as a harsh judge on a British television talent program called New Faces, which no doubt helped create a future television star by the name of Simon Cowell.  Most died of mesothelioma, a cancer generally associated with the exposure to asbestos.

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Died On This Date (March 7, 1971) Harold McNair / Jazz Flute Great

Posted by themusicsover on March 7, 2010

Harold McNair
November 5, 1931 – March 7, 1971

harold-mcnairHarold McNair was a respected jazz flautist and saxophonist who followed a less-than-traditional way to jazz greatest.  Born in Jamaica, McNair spent the early years of his career making Island music.  He also sang Calypso.  McNair recorded his first album, 1960’s Bahama Bash, in Miami, Florida, and in 1960, he moved to Europe where he toured with Quincy Jones before settling in London.  He also played on the scores of several Paris films and television programs.  Soon, McNair joined up with  Charles Mingus, but the quartet was quickly derailed thanks to a U.K. musicians’ strike.  McNair released several albums throughout his career, and played on recordings by the likes of Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Blossom Dearie, Donovan, and Ginger Baker.  Harold McNair died of lung cancer on March 7, 1971.  He was just 39 years old.

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Died On This Date (November 25, 1974) Nick Drake / Influential English Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on November 25, 2009

Nick Drake
June 19, 1948 – November 25, 1974

nickdrakeNick Drake was an English singer-songwriter who in spite of selling in the neighborhood of just 5000 copies of each of his albums when released, went on to become one of the most influential and respected artists of his generation.  Drake came to relative prominence during the British folk movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s.  Oft compared to the likes of Syd Barrett, Donovan and Van Morrison, Drake released just three albums between 1969 and 1972.  They barely registered a blip back then, and the fact that Drake resisted performing live or granting interviews did nothing to help them find their audience.  Suffering from depression and insomnia for much of his life, Drake let those demons populate his dark songs.  During Drake’s final month’s, he became very reclusive, avoiding friends and family.  Mental illness had obviously taken hold of Drake’s spirit.   On November 25, 1974, Nick Drake, 26, died of an overdose of antidepressants in his parents home.  Local officials ruled it a suicide, though many close to him and with him during his final days strongly believe it was an accidental overdose.  Interest in Drake’s music continued to grow throughout the ’80s and ’90s as popular artists like Lucinda Williams, Elliott Smith, REM’s Peter Buck, and Robert Smith and of the Cure began citing him as an influence.  His songs also began finding new fans from numerous film and TV placements, including the usage of “Pink Moon” in a popular Volkswagen commercial in 2000.

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