Posted by themusicsover on October 14, 2012
Blake Baker Cunningham, Jr.
DOB Unknown – October 14, 2012
B.B. Cunningham was a legendary Memphis musician who, over a career that spanned some 50 years, played in Jerry Lee Lewis‘ band, played in a high school group that included pre-Booker T & The MG’s Steve Cropper and Donald “Duck” Dunn, scored a Top 20 hit as leader of the ’60s garage band, the Hombres, and engineered records by the likes of Elton John. Born into a musical family that included his father who, performing under the name Buddy Blake, recorded for Sam Phillips‘ Sun Records during the ’50s. B.B.’s brother, Bill Cunningham, was a founding member of Alex Chilton’s legendary band, the Box Tops. While in high school, Cunningham played alongside Cropper and Dunn in a band called the Six O’Clock Boys who had a regional hit with “Ivory Marbles.” Meanwhile, Cunningham’s father was working at Sun Studios which lead to a night in 1954 when Phillips invited B.B. to play percussion on Elvis Presley’s earliest Sun sessions. The Six O’Clock Boys soon became the Mar-Keys who had another moderate hit with “Last Night.” The other members of the Mar-Keys eventually evolved into Booker T & the MG’s while Cunningham dabbled in production and session work. In 1963, he joined Jerry Lee Lewis’ band on bass and keyboards. He played with the Killer on-and-off for decades. In 1965, he co-founded the Hombres who had a Top 15 hit with “Let It All Hang Out,” a garage rock staple. During the early ’70s, Cunningham moved to Los Angeles where engineered recordings by the likes of Elton John, Lou Rawls, and Billy Joel. He eventually settled back in Memphis where he opened his own recording studio. In recent years, Cunningham was working as a security guard. In the early morning hours of October 14, 2012, Cunningham, who was working security at an Southeast Memphis apartment complex, reportedly heard a gunshot from a neighboring complex. Initial reports were sparse, but indicate that when police arrived on scene, they found both Cunningham and a 16-year-old boy dead from gunshot wounds. B.B. Cunningham Jr. was 70 when he passed away.
Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number 1 Albums for the assist.
Posted in Musician | Tagged: B.B. Cunningham, Bill Cunningham, Booker T & The MG's, Buddy Blake, Donald Duck Dunn, Elton John, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Phillips, Steve Cropper, the Box Tops, The Hombres, The Six O'Clock Boys | 1 Comment »
Posted by themusicsover on August 15, 2012
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.
Posted in Musician, Rock | Tagged: Bob Birch, Brian Wilson, Bruce Hornsby, Cher, Elton John, George Michael, Gregg Allman, Stevie Wonder, Sting | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themusicsover on July 16, 2012
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.
What You Should Own
Click to find at amazon.com
Posted in Funk, Musician, Pop, R&B | Tagged: Barry Manilow, Bob Babbitt, Bonnie Raitt, Del Shannon, Edwin Starr, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Herbie Mann, Jacob Lusk, Jim Croce, Jimi Hendrix, MFSB, Phil Collins, Smokey Robison & The Miracles, Stanley Turrentine, Stevie Wonder, The Funk Brothers, The Spinners, The Temptations | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themusicsover on November 27, 2011
July 3, 1927 – November 27, 2011
Ken Russell was a celebrated British director who courted controversy in both film and television for his use of sexuality and the church within his themes and imagery. Russell made a huge mark on popular music as well with his 1975 rock film Tommy, based on the Who’s album of the same name. The landmark movie starred the band’s Roger Daltrey as Tommy, Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, and John Entwhistle, along with Ann-Margret, Jack Nicholson, Oliver Reed, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, and Elton John. The film earned Margaret a Golden Globe as well as an Academy Award nomination, and Townshend an Academy Award nomination for the film’s score and adaptation. It’s most memorable scenes include Turner as the Acid Queen, John as the Pinball Wizard, and of course, Margaret writhing erotically in a pool of baked beans. The movie spent a record 14 weeks at number one and continued to be a box office draw for well over a year. Following Tommy, Russell again directed Daltrey in Lisztomania, which portrayed 19th century composer, Franz Liszt as the first classical pop star. The film also features Ringo Starr and Rick Wakeman who composed the score. Other notable films by Russell include Altered States, The Devils, and Women In Love for which he won an Oscar. Ken Russell passed away on November 27, 2011. He was 84.
Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.
What You Should Own
Click to find at amazon.com
Posted in Other, Rock | Tagged: Ann-Margret, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Franz Liszt, Jack Nicholson, John Entwhistle, Keith Moon, Ken Russell, Oliver Reed, pete townshend, Rick Wakeman, Ringo Starr, Roger Daltrey, the who, Tina Turner | Leave a Comment »