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Posts Tagged ‘Etta James’

Died On This Date (February 4, 2016) Maurice White / Founder of Earth, Wind & Fire

Posted by themusicsover on February 4, 2016

Maurice White
December 19, 1941 – February 4, 2016

Maurice-WhiteMaurice White was the founder and co-lead singer of the highly influential R&B band, Earth, Wind & Fire.  Formed in Chicago in 1969, the band went on to sell over 100 million albums, making them one of the most successful bands of the 20th century.  For over four decades, the group dazzled audiences around the world thanks in part to their dynamic horn section and energetic live shows.  White was born in Memphis, Tennessee and gravitated toward music at an early age along with childhood friend, Booker T Jones.  As a teenager, White moved to Chicago where he found work as a session drummer for the legendary label, Chess Records.  He played on numerous records by the likes of Etta James, Muddy Waters, the Impressions, and Buddy Guy.   In 1966, he joined Ramsey Lewis Trio with whom he recorded nine albums and received his first Grammy for the single, “Hold It Right There.”  Three years later, he formed Earth, Wind & Fire and went on to produce most of the their albums.  In all, the group earned six Grammys along with countless other awards and accolades.  During the ’80s, White was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Due to that, he ultimately retired from touring in 1994, but continued to oversee the band’s business side while producing their records and those by others.   His most notable successes outside of Earth, Wind & Fire were releases by the Emotions and Deniece Williams.   The stunning list of other collaborators includes Barbra Streisand, Weather Report, Neil Diamond, and Minnie Riperton.  Maurice White was 74 when he passed away on February 4, 2016.  Cause of death was not immediately released but likely attributed to his long battle with Parkinson’s.

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Died On This Date (May 30, 2012) Pete Cosey / Guitarist For Miles Davis

Posted by themusicsover on May 30, 2012

Pete Cosey
October 9, 1943 – May 30, 2012

Pete Casey was a legendary Chicago guitarist who is most often associated with Miles Davis with whom he played between 1973 and 1975.  But his musical footprint by no means stopped with the jazz great.  For several years, Cosey was a house guitarist for Chess Records which afforded him the opportunity to play on records by the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Etta James.  After he parted ways with Davis in 1975, Cosey continued working but with mostly far lower-profile artists than he had during his early years.  Pete Cosey passed away on May 30, 2012.  He was 68.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.




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Died On This Date (January 20, 2012) Etta James / American Singer

Posted by themusicsover on January 20, 2012

Etta James (Born Jamesetta Hawkins)
January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012

Etta James was an American singer whose songbook included forays into jazz, blues, soul, gospel and rock ‘n roll.  Born in Los Angeles, California, James had what many would consider a rough childhood and spent many years in the charge of caregivers.  Singing from a young age, James was just 14 when she caught the ear of music impresario, Johnny Otis.  Otis helped her land her first recording contract with Modern Records and before she knew it, she and her group, the Peaches were touring with Little Richard.  In 1960, now signed to Chess, James released her debut album, At Last!, which included the smash hit single of the same name.   The album, which also included hits like “A Sunday Kind Of Love” and “I Just Want To Make Love To You,” peaked at #68 on the album charts but is nonetheless considered one of the great albums of the era.  She went on to have several more hits over the next two decades.  After parting ways with Chess in 1978, James struggled with personal issues before launching a well-received come-back during the late ’80s.  Over the course of her career, James was awarded six Grammys, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an NAACP Image Award, and permanent homes in the Rock and Roll, Grammy, Blues, and Rockabilly Halls of Fame.  Rolling Stone magazine ranks her at #22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, and #62 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists.   In 2010, Etta James was diagnosed with leukemia and ultimately died of the disease on January 20, 2012.  She was 73.

What You Should Own

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The Chess Box: Etta James - Etta James

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Died On This Date (January 17, 2012) Johnny Otis / R&B Great; Had Hit With “Willie and the Hand Jive”

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

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Johnny Otis

Posted in Arranger, Blues, Club Owner, Early Rock, Musician, Producer, R&B, Rock, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Died On This Date (January 17, 2012) Johnny Otis / R&B Great; Had Hit With “Willie and the Hand Jive”

Died On This Date (November 28, 2011) Tom Roady / Drummer For Ricky Skaggs

Posted by themusicsover on November 28, 2011

Tom Roady
DOB Unknown – November 28, 2011

Tom Roady was a much respected drummer and percussionist who is perhaps best remembered for his recent work with Ricky Skaggs.  Roady can be heard playing on Skaggs’ latest offering, A Skaggs Family Christmas, Volume 2, and was gearing up to go out on tour with Skaggs.  Throughout his long career, Roady played with the likes of Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks, Joan Baez, Bob Seger, and Kenny Chesney.  Earlier in his career, Roady was a session player at the storied Muscle Shoals studio, working for Jerry Wexler, and playing on tracks by Lynyrd Skynrd, James Brown, Etta James, Wilson Pickett, and many more.  As reported by CMT, Tom Roady was 62 when he passed away in his sleep on November 28, 2011.  Cause of death was reportedly attributed to heart problems, although he had been battling cancer.



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