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Posts Tagged ‘George Thorogood’

RIP, Chuck Berry (March 18, 2017) Rock and Roll Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on March 18, 2017

Chuck Berry
October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017

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As one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, Chuck Berry refined the early sounds of rhythm and blues, added catchy teen-centric lyrics, and turned up the volume of his guitar.  By doing so, he became one of the most influential artists pop music has ever known. Launching his recording career during the mid ’50s, Berry created songs that not only became a part of  America’s fabric, but would be played on radios, at parties, in concerts, on television, and in movies for the next 60 years. His remarkable output included such unforgettable songs as  “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and “Rock and Roll Music.”  On stage, he stood head and shoulders above most of his peers by adding a showmanship that included dazzling guitar solos, and of course, that “duck walk” across the stage.  His direct influence is staggering –  the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Beach Boys, Michael JacksonBruce Springsteen, U2, Prince, Ted Nugent, Tom Petty, and George Thorogood  (to name just a very few) have all cited him as a significant influence or honored him in some way.  In 1986, Berry was deservedly part of the initial class inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he went on to receive countless accolades for the rest of his life.  And of course, a pop music-related “Best Of” list that does not include him or one of his records somewhere near the top, should be taken to the shredder.  Chuck Berry was 90 when he passed away in his home on March 18, 2017. Cause of death was not immediately released.

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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.

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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 (October 23, 2011) Gene Kurtz / Respected Texas Musician; Wrote “Treat Her Right”

Posted by themusicsover on October 23, 2011

Gene Kurtz
DOB Unknown – October 23, 2011

Photo by Winker

Gene Kurtz was a beloved Texas bassist and singer-songwriter who can be heard playing and/or singing on classic recordings by the likes of Edgar Winter, B.J. Thomas, Bo Diddley, and Roy Head, with whom he co-wrote the #2 pop and R&B hit, “Treat Her Right.”  It took the Beatles’ “Yesterday” incidentally, to keep it from hitting the top of the charts.  Born in San Antonio, Texas, Kurtz eventually settled in Austin where he played with Augie Meyers of Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados fame before hooking up with Head.  The two soon wrote and recorded (with Head singing lead), “Treat Her Right” which went on to become one of the most famous Texas rock/R&B songs ever.  Its bass line by Kurtz is one of pop music’s best.  The song has since been covered by such luminaries as Otis Redding, George Thorogood, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Robert Plant, to name a few.  It has also become a staple in film and television – it was featured prominently in The Commitments, as well as numerous other films and television shows.  After his tenure with Head, Kurtz went on to play on Winter’s 1970 debut, Entrance.  During the 2000s, Kurtz played in Dale Watson’s band for whom he wrote “Way Down Texas Way,” which the band can be seen performing on an episode of the television hit, Friday Night Lights.  According to the Houston Press, Gene Kurtz was 68 when he passed away on October 23, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Paul Bearer for the assist.



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Died On This Date (June 2, 2008) Bo Diddley / Blues Icon

Posted by themusicsover on June 2, 2010

Bo Diddley (Born Ellas Otha Bates)
December 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008

Known as “The Originator,” Bo Diddley was arguably THE flash point of rock ‘n roll.  He took the blues and injected a shot of the devil into it, forever bridging the gap between the two art forms.  As a singer, guitarist and songwriter, Diddley was a direct influence on many of the greatest artists in rock history.  The “Bo Diddley Beat” directly inspired the likes of Buddy Holly, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix, the Who, the Grateful Dead, U2, George Thorogood, Elton John and countless others. Bo Diddley died of heart failure on June 2, 2008.  He was 79.

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Bo Diddley: The Definitive Collection - Bo Diddley

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Died On This Date (December 12, 1985) Ian Stewart / Co-founder of Rolling Stones

Posted by themusicsover on December 12, 2009

Ian Stewart
July 18, 1938 – December 12, 1985

ian-stewartIan Stewart was a Scottish boogie-woogie piano player who, in 1962, was the first to respond to Brian Jones’ ad looking for musicians to form a band.  Dick Taylor, Tony Chapman, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were soon to follow, and the original unit of the Rolling Stones was born.   Within a few months, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman replaced Taylor and Chapman.  In early 1963, the band’s manager convinced the others that Stewart’s burly physique just didn’t fit in with the image the band was developing, so he was relegated to road manager and studio keyboardist.  He played on all but one Stones album between 1964 and 1983.   Over the years, Stewart played keyboards on Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” and “Boogie With Stu” (named for Stewart), as well as George Thorogood’s Bad To The Bone and Howlin’ Wolf’s London Sessions albums.   On December 12, 1985, Ian Stewart, 47,  went to a local hospital to have an ongoing respiratory problem checked out.  While in the waiting room, he suffered a fatal heart attack.

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Exile On Main St. (Deluxe Version) [Remastered] - The Rolling Stones

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