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Posts Tagged ‘Grateful Dead’

RIP, Paul Kantner (January 28, 2016) Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship

Posted by themusicsover on January 28, 2016

Paul Kantner
March 17, 1941 – January 28, 2016

Paul-KantnerPaul Kantner was the original lead guitarist for influential ’60s counterculture rock band, Jefferson Airplane.  Although the group was founded by singer, Marty Balin, Kanter quickly took over running things, and when Balin left, he lead its new incarnation, Jefferson Starship to even greater heights.  Formed in San Francisco in 1965, Jefferson Airplane was arguably the flash point of what would become known as psychedelic rock – rock music that was created to help enhance the experience of acid, and in particular, LSD.  Along with bands like the Grateful Dead the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane came to represent all that was associated with the Summer of Love.  But of all the bands on the scene, it was Jefferson Airplane that was the first to gain worldwide fandom and huge success.  Besides being the only band to play at all three major American rock festivals of the era – Monterey, Woodstock, and Altamont, they scored early hits with “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love.”  In spite of their initial success, the band suffered from turmoil from within.  When the original Jefferson Airplane disbanded in the early ’70s, Jefferson Starship resurfaced and went to release such hit albums as Red Octopus, Earth, Spitfire and Freedom at Point Zero.  Their hit singles during this period included, “With Your Love,” “Jane,” “Miracles,” and “Count on Me.” They broke up in 1984, but Kantner and Balin reformed it in 1991, with Kanter continuing to perform and record under this moniker as recently as 2013.  In 1996, Kantner and his Jefferson Airplane band mates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.   In March of 2015, Kantner suffered a serious heart attack but was able to take the stage with the band later that year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jefferson Airplane.  In January of 2016, Kantner again suffered a heart attack but this time it led to his death just days later. He died of multiple organ failure on January 28, 2016.  He was 74.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.

What You Should Own

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Died On This Date (June 11, 2015) Ornette Coleman / Jazz Great

Posted by themusicsover on June 11, 2015

Randolph Ornette Coleman
March 9, 1930 – June 11, 2015

Photo by Jimmy Katz

Photo by Jimmy Katz

Ornette Coleman was one of the true greats of jazz.  As a saxophonist, he pioneered what would become to be called “free jazz.” In fact, he is often credited with actually inventing it, or at least putting a name to it, after naming his 1960 album,  Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation. Born in Forth Worth, TX., Coleman spent much of his early career traveling around the United States performing along regional jazz circuits.  Along the way he began to incorporate country blues and R&B into his sound.  In his slower pieces, his high timbre can come across as crying, which appealed to fans of the blues as well.  In 1959, while living in New York, Coleman released The Shape of Things To Come, and a year later, Free Jazz.  Both releases broke him through in a big way and laid the foundation for the avant-garde movement of the 1960s and beyond.   In later years Coleman dabbled in rock, even performing with the Grateful Dead on occasion.  In 2007, he became the first musician to win a Pulitzer Prize – for his album, Sound Grammar.  He continued to perform and record up until the time of his death.  Ornette Coleman was 85 when he died of cardiac arrest on June 11, 2015.

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

What You Should Own

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Died On This Date (September 15, 2012) James “Sugar Boy” Crawford / New Orleans R&B Great

Posted by themusicsover on September 17, 2012

James “Sugar Boy” Crawford
October 12, 1934 – September 15, 2012

James “Sugar Boy” Crawford was a New Orleans R&B musician who, in 1953, wrote a song called “Jock-A-Moe,” which eventually morphed into “Iko-Iko,” one of the Crescent City’s most beloved standards.  As a singer, trombonist, and later, pianist, Crawford began performing around 1950 when he formed the Chapaka Shawee with Doctor Daddy-O. The great Leonard Chess signed him to his Chess Records and changed their name to Sugar Boy & his Cane Cutters.  In 1965, the Dixie Cups released “Iko-Iko” which sounded enough like “Jock-A-Moe,” that Crawford was eventually awarded 25% ownership.  “Iko Iko” went on to become one of the most popular songs to come out of New Orleans and could be heard in countless movies and television shows.  It has been covered by the likes of the Grateful Dead, Cyndi Lauper, Warren Zevon and Dave Matthews.  In 1963, Crawford was pistol-whipped by the police to the point that he was laid up for two years.  The beating put him into a coma and resulted in a metal plate replacing much of his skull.  When he awoke, he had lost most of his memory and motor skills which took the best of two years to re-learn.  He retired from the music business until 1969 when he returned to singing in his church only.  Crawford resurfaced during the mid ’90s to perform on his grandson, Davell Crawford’s, album and made occasional appearances at  New Orleans festivals well into the 2000s.   James “Sugar Boy” Crawford was 77 when he passed away in hospice care on September 15, 2012.

 Thanks to Henk de Bruin for the assist.

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Died On This Date (November 13, 2011) Charlie Phillips / Hampton Grease Band

Posted by themusicsover on November 13, 2011

Charlie Phillips
DOB Unknown – November 13, 2011

Photo by Phil Libben

Charlie Phillips was a beloved bassist and drummer who, during the ’60s, played in several bands, including the Hampton Grease Band. The group was fronted by Bruce Hampton and included Phillips’ brother, Glenn Phillips.  Hampton Grease Band built a sizable underground following for their unconventional blues rock sound and shared the stage with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead.  They have been likened to Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart. Outside of music, Phillips worked as a teacher, played competitive softball, and practiced law, working with many bands and musicians over the years.  Charlie Phillips was 65 when he passed away in his sleep on November 13. 2011.  Cause of death was initially believed to be heart failure.

Thanks to Steve Cabral for the assist.

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Died On This Date (March 13, 2011) Owsley Stanley / LSD Icon; Longtime Soundman for Grateful Dead

Posted by themusicsover on March 14, 2011

Augustus Owsley Stanley
January 19, 1935 – March 13, 2011

Owsley “Bear” Stanley was a sound engineer and former notorious LSD cook who was reportedly the first to manufacture large quantities of the drug.  His high-quality LSD, often given away for free, became plentiful in the San Francisco area during the mid ’60s so is credited for being an essential piece of the hippie movement.  As a respected sound engineer, Stanley was employed by (and also helped finance) the Grateful Dead.  He met members of the group during Ken Kesey’s famed acid tests of 1966 and became their first sound man.  He also co-designed their iconic “Steal Your Face” skull logo with Bob Thomas.   It was Stanley who developed the advanced high fidelity live sound system used by the Grateful Dead.  He also helped launch Meyer Sound, the respected concert sound system manufacturer.  During his years with the Grateful Dead, Stanley started the practice of taping the band’s rehearsals and live shows – this lead to the phenomenon of audience-generated tapes that spread well beyond the Dead.  He also made countless live recordings during the ’60s and ’70s of such acts as Jefferson Airplane, Miles Davis, Janis Joplin, Santana, and Johnny Cash to name just a few.   Owsley and his exploits have been documented in (or at least inspired) such songs as “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix, “Kid Charlemagne” by Steely Dan, and numerous others.  On March 13, 2011, Owsley Stanley was killed when the car he was driving swerved off a road near his home in Queensland, Australia.  The car reportedly went down an embankment and crashed into some trees killing Owsley and injuring his wife.  He was 76.

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