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Posts Tagged ‘Ike Turner’

RIP, Leon Ware (February 23, 2017) Successful R&B Songwriter & Producer

Posted by themusicsover on February 23, 2017

Leon Ware
February 16, 1940 – February 23, 2017

Photo by David Corio. Source:

Leon Ware was an American singer, songwriter and producer who was celebrated for the many hits he crafted for others.  Born in Detroit, Ware began writing professionally in 1967.  Later that year, the first recording note of a song he co-wrote was released; “Got To Have You Back,” by the Isley Brothers.  A couple of years later, he hooked up with Ike & Tina Turner to co-write six songs on their album,  Nuff Said.  What followed was nearly four decades of hit songs for the likes of Michael Jackson, Minnie Riperton, Quincy Jones, and Marvin Gaye.  In Gaye’s case, every song on his I Want You album was penned or co-penned by Ware who also produced the landmark album. It sold over a million copies and is considered a must-have for any album collection.  Ware also recorded nearly a dozen albums of his own, the most successful being 1979’s Inside Is Love, and the most recent, 2008’s Moon Ride.  Leon Ware was 77 when he died of prostate cancer on February 23, 2017.

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Died On This Date (December 26, 212) Fontella Bass / American Soul Singer; Had Hit With “Rescue Me”

Posted by themusicsover on December 26, 2012

Fontella Bass
July 3, 1940 – December 26, 2012

fontella-bassFontella Bass was a beloved R&B singer who is best remembered for her hugely popular hit of 1965, “Rescue Me.”  Born into a music family – her mother was Martha Bass of the Clara Ward Singers – Bass began playing piano and singing in the church choir at a very young age.  By the time she was nine, she was accompanying her mother on tours of the U.S.  As a teenager, Bass began earning her living by singing in local clubs and such.  Having grown up on St. Louis,  Bass cut a several early records there, with some being produced by Ike Turner, She soon headed north the Chicago.  Upon arriving there, Bass was quickly signed to Chess Records, and almost immediately began scoring hits with songs like “Don’t Mess Up A Good Thing” and “You’ll Miss Me (When I’m Gone).”  In 1965, she recorded, in just three takes mind you, “Rescue Me,” a song she co-wrote.  Minnie Riperton provided the background vocals.  The record hit #1 on the R&B charts, #4 on the Pop charts, and #11 on the UK charts.  It can be heard in commercials, on TV shows and in films to this day.   Disillusioned by the music industry and royalty disputes over “Rescue Me,” Bass and her husband, jazz great Lester Bowie, moved to Paris in 1969.  She more or less retired, but could be heard on her husband’s records as well as others’ from time to time.  On New Year’s Day of 1990, to Bass’ amazement, she heard her own voice singing “Rescue Me” in an American Express commercial.  She ultimately won a settlement against the company for unauthorized usage.  In later years, her career experienced a revival thanks to younger generations discovering her music.  In 2005, Bass suffered her first of a series of strokes, and in December of 2012, she suffered a heart attack.  Fontella Bass was 72 when, on December 26, 2012, she died of complications from that heart attack.

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

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Fontella Bass

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Died On This Date (August 26, 2009) Ellie Greenwich / Wrote Many Hits In The ’60s

Posted by themusicsover on August 26, 2010

Ellie Greenwich
October 23, 1940 – August 26, 2009

ellieEllie Greenwich was a prolific songwriter, writing or co-writing some of the most enduring pop songs of the ’60s and ’70s.  Either on her own or with such songwriting partners as her one-time husband, Jeff Barry, Greenwich penned such gems as “Be My Baby” (The Ronettes), “Then He Kissed Me” (The Crystals), “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (Darlene Love), “Hanky Panky” (Tommy James & The Shondells), “River Deep, Mountain High” (Ike & Tina Turner), and “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” (Manfred Mann).  In later years, Greenwich co-formed Tallyrand Music to publish her recent discovery, Neil Diamond.  Ellie Greenwich died of a heart attack on August 26, 2009.  She was 68 years old.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums for the assist

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Died On This Date (August 25, 2000) Jack Nitzsche / Iconic Record Producer

Posted by themusicsover on August 25, 2010

Bernard “Jack” Nitzsche
April 22, 1937 – August 25, 2000


Jack Nitzsche was a respected arranger, composer, producer and session musician who was involved in many of the greatest west coast pop recordings of the ’60s and ’70s.  His first significant contribution to pop music came in 1955 when he co-wrote “Needles And Pins” with Sonny Bono.  The song was a hit for Jackie DeShannon and was later recorded by the Searchers, Cher and the Ramones.  By the early ’60s, Nitzsche was working as an arranger for Phil Spector,  orchestrating the celebrated “wall of sound” on hits like Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep Mountain High.”  Nitzsche was also part of the famed Wrecking Crew, a group of studio musicians that included Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, and Hal Blaine.  Much like their Motown counterparts, the Funk Brothers, the Wrecking Crew were the faceless band behind many ’60s pop hits coming out of Los Angeles.  They could be heard on records by the likes of the Monkees and the Beach Boys. Nitzsche also worked on classic recordings by the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, Graham Parker and Willy DeVille to name a few.  During the ’70s, Nitzsche created the music for several motion pictures including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Starman, 9-1/2 Weeks, and An Officer And A Gentlemen, for which won the best song Oscar for “Up Where We Belong.”  Jack Nitzsche died of cardiac arrest at the age of 63.

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Jack Nitzsche

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Died On This Date (July 30, 2003) Sam Phillips / Legendary Record Producer

Posted by themusicsover on July 30, 2010

Sam Phillips
January 5, 1923 – July 30, 2003

samAs a producer, Sam Phillips was one of the key architects of early rock ‘n roll.  What he helped create in his Sun Studios would become the foundation on which current popular music was built.   Phillips opened his Memphis recording studio in 1950 to make records for his own label, Sun Records.  One of his early recordings was Jackie Brenston’s “Rocket 88,” that many consider the first rock ‘n roll record ever.  Other future legends he worked with were B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, Rufus Thomas and Howlin’ Wolf, whom he considers his greatest discovery.   Of course most consider his OTHER “discovery” to be his greatest – Elvis Presley.   Phillips recorded some of the biggest early records by some of the greatest names in rock history.  They included hits by Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Ike Turner,  and Roy Orbison.  Sam Phillips died of respiratory failure at the age of 80.

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