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Posts Tagged ‘John Cale’

RIP, Leonard Cohen (November 7, 2016) Canadian Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on November 7, 2016

Leonard Cohen
September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016

Photo by Takahiro Kyono

Photo by Takahiro Kyono

Leonard Cohen was a revered Canadian poet, author, and most famously, singer-songwriter.  Over a career that spanned almost 50 years, Cohen provided the dimly-lit smoky-bar soundtrack for people who needed hope, lost faith, felt despair, or longed for love. Initially planning a career as an author and poet, Cohen wanted to reach more people, so he switched gears and found himself singing and performing in New York City at the relatively late age of 33.  He quickly became an unlikely pop star – rugged baritone voice, simple chord structures, and a private, guarded life within a profession that celebrated extroversion. His career might have seemed over when upon the release of his most famous song, 1984’s “Hallelujah,” his label head reportedely told him, “Look, Leonard; we know you’re great, but we don’t know if you’re any good,” before dropping him.  But his songs eventually caught on, and younger generations of singer-songwriters borrowed them to include in their own canons.  “Hallelujah” alone was recorded by over 200 artists, including Bob Dylan, Justin Timberlake, k.d. lang,  John Cale, and most famously, Jeff Buckley.  In all, Cohen’s tunes have been covered by more than 2000. That list includes such greats as Johnny  Cash, Nick Cave, Willie Nelson, R.E.M., and Tori Amos. In 2008, at the age of 74, and facing financial ruin, Cohen embarked on an ambitious (and triumphant!) world tour that would last about three years before his health started to get the better of him. After getting well, he hit the road again doing a seemingly endless series of impassioned shows that ran north of three hours a piece.  That lasted through December of 2013, when he fell ill again.  But Cohen refused to be bound by his health and set out to record what would be the final two albums of his lifetime, 2014’s Popular Problems, and this year’s You Want it Darker, recorded in his home with him in a wheelchair and singing many of the sessions in physical pain.  That album was released just two weeks before his death, and served as a profound self-eulogy in much the same way as David Bowie‘s Lazarus.  It has been reported, thankfully, that exluding his last album, his late-life career revival earned him around $10 million. Leonard Cohen was 82 when he passed away on November 7, 2016.

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Died On This Date (October 27, 2013) Lou Reed / Influential American Rock Musician

Posted by themusicsover on October 27, 2013

Lou Reed
March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013

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Lou Reed was a Brooklyn-born singer, songwriter and musician who is as much remembered as the leader of the Velvet Underground as he is for the successful solo career that followed.  Influenced early on by rock ‘n roll , jazz, and rhythm and blues, Reed learned to play the guitar by mimicking songs he heard on the radio.  By the time he was in high school, Reed was already playing in a handful of bands.  While attending Syracuse University during the early ’60s, he hosted a radio program that focused primarily on doo wop, free jazz and R&B.  He later claimed that much of his guitar playing was influenced by jazz saxophonists like Ornette Coleman.  During the mid ’60s, Reed was living in New York City where he worked as a staff writer for Pickwick Records.  At one point, the label decided to form a group around Reed in an attempt to better pitch his songs.  That outfit, the Primitives, included a Welsh multi-instrumentalist by the name of John Cale. The two became fast friends and began building a group that would soon become the Velvet Underground which also included Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker.  On the behest of Andy Warhol, the group soon brought in German model and musician, Nico just in time to record their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico.  Although the album was just moderately successful at the time, it is considered one of the most influential of the ’70s.  In fact, Rolling Stone cites it at #13 of all time.  White Light/White Heat followed and there would be three more until the band called it quits in 1970.  Two years later, Reed resurfaced with his debut release, Lou Reed, which was more-or-less new recordings of unreleased Velvet Underground tracks.  The album barely got noticed, but was thankfully followed quickly by the David Bowie and Mick Ronson produced Transformer, which reestablished Reed as one of rock music’s most important figures of the era.  Songs like “Vicious,” “Satellite Of Love,” and “Walk On The Wild Side” are as influential as any that came out of the ’70s.  Reed went on to record and tour through professional peaks and valleys over the next four decades which included a brief reunion of the Velvet Underground.  One fact that can’t be denied about Reed, is that his name is synonymous with what would become known as protopunk, a classification of groundbreaking  and often difficult to categorize musicians who many would later claim birthed punk rock – not because they were musically similar to punk rock, but because they continually challenged the norm.  It must also be noted that Reed was one of the greatest poets rock music has ever known.  In April of 2013, Reed received a liver transplant, and by all accounts was recovering, in fact, he later claimed on his website to be stronger than ever.  On October 27, 2013 however, he passed away in his home at the age of 71.   Cause of death was not immediately released.

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Died On This Date (August 14, 2013) Allen Lanier / Blue Oyster Cult

Posted by themusicsover on August 14, 2013

Allen Lanier
June 25, 1946 – August 14, 2013

Photo by David Plastik - Click To Order Quality Prints - Discount code: 10OFF

Photo by David Plastik – Click To Order Quality Prints – Discount code: 10OFF

Allen Lanier is best remembered as the founding keyboardist and rhythm guitarist for legendary American rock band, Blue Oyster Cult.  Formed in 1967, the band scored huge hits with “Burnin’ For You,” “Godzilla,” and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” which contains arguably the single greatest use of the cowbell in rock history.  Joining the band when it was originally called Soft White Underbelly, Lanier went on to write such B.O.C. songs as “Lonely Teardrops,” “Tenderloin,” and “True Confessions.”  He played on all the band’s classic era albums until departing in 1985.  He rejoined the group two years later, but left for good in 2006.  Lanier also performed and recorded with Jim Carroll, John Cale, and Patti Smith with whom he was romantically linked for a time.  Allen Lanier died from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) on August 14, 2013.  He was 66.

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Own A Piece of Rock ‘n Roll History

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Allen Lanier at left.
Photo by David Plastik – Click To Order Quality Prints – Discount code: 10OFF

 

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Allen Lanier at far right.
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Died On This Date (June 2, 2012) Frazier Mohawk / Helped Form Buffalo Springfield

Posted by themusicsover on June 2, 2012

Frazier Mohawk (Born Barry Friedman)
December 12, 1941 – June 2, 2012

Frazier Mohawk was a man of many talents who was a prominent if not well-known figure of the Los Angeles music scene of the 1960s.  One of his earliest jobs was doing publicity for radio and television host, Bob Eubanks.  He quickly parlayed that into doing sound mixes for bands performing on TV.  He also worked as a publicist for Ike & Tina Turner and the Troubadour nightclub in those early days as well as the Beatles‘ Hollywood Bowl performance.  In 1966, while Stephen Stills was staying at his house, Mohawk was driving Stills and Richie Furay along Sunset Boulevard when they passed Neil Young and Bruce Palmer who were driving in a hearse in the opposite direction.  Mohawk turned the car around and the four met and soon formed Buffalo Springfield with Dewey Martin.  Mohawk took care of much of the band’s early business – including landing them a career-defining slot on the Byrds tour, before they hired on management. As a producer, Mohawk worked with Nico, Paul Butterfield, and John Cale.  He went on to open and run a studio/commune that was partially funded by Elektra Records in Northern California, but it eventually closed when it became more of a hang-out than a productive recording studio.  Tired of the music industry, Mohawk moved to Canada during the mid ’70s and started a traveling circus, and later, Puck’s Farm which was a recording studio surrounded by family attractions.   Frazier Mohawk was 71 when he passed away on June 2, 2012.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Henk de Bruin for the assist.

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Died On This Date (August 30, 1995) Sterling Morrison / Velvet Underground

Posted by themusicsover on August 30, 2010

Holmes Sterling Morrison
August 28, 1942 – August 30, 1995

Sterling Morrison was a founding guitarist of the Velvet Underground. While studying at Syracuse University, Sterling struck up a friendship with  fellow English student, Lou Reed. Over the next couple of years they drifted apart but then reconnected in New York City where they, along with John Cale, formed the band. In 1971, Morrison earned a Ph.D in medieval studies and decided he no longer wished to continue with VU.   Living in Texas and primarily focussing on academia during the early ’80s,  Morrison played around town casually for the most part, but also found time to captain a Houston based tug boat.  In 1992, the Velvet Underground reformed to tour Europe, opening many dates with U2.  But due to inner-turmoil within the band, the short-lived reunion was over by the end of the tour.  Morrison learned he had non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1994, and died from it the following year.  He was 53 years old.

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The Velvet Underground / Nico (Deluxe Edition) - The Velvet Underground

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