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Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Cash’

RIP, Tom Petty (October 2, 2017) American Rock Great

Posted by themusicsover on October 2, 2017

Tom Petty
October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017

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Tom Petty, the iconic American singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer passed away peacefully following a massive heart attack he had suffered earlier in the day.  He was 66.  Born in Gainesville, Florida, Petty, like many kids his age, had their first rock and roll moment after witnessing Elvis Presley. But unlike other future rock stars, it wasn’t The King’s appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show that changed his life forever – it was a more personal encounter.  Turns out Petty’s uncle was working on the Presley film, Follow That Dream that was filming nearby, and he invited the 10-year-old down to the shoot. Petty was able to watch Presley up close and in person doing what he did best, albeit in an entirely different arena. He soon traded his slingshot to a buddy for some Elvis 45s, and he was on his way.  Petty’s first band of note – that would reform for kicks in 2007 – was Mudcrutch, which he put together in 1970. Six years later, they morphed into Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. During the next several years, they released a series of hit singles and albums that appealed equally to the fans of the current “heartland rock” movement led by Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen, and the punk and new wave movements which were grabbing hold on the east and west coasts, as well as in the UK.  Over the next four decades, Petty, both with the Heartbreakers and solo, sold upwards of 80 million albums, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.  Throughout his career, Petty collaborated with many of the biggest names in music, perhaps most famously, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and George Harrison as the Traveling Wilburys.  This “supergroup” recorded two well-received albums together, 1988’s Vol. 1 and 1990’s Vol. 3.  Others of note with whom Petty had memorable collaborations with were Stevie Nicks, Johnny Cash, Dwight Twilley, and Del Shannon, whose career he revived in 1982 with the album, Drop Down and Get Me.  In 2002, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while November, 2015 saw the much-lauded release of the best-seller, Petty: The Biography, by Warren Zanes.  Around that time he partnered with SiriusXM on Tom Petty Radio, a channel devoted entirely to his music and the music he loved. By all accounts, he was very hands-on with it, making sure the content would be loved by his fans. On Monday, September 25th, 2017, the band played their last of three spirited shows at the Hollywood Bowl in their adopted hometown of Los Angeles, to cap off the hugely successful 40th Anniversary Tour – their longest in 15 years. One week later, Top Petty was gone.

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Died On This Date (November 7, 2016) Leonard Cohen / 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 reportedly 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 excluding 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 (May 17, 2016) Guy Clark / Revered Texas Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on May 17, 2016

Guy Clark
November 6, 1941 – May 17, 2016

guy-clarkGuy Clark was the true embodiment of a “songwriter’s songwriter.”  Born in Texas, Clark’s name is rarely excluded when conversations turn to the greats from that state. Alongside contemporaries like Townes Van Zandt and Jerry Jeff Walker, Clark laid down the foundation for what is now simply called Texas Music or Texas Country.  His lyrics, served over mostly sparse blues folk instrumentation, tended to come as close to being called literature as songs could get.  As a performer – and most of the time armed with little more than his acoustic guitar or maybe a second and a fiddle, Clark could leave an audience holding its collective breath in anticipation of the next word coming from his mouth – and many times, that was during his talk leading up to the song. He eventually settled in Nashville where he and his wife, Susanna Clark, often welcomed local songwriters into their home where they could work on perfecting their craft in informal workshops.  This open houses often hosted the likes of Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, and Steve Young.  Clark’s songs have been hits for such country luminaries as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, and Rodney Crowell.  For his own recordings, Clark garnered numerous accolades, including a Best Folk Album Grammy for his 2014 release, My Favorite Picture of You.  On May 17, 2016, Guy Clark died following a courageous battle against cancer.  He was 74.

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Died On This Date (August 13, 2013) Tompall Glaser / Country Music Great

Posted by themusicsover on August 13, 2013

Tompall Glaser
September 3, 1933 – August 13, 2013

tompall-glaserTompall Glaser was one of the original so-called “outlaws” of country music. Alongside the likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Billy Joe Shaver, Glaser put Nashville on watch by working, living, and playing outside the mainstream country music rules of the ’70s.  Born in Spalding, Nebraska, Glaser initially moved to Nashville with his brothers to sing back up for Marty Robbins.  The brothers were also making their own records before Tompall went off on his own.  Over the course of his solo career, he released around a dozen albums that included hit country singles like “Put Another Log On The Fire” and “It’ll Be Her.”  Perhaps his most famous song however, “Streets Of Baltimore,” found its glory thanks to being covered by the likes of Gram Parsons, Bobby Bare, the Statler Brothers, Charley Pride, and Norah Jones‘ country group, the Little Willies.  Meanwhile, Glaser and his brothers opened Glaser Brothers Sound Studio, or as it was affectionately known around town, Hillbilly Central.  The compound quickly established itself as the fostering ground for the “outlaw” movement.  As it took hold, even RCA Records had to react by releasing Wanted! The Outlaws, a compilation of previously released tracks by Glaser, Nelson, Jennings, and Jessie Colter.  Glaser’s contribution, “T For Texas,” reached #36 on the Country Singles charts and is considered one of the milestones of the era.  The album itself, released in 1976, became the first Country album to sell over 1 million copies as it reached #1 on the Country Album charts and #10 on the Pop Album charts.  Glaser continued to record with his brothers until 1982 and released one last solo album in 1986 before selling the studio and retiring from the music business altogether.  Tompall Glaser died following a long undisclosed illness on August 13, 2013.  He was 79.

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Died On This Date (August 8, 2013) Cowboy Jack Clement / Legendary Nashville Producer, Musician & Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on August 8, 2013

Jack Clement
April 5, 1931 – August 8, 2013

Photo by Dan Loftin

Photo by Dan Loftin

Cowboy Jack Clement was a successful record producer, songwriter and session player who worked with a wide range of artists over a career that spanned 60 years.  Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Clement was still in his teens when he first picked up the guitar.  After serving in the Marines during the late ’40s/early ’50s, he co-founded his first band, a bluegrass outfit named Buzz and Jack & the Bayou Boys.  In 1954, he went to work at Sun Studios where he worked on early recordings by the likes of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins.  As his career continued, Clement produced such iconic records as Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” George Jones‘ “She Still Thinks I Care,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” for Jerry Lee Lewis who he is credited for having discovered.  As a songwriter, Clement penned tunes that have been recorded by the likes of Cash, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley and Tom Jones.  He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 1973.  He is also a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Music City Walk of Fame.  In April of 2013, it was announced that the Country Music Hall of Fame would include him in their class of 2013.  In 1987, U2 hired Clement to produce tracks for their Rattle and Hum album at Sun Studios.  He worked on “When Love Comes To Town” “Love Rescue Me,” and “Angel Of Harlem.”  Parts of the sessions can be seen in the Rattle and Hum film.  In recent years, Clement could be heard during his weekly radio program on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country channel.  Cowboy Jack Clement was 82 when he passed away in his home.  Cause of death was not immediately released.


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