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Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Mathis’

Died On This Date (April 13, 2013) Vincent Montana Jr. / Founder Of The Salsoul Orchestra; Member OF MFSB

Posted by themusicsover on April 13, 2013

Vincent Montana Jr.
February 12, 1928 – April 13, 2013

vincent-montana-jrVincent Montana was an American percussionist and band leader who is best remembered as the founder of popular ’70s disco group, the Salsoul Orchestra.  He was also a member of another disco standout band, MFSB.  Both groups, which counted members of each within their folds, released some of the era’s most recognized hits.  MFSB was assembled as the house band for Philadephia’s legendary Sigma Sounds Studios affording Montana the opportunity to play on hits by the O’Jays, the Stylistics, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and many more.  With Salsoul Orchestra, he recorded such disco hits as “Tangerine,” “Salsoul Hustle,” and “Nice ‘N’ Naasty.”  The vast list of others that Montana either played with or produced includes Frankie Avalon , Dusty Springfield, the Delfonics, Johnny Mathis, the Jackson 5, La Belle,  and more recently, the Pet Shop Boys.  Vincent Montana was 85 when he passed away on April 13, 2013.

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Died On This Date (September 25, 2012) Andy Williams / Iconic American Crooner

Posted by themusicsover on September 26, 2012

Howard “Andy” Williams
December 3, 1927 – September 25, 2012

With 18 gold and three platinum albums, and a three-time Emmy winning primetime variety show, Andy Williams was a force to be reckoned with during the ’60s and ’70s.  Williams launched his career with six recordings for an X Records, and RCA Victor label, in 1953.  A year later he made his first of many appearances on Tonight Starring Steve Allen which led to his signing to Cadence Records and his first hits. By the mid ’60s, Williams was recording for Columbia and had purchased the Cadence master tape catalog which also included recordings by the Everly Brothers and the Chordettes.  He soon launched Barnaby Records which had hits with Ray Stevens’ “Everything Is Beautiful” and “The Streak.”  He also signed a young Jimmy Buffett to his first record deal at Barnaby. Meanwhile, Williams was quickly becoming the most popular pop vocalist of his era.  At one point during the ’60s, he was awarded the most expensive recording contract in history.  As a solo performer with 18 gold records, his award count was eclipsed by only Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis, and Frank Sinatra at the time. Williams’ many hits over the years included “Born Free,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” “(Where Do I Begin) Love Story,” “Butterfly,” and “Can’t Get Used To Losing You.” The Andy Williams Show, which ran between 1962 and 1971, was one of the most popular variety shows of all time.  It played host to most of the biggest names in show business, and it’s semi-annual Christmas specials set the standard. And with eight Christmas albums and a huge hit with “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year,” Williams became known around the world as Mr. Christmas.  And although he was considered a “square” by the counter culture, Williams was one of the few major stars who was very vocal against the Nixon Administration’s attempts to deport John Lennon during the early ’70s.  In May of 1992, Williams opened the Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri.  Hosting performers like Glen Campbell, Ann-MargretRich Little and David Copperfield, the theater became one of the most popular venues in the city.  Andy Williams was 84 when he passed away on September 25, 2012. He had been suffering from bladder cancer.

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Moon River: The Very Best of Andy Williams - Andy Williams

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Died On This Date (April 2, 2012) Jimmy Little / Australian Aboriginal Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on April 2, 2012

Jimmy Little
March 1, 1937 – April 2, 2012

Jimmy Little was a popular Australian aboriginal singer-songwriter who, over a career that spanned some 60 years, became one of the first indigenous musicians to find mainstream success in that country. Influenced by the likes of Nat King Cole, Jim Reeves, and Johnny Mathis, Little’s repertoire seemed to know no bounds. He was equally at home whether he was performing folk, country, or even reggae.  Although he released no fewer than 30 albums since he was first signed to a Regal Zonophone Records in 1956, his most popular proved to be 1999’s Messenger, which reached #26 on the Australian albums chart.  A tireless supporter of education for indigenous children, Little spent many hours teaching and mentoring.  He also started the Jimmy Little Foundation to promote good health and diet for the indigenous.  In 2004, the Australian people voted him a National Living Treasure, and in 2010, the APRA Awards recognized him for Outstanding Services To Australian Music.  Jimmy Little was 75 when he died of various health conditions on April 2, 2012.

Thanks to Henk de Bruin at 2+ Printing for the assist.

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Died On This Date (January 8, 2008) Clyde Otis / Prolific Songwriter and Label Exec

Posted by themusicsover on January 8, 2012

Clyde Otis
September 11, 1924 – January 8, 2008


Clyde Otis was a successful songwriter, producer and label executive who, over the course of his career, is said to have written or co-written over 800 songs.  He was most closely associated with Brook Benton with whom he collaborated on many hit recordings.  He also worked with the likes of Dinah Washington, Timi Yuro and Sarah Vaughan.  His songs have been recorded by such artists as Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis and Aretha Franklin.  And in 1994, Natalie Cole’s Take A Look, won him a Grammy as producer.  Clyde Otis was 83 when he passed away on January 8, 2008.

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Died On This Date (March 10, 2011) Eddie Snyder / American Composer & Lyricist

Posted by themusicsover on March 10, 2011

Eddie Snyder
February 22, 1919 – March 10, 2011

Eddie Snyder was an American composer who is best remembered for co-writing the English lyrics and music for the Frank Sinatra hit, “Strangers In The Night.” The song was first written by a Croation songwriter, the piece eventually ended up with Snyder who helped create the English lyrics and complete the music with Bert Kaempfert and Charles Singleton.  Although Sinatra reportedly hated the song, his rendition of it was the title song of his most successful album and won three Grammys.  Snyder also co-wrote the Al Martino hit, “Spanish Eyes.”  Songs that Snyder either wrote or co-wrote have been recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley (“Spanish Eyes”), Johnny Mathis (“A Time For Us”), and Perry Como (“The Girl With The Golden Braids”) to name just a few.  Eddie Snyder passed away on March 10, 2011 at the age of 92.

Thanks to Anne Bentley for the assist.

Posted in Composer, Easy Listening, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Died On This Date (July 31, 2010) Mitch Miller / Successful Band Leader & TV Personality

Posted by themusicsover on July 31, 2010

Mitch Miller
July 4, 1911 – July 31, 2010

Mitch Miller was many things – musician, record company executive, A&R man, singer, conductor, band leader and producer, but to millions of Americans he was the host of the popular television series and number one albums entitled Sing Along With Mitch.  Although his music was far from rock ‘n roll, he is considered one of the most influential people in popular music.  He is also often credited for inventing what would later be called karaoke because of the “bouncing ball” he used over the songs’ lyrics as the music was broadcast into homes during the ’50s and ’60s.  As an A&R man and producer for Columbia Records, Miller helped create stars out of the likes of Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, and Rosemary Clooney.   Many songs he produced have since become pop standards.   He also discovered Aretha Franklin and signed her to her very first record deal until she was courted away by Atlantic Records.     Mitch Miller was 99 when he passed away on July 31, 2010.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums for the assist

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Sing Along With Mitch - Mitch Miller

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Died On This Date (July 25, 2008) Michael Berniker / Produced Barbra Streisand

Posted by themusicsover on July 25, 2010

Michael Berniker
June 30, 1935 – July 25, 2008

Michael Berniker was a nine-time Grammy Award winning record producer who worked with such superstars as Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, and Perry Como.  After studying music in college, Berniker came out swinging by producing Streisand’s first three albums, considered her best by many.  And this was all before he even turned 30.  In later years, as an executive for RCA Records, Berniker signed such acts as Juice Newton and Hall & Oates.  He died of kidney disease at 73.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at  Number1Albums for the lead.

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Died On This Date (June 23, 2010) Allyn Ferguson / Wrote Several TV Theme Songs

Posted by themusicsover on June 23, 2010

Allyn Ferguson
October 18, 1924 – June 23, 2010

Photo by Bob Chamberlin

Allyn Ferguson was an American pianist and composer, best remembered for his iconic ’70s TV theme songs.  Mostly collaborating with Jack Elliott, Ferguson created the theme songs for such popular shows as Barney Miller and Charlie’s Angels as well as episode music for Starsky and Hutch, The Rookies, S.W.A.T., and many more.  In 1985, he won an Emmy for his contributions to the TV film, Camille.  Over the course of his career, Ferguson also served as musical director for  Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Julie Andrews, Johnny Mathis, as well as for the American Music Awards, The Grammy, Emmy and Academy Award broadcasts.   Allyn Ferguson was 85 when he passed away on June 23, 2010.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums for the assist.

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Died On This Date (May 23, 1994) Joe Pass / Jazz Guitar Virtuoso

Posted by themusicsover on May 23, 2010

Joe Pass
January 13, 1929 – May 23, 1994

Joe Pass was an exceptional jazz guitarist known for an improvisational style that would influence future generations of players. Pass began playing guitar on his 9th birthday and by the time he turned 14, he was gigging around town. But within a few years, he began to struggle with drug abuse and fell off the radar as a musician. After spending over two years in a drug rehab program, he resurfaced to reclaim his spot at the top of the jazz world. Throughout the ’60s, Pass recorded several albums for the Pacific Jazz label while lending his talents to the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Johnny Mathis and Della Reese. The ’70s saw the release of Pass’ signature album, Virtuoso and the Grammy winning album, The Trio by Pass, Oscar Peterson, and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. Pass died of cancer on May 23, 1994.

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Died On This Date (December 1, 2009) Nat Kipner / Australian Producer & Label Head; First To Sign The Bee Gees

Posted by themusicsover on December 1, 2009

Nat Kipner
DOB Unknown – December 1, 2009

Nat Kipner was an Australian producer and songwriter who also had his own label, Spin Records, during the ’60s.  His was the first label to sign the Bee Gees to a record deal.  He also produced hit records for the band.  As a songwriter, he found success with “Too Little Too Late,” the 1978 #1 duet for Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams.  Nat Kipner was 86 when he died of congenital heart failure on December 1, 2009.

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Died On This Date (October 27, 2008) Ray Ellis / Noted Jazz Arranger

Posted by themusicsover on October 27, 2009

Ray Ellis
July 28, 1923 – October 27, 2008


Ray Ellis was an accomplished musician, producer and arranger during the ’50s and ’60s.  He is best remembered for his work with Sarah Vaughan, Johnny Mathis, Emmylou Harris and most notably, on Billie Holiday’s Lady in Satin.  He also composed the Today Show’s theme song twice, one that was used throughout most of the ’70s and anoter that was used that was primarily used between 1987 and 1985.  And he composed soundtrack music for numerous cartoons and game shows over the years as well.  Ray Ellis, 85, died of  melanoma on October 27, 2008.

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