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Posts Tagged ‘Marvin Gaye’

Died On This Date (September 2, 2011) McKinley “Bug” Williams / Co-Founder Of Maze

Posted by themusicsover on September 2, 2011

McKinley Williams
DOB Unknown – September 2, 2011

McKinley “Bug” Williams was a singer and percussionist who, along with Frankie Beverly, formed the influential R&B band Maze in 1976.  Born in Philadelphia, it was Williams who stayed at Beverly’s side through several versions of the band.  Formed out of the ashes of the Butlers as Raw Soul, the group was introduced to Marvin Gaye who suggested they change their name to Maze and took them on the road with him.  Maze quickly signed to Capitol Records and went on to release a numerous albums and singles that found homes on both the R&B and Pop charts over the next three decades.  In all, Maze scored ten gold albums and charted over two dozen singles.  McKinley “Bug” Williams died of a heart attack on September 2, 2011.

What You Should Own

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Joy and Pain (feat. Frankie Beverly) [Remastered] - Maze

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Died On This Date (May 3, 2011) Odell Brown / Jazz Musician; Wrote Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”

Posted by themusicsover on May 3, 2011

Odell Brown Jr.
1938 – May 3, 2011

Odell Brown was a jazz organist who is best remembered for penning the Marvin Gaye hit, “Sexual Healing.”  Brown was just 4 years old when he began playing the keyboards – mostly old classical pieces – until he found his groove with jazz.  By the mid ’60s, he had settled in Chicago where he formed Odell Brown & the Organizers which was touted by no less than Billboard magazine as the Best New Group in 1966.  He built a sizable following during the late ’60s and early ’70s for his live performances at which he played what could be classified as soul-jazz or jazz-funk.   One such audience member was Gaye who couldn’t get one of his numbers out of his head, so he put some words to it, and “Sexual Healing” was born.  Released in 1982, the single was a Top 5 hit around the world and has since been covered by the likes of Michael Bolton, Phish, Soul Asylum, and Sarah Connor.  Sadly however, Brown was bottoming out at the time – he watched his song win a Grammy at a Skid Row bar in Los Angeles.   He eventually got his life and career back on track and moved to the Minneapolis area where he continued to record and perform.  Over the course of his career, Brown worked with Johnny Nash, Minnie Riperton, and Curtis Mayfield.  Odell Brown was 70 when he passed away on May 3, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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Died On This Date (March 13, 2011) Melvin Sparks / Respected Soul-Jazz Guitarist

Posted by themusicsover on March 13, 2011

Melvin Sparks
March 22, 1946 – March 13, 2011

Melvin Sparks was a brilliant electric guitarist who made a name for himself on countless jazz and soul-jazz recordings as a session player and a band leader.  Born into a musical family, Sparks picked up the guitar at just eleven years old.  By the time he was in high school, he was playing behind Hank Ballard, and within a few years, he was in a touring band called the Upsetters who backed Little Richard, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, and Jackie Wilson.  He went on to become a session player for Blue Note and Prestige, playing on records by the likes of Lou Donaldson, Jimmy McGriff, and Hank Crawford.  In the 90s, he played with Soulive and Galactic during the acid jazz revival.  Melvin Sparks was 64 when he passed away on March 13, 2011.  It has been reported that diabetes and high blood pressure was to blame.

What You Should Own

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Died On This Date (August 9, 2009) David Van De Pitte / Arranger For Motown

Posted by themusicsover on August 9, 2010

David Van De Pitte
October 28, 1941 – August 9, 2009

As a music arranger for Motown, David Van De Pitte helped make hits out of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Eddie Kendricks‘ “Keep On Truckin,'” Gladys Knight’s “If I Were Your Woman,” and many more.  Van De Pitte started working at Motown in 1968 and besides his arrangement successes, he was also the music director for live shows by the likes of Diana Ross, Paul Anka, the Four Tops and the Temptations.  David Van De Pitte died of cancer at the age of 67.

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Died On This Date (August 2, 1983) James Jamerson / Bassist On Many Early Motown Hits; The Funk Brothers

Posted by themusicsover on August 2, 2010

James Jamerson
January 29, 1936 – August 2, 1983

jamersonBorn in South Carolina, James Jamerson moved to Detroit where learned to play the bass in high school.  He soon started playing in the local jazz and blues clubs and by the early ’60s, he was working at Berry Gordy’s studio.  He, along with some of popular music’s greatest musicians were called the Funk Brothers and they can be heard on nearly every Motown record throughout the ’60s.  Jamerson played on literally hundreds of Motown songs including such hits as “My Girl” (the Temptations), “You Can’t Hurry Love (the Supremes), “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (Gladys Knight), and “What’s Goin’ On” (Marvin Gaye).   It has been said that Jamerson played on more #1 pop hits than the Beatles, who own that actual record.   Many of the world’s greatest bass players have pointed to Jamerson as their main influence.  That list includes John Entwistle, John Paul Jones, Paul McCartney, and Jack Bruce.  Jamerson and Motown parted company in 1973 after which, he found work playing on such disco hits as “Boogie Fever” and “Don’t Rock The Boat.”   A longtime drinker,  James Jamerson died of cirrhosis of the liver, heart failure and pneumonia at the age of 47.

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