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Posts Tagged ‘Neil Diamond’

Died On This Date (February 4, 2016) Maurice White / Founder of Earth, Wind & Fire

Posted by themusicsover on February 4, 2016

Maurice White
December 19, 1941 – February 4, 2016

Maurice-WhiteMaurice White was the founder and co-lead singer of the highly influential R&B band, Earth, Wind & Fire.  Formed in Chicago in 1969, the band went on to sell over 100 million albums, making them one of the most successful bands of the 20th century.  For over four decades, the group dazzled audiences around the world thanks in part to their dynamic horn section and energetic live shows.  White was born in Memphis, Tennessee and gravitated toward music at an early age along with childhood friend, Booker T Jones.  As a teenager, White moved to Chicago where he found work as a session drummer for the legendary label, Chess Records.  He played on numerous records by the likes of Etta James, Muddy Waters, the Impressions, and Buddy Guy.   In 1966, he joined Ramsey Lewis Trio with whom he recorded nine albums and received his first Grammy for the single, “Hold It Right There.”  Three years later, he formed Earth, Wind & Fire and went on to produce most of the their albums.  In all, the group earned six Grammys along with countless other awards and accolades.  During the ’80s, White was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Due to that, he ultimately retired from touring in 1994, but continued to oversee the band’s business side while producing their records and those by others.   His most notable successes outside of Earth, Wind & Fire were releases by the Emotions and Deniece Williams.   The stunning list of other collaborators includes Barbra Streisand, Weather Report, Neil Diamond, and Minnie Riperton.  Maurice White was 74 when he passed away on February 4, 2016.  Cause of death was not immediately released but likely attributed to his long battle with Parkinson’s.

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Posted in Composer, Disco, Funk, Musician, Pop, Producer, R&B, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Died On This Date (February 4, 2016) Maurice White / Founder of Earth, Wind & Fire

Died On This Date (April 19, 2012) Levon Helm / Drummer & Co-Lead Singer For The Band

Posted by themusicsover on April 19, 2012

Mark “Levon” Helm
May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012

Levon Helm was a rock musician, singer and songwriter best known for his time spent in the Band, one of Canada’s most celebrated rock bands.   Helm was still a few years shy of his teens when he first took up the guitar.  The drums were soon to follow.  After graduating from high school, he was invited by Ronnie Hawkins to join his back up band, the Hawks.  Hawkins later recruited Canadian musicians, Rick Danko, Robbie RobertsonGarth Hudson and Richard Manuel.  After splitting away from Hawkins in 1963, the group forged on as Levon & The Hawks – touring throughout Canada and the northern U.S. until they got a call from Bob Dylan asking them to support him on the road.   Changing their name to simply the Band by the late ’60s, they secured a deal with Capitol Records and delivered their debut, Music From Big Pink, one of rock music’s true masterpieces.  That was followed by albums like The Band, Stage Fright, and Cahoots which only added more songs to one of rock’s finest catalogs. Helm sang lead on many of the group’s best songs.  On Thanksgiving night of 1976, the Band performed what would be their final show as that unit at San Francisco’s Winterland.  To the surprise of the audience, the Band proved to be the greatest backing band of all times as a cavalcade of the era’s most respected performers showed their own respect by joining them on stage throughout the evening.  That list included Neil Young, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, and Dylan, each arguably giving the single greatest live performance of their careers.  Fortunately, the evening was captured on film by Martin Scorsese, who released it theatrically as The Last Waltz, often noted popular music’s greatest concert film.  Following the band’s break up, Helm continued on as a solo act and participated in later reincarnations of the Band.  In later years, Helm hosted numerous concerts at his home and studio in Woodstock, NY.  These Midnight Rambles, as they became to be known, played host to a veritable who’s who of roots music.  He later took the show on the road, even releasing one such evening, Ramble at the Ryman, on CD in 2011.  During the late ’90s, Helm learned he had throat cancer.  He eventually recovered enough to hit the Ramble stage and record arguably his two best solo albums of his career, 2007’s Dirt Farmer, and 2009’s Electric Dirt.  They earned him Grammys for Best Traditional Folk Album and Best Americana Album, respectively.  Ramble at the Ryman was named Best Americana Album as well.  During the second week of April, 2012, Helm’s family released a statement that he was in the final days of a battle with cancer.  On April 19, 2012, Levon Helm passed away at the age of 71.

What You Should Own

Click to find at amazon.com

Dirt Farmer - Levon Helm

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Died On This Date (April 12, 2012) Andrew Love / The Memphis Horns

Posted by themusicsover on April 12, 2012

Andrew Love
November 21, 1941 – April 12, 2012

Photo by Dave Darnell

Andrew Love was a tenor saxophone player, who along with Wayne Jackson on trumpet, made an indelible mark on popular music as the Memphis Horns .  They have been called the greatest horn section soul music has ever known and played on virtually every Stax record that required a horn section.  Their signature sound can be heard on iconic Stax recordings from the likes of Isaac Hayes, Sam and Dave, and Otis Redding, to name a few.  If that weren’t enough, they can also be heard on Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Dusty Springfield’s “Son Of A Preacher Man,” and Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds.”  They were also featured in U2’s film, Rattle And Hum.  Throughout their career, Love and Jackson played on more than 80 gold and platinum albums and upwards of 50 Number One singles.   In February of 2012, the Memphis Horns were awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.  Andrew Love was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2002 and ultimate died from it on April 12, 2012.  He was 70 years old.



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Died On This Date (January 17, 2011) Don Kirshner / Influential Producer, Publisher & Television Host

Posted by themusicsover on January 17, 2011

Don Kirshner
April 17, 1934 -January 17, 2011

Don Kirshner was a music publisher, producer, songwriter-manager, and television host who rightfully earned the nickname, The Man With The Golden Ear.  His music career began during the ’50s when he and his partner, Al Nevins, launched Aldon Music, a publishing company that included such future superstar talent as Neil Diamond, Bobby Darin, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, and Neil Sedaka.   Kirshner also owned three successful record labels during the early part of his career.  In the early ’60s, the creators of a new NBC television program enlisted Kirshner to provide songs for that show.  The influential sit-com followed the fictional adventures of an up-and-coming band as it bounced from one loony situation to another while performing catchy pop songs along the way.  The show was called The Monkees, and Kirshner brought songs like “I’m A Believer,” “Last Train To Clarksville,” and several others that would become hits that help define the era.  He later helped create an animated version of that same concept with The Archies. Then in 1973, Kirshner became a television star in his own right with the launch of Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.  The late night show offered full live performances of songs by current rock stars, making it unique in a time where lip syncing on television was the norm.  For many rock music fans in a pre-MTV, pre-youtube era, it was THE only way to enjoy your favorite bands live.  Along with being executive producer, Kirshner introduced each act in a monotone manner that was later popularly parodied by Paul Shaffer on Saturday Night Live. The show’s premiere episode included the Rolling Stones and and the series continued at that pace hosting the likes of Alice Cooper, the Allman Brothers Band, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Rush, the Eagles, the Ramones, KISS, and Kansas.  It quickly became serious competition for other late night programs like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.  The show ran until 1981.  Don Kirshner was 76 when he died of heart failure on January 17, 2011.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums for the help

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Died On This Date (December 18, 2010) Clay Cole / Popular American Rock & Roll TV Host

Posted by themusicsover on December 18, 2010

Clay Cole
January 1, 1938 – December 18, 2010

Clay Cole was a pioneering ’60s New York City rock ‘n roll television show host who, outside of perhaps Ed Sullivan, showcased more rising rock stars than anyone of his era.  At its peak, The Clay Cole Show aired six nights a week and played host to a who’s who of rock and R&B stars.  What was particularly unique about the show, which aired from 1959 to 1968, was that Cole, who was just 21 years old, was as much of the fun as the show’s teenage dancers.  It was on The Clay Cole Show that American teens first caught a glimpse of the likes of Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkel, Chubby Checker (who debuted “The Twist” – both song AND dance on the program), Dionne Warwick, and the Rolling Stones.  Of special note, that particular episode featured both the Stones AND the Bealtes, making it the first and only time that has ever happened.  The show also featured many future legends of comedy for their television debut.  That list includes George Carlin and Richard Pryor.  When tastes in popular music began to gravitate toward psychedelic rock in the late ’60s, Cole ended the show, even though it was just peaking in popularity. After the program ended, Cole went on to be a successful producer, writer and director for television.  He won two Emmys as a producer.  Clay Cole died of a heart attack on December 18, 2010.  He was 72.



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