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Posts Tagged ‘Peggy Lee’

Died On This Date (February 23, 2012) Mike Melvoin / Jazz Pianist; Studio Session Legend

Posted by themusicsover on February 23, 2012

Mike Melvoin
May 10, 1937 – February 23, 2012

Mike Melvoin was a much-respected jazz pianist whose talent can be heard on countless records by some of the biggest names in music.  Since 1961, Melvoin graced recordings by such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Tom Waits, Peggy Lee, Michael Jackson, and Charlie Haden.  As one of L.A.’s leading session players, it was Melvoin who got the call to play on such landmark recordings as the Jackson 5’s “ABC,” the Beach Boy’s “Good Vibrations,” Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable,” Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen,” and John Lennon’s “Stand By Me.”   He released several albums of his own as well, on such respected labels as Verve, Dot, and Liberty.  Melvoin also found time to raise his own family of respected musicians – Wendy Melvoin of Wendy & Lisa, Jonathan Melvoin of Smashing Pumpkins fame, and Susannah Melvoin.   Mike Melvoin was 74 when he died of cancer on February 23, 2012.

Thanks Craig Rosen at Number 1 Albums for the assist.




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Died On This Date (May 9, 2011) Dolores Fuller / Wrote A Number Of Songs For Elvis

Posted by themusicsover on May 9, 2011

Dolores Fuller (Born Dolores Eble)
March 10, 1923 – May 9, 2011

Dolores Fuller is perhaps best remembered as the one-time girlfriend of notorious film maker, Ed Wood for whom she co-starred as the female lead in his cult classic, Glen or Glenda.  She also had minor roles in numerous other films during the ’50s and again in the ’90s.  Fuller made a more significant impact on pop music however, but oddly enough, as a songwriter.  When she was going after a role in Elvis Presley’s, Blue Hawaii, the film’s producer and Fuller’s friend, Hal Wallis – who knew of her songwriting talent – put her in touch with the publishing company that provided Presley with songs.  They brought her on, and it was there that she began writing such Presley classics like “Rock-A-Hula Baby,” “Spinout,” and “Do The Clam.”  In all, she wrote twelve songs for the King.  Fuller also penned tunes for Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Shelley Fabares, and Terry Stafford to name a few.  In 1994, Fuller was portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker in Tim Burton’s biopic, Ed Wood.   Dolores Fuller died on May 9, 2011 following a stroke.  She was 88.

Thanks to Benji Isabel for the assist.

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Died On This Date (February 14, 2011) George Shearing / Popular Jazz Pianist and Composer

Posted by themusicsover on February 14, 2011

George Shearing
August 13, 1919 – February 14, 2011

George Shearing was a popular and influential jazz pianist and composer who could claim over 300 pieces as his own.  Born blind in London, Shearing spent his early professional career playing in an all-blind band – he started playing the piano at just three years old.  During his late 20s, Shearing moved to the United States where he continued to master his complex style of swing, bop and bebop.  In 1949, he formed the George Shearing Quintet and went on to record for such labels as Verve, Capitol, and MGM.  His hits included “Lullaby Of Birdland” and “September In The Rain.”    Over the years he’s collaborated with the likes of Oscar Pettiford, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, and Mel Torme.  In 2007, he was knighted – Officer of the Order of the British Empire – for his contributions to music.  George Shearing died of heart failure on February 14, 2011.  He was 91.

What You Should Own

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The Definitive George Shearing - George Shearing

Posted in Composer, Jazz, Musician | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Died On This Date (May 26, 1968) Little Willie John / Early R&B Great

Posted by themusicsover on May 26, 2010

Little Willie John
November 15, 1937 – May 26, 1968

As one of R&B’s unsung heroes, Little Willie John sang with a robust voice and an emotional range that would be cited as an influence by no less than Sam Cooke, James Brown, Jackie Wilson and Al Green. Discovered at the age of 17 by music impresario Johnny Otis, John signed to King Records where he had a run of hits that included “All Around The World,” “I’m Shakin’,” “Sufferin’ With The Blues,” and “Fever,” which would later be huge hits for both Peggy Lee and Elvis Presley. His songs were also covered by the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, James Brown and the Blasters. His career came to a screeching halt in 1964 when he stabbed a man to death. His notorious bad temper and alcoholism likely played a role in the altercation. John was sent to Washington State Prison where he died of pneumonia in 1968.  Recognition for his contributions to popular music finally came three decades later, when John was elected to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

What You Should Own

Little Willie John: All 15 of His Chart Hits from 1953-1962 - Little Willie John

Posted in Musician, R&B | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Died On This Date (December 24, 1940) Billy Hill / American Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on December 24, 2009

Billy Hill
July 14, 1899 – December 24, 1940

Billy Hill was a Songwriter Hall of Fame tunesmith who penned several hits throughout the ’30s.  Born in the Boston, Hill studied music and played the violin and piano, eventually earning a living at it as part of dance bands.  His first hit as a songwriter came with 1933’s “The Last Roundup,” which made that year’s The Hit Parade and lead to him becoming one of Tin Pan Alley’s most successful writers.  His most well-known first came to prominence in 1936.  “The Glory Of Love” was made into a hit that year by Benny Goodman, and later recorded by Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Otis Redding, Eddy Arnold, and Bette Midler for the Beaches soundtrack.  More recently, the Jimmy Durante version of the song was prominently featured in the 2009 thriller, Orphan.  Billy Hill was 40 when he passed away on December 24, 1940.

Thanks to Ginger Lee Hill for the assist.



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