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Posts Tagged ‘Ray Charles’

Died On This Date (November 13, 2016) Leon Russell / Legendary Musician, Songwriter & Producer

Posted by themusicsover on November 13, 2016

Leon Russell (Born Claude Russell Bridges)
April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016

Photo by Carl Lender

Photo by Carl Lender

Leon Russell was a celebrated musician, singer, songwriter and producer whose early work as a session player alone was enough to rightfully find him a home in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Add to that his credits as a songwriter, and you have one of the most respected artists we have ever known.  Born in Oklahoma, Russell began playing the piano at just four years old.  By high school, he and schoolmate David Gates, of future Bread fame, had a band together. Over the next couple of years Russell needed a fake ID to play the clubs of Tulsa. And then, at just 16 years old, he headed to Los Angeles to take a crack at becoming a session musician. Russell quickly built a solid reputation and became one of the first people called into the studio or on stage to lend his talents.  The list of artists or their producers that mad that call is staggering – it includes the Byrds, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, the Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand, and the Beach Boys.  And as part of the famed Wrecking Crew of L.A. studio musicians, the list goes on. Russel’s first hit as a songwriter came by way of Joe Cocker‘s 1969 recording of his “Delta Lady.”  As the ’70s dawned, Russell began making his own albums while producing others.  And thanks in part to the success of “Delta Lady,” he became a go-to songwriter for hopeful pop and rock stars.  In 1970, he released his self-titled debut. The album spawned one of his most famous songs, “A Song For You” which has been covered by a diverse list of artists that includes Ray Charles, Zakk Wylde, Andy Williams, Herbie Hancock with Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Willie Nelson, and Amy Winehouse. Russell spent the rest of the ’70s on a seemingly endless recording and touring cycle. He eventually slowed down, but became no less productive and influential.  The next three decades found him working with the likes of New Grass Revival and Bruce Hornsby while releasing several more of his own albums which leaned more bluegrass and country than much of his ’70s output. In 2010, Elton John (who called Russell his biggest influence as a pianist, singer and songwriter) and Bernie Taupin partnered with Russell on The Union, which resulted in a return-to-the-charts for both. The outstanding album, produced by T-Bone Burnett, and credited equally to both John and Taupin, entered the Billboard charts at No. 3, Russell’s highest charting album since 1972 and John’s highest since 1976.  Rolling Stone called it one of the best 30 albums of 2010.  The new-found exposure for Russell found him touring heavily up through the first half of 2016 when a heart attack sidelined him. Not discouraged, plans were being made to hit the road again in 2017.  Unfortunately, while still recovering from the heart attack, Leon Russell died quietly in his sleep on November 14, 2016.  He was 74.


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Died On This Date (December 21, 2014) Joe Cocker / Iconic English Rock Singer

Posted by themusicsover on December 21, 2014

John “Joe” Cocker
May 20, 1944 – December 21, 2014

Photo by David Plastik - Click To Order Quality Prints - Discount code: 10OFF

Photo by David Plastik – Click To Order Quality Prints – Discount code: 10OFF

Joe Cocker was a much-beloved English singer-songwriter who, over a career that spanned over 40 years, gave us some of the rock era’s most memorable songs. That list includes, “Feeling Alright,” “Up Where We Belong,” “Cry Me A River,” “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” “You Are So Beautiful,” “Unchain My Heart,” and “With A Little Help From My Friends.”  With a gravelly voice and uniquely passionate live delivery, Cocker can only be described as one of a kind. In many cases, his interpretations of other superstars’ recordings were arguably better than – or at least equal to – the originals.  Born in Sheffield, England , Cocker gravitated to the music of Ray Charles and Lonnie Donegan at an early age He was just 12 years old when his older brother first brought him up on stage to sing with his skiffle band. Within a couple of years, he formed his first group, the Cavaliers.  Over the next four decades, Cocker released 23 studio albums and toured the world numerous times.  His most recent studio album, Fire It Up, was released in 2012.  Joe Cocker lost his battle with lung cancer on December 21, 2014.  He was 70 years old.

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Died On This Date (August 21, 2013) Sid Bernstein / Legendary Concert Promoter; Brought The British Invasion To America

Posted by themusicsover on August 21, 2013

Sid Bernstein
August 12, 1918 – August 21, 2013

sid-bernsteinSid Bernstein was a concert promoter who was largely responsible for the onset of the British Invasion by setting up the first US concerts by England’s biggest rock bands at the time.  In 1964, Bernstein felt the excitement building for the Beatles so he contacted their manager Brian Epstein, and convinced him to let him promote two shows at Carnegie Hall after their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The demand for tickets was so huge, that he arranged their legendary Shea Stadium concert the following year.  By doing so, he became the first promoter to ever set up a rock concert in a sports stadium.  Bernstein went on to organize the first five Rolling Stones shows in America.  He also brought fellow British Invasion groups, Herman’s Hermits, the Moody Blues, and the Kinks over for their first US shows.   The list of others Bernstein organized early major early concerts for include Judy Garland, Tony Bennett, Ray CharlesFrank Sinatra, and James Brown who once credited Bernstein for being the only significant promoter to work with Black acts during the ’60s.  Sid Bernstein was 95 when he passed away on August 21, 2013.


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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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Died On This Date (June 23, 2013) Bobby Blue Bland / Blues Great

Posted by themusicsover on June 23, 2013

Bobby “Blue” Bland
January 27, 1930 – June 23, 2013

bobby-blue-blandKnown as the “Lion of the Blues” as well as the “Frank Sinatra of the Blues,”  Bobby “Blue” Bland was an influential singer who successfully blurred the lines between soul, Gospel, and R&B, and by doing so, found himself years later resting at #44 of Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.  Born at the southeastern most tip of Tennessee, Bland eventually moved with his mother to Memphis where he began singing with local Gospel groups.  He soon started hanging out in the storied Beale Street clubs where he joined up with a loose group of local aspiring singers and musicians sometimes referred to as the Beale Streeters who counted B.B. King and Johnny Ace as members.  After an early ’50s stint in the U.S. Army, Bland returned to Memphis and began making records in 1954.  The early ones received little notice, but in the late ’50s and early ’60s, his records like “Farther Up The Road,” “Little Boy Blue,” and “I Pity The Fool” started showing up on the R&B charts.  By the late ’60s, he had no fewer than 23 Top Ten R&B hits and was later listed at #13 on a list of the best-selling R&B artists of all time.  In all, Bland released nearly 30 albums, his most recent being 2003’s Blues At Midnight.  Over the course of his career, Bland recorded or performed with B.B. King, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Van Morrison, Junior Parker, and many more.  In 1981, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, and in 1992, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Bobby “Blue” Bland was 83 when he passed away on June 23, 2013.

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