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Posts Tagged ‘Shirley Bassey’

Died On This Date (October 2, 2012) Big Jim Sullivan / Legendary UK Session Guitarist; Played On Over 1000 Charting Singles

Posted by themusicsover on October 2, 2012

Jim Sullivan
February 14, 1941 – October 2, 2012

Big Jim Sullivan was one of the most requested and prolific session guitarists that England ever produced.  Over a career that spanned over 50 years, he played on around 1000 records that charted in the UK, more than 50 reached number one.  Legend has it that he played on upwards of 3000 records a year during the height of his career.  Sullivan was just 14 when he started learning to play the guitar, and in just two years, he was playing professionally.  In 1959, he joined a band called the Wildcats who were backing Marty Wilde at the time.  The following year, the Wildcats backed Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent on the infamous UK tour that ultimately took Cochran’s life.  Over the next two decades, Sullivan became one of the most in-demand guitarists in the business.  He also gave a young Ritchie Blackmore guitar lessons and helped convince Jim Marshall to make his now famous amps.  During this time, Sullivan was one of the earliest to make use of feedback, the fuzzbox and talkbox, which was made into more or less a household name by Peter Frampton on his classic Frampton Comes Alive album of 1976. The short list who employed Sullivan to play on their records is made up of the Kinks, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithfull, David Bowie, Donovan, and Frank Zappa.  He was also a familiar face playing alongside Tom Jones on his American variety show.  Sullivan also found time to record several albums of his own as well. Big Jim Sullivan was 71 when he passed away on October 2, 2012.  He was reportedly suffering from diabetes and heart disease at the time of his death.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus at Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.

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Died On This Date (June 4, 2011) Martin Rushent / Prominent English Record Producer

Posted by themusicsover on June 4, 2011

Martin Rushent
January 3, 1948 – June 4, 2011

Martin Rushent was a successful record producer who could count records by Shirley Bassey, the Buzzcocks, Pete Shelley, the Human League, XTC, Joy DivisionGeneration X, and the Stranglers among his best work.  Picking up the production bug while still in high school, Rushent found work soon after graduation, working as a tape operator alongside Tony Visconti on records by T-Rex, Jerry Lee Lewis, Yes, and Petula Clark.  Eventually advancing to the ranks of recording engineer, Rushent went to work for United Artists where he was instrumental in getting the Stranglers signed and subsequently recording their UA releases.  By the early ’80s, Rushent grew tired of producing guitar bands, so he opened his own studio and began working with synth-driven groups, helping launch the synth-pop movement of the ’80s.   By the late ’80s, he was all but retired from the music business to raise his family, but resurfaced to run his own dance club, Gush in the mid ’90s.  He went back to producing during the mid 2000s, working with the likes of Hazel O’Connor, the Pipettes, and Does It Offend You, Yeah? which is fronted by his son, James Rushent.  Martin Rushent was 63 when he passed away on June 4, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at number1albums for the assist.

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Died On This Date (April 12, 1975) Josephine Baker / ’30s Cabaret Star

Posted by themusicsover on April 12, 2010

Josephine Baker
June 3, 1906 – April 12, 1975

Miss Josephine Baker was born into poverty in 1906 but would grow up to be one of the most in-demand French cabaret performers of her time. Off stage she devoted her life to fighting prejudice. The slums of St. Louis could not hold this woman down as she left home at the age of 13 to pursue her dream of the stage. Her break came in 1921 when she began to get notice on the stages of New York City. She quickly became a star throughout Harlem and began to grace the stage of such jazz landmarks as the Cotton Club. Baker made the move to Paris in 1925 to perform for audiences more accustomed to her brazen sexuality and minimal costumes. By the ’30s, Baker was owning her own club, starring in films, and recording her own records. Back in America to perform alongside Bob Hope in Ziegfeld’s Follies, Baker began to meet resistance due to both her sexuality and skin color, as conservatives rallied against the show. She quickly fled back to Paris and became a naturalized citizen. About that time, the Nazis invaded so Baker found herself working for the resistance and going as far as to smuggle sensitive documents out of France. She even worked as a sub-lieutenant for the French Air Force’s Women’s Auxiliary, volunteered for the Red Cross, and performed for the troops. She was later awarded military medals for her brave work. By the ’50s, Baker was back in America where she used her fame in the fight for Civil Rights by demanding to perform in front of segregated audiences. After retiring from the stage, Baker spent her time raising her racially mixed brood of 12 adopted children and stayed active in the struggle for equal rights. Josephine Baker passed away of natural causes in her sleep in the early hours of April 12, 1975, following the opening night of a revue in honor of her fifty years in show business. In the crowd that night were the likes of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace, Sophia Loren, Mick Jagger, Shirley Bassey, Diana Ross and Liza Minelli. Opening night received rave reviews.

What You Should Own

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Joséphine Baker

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Died On This Date (February 3, 1967) Joe Meek / Successful Producer and Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on February 3, 2010

Robert “Joe” Meek
April 5, 1929 – February 3, 1967

Joe Meek was a legendary English record producer who played a key role in the development of British rock ‘n roll during the early ’60s.  Many of his records are considered the foundation of the punk and garage movements of later years.   His earliest claim to fame was 1962’s “Telstar” by the Tornados.  It was the first record by a British group to top the U.S. singles chart.   The seemingly endless list of artists that Meek produced during those early years includes Screaming Lord Sutch, Gene Vincent, Billy Fury, Tom Jones, the Honeycombs and Shirley Bassey.  Perhaps more famous than the bands he worked with, were those on whom he passed.  That list includes the Beatles, Rod Stewart and David Bowie.  During the final years of Meek’s life, he suffered from severe depression and paranoia.  Perhaps because of that, he was not getting much work and his finances were drying up because of it.  He was also the victim of at least one blackmail plot and had been accused of plagiarism.  On February 3, 1967, Joe Meek unexplicably shot and killed his landlady and then turned the shotgun on himself.  He was dead at 37 years old.  It should be noted that he died on the eighth anniversary of  the death of Buddy Holly, Meek’s biggest hero.

What You Should Own

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Joe Meek

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