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Posts Tagged ‘the Beach Boys’

RIP, Chuck Berry (March 18, 2017) Rock and Roll Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on March 18, 2017

Chuck Berry
October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017

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As one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, Chuck Berry refined the early sounds of rhythm and blues, added catchy teen-centric lyrics, and turned up the volume of his guitar.  By doing so, he became one of the most influential artists pop music has ever known. Launching his recording career during the mid ’50s, Berry created songs that not only became a part of  America’s fabric, but would be played on radios, at parties, in concerts, on television, and in movies for the next 60 years. His remarkable output included such unforgettable songs as  “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and “Rock and Roll Music.”  On stage, he stood head and shoulders above most of his peers by adding a showmanship that included dazzling guitar solos, and of course, that “duck walk” across the stage.  His direct influence is staggering –  the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Beach Boys, Michael JacksonBruce Springsteen, U2, Prince, Ted Nugent, Tom Petty, and George Thorogood  (to name just a very few) have all cited him as a significant influence or honored him in some way.  In 1986, Berry was deservedly part of the initial class inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he went on to receive countless accolades for the rest of his life.  And of course, a pop music-related “Best Of” list that does not include him or one of his records somewhere near the top, should be taken to the shredder.  Chuck Berry was 90 when he passed away in his home on March 18, 2017. Cause of death was not immediately released.

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Died On This Date (January 3, 2014) Phil Everly / The Everly Brothers

Posted by themusicsover on January 3, 2014

Phil Everly
January 19, 1939 – January 3, 2014

phil-everlyPhil Everly, along with his brother Don Everly, are considered the must influential vocal duo pop music has ever known.  Working together as the Everly Brothers, they created such seamless and glorious harmonies that no less than members of the Byrds, the Beatles, and the Beach Boys have preached their influence ever since.  Born in Chicago, Illinois to a musical family, Phil learned to play the guitar at an early age.  Family patriarch, Ike Everly was a respected professional musician himself, so the boys were introduced to music as a way of life while still in their childhood.  Ultimately settling in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Everly family performed as a group throughout the area for many years.  By the early ’50s, Phil and Don were working as a duo, making an early believer out of Chet Atkins who helped then secure their first recording contract with Columbia Records.  Their first single, “Keep A’ Lovin’ Me,”  performed less than spectacularly, so Columbia dropped them.  Before they knew it, Acuff-Rose Publishing snatched Phil and Don up as songwriters while Roy Acuff helped land them a deal with Cadence Records. From there, the Everly Brothers’ career skyrocketed.  Their first release for Cadence, “Bye Bye Love” shot to #2 on the pop charts, #1 on the country charts, and #5 on the R&B charts.  What followed that million-seller was a string of hits that helped define the era.  Records like “Wake Up Little Susie,” “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” and “Cathy’s Clown”  earned the duo more than $35 Million dollars by 1962 – an astonishing sum at that time.  After the British Invasion hit the U.S. in 1964, the Everly Brothers’ shine diminished as teenagers scrambled for the new sound by the likes of the Beatles, who ironically, might not have ever crossed the Atlantic if it weren’t for Phil and Don.  By the dawn of the ’70s, the Everly Brothers had split up to pursue solo careers.  Phil worked with likes of  Warren Zevon and Roy Wood, and later scored a hit with “Don’t Say You Don’t Love Me No More,” a tune he wrote and performed with actress, Sondra Locke in the Clint Eastwood hit film, Every Which Way But Loose.  In 1983, the Everly Brothers reunited for an acclaimed concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London.  The show was recorded and the subsequent album returned the duo to the charts.  Phil and Don continued to record and perform as a duo and individually well into the 2000s.  In all, they scored 35 Billboard Top 100 singles, a record that still stands to this day.  They  were also recognized with nearly every musical award you could think of including being part of the first group of ten artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.  On January 3, 2014, it was announced that Phil Everly died of pulmonary disease.  He was 74.

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Died On This Date (January 8, 2013) Tandyn Almer / ’60s Singer-Songwriter; Wrote “Along Comes Mary”

Posted by themusicsover on January 8, 2013

Tandyn Almer
July 30, 1942 – January 8, 2013

tandyn-almerTandyn Almer was a mysterious Minneapolis-born singer-songwriter whose biggest contribution to popular music came by way of his “Along Came Mary,” a 1966 Top Ten hit as recorded by the Association.  Just a teenager when the music of John Coltrane and Miles Davis caught his ear, Almer, a future member of Mensa, decided to quit high school and move to Chicago to become a jazz musician.  By the ’60s, he found himself in Los Angeles, where he set his sights on rock music.  Over the next few years, he collaborated, as a songwriter or producer, with such acts as Dennis Olivieri, the Purple Gang, and the Garden Club.  During the ’70s, he wrote songs for A&M Records where he co-wrote the Beach Boys‘ “Sail On Sailor,” and “Marcella.”  Outside of music, Almer invented the Slave-Master water pipe which was called “the perfect bong” by at least one how-to manual.  By the ’80s, Almer was all but out of the music business, and living in Washington D.C. where he wrote songs for an annual comedy review put on by Hexagon, a D.C. based non-profit organization.  In recent years, Almer was reportedly in ailing health – suffering from heart and lung disease, until he passed away on January 8, 2013.  He was 70.

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

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Died On This Date (August 18, 2012) Scott McKenzie / Had Hit With “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”

Posted by themusicsover on August 18, 2012

Scott McKenzie (Born Phillip Blondheim)
January 10, 1939 – August 18, 2012

Scott McKenzie is perhaps best remembered for his 1967 hit, “San Francisco (Be Sure To Where Flowers In Your Hair).”  Written by John Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas, it took the song less than a month to reach the Top 5 of the US singles chart and went on to sell some 7 million copies worldwide.  It also topped the charts in the UK as well as other countries around the world.  More than just a pop hit, the song was a calling card for the hippie lifestyle that was flourishing in San Francisco at the time and was credited for bringing 1000s of young people to the city during the late ’60s.  Any respectable collection of songs from the era is incomplete without it.  Born in Florida, McKenzie became friends with Phillips while the two were still children growing up in Virgina.  The two played together from time to time through high school, and in 1961, Phillips invited McKenzie to join a band he was forming, the Mamas & the Papas.  McKenzie declined since he was more interested in pursuing a solo career.  Two years later, he signed to Lou Adler’s Ode Records. McKenzie’s debut album included “San Francisco” which was co-produced by Phillips who also played guitar on it.  That release was followed by another minor hit or two before McKenzie retired from making records in the early ’70s.  During the mid ’80s, he toured with a re-formed version of the Mamas & the Papas, and continued to do so until his retirement in 1998.  McKenzie co-wrote “Kokomo,” a #1 hit for the Beach Boys in 1988.  Scott McKenzie was 73 when he passed away in his home on August 18, 2012.  Cause of death was not immediately released but he had reportedly been ill prior to his death.

Thanks to Paul Bearer for the assist.

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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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