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Posts Tagged ‘The Coasters’

Died On This Date (August 29, 2012) Bill Tillman / Blood, Sweat & Tears

Posted by themusicsover on August 31, 2012

Bill Tillman
DOB Unknown – August 29, 2012

Bill Tillman was a gifted saxophone player and flutist who is perhaps best remembered for his three years playing in popular American rock band, Blood, Sweat & Tears.  Like contemporaries, Chicago, BS&T pioneered the use of a horn section as a lead instrument in rock music.  Tillman played in the group’s horn section between 1974 and 1977 and can be heard on eight of their albums.  Born and raised in Texas, Tillman was recognized by the Texas Public School Board as the most outstanding musician of 1965.  He soon hit the road, playing tours for the likes of Gladys Knight – as music director, the Coasters, Chuck Berry, and Roy Orbison.  In 1978, Tillman began a two-year run as a soloist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.  He also released a handful of his own albums beginning in the ’80s and culminating with 2000’s  Altogether.  On August 29, 2012, Bill Tillman passed away after reportedly hitting his head during a fall in his bathroom.  He was 65 and was awaiting a was apparently on a waiting list for a kidney transplant.

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Died On This Date (July 17, 2011) Gil Bernal / Respected L.A. Jazz Musician

Posted by themusicsover on July 17, 2011

Gil Bernal
February 4, 1931 – July 17, 2011

Gil Bernal was an esteemed jazz saxophonist and vocalist who, over a career that spanned some 60 years, became one of L.A.’s most in-demand session player, and played with a laundry list of the world’s greatest jazz musicians.  Born in the Watts section of Los Angeles, Bernal grew up with future jazz greats Big Jay McNeely and Charles Mingus.  He learned to play the sax as a youngster, and by the time he was in high school, he was playing local neighborhood parties and dances.  And not long after graduating high school, Bernal was touring as part of Lionel Hampton’s band which at the time, included Little Jimmy Scott and Quincy Jones.  He went on to form his own band which included Shelley Mann and Shorty Rogers. As an in-demand session player, Bernal played some of the most iconic sax solos on records by the likes of the Coasters, Ray Charles, Big Mama Thornton, and Duane Eddy.  He also played in Spike Jones’ band for several years.  And if that weren’t enough, Bernal could hold his own as a soulful singer as well.  In 1967, his “The Eyes Of Love,” from the film Banning, was nominated for an Academy Award.  And many of his other records, like “Can You Love A Poor Boy” and “To Make A Big Man Cry” are highly coveted by fans of Northern Soul. In recent years, Bernal was hand-picked by Ry Cooder to work with the Buena Vista Social Club as well as on Cooder’s 2005 release, Chavez Ravine.  On July 17, 2011, Gil Bernal died of congestive heart failure.  He was 80.

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Died On This Date (June 12, 2011) Carl Gardner / The Coasters

Posted by themusicsover on June 12, 2011

Carl Gardner
April 29, 1928 – June 12, 2011

Carl Gardner was the founder and front man of ’50s R&B group, the Coasters.  Formed with Bobby Nunn, Billy Guy, Leon Hughes, and Adolph Jacobs in 1955, the Coasters went on to have several iconic hits including “Yakety Yak,” “Poison Ivy,” and “Charlie Brown – all of which had Gardner singing lead.  The Coasters were one of the few vocal groups of their era that were considered as much rock ‘n roll as they were R&B.  In fact, when the inaugural group of inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame were announced in 1987, the Coasters were included on that list.  Carl Gardner, the last surviving member of the original Coasters passed away from congestive heart failure on June 12, 2011.  He was 83.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums for the assist

What You Should Own

Click to find at

The Coasters


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Died On This Date (August 13, 1971) King Curtis / Saxophone Legend

Posted by themusicsover on August 13, 2010

“King Curtis” Ousley
February 7, 1934 – August 13, 1971

King Curtis was a revered tenor saxophonist who, as a session man, played on hits by the likes of the Coasters, Aretha Franklin, and Buddy Holly.  His most famous playing can be heard on “Yakety Yak” by the Coasters.   He also released several albums on his own before his career was tragically cut short.  According to reports, Ousley was carrying an air conditioner up to his New York apartment during a sweltering heat wave.  En route, he was met by two men doing drugs who wouldn’t let him pass.  In the resulting scuffle, Juan Montanez fatally stabbed Ousley.  Sam Moore has claimed that he and Aretha Franklin witnessed the attack as they were arriving to visit Ousley.  Franklin and Stevie Wonder each performed at his funeral.

What You Should Own

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King Curtis - Live At Fillmore West - King Curtis

Posted in Jazz, Musician, Producer, R&B, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Died On This Date (February 26, 1990) Cornell Gunter / The Platters

Posted by themusicsover on February 26, 2010

Cornelius Gunter
November 14, 1936 – February 26, 1990

cornell-70s1Cornell Gunter was a founding member of the Platters, one of R&B/rock ‘n roll’s most successful vocal groups.  He was ALSO a member of another popular group, the Coasters.  With the Platters, which he helped form in 1953, Gunter sang lead on such hits as “You Send Me,” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.”  He left the group in 1960.  With the Coasters, he sang on “Yakety Yak,” “Charlie Brown,” and “Poison Ivy.”  Gunter made several solo recordings throughout his career as well.  Cornell Gunter was in the process of launching a comeback in Las Vegas when he was gunned down by an unknown assailant on February 26, 2009.  The crime was never solved.

Posted in R&B, Singer | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »