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Posts Tagged ‘The Grateful Dead’

Died On This Date (May 5, 2012) Sweet Joe Russell / The Persuasions

Posted by themusicsover on May 5, 2012

Jesse “Sweet Joe” Russell
September 25, 1939 – May 5, 2012

Photo by Susana Millman

Sweet Joe Russell was an influential vocalist who, for the better part of five decades, sang with the a capella group, the Persuasions. Formed in Brooklyn in 1962, the Persuasions first found an audience on local street corners.  In 1970, after hearing them sing over the telephone, Frank Zappa signed them to his Straight Records and released their debut record, A Capella.  They went on to release numerous albums and record or tour with the likes of the Grateful Dead, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Joni Mitchell, and Liza Minnelli.  And it was Russell, with his sweet tenor, who was called “the voice of the Persuasions.”  Sweet Joe Russell died on May 5, 2012, after a long battle with diabetes.  He was 72.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.

What You Should Own

Click to find at

Acappella - The Persuasions

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Died On This Date (February 16, 2012) Jon McIntire / Managed The Grateful Dead

Posted by themusicsover on February 16, 2012

Jon McIntire
1941 – February 16, 2012

Jon McIntire is best remembered as the two-time manager of the Grateful Dead.  It was under his watch – first in the early ’70s and again during the ’80s – that the “Deadhead” phenomenon was born, and most sources credit McIntire for making it happen.  When the band’s  Grateful Dead album (also known as Skull and Roses) came out in 1971, McIntire had a note inserted that read “Dead Freaks Unite! Who are you? Where are you? How are you? Send us your name and address and we’ll keep you informed.”  What followed was a devotion by fans around the world, the likes of which had never been seen and will likely be never seen again.  It was during the McIntire era that the band also released Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty – two of rock’s most influential albums.  He parted ways with the Dead in 1974 and went on to shepherd Bob Weir’s solo career.  He returned to manage the band in 1984 and oversaw their biggest commercial successes, In the Dark, and the “Touch of Grey” single, which was their only one to ever crack the Top 10.  Jon McIntire was 70 when he died of cancer on February 16, 2012.

Thanks to Scott Miller for the assist.

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Died On This Date (July 10, 2011) Travis Bean / Innovative Guitar Maker

Posted by themusicsover on July 10, 2011

Clifford Travis Bean
August 21, 1947 – July 10, 2011

Photo by Rick Oblinger

Travis Bean was a Los Angeles, California area electric guitar maker who helped revolutionize the instrument during the 1970s.  In 1974, he launched Travis Bean Guitars to mass produce high-end electric guitars that had solid aluminum necks instead of the customary wood ones.  Besides giving the instruments a unique tone and durability, the metal added heft and cost to the guitars, upwards of $1000 each, which was a fairly large sum at that time.  Loyal fans of Bean’s guitars included Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Keith Richards and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones, and jazz great, Stanley Jordan.  Bean also constructed a similar bass guitar that was used by the likes of Bill Wyman.  Bean halted production of the guitars in 1979 rather than compromise on the quality to meet lower cost demands.  Over 3600 guitars and basses came off the line during the five years of production.   Bean returned with another round of similar guitars and basses during the late ’90s.   Travis Bean was 63 when he died on July 10, 2011 following a long battle with cancer.


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Died On This Date (December 7, 1982) Dave Torbert / New Riders Of The Purple Sage

Posted by themusicsover on December 7, 2010

Dave Torbert
June 7, 1948 – December 7, 1982

Dave Torbert was a bassist who is perhaps best remembered for his time playing in the New Riders of the Purple Sage.  He was also a founding member of Kingfish who, at one point or another also employed Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, and Danny DeGennaro.   Grateful Dead fans may be familiar with Torbert’s talent since he played on American Beauty’s “Box Of Rain.”  Dave Torbert was 34 when he died of a heart attack on December 7, 1982.

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Died On This Date (June 2, 2008) Bo Diddley / Blues Icon

Posted by themusicsover on June 2, 2010

Bo Diddley (Born Ellas Otha Bates)
December 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008

Known as “The Originator,” Bo Diddley was arguably THE flash point of rock ‘n roll.  He took the blues and injected a shot of the devil into it, forever bridging the gap between the two art forms.  As a singer, guitarist and songwriter, Diddley was a direct influence on many of the greatest artists in rock history.  The “Bo Diddley Beat” directly inspired the likes of Buddy Holly, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix, the Who, the Grateful Dead, U2, George Thorogood, Elton John and countless others. Bo Diddley died of heart failure on June 2, 2008.  He was 79.

What You Should Own

Click to find at

Bo Diddley: The Definitive Collection - Bo Diddley

Posted in Blues, Musician, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »