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Posts Tagged ‘the ventures’

Died On This Date (January 11, 2017) Tommy Allsup / Rockabilly & Western Swing Great

Posted by themusicsover on January 11, 2017

Tommy Allsup
November 24, 1931 – January 11, 2017

Photo by Eric Shaiman

Tommy Allsup was an influential rockabilly and western swing guitarist, but he was also one of the luckiest people in all of popular music.  While on tour with  Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson in February of 1959 – he was in Holly’s band – Allsup was on the “losing” end of the infamous coin toss that gave his seat up to Valens who was killed with the others when the plane crashed. After Holly’s death, Allsup went to work for Liberty Records where he produced records by Willie Nelson and Tex Williams, among others. Although he was most famous for his playing on Holly’s records, Allsup also recorded with the likes of Bob Wills,  The Ventures, Kenny Rogers, The Everly Brothers, and Roy Orbison.  Tommy Allsup was 85 when he died on January 11, 2017.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.


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Died On This Date (June 12, 2013) Johnny Smith / Cool Jazz Guitar Great

Posted by themusicsover on June 12, 2013

Johnny Smith
June 25, 1922 – June 12, 2013

johnny-smithJohnny Smith was a jazz guitarist who was considered one of the premiere cool jazz players of his day.  Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Smith and his family eventually settled in Maine where the boy began learning to play the guitar by practicing at local pawn shops.  By the time he was 13, he was teaching other neighborhood kids to play.  While still in high school, Smith joined a local hillbilly band, Uncle Lem and the Mountain Boys who took him on the road to play various fairs and dances throughout Maine.  Since he was earning $4.00 a night, Smith promptly quit high school to pursue his career.  By the time he turned 18, he picked up an interest in jazz so he quit the Mountain Boys and joined a jazz trio called the Airport Boys.  After serving in the US Army as part of the Military Band, Smith put his music career in high gear.  With a reputation for being one of the era’s most versatile guitarists – he could just as easily play classical as he could hillbilly and jazz – Smith found plenty of work as a session player.  In 1952, he released what would become his most acclaimed album, Moonlight In Vermont, which also featured Stan Getz on saxophone.  The single of the same name was a big hit as well.  As a songwriter, Smith is perhaps best known for 1954’s “Walk Don’t Run” which became hits for both Chet Atkins and the Ventures.  In 1958, he retired from the music business grind and moved to Colorado to raise his daughter since his wife had recently passed away.  He owned a music store and taught guitar lessons there for many years.  Johnny Smith was 90 when he passed away on June 12, 2013.

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

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Died On This Date (December 14, 2011) Ed Roman / World Renowned Guitar Maker

Posted by themusicsover on December 14, 2011

Ed Roman
DOB Unknown – December 14, 2011

Ed Roman was a fiercely independent Las Vegas guitar builder whose creations were lovingly played by Ted Nugent, John Entwistle, Billy Gibbons, Ace Frehley, and Rick Derringer, to name just a few.  Roman began playing the guitar as a youngster growing up in Connecticut where he found early inspiration in the Ventures.  He began building guitars in 1976 and eventually settled in Las Vegas where he opened his world famous guitar shop.  The list of faithful customers also includes Lita Ford, Leslie West, Keith Urban, and Marie Osmond.  Ed Roman was 61 when he passed away on December 14, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released, although he had reportedly been ill.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.

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Died On This Date (August 11, 1996) Mel Taylor / Drummer For The Ventures

Posted by themusicsover on August 11, 2010

Mel Taylor
September 24, 1933 – August 11, 1996

Mel Taylor is best remembered as the second drummer of surf instrumental pioneers, the Ventures.  Influenced by Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa and Louis Bellson, Taylor’s early career consisted of playing with Boris Pickett and Herb Alpert before replacing Howie Johnson in the Ventures.  The year was 1962 and Taylor would stay with the Ventures on and off for the next thirty years.  He passed away as a result of cancer on August 11, 1996.


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Died On This Date (July 18, 1966) Bobby Fuller / Rock ‘n Roll Great

Posted by themusicsover on July 18, 2010

Bobby Fuller
October 22, 1942 – July 18, 1966

Pound for pound, Bobby Fuller’s remarkable output could stack up against any of his peers even though it was cut tragically short after just two years. Songs like “I Fought The Law,” “Let Her Dance,” and “Another Sad and Lonely Night” are just a few of his classic rock ‘n roll recordings that have either been covered by major artists or cited as major influences. Growing up, Fuller idolized fellow Texan, Buddy Holly, and at an early age decided he wanted to be a rock ‘n roll singer as well. Starting in the early ’60s, Fuller began to make a name for himself in the El Paso area clubs, and by 1964, he was living in Los Angeles, chasing his dreams. It was while in Los Angeles, he formed the Bobby Fuller Four and convinced legendary producer Bob Keane to sign them to Mustang Records. Keane’s other claim to fame was discovering a young Ritchie Valens. With a sound that was equal parts Buddy Holly, Tex Mex, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Elvis, Little Richard and the Ventures, Fuller began putting out such instant hit records as “Let Her Dance,” “Love’s Made A Fool Of You,” and of course, the great “I Fought the Law.” And then, almost as quickly as it started, it all came to a tragic and mysterious end. In what the incompetent police ruled a “suicide,” Fuller was found with multiple wounds to his body, covered in gasoline, and left for dead in a parked car outside his apartment. The scene, not only unsecured by police, was never dusted for fingerprints. Fuller’s mother claimed that the police told her that he had been dead for two hours, even though she had been with him just 30 minutes prior. And one witness even came forward claiming they saw a police officer discard a gas can into a nearby dumpster. But the case was never solved. Many speculate that the perpetrators fled the scene before they were able to burn the car and body. And adding to the mystery, the LAPD case files remain lost to this day. A 2002 novel entitled The Dead Circus by John Kaye further fuels the fire by including a “fictional” subplot that has Frank Sinatra ordering the hit on Fuller because he did not like him dating his daughter.

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I Fought the Law - The Best of Bobby Fuller Four - Bobby Fuller Four

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