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Archive for December 4th, 2009

Died On This Date (December 4, 1993) Frank Zappa

Posted by themusicsover.com on December 4, 2009

Frank Zappa
December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993

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Frank Zappa was one of popular music’s most creative forces.  As a musician, composer, and producer, his 60+ albums crossed most genres while influencing countless artists in their wake.  One of Zappa’s unique talents was that he could could just as easily produce a pop rock hit as he could an avant garde movement, while not losing a fan in the process.  The bottom line, he was one of popular music’s most difficult to categorize, and beloved for being so.  Zappa’s interest in music began when he was a sickly child.  Due to his ailments, the Zappa family moved from the east coast to southern California so he could live in a warmer climate.  He began collecting all kinds of records when he was still a pre-teen, and that early exposure to such diverse genres as R&B, avant garde, blues, modern classical, and doo wop guided him down a path that would see him seamlessly merge those and other styles of music into something that could only be called his own.  Fast forward to the mid ’60s when Zappa and his Mothers of Invention landed their first record deal with Verve Records, oddly, one of the world’s top modern jazz labels.  Zappa’s debut album, Freak Out! immediately established him as one of rock’s strangest yet most respected new voices.  What followed over the next 30-odd years was a series of albums, both with, and without the Mothers of Invention, that built perhaps one of popular music’s biggest cult followings.  Never forgetting the diverse music that inspired him, Zappa occasionally released modern classical and jazz albums along the way.  In 1982, Zappa released what would be his biggest hit single, “Valley Girl,” a song that helped launch a pop culture fad that is still mimicked to this day.  In 1985, Zappa found himself reaching perhaps his biggest audience by testifying during the senate hearings that eventually forced the record industry to label albums that contained “offensive” lyrics.  Zappa, of course felt that was a form of censorship and was their in defense of his fellow songwriters.  Ironically, the stickering completely backfired as such labeling only made the “offensive” albums more attractive to young teens.  In 1990, Zappa was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Although he continued to record, his focus was primarily on classical music during his final years.  Frank Zappa was 52 when the cancer finally took his life on December 4, 1993.

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Died On This Date (December 4, 1976) Tommy Bolin

Posted by themusicsover.com on December 4, 2009

Tommy Bolin
August 1, 1951 – December 4, 1976

tommy_bolinTommy Bolin was an up-and-coming rock guitarist in his early 20s when he got the call to play  in the post-Joe Walsh James Gang.  Up until that point, he had be playing around with various musicians in the Denver area, most prominently, in a band called Zephyr.  After two albums with the James Gang, Bang! and Miami, Bolin left to do session work.  In 1975, Bolin recorded his first solo album which found him backed with by a stellar line up of musicians.  That list included Phil Collins, Glenn Hughes, David Sanborn and Jan Hammer.  It was around that time that he got the call to join yet another band, Deep Purple.  The end of 1975 found the release of both Bolin’s first album, Teaser, and his Deep Purple album, Come Taste the Band.  Bolin soon hit the road with Deep Purple, but reports began surfacing that his growing dependency on heroin was hindering his guitar playing.  Following the Deep Purple tour, Bolin went to work on his second album, Private Eyes.    What followed was a tour that found him opening for Peter Frampton and Jeff Beck.  On December 3, 1976, Tommy Bolin performed one last show in front of Beck.   The next morning, his lifeless body was found in his hotel room.  Cause of death was presumed to be the result of heavy drug and alcohol usage causing his throat muscles to close up, thereby suffocating him.  He was just 25.

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Died On This Date (December 4, 2009) Liam Clancy / The Clancy Brothers

Posted by themusicsover.com on December 4, 2009

William “Liam” Clancy
September 2, 1935 – December 4, 2009

Liam Clancy was an Irish folk singer who, along with his brothers, came to prominence during the ’60s folk revival as the Clancy Brothers.  Growing up, Clancy first gravitated toward the theater, producing, directing and starring in plays that ran in and around Dublin.  During the mid ’50s, he began performing and recording with his brothers and friend, Tommy Makem.  They soon moved to the U.S. where they became an integral part of the New York folk scene.  In 1961, the group was asked to be a last minute replacement on the Ed Sullivan Show.  After a then unheard of 16-minute performance, the Clancy Brothers were folk music’s new rising stars, landing a multi-album deal with Columbia Records.  They had a very successful career that also included album releases on the storied Vanguard Records.  No less than Bob Dylan has cited them as an influence on his career and reportedly called Liam the greatest ballad singer he ever heard.  Clancy recorded several critically acclaimed solo albums throughout his career as well.  Liam Clancy died of pulmonary fibrosis on December 4, 2009.  He was 74.

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Died On This Date (December 4, 2008) David Ezrin

Posted by themusicsover.com on December 4, 2009

David Ezrin
December 3, 1966 – December 4, 2008

ezrin

David Ezrin, the Canadian born son of famed record producer, Bob Ezrin, was a songwriter, keyboardist and label executive.  As a musician, he collaborated with Lita Ford, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper and Hanoi Rocks.  He was also the head of A&R at Soul Surfer Records, a label he co-founded.  His songs have been recorded by Vow Wow and Lita Ford.  David Ezrin was 42 when he passed away on December 4, 2008.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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Died On This Date (December 4, 2009) Paul Bryant / L.A. Jazz Keyboardist

Posted by themusicsover.com on December 4, 2009

Paul Bryant
September 22, 1933 – December 4, 2009

Paul Bryant was a respected jazz keyboardist who played a key role in the development of the west coast jazz sound.  His talent earned him the nickname of  the “Central Avenue Kid.”  L.A.’s Central Avenue was the epicenter of the local jazz scene during the ’50s and ’60s.  Over the course of his career, he released eight albums on such respected labels as Pacific Jazz, and toured the world.  On December 4, 2009, Paul Bryant passed away at the age of 76.

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