The Music's Over

but the songs live on

Archive for May, 2010

Died On This Date (May 31, 2000) Tito Puente

Posted by on May 31, 2010

Tito Puente
April 20, 1923 – May 31, 2000

Born in New York to Puerto Rican parents, Tito Puente became one of the most influential Latin Jazz and mambo musicians. His energetic albums and performances were revered the world over. After serving in the Navy during WWII, Puente returned to New York and used his GI Bill to study music at the Juilliard School Of Music, thus launching a career that would span 50 years. Over his career, he received five Grammys, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Key to New York City, an induction into the National Congressional Record, a Smithsonian Medal, but perhaps most important, he was immortalized appearing as “himself” in The Simpsons’ famous “Who Shot Mr. Burns” episode. Puente suffered a heart attack following a show in Puerto Rico and died during heart surgery back in New York City on May 31, 2000.

What You Should Own

Click to go to

Posted in Jazz, Musician, Songwriter | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Died On This Date (May 31, 2008) Hugh Jarrett / The Jordanaires; Sang Back-Up For Elvis

Posted by on May 31, 2010

Hugh Jarrett
October 11, 1929 – May 31, 2008

A a member of vocal group, the JordanairesHugh Jarrett added a rich bass to the many classic recordings of  Elvis Presley.  Recording over 50 albums with Presley, Jarret can be heard on such songs as “Love Me Tender,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” and “Love Me Tender.”  Jarrett also toured with Presley and appeared in several of his films and television appearances, included his legendary debut on the Ed Sullivan Show.  An in-demand session singer, Jarrett also sang with the likes of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Dottie West, Eddie Arnold, Patsy Cline, and Wayne Newton. Hugh Jarrett died of complications from an earlier automobile accident.

Posted in Early Rock, Rock, Singer | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Died On This Date (May 31, 1967) Billy Strayhorn

Posted by on May 31, 2010

Billy Strayhorn
November 29, 1915 – May 31, 1967

billyBilly Strayhorn was a jazz composer and musician who is most famous for his work alongside Duke Ellington.  Strayhorn first became interested in music as a child while living with his grandmother.  By the time he was high school, Strayhorn had formed a combo and was writing his first songs.  One of which would eventually become one of his signature songs, “Lush Life.”    Although more interested in classical music, Strayhorn set his sites on jazz, since it was next to impossible for a Black man to have a career playing classical music in those days.  Strayhorn met Ellington after a show in 1938, impressing the man enough to hire him on as arranger and composer.  They collaborated with each other for the next 25 years.   Besides “Lush Life,” Strayhorn penned such classics as “Chelsea Bridge,” and “Take The A Train.”   Billy Strayhorn died of esophegeal cancer at the age of 51.

What You Should Own

Click to buy from

Posted in Arranger, Composer, Jazz, Musician | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Died On This Date (May 31, 2008) Barry Lederer / Popular Disco-Era DJ

Posted by on May 31, 2010

Barry Lederer
1944 – May 31, 2008

Born in Queens, Barry Lederer, started his DJ career while attending college in upstate New York.   It was there that began throwing parties, entertaining guests with tapes he made from the radio. Lederer moved back to New York City after college and started hanging out a club called the Firehouse.  After complaining to management about the music being played, he was given a shot at putting his money where his mouth was.  Before long, he was drawing crowds of as many as 1500 on weekends.  He soon became a popular draw at the gay clubs throughout New York’s Fire Island.  Lederer also wrote a Disco column in Billboard magazine during the hieght of the era.  He passed away of heart disease on May 31, 2008.

Posted in Disc Jockey, Disco, Journalist | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Died On This Date (May 31, 2010) Brian Duffy / Renowned Photographer

Posted by on May 31, 2010

Brian Duffy
June 15, 1933 – May 31, 2010

Brian Duffy was a respected London-born fashion photographer who made a handful of contributions to the history of popular music as well.  He is perhaps best known for his cover shots for three David Bowie albums, the most iconic being Aladdin Sane.  Throughout the ’50s and ’60s, Duffy worked with a who’s who of the top fashion models and celebrities, helping to create the “swinging London” ideal of the era.  Over the course of his career, he photographed the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., John Lennon, Black Sabbath, and Deborah Harry.  Brian Duffy was 76 when he succumbed to lung disease on May 31, 2010.

Posted in Other | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Died On This Date (May 31, 2000) Johnnie Taylor

Posted by on May 31, 2010

Johnnie Taylor
May 5, 1938 – May 31, 2000

Johnnie Taylor was one of those rare talents who could adapt his style to fit whatever the current trend was looking for. He found success with gospel, soul, blues, doo wop, and disco. Taylor’s first break came in 1957 when he replaced Sam Cooke as front man of the Soul Stirrers, the influential gospel group. In 1961, he signed to Cooke’s label, Star Records. But when Cooke was murdered in 1964, Taylor moved back to Memphis where he was signed to the legendary Stax Records where he had a string of R&B hits that primarily showcased his smooth crooning. Then came the mid ’70s, and Taylor found himself on CBS Records where in 1976, he delivered one of disco’s biggest smashes, “Disco Lady.” That song would become the very first single to be certified Platinum by the RIAA. It went on to sell more than two million copies. By the ’80s, disco was dead and so was Taylor’s ascension to the top, so he went back to where it all began and signed with Malaco Records, a label that let him revisit the sound of his early career, the blues. His career stayed active through the late ’90s, but on May 31, 2000, Johnnie Taylor suffered a fatal heart attack.

What You Should Own

Posted in Blues, Disco, R&B, Singer | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

RIP, Ali-Ollie Woodson (May 30, 2010) The Temptations

Posted by on May 30, 2010

Ali-Ollie Woodson (Born Ollie Cregett)
October 12, 1951 – May 30, 2010

Ali-Ollie Woodson was an R&B singer who is best remembered as a two-time singer for the Temptations.  His terms with the group were 1984 to 1986, and then again from 1988 to 1996.  His biggest hit for the group was the 1984 #2 record, “Treat Her Like A Lady,” on which he sang lead, co-wrote, and co-produced.  During the early part of his career, Woodson was part of a Drifters revival act of the early ’70s.  Following his years with the Temptations, he formed his own touring soul review, performed in a latter-day Temptations Revue, and did some acting.  On May 30, 2010, Ali-Ollie Woodson died of leukemia.  He was 58.

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

RIP, Anthony “Little Benny” Harley (May 30, 2010) Founding Father Of Go-Go

Posted by on May 30, 2010

Little Benny (Anthony Harley)
September 26, 1963 – May 30, 2010

Anthony Harley was a much-respected Washington D.C. area trumpet player who, over the course of his career played a key role in the city’s funk and go-go scene.  Better known as Little Benny, Harley came to prominence as part of Rare Essence during the early ’90s go-go scene which also included Trouble Funk and EU.  Part of the funk family, go-go music adds congas, cowbells, whistles, and band/audience chant interaction.  It was a style of music that was born in Washington DC, and Harley was a significant piece of its infancy.  He eventually left Rare Essence to form his own group, Little Benny & The Masters, with whom he performed up until his death.  On May 30, 2010, Anthony Harley, age 46, passed away in his sleep.

Posted in Funk, Musician | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Died On This Date (May 30, 1993) Sun Ra

Posted by on May 30, 2010

Herman “Sun Ra” Blount
May 22, 1914 – May 30, 1993

Jazz innovator Herman Blount (aka Sun Ra)was born either in Birmingham, Alabama, or on another planet, as he would like us to believe. Wherever he came from, his influence on contemporary music is as big as the persona he created. Hard Bop, Swing, Poet, Avant Garde, Big Band Leader, Philosopher, Pianist, Composer, Organist, Cosmic, Educator, Student, American, Extraterrestrial…are all words that make up Sun Ra. Much of Blount’s life remained a mystery for decades. What is known is that he was a skilled pianist in his early teens, and by his mid teens he was performing semi professionally. At twenty, he joined a touring group that he eventually took over and renamed the Sonny Blount Orchestra. Two years later the band was dissolved when he accepted a scholarship to Alabama A&M. It is said that while in college, Blount experienced some sort of mind altering event that would start him on the journey that would lead him to eventually become Sun Ra. He and his “Arkestra” stayed extremely active into the early ’90s, only slowing down when Blount suffered a stroke in 1990. Within a couple of years Sun Ra was too ill to go on so he moved back to Birmingham where he passed away while suffering from a bout of pneumonia. He was 79 (maybe!).  Sun Ra been credited for being a direct influence on the likes of Sonic Youth, New York Dolls, George Clinton, King Crimson, Phish, Frank Zappa, and many many more.

What You Should Own

Click to go to

Posted in Jazz, Musician | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Died On This Date (May 30, 2003) Mickie Most / Record Producer

Posted by on May 30, 2010

Mickie Most
June 20, 1938 – May 30, 2003

Mickie Most with Suzi Quatro on left

Mickie Most was an English producer and label owner who had a run of Number One hits with a stable of artists that included the Animals, Donovan, Suzi Quatro and Herman’s Hermits.  Most started his career as a performer in London coffee houses where he met future partner and Led Zeppelin manager, Peter Grant.  He had a semi-successful run during the late ’50s and early ’60s but grew tired of the touring so he explored opportunities on the business side of music.  He started out in sales and merchandising and soon landed a gig in production at Columbia Records.  His first act was a little band he found called the Animals who he helped record a worldwide hit with “House Of The Rising Sun,” and in turn received a Grammy for Producer Of The Year in 1964.  Then came Herman’s Hermits who had a string of hits that at one time rivaled the Beatles.   Other artists he recorded included Lulu, Jeff Beck, the Seekers, Nancy Sinatra, the Yardbirds and Brenda Lee.   In 1968, Most partnered with Peter Grant to open RAK Management and a year later, RAK Publishing and RAK Records.  Artists signed to RAK Records included Suzy Quatro, Sweet, Hot Chocolate, and Chris Spedding.  By the ’80s, he had discovered Kim Wilde and produced her worldwide smash, “Kids In America.”  And later appeared as a harsh judge on a British television talent program called New Faces, which no doubt helped create a future television star by the name of Simon Cowell.  Most died of mesothelioma, a cancer generally associated with the exposure to asbestos.

Posted in Musician, Producer, Record Label, Rock, Singer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »