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Archive for January, 2011

RIP, Doc Williams (January 31, 2011) Country Music Legend

Posted by on January 31, 2011

Doc Williams (Born Andrew Smik Jr.)
June 26, 1914 – January 21, 2011

Doc Williams was a pioneering country music singer and band leader who, over a career that spanned nearly 80 years, entertained millions either on the road or over the airwaves of radio powerhouse, WWVA-AM.  On clear nights, his voice could be heard across most of the eastern 2/3 of the United States and much of Canada.  Williams was in the tenth grade when he dropped out of school to help support his family.  He soon launched his music career, forming and band and landing performances on local radio stations.  He eventually found himself performing on WWVA’s long running Jamboree program which was later renamed Jamboree USA when it’s broadcast stretched to further points of the country.  Doc Williams & His Boder Riders quickly became the most popular act on the program while their traveling show put them in front of fans across the U.S., Canada and even England.  Williams met the future Chuckie Williams after she sent him a letter asking if she could come on his show.  They soon became singing partners and were married in 1939.  Doc Williams retired from music in 2006.  He was 96 when he passed away on January 31, 2011.

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RIP, John Barry (January 30, 2011) English Film Score Composer of James Bond Themes

Posted by on January 30, 2011

John Barry Prendergast
November 3, 1933 – January 30, 2011

John Barry was a prolific composer whose iconic works include eleven of the James Bond film scores.  It was Barry’s music in those movies that helped create a mood that defined the character and series.   Over a career that stretched across five decades, Barry won numerous awards including five Academy Awards, a Grammy, and a BAFTA, which is the British equivalent of an Oscar.  His other film scores include Out of Africa, Born Free, Midnight Cowboy, Dances With Wolves, Chaplin, and Somewhere In Time, to name just a few.  Barry also scored numerous television programs.  Many of his soundtracks included singles that landed high on both UK and US charts.   John Barry was 77 when, on January 30, 2011, he died of a heart attack.

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RIP, Bruce Jackson (January 29, 2011) Longtime Concert Sound Engineer For Bruce Springsteen

Posted by on January 29, 2011

Bruce Jackson
DOB Unknown – January 29, 2011

Bruce Jackson was a sound engineer who helped Bruce Springsteen create his storied concert experiences as his concert sound engineer for over ten years.  Jackson started with Springsteen during his historic Darkness On The Edge Of Town tour of 1978 and stayed on board through 1987’s Tunnel Of Love  Express tour.   And if that weren’t impressive enough, Jackson also worked with the likes of Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder, and Barbra Streisand over the years.  He was also an experienced pilot.  On January 29, 2011, Bruce Jackson was killed when the plane he was flying crashed in Southern California.

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RIP, Sterling Belcher (January 29, 2011) Bluegrass Festival Founder

Posted by on January 29, 2011

Sterling Belcher
June 14, 1939 – January 29, 2011

Sterling Belcher was a music promoter who founded the Festival of The Pines in Rocky Point, Virginia in 1981.  A tireless lover of bluegrass music, Belcher brought such acts as Ralph Stanley, Alison Krauss, Jimmy Martin and Rhonda Vincent to the sleepy surroundings of Tripple Creek Music Campground throughout the years.  He regularly received recognition for his commitment to bluegrass music from local, regional and national music associations.  Sterling Belcher was 71 when he passed away on January 29, 2011.

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RIP, Milton Babbitt (January 29, 2011) Electronic Music Pioneer

Posted by on January 29, 2011

Milton Babbitt
May 10, 1916 – January 29, 2011

Milton Babbitt was an American composer who helped develop the world’s first synthesizer during the 1950s.  Babbitt was just 4 years old when he took up the violin, and within a few years he branched out to the saxophone and clarinet.  He was arranging songs by the time he was 7, and winning songwriting contests by 13.  In college, Babbitt received honors for his studies in both music and mathematics.  After the development of RCA’s Mark II synthesizer, Babbitt devoted his time and energy to making electronic music, often combining synthesizer and conventional instruments.  Milton Babbitt passed away on January 29, 2011.  He was 94.

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RIP, Henrik Ostergaard (January 27, 2011) Lead Singer For Dirty Look

Posted by on January 27, 2011

Henrik Ostergaard
DOB Unknown – January 27, 2011

Henrik Ostergaard third from left

Henrik Ostergaard was the lead singer for ’80s metal band, Dirty Looks.  Formed in San Francisco, California by way of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1984, Dirty Looks released a handful of albums before Atlantic Records took notice and signed them.  Their major label debut, Cool From The Wire included “Oh Ruby,” whose video received enough MTV airplay to help the album make the Billboard album charts.  After the band broke up in 1993, Ostergaard formed Rumbledog.  He took a break from the music business during the late ’90s, but then reunited with Dirty Looks in recent years.  On January 27, 2011 reported that Henrik Ostergaard died earlier that day of natural causes while he was in hospice care.  He was 47.

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RIP, Gladys Horton (January 26, 2011) The Marvelettes

Posted by on January 26, 2011

Gladys Horton
1944 – January 26, 2011

Gladys Horton was the founding lead singer of influential Motown girl group, the Marvelettes.  Formed in Detroit in 1960, the Marvelettes would go on to have 21 R&B charting hits and 23 to make Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.  Their most popular songs were “Beechwood 4-5789,” “Too Many Fish In The Sea,” and of course, “Please, Mr. Postman,” which was Motown’s first #1 pop hit.   They were the blueprint for future hit makers like Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and the Supremes.  Horton left the group in 1967 but reunited with the group during the late ’80s.  Gladys Horton was 66 when she passed away in a Los Angeles nursing home on January 26, 2011.  She had be recuperating from a previous stroke.  Co-founding member, Georgeanna Tillman passed away in 1980.

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RIP, Charlie Louvin (January 26, 2011) Country Music Icon

Posted by on January 26, 2011

Charlie Louvin (Born Charles Loudermilk)
July 7, 1927 – January 26, 2011

Charlie Louvin was a longtime country singer and songwriter who became a national treasure singing alongside his brother Ira Louvin as the Louvin Brothers.  From 1940 to 1963, the Louvin Brothers created a catalog of country and folk music that ushered in the use of close harmonies to the genres and would be a direct influence on the likes of the Byrds, the Everly Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Alison Krauss, and  the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  Starting out as a Gospel group, the Louvin Brothers soon began singing secular songs so they could reach a larger audience.  That lead to appearances at the Grand Ole Opry and several charting singles.  The duo disbanded in 1963 and then in 1965, Ira was tragically killed in a car accident, so Charlie forged on as a solo artist.  In recent years, Louvin’s career experienced a renaissance thanks to recognition from the likes of Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Elvis Costello, and Bright Eyes to name just a few.  Outside of tributes, his songs have been recorded by Uncle Tupelo, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, Wanda Jackson, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams Jr., Doc Watson, and many many more. In 2003, a Grammy winning tribute to the Louvin Brothers entitled Livin’, Lovin’, Losin’: Songs Of The Louvin Brothers was released.  It included performances by Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, Dolly Parton, Marty Stuart, and Merle Haggard, to name a few.  Louvin continued to release critically acclaimed albums and enjoy the spotlight as recently as 2010.  His final three, including 2010’s The Battle Rages On are considered three of his best.   Charlie Louvin was 83 when he died as a result of pancreatic cancer on January 26, 2011.

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RIP, Buddy Charleton (January 25, 2011) Pedal Steel Great

Posted by on January 25, 2011

Buddy Charleton
March 6, 1938 – January 25, 2011

Buddy Charleton was a highly respected steel guitar player who is perhaps best remembered for his days playing in Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours.  Charleton was just 23 when he began playing with Tubb, and he would continue to perform live and on record with his band until 1973.  He then went on to become a sought-after instructor and session player for the likes of Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Reba McIntire.  Buddy Charleton was 72 when he passed away on January 25, 2011.  He had been battling lung cancer.



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RIP, Bhimsen Joshi (January 24, 2011) Highly Regarded Indian Vocalist

Posted by on January 24, 2011

Bhimsen Joshi
February 4, 1922 – January 24, 2011

Bhimsen Joshi was a respected Indian singer who sang in the Hinduist classical genre.  He was revered for his takes on devotional music.  Joshi was 19 when he first began performing live, and within a year he released his first album.   Over a career that spanned some seven decades, Joshi marveled audiences and critics alike at his concerts due to his remarkable vocal strength and command of his voice as an instrument.  In 2008, he received India’s highest civilian honor.  Bhimsen Joshi was 88 when he passed away on January 24, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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