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Archive for the ‘Funk’ Category

RIP, Odell Brown (May 3, 2011) Jazz Musician; Wrote Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”

Posted by on May 3, 2011

Odell Brown Jr.
1938 – May 3, 2011

Odell Brown was a jazz organist who is best remembered for penning the Marvin Gaye hit, “Sexual Healing.”  Brown was just 4 years old when he began playing the keyboards – mostly old classical pieces – until he found his groove with jazz.  By the mid ’60s, he had settled in Chicago where he formed Odell Brown & the Organizers which was touted by no less than Billboard magazine as the Best New Group in 1966.  He built a sizable following during the late ’60s and early ’70s for his live performances at which he played what could be classified as soul-jazz or jazz-funk.   One such audience member was Gaye who couldn’t get one of his numbers out of his head, so he put some words to it, and “Sexual Healing” was born.  Released in 1982, the single was a Top 5 hit around the world and has since been covered by the likes of Michael Bolton, Phish, Soul Asylum, and Sarah Connor.  Sadly however, Brown was bottoming out at the time – he watched his song win a Grammy at a Skid Row bar in Los Angeles.   He eventually got his life and career back on track and moved to the Minneapolis area where he continued to record and perform.  Over the course of his career, Brown worked with Johnny Nash, Minnie Riperton, and Curtis Mayfield.  Odell Brown was 70 when he passed away on May 3, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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RIP, Robert Wilson (August 15, 2010) Bassist For The Gap Band

Posted by on August 15, 2010

Robert Wilson
DOB Unknown – August 15, 2010

Known as the “Godfather Of The Bass Guitar,” Robert Wilson was the founding bassist for influential funk group, the Gap Band.  Formed in 1967 by brothers Robert Wilson, Charlie Wilson, and Ronnie Wilson, the Gap Band went on to have several R&B hits throughout the ’70s and ’80s and helped define what we now call funk.  Their hits include  “You Dropped A Bomb On Me,” “Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me),” and “Early In The Morning.”  In recent years, their music could be heard as samples in songs by the likes of Nas, Snoop Dog, Notorious B.I.G., and Mary J. Blige.  Robert Wilson, age 53, died of a massive heart attack on August 15, 2010.

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Died On This Date (August 15, 2008) Jerry Wexler / Legendary Producer & Label Head

Posted by on August 15, 2010

Jerry Wexler
January 10, 1917 – August 15, 2008

In the studio with Aretha Franklin

Jerry Wexler was best known as a music producer who was responsible for some of the greatest music from the 1950s through the 1980s.  He also coined the phrase “rhythm and blues” while he was editor of Billboard magazine before he became a partner of Atlantic Records in 1953.  While at Atlantic he either produced or signed some of the all time greats of popular music.  That list includes Wilson Pickett, Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan and the Allman Brothers.  He retired from the music business in the late ’90s, and passed away of congestive heart failure in 2008.

Thanks to the Jeff Ballenberg at Beat Marketing for the help.

Posted in Blues, Disco, Early Rock, Easy Listening, Funk, Gospel, Pop, Producer, R&B, Record Label, Rock, Southern Rock | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Died On This Date (August 10, 2008) Isaac Hayes / Soul Legend

Posted by on August 10, 2010

Isaac Hayes
August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008

isaac-hayesIsaac Hayes was a Tennessee-born musician, singer, songwriter and producer who had a hand in some of the greatest soul songs ever produced.  Hayes began his music career as a session musician for Stax Records in Memphis where he began writing songs for the label’s roster of artists.  With songwriting partner, David Porter, Hayes co-wrote such R&B staples as “You Don’t Know Like I Know,” and “Soul Man,” which has been called one of the most influential songs of the 20th century.  By the late ’60s, Hayes started making his own albums, which included the monumental, Hot Buttered Soul, Black Moses, and most famously, the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film, Shaft!.    Then title song would become one of the most beloved songs of the era.  In later years, Hayes found a new audience as the voice of Chef in the popular animated series, South Park.  In 1998, “Chocolate Salty Balls” as performed on the show by Chef became a #1 hit in the UK.  And in 2002, Hayes was elected into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.  Isaac Hayes died of an apparent stroke after being found by his wife lifeless on the floor next to his treadmill which was still running.  He was 65 years old.

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RIP, Catfish Collins (August 6, 2010) Parliament-Funkadelic

Posted by on August 6, 2010

Phelps “Catfish” Collins
1944 – August 6, 2010

Catfish Collins is best remembered as the rhythm guitarist on several influential recordings by P-Funk, Parliament-Funkadelic, and Bootsy’s Rubber Band, which was lead by his brother, Bootsy Collins.  During the late ’60s, Collins and his brother, Bootsy, and Phillipe Wynne helped form a band called the Pacemakers, that was soon hired by James Brown and transformed into his legendary backup band, the J.B.’s.  Collins played on such classics as “Super Bad” and “Get Up (I Feel Like A) Sex Machine.”  The Collins brothers eventually left Brown and formed Funkadelic.  Catfish Collins was 66 when he died of cancer on August 6, 2010.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums for the help

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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.

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Died On This Date (March 22, 2008) Jason Rae / Musician & Husband of Corinne Bailey Rae

Posted by on March 22, 2010

Jason Rae
DOB Unknown – March 22, 2008

Jason Rae was saxophone player and the husband of Corinne Bailey Rae.  He played in a funk band called the Haggis Horns who released their debut album Hot Damn! in September 2007, and who have played with Bailey and Amy Winehouse.  Rae met Bailey while he was working at a Leeds club and she was a college student.  On March 22, 2008, Rae was found dead of an accidental overdose of methadone and alcohol.  He was was 31.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums

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Died On This Date (December 23, 1992) Eddie Hazel / Parliament-Funkadelic

Posted by on December 23, 2009

Eddie Hazel
April 10, 1950 – December 23, 1992

Eddie Hazel was a pioneering funk guitarist best remembered for his work with Parliament and Funkadelic.  Hazel learned to play the guitar as a child growing up on New Jersey.  In 1967, he was hired by George Clinton to play back-up for his doo- wop group, the Parliaments.  The backing band eventually came to be known as Funkadelic and enjoyed a life both with and without the Parliaments, later known simply as, Parliament. Funkadelic released three albums with Hazel.  They are considered milestones of the funk genre.  A heavy drinker, Eddie Hazel died on December 23, 1992 from liver failure and internal bleeding caused by stomach issues related to his drinking.  He was 42 when he died.

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