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Archive for the ‘Pop’ Category

RIP, Joseph Brooks (May 22, 2011) Controversial Songwriter Of “You Light Up My Life”

Posted by on May 22, 2011

Joseph Brooks
March 11, 1938 – May 22, 2011

Joseph Brooks was a filmmaker, screenwriter, and composer who is most commonly remembered for his 1977 hit single, “You Light Up My Life,” which was first recorded by Kasey Cisyk for his motion picture of the same name.  The song was quickly re-recorded by Debbie Boone and released on Curb Records.  The record quickly shot to #1, and to that point, held the top position for the most consecutive weeks in history.   It eventually became the most successful single of the ’70s and still stands as one of the decade’s most iconic ballads.  The recording for the film earned Brooks an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe, and has since been covered by Tom Jones, Lee Greenwood, Leann Rimes, and Whitney Houston, to name a few.  Brooks also wrote numerous award winning commercial jingles, composed music for The Lords Of Flatbush, and co-produced Eddie and the Cruisers.  In June of 2009, Brooks was indicted for allegedly luring unsuspecting women to his apartment in order to audition for movie roles.  He was awaiting trial on as many as 11 charges of rape, assault, and other sex crimes when, on May 22, 2011, his lifeless body was discovered by a friend in Brooks’ home.  His head was reportedly rapped in a plastic dry cleaning bag which was connect to a tube from a helium tank.  A suicide note was found nearby.  Joseph Brooks was 73 years old when he passed away.

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RIP, Kathy Kirby (May 19, 2011) English Pop Star Of The ’60s

Posted by on May 19, 2011

Kathy Kirby
 October 20, 1938 – Mary 19, 2011

Kathy Kirby was a popular English singer during the 1960’s who, during her peak years, was the highest-paid female entertainer.  Her hits included “Secret Love,” “Let Me Go, Lover,” and “I Belong.”  Part of her attraction has been also attributed to her “blond bombshell” image which she modeled after Marilyn Monroe.  Known as the “Golden Girl of Pop,” Kirby appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and flirted with a Hollywood film career.  She continued to release albums and make television appearances well into the ’70s, but eventually her star faded, and she fell on to financial hard times while struggling with mental illness.  She was briefly committed to a psychiatric hospital and spent most of her later years living in seclusion, barely surviving on state funds and small royalty checks.  By the early 2000’s, Kirby’s music was re-discovered by the gay community who embraced her as an icon.  There were hints of a comeback, but nothing much ever materialized.  On May 19, 2011, Kathy Kirby passed away following a brief illness.  She was 72.

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RIP, Dolores Fuller (May 9, 2011) Wrote A Number Of Songs For Elvis

Posted by on May 9, 2011

Dolores Fuller (Born Dolores Eble)
March 10, 1923 – May 9, 2011

Dolores Fuller is perhaps best remembered as the one-time girlfriend of notorious film maker, Ed Wood for whom she co-starred as the female lead in his cult classic, Glen or Glenda.  She also had minor roles in numerous other films during the ’50s and again in the ’90s.  Fuller made a more significant impact on pop music however, but oddly enough, as a songwriter.  When she was going after a role in Elvis Presley’s, Blue Hawaii, the film”s producer and Fuller’s friend, Hal Wallis – who knew of her songwriting talent – put her in touch with the publishing company that provided Presley with songs.  They brought her on, and it was there that she began writing such Presley classics like “Rock-A-Hula Baby,” “Spinout,” and “Do The Clam.”  In all, she wrote twelve songs for the King.  Fuller also penned tunes for Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Shelley Fabares, and Terry Stafford to name a few.  In 1994, Fuller was portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker in Tim Burton’s biopic, Ed Wood.   Dolores Fuller died on May 9, 2011 following a stroke.  She was 88.

Thanks to Benji Isabel for the help

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RIP, Rich Cronin (September 8, 2010) Lead Singer Of LFO

Posted by on September 8, 2010

Rich Cronin
August 30, 1975 – September 8, 2010

Rich Cronin was the lead singer and main songwriter for the successful boy band, LFO.  Formed in 1995, the group released its first album, LFO, in 1999.  Over the next few years they scored hits with such singles as “Can’t Have You,” “Every Other Time,” “Girl On TV, and their biggest, “Summer Girls,” which hit #3 on the US pop charts.   The single, which Cronin wrote sold over 1 million copies.  LFO broke up in 2002 and Cronin soon resurfaced on the VH-1 reality show, Mission: Man Band.   Over the next few years, Cronin continued to record and perform both solo and as part of Loose Cannons.  LFO briefly reformed in 2009 for a tour.  Cronin learned he had leukemia in 2005, and when it went into remission the following year, he embarked on raising awareness and funds to help fight the disease.  But during the summer of 2010, his health once again took a turn for the worse.  While in a rehab hospital on September 8, 2010, Rich Cronin suffered a fatal stroke.  He was 35.

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RIP, Charles Haddon (August 20, 2010) Lead Singer of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool

Posted by on August 20, 2010

Charles Haddon
DOB Unknown – August 20, 2010

Charles Haddon was the front man for up-and-coming English synth-pop band, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool.  Formed in 2009, the band released one album, Christ Died For Our Synths, which spawned three moderately popular singles.  One of which, “Dance The Way I Feel,” hit the top 20 in Australia, and the top 10 in England.  On August 20, 2010, the 22-year-old Haddon apparently jumped to his death from a high tower following Ou Est Le Swimming Pool’s performance at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium.  Some have speculated that he may have been distraught after severely injuring a fan during a stage dive in their earlier set.  Michael Been of The Call suffered a fatal heart attack on the previous day of the festival.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums

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Died On This Date (August 17, 1993) Phil Seymour / Dwight Twilley Band

Posted by on August 17, 2010

Phil Seymour
May 11, 1952 – August 17, 1993

Phil Seymour was a singer, songwriter and musician who gained a following during the new wave era thanks to such power pop classics as “Precious To Me” as well as “I’m On Fire” from his days fronting the Dwight Twilley Band.  Seymour grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he met Dwight Twilley, another aspiring musician at a 1967 screening of the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night.  The struck up a friendship and a musical partnership that would eventually get them signed to Shelter Records who in 1975, released their first single, “I’m On Fire” which reached #16 on the Billboard singles chart.  They would record just two classic albums together before Seymour went of on his own.  Before the release of the first of his two solo albums, Seymour did session work, playing drums on power pop icons 20/20’s debut album, as well as singing backing vocals on Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and “Breakdown.”  During the early ’80s, Seymour released two albums, Phil Seymour (featuring “Precious To Me”) and Phil Seymour 2 before the death of label head, Neil Bogart derailed his record company as well as Seymour’s career.  In 1984, he joined the Textones, a Los Angeles band fronted by Carla Olson that was alt-country twenty years before the genre had a name.  Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with lymphoma not long after recording an album and touring with the band.  Phil Seymour died as a result of the cancer at the age of 41.

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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 12, 1985) Kyu Sakamoto / Japanese Pop Singer; Had Hit With “Sukiyaki”

Posted by on August 12, 2010

Kyu Sakamoto
December 10, 1941 – August 12, 1985

kyu_sukiyakiKyu Sakomoto was one of Japan’s most influential pop stars as well as a popular actor.  Since he sang in Japanese, he was basically unknown to English speaking music fans, however, he did have an American hit with “Sukiyaki” in 1963.  Released on Capitol Records, it became the first, and since, only Japanese sung song to hit #1 on the pop charts.  It stayed there for three weeks.   R&B group, A Taste Of Honey released an English cover of the song in 1981, while Latin pop star, Selena recorded a Spanish version that was released after her death.   On August 12, 1985, Kyu Sakamoto was aboard the ill-fated Japan Airlines Flight 123 when it suffered mechanical troubles and crashed into the side of a mountain.  He was one of 520 passengers who perished in what has been called the deadliest single-plane crash in history.  Sakamoto was 43.

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Died On This Date (August 5, 1962) Marilyn Monroe

Posted by on August 5, 2010

Marilyn Monroe
(Born Norma Jean Mortenson, baptized Norma Jean Baker)
June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962

Although better known for her other iconic attributes, Marilyn Monroe definitely earned herself a spot in pop music history.  After a less-than-spectacular childhood and early adult life, Monroe signed a contract with 20th Century Fox who began her with acting, singing and dancing lessons.  Fox quickly dropped her.  She was quickly picked up by Columbia Pictures who gave her her first significant part in the 1949 musical, Ladies Of The Chorus, in which she sang two numbers.  Four years later, she was well on her way to becoming a superstar, co-starring in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, where she performed the scene-stealing “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.”  in 1954, Monroe signed to RCA Victor Records and co-starred in the hit musical, There’s No Business Like Show Business. Throughout her career, she added her distinctive voice to songs written by the likes of Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer, and Irving Berlin.  Perhaps her most lasting musical impression came on May 19, 1962 when she lead a Madison Square Garden crowd a sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday To You” for President John F. Kennedy.  Three months later, 36-year-old Marylin Monroe was found dead in her home of a barbiturate overdose.  It will perhaps never be known if her death was accidental, suicide or murder.

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Died On This Date (August 5, 2008) Robert Hazard / Wrote “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”

Posted by on August 5, 2010

Robert Hazard (Born Robert Rimato)
August 21, 1948 – August 5, 2008

Robert Hazard was an American singer/songwriter who gained popularity during the New Wave of the ’80s.  His biggest mark on pop music was writing “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” which was made into a massive era-defining hit in 1983 by Cyndi Lauper. Hazard also had a couple of hits of his own with, “Escalator Of Life” and “Change Reaction.”  A life long fan of country music, his final few albums were country.  Hazard died on August 5, 2008, following surgery for pancreatic cancer.

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