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Archive for the ‘Rock’ Category

RIP, John Carter (May 10, 2011) Respected Producer and A&R Man

Posted by on May 10, 2011

John Carter
June 14, 1945 – May 10, 2011

John Carter
was a successful producer, songwriter, A&R man, and artist manager who due to the respect he garnered, was commonly referred to as simply, Carter.  His earliest success came in 1967 when “Incense and Peppermints,” a song he co-wrote, became a hit for the Strawberry Alarm Clock.  He in fact also came up with the band’s name by putting together random words he found on the singles chart.  He was soon hired by Atlantic Records where he worked in promotion, and eventually went to work at Capitol Records where he produced numerous hit albums by the likes of Sammy Hagar, Bob Seger, the Steve Miller Band, Bob Welch, and the Motels, to name just a few.  In 1983, he made perhaps his biggest mark on pop music by A&Ring Tina Turner’s landmark album, Private Dancer, which sold over 20 million copies, collected numerous Grammy’s and made the singer relevant again.  In later years he held high positions at Chrysalis, A&M, Atlantic, and Island Records.  John Carter died of cancer on May 10, 2011.  He was 65.

Thanks to Bruce Kilgour for the help

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RIP, John Walker (May 7, 2011) Lead Singer of the Walker Brothers

Posted by on May 7, 2011

John Walker (Born John Maus)
November 12, 1943 – May 7, 2011

John Walker was a the co-lead singer of the Walker Brothers, a popular California-born “British” rock band during the ’60s.  Ironically, the band moved to England while British bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were taking over America.  As a sort of rock version of the Righteous Brothers, the band became immensely popular in England, with a fan club that once counted more members than even the Beatles’. During the early ’60s, Walker began building a name for himself throughout the hip Hollywood night spots while working with the likes of Phil Spector, the Monkees, and Ritchie Valens in the studio.  Meanwhile, he was forming the Walker Brothers with co-lead singer Scott Walker (born Noel Scott Engel) and drummer Gary Walker (born Gary Leeds) while playing in the house band at Gazzari’s on the Sunset Strip.  The band soon moved to England where they helped fill a void that was created when the popular British bands were trying to conquer America.  Over the course of their run, the Walker Brothers reportedly sold some 20 million records with hits like “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,” “My Ship Is Comin’ In,” and “Love Her.”  In recent years, Walker regularly toured the UK as part of nostalgia tours.  In December of 2010, he was diagnosed with liver cancer.  John Walker was 67 when he died of cancer on May 7, 2011.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at number1albums

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RIP, Dag Stokke (April 27, 2011) Keyboardist For TNT

Posted by on April 27, 2011

Dag Stokke
April 1, 1967 – April 27, 2011

Dag Stokke was the touring keyboardist for popular Norwegian metal band, TNT.  Formed in 1982, the band benefited from heavy video play on MTV in 1985.  Stokke came on board in 1987 and performed at the band’s live shows until 1992 and then again from 1996 until the time of his death.  Although he wasn’t an official member of TNT, Stokke played on all of their albums between 1992 and 2010.  In January of 2011, Stokke learned he was suffering from cancer, and played his final gig with the band that following March 5th.  Dag Stokke was 44 when he died of cancer on April 27, 2011.

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RIP, Phoebe Snow (April 26, 2011) American Singer-Songwriter

Posted by on April 26, 2011

Phoebe Snow (Born Phoebe Laub)
July 17, 1952 – April 26, 2011

Phoebe Snow was an American singer-songwriter who is perhaps best remembered for her 1975 hit, “Poetry Man.”  Regularly exposed to music while growing up, Snow picked up the guitar at an early age.  She was still in her teens when she began playing at amateur nights throughout New York’s storied Greenwich Village folk clubs.  It was at one of these venues that Snow was discovered by an executive at Shelter Records who signed her and released her self-titled debut album,  Phoebe Snow in July of 1974.  The album included her Top 5 hit, “Poetry Man.”  The album ultimately reached #4 on the Billboard album charts and earned Snow a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, a cover of Rolling Stone, and several memorable appearances on Saturday Night Live.   In 1975, Snow gave birth to her severely brain damaged daughter Valerie, but instead of placing her in a care facility like most, she opted to care for her herself, which she did until Valerie passed away in 2007.  Throughout Snow’s career, she released numerous critical and fan favorite albums and performed with a who’s who of pop royalty.  That list includes Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Joel, Queen, and Bonnie Raitt, to name just a few.    In 1997, Snow sang the Rosanne theme during the closing moments of the final episode, and years later, became perhaps the most unlikely person in history to sing at both Camp David (for President Bill Clinton), AND at Howard Stern’s wedding.  On January 19, 2010, Phoebe Snow suffered a brain hemorrhage and was placed in a medically induced coma.  She briefly regained consciousness but ultimately passed away on April 26, 2011.  She was 58.

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RIP, Tom King (April 23, 2011) The Outsiders

Posted by on April 23, 2011

Tom King
DOB Unknown – April 23, 2011

Tom King was the founder and lead guitarist of the Outsiders, a Cleveland, Ohio rock band that scored a huge hit with 1966’s “Time Won’t Let Me.”   King co-wrote the song which went on to define the era and is generally included in any respectable ’60s rock compilation.  Originally formed in 1958 as Tom King and the Starfires, the band ultimately signed to Capitol Records and changed their name to the Outsiders at the request of the label to sound more like the British Invasion bands of the mid ’60s.  Unlike many of their peers, the band quickly became one of the scenes best live acts thanks to their years performing R&B standards as the Starfires.  After a series of line-up changes and singles that didn’t perform as well as King had hoped, the band broke up in 1968.   The group reformed with different line-ups in later years.  In ailing health, Tom King passed away in a nursing home on April 23, 2011.  He was 68.

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RIP, Joe Pennell (April 21, 2011) The Rivieras; Had Hit With “California Sun”

Posted by on April 21, 2011

Joe Pennell
November 15, 1944 – April 21, 2011

Joe Pennell was the lead guitarist for the Rivieras, a rock ‘n roll band whose only hit, “California Sun,” helped define what became known as “frat rock.”  Formed in 1962 while its members where still in high school in South Bend, Indiana, the group was initially called the Playmates until they learned of another band using the same name.  In 1964, they released “California Sun,” which quickly rose to #1 on the U.S. singles chart thanks to its driving beat and instantly recognizable surf guitar riff.  Unfortunately, the record holds the dubious honor of being knocked from the top spot by “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” the first American hit for the Beatles It would be one of the last hits by an American rock ‘n roll band before the British Invasion tightened its grip around the U.S.  Shortly after he recorded the song, Pennell joined the Marines and didn’t learn of the record’s release until he heard it on the radio while serving.  By all accounts, he never went back to a career in music, but went on to work for many years as a painter at AM General, a heavy vehicle manufacturer and future assembly line for the civilian Hummer.  Joe Pennell was 66 when he passed away on April 21, 2011.

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RIP, Gerard Smith (April 20, 2011) Bassist For TV On The Radio

Posted by on April 20, 2011

Gerard Smith
DOB Unknown – April 20, 2011

Gerard Smith was the bassist for New York City art rock band, TV on the Radio.  Formed in 2001, the band was both a critical and fan favorite – SPIN magazine chose their Return To Cookie Mountain as the Album of the Year for 2006.  Fans of the band include David Bowie, David Byrne and Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) who have all appeared on their records.  In March of 2011, the band announced that Smith was suffering from lung cancer, and on April 20, 2011, he died from the disease.  He was 36.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at number1albums for the help

What You Should Own

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RIP, Kent Morrill (April 15, 2011) The Fabulous Wailers

Posted by on April 15, 2011

Kent Morrill
April 2, 1941 – April 15, 2011

Kent Morrill was the lead singer and keyboardist for Seattle, Washington-area ’60s rock band, the Fabulous Wailers.  Having been with the group since inception, Morrill was the only original member still playing with the group in recent years.  Formed at the tail end of the ’50s, many consider the Fabulous Wailers THE first garage rock band due to their down-and-dirty mix of saxophone driven R&B and rave-up rock ‘n roll.  The band released several albums and 45s throughout the years, but it was their late 50s/early 60s output that is generally included in any respectable first generation garage rock collection.  Records like “Tall Cool One,” “Dirty Robber,” and “Out Of Our Tree” received significant airplay during their peak years, but it was their recording (with Rockin’ Robin Roberts) of Richard Berry’s “Louie Louie”  that inspired Paul Revere & the Raiders to do the same, and lead to fellow Northwest band, the Kingsmen to ultimately record its definitive version.  In more recent years, Morrill was also performing as a Roy Orbison impersonator in Las Vegas and other parts of the world.  Kent Morrill was 70 when he passed away on April 15, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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RIP, Roger Nichols (April 8, 2011) Multiple Grammy-Winning Recording Engineer

Posted by on April 8, 2011

Roger Nichols
September 22, 1944 – April 8, 2011

Roger Nichols was a respected producer and recording engineer who over the course of his career, accumulated seven Grammys.  Most closely associated with Steely Dan, Nichols also worked with the likes of John Denver, the Beach Boys, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Frank Zappa, and Diana Ross, to name just a few.  Raised in Southern California, Nichols went to high school with Zappa with whom he made his earliest tapes.  After graduating from college where he studied nuclear physics, Nichols first found work has a nuclear operator at the San Onofre nuclear power plant north of San Diego.  But in the mid ’60s he moved back over to music and opened his own recording studio.  In 1970, he went to work for ABC Dunhill Records where he met Walter Becker and Donald Fagen who were hired writers for the label.  Within a year, Nichols was behind the board for the birth of Becker’s and Fagen’s group, Steely Dan.  He would go on to engineer such landmark albums as their Pretzel Logic, Aja, Countdown To Ecstasy, and Gaucho.  He earned Grammys for his work on Aja, Gaucho, Two Against Nature, FM, and John Denver’s All Aboard!.  Roger Nichols was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May of 2010, and died from it on April 8, 2011.  He was 66.

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RIP, Bill Pitcock IV (April 8, 2011) Dwight Twilley Band

Posted by on April 8, 2011

Bill Pitcock IV
December 7, 1952 – April 8, 2011

Photo by Karen Momme - Poughkeepsie, NY April 6,1984

Bill Pitcock IV was a highly respected rock guitarist who is perhaps best remembered for his many years playing lead for the Dwight Twilley Band as well as on many of Twilley’s solo records.  He also played with fellow Twilley band member, Phil Seymour.  Pitcock was still in his early teens when, in 1964 he began playing in his parents’ dance band, Billy Pitcock & His Orchestra.  By the early ’70s he was working with Twilley and Seymour, playing on such classic power pop songs as “I’m On Fire,” (Twilley), “Girls, (Twilley), and “Precious To Me” (Seymour).  Pitcock also played in the Mystery Band from 1983 to 1998.  Most recently, he could be hear playing on Twilley’s 2010 release, Green Blimp.  Bill Pitcock IV was 58 when he died as a result of cancer on April 8, 2011.

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