The Music's Over

but the songs live on

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, 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, David Mason (April 29, 2011) English Session Trumpet Player; Soloed On The Beatles’ “Penny Lane”

Posted by on April 29, 2011

David Mason
1926 – April 29, 2011

David Mason was a classically trained trumpet player who is perhaps best remembered for his iconic solo on the Beatles’ hit, “Penny Lane.”   Mason was born in London and studied music at the Royal College of Music where he went on to teach of some 30 years.  He eventually became the featured trumpet in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra, among others.  In 1967, while the Beatles were working on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Paul McCartney caught a performance by Mason on television.  That next day, producer George Martin invited Mason to come down to the studio and play on “Penny Lane,” which would become one of the Beatles most beloved songs.  It is Mason’s piccolo trumpet that can be heard prominently in the song that would ultimately make it on to the Magical Mystery Tour album.  David Mason died of leukemia on April 29, 2011.  He was 85.

Thanks to Scott Miller for the help

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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, John Cossette (April 26, 2011) Grammy Telecast Producer

Posted by on April 26, 2011

John Cossette
February 22, 1957 – April 26, 2011

John Cossette is perhaps best remembered as a longtime producer of the Grammy television broadcast.  He carried on the tradition started by his father, Pierre Cossette, who produced the very first broadcast in 1971.   Cossette worked on the Grammy show for the better part of the past 20 years, most recently as executive producer.  He served in the same capacity for the Latin Grammys as well.   Outside of the award show, Cossette produced programming for BET as well as the Broadway, Chicago and London productions of Million Dollar Quartet, which is based on the historic 1956 meeting of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.  John Cossette was 54 when he passed away on April 26, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Craig Rosen of Number1Albums

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RIP, Poly Styrene (April 25, 2011) Punk Pioneer; X-Ray Spex

Posted by on April 25, 2011

Poly Styrene (Born Marianne Elliott-Said)
July 3, 1957 – April 25, 2011

Poly Styrene was the lead singer and songwriter for the great British punk band, X-Ray Spex.  Formed in 1976, the band, despite the fact that they initially released just five singles and one long-player, became one of the most important groups of the original punk movement.  After running away from home at 15, Styrene bounced from one music festival to another until she eventually ended up at an early Sex Pistols gig which inspired her to form a punk band.  The band’s first album Germ Free Adolescents is by most accounts one of the greatest punk – if not rock – albums ever made.  Its “Oh Bondage, Up Yours” is widely recognized as a flashpoint for punk rock.  After the band broke up in 1979, Styrene released a solo album Translucence which had more of a jazzy sound and reportedly inspired the likes of Everything But The Girl.  She continued to release music, both solo and with a reformed version of X-Ray Spex, over the next two decades.  She also lent her name and voice to various social causes throughout the years.  In February 2011, it was announced that Poly Styrene was suffering from breast cancer.  She was 53 years old when she died from the disease on April 25, 2011.

Thanks to Bruce Kilgour, Mike Woodford, and Su for the help

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RIP, Huey Meaux (April 24, 2011) Controversial Record Producer

Posted by on April 24, 2011

Huey Meaux
March 10, 1929 – April 24, 2011

Huey Meaux, known to many in the music business as “The Crazy Cajun,” was a successful record producer and studio owner.  Before getting into the music business, Meaux worked as a barber.  He eventually opened SugarHill Studios in Houston, Texas where he discovered the young talents of Doug Sahm and Barbara Lynn.   He is also credited for re-launching Freddy Fender’s career during the mid ’90s.  As a producer, Meaux was responsible for such hits as “She’s About A Mover” for Sahm’s Sir Douglas Quintet,  “You’ll Lose A Good Thing” for Lynn, and “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” and “Wasted Days And Wasted Nights” for Fender.  In 1996, Meaux’s music career was derailed by various sex and drug charges for which he ultimately served 15 years in prison.  Huey Meaux was 82 when he passed away on April 24, 2011.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums

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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, Norio Ohga (April 23, 2011) Former President of Sony Credited For Developing Compact Disc

Posted by on April 23, 2011

Norio Ohga
January 29, 1929 – April 23, 2011

Norio Ohga is best remembered as the president of Sony from 1982 to 1995.   He also happened to be a professionally trained opera singer and musician.  After writing a letter to the electronics giant to complain about the inferior sound quality of their cassettes, Ohga was offered a job.  He rose through the ranks until he ultimately served as president and CEO.  Under his watch, he helped develop the compact disc which went on to revolutionize the music industry and made Sony into the huge entertainment company it is today.  Also while president, Ohga oversaw the purchase of Sony Pictures and the creation of CBS/Sony Records, now Sony Music.  Norio Ohga was 81 when he passed away on April 23, 2011.

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