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Posts Tagged ‘Ed Sullivan’

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, Clay Cole (December 18, 2010) Popular American Rock & Roll TV Host

Posted by on December 18, 2010

Clay Cole
January 1, 1938 – December 18, 2010

Clay Cole was a pioneering ’60s New York City rock ‘n roll television show host who, outside of perhaps Ed Sullivan, showcased more rising rock stars than anyone of his era.  At its peak, The Clay Cole Show aired six nights a week and played host to a who’s who of rock and R&B stars.  What was particularly unique about the show, which aired from 1959 to 1968, was that Cole, who was just 21 years old, was as much of the fun as the show’s teenage dancers.  It was on The Clay Cole Show that American teens first caught a glimpse of the likes of Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkel, Chubby Checker (who debuted “The Twist” – both song AND dance on the program), Dionne Warwick, and the Rolling Stones.  Of special note, that pariticular episode featured both the Stones AND the Bealtes, making it the first and only time that has ever happened.  The show also featured many future legends of comedy for their television debut.  That list includes George Carlin and Richard Pryor.  When tastes in popular music began to gravitate toward psychedelic rock in the late ’60s, Cole ended the show, even though it was just peaking in popularity. After the program ended, Cole went on to be a successful producer, writer and director for television.  He won two Emmys as a producer.  Clay Cole died of a heart atttack on December 18, 2010.  He was 72.


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Died On This Date (August 22, 2008) Ralph Young / Sandler & Young

Posted by on August 22, 2010

Ralph Young (Born Ralph Israel)
July 1, 1918 – August 22, 2008

Ralph Young is best remembered as half of the duo, Sandler & Young which he formed during the ’60s with fellow singer, Tony Sandler.  Signed to Capitol Records in 1966, the duo went on to release 22 albums and toured the world.  They were also a popular draw in Las Vegas throughout the ’70s and ’80s and made regular television appearances on such programs as the Ed Sullivan Show, Merv Griffin Show, and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Sandler & Young retired in 1983 but reunited on ocassion, the most recent being in 2003.  Ralph Young passed away in his home at the age of 90.

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Died On This Date (August 14, 1964) Johnny Burnette

Posted by on August 14, 2010

Johnny Burnette
March 25, 1934 – August 14, 1964

Johnny Burnette was one of the originators of what would later be called rockabilly. Along with his brother, Dorsey Burnette and friend Paul Burlison, Burnette formed The Rock and Roll Trio who would cause a bit of a stir from a remarkable amount of promotional appearances for a band in such infancy. They were lucky enough to appear on American Bandstand, Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour, the Tonight Show and Kraft Music Hall. Unfortunately, the night they appeared in the finals of Ted Mack, Elvis Presley made his debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. But even with all of this great exposure, their records failed to catch on, leading the the end of the group in the fall of 1957. It should be noted that for about six years of his childhood, Dorsey and his family lived in the same Memphis housing project as Gladys, Vernon and Elvis Presley. Both Burnettes also spent their early days as amateur boxers, culmnating in Golden Gloves championships for each. Johhny took a shot at turning professional, but after only earning $60 and a broken nose in his first bout, he decided to change careers. By the late ’50s, the Burnette brothers were living in Los Angeles where they would work with and have their songs recorded by Rick Nelson, among others. Johnny would soon go “solo” and record several hits for Liberty Records and later, Chancellor and Capitol Records. But tragedy would strike in August of 1964. While boating one night in a lake north of San Francisco, Burnette’s tiny unlit fishing boat was hit by a much larger cruiser, the impact throwing him into the water to his death.

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Died On This Date (June 25, 2009) Michael Jackson

Posted by on June 25, 2010

Michael Jackson
August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009

michael_jackson Michael Jackson was arguably the most iconic and influential performer popular music has ever known.  Coming from working class beginnings in Gary, Indiana, Jackson and his brothers began entertaining audiences along the chitlin’ circuit as the Jackson Five.  Young Michael was just six years old at the time.  Within just a few years, the group was topping the music charts with songs like “ABC” and “I’ll Be There,” while becoming a brand within itself thanks to many television appearances including a cartoon based on their likenesses.  In 1978, now out on his own, Jackson played the part of the Scarecrow in the The Wiz, a musical adaptation of the Wizard Of Oz.  It was while working on the film that Jackson met music producer, Quincy Jones who agreed to produce Off The Wall, his breakthrough album.  In 1982, Thriller was released, and the world changed.  With a slew of pop hits and the dynamic music videos that accompanied them, Jackson was tailor made for the young MTV.  Jackson’s fame and record sales skyrocketed.  Thriller went on to become one of the greatest selling albums of all times.    On March 25, 1983 Jackson performed on a television special celebrating the 25th anniversary of Motown Records.  During his performance of “Billie Jean,” Jackson shocked and amazed nearly 50 million viewers with his “moonwalk” dance move, a moment that has been likened to the Beatles’ and Elvis Presley’s appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show.  In the coming years, other notable Michael Jackson milestones included the release of Bad and Dangerous; his writing of, and performance in the superstar-studded charity anthem “We Are The World;” and a mind-blowing half-time performance at the 1993 Super Bowl.  It was the first time a single entertainer had ever done the entire half-time show.  In early 2009, after several years of legal and financial troubles, Michael Jackson began to put together plans for a comeback.  Unfortunately, during the morning hours of June 25, Jackson reportedly collapsed in the home he was renting.  After paramedics arrived and tried to revive him, Jackson apparently fell into a coma and was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead after going into cardiac arrest.

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Died On This Date (May 31, 2008) Hugh Jarrett / The Jordanaires; Sang Back-Up For Elvis

Posted by on May 31, 2010

Hugh Jarrett
October 11, 1929 – May 31, 2008

A a member of vocal group, the JordanairesHugh Jarrett added a rich bass to the many classic recordings of  Elvis Presley.  Recording over 50 albums with Presley, Jarret can be heard on such songs as “Love Me Tender,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” and “Love Me Tender.”  Jarrett also toured with Presley and appeared in several of his films and television appearances, included his legendary debut on the Ed Sullivan Show.  An in-demand session singer, Jarrett also sang with the likes of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Dottie West, Eddie Arnold, Patsy Cline, and Wayne Newton. Hugh Jarrett died of complications from an earlier automobile accident.

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Died On This Date (March 29, 1985) Jeanine Deckers / The Singing Nun

Posted by on March 29, 2010

Jeanine Deckers (Born Jeanne-Paule Deckers)
October 17, 1933 – March 29, 1985

jeanne-deckersAs a Belgian nun, Jeanine Deckers earned a place in pop culture due to her international hit single, “Dominique,” released in 1963.  When John F. Kennedy was assasinated in November of that year, many US radio stations played the song in heavy rotation as part of their tributes to the late President.  This lead to Deckers becoming a popular concert draw around the United States and beyond as well as an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in January of 1964.  Hollywood took notice and cast Debbie Reynolds in a film entitled The Singing Nun which Deckers denounced as pure fiction.  The following year,  Sally Field was cast as the lead in a television comedy, The Flying Nun, a spoof of sorts on the film.  By 1968, Deckers’ music career was over and she had left the convent to open a school for autistic children.  The Belgian government came calling for their share of the profits from her first album (over $50,000), which she claimed went to the convent, making her exempt.  She eventually lost the court case that ensued.  Around this time she developed an addiction to drugs and alcohol and was suffering from depression and nervous breakdowns.  Blaming financial problems in a note left behind, Deckers took her own life  by an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol on March 29, 1985.  Ironically and without her knowledge, Deckers was awarded $300,000 in back royalties that very day.  The amount was significantly greater than the money she owed.

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Died On This Date (March 22, 2008) William F. Ludwig Jr. / Built Ringo’s Drums

Posted by on March 22, 2010

William F. Ludwig Jr.
1916 – March 22, 2008

William Ludwig Jr. at left with Ringo Starr

William Ludwig Jr. was the son of the founder of the Ludwig Drum Company, and eventually become it’s leader. Ludwig Jr.’s most celebrated contribution to rock ‘n’ roll came in the form of a drum set that he built for Ringo Starr. It has been reported that Starr was so proud to play a Ludwig set, that he asked the company to build a special kit with the their logo on the bass drum for the Beatles’ first televised appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. This of course, contributed to Ludwig’s tremendous growth in the ’60s, with Ludwig Jr. at the helm.  William Ludwig Jr. died of natural causes on March 22, 2008. He was 91 years old.

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Died On This Date (March 9, 2007) Brad Delp / Boston

Posted by on March 9, 2010

Brad Delp
June 25, 1951 – March 9, 2007

brad-delpBrad Delp was the the unmistakable voice of Tom Scholz’s arena-rock band Boston, one of the break-out acts of the 1970s.  Born in 1951, Delp was one of countless teenagers who, after witnessing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, knew that rock ‘n roll was to be his life’s calling.  Delp first began working with Scholz in the latter’s 1969 band, Mother’s Milk.  The group was soon renamed Boston and released its self-titled debut in 1976.  With hits like “More Than A Feeling,” “Peace of Mind,” and “Foreplay/Long Time,” the album propelled the group into the international spotlight and, with over 17 million copies sold, became the biggest selling debut album in history.  It still stands as one of the iconic releases of the era.  It’s quick follow-up, Don’t Look Back sold an astonishing four million in just its first month, and went on to sell seven million.  The group’s Third Stage followed in 1986, and in 1991, Delp left the group to form RTZ.  Delp and Scholz reunited in Boston in 1994, but as would be expected, they never achieved the success of their first releases.  It should be noted that Delp wrote or co-wrote several of Boston’s songs over the years.  In later years, he performed in various groups or projects.  On March 9, 2007, Brad Delp surprised friends and family by taking his own life when, on the eve of his wedding, he lit two charcoal barbecues in a sealed bathroom.  He was 55 when he died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Died On This Date (March 7, 2009) Jimmy Boyd / Sang “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

Posted by on March 7, 2010

Jimmy Boyd
January 9, 1939 – March 7, 2009

jimmy-boydJimmy Boyd was a popular ’50s and ’60s television actor as well as a singer and musician who is best remembered for his 1952 recording of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”  Recorded just before he hit his teens, the song as gone on to sell an astonishing 60,000,000 copies ever since.  Thanks to its popularity, Boyd became a popular fixture on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Frank Sinatra Show, The Tonight Show, and American Bandstand, to name a few.  Although Boyd had opportunities to make rock ‘n roll records, including with legendary producer Sam Phillips, he was working with Mitch Miller who hated the new style of music.  Boyd was very loyal to Miller who had signed him to Columbia Records, but as a pop singer.  During the mid ’60s, Boyd finally started making more rock-leaning records when he worked with the likes of Bobby Darin,Terry Melcher and Leon Russell.  One such record was for a song written by Barry Gibb of Bee Gees fame – it helped Boyd land a recording contract with A&M.  Jimmy Boyd was 70 when he died of cancer on March 7, 2009.

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