After behaving with abominable enthusiasm in May, the Grim Reaper took it comparatively easy in June.
The headline death was that of Herb Reed, leader of The Platters, at the age of 83. Reed was the last of the original Platters to leave us, and he was the only of the legions of rotating members to have featured on all official records by The Platters (that is, the incarnations of The Platters that traced their roots to Buck Ram). Reed toured until recently, until poor health laid him low. He died in the knowledge that a federal court had confirmed him as the legitimate heir to the name The Platters.
Susanna Clark, who died on June 27 at 73, had a finger in many cool alt.country moments. She was a songwriter for the likes of Emmylou Harris, Carlene Carter, Jessi Colter, Jerry Jeff Walker, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, and Miranda Lambert; she was the subject of several songs by her husband Guy Clark; and, an artist, she painted the covers of LPs such as Willie Nelson’s Stardust, Emmylou Harris’ Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town (pictured below), Guy Clark’s Old No. 1, and Nanci Griffith’s The Dust Bowl Symphony, and as a friend she inspired the likes of Steve Earle and Townes van Zandt.
As a Beatles fan I feel obliged to note, if not list, the death at 82 on June 18 of the actor Victor Spinetti, who played the TV director in A Hard Day’s Night and the mad scientist in Help!.
And talking of movies, Richard Adler, the composer of one of the songs featured in GoodFellas, Tony Bennett’s Tags To Riches, died in the same month as the man on whom the great film was based, Henry Hill, whose end came not from a whack but from natural causes at the age of 69 on June 12. With his writing partner Jerry Ross, Adler wrote the music for several big Broadway shows, in the 1950s, including The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees (both featured songs later revived in the musical Fosse).
Faruq Z. Bey, 70, free jazz saxophonist, on June 1
Bobby Durango, singer of ’80s hard rock band Rock City Angels, on June 3
Rock City Angels – Deep Inside My Heart (1988)
Andy Hamilton, 94, British jazz saxophonist, composer and arranger, on June 3
Herb Reed, 83, singer with The Platters, on June 4
The Platters – The Great Pretender (1955)
Dennis St John, 70, drummer (Bellamy Brothers, Linda Ronstadt) and musical director for Neil Diamond, on June 5
Neil Diamond – America (1980, as drummer)
Lou Pride, 62, soul singer, on June 5
Lou Pride – I’m Com’un Home in the Morn’un (1965)
Bob Welch, 66, singer (Fleetwood Mac, Paris) and songwriter, suicide on June 7
Bob Welch – Ebony Eyes (1977)
Lil Phat, 19, rapper, shot dead on June 7
Webbie feat Lil Boosie and Lil Phat – Independent (2008)
Abram Wilson, 38, jazz trumpeter, on June 9
Graeme Bell, 97, Australian jazz musician and composer, on June 13
Margie Hyams, 91, jazz vibraphonist and pianist, on June 14
Woody Herman – Saturday Night (Is The Loneliest Night In The Week) (1945, on vibraphone)
Tim Mooney, producer and drummer with alt.rock groups American Music Club, Sun Kil Moon, The Sleepers, on June 15
Brian Hibbard, 65, Welsh actor and singer with The Flying Pickets, on June 18
The Flying Pickets – Only You (1983)
Gerry Bron, 79, British record producer, manager, founder of the Bronze label (Uriah Heep, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Motörhead)
Manfred Mann – Ha! Ha! Said The Clown (1967, as producer)
Gene Pitney – Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart (1967, as producer)
Richard Adler, 90, American Tony Award-winning producer and composer, on April 21
Tony Bennett – Rags To Riches (1953)
Jeff Sugarman, bassist of garage band Prime Movers, on June 21
John Koko, 51, guitarist of Hawaiian band Makaha Sons of Ni‘ihau, on April 25
The Makaha Sons of Ni’Ihau – Aloha Ka Manini (1999)
Don Grady, 68, singer, composer, child actor in My Three Sons and original Mousketeer, on June 27
Susanna Clark, 73, songwriter, LP cover illustrator, wife of Guy Clark, on June 27
Emmylou Harris – Easy From Now On (1978, as writer)
Guy Clark – Stuff That Works (1995, as subject of lyrics)
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