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In Memoriam – July 2018

August 2nd, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

Another easy-going month, for which we ought to be grateful. Still, we lost the man for whom a huge record label was founded, the original Good Morning Vietnam DJ, a one-time teen dream, the composer of classic TV themes, and several others whose work brought people joy.

The unlikely teen dream

Bay City Rollers co-founder and bassist Alan Longmuir always seemed like the most unlikely of teen idols. Already in the second half of his 20s when Rollermania hit, he looked rather like Woody’s uncle than bandmate. So when he left the band in 1976, he was replaced by baby-faced Ian Mitchell, who in turn was replaced by seven-years-old Pat McGlynn. After an unsuccessful stab at a solo career (the featured track explains the lack of success; it’s the bad flip side of a shocking A-side), Alan returned when the teenyboppers had outgrown BCR, but by then the band was superannuated. In interviews, Alan always seemed a nice, down-to-earth guy. When the music thing didn’t work for him anymore, he ran a hotel. When that ruined his health, he retrained to become a building inspector.

The singing actor

Tab Hunter’s claim to fame obviously was his acting career — with Natalie Wood he was the last actor to be signed to an exclusive contract with Warner Brothers. But he also had a brief but successful recording career. In 1957, he topped the US charts for six straight weeks with Young Love on Dot Records. A follow-up reached #11, at which point Jack Warner invoked the exclusivity contract and founded the Warner Bros record label as a vehicle for Tab Hunter records. Well, it was one of the reasons; Hunter’s singing success was the impetus to put into action a business decision made earlier. But by then his crooning career was fizzling out. Whereas for a while, Warner Bros. Records became a rock music behemoth.

The TV composer

If you’ve seen TV shows like Columbo, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, The Streets of San Francisco or Lou Grant (the themes of the latter two he wrote) you’ve probably heard the compositions of multiple Grammy-winner Patrick Williams in their scores. Williams, who also write a highly rated jazz-symphony titled An American Concerto, was also a sought-after arranger. Frank Sinatra requested his services for the two Duets albums. Before that Williams arranged such classics as Dusty Springfield’s The Look Of Love, Dionne Warwick’s Theme from Valley Of The Dolls, and Barbra Streisand’s Evergreen, and orchestrated classic albums like Billy Joel’s The Stranger.

The all-rounder

How much did Richard Swift, who has died at 41, still have to offer? The man was an all-rounder: singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, engineer, producer, studio owner (National Freedom in Oregon), went on tour with acts like Wilco (whom he supported on the Sky Blue Sky tour), The Shins and The Black Keys. He produced acts like The Shins, Guster, Laetitia Sadier and Damian Jurado. And also he made short films.

The soundman

You will have heard Jim Malloy’s work at some point. He was the engineer on hits like Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther Theme, Jim Reeves’ Distant Drums, Mel Tillis’ Life Made Her That Way, Bobby Bare’s The Streets Of Baltimore, Elvis’ How Great Thou Art gospel LP, and albums by acts like Timi Yuro, Al Hirt, Duane Eddy, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Mahalia Jackson, Porter Wagoner, Skeeter Davis, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Dolly Parton and many others. He produced Sammi Smith’s Grammy-winning version of Help Me Make It Through The Night, various albums by the likes of Townes van Zandt, Ray Stevens, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Eddy Arnold and O.B. McClinton.

The other Robin Williams

Good Night Vietnam! The subject of the 1988 Robin Williams movie Good Morning Vietnam, Adrian Cronauer, has died at 79. By his own admission, Cronauer was nothing like how Williams portrayed him in the film. He did not consider himself particularly controversial. Even as he did introduce new musical material to the US Army playlists, his aim wasn’t to be subversive. And he certainly made up no improvisations about gay hairdesssers. In fact, Cronauer was a conservative life-long Republican who helped Bod Dole lose the presidential election of 1996, and George W Bush win it in 2004.

 

François Corbier, 73, French songwriter and TV presenter, on July 1

Alan Longmuir, 70, founder of the Bay City Rollers, on July 2
Bay City Rollers – Saturday Night (1973, original version)
Bay City Rollers – Summerlove Sensation (1974)
Alan Longmuir – I’ve Got Songs (1977)

Bill Watrous, 79, jazz trombonist, on July 2
Bill Watrous – No More Blues (1986)

Henry Butler, 68, jazz pianist, on July 2

Richard Swift, 41, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer, on July 3
Richard Swift – Kisses For The Misses (2007)
The Shins – So Now What (2017, on synth and as producer)

Carmen Campagne, 58, Canadian singer, on July 4

Jim Malloy, 87, recording engineer, on July 5
Henry Mancini – The Pink Panther Theme (1963, as engineer)
Lee Hazlewood – Trouble Is A Lonesome Town (1963, as co-writer, engineer)
Townes Van Zandt – I’ll Be Here In The Morning (1969, as producer)

François Budet, 78, French singer-songwriter and poet, on July 5

Vince Martin, 81, folk singer, on July 6
Vince Martin and The Tarriers – Cindy, Oh Cindy (1956)

Bret Hoffmann, 51, singer of death metal band Malevolent Creation, on July 7

Garry Lowe, 65, Jamaican bassist of Canadian reggae/rock/blues band Big Sugar, on July 7
Big Sugar – Diggin A Hole (1996)

Tab Hunter, 86, actor and singer, on July 8
Tab Hunter – Young Love (1957)

Stefan Demert, 78, Swedish singer-songwriter, on July 9

Greg Bonham, 71, Australian singer, on July 10

Ponty Bone, 78, accordionist, on July 13
Ponty Bone – Clifton’s Boogie (2002)

Theryl ‘House Man’ DeClouet, 66, singer of jazz-funk singer band Galactic, on July 15
Galactic – Something’s Wrong With This Picture (1996)

Adrian Cronauer, 79, radio disc jockey, on July 18

Patrick Williams, 79, film/TV and jazz composer, arranger and conductor, on July 25
Dionne Warwick – Valley Of The Dolls (1967, as arranger)
Pat Williams Orchestra – The Streets Of San Francisco (1975, as composer & co-producer)
Frank Sinatra with Natalie Cole – They Can’t Take That Away From Me (1993)
Paul Anka – Jump (2005, as conductor)

Ben Sharpa, 41, South African hip hop artist, on July 26

Mark Shelton, 60, founder and singer-guitarist of heavy metal Manilla Road, on July 26
Manilla Road – The Riddle Master (1983)

Olga Jackowska, 67, singer of Polish rock band Maanam, on July 28

Oliver Dragojević, 70, Croatian singer, on July 29

Sam Mehran, 31, member of UK dance-punk band band Test Icicles, announced July 29
Test Icicles – Your Biggest Mistake (2005)

Irvin Jarrett, 69, percussionist of reggae band Third World, on July 31
Third World – 1865 (96 Degrees In The Shade) (1977)
Third World – Now That We’ve Found Love (1978)

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(PW in comments)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    August 2nd, 2018 at 12:11 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Rhodb
    August 4th, 2018 at 02:05 | #2

    Thanks Amd

    Great work once again

    Regards

    Rhodb

  3. dogbreath
    August 9th, 2018 at 11:55 | #3

    Nicely done as usual, many thanks. My ex-wife was a Rollers fan and hearing their songs on the radio still causes me to grit my teeth :-) And I didn’t realize all that about Tab Hunter or Patrick Williams so I’m better informed now. Cheers!

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