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In Memoriam – September 2018

October 4th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

 

I’m not a friend of big-name deaths at the beginning of the month, before I can even post the previous month’s music deads and their songs. The death of Charles Aznavour at 94 on October 1 creates a dilemma: do I wait until the next In Memoriam — which will come out more than four weeks after he died — or do I include him in September’s lot? In this instance, I’ve opted for the latter.

It’s quite a thought that when Charles Aznavour had a hit in 1974 with She, he was already 50. The man born to Armenian partents in Paris as Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian had enjoyed a long career before that already. He was a child-actor at nine, and performed in Parisian clubs by the mid-1940s. The break came in 1946 when he was discovered by Edith Piaf. His career would last for another 72 years, with his last concert having been on September 18 in Osaka, Japan, as part of a world tour. In September 28 he still appeared on French TV.

Jefferson Airplane’s primary founder and one of its three lead singers Marty Balin has departed; now it’s only Grace Slick left. It was Balin who got knocked unconscious by the Hell’s Angels on stage at the notorious Altamont concert in December 1969. Less than a year later, his friend Janis Joplin died. Spooked by that, in April 1971 the relatively clean-living Balin exited Jefferson Airplane. He joined the Airplane off-shoot Jefferson Starship in 1975, singing lead on several of their hits, but jumped ship again in 1978, shortly after Slick had left the band. He went on to have a few Top 10 hits as a solo artist in the 1980s.

With the death of bassist Max Bennett, we have lost another member of the Wrecking Crew, the informal collective of session players who played on so many records made in LA in the 1960s and ‘70s. Bennett was particularly prolific on records by The Monkees and the Partridge Family, and later by Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, but at around the same time as he was plucking strings for TV pop groups, he was also part of Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats project (despite not really liking or understanding avant garde music). Before being a pop sideman, Bennett was a jazz sideman. After returning from fighting in the Korean War, he backed acts like Stan Kenton, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, Nelson Riddle and Ella Fitzgerald. He also released as series of jazz LPs under his own name in the 1950s. In the 1970s Bennett returned to jazz, but now in the form of fusion, as a member of the L.A. Express alongside Tom Scott, Larry Carlton, John Guerin and Joe Sample.

He was obviously famous for his movies and his moustache, and perhaps also for posing nude in Playgirl, but less well-known is Burt Reynold’s brief career as a singer. In 1973 he released an album of country music titled Ask Me What I Am (well, not much of a singer, to be honest). 1980 saw the release of a follow-up single, Let’s Do Something Cheap And Superficial, which was aptly titled since it came from the sequel to Smokey And The Bandit.

Chas Hodges was best known as half of the London duo Chas & Dave, who enjoyed their biggest success with novelty knees-up folk-rock type numbers. But he was also a serious musician, starting his career as a session bassist for Joe Meek. In the early 1970s Hodges was a member of Heads Hands & Feet, alongside guitarist Albert Lee. In the ‘70s he also did session work on guitar, often with Dave Peacock, the Dave in what would become Chas & Dave. Hodges and Peacock created the riff in Labi Siffre’s I Got The…, which Eminem later sampled for My Name Is. Then they became the “Rockney” pub favourites and Tottenham Hotspur cheerleaders (so condolences to my friend Jeremy Simmonds, author of The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars and a Spurs fan, are in order).

With the death of Donald McGuire, all four members of the 1950s vocal group The Hilltoppers are now gone. The group, initially a trio from Kentucky, has been largely forgotten, but in the 1950s they scored as few huge US hits, including the million-seller PS I Love You. Another claim to fame is that from their ranks emerged the future bandleader Billy Vaughn.

Not really a music death, and yet very much so: Peggy Sue Perron of the Buddy Holly song has died at 78. Originally Holly was going name the song Cindy Lou, after his niece. But drummer Jerry Allison petitioned his friend to change the name in order to impress his girl, Peggy Sue, who had just broken up with him. It worked: Jerry and Peggy Sue went on to get married in 1958 (just before his death, Holly wrote and denied a song called Peggy Sue Got Married, which was released posthumously). They divorced, and Peggy Sue moved to California, got married again, and had kids.

 

Tony Camillo, producer and arranger, on Aug. 29
Gladys Knight & the Pips – Midnight Train To Georgia (1973, as producer)

Randy Weston, 92, jazz pianist and composer, on Sept. 1
Randy Weston Trio – Zulu (1955)

Conway Savage, 58, Australian keyboardist, on Sept. 2
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Willow Garden (1996, on vocals and keyboard)

Rene Garcia, 66, guitarist of Filipino pop band Hotdog, on Sept. 2

Katyna Ranieri, 93, Italian singer and actress, on Sept. 3
Katyna Ranieri – Oh My Love (1971)

Elisa Serna, 75, Spanish protest singer-songwriter, on Sept. 4

Don Gardner, 87, soul singer, on Sept. 4
Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford – I Need Your Loving (1962)

Richard Bateman, 50, bass player of thrash metal band Nasty Savage, on Sept. 5

Burt Reynolds, 82, actor and occasional singer, on Sept. 6
Burt Reynolds – I Like Having You Around (1973)
Burt Reynolds – Let’s Do Something Cheap And Superficial (1980)

Wilson Moreira, 81, Brazilian samba singer and songwriter, on Sept. 6

Donald McGuire, 86, singer with vocal group The Hilltoppers, on Sept. 7
The Hilltoppers – Trying (1952)
The Hilltoppers – The Joker (1957)

Mac Miller, 26, rapper and producer, on Sept. 7

Mr. Catra, 49, Brazilian funk singer, on Sept. 9
Mr. Catra – Vacilão (2015)

Johnny Strike, 70, guitarist and singer of US punk band Crime, on Sept. 10
Crime – Murder By Guitar (1977)

Erich Kleinschuster, 88, Austrian trombonist and bandleader, on Sept. 12

Rachid Taha, 59, Algerian singer of French band Carte de Séjour, on Sept. 12
Carte de Séjour – Douce France (1987)

Marin Mazzie, 57, musical actress and singer, on Sept. 13

Max Bennett, 90, Wrecking Crew and jazz bassist, on Sept. 14
Max Bennett – Max Is The Factor (1957)
The Monkees – Porpoise Song (1968)
Tom Scott & The L.A. Express – Sneakin’ In The Back (1974)
Joni Mitchell – The Hissing Of Summer Lawns (1975, on bass)

Anneke Grönloh, 76, Dutch singer, on Sept. 14
Anneke Grönloh – Brandend Zand (1962)

Maartin Allcock, 61, English multi-instrumentalist and producer, on Sept. 16
Fairport Convention – Meet On The Ledge (1987, as member on lead guitar)

Big Jay McNeely, 91, R&B saxophonist, on Sept. 16
Big Jay McNeely – There Is Something On Your Mind (1957)

Wesley Tinglin, 75, singer with Jamaican reggae group The Viceroys, on Sept. 18
The Viceroys – Slogan On The Wall (1977)

Felton Pruett, 89, country slide guitarist, on Sept 19

Joseph Hookim, 76, Jamaican reggae/ska producer, on Sept. 20
The Mighty Diamonds – Right Time (1976, as producer & co-writer)

Chas Hodges, 74, half of English duo Chas & Dave, on Sept. 22
Heads Hands & Feet – Song For Suzie (1971, as member)
Labi Siffre – I Got The… (1975, on guitar)
Chas & Dave – Ain’t No Pleasing You (1982)

Dale Barclay, 32, singer of Scottish rock band Amazing Snakeheads, on Sept. 25

Marty Balin, 76, co-lead singer of Jefferson Airplane/Starship, on Sept. 27
Jefferson Airplane – Comin’ Back To Me (1967, also as writer)
Jefferson Starship – Miracles (1975, also as writer)
Marty Balin – Hearts (1981)

Sam Spoons, drummer of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, on Sept. 27
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band – Alley Oop (1966)

Michael Weiley, 58, guitarist of Australian rock band Spy vs Spy, on Sept. 29
V. Spy v. Spy – Don’t Tear It Down (1986)

Otis Rush, 84, blues guitarist and singer, on Sept. 29
Otis Rush – I Can´t Quit You Baby (1956)

James ‘Big Jim’ Wright, 52, R&B musician and producer, on Sept. 29
Janet Jackson – I Get Lonely (1997, as arranger and co-writer)
Mary J. Blige – No More Drama (2001, on organ & backing vocals)

Kim Larsen, 72, singer and guitarist of Danish rock band Gasolin’, on Sept. 30
Gasolin’ – Holy Jean (1973)

Angela Maria, 89, Brazilian singer and actress, on Sept. 30
Ângela Maria – Sempre Tu (1955)

Charles Aznavour, 94, French-Armenian singer, on Oct. 1
Charles Aznavour – Sur ma vie (1955)
Charles Aznavour – Les Enfants De La Guerre (1966)
Charles Aznavour – She (1974)

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(PW in comments)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    October 4th, 2018 at 20:46 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Rhodb
    October 6th, 2018 at 00:58 | #2

    Thanks Amd

    Another fine effort , appreciate the time to put these together

    Regards

    Rhodb

  3. October 6th, 2018 at 23:44 | #3

    You could add Carmencita Lara, Jana Kociánová and Daniel Küblböck to the list

  4. halfhearteddude
    October 7th, 2018 at 09:51 | #4

    The Daniel Küblböck story bypassed my completely. That would have merited a paragraph…

  5. dogbreath
    October 8th, 2018 at 01:00 | #5

    Good to see Martin Ash remembered in the list, better known as Sam Spoons of the Bonzos & a very funny man in a very funny band. And Chas Hodges too, a talented guy & all round genuine geezer. Many thanks once again. Cheers!

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