Category: In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Joe Diffie (1958 – 2020)

Joe Logan Diffie (December 28, 1958 – March 29, 2020) was an American country music singer. After working as a demo singer in the 1980s, he signed with Epic Records’ Nashville division in 1990. Between then and 2004, Diffie charted 35 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, five of which peaked at number one: his debut release “Home”, “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)”, “Third Rock from the Sun”, “Pickup Man” (his longest-lasting number-one song, at four weeks) and “Bigger Than the Beatles”. In addition to these singles, he had 12 others reach the top 10 and ten more others reach the top 40 on the same chart. He also co-wrote singles for Holly Dunn, Tim McGraw, and Jo Dee Messina, and recorded with Mary Chapin Carpenter, George Jones, and Marty Stuart.

Diffie released seven studio albums, a Christmas album, and a greatest-hits package under the Epic label. He also released one studio album each through Monument Records, Broken Bow Records, and Rounder Records. Among his albums, 1993’s Honky Tonk Attitude and 1994’s Third Rock from the Sun are certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, while 1992’s Regular Joe and 1995’s Life’s So Funny are both certified gold. His album, Homecoming: The Bluegrass Album, was released in late 2010 through Rounder. His style is defined by a neotraditionalist country influence with a mix of novelty songs and ballads. He died on March 29, 2020, due to complications from COVID-19 at the age of 61.

Joe Diffie music will air Monday 3/30/20 as our feature artist 10am ET

 

In Memoriam: Manu Dibango (1933 – 2020)

PARIS (AP) — Manu Dibango, who fused African rhythms with funk to become one of the most influential musicians in world dance music, died Tuesday with the coronavirus, according to his music publisher. He was 86.

The Cameroon-born saxophonist, who gained international fame with his 1972 song “Soul Makossa,” died in a hospital in the Paris region, Thierry Durepaire said.

Dibango was hospitalized with an illness “linked to COVID-19,” his official Facebook page said last week.

“Soul Makossa” was one of the earliest hits in the nascent world music scene, including a catchy hook copied by some of the world’s biggest pop stars.

In 2009, Dibango filed a lawsuit against Michael Jackson and Rihanna, claiming they had stolen his music in “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” and “Don’t Stop the Music,” respectively. Jackson settled out of court.

Funeral services were to be “held in strict privacy” followed by a tribute “when possible,” Tuesday’s announcement said. Funerals in France have been limited to 20 people n the closest circle of the deceased because of a lockdown to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Dibango is survived by four children.

Emmanuel N’Djoké Dibango (December 13, 1933 – March 24, 2020) was a Cameroonian musician and songwriter who played saxophone and vibraphone. He developed a musical style fusing jazz, funk, and traditional Cameroonian music. His father was a member of the Yabassi ethnic group, though his mother was a Duala. He was best known for his 1972 single “Soul Makossa”.

In Memoriam: Kenny Rogers (1938 – 2020)

RadioMaxMusic will feature a Kenny Rogers program Sunday at 9am / 9pm with BIll Brent on the Vinyl Resting Place.

Across social media, friends and fans mourned country music legend Kenny Rogers.

Rogers, the smooth, Grammy-winning balladeer who spanned jazz, folk, country and pop with such hits as “Lucille,” “Lady” and “Islands in the Stream” and embraced his persona as “The Gambler” on record and on TV died Friday night. He was 81.

The Rogers family announced his death on Twitter. They said he died “peacefully” under hospice care in his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

Early Saturday celebrities reacted to the news.

Dolly Parton shared a video tribute on Twitter to her “singing partner.”

“I know that we all know that Kenny is in a better place than we are today and I’m pretty sure that he’s going to be talking to God sometime today… and he’s going to be asking him to spread some light on a bunch of this darkness,” Parton said in her video. “I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart’s broken. A big ol’ chunk of it has gone with him today.”

Parton then got emotional as she held up a photo of her and Rogers.

“God bless you Kenny, fly high straight into the arms of God,” Parton said. “To the rest of you, keep the faith.”

Blake Shelton remembered Rogers as always being a “kind and fun” person.

“I can’t express on Twitter the impact Kenny Rogers the artist and the man had on me. He was always very kind and fun to be around. Rest In Peace Gambler…,” the “Austin” artist wrote.

Piers Morgan shared a photo of the Houston-born performer, to express his sadness. “RIP Kenny Rogers, 81. What incredibly sad news. One of the all-time great country music stars & an utterly charming man,” Morgan wrote.

Stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt shared his favorite memory of Rogers on Twitter.

“I was on an episode of ‘Reno 911!’ where I played a crazed stalker who shoots Kenny Rogers,” Oswalt wrote. “The cast loved him, he told great stories, and was a joy to be around. And “The Gambler” is a truly great song. #RIPKennyRogers.”

Larry the Cable Guy took to Twitter to thank Rogers for his contributions to the music world. “Oh man Kenny Rogers just died,” he wrote. “RIP Gambler. Thanks for all the great music.”

Charlie Daniels also recognized the Rogers’ music as classics that will continue to make an impact in the world.

“Thank you Kenny Rogers for being a part of our lives for so long. Your songs are woven into the fabric of our memories, classics, that will live on in the musical heart of a world that will miss you so much. Rest in peace Gambler,” Daniels tweeted.

Others simply tweeted lyrics to Rogers’ hits including “Islands In The Stream” which he sang with Dolly Parton.

The Houston-born performer with the husky voice and silver beard sold tens of millions of records, won three Grammys and was the star of TV movies based on “The Gambler” and other songs, making him a superstar in the ‘70s and ’80s. Rogers thrived for some 60 years before retired from touring in 2017 at age 79. Despite his crossover success, he always preferred to be thought of as a country singer.

Morgan Hines, USA TODAY
USA TODAY Entertainment

Full content available here 

Kenneth Ray Rogers (August 21, 1938 – March 20, 2020) was an American singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, and entrepreneur. He was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Though he was most successful with country audiences, Rogers charted more than 120 hit singles across various music genres, topped the country and pop album charts for more than 200 individual weeks in the United States alone, and sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

In the late 1950s, he started his recording career with jazz-singer Bobby Doyle, and joined the folk ensemble the New Christy Minstrels in 1961, playing double bass and bass guitar as well as singing. In 1967, he and several members of the New Christy Minstrels left to found the group the First Edition, with whom he scored his first major hit, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”, a psychedelic rock song which peaked at number five on the Billboard charts. As Rogers took an increased leadership role in the First Edition, and following the success of 1969’s “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”, the band gradually changed styles to a more country feel. The band broke up in 1975–1976, and Kenny Rogers embarked on a long and successful solo career, which included several successful collaborations, including duets with singers Dolly Parton and Sheena Easton, and a songwriting partnership with Lionel Richie. His signature song, 1978’s “The Gambler”, was a cross-over hit that won him a Grammy Award in 1980 and was selected in 2018 for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress. He would develop the Gambler persona into a character for a successful series of television films starting with 1980’s Emmy-nominated Kenny Rogers as The Gambler.

Two of his albums, The Gambler and Kenny, were featured in the About.com poll of “The 200 Most Influential Country Albums Ever”. He was voted the “Favorite Singer of All Time” in a 1986 joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People. He has received numerous awards such as the AMAs, Grammys, ACMs and CMAs, as well as a lifetime achievement award for a career spanning six decades in 2003. Later success included the 2006 album release, Water & Bridges, an across the board hit, that hit the Top 5 in the Billboard Country Albums sales charts, also charting in the Top 15 of the Billboard 200. The first single from the album, “I Can’t Unlove You”, was also a sizable chart hit. Remaining a popular entertainer around the world, he continued to tour regularly until his retirement in 2017.

He acted in a variety of movies and television shows, most notably the title roles in Kenny Rogers as The Gambler and the MacShayne series for The NBC Mystery Movie, and the 1982 feature film Six Pack. He was a co-founder of the restaurant chain Kenny Rogers Roasters in collaboration with former Kentucky Fried Chicken CEO John Y. Brown Jr.. Although the stores closed in the United States, they are still a fixture in Asia.

 

In Memoriam: Neil Peart (1952 – 2020)

Neil PeartNeil Ellwood Peart, OC (September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020) was a Canadian musician and writer best known as the drummer and primary lyricist of the rock band Rush. Peart received numerous awards for his musical performances, including an induction into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1983, making him the youngest person ever so honoured. His drumming was renowned for its technical proficiency, and his live performances for their exacting nature and stamina.

Peart grew up in Port Dalhousie, Ontario, (now part of St. Catharines). During adolescence, he floated between regional bands in pursuit of a career as a full-time drummer. After a discouraging stint in England to concentrate on his music, Peart returned home, where he joined Rush, a Toronto band, in mid-1974.

Early in his career, Peart’s performance style was deeply rooted in hard rock. He drew most of his inspiration from drummers such as Keith Moon and John Bonham, players who were at the forefront of the British hard rock scene. As time passed, he began to emulate jazz and big band musicians Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. In 1994, Peart became a friend and pupil of jazz instructor Freddie Gruber. It was during this time that Peart decided to revamp his playing style by incorporating jazz and swing components.

In addition to serving as Rush’s primary lyricist, Peart also published several memoirs about his travels. His lyrics for Rush addressed universal themes and diverse subjects including science fiction, fantasy, and philosophy, as well as secular, humanitarian, and libertarian themes. Peart wrote a total of seven nonfiction books focused on his travels and personal stories.

On December 7, 2015, Peart announced his retirement from music in an interview with Drumhead Magazine, though bandmate Geddy Lee insisted Peart was quoted out of context, and suggested Peart was “simply taking a break”. However, in January 2018, bandmate Alex Lifeson confirmed that Rush was retiring due to Peart’s health issues. During his last years, Peart lived in Santa Monica, California, with his wife, photographer Carrie Nuttall, and daughter Olivia. After a three year long battle, Peart died of glioblastoma on January 7, 2020, at the age of 67.

In Memoriam: Marie Fredriksson (1958 – 2019)

Gun-Marie Fredriksson, known as Marie Fredriksson (May 30,1958 – December 9, 2019) was a Swedish pop singer-songwriter, pianist and painter, known for forming pop rock duo Roxette in 1986 alongside Per Gessle. The duo achieved international success in the late 1980s and early ’90s with their albums Look Sharp! (1988) and Joyride (1991), and had six top two hits on the Billboard Hot 100: “The Look”, “Listen to Your Heart”, “Dangerous”, “It Must Have Been Love”, “Joyride” and “Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave)”.

Fredriksson had a successful career in her native country prior to forming Roxette. She was a member of punk group Strul, a band which created their own music festival in 1979. Strul’s dissolution led to the creation of her next project, the short-lived MaMas Barn, after which she began releasing solo work. Her first album, Het vind, was issued in 1984, followed by Den sjunde vågen in 1986 and … Efter stormen in 1987. Roxette’s international breakthrough coincided with a period of inactivity for Fredriksson as a solo artist, punctuated only by the release of the non-album single “Sparvöga” in 1989. Subsequent solo albums included Den ständiga resan (1992) and I en tid som vår (1996).

In 2002, after fainting at home, Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumour. During her rehabilitation, she continued to record music as a solo artist, resulting in The Change in 2004 and Min bäste vän in 2006, as well as the non-album single “Där du andas” in 2008—her first solo number one single in Sweden. She and Gessle later reunited to record more albums as Roxette, who embarked on a worldwide concert tour. She also continued to record as a solo artist in her native Sweden, releasing Nu! in 2013.

Fredriksson died on December 9, 2019 in Djursholm, Sweden at the age of 61 from a brain tumor.

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Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson dies, aged 61
By Mark Savage
BBC music reporter

Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson has died aged 61, her manager has confirmed.

The Swedish star achieved global success in the 1990s with hits like Joyride, The Look and It Must Have Been Love, from the film Pretty Woman.

A statement said the singer had died on Monday, 9 December “following a 17-year long battle with cancer”. “You were the most wonderful friend for over 40 years,” her bandmate Per Gessle said. “Things will never be the same.”

Fredriksson was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2002, after collapsing in her kitchen following a workout.

The tumour cost her the vision in her right eye – but after three years of treatment, she returned to public life and toured successfully again with Roxette from 2008 to 2016.

However, the cancer eventually returned: Fredriksson’s family said she had died following a recurrence of “her previous illness” earlier this week.

‘Magical live performances’

“Thank you, Marie, thanks for everything,” said Gessle in a heartfelt statement. “You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer. Thanks for painting my black and white songs in the most beautiful colours. You were the most wonderful friend for over 40 years. “I’m proud, honoured and happy to have been able to share so much of your time, talent, warmth, generosity and sense of humour. All my love goes out to you and your family.”

“Marie leaves us a grand musical legacy,” added her manager Marie Dimberg.

“Her amazing voice – both strong and sensitive – and her magical live performances will be remembered by all of us who were lucky enough to witness them. But we also remember a wonderful person with a huge appetite for life, and woman with a very big heart who cared for everybody she met.”

Hailing from Halmstad, Sweden, Roxette first met in the late 1970s, when Fredriksson was a member of the pop outfit Strul & Ma Mas Barn and Gessle was playing with Gyllene Tider, one of Sweden’s biggest groups.

They teamed up in 1986, becoming huge stars in their homeland with the single Neverending Love, followed by a hit album, Pearls of Passion. Despite their popularity in Scandinavia, Capitol Records declined to release their records in the US. It wasn’t until an American student studying in Sweden brought a copy of their second album home to Minneapolis, and persuaded a local radio DJ to play The Look, that they achieved international fame. That song became the first of four US number ones for the band, while its parent album, Look Sharp!, went platinum.

They achieved their biggest success when their 1987 Christmas single, It Must Have Been Love, was re-written for inclusion on the Pretty Woman soundtrack in 1990. It topped the charts in more than 10 countries, and gave the band their biggest UK hit, reaching number three. Roxette continued to tour and release albums throughout the 1990s – eventually selling more than 80m records worldwide.

Known for breezy pop hits like Dressed For Success and power ballads such as Listen To Your Heart, they cheekily summarised their songwriting philosophy in the title to their 1995 greatest hits album, Don’t Bore Us, Get To The Chorus.

After a brief hiatus, during which Gessle reunited with Gyllene Tider, the duo scored further hit albums with 1999’s Have a Nice Day, and 2001’s Room Service.

Fredriksson’s devastating cancer diagnosis came the following year. She spent three years receiving treatment, and later wrote about the “fear” she’d experienced in a solo record, called The Change. “Suddenly the change was here,” she sang, “Cold as ice and full of fear / There was nothing I could do / I saw slow motion pictures / Of me and you.”

In 2005, Fredriksson told Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper her treatment had been successful, saying: “It’s been three really hard years [but] I’m healthy.” The singer took up painting during her treatment, but surprised Roxette fans by making a return to the stage with Gessle in Amsterdam in 2008.

The band later mounted a comeback tour that sold out venues across Europe, and released several new albums but, by 2016, Fredriksson’s health was failing and doctors advised her to stop touring.

In her autobiography, the singer wrote about the impact cancer had on her life.

“At last, it feels like I have reconciled myself to having a radiation injury to live with. That this is how it turned out,” she said in The Love Of Life. “I have lost many years through the disease. And it is also a sadness to age. But every day I think I’m grateful to be sitting here. And that I can still sing.”

In her final single, 2018’s Sing Me A Song, the star appeared to address her mortality, singing: “The love I had and gave / Makes it hard to say goodbye” over an elegant, mournful jazz backing.

Fredriksson is survived by her husband Mikael Bolyos and their two children.

In Memoriam: Steve Cash (1946 – 2019)

Steve Douglas Douglas Cash (May 5, 1946 – October 14, 2019) was an American singer-songwriter and author, most notable as a founding and continual member of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, passed away in Springfield at the age of 73. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils posted on their website, “It is with great sorrow that we have to inform you that one of our founding partners, Steve Cash, passed away this past weekend. Steve Cash spent 48 years pouring his heart and soul into this band. He was our poet laureate, an amazingly talented harp player, but more importantly, he was our friend and brother and that presence cannot be replaced. We ask that you send good thoughts to his family in this difficult time. Steve Cash may be gone from this Earth, but his lyrics and music will live on forever.”

There are no services are currently planned for the singer-songwriter. Cash co-founded the Ozark Mountain Daredevils in the early 1970s with John Dillon, Michael “Supe” Granda, Buddy Brayfield and others. He wrote the band’s popular song “Chicken Train” and co-wrote “Jackie Blue” and “If You Want To Get To Heaven” according to the band’s website.

Today at 1pm ET RadioMax will feature the music of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

In Memoriam: Lawrence E. Junstrom (1949 – 2019)

Lawrence E. Junstrom (June 22, 1949 – October 6, 2019) was an American bassist, best known for having been in rock band .38 Special from 1977 until 2014. He was also one of the founding members of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Junstrom was the bass guitarist of Lynyrd Skynyrd from its formation in 1964, until being replaced by Leon Wilkeson in 1971. Donnie Van Zant, the younger brother of the Lynyrd Skynyrd leader, Ronnie Van Zant, formed .38 Special in 1974, with Junstrom joining as the bass guitarist in 1976.

An avid amateur radio operator, he had the call letters K4EB, which translate to “Known 4 Electric Bass”.

Junstrom retired from .38 Special in 2014, due to a hand injury which required surgery. He died on October 6, 2019, at the age of 70.

(USA TODAY) Larry Junstrom, an original member of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd and the longtime bassist for .38 Special, has died. He was 70.

His death was announced Sunday on the official Facebook account of .38 Special, a rock band that Junstrom joined in the 1970s following his stint with Lynyrd Skynyrd.

“The Big Man on the Big Bass has left us,” the statement began. “He rocked arenas all over the world and succeeded in living his dream. He was truly one of a kind, a congenial traveling companion and a great friend to all with a humorous slant on life that always kept our spirits high – a kind man with a big heart for everyone who crossed his path. There will never be another like him.”

Junstrom formed Lynyrd Skynyrd with singer Ronnie Van Zant, drummer Bob Burns and guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins in 1964, but left before the band recorded their 1973 debut album, “Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd.”

The bassist went on to join the rock band .38 Special in 1977, fronted by Van Zant’s younger brother, Donnie. Junstrom performed with the group for nearly four decades, playing on hits songs “Hold On Loosely,” “Caught Up in You” and “Rockin’ Into the Night.”

“We are sending our devoted love, strength and comfort to his wife Thania and Larry’s family. We will miss our friend and partner,” .38 Special’s statement added.