Thursday 11am: In Memoriam – Earl Thomas Conley (1941 – 2019)

April 11, 2019
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Earl Thomas Conley (October 17, 1941 – April 10, 2019) was an American country music singer-songwriter. Between 1980 and 2003, he recorded ten studio albums, including seven for the RCA Records label. In the 1980s and into the 1990s, Conley also charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, of which 18 reached Number One. Conley’s 18 Billboard Number One country singles during the 1980s marked the most Number One hits by any artist in any genre during that decade except for Alabama and Ronnie Milsap.

Throughout his career, Conley’s music has been referred to as “thinking man’s country.” This is because the narrator looks into the heart and soul of his characters in each song.

Conley was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, and when he was 14, his father lost his job with the railroad, forcing the young boy to move in with his older sister in Jamestown, Ohio. He was offered a scholarship to an art school, but rejected it in favor of joining the U.S. Army. While in the Army, Conley became a member of a Christian-influenced trio, where his musical talent and vocal ability first began.

Conley then decided to consider performing as a serious career option. He shifted more deeply into the classic country sounds of artists such as Merle Haggard and George Jones. During this period he first tried his hand at songwriting.

In 1968, after his discharge from the Army, Conley began commuting from Dayton to Nashville. In 1973 while in Nashville, Conley met Dick Heard, who produced country music singer Mel Street. This meeting eventually led to the Conley-Heard collaboration on the song “Smokey Mountain Memories,” which made the top 10 for Street. After being honorably discharged from the military, he began playing in clubs in Nashville, Tennessee, at night, supporting himself working blue-collar jobs during the day.

Feeling that he wasn’t making any progress in Nashville, Conley moved to Huntsville, Alabama, to work in a steel mill. There, he met record producer Nelson Larkin, who helped him sign with independent record label GRT in 1974. Conley released four singles on that label, none of which became large hits. At the same time, he was selling songs that he had written to other artists, including Conway Twitty and Mel Street, who were having much success with them.

Conley returned to Nashville, now writing for Nelson Larkin’s publishing house. In 1979, he signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records. Two years later, he had his first Top 40 hit, “Dreamin’s All I Do”. He left the label in 1979 and joined Sunbird Records, where he again worked with Nelson Larkin.

This time, Conley found success, with a Top Ten and a Number One single within the next two years. He continued to have success over the next few years, and in 1983, he was nominated for multiple Grammy Awards for his song “Holding Her and Loving You”. He set a record the following year as the first artist in any genre to have four Number One singles from the same album.

In 1986, Conley was credited with breaking down country music barriers when he duet with pop/R&B singer Anita Pointer of the Grammy-winning Pointer Sisters. Their single, “Too Many Times,” the title track to Conley’s 1986 album, reached #2 on the Country charts.

By the end of the 1980s, Conley began collaborating with Randy Scruggs (son of country singer Earl Scruggs), in the hopes that he could bring his music back to his country roots. His record sales began to drop in the 1990s, as country took a more, progressive turn, and Conley was dropped from his record label in 1992.

He took a seven-year recording hiatus between 1991 and 1997 due to a number of factors, including vocal problems, disenchantment with record label politics, road fatigue, and mental burnout. He began recording again in 1998. In late 2013, Conley gave a telephone interview with Pods o’ Pop. Conley recalls that he may be the only country artist to appear on the Soul Train television program (he performed his duet with Pointer) and goes into detail about the string of hits Randy Scruggs and he co-wrote.

In 2002, Blake Shelton charted in the Top 20 with “All Over Me,” which Conley co-wrote with Shelton and longtime friend, songwriter Michael Pyle.

Earl died on April 10, 2019, at 77 years old from complications of dementia – Wikipedia

In Memoriam: Mark Hollis (1955 – 2019)

February 27, 2019
Editor In Chief

Mark David Hollis (January 4,1955 – February 25, 2019) was an English musician and singer-songwriter. He achieved commercial success and critical acclaim in the 1980s and 1990s as the co-founder, lead singer and principal songwriter of the band Talk Talk. Hollis wrote or co-wrote most of Talk Talk’s music, including hits like “It’s My Life” and “Life’s What You Make It”, and increasingly developed an influential experimental and contemplative style.

Beginning in 1981 as a synth-pop group with a New Romantic image, Talk Talk’s sound became increasingly adventurous under Hollis’s direction. For their third album, The Colour of Spring (1986), Talk Talk adopted an art pop sound that won critical and commercial favour; it remains their biggest commercial success. The band’s final two albums, Spirit of Eden (1988) and Laughing Stock (1991), were radical departures from their early work, taking influence from jazz, folk, classical and experimental music. While they were commercial failures in their own time, these albums have come to be seen as early landmarks of post-rock music.

After Talk Talk disbanded in 1992, Hollis returned to music in 1998 with a self-titled solo album, which continued the direction of Talk Talk’s sound but in a more minimal, spare, acoustic style. Following the release of his only solo album, Hollis largely retired from the recording industry.

Hollis died, aged 64, in February 2019 after a short illness.

In Memoriam: Peter Tork (1942 – 2019)

February 21, 2019
Editor In Chief

Peter Halsten Thorkelson (February 13, 1942 – February 21, 2019), better known as Peter Tork, was an American musician and actor, best known as the keyboardist and bass guitarist of the Monkees.

On March 3, 2009, Tork reported on his website that he had been diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare, slow-growing form of head and neck cancer. A preliminary biopsy discovered that the cancer had not spread beyond the initial site. “It’s a bad news / good news situation,” explained Tork. “It’s so rare a combination (on the tongue) that there isn’t a lot of experience among the medical community about this particular combination. On the other hand, the type of cancer it is, never mind the location, is somewhat well known, and the prognosis, I’m told, is good.” Tork underwent radiation treatment to prevent the cancer from returning.

On March 4, 2009, Tork underwent extensive surgery in New York City, which was successful.

On June 11, 2009, a spokesman for Tork reported that his cancer had returned. Tork was reportedly “shaken but not stirred” by the news, and said that the doctors had given him an 80% chance of containing and shrinking the new tumor.

In July 2009, while undergoing radiation therapy, he was interviewed by the Washington Post: “I recovered very quickly after my surgery, and I’ve been hoping that my better-than-average constitution will keep the worst effects of radiation at bay. My voice and energy still seem to be in decent shape, so maybe I can pull these gigs off after all.” He continued to tour and perform while receiving his treatments.

On September 15, 2009, Tork received an “all clear” from his doctor.

Tork documented his cancer experience on Facebook and encouraged his fans to support research efforts of the Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation.

Tork, a blues and folk musician who became a teeny-bopper sensation as a member of the Monkees, the wisecracking, made-for-TV pop group that imitated and briefly outsold the Beatles, died Feb. 21. He was 77.

The death was announced by his official Facebook page.

In Memoriam: James Ingram (1952 – 2019)

January 29, 2019
Editor In Chief

James Edward Ingram (February 16, 1952 – January 29, 2019) was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and instrumentalist. He was a two-time Grammy Award-winner and a two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Original Song.

Since beginning his career in 1973, Ingram had charted eight Top 40 hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart from the early 1980s until the early 1990s, as well as thirteen top 40 hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In addition, he charted 20 hits on the Adult Contemporary chart (including two number-ones). He had two number-one singles on the Hot 100: the first, a duet with fellow R&B artist Patti Austin, 1982’s “Baby, Come to Me” topped the U.S. pop chart in 1983; “I Don’t Have the Heart”, which became his second number-one in 1990 was his only number-one as a solo artist. In between these hits, he also recorded the song “Somewhere Out There” with fellow recording artist Linda Ronstadt for the animated film An American Tail. The song and the music video both became gigantic hits. Ingram co-wrote “The Day I Fall in Love”, from the motion picture Beethoven’s 2nd (1993), and singer Patty Smyth’s “Look What Love Has Done”, from the motion picture Junior (1994), which earned him nominations for Best Original Song from the Oscars, Golden Globes, and Grammy Awards in 1994 and 1995.

Ingram died on January 29, 2019, from brain cancer, aged 66, at his home in Los Angeles. Choreographer–actress Debbie Allen announced his death on her official Twitter page.

In Memoriam: Larry Cunningham (1951 – 2019)

January 15, 2019
Editor In Chief

TUCSON (CelebrityAccess) Larry Cunningham, 67, singer for the R&B group The Floaters, has died.

The Floaters had one crossover hit, “Float On,” filled with astrological signs and cheesy pickup lines. The group evolved from The Detroit Emeralds, formed in 1968, and “Float On” was a 1977 release. The band recorded the song in a garage recording studio.

Cunningham had reportedly been suffering from health problems for years and was hospitalized with chest pains in December.

For more :  https://www.soultracks.com/story-larry-cunningham-dieshttp://djrobblog.com/archives/7577

In Memoriam: Whitey Shafer (1934 – 2019)

January 13, 2019
Editor In Chief

Sanger D. “Whitey” Shafer (October 24, 1934 – January 12, 2019) was an American country songwriter and musician. He wrote numerous hits for stars such as George Jones, Lefty Frizzell, and George Strait.

Born and raised in Whitney, Texas, Shafer’s musical career began in his hometown of Whitney where he played in a school band. In the following years he toured the U.S., performing with, among others, the then-unknown Willie Nelson. In 1967 Shafer moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he signed with the Blue Crest Music Publishing Company. There he wrote two songs for George Jones, “Between My House and Home” and “I’m a New Man in Town”, along with many other tunes for lesser-known acts. Shafer signed contracts with Musicor and RCA as a singer, but he was never as successful as he was as a songwriter.

In the early 1970s Shafer signed an exclusive contract with Acuff-Rose Music. In the following years he wrote many songs which went on to become successful on the U.S. country charts, including several No. 1’s. His songs included “The Baptism of Jesse Taylor” for Johnny Russell, “Tell Me Lying Eyes Are Wrong” for George Jones, and a series of hits for Moe Bandy. He had a longstanding friendship with Lefty Frizzell, whom he had met at his record label. He and Frizzell wrote the song “That’s the Way Love Goes” together, a hit for Johnny Rodriguez and also Merle Haggard in 1983; they also wrote “I Never Go Around Mirrors” (which Frizzell recorded in 1973 and turned into a top 25 country hit a year later) and “Bandy the Rodeo Clown” for Moe Bandy, which became a major hit shortly after Frizzell’s 1975 death. After Frizzell’s death Shafer wrote the tribute song “Lefty’s Gone” recorded by George Strait for his Something Special album.

Three divorces helped him with his song writing in the 1980s when Shafer wrote “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” (1985; with Darlene Shafer) and “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” (1987; with his fourth wife Lyndia J.). Both of these were No. 1 hits for George Strait, and both were nominated for CMA’s Song of the Year.[3] “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” was also nominated for a Grammy Award, for Best Country Song (lost to: Paul Overstreet & Don Schlitz for “Forever and Ever, Amen”).

In the middle of the 1980s Shafer released two albums, I Never Go Around Mirrors and So Good for So Long, containing his greatest hits. In 1989 Keith Whitley chose the Shafer penned, “I Wonder Do You Think of Me”, as the title track and the first single released after Whitley’s death and went to No. 1. Also in 1989 Shafer was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Shafer continued to write for musicians such as John Michael Montgomery, Lee Ann Womack, and Kenny Chesney. In 2004, Shafer’s recording of “All My Ex’s Live In Texas” appeared on the soundtrack to the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. – Wikipedia

In Memoriam: Daryl Dragon (1942 – 2019)

January 3, 2019
Editor In Chief

(CNN) Daryl Dragon, one half of popular ’70s duo The Captain & Tennille, died Wednesday, according to his publicist Harlan Boll. He was 76.

Dragon, whose ever-present captain’s hat left no doubt about which half of the duo he was, died of renal failure in Prescott, Arizona, Boll said. “He was a brilliant musician with many friends who loved him greatly,” Toni Tennille said in a statement. “I was at my most creative in my life when I was with him.”

Tennille was at Dragon’s side when he passed away, Boll said.

The duo’s best-known songs included “Muskrat Love,” “Do That to Me One More Time” and “Love Will Keep Us Together.”

Dragon, a classically trained pianist, was most at home behind the keyboard. One of his early gigs was as a backup musician for the Beach Boys in the mid-’60s.

Dragon and Tennille met in 1971 when she hired him to play piano for a musical called “Mother Earth.” They married in 1975, a year after they signed a deal with A&M Records. Their first album produced the hit single “Love Will Keep Us Together,” which enjoyed multiple weeks atop the Billboard chart.

Dragon and Tennille separated in 2013 and finalized their divorce in 2014. They remained close friends.
Dragon is survived by his older brother, Doug Dragon, and two nieces, Kelly Arbout and Renee Henn.
Boll asked that any donations being made in Dragon’s name be made to organizations doing research into brain diseases and conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease or post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Captain & Tennille were American recording artists whose primary success occurred in the 1970s. The husband-and-wife duo were “Captain” Daryl Dragon (August 27, 1942 – January 2, 2019) and Toni Tennille (born May 8, 1940). They have five albums certified gold or platinum and scored numerous hits on the US singles charts, the most enduring of which included “Love Will Keep Us Together”, “Do That to Me One More Time”, and “Muskrat Love”. They hosted their own television variety series on ABC in 1976–77.

In 1972, Toni Tennille was the co-writer of an ecology-themed musical, Mother Earth. At that time, Daryl Dragon (son of composer Carmen Dragon) was working as a keyboardist for the Beach Boys. When Tennille’s show was preparing to move from San Francisco’s Marines Memorial Theatre to Southern California’s South Coast Repertory, a call was put out for a replacement keyboardist. Dragon was between tours when he heard about the opening, met Tennille in San Francisco to audition, and landed the gig.

Dragon later reciprocated by recommending Tennille to the Beach Boys when the band needed an additional keyboardist, and they hired her. She toured with them for a year, and has since been known as The Beach Boys’ one and only “Beach Girl.”

Realizing their collaborative potential when the tour was over, Tennille and Dragon began performing as a duo at the now-defunct Smokehouse Restaurant in Encino, California. They started to become popular in the Los Angeles area, and their early version of the Tennille-penned “The Way I Want to Touch You” became popular on a local radio station. This led to a recording contract with A&M Records.

Their first hit single, a rendition of Neil Sedaka’s and Howard Greenfield’s “Love Will Keep Us Together”, reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart nine weeks after its 1975 debut, and went on to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. It sold over 1 million copies and was awarded a Gold disc by the RIAA on July 1, 1975. Tennille paid tribute to Sedaka in the recording when she sang the overdub “Sedaka is back” at the outro. The duo successfully mined the Sedaka songbook a number of times over their chartmaking career. Two of their other hit singles were the Sedaka co-writes “Lonely Night (Angel Face)” and “You Never Done It Like That”. Their Spanish recording of “Love Will Keep Us Together”, “Por Amor Viviremos”, also charted in 1975; it was the first time two versions of the same single charted simultaneously. Tennille and Dragon included renditions of several other Sedaka songs on their albums.

Tennille and Dragon married on November 11, 1975 (not on Valentine’s Day 1974, as is often erroneously reported, for example, on the February 14, 1976 edition of Casey Kasem’s American Top 40).

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