Fred Parris, the songwriter whose “In The Still of the Night” became one of doo-wop’s most memorable songs, has died at age 85 after what was termed a brief illness. The group’s Facebook page announced his death Friday, although it is unclear when he died. .
“The Five Satins family is devastated by this loss but appreciative of having shared Fred’s music with thousands of fans and friends,” the group said.
The song didn’t chart highly upon its first release, but grew in the years after to personify the era of vocal groups thanks to constant radio airplay. It has been recorded by such artists as Boyz II Men and Debbie Gibson, and has been featured in such films as The Buddy Holly Story, Dirty Dancing and The Irishman. The group noted Parris’ classic song “has been recognized as one of the greatest love songs of all-time and the number one requested song of the doo-wop era.”
“In the Still of the Night” is sometimes stylized as “In the Still of the Nite” to avoid confusion with a 1937 Cole Porter song with the same title.
Parris grew up in New Haven, Conn. and wrote the song’s lyrics while on guard duty for the US Army in Philadelphia. The song was recorded in New Haven in February 1956. It is ranked at No. 90 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time. It is also a perennial winner of oldies radio countdowns, and was part of a Dirty Dancing soundtrack that sold 10 million copies.
It is also the only song to have charted on the Billboard Hot 100 three separate times by the same artist with the same version each time.
Jonathan G. Lind (1948 – January 15, 2022), professionally known as Jon Lind, was an American songwriter and performer.
Lind, was raised in New York City. He studied classical guitar at the Mannes College of Music. His first break was in the 1970s where he worked with Bob Cavallo. At this period he met producer and visionary Maurice White who recorded his songs with Ramsey Lewis and Earth, Wind and Fire. He was also a member of the band Howdy Moon and The Fifth Avenue Band. He has written songs for soulful artists such as The Emotions, Jennifer Holliday, D.J. Rogers, Atlantic Starr and Ramsey Lewis. In 1984, Lind signed with Warner Brothers. He was a Senior Vice President of A&R at Hollywood Records. Lind died from cancer on January 15, 2022, at the age of 73.
(Detroit News) Jakkar Aimery Melody Baetens The Detroit News
Rachel Nagy of the rock band the Detroit Cobras has died, according to bandmate Greg Cartwright.
The death was announced Saturday in a statement posted on the group’s Instagram page.
“There are no words to fully articulate our grief as we remember a life cut short, still vital and inspirational to all who knew and loved her,” Cartwright said. “More than just a performer, she embodied the spirit of the music itself and vaulted it to new heights with her own deeply affecting vocal power.”
The cause of death has not been released.
The band’s show at El Club in Detroit, originally scheduled for Jan. 1, was pushed back to Feb. 19 due to a surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the group’s Instagram.
Cartwright said the band will post more information on their page once arrangements to pay tribute and memorialize Nagy have been finalized by the family.
Nagy, whose age wasn’t given, has led the Cobras on stage since the mid-1990s, and the band is known for covering obscure soul and R&B gems. The five piece had frequent lineup changes, but the core of the band was Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez.
The Detroit Cobras recorded for independent labels throughout the late 1990s and 2000s, including Sympathy for the Record Industry where they were labelmates with the White Stripes. Later the White Stripes’ Jack White would release material by the Cobras on his own Third Man Records label.
“In both her voice and personality, Rachel Nagy was the perfect balance of tough badass and absolute sweetheart,” reads a statement from Third Man Records.
“From the earliest White Stripes shows at the Magic Stick in Detroit through the Third Man 10th anniversary show in Nashville, Rachel and the Detroit Cobras have been a consistent inspiring presence in our world for nearly 25 years. We will truly miss the sound of her room-filling laughter, her no bull—- honesty, and her true friendship. Rest in power.”
(Wikipedia) The Detroit Cobras signed with Sympathy for the Record Industry and released their first full-length album, Mink, Rat or Rabbit, in 1998. After a three-year gap, they released a second album, Life, Love and Leaving. The two albums consisted entirely of cover versions of popular songs from the 1960s. Their retro-garage rock formula proved popular in the UK and prompted the London-based Rough Trade Records to sign the band. They released an EP, Seven Easy Pieces, in 2003 and their third full-length album, Baby, in 2004. Baby broke with the Cobras’ tradition in that it included one original song, “Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat)”. Baby was picked up for release in the US by Bloodshot (who added the songs from the Seven Easy Pieces EP to the end of Baby. In April 2007, Bloodshot released the band’s fourth full-length, Tied & True.
The band was known for multiple lineup changes. They generally had a touring lineup different from their recording lineup. Greg Cartwright of Reigning Sound (aka Greg Oblivian of The Oblivians) was a constant creative force along with Nagy and Ramirez, who were around from the group’s genesis.
In the summer of 2008, The Detroit Cobras went on tour in support of X on their 13×31 tour. For the summer of 2009, The Detroit Cobras headlined a tour w/ the Dex Romweber Duo in support.
Dallas Frazier (October 27, 1939 – January 14, 2022) was an American country musician and songwriter who had success in the 1950s and 1960s.
Frazier was born in Spiro, Oklahoma, United States, but was raised in Bakersfield, California. As a teenager, he played with Ferlin Husky and on the program Hometown Jamboree; and released his first single, “Space Command”, at age 14 in 1954. As he told writer Edd Hurt in a 2008 profile for the music website Perfect Sound Forever, “We were part of The Grapes of Wrath. We were the Okies who went out to California with mattresses tied on the tops of their Model A Fords. My folks were poor. At twelve I moved away from home, with my folks’ permission. Ferlin [Husky] offered me a job, and I started working with him when I was twelve. Then I recorded a side for Capitol Records when I was fourteen, and I did some country. I cut in the big circular building that’s still out there on Hollywood and Vine.”
Frazier’s 1957 song “Alley Oop”, later taken to No. 1 in the US by The Hollywood Argyles, was his first hit. After Hometown Jamboree went off the air, Frazier moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and found work as a songwriter. Among his early successes was “Timber I’m Falling”, a hit for Husky in 1964, and “There Goes My Everything”, a big hit for Jack Greene in 1966, that earned him a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.
In 1966, he released his solo debut album Elvira, containing his song “Elvira”. His follow-up, Tell It Like It Is (1967), was also a success.
While his singing success was limited, Frazier became an oft-covered songwriter. His tunes were recorded by O.C. Smith, George Jones (who recorded an entire album of Frazier’s songs in 1968), Diana Ross, Engelbert Humperdinck, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jack Greene, Connie Smith (who also recorded an entire album of Frazier’s songs in 1972), Willie Nelson, Brenda Lee, Carola, Charley Pride, Merle Haggard, Gene Watson, Elvis Presley, Moe Bandy, Roy Head, Charlie Louvin, Rodney Crowell, Dan McCafferty, Poco, and Ronnie Hawkins. In 1970, Frazier earned his second Grammy nomination for Best Country Song, which is awarded to the songwriter rather than the performer, for “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me), which became a No. 1 hit for Charley Pride. Many of the songs became hits into the 1980s; examples include the Oak Ridge Boys cover of “Elvira” and Emmylou Harris’s version of “Beneath Still Waters”. The cover of “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys was a crossover hit, peaking at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart and No. 5 on the all genre Billboard Hot 100; and earned Frazier his third Grammy nomination for Best Country song. Anne Murray with Glen Campbell, George Strait, Randy Travis, and Patty Loveless have all also recorded Frazier tunes. Frazier himself charted eight times on the U.S. country chart.
He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976.
In 1988, Frazier left the music industry and became a minister.
Frazier died on January 14, 2022, from complications of a stroke suffered late 2021.
Walter Ralph Emery (March 10, 1933 – January 15, 2022) was an American country music disc jockey and television host from Nashville, Tennessee. He gained national fame hosting the syndicated television music series, Pop! Goes the Country, from 1974 to 1980 and the nightly Nashville Network television program, Nashville Now, from 1983 to 1993. From 2007 to 2015, Emery hosted the weekly program, Ralph Emery Live, on RFD-TV, a satellite and cable television channel devoted to rural American culture.
A statement from the Emery family says Ralph died peacefully Saturday morning at TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, surrounded by family. Emery leaves behind his wife Joy, three sons, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Richard Dean Taylor (May 11, 1939 – January 7, 2022) was a Canadian musician, most notable as a singer, songwriter, and record producer for Motown during the 1960s and 1970s. According to Jason Ankeny, Taylor was “one of the most underrated acts ever to record under the Motown aegis.”
As a singer, American audiences know Taylor best for his chart-topping 1970 hit “Indiana Wants Me”, which hit No. 1 in Cash Box in the United States and was also No. 1 in Canada and No. 2 in the UK. It peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. He became well known in the United Kingdom for other hits, including “Gotta See Jane” and “There’s a Ghost in My House”.
Taylor died at home on January 7, 2022, at the age of 82. He had been ill since contracting COVID-19 the previous year. At the time of his death he had been married for 52 years to his wife Janee.
Sonny Turner (September 24, 1938 – January 13, 2022) was an American singer. Turner hailed from Fairmont, West Virginia, and was best known for replacing Tony Williams as lead singer of The Platters.
Prior to his work with The Platters, Turner was the lead singer of a local vocal group called The Metrotones. While performing in a local club in Cleveland as the opening act for Redd Foxx, Turner was approached by local DJ Bill Crane and asked if he would be interested in auditioning for The Platters, as their lead singer as Tony Williams was soon to be leaving the group. Turner was chosen out of 100 hopeful auditions to replace Williams in late 1959. Turner, whose friend and mentor was Jackie Wilson, breathed new life into The Platters with three hit singles; “I Love You 1000 Times” in 1966, “With This Ring” in 1967 and “Washed Ashore” in 1968. He also re-recorded many of The Platters hits of the 1950s, and it is Turner’s vocals that are heard on the soundtracks for films such as The Nutty Professor 2 and Hearts in Atlantis. Turner died from throat cancer in Los Angeles on January 13, 2022, at the age of 82.
John Burke Shelley (April 10, 1950 – January 10, 2022) was a Welsh musician and singer-songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist and bassist of the rock band Budgie.
In 1967, Shelly co-founded the band Hills Contemporary Grass with Tony Bourge on guitar and vocals and Ray Phillips on drums. The following year they changed their name to Budgie.
Shelley is often compared to Rush bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee, as they both share the position of bassist/vocalist in power trio bands, both have distinctive high pitched singing voices, and during the mid to late 1970s they bore a striking resemblance to one other, with long straight hair and large glasses. Both vocalists possessed a high tenor vocal range, but unlike Lee, who is a fingerstylist, Shelley played bass with a guitar pick. In addition to singing and playing bass for the group, Shelley also performed keyboards on its early albums, most notably Mellotron on “Young Is a World” from their second album Squawk.
Budgie’s November 2010 tour of Eastern Europe had to be cancelled as Shelley was hospitalised on 9 November in Wejherowo, Poland, with a 6 cm aortic aneurysm. After surgery, he returned to Britain for recovery, but no decision about the future of the band had been made. By the time of his death in 2022, Budgie were considered disbanded or on hiatus, having not performed or recorded since Shelley’s hospitalisation.
Shelley had claimed that, following the operation, he found it hard to simultaneously sing and play bass guitar for long periods. Nevertheless, he continued to play bass (with occasional backing vocal duties) in rock and pop covers bands based in South Wales.
Shelley was a father of four children: Ela, Osian, Dimitri and Nathaniel. In the final years of his life, Shelley suffered from Stickler syndrome, and on two occasions had an aortic aneurysm. Shelley died in his sleep at the Heath Hospital on 10 January 2022, at the age of 71.
Guitarist Bruce Anderson was a co-founder of art-rockers MX-80 Sound, who later changed its name to MX-80. He was also a member of that group’s offshoots, O-Type and the Gizzards. Anderson co-founded MX-80 Sound in Indiana in the mid-’70s, along with bassist Dale Sophiea and drummer Jeff Armour. Flying the banner of Beefheartean weirdness, the group put out several releases during the remainder of the ’70s and into the early ’80s. When MX-80 dissolved for a time, Anderson kept busy with O-Type and the Gizzards, ventures in which Sophiea joined him. Sophiea also played a valuable role in Anderson’s solo work, producing Anderson’s albums of densely layered guitar experimentation and Robert Fripp-like improvisation. Anderson’s 1995 full-length album Brutality collected tracks from his two late-’80s cassette releases and also featured some new material. Meanwhile, the members of MX-80 had reunited in 1987, remaining active well into the ’90s. (Ctsy – AllMusic)
Veronica Greenfield (born Veronica Yvette Bennett; August 10, 1943 – January 12, 2022), known as Ronnie Spector, was an American singer who formed the girl group the Ronettes in 1957 with her elder sister Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley. Bennett fronted the group while record producer Phil Spector produced the majority of their output. The two were married in 1968 and separated in 1972.
Bennett sang lead on the Ronettes’ string of hits in the early-to-mid–1960s, including “Be My Baby” (1963), “Baby, I Love You” (1963), “The Best Part of Breakin’ Up” (1964), and “Walking in the Rain” (1964). In 1964, she launched a solo career with the single “So Young”. After 1980, she released five studio albums: Siren (1980), Unfinished Business (1987), Something’s Gonna Happen (2003), Last of the Rock Stars (2006), and English Heart (2016). Bennett also recorded one extended play, She Talks to Rainbows (1999). In 1986, she experienced a career resurgence when she was featured on Eddie Money’s song “Take Me Home Tonight”.
Bennett was sometimes referred to as the original “bad girl of rock and roll”. In 1990, she published a memoir, Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, Or, My Life as a Fabulous Ronette. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Ronettes.
Bennett and Phil Spector began having an affair soon after she was signed to his label in 1963. Early in their relationship, she was unaware that he was married. Once, Bennett was busted by house detectives for prostitution at the Delmonico hotel in New York City after leaving a room they had booked. She was allowed to call Spector, who threatened the hotel, and then they allowed her leave. After Spector divorced his wife in 1965, he purchased a home in Beverly Hills, where he lived with Bennett.
They married at Beverly Hills City Hall on April 14, 1968. Bennett changed her surname and became known as Ronnie Spector. Their son Donté Phillip was adopted in 1969. Two years later, Phil surprised her with adopted twins, Louis and Gary, for Christmas.
Spector revealed in her 1990 memoir, Be My Baby, that after they married, Phil subjected her to years of psychological torment and sabotaged her career by forbidding her to perform. He surrounded their house with barbed wire and guard dogs, and confiscated her shoes to prevent her from leaving. On the rare occasions he allowed her out alone, she had to drive with a life-size dummy of Phil. Spector stated that Phil installed a gold coffin with a glass top in the basement, promising that he would kill her and display her corpse if she ever left him. She began drinking and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to escape the house.
In 1972, Spector fled their mansion barefoot and without any belongings with the help of her mother. “I knew that if I didn’t leave I was going to die there,” she said. In their 1974 divorce settlement, Ronnie forfeited all future record earnings after Phil threatened to have a hit man kill her. She received $25,000, a used car, and monthly alimony of $2,500 for five years. Spector later testified that Phil had frequently pulled a gun on her during their marriage and threatened to kill her unless she surrendered custody of their children.
Spector tried to rebuild her career, keeping his surname professionally because “I needed any way I could to get back in, I’d been kept away so long.” But Phil hired lawyers to prevent her singing her classic hit songs and denied her royalties. In 1988, Spector and the other Ronettes sued Phil for $10 million in damages, rescission of the contract, the return of the masters, and recoupment of money received from the sale of Ronettes masters. It took 10 years for the case to make it to trial, and after a prolonged legal battle, Phil was ordered to pay Spector over 1 million dollars in royalties.
In 1982, Spector married her manager Jonathan Greenfield. They lived in the area of Danbury, Connecticut with their two sons, Austin Drew and Jason Charles.
Spector died on January 12, 2022 from cancer, aged 78.
Michael Lang (December 11, 1944 – January 8, 2022) was an American concert promoter, producer, and artistic manager who was best known as a co-creator of the Woodstock Music & Art Festival in 1969. Lang served as the event’s organizer, as well as the organizer for follow-ups Woodstock ’94 and the ill-fated Woodstock ’99.
Lang was born in Brooklyn to a Jewish family. In 1967, Lang dropped out of New York University and moved to Coconut Grove, Florida, to open a head shop. In 1968, after promoting a series of concert events in the Miami area, Lang (with Marshall Brevetz) produced the 1968 Pop & Underground Festival. It drew around 25,000 people on day one (May 18) and featured Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, John Lee Hooker, Arthur Brown, and Blue Cheer. On the afternoon of the second day (May 19) it started to rain and the event ended early.
Lang also was a sculptor. He had five children and one grandchild. His first wife, vocalist Ann Lang, toured as a backup singer with Joe Cocker and Leon Russell from 1978 to 1982.
Lang died from a rare form of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, on January 8, 2022, at the age of 77.
James Forman (January 3, 1946 – January 9, 2022), better known by his stage name James Mtume, was an American jazz and R&B musician, songwriter, record producer, activist, and radio personality.
He came to prominence as a jazz musician, working with Miles Davis between 1971 and 1975. Mtume’s R&B group, also called Mtume, is best known for the 1983 R&B hit song “Juicy Fruit”, which has been repeatedly sampled. Mtume the band also had a top-five R&B hit with the single “You, Me, and He”.
Forman was born and raised in South Philadelphia. He was the son of jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath, but was raised by his stepfather, a Philadelphia local jazz pianist, James “Hen Gates” Forman. Mtume grew up in a musical environment with jazz musicians frequenting his parents’ house. He learned to play piano and percussion; however, from his teenage years he was pursuing athletics as a swimmer, having achieved the title of the first black Middle Atlantic AAU champion in the backstroke, and in 1966 he entered Pasadena City College on a swimming scholarship.
In 1966, Mtume joined the US Organization, a Black empowerment group founded by Hakim Jamal and Maulana Karenga, while a student at Pasadena City College. Mtume received his name, which means “messenger” in Swahili, from Karenga who gave members of the organization names to match their personality traits. He was part of that group that celebrated the first Kwanzaa in 1966. In 1967 he co-edited The Quotable Karenga with Clyde Halisi, which has been called “the best expression of Karenga’s ideas”. Mtume left the US Organization in 1969.
Mtume made two albums, Kawaida and Alekebulan: Land of the Blacks, intended to merge jazz and cultural identity. Kawaida, which was recorded in December 1969, was Mtume’s professional debut. He contributed four out of five compositions and was credited with naming the album which means “norm” in Swahili and represented the practice and philosophy of pan-African identity. Performers on the album included Don Cherry, Herbie Hancock, Biily Bonner and his uncle Albert Heath.
After his return from the West Coast he moved to New York and had his first gigs as a sideman for McCoy Tyner (Asante album), Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis, whose group he wound up joining and playing in for the next few years. He and Mtume band member, fellow musician Reggie Lucas both won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song for writing and producing fellow R&B artist Stephanie Mills’ top-ten hit “Never Knew Love Like This Before”, for which she also won a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
He also worked as a session musician with Players Association, and did on-air radio personality work at New York City’s KISS 98.7 FM. As a songwriter, Mtume wrote hits for various artists such as Phyllis Hyman, Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Stephanie Mills, R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, Teddy Pendergrass, Inner City, as well as being lead songwriter for his own band Mtume.
In July 2018, Mtume filed a lawsuit against Sony Music/Epic Records, hoping to reclaim the rights for two albums and his hit single “Juicy Fruit”. Mtume claimed to hold the sole copyright of these recordings, while Sony insisted that the albums were made for hire.
Mtume was the father of music producers Damu Mtume and Fa Mtume. He died on January 9, 2022, at the age of 76.
Calvin Eugene Simon (May 22, 1942 – January 6, 2022) was a member of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.
Simon was born in Beckley, West Virginia, United States, and started out in the late 1950s as one of The Parliaments, a doo wop barbershop quintet led by George Clinton. In 1977, Simon (along with other original Parliaments Fuzzy Haskins and Grady Thomas), left Parliament-Funkadelic after financial and management disputes with Clinton. In 1981, the trio caused confusion when they formed a new band, and released an album called Connections and Disconnections under the name Funkadelic. After a return stint with George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars in the 1990s, Thomas, along with original Parliaments bass vocalist Ray Davis (musician), Haskins, and Simon founded Original P.
After a hiatus from the music industry, Simon turned to gospel music and now records for his own label, Simon Says Records. In June 2004 he released an album called Share the News, which reached #32 on the “Billboard” Top Gospel Albums chart.
Ana Bejerano, soloist of the Spanish group Mocedades after replacing the mythical Amaya Uranga, has died at the age of 60.
In 1985 she joined the group Mocedades with the task of replacing Amaya Uranga , who had started her career as a soloist. During her tenure with the group she recorded three albums as the main soloist: You have a friend , Ana y Miguel and Las Palabras . She also recorded the soundtrack for Las 1001 Américas . In 1992 she participated in the album Lilura Urdinak, by Amaya Uranga. In 1994 she left the group.
In 1996 she founded the Txarango group together with two members of Mocedades: Roberto Uranga and José Ipiña; and two other members of Trigo Limpio : Amaya Saizar and Javier Saizar. The new group recorded a single album, Everything has its place under the sky . The departure of the two former members of Trigo Limpio and Roberto Uranga, and the arrival of guitarist Luis Mateos led the group to be renamed Txarango Trío . With this group they performed for several years mainly in the Basque Country .
In 2012 she formed a jazz quartet under the name of Ana Bejerano Concept. In 2019 she returned, together with Javier Garay, to Mocedades, with whom she was performing on the tour held on the occasion of the group’s 50th anniversary.
She died on the morning of January 2, 2022 at the Urdúliz Hospital (Vizcaya), at the age of sixty, due to a serious problem in the digestive system for which he had been admitted on December 11.