Tag: In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Biz Markie (1964 – 2021)

Marcel Theo Hall (April 8, 1964 – July 16, 2021), better known by his stage name Biz Markie, was an American rapper, singer, DJ, record producer, actor, comedian, and writer. He is best known for his 1989 single “Just a Friend”, which became a Top 40 hit in several countries. In 2008, “Just a Friend” made No. 100 on VH1’s list of the 100 greatest hip hop songs of all time.

Markie has been called the “Clown Prince of Hip Hop”.

In April 2020, he was hospitalized due to complications from Type 2 diabetes. As of July 2020, his wife and family have not commented publicly on his condition. In December 2020, it was reported that Markie was staying in a rehabilitation facility as a result of a stroke he had suffered after going into a diabetic coma.

On July 1, 2021, rumors of his death circulated on Twitter. His representative told Rolling Stone, “The news of Biz Markie’s passing is not true, Biz is still under medical care, surrounded by professionals who are working hard to provide the best healthcare possible.”

Biz Markie died on July 16, 2021 at age 57.

In Memoriam: B.J. Thomas (1942 – 2021)

Billy Joe Thomas (August 7, 1942 – May 29, 2021) was an American singer widely known as B. J. Thomas for his pop, country, and Christian hits of the 1960s and 1970s. He made popular recordings of “Hooked on a Feeling” (1968), “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” (1969) and “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” (1975).

During the 1980s, his success on the pop charts began to wane, but many of his singles reached the upper regions on the country singles chart, including two 1983 chart toppers, “Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love” and “New Looks from an Old Lover”, as well as “Two Car Garage”, which reached number three on the country charts. In 1981, on his 39th birthday, Thomas became the 60th member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Thomas scored another hit, recording “As Long as We Got Each Other”, the theme to the television series Growing Pains. The first-season theme was a solo for Thomas, but was re-recorded as a duet with Jennifer Warnes for the second and third seasons. It was re-recorded again for the show’s fourth season with British singer Dusty Springfield, but the Thomas/Warnes version was reinstated for season five and some of season seven. Thomas first released this track on his 1985 album Throwing Rocks at the Moon (Columbia Records).

Thomas also authored two books including the autobiography Home Where I Belong, and starred in the movies Jory and Jake’s Corner. Several commercial jingles, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Bell Telephone, have featured his singing voice and music. On December 31, 2011, Thomas was the featured halftime performer at the 2011 Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

On April 2, 2013, Thomas released The Living Room Sessions, an album with acoustic arrangements of well-known hits. It features guest appearances with established and emerging vocalists accompanying Thomas on seven of the album’s twelve tracks.

On December 3, 2013, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced that his 1969 single “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” would be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Thomas among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

Thomas was married to singer-songwriter Gloria Richardson since December 1968. They have three daughters: Paige (born 1970), Nora (adopted from North Korea in 1978), and Erin (born in 1979). Shortly after Thomas’s career began, he became dependent on drugs and alcohol, which led to his marriage nearly ending. On January 28, 1976, Thomas became a Christian, less than a month after Gloria did. Most press sources indicated that Thomas had been sober since he and Gloria reconciled in 1976.

On March 23, 2021, Thomas announced on his official Facebook page that he had stage IV lung cancer and was being treated in Texas. He died approximately nine weeks later on May 29 at his home in Arlington, Texas, at the age of 78.

Saturday 5/8/21 11am ET: Feature Artist: Lloyd Price

Lloyd Price (March 9, 1933 – May 3, 2021) was an American R&B vocalist, known as “Mr. Personality,” after his 1959 million-selling hit, “Personality.” His first recording, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” was a hit for Specialty Records in 1952.

Art Rupe, the owner of Specialty Records, based in Los Angeles, came to New Orleans in 1952 to record the distinctive style of rhythm and blues developing there, which had been highly successful for his competitor Imperial Records. Rupe heard Price’s song “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” and wanted to record it. Because Price did not have a band, Rupe hired Dave Bartholomew to create the arrangements and Bartholomew’s band (plus Fats Domino on piano) to back Price in the recording session. The song was a massive hit. His next release, “Oooh, Oooh, Oooh,” cut at the same session, was a much smaller hit. Price continued making recordings for Specialty, but none of them reached the charts at that time.

In 1954, he was drafted into the US Army and sent to Korea. When he returned he found he had been replaced by Little Richard. In addition, his former chauffeur, Larry Williams, was also recording for the label, having released “Short Fat Fannie.”

He eventually formed KRC Records with Harold Logan and Bill Boskent. Their first single, “Just Because,” was picked up for distribution by ABC Records. From 1957 to 1959 Price recorded a series of national hits for ABC that successfully adapted the New Orleans sound, including “Stagger Lee” (which topped the Pop and R&B charts and sold over a million copies), “Personality” (which reached number 2), and “I’m Gonna Get Married” (number 3). When Price appeared on the television program American Bandstand to sing “Stagger Lee,” the producer and host of the program, Dick Clark, insisted that he alter the lyrics to tone down its violent content. “Stagger Lee” was Price’s version of an old blues standard, recorded many times previously by other artists. Greil Marcus, in a critical analysis of the song’s history, wrote that Price’s version was an enthusiastic rock rendition, “all momentum, driven by a wailing sax.” In all of these early recordings by Price (“Personality,” “Stagger Lee,” “I’m Gonna Get Married,” and others) Merritt Mel Dalton was the lead sax player; he was also in the traveling band and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show with Price. The personnel on the original hit recording of “Stagger Lee” included Clarence Johnson on piano, John Patton on bass, Charles McClendon and Eddie Saunders on tenor sax, Ted Curson on trumpet and Sticks Simpkins on drums.

In 1962, Price formed Double L Records with Logan. Wilson Pickett got his start on this label. In 1969, Logan was murdered. Price then founded a new label, Turntable, and opened a club by the same name at 1674 Broadway in New York City.

During the 1970s, Price helped the boxing promoter Don King promote fights, including the “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire and its accompanying concert which featured James Brown and B. B. King. He and Don King formed a record label, LPG, which issued Price’s last hit, “What Did You Do With My Love,” to limited success.

Price toured Europe in 1993 with Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Gary U.S. Bonds. He performed with soul legends Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler, and Ben E. King on the “Four Kings of Rhythm and Blues” tour in 2005; concerts were recorded for a DVD and a PBS television special.

On June 20, 2010, he appeared and sang in the season 1 finale of the HBO series Treme. As of 2018 he continued to sing.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Lloyd Price among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

Price and his wife resided in Westchester County, New York. He died on May 3, 2021, aged 88.

Friday 5/7/21: In Memoriam: Lloyd Price (1933 – 2021)

Lloyd Price (March 9, 1933 – May 3, 2021) was an American R&B vocalist, known as “Mr. Personality,” after his 1959 million-selling hit, “Personality.” His first recording, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” was a hit for Specialty Records in 1952. He continued to release records, but none were as popular until several years later, when he refined the New Orleans beat and achieved a series of national hits. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Price was born and raised in Kenner, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. His mother, Beatrice Price, owned the Fish ‘n’ Fry Restaurant. Price picked up lifelong interests in business and food from her. He and his younger brother Leo were both musical.

He had formal training on trumpet and piano, sang in his church’s gospel choir, and was a member of a combo in high school.

Price and his wife resided in Westchester County, New York. He died on May 3, 2021, aged 88.

https://www.soultracks.com/story-lloyd-price-dies

In Memoriam: Jim Steinman (1947 – 2021)

James Richard Steinman (November 1, 1947 – April 19, 2021) was an American composer, lyricist, record producer, and playwright. He also worked as an arranger, pianist and singer. His work included songs in the adult contemporary, rock and roll, dance, pop, musical theater and film score genres. Beginning his career in musical theater, Steinman’s most notable work in the area included lyrics for Whistle Down the Wind and music for Tanz der Vampire.

His work included albums such as Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell (which is one of the best selling albums of all time[3]) and Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, and producing albums for Bonnie Tyler. His most successful chart singles include Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing at All”, Meat Loaf’s “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”, the Sisters of Mercy’s “This Corrosion” and “More”, Barry Manilow’s “Read ‘Em and Weep”, Celine Dion’s cover of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” (originally released by Steinman’s project Pandora’s Box) and Boyzone’s “No Matter What” (the group’s first and only single to be popular and chart in the US). The album Bad for Good was released in his own name in 1981.

Jim Steinman is credited with book, music, and lyrics for Bat Out of Hell: The Musical, which, following a successful preview run in Manchester, had two runs on London’s West End, two runs in Toronto’s Ed Mirvish Theatre, a German-language production in Oberhausen, and a short run at the New York City Center.

Responding to an interviewer’s assertion that his songs are tragic, Steinman said he has “never been stomped on literally. Figuratively, I am stomped on every day … anyway, that is the way I feel sometimes. I’ve never had my heart broken the way you are talking about. I’ve never been dumped… but probably because I don’t allow myself to be dumped.”

At the time of his death, Steinman lived in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Steinman had a stroke in 2004 and temporarily lost the ability to speak. He died from kidney failure at a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, on April 19, 2021, at age 73.

In Memoriam: DMX (1970 – 2021)

DMX (Earl Simmons)

Earl Simmons (December 18, 1970 – April 9, 2021), known by his stage name DMX (“Dark Man X”), was an American rapper, songwriter, and actor. He began rapping in the early 1990s and released his debut album It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot in 1998, to both critical acclaim and commercial success, selling 251,000 copies within its first week of release. He released his best-selling album, … And Then There Was X, in 1999, which included the hit single “Party Up (Up in Here)”. His 2008 single “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” was one of his most popular.

DMX was featured in films such as Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 the Grave and Last Hour. In 2006, he starred in the reality television series DMX: Soul of a Man, which was primarily aired on the BET cable television network. In 2003, he published a book of his memoirs entitled, E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX.

On April 2, 2021, at approximately 11:00 pm, Simmons was rushed to a hospital in White Plains, New York, where he was reported to be in critical condition following a heart attack at his home possibly resulting from an overdose.

On April 3, his attorney, Murray Richman, confirmed Simmons was on life support. Later that day, Richman stated he was off life support and breathing on his own, but he clarified that evening that Simmons remained on life support and he had “been given wrong information”. That same night, tabloid journalism outlet TMZ, who first reported on the hospitalization, stated that Simmons had suffered oxygen deprivation to his brain as paramedics attempted to resuscitate him for 30 minutes. On April 4, Simmons’ former manager, Nakia Walker, stated he was in a “vegetative state” with “lung and brain failure and no current brain activity”. On April 7, his manager, Steve Rifkind, stated Simmons was comatose and that he was set to undergo tests to determine his brain’s functionality which would allow his family to, “determine what’s best from there”.

Simmons was pronounced dead at age 50 on April 9, 2021, according to a statement released by his family.

In Memoriam: Sophie Xeon (1986 – 2021) DJ


Sophie Xeon (September 17, 1986 – January 30 2021), better known mononymously as Sophie (stylized in all caps), was a Scottish musician, record producer, singer, songwriter, and DJ. Known for a brash and “hyperkinetic” take on pop music, Sophie worked closely with artists from the PC Music label, including A.G. Cook and GFOTY, and produced for acts such as Charli XCX, Vince Staples, Kim Petras, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, and Namie Amuro.

Sophie, who initially remained anonymous and later came out as a trans woman, came to prominence with singles such as “Bipp” (2013) and “Lemonade” (2014), which were collected on the 2015 compilation Product. Sophie’s debut album Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides followed in 2018, earning a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album. After Sophie’s accidental death in 2021, Pitchfork called Sophie “the influential British producer who molded electronic music into bracingly original avant-garde pop”.

Sophie was described as a reclusive figure, and remained anonymous for some time, concealing Sophie’s identity in interviews by masking Sophie’s voice or covering parts of Sophie’s body. Early in Sophie’s career, Sophie’s real-life identity was the subject of press speculation. Prior to coming out as a trans woman, some commentators accused Sophie of “feminine appropriation”, on the assumption that Sophie was a man using a female stage name. In a 2013 Pitchfork e-mail interview, when asked about the choice of Sophie as a stage name, Sophie responded: “It tastes good and it’s like moisturizer.”[ At one Boiler Room show, drag performer Ben Woozy was recruited to mime a DJ set while Sophie pretended to be a bodyguard.

The music video for “It’s Okay to Cry”, released in October 2017, was the first time Sophie’s voice and image were used in a release, with Sophie appearing nude from the bust up against a backdrop of clouds. This was widely interpreted as a coming out announcement as a trans woman. Sophie confirmed a trans identity in subsequent interviews, also speaking of feeling boxed-in by labels and describing music as Sophie’s “chosen method of communication” and self-expression. Representatives informed Pitchfork that Sophie preferred not to use gendered or nonbinary pronouns.

Sophie died at around 4 AM local time aged 34, at home in Athens, Greece. Sophie’s death was reportedly caused by slipping and falling from a balcony after climbing up to watch the full moon.

In Memoriam: Hilton Valentine (1943 – 2021) Guitarist


Hilton Stewart Paterson Valentine (May 21, 1943 – January 29, 2021) was an English musician, who was the original guitarist in the Animals.

Valentine was born in North Shields, Northumberland, England, and was influenced by the 1950s skiffle craze. His mother bought him his first guitar in 1956 when he was 13, he taught himself some chords from a book called “Teach Yourself a Thousand Chords”. He continued to develop his musical talent at John Spence Community High School and formed his own skiffle group called the Heppers. They played local gigs and a newspaper described them at the time as, “A young but promising skiffle group”. The Heppers eventually evolved into a rock and roll band, the Wildcats in c. 1959. During this period Valentine played a Futurama III solid guitar, this was the UK brandname of importer Selmer, his next guitar was a Burns Vibra-Artiste which he bought in 1960–61. The Wildcats was a popular band in the Tyneside area getting a lot of bookings for dance halls, working men’s clubs, church halls etc., and it was during this period that they decided to record a 10″ acetate LP titled Sounds of the Wild Cats.

In 1963, the Animals were starting to form and Chas Chandler heard about Hilton Valentine’s wild guitar playing and asked him to join what was then the Alan Price Combo. Eric Burdon was already a member and John Steel joined immediately following Valentine’s arrival. Within a few months, this group changed their name to the Animals.

While the Animals are often remembered most for Burdon’s vocals and Price’s organ, Valentine is credited with the electric guitar arpeggio introduction to the Animals’ 1964 signature song “The House of the Rising Sun”, which inspired countless beginning guitarists. It was played on his Gretsch Tennessean guitar which he bought in Newcastle in early 1962 while he was still with the Wildcats, and a Selmer amplifier. Later, in 1964, Rickenbacker gave him a 1964 Rose Morris guitar to use along with a 12-string model.

Valentine continued to play and record with the Animals, until the first incarnation of the band dissolved in September 1966.

Along with Eric Burdon, Chas Chandler, Alan Price and John Steel, Valentine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Along with the other Animals, Hilton was inducted into Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame in May 2001. He released a new album, It’s Folk ‘n’ Skiffle, Mate! in 2004.

From that release until October 2009 he played throughout New England, New York and South Carolina, with his Skiffledog solo project. As well, from February 2007 to November 2008 Valentine toured with Eric Burdon. In early 2009 he released two basement demo recordings on his MySpace page.

In 2011, Valentine released a new album titled Skiffledog on Coburg Street and a Christmas album with Big Boy Pete Miller ex-Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers titled Merry Skifflemas!.

In his later years, Valentine resided in Connecticut. He died there on at the age of 77.

In Memoriam: Chris Murphy (1954 – 2021) INXS Manager / Entrepreneur

Christopher Mark “CM” Murphy (November 9, 1954 – January 16, 2021) was an Australian music and multimedia entrepreneur. He was the band manager for INXS (late 1979 to June 1995, December 2008 to November 2012) and Models (from late 1984 to mid-1987). He died on 16 January 2021, aged 66.

Murphy continued as a booking agent until late in 1979 when he met with Gary Morris then-manager of Australian rock groups Midnight Oil and INXS. Morris wanted to focus on Midnight Oil and asked Murphy to look after INXS, Murphy recalled: The night Morris offered them to me, I told him I’d take them midway through their third song. I stood there thinking, “This is pretty funky’. This kid up front is pretty weird. This band plays really, really well … What Morris didn’t realise was that I only intended to take them on as their booking agent. I didn’t want to be their manager.

Nevertheless, by 1980 Murphy had “dissolved his rock agency and became manager of the band”. He subsequently hired Gary Grant as the group’s touring manager and by 1982 Grant was his business partner at MMA Management. In July that year Murphy had brokered a deal with Atco Records for INXS after “[he] had made numerous overseas trips setting up contacts”. Grant declared that the “direct signing to a US label was one of the crucial elements in INXS’s success”. In 1983 MMA set up an office in New York and during the next three years either Murphy or Grant spent “10, 11 months of each year there”.

In late 1984 Melbourne-based alternative rock group, Models, were considering breaking up, their label Mushroom Records tempted them with an offer of recording with US producer Reggie Lucas. INXS encouraged Murphy to sign the group to MMA: under his influence Models pursued a more commercial sound to a radio-friendly format. Models relocated to Sydney and long-term member, Andrew Duffield, was forced out of the group by Murphy under “controversial circumstances”.

According to The Canberra Times’ Tony Sarno “in the industry [Grant] and his partner [Murphy] are seen as good operators”. By April 1986 INXS were “selling records overseas. Lots of them. [Grant] delights in telling how INXS, no, MMA Management as well have calculated success in America. He talks quickly, with an authority bordering on aggression”.

Jenny Morris (ex-The Crocodiles, QED) told Stuart Coupe of The Canberra Times that back in 1985 Murphy “rang up and said, ‘Why don’t you come on the road with INXS for a couple of weeks and fill in a bit of time’ … I thought I might as well, and that turned into a two years thing that meant I did two world tours with the band”. Morris had supplied backing vocals on their April 1984 album, The Swing, she performed a duet with INXS’ lead singer, Michael Hutchence on their cover version of “Jackson” (also in April on Dekadance), and toured with them from 1985.

Under the management of Murphy and Grant, INXS went from a Sydney pub band to playing international venues including headlining a show at Wembley Stadium in July 1991 with 74,000 in attendance. INXS sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. Murphy also assisted in the commercial success of Models, which achieved two hits on the Kent Music Report Singles Chart in 1985, “Barbados” (March, No. 2) and “Out of Mind, Out of Sight” (July, No. 1).

During October 1986 Murphy and Grant teamed with fellow managers Jeremy Fabinyi (Mental as Anything), Mark Pope (Jimmy Barnes, Divinyls), and Ken West (I’m Talking) to stage the Australian Made series of concerts. The tour performance order was Mental as Anything, I’m Talking, The Triffids, The Saints, Divinyls, Models, Barnes and INXS. It began in Hobart in December and visited all state capitals ending in Sydney in late January the following year. Although the tour had been announced with claims of Australian mateship and cooperation, arguments ensued between various band managers over the proposed concert series film. Some bands felt they had been coerced into unfavourable tour contracts. The tour ended in a fracas when Murphy and Fabinyi argued backstage in Sydney and came to blows.

In the 1980s Murphy invested in digital broadcasting and music sales but also organic farming. He created a large-scale free range/organic chicken operation and ran a business for daily delivery of organic lamb to restaurants around the world. In 1987 Murphy was rated by BRW magazine as Australian Entrepreneur of the Year In 1988 he established an independent record label, rooART, initially distributed by PolyGram.

Murphy signed Australian acts to rooArt including Crash Politics, The Hummingbirds, Ratcat and You Am I. In June 1991 Ratcat had simultaneous number-one single, “Don’t Go Now”, and album, Blind Love, on the ARIA charts. In 1992 Murphy signed a deal with Time Warner Inc. for international distribution. In February 1995 You Am I had a number-one album with Hi Fi Way.Later rooArt acts included Wendy Matthews (ex-Models) and The Screaming Jets which also helped the label become more commercially popular in Australia. In the 1990s, he sold his publishing company, MMA Music, to PolyGram Music Publishing.

“It is with great sadness that Caroline Murphy and family confirm that Christopher (CM) Mark Murphy, Chairman of Murphy Petrol Group, has today passed away peacefully at his beloved Ballina property ‘Sugar Beach Ranch’ surrounded by his family,” Murphy Petrol Group wrote in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

While no cause of death was provided, the statement noted that Murphy battled Mantle Cell lymphoma.

In Memoriam: Jason Cope (1979 – 2021) Guitarist


Jason Cope, the guitar player for the Southern rock band the Steel Woods and a collaborator with artists like Jamey Johnson and Brent Cobb, has died. He was 42. The group’s publicist confirmed Cope’s death to Rolling Stone.

Cope was an in-demand session guitarist, playing on albums by Lindi Ortega and the Secret Sisters, but he first became visible to country music fans by performing onstage with Johnson for nearly a decade. Nicknamed “Rowdy,” the North Carolina native also played on Johnson’s albums That Lonesome Song and The Guitar Song and co-wrote The Guitar Song track “Can’t Cash My Checks.”

In 2016, Cope founded the Steel Woods with singer Wes Bayliss in Nashville. The group released their debut album, Straw in the Wind, in 2017, and followed it up with 2019’s Old News. Both albums mixed elements of outlaw country and Southern rock with a blast of hard rock — the group covered Black Sabbath’s “Hole in the Sky” on Straw in the Wind and “Changes” on Old News. (Rolling Stone)

The Steel Woods are an American country music group from Nashville, Tennessee, exploring a variety of genres – stringing together lyrically strong songs, a big sound and well-put together harmonies, they have created a new sound that is being dubbed “Smart Southern Rock.” A quartet of Southern rock traditionalists from Nashville, The Steel Woods lay claim to the sound pioneered by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Like Skynyrd, The Steel Woods balance heavy blues-rock with Southern poetry, and they add a bit of plainspoken outlaw country to the mix, as evidenced on their 2017 debut, Straw in the Wind.

Though their style is unapologetically Southern Rock and Rock, just pull back the layers to find lyrics that feature passionate storytelling and messages that resonate. At first glance, Nashville four-piece The Steel Woods may seem like a chip off the ol’ Skynyrd block. But you’re just as likely to hear hints of Ricky Skaggs in the outfits’ rollicking bluegrass rock as Southern rock heroes like Skynyrd or The Allman Brothers Band.

Lead singer Wes Bayliss’ Southern fried vocal certainly fits among the long list of long-haired rebel rockers, but there’s a certain subtlety to The Steel Woods you just don’t hear in modern Southern rock. Much of that comes from the band’s affinity for old country tunes. “I grew up on Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Led Zeppelin,” says co-founder and guitarist Jason “Rowdy” Cope.

The themes reflected in their music range from perseverance and unity to hope and resilience. Inspired by conversations they had with people they met on the road, The Steel Woods strive to find common ground through shared life experiences and a musical connection.

Over the last few years, the band has built a loyal and passionate fan base through their road warrior touring mentality and extraordinary live shows. Whether headlining or supporting artists such as Dwight Yoakam, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jamey Johnson, Cody Jinks, Miranda Lambert and Blackberry Smoke, among others, The Steel Woods consistently convert audiences with each performance.

The band sounds like “drinking a bottle of bourbon and having inebriated hallucinations of Gregg Allman and Lucinda Williams standing hand in hand in powder-blue choir robes, as ‘Melissa’ plays in the background,” the staff of Rolling Stone wrote in a May 2017 “10 New Country Artists to Know” list.

With a pair of critically acclaimed Woods Music/Thirty Tigers releases under their belts in Straw in the Wind (2017) and Old News (2019), Nashville-based The Steel Woods have lived up to their name as a hybrid musical force both in the studio and live.

Founding member and guitarist Jason “Rowdy” Cope died on January 16, 2021.

 

In Memoriam: Phil Spector (1939 – 2021)


Harvey Phillip Spector (December 26, 1939 – January 16, 2021) was an American record producer, musician, and songwriter who developed the Wall of Sound, a music production formula he described as a Wagnerian approach to rock and roll. Spector is regarded to be among the most influential figures in pop music history and as the first auteur of the music industry for the unprecedented control he had over every phase of the recording process. After spending three decades in semi-retirement, in 2009, he was convicted for the 2003 murder of the actress Lana Clarkson. At the time of his death, he was serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life.

Born in the Bronx, Spector began his career in 1958 as co-founder, guitarist, and vocalist of the Teddy Bears, penning their US number-one single “To Know Him Is to Love Him”. In 1960, he co-founded Philles Records, and at the age of 21, became the youngest ever US label owner to that point.[6] Throughout the 1960s, he wrote, co-wrote, or produced records for acts such as the Ronettes, the Crystals, and Ike & Tina Turner. He typically collaborated with arranger Jack Nitzsche, engineer Larry Levine, and a de facto house band that later became known as “the Wrecking Crew”. Spector initially retired from the music industry in 1966.

In 1969, Spector returned to his career and subsequently produced the Beatles’ album Let It Be (1970), as well as several solo records by the band’s John Lennon and George Harrison. By the mid-1970s, Spector had produced eighteen US Top 10 singles for various artists, but following work with Leonard Cohen, Dion DiMucci, and the Ramones, he remained largely inactive and affected by personal struggles. His chart-toppers included “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (co-written and produced for the Righteous Brothers, 1964), “The Long and Winding Road” (produced for the Beatles, 1970), and “My Sweet Lord” (produced for Harrison, 1970). According to BMI, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” is the song that received the most US airplay in the 20th century.

Dubbed the “First Tycoon of Teen”,Spector’s records helped engender the role of the studio as an instrument, the integration of pop art aesthetics into music (art pop), and the art rock genre. His multi-artist compilation album A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records (1963) is widely considered to be the finest Christmas record of all time. Spector’s honors include the 1973 Grammy Award for Album of the Year for co-producing Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh (1971), a 1989 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a 1997 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Spector number 63 on their list of the greatest artists in history.

Spector died in prison on January 16, 2021 due to complications from COVID-19.

In Memoriam: John Voorhis “Tim” Bogert III (1944 – 2021) Guitarist


John Voorhis “Tim” Bogert III (August 27, 1944 – January 13, 2021) was an American musician. He graduated from Ridgefield Memorial High School in his hometown of Ridgefield, New Jersey in 1963. As a bass guitarist and vocalist he was best known for his powerful vocal ability and his fast runs, fluid agility and ground-breaking sound on his Fender Precision bass. He was one of the pioneers of using distortion with his bass to help it cut through the mix with the low-powered amps of his time which also imparted a very sharp-edged sound to it. He was a frequent collaborator with drummer Carmine Appice; the duo performed in such bands as Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and the power trio Beck, Bogert & Appice.

Tim had one son, his only child, John Voorhis Bogert IV known as Freddy, who lives in Honolulu with his wife Kerri and daughter, Lylah.

In 2010, Bogert “reluctantly” retired from touring due to a motorcycle accident. He died on January 13, 2021 from cancer

In Memoriam: Sylvain Sylvain (1951 – 2021) Guitarist


Sylvain Mizrahi (February 14, 1951 — January 13, 2021), known professionally as Sylvain Sylvain, was an American rock guitarist, most notable for being a member of the New York Dolls.

Before joining the New York Dolls in 1971, Sylvain was a member of the band Actress, which also featured Arthur Kane, Johnny Thunders and former fashion partner, Billy Murcia. He played rhythm guitar for the Dolls from 1971 until the group’s final dissolution in 1977. Sylvain and singer David Johansen were the last remaining members at the time the group broke up. After the dissolution of the Dolls, he frequently played with Johansen on some of his solo records. He started his own band, The Criminals, with another ex-Doll, Tony Machine, and continued to play the New York club scene. He landed a solo recording contract with RCA, and released one album with Lee Crystal (drums; later of Joan Jett’s Blackhearts) and Johnny Ráo (guitar).

He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s and recorded one record, Sleep Baby Doll for Fishhead Records. His band mates on this record were: Brian Keats, drums, John Carlucci, bass, and Olivier LeBaron’ on lead guitar, with guest appearances by Frank Infante of Blondie and Derwood Andrews of Generation X. In the late 90s he teamed up with the LA punk band The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs for some touring and they recorded a live radio broadcast on KXLU that remains unreleased. The tour ended with an Atlanta show at the Navarre annual conference co-headlining with John Entwistle. In 2004 he reunited with the surviving members of the New York Dolls, along with Steve Conte, Brian Koonin and Brian Delaney. Arthur Kane, who died in 2004, was replaced by Sami Yaffa. They released three records: One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This, Cause I Sez So, and Dancing Backward in High Heels. The reunion was filmed as part of a documentary on former band member Kane that was released in 2005 as New York Doll.

On March 18, 2010, at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, Sylvain and Cheetah Chrome of The Dead Boys and Rocket from the Tombs debuted their new band, The Batusis. Their EP is on Smog Veil Records.

In November 2012, Sylvain posted a video for his new single, “Leaving New York,” on the Internet, and available on iTunes on December 2, 2012.

In 2013 and 2014 Sylvain joined with Glen Matlock as the Sex Doll Tour.

In 2015, Sylvain emerged with a new band called Sylvain Sylvain and the Sylvains from Austin, Texas, consisting of Chris Alaniz (drums), Jason “Ginchy” Kottwitz (guitar), and Gabriel Von Asher (bass). In March 2016, they performed at South by Southwest.

In 2018, Sylvain joined forces with Steve Conte, Sami Yaffa, and Robert Eriksson for two one-off dates in Tokyo as “The Dolls.” They played at Shinjuku Marz on February 11, and Shimokitazawa Garden on February 12.

After living in Atlanta for several years, Sylvain moved to Nashville in 2015. He struggled with drug addiction and overdosed in 1972. On April 27, 2019, Sylvain announced that he had cancer. He set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help pay for treatment. On January 13, 2021, Sylvain died of cancer.

Monday 1/11/2021 4pm ET: Across The Tracks – In Memoriam 2020


In this edition of Across The Tracks we salute the music artists that passed away in 2020.

Featured in the program:  Uriah Heep, Hal Ketchum, McGuire Sisters, Mountain, KT Oslin, Charlie Pride, Van Halen, Spencer Davis Group, Rance Allen, Billy Joe Shaver, Johnny Nash, Outfield, Helen Reddy, Mac Davis, Four Seasons, Kool & The Gang, Bay City Rollers, Sweet, Wayne Fontana, Fleetwood Mac, Charlie Daniels Band, Bobby Lewis, Millie Small, Bonnie Pointer, John Prine, Fountains of Wayne, Kingston Trio, Robert Parker and Rush.

In Memoriam: Ed Bruce (1939 – 2021)

William Edwin Bruce Jr. (December 29, 1939 – January 8, 2021) was an American country music songwriter, singer, and actor. He was known for writing the 1975 song “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and recording the 1982 country number one hit “You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had”. He also co-starred in the television series Bret Maverick with James Garner during the 1981-1982 season.

Bruce was born in Keiser, Arkansas, United States, and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1957, at the age of 17, he went to see Jack Clement, a recording engineer for Sun Records. Bruce caught the attention of Sun owner Sam Phillips, for whom he wrote and recorded “Rock Boppin’ Baby” (as “Edwin Bruce”).

Bruce died of natural causes in Clarksville, Tennessee, on January 8, 2021, at age 81.