Tag: In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Bernard Belle (1964 – 2022)

Bernard Belle (November 12, 1964 – June 23, 2022) was an American composer, producer, and musician. After starting his career as an R&B guitarist, Belle became known as a songwriter for Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston and a producer of gospel music. Belle died Thursday, June 23, at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in Georgia, at the age of 57. Belle’s official cause of death was due to congestive heart failure, according to his sister and primary caretaker, Regina Belle, a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, who posted on her Facebook Page, “The smartest part of me has passed on. My brother, Bernard Belle was brilliant. Bernie, please help me to shine from heaven. I love you.”

Belle grew up in Englewood, New Jersey and performed as a musician while still a student at Dwight Morrow High School.

Bernard Belle is notable for his partnership with producer Teddy Riley and his collaborations with Michael Jackson. He is credited with writing and co-writing “Remember the Time”, “Privacy” and “Why You Wanna Trip on Me”. He began working with Teddy Riley in 1986. Together, they became the pioneers of the new jack swing era of music. He wrote and produced for, among others, Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, Patti LaBelle, Aaron Hall, Keith Sweat, Al B. Sure!, and Today.

After dedicating his life to Christ in 1994, Belle still remained one of the most sought after producer/musicians in the Gospel music industry. He performed with Donnie McClurkin, Shirley Caesar, Richard Smallwood, Marvin Sapp, Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams, Tye Tribbett, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Donald Lawrence, Smokie Norful, Hezekiah Walker and BeBe & CeCe Winans.

Belle’s name appears on over 70 million records worldwide as a producer, writer, or musician. He received four Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, two Soul Train Music Awards, over a dozen ASCAP Awards, and nominations for Stella and GMA Dove Awards.

In Memoriam: Jim Schwall (1942 – 2022)

Jim Schwall (November 12, 1942 – June 19, 2022) was an American musician, singer-songwriter, and photographer. He is best known as a co-founder and member of the Siegel-Schwall Band.

Jim Schwall was born in Chicago, Illinois, and currently resides in Tucson, Arizona. A singer-songwriter, he plays guitar, as well as mandolin, bass guitar, accordion, and other instruments. He studied music at Roosevelt University. There he met Corky Siegel, and became interested in electric blues music. Schwall and Siegel formed a blues duo in 1964, playing at Chicago bars and clubs. They performed regularly at Pepper’s Lounge and at Big John’s, where well known, established blues musicians such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Willie Dixon would often sit in. The duo expanded to a quartet and became the Siegel-Schwall Band. Schwall’s amplified Gibson B-25 acoustic guitar was a distinctive component of the band’s sound.

The Siegel-Schwall Band became quite popular, and by 1967 were touring nationally, performing at large venues like the Fillmore West and sharing the bill with well-known rock bands. Between 1966 and 1974, they released at least ten albums. They were also noted for their collaborations with Seiji Ozawa, combining blues with classical music. After 1974, they disbanded, but the band re-formed in 1987. They played occasional live dates and released two albums of new material over the following decade.

Schwall was also the leader of his own blues-rock band, the Jim Schwall Band. This band formed in the mid-1970s, and versions continued playing live on an intermittent basis into the 2000’s.

Schwall has also been involved in numerous other musical projects. He plays guitar and accordion in the band So Dang Yang, and is the bassist for the Cajun Strangers. He holds a PhD in musical composition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1993, and has taught music at the college level. As a composer, he specialized in ballet, opera, and other music for the stage.

In Memoriam: Dennis Cahill (1954 – 2022)

Dennis Cahill (June 16, 1954 – June 20, 2022) was an American guitarist who specialized in Irish traditional music. He was born in Chicago of parents from County Kerry, Ireland. Cahill began playing guitar at the age of nine and studied the instrument at the Chicago Musical College. He was active in the Irish traditional music scene in Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the late 1980s he and Irish fiddler Martin Hayes formed a band in Chicago called Midnight Court which combined traditional music with rock and roll. The band, in which Cahill played a Fender Telecaster and Hayes an electric fiddle, was active between 1989 and 1992. After its demise Cahill and Hayes continued to work together and formed an acoustic duo in 1996, developing an “unrushed, lyrical, highly expressive interpretation” of traditional Irish music. Cahill’s chordal accompaniment uses standard tuning.

In 1999 a New York Times reviewer described Hayes and Cahill’s approach as “stripping old reels and jigs to their essence, leaving space between the notes for harmonics and whispered blue notes,” resulting in “a Celtic complement to Steve Reich’s quartets or Miles Davis’s Sketches of Spain. ” Hayes and Cahill toured extensively and released three recordings on the Green Linnet label: The Lonesome Touch (1997), Live in Seattle (1999), and Welcome Here Again (2008). Cahill and Hayes, along with singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and pianist Doveman, were the members of The Gloaming, an Irish-American supergroup whose first album was released in 2014, winning the Meteor Choice Music Prize for Irish album of the year.

Dennis resided in Chicago with his wife Mary Joyce.

A post on his website confirmed that the musician passed away on Monday evening with his wife Mary by his side:

Hi folks, Jimmy Keane here on Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Our dearest Dennis passed away peacefully on Monday evening, with his beloved Mary by his side as she has throughout his journey. Just moments before — we were comforting Dennis while The Lament for Limerick from Dennis’ album with Martin was on in the background — and as the track advanced to My Love is in America, Mary turned off the player, leaned over to hug and kiss Dennis one last time – and then he was gone…

Too heartbroken to write any more…

Play a tune today. Sing a song. Tell a corny joke. Sip a whiskey. Cherish a memory…

My loving condolences to Mary, Cliodhna, the Cahill family, and all of Dennis’ many friends…

Love you Dennis and rest gently in peace…

In Memoriam: Brett Tuggle (1950 – 2022)

Brett Tuggle (died June 19, 2022) was an American musician, singer and songwriter who is best known for his keyboard playing with Fleetwood Mac and the David Lee Roth band.

As a child, he studied classical piano and learned guitar and organ in his birthplace of Denver, Colorado, United States. As a teenager, he played in local Denver bands. When he left home, he played in touring bands in Texas, where he learned a range of traditional music styles. He then returned to Colorado where he launched the band Head First. In 1979 record producer Keith Olsen invited Tuggle to go to Los Angeles to meet an artist who needed a keyboard player.

In Los Angeles, Tuggle made numerous professional contacts with bandleaders, which helped to start his touring career. He spent much of 1981 as keyboardist for John Kay & Steppenwolf, before meeting Rick Springfield and joining his band in early 1982. He also played keyboards with David Lee Roth in Roth’s post-Van Halen career 1986-94 and briefly returned in 1997. In 1988, Tuggle co-wrote the top 10 hit single “Just Like Paradise” with Roth. In 1992, Tuggle was invited by Mick Fleetwood to be a member of the band The Zoo. Tuggle also toured with Steve Lukather from Toto. Tuggle has played with Chris Isaak and Whitesnake.

While Tuggle is known for his onstage keyboard playing for Fleetwood Mac, he is best known for his performing and songwriting as keyboard player for Roth on the 1986/1987 Eat ‘Em and Smile tour, the 1988 Skyscraper tour, the 1991 A Little Ain’t Enough tour where he also has several co-writes on that album, and up to the 1994 Your Filthy Little Mouth tour. He continued to perform on various occasions with Roth until some point in 1996/1997.

In Memoriam: Joel Whitburn (1939 – 2022)

Joel Carver Whitburn (November 29, 1939 – June 14, 2022) was an American author and music historian, responsible for setting up the Record Research Inc. series of books on record chart placings.

Whitburn was born in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He started collecting records in his teens, first subscribed to Billboard in 1953, and when the Hot 100 was introduced in 1958 started recording the chart placings of records on index cards. He worked on record distribution for RCA in the mid 1960s, using his chart statistics to inform radio stations, before founding his own company, Record Research Inc., in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, in 1970. He put together a team of researchers to examine in detail all of Billboard’s music and video charts, and set up a licensing arrangement with Billboard.

Since then, Record Research has published reference books based on data from the various popular music charts and to date has published over 200 books, 50 of which are in the Record Research catalogue. His research extends from 1890 to the present and covers many genres. Featuring each recording’s peak position, date charted, weeks charted, label and information, and trivia on recordings and artists, Whitburn’s books are used extensively by the entertainment industry (especially radio DJs) and music fans worldwide. His flagship publication is Top Pop Singles, which covers the history of Billboard’s popular singles charts, primarily the Billboard Hot 100. The most recent edition, Top Pop Singles 1955–2018, was released in June 2019. Whitburn was also the author of the series Top 40 Hits, published by Billboard Books. The most recent edition, the ninth, was published in 2010. Whitburn’s Record Research is Billboard’s longest-running licensee, with a relationship extending 50 years.

Whitburn was an avid collector of phonograph records, with one of the world’s largest collections in his underground vault. His collection includes a copy of nearly every 78-rpm record, 45-rpm single, LP, and compact disc to reach the Billboard charts.

In collaboration with Rhino Records, Whitburn produced over 150 CD compilations, which are typically compiled according to their Billboard chart performance.

Whitburn died at the age of 82 on June 14, 2022.

In Memoriam: Jim Seals (1941 – 2022)

James Eugene “Jim” Seals (October 17, 1941 – June 6, 2022) of the 1970’s soft rock duo Seals & Crofts has died at the age of 80. No details surrounding his death have been released.

Seals was born in Sidney, TX, in 1941. In the 1950s, he teamed up with fellow Texan Darrell “Dash” Crofts. They moved to California, where they wrote songs for other artists before striking gold with their music. They are best known for their Hot 100 #6 hits “Summer Breeze,” “Diamond Girl,” and “Get Closer.”

Seals and Crofts signed a contract with Warner Bros. Records in August 1971. Their first album with their new label did not break into the charts, but their second album, Summer Breeze, charted at #7 in 1972. It sold over a million copies. The duo disbanded in 1980.

Seals has long been a public advocate of the Bahá’í Faith. Seals is the brother of “England” Dan Seals, of England Dan & John Ford Coley.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Ruby Jean and three children, Joshua, Juliette, and Sutherland.

In Memoriam: Hal Bynum (1934 – 2022)

Harold L. Bynum (September 29, 1934 – June 2, 2022) was an American songwriter associated with the Outlaw country movement in the 1970s. Bynum wrote more than 200 songs for popular country artists, including Kenny Rogers (“Lucille”), Patty Loveless (“Chains”), Johnny Cash (“Papa Was a Good Man”), Cash and Waylon Jennings (“There Ain’t No Good Chain Gang”), and Jim Reeves (“Nobody’s Fool”). Bynum also wrote “The Old, Old House”, which has been performed by George Jones, Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, and the Grateful Dead.

In 1977, Bynum received songwriter awards from the Country Music Association Awards and the Academy of Country Music for “Lucille” (co-written with Roger Bowling), the Song of the Year. Bynum’s autobiographical book, The Promise (2002) (also the name of his 2002 album) describes his upbringing in Texas and his work as a songwriter in Nashville. Bynum is also known for his spoken word recordings. Both his book and the album of the same name were released on Bynum’s Beauregard Books/Records label.

In Memoriam: Trouble DTE (1987 – 2022)

Mariel Semonte Orr, (1987 – 2022) an Atlanta rapper better known by his stage name Trouble, has died at 34.

The “Bring It Back” rapper, who was also known as Skoob, was reportedly caught in a fatal shooting altercation in Atlanta on Saturday night while sitting in his car. He had performed the same night, only hours before the incident.

Orr’s death was confirmed by his label, Def Jam Recordings, in a post on Sunday morning.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the children, loved ones and fans of Trouble,” the label wrote. “A true voice for his city and an inspiration to the community he proudly represented.”

In Memoriam: Alec John Such (1951 – 2022)

Bassist Alec John Such, (1951 – 2022) a founding member of Bon Jovi, has died at the age of 70, Jon Bon Jovi announced on social media today (June 5). A cause of death is as yet unknown.

“We are heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of our dear friend Alec John Such,” Bon Jovi posted. “He was an original. As a founding member of Bon Jovi, Alec was integral to the formation of the band. … To be honest, we found our way to each other thru him — He was a childhood friend of Tico [Torres] and brought Richie [Sambora] to see us perform. Alec was always wild and full of life. Today these special memories bring a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. We will miss him dearly.”

Born in Yonkers, New York on November 14, 1951, John Such played in an earlier band with Sambora, The Message, before ultimately joining Bon Jovi. In the early 1980s, John Such was the manager of what was then the Hunka Bunka Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey. It was there where he booked Jon Bon Jovi & The Wild Ones, seeing the potential of a young musician with a mission.

In Memoriam: Deborah McCrary (1954 – 2022)

Deborah McCrary (1954 – 2022) Deborah fought through challenges, including a severe stroke in 2013, and another in recent weeks that led to her passing. She worked as a nurse for many years, and performed with Elvis Presley, Ray Stevens and Isaac Hayes, in addition to singing with her sisters. Ann, Alfreda and Regina grieve this loss alongside Deborah’s daughter Latoya, her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and the rest of the McCrary family.

The McCrary Sisters first recording, Our Journey, was released on October 26, 2010, from McC Records. Their subsequent studio album, All the Way, was released on March 25, 2013, through McC Records. They released Let’s Go, on March 9, 2015, with McC Records. The group are part of the “house band” at the Americana Music Honors & Awards and provided backing vocals for the song “Choctaw County Affair” on Carrie Underwood’s 2015 album, Storyteller, “Do Right By Me” on Margo Price’s 2017 album All American Made and “All of the Women” on Allison Russell’s 2021 album Outside Child.

In Memoriam: Ronnie Hawkins (1935 – 2022)

Ronald Cornett Hawkins, OC (January 10, 1935 – May 29, 2022) was an American-Canadian rock and roll singer-songwriter whose career spanned more than half a century. It began in Arkansas, where he was born and raised. He found success in Ontario, Canada, and lived there for most of his life. He is considered highly influential in the establishment and evolution of rock music in Canada.

Also known as “Rompin’ Ronnie”, “Mr. Dynamo” or “The Hawk”, he was one of the key players in the 1960s rock scene in Toronto. He performed all across North America and recorded more than 25 albums. His hit songs include covers of Chuck Berry’s “Thirty Days” (retitled “Forty Days”) and Young Jessie’s “Mary Lou”, a song about a gold digger. Other well-known recordings are a cover of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” (without the question mark), “Hey! Bo Diddley”, and “Susie Q”, which was written by his cousin, rockabilly artist Dale Hawkins.

Hawkins was a talent scout and mentor of the musicians he recruited for his band, The Hawks. Roy Buchanan was an early Hawks guitarist on the song “Who Do You Love”. The most successful of his students were those who left to form The Band. Others he had recruited later formed Robbie Lane and the Disciples, Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band, Crowbar, Bearfoot, and Skylark.

In later years, Hawkins developed pancreatic cancer and recovered, which he attributed to everything from psychic healers to native herbal medicine. His mysterious recovery was featured in the 2012 film Ronnie Hawkins: Still Alive and Kicking.

Hawkins died in the early morning of May 29, 2022, at the age of 87. He was survived by his wife of 60 years, Wanda, their two sons, Ronnie Jr. and Robin, and daughter Leah.

In Memoriam: Andrew Fletcher (1961 – 2022)

Andrew John Leonard Fletcher (July 8, 1961 – May 26, 2022), sometimes known as Fletch, was an English keyboard player, DJ, and a founding member of the electronic band Depeche Mode. In 2020, Fletcher was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Depeche Mode.

Fletcher was the eldest of four siblings born to Joy and John Fletcher. The family moved to Basildon from Nottingham when Fletcher was two years old. He was active in the local Boys’ Brigade from an early age, primarily to play football. It was in this Christian youth organization that he met future Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke, and the two have both recollected in interviews the local missionary work they attempted on behalf of the organization to convert non-believers.

Fletcher married his longtime girlfriend Gráinne Mullan on January 16, 1993 and the couple have two children, Megan and Joe.

During the 1990s, Fletcher owned a restaurant called Gascogne located on Blenheim Terrace in St. John’s Wood, London. He made a series of bad investments in the mid-1990s that led to a number of financial settlements involving Lloyd’s of London and Daniel Miller. According to The Independent, “Fletcher’s deepening depression resulted, in the summer of 1994, in a full nervous breakdown.”

In April 2022, Fletcher fractured his wrist while on holiday in Barcelona.

Fletcher’s death was announced on May 26, 2022. He was aged 60.

In a statement posted on social media, the band said: “Fletch had a true heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh or a cold pint.”

In Memoriam: Alan White (1949 – 2022)

Alan White (June 14, 1949 – May 26, 2022) was an English drummer and songwriter, best known for his tenure in the progressive rock band Yes. He joined Yes in 1972 as a replacement for original drummer, Bill Bruford. Following the death of bassist Chris Squire in 2015, White became the longest-remaining member in the band.

In 1969 White had joined John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band, after Lennon invited him to play at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival festival, followed by a show at the Lyceum Ballroom. He notably played drums on the singles “Instant Karma!” and “Imagine”, as well as on eight tracks on Lennon’s Imagine album.

In addition to his work with Yes and John Lennon, White performed on over 50 albums by other performers, notably George Harrison, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Terry Reid, Joe Cocker and The Ventures.

White was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of Yes, in 2017.

White was married for over 40 years to his wife Gigi. They have two children, Jesse (also a musician) and Cassi. He lived in Newcastle, Washington, near Seattle. In 1997, he served as the best man at Jon Anderson’s wedding.

White died at his home near Seattle on May 26, 2022, aged 72, following a brief illness. It had been announced three days earlier that he would be absent from the Close to the Edge 50th anniversary tour due to health issues.

In Memoriam: Thom Bresh (1948 – 2022)

Thomas Charles Bresh (February 23, 1948 – May 23, 2022), sometimes spelled Tom Bresh, was an American country music guitarist and singer. Active from the 1970s, Bresh charted multiple singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

Bresh was born on February 23, 1948 in Hollywood, California as the son of country singer Merle Travis. As a child, Bresh began acting in films and recording his own music. He also worked as a movie stuntman at the Corriganville Movie Ranch.

In 1963, he was a member of the rock and roll band The Crescents. It recorded an instrumental track “Pink Dominos” and issued it on a single with “Breakout” on the B-side. The single peaked at No. 69 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1964.

He then released a 1970 solo single about D. B. Cooper which was withdrawn due to controversy over its subject matter.

Starting in 1972, Bresh recorded for Kapp Records. His first charted single, “Home Made Love”, made number six on the Hot Country Songs charts in 1976. This was included on an album of the same name for Farr Records. Due to the song’s success, Bresh was nominated by the Academy of Country Music as Top New Male Vocalist that year.

Bresh recorded two albums for ABC Records as well: Kicked Back in 1977 and Portrait a year later, both produced by Jimmy Bowen. Cash Box magazine reviewed Kicked Back favorably, saying that Bresh had “perfectly mellow voice and vital tracks with excellent material and interpretation”. Record World magazine published a positive review of Portrait, calling the album “versatile” and noting the variety of musical influences. Included on Portrait was a cover of “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)” which featured Bresh performing thirteen different impersonations.

Bresh hosted a weekly television variety show of his own creation, Nashville Swing, was a regular on The Merv Griffin Show and Dinah!, and made a guest appearance on the TNN special A Salute to the Country Greats. As a producer, he has been employed by country legend Jerry Reed, classical guitarist Valerie DuChateau, and Merle Travis. As a videographer, Bresh has shot, produced, and edited projects for Hank Thompson, Lyle Lovett, Brooks & Dunn, George Jones, Tanya Tucker and Jerry Reed.

Bresh was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2021. He died on May 23, 2022, at the age of 74.

In Memoriam: Jean-Louis Chautemps (1931 – 2022)

Jean-Louis Chautemps (August 6, 1931 – May 25, 2022) was a French jazz saxophonist.

Born in Paris, France, Chautemps initially studied medicine and law, and began playing saxophone at age 16. His first major gig was with Jef Gilson in 1950. In 1952 he began playing with Claude Bolling’s orchestra, and around the same time worked with Henri Renaud and Albert Nicholas. During these associations he played with Sidney Bechet, Django Reinhardt, Zoot Sims, Lester Young, Bobby Jaspar, Albert Ayler, and Roy Eldridge. He toured Europe as a sideman for Chet Baker in 1956, played with Jacques Hélian and Kurt Edelhagen near the end of the decade, and played often in Parisian clubs in the 1960s. Later associations included work with Nathan Davis, Philly Joe Jones, André Hodeir, Lester Bowie, Bernard Lubat, Martial Solal, Lee Konitz, and Michel Portal.

Chautemps played on Elton John’s 1972 hit single Honky Cat, from the album Honky Château.