Saturday, December 27, 2008

Musical Farewells of 2008

Category: News/Obituary

The list of people who played their last notes in 2008:

Edie Adams (October 15, pneumonia and cancer, age 81). Tony award-winning singer and actress.

Rod Allen (January 10, liver cancer, age 63). The lead singer of the British band the Fortunes, who had the hit "You've Got Your Troubles" in 1966.

Joe Ames (December 22, 2007 - not announced until January 15, 2008, heart attack, age 86). The eldest of the singing Ames Brothers, the pop quartet of the 1950s.

Eddy Arnold (May 8, complications from a fall, age 89). Country music's #1 singles artist according to Billboard magazine, Arnold also had numerous pop hits. He was also the only artist to win the CMA "Entertainer of the Year" after being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Sally Arnold (March 11, Alzheimer's disease, age 87). The woman who inspired Eddy Arnold's love songs, his loving wife passed away two months before he did.

Neil Aspinall (March 24, lung cancer, age 66). The road manager for the Beatles.

Jimmy Carl Black (November 1, cancer, age 70). Drummer for Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention.

Bill Bolick (March 14, natural causes, age 90). The elder of country music's Bolick brothers who performed for decades as the Blue Sky Boys.

Lawrence Brown (April 6, respiratory ailment, age 63). An original member of the R&B group Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

Nappy Brown (September 20, illness, age 78). A 50s R&B singer with three charted hits, all of which made the top ten: "Don't Be Angry," "Little By Little," and "It Don't Hurt No More."

Ola Brunkert (March 15, accident [bled to death after falling through a glass door], age 61). The drummer for the pop band ABBA.

Hiram Bullock (July 25, throat cancer, age 52). The guitarist for David Letterman's "World's Most Dangerous Band" in Letterman's NBC days.

Jheryl Busby (November 4, natural causes, age 59). President of Motown Records during the 1990s.

George Butler (April 9, Alzheimer's disease, age 76). A record producer who worked with the likes of Shirley Bassey and Harry Connick, Jr.

Madame Marie Castello (June 27, unknown causes, said to be in her 90s). A fortune teller who gained international notoriety in the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen's "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)": "The cops finally busted Madame Marie for telling fortunes better than they do."

Page Cavanaugh (December 19, kidney failure, age 86). The leader of the jazz group the Page Cavanaugh Trio, who appeared in several movies including Romance on the High Seas with Doris Day.

Jerry Cole (May 28, heart attack, age 68). Rockabilly Hall of Fame guitarist who played as part of the Champs on "Tequila."

Paul Cole (February 13, natural causes, age 96). An American man who just happened to be in the right place at the right time to become part of pop culture: he was walking along Abbey Road when the cover of the Beatles' album was shot.

Philip Costa (February 14, natural causes, age 91). A big band-era saxophonist who played with the likes of Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra.

Opal Courtney, Jr. (September 18, heart attack, age 71). A member of the band the Spaniels, famous for the song "Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight."

Clifford Davies (April 13, suicide [gunshot], age 59). Former drummer for the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent.

Danny Davis (June 12, cardiac arrest, age 83). In the 40s he was a trumpet player for Gene Krupa. In the 50s, he produced records for Connie Francis. In the 60s, he moved to Nashville to continue producing. He also formed the Nashville Brass, winning a Grammy and six CMA Instrumental Group of the Year awards.

Paul Davis (April 22, heart attack, age 60). Pop songwriter and singer, best known for his 1977 hit "I Go Crazy." He also had two #1 country hits as duets.

Bo Diddley (June 2, heart failure, age 79). A founding father of rock and roll.

Danny Dill (October 16, unknown causes, age 84). Prolific country songwriter, his masterpiece was co-writing (with Marijohn Wilkin) Lefty Frizzell's 1959 hit "The Long Black Veil," which went on to be covered in rock (the Band), bluegrass (Bill Monroe), and everything else in between (the Chieftains and Mick Jagger).

Klaus Dinger (March 20, heart failure, age 60). Drummer for the German band Kraftwerk.

Bobby Durham (July 7, lung cancer, age 71). Jazz drummer who played with a number of the legends, including Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, and Duke Ellington.

Ray Ellis (October 31, melanoma, age 85). Pop music arranger who worked on such classics as "Splish Splash" and and "Chances Are."

Bob Enos (January 11, heart failure, age 60). The trumpet player in the band Roomful of Blues.

Danny Federici (April 17, melanoma, age 58). The original organist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.

Steve Foley (August 23, accidental prescription medication overdose, age 49). A session drummer who worked with, among others, the Replacements.

Chris Gaffney (April 17, liver cancer, 57). Songwriter for alt-rockers the Hacienda Brothers and Dave Alvin.

Mel Galley (July 1, cancer, age 60). Guitarist for Whitesnake.

Mort Garson (January 4, renal failure, age 83). A songwriter, best-known for "Our Day Will Come."

Gidget Gein (ne Bradley Stewart) (October 9, heroin overdose, age 39). Former bass player for Marilyn Manson.

Drew Glackin (January 10, thyroid problems, age 44). Member of the alt-rock band the Silos.

Alan Gordon (November 22, cancer, age 64). Songwriter of such hits as Three Dog Night's "Celebrate" and the Turtles' "Happy Together."

Davey Graham (December 15, seizure/cancer, age 64). A British folk guitarist, his work influenced no less than Jimmy Page.

Cherry Green (September 24, heart attack, age 65). Lead singer of the Wailers, the band that backed Bob Marley.

Earle Hagen (May 26, illness, age 88). Best known for writing "The Fishin' Hole," the theme song to The Andy Griffith Show.

Jim Hager (May 1, heart attack, age 66). Half of Hee Haw's Hager Twins.

Connie Haines (September 20, myasthenia gravis, age 87). Pop singer who worked with Frank Sinatra.

Buddy Harmon (August 21, congestive heart failure, age 79). "The most recorded drummer in Nashville" played for the biggest acts in country music. He was also the drummer for the Grand Ole Opry's staff band.

John Hart Sr. (April 11, heart failure, age 67). Original member of the R&B band the Trampps.

Isaac Hayes (August 10, heart attack, age 65). Innovative soul singer (he once released an album with only four songs on it, one of which was a 14-minute version of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix"), he was best-known for being the bad mother-shut-yo-mouth who did the Oscar-winning theme to the movie Shaft.

Robert Hazard (August 5, cancer, age 59). Rock songwriter who penned Cyndi Lauper's breakthrough hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."

Jeff Healey (March 1, cancer, age 41). Blues-rock guitarist best known for his cover of John Hiatt's song "Angel Eyes."

Neal Hefti (October 11, unknown causes, age 85). A former Count Basie trumpet player who is best remembered for performing the theme to Batman.

Don Helms (August 11, heart attack, age 81). The final member of Hank Williams' backing band, the Drifting Cowboys.

Pat Holley-Kaiter (September 25, unknown causes, age 78). The sister of Buddy Holly.

Steve Isham (December 9, cancer, age 56). Keyboardist for the 80s band Autograph and co-writer of their biggest hit, "Turn Up the Radio."

Leo Jackson (May 4, suicide [gunshot], age 73). Prolific country session guitarist who got his start playing as a member of Jim Reeves' Blue Boys.

Pervis Jackson (August 18, liver cancer, age 70). The bass singer for the R&B band the Spinners.

Hugh Jarrett (May 31, injuries from a car accident, age 78). Member of the Jordanaires.

George "Wydell" Jones (September 27, cancer, age 71). A member of the band the Edsels and writer of the song "Rama Lama Ding Dong."

Hal Kant (October 19, pancreatic cancer, age 77). Lawyer for the band the Grateful Dead.

Eartha Kitt (December 25, cancer, age 81). A singer -- and then some.

Sean Levert (March 30, complications of sarcoidosis, age 39). An R&B singer on his own, he was also the son of O'Jays Eddie Levert.

Larry Levine (May 8, emphysema, age 80). A record engineer, he worked on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and won a Grammy for his work on Herb Alpert & the Tiajuana Brass' hit "A Taste of Honey."

Bobby Lord (February 16, illness, age 74). Country singer from the 1950s and 60s, his biggest hit was "Without Your Love."

Robert Lucas (November 23, drug overdose, age 46). Replacement singer for the band Canned Heat.

Teo Macero (February 19, illness, age 82). A jazz producer best known for his work with Miles Davis.

Kenny MacLean (November 24, drug overdose, age 52). Bass player for the band Platinum Blonde.

Buddy Miles (February 26, congestive heart failure, age 60). Drummer in Jimi Hendrix' Band of Gypsies band.

Mitch Mitchell (November 12, natural causes, age 61). British drummer best known as a member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

LeRoi Moore (August 19, complications from ATV accident, age 47). Co-founder of the Dave Matthews Band and the group's saxophone player.

Gilbert Moore Jr. (August 31, throat cancer, age 67). Member of the band the Esquires, who did "Get On Up."

Frank Navetta (October 31, illness, age unknown). Guitarist and co-founder of the punk band the Descendents.

Ken Nelson (January 6, natural causes, age 96). One-time A&R man at Capitol, he became one of country music's most prolific and influential record producers, working with nearly everyone on the Capitol Records country roster.

Larry Norman (February 24, heart failure, age 60). Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame member, considered by many to be the father of the "Christian rock" genre.

Odetta (nee Odetta Holmes) (December 2, heart disease, age 77). "The Queen of American Folk Music" who influenced numerous folk singers from Dylan to Baez.

Clyde Otis (January 8, unknown causes, age 83). Songwriter who penned "Endlessly" and "Broken Hearted Melody."

Ray Overholt (September 23, heart failure, age 84). Gospel songwriter who wrote the classic "Ten Thousand Angels."

Earl Palmer (September 19, illness, age 84). A session drummer who performed on such classics as the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and "Tutti Fruiti."

Dottie Rambo (May 11, bus crash, age 74). Gospel Music Hall of Fame singer/songwriter, considered by many to be the queen of the genre.

Jerry Reed (September 1, emphysema, age 71). Acclaimed country singer, songwriter, guitarist, and actor who appeared in the Smoky & the Bandit films.

Jack Reno (November 1, brain cancer, age 72). Country singer with a dozen hits over a seven-year career, the biggest being "Repeat After Me."

Jody Reynolds (November 7, liver cancer, age 75). The singer of the hit "Endless Sleep."

Nick Reynolds (October 1, respiratory disease, age 75). Founding member of the Kingston Trio.

John Rutsey (May 11, heart attack, age 55). Co-founder and original drummer for the Canadian rock band Rush.

Charlie Ryan (February 16, heart disease, age 92). The writer of the classic "Hot Rod Lincoln."

Merl Saunders (October 24, stroke, age 74). Keyboard player for the Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band.

Mike Smith (February 27, pneumonia, age 64). Lead singer for 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees the Dave Clark Five.

Norman "Hurricane" Smith (March 3, natural causes, age 85). A recording engineer who worked with Pink Floyd and on the Beatles' Rubber Soul.

Tony Snow (July 12, colon cancer, age 53). The former White House press secretary and Fox News anchor was also a member of the rock band Beats Workin'.

Jo Stafford (July 16, congestive heart failure, age 90). One of the greatest pop singers of her generation -- or any other.

John Stewart (January 17, stroke, age 68). A member of the Kingston Trio in the 1960s, he also found success as a songwriter ("Daydream Believer") and singer ("Gold").

Levi Stubbs (October 17, stroke and cancer, age 72). The lead singer of the Four Tops, he also provided the voice for Audrey II in the 1986 film Little Shop of Horrors.

Captain Tony Tarracino (November 1, heart and lung diseases, age 92). A legend in Key West, the subject of Jimmy Buffett's song "Last Mango in Paris."

Studs Terkel (October 31, complications from a fall, age 96). Among his many talents, he was one of the greatest authorities on the diverse Chicago music scene and host of a long-running Chicago radio program showcasing that music.

Ira Tucker (June 24, heart failure, age 83). A singer in the legendary gospel group the Dixie Hummingbirds.

Phil Urso (April 14, illness, age 82). Prolific jazz saxophone player as a solo artist and with Chet Baker, who called him "the most underrated of America's jazz players and composers."

Charlie Walker (September 12, colon cancer, age 81). Texas honky tonk country singer with a string of hits starting with "Pick Me Up on Your Way Down."

Jerry Wallace (May 5, congestive heart failure, age 79). A singer with a two-stage career: 60s pop singer ("In the Misty Moonlight," "Primrose Lane") and 70s country singer ("If You Leave Me Tonight, I'll Cry").

Ruth Wallis (December 22, 2007 -- not announced until January 8, 2008, Alzheimer's disease, age 87). A singer of risque songs in the 1940s and 50s ("Queer Things," "The Dinghy Song") that, unlike Rusty Warren's, are still risque. The play Boobs! The World According to Ruth Wallis was based on her music.

Dee Dee Warwick (October 18, illness, age 63). The sister of Dionne Warwick who performed the first hit version of the song "You're No Good."

Jerry Wexler (August 15, congestive heart failure, age 91). Atlantic Records' legendary record producer.

Norman Whitfield (September 16, complications from diabetes, age 67). Motown songwriter who penned such hits as "War" and "Ball of Confusion."

Al Wilson (April 21, kidney failure, age 68). R&B singer who had a #1 pop hit in 1973 with "Show and Tell."

Richard Wright (September 15, cancer, age 65). Keyboard player for Pink Floyd.

Richard "Popcorn" Wylie (September 7, heart failure, age 69). A piano player who worked on numerous Motown sessions (including "Shop Around" and "Please Mr. Postman") as well as his own recordings.

Dennis Yost (December 7, respiratory failure, age 65). The lead singer of the band the Classics IV.

Farewell, and thanks for the music.

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