Steve's Dead Rock Stars


*** 2013 ***

Claim to Fame
Cause of Death
12/23/201359Ricky Lawsondrummer Long Beach, California

Rest in Peace
Ricky Lawson

1954 - December 23, 2013

Ricky Lawson, a world-class session drummer who worked with Michael Jackson, died at a California hospital after being on life support for several days.

During his 1980's heyday, Lawson worked with artists such as Whitney Houston, Phil Collins and Steely Dan.

He co-founded the jazz-fusion band the Yellowjackets and won the 1987 Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance for "And You Know That" from their album Shades.

Lawson appeared on Steely Dan's Two Against Nature tour DVD, Two Against Nature: Steely Dan's Plush TV Jazz-Rock Party.

12/20/201357David Richardsrecord producer

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David Richards

1956 - December 20, 2013

David Richards was an English record producer who lived and worked in Switzerland. He was chief engineer at Mountain Studios, and later bought the studio. He was the engineer on many noteworthy "Live at Montreux" recordings.

Richards produced Queen's final four albums with Freddie Mercury, as well as Iggy Pop's 1986 album 'Blah Blah Blah' and David Bowie's 'Never Let Me Down' and 'Outside' albums.

He also played keyboards on a number of recordings.

12/16/201387Ray Pricecountry singerCancerMount Pleasant, Texas

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Ray Price

"The Cherokee Cowboy"
January 12, 1926 - December 16, 2013

Ray Price was best known for his 1970 hit "For the Good Times," a song written by Kris Kristofferson. Other well-known recordings include "Release Me", "Crazy Arms", "Heartaches by the Number", "Night Life", and "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me".

He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996.

In 2007, he joined buddies Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson on a double-CD set, Last of the Breed. The trio performed on tour with the Texas swing band Asleep at the Wheel.

11/29/201368Dick DoddStandellsCancerFountain Valley, California

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Dick Dodd

October 27, 1945 - November 29, 2013

Dick Dodd (born Joseph Richard Dodd in Hermosa Beach, California) was the singer and drummer for the Los Angeles rock group The Standells. He was with the Standells when they recorded their best known hit song "Dirty Water." The song became an anthem for sports fans in Boston with its refrain of "Boston, you're my home."

In 1955, Dick Dodd was "Dickie", a Mouseketeer on Disney's original "Mickey Mouse Club." During that time, he paid Annette Funicello $20 for a snare drum and learned to play it.

Dodd joined two early and influential surf rock bands of the early 1960's - the Bel-Airs, which nabbed a hit with the 1961 instrumental "Mr. Moto," and Eddie and the Showmen, who performed on the same bill with acts including the Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher and the Righteous Brothers.

In movies, he appeared in Get Yourself a College Girl and as a dancer in the 1963 film musical Bye Bye Birdie. With the Standells, he was in the 1967 film Riot on Sunset Strip, singing the title song during the opening credits. He also had television guest roles in the 1960s.

He was also an early member of the noted San Diego band The Blitz Brothers. Dodd continued performing occasionally in his later years, sometimes with his oldies outfit the Dodd Squad.

11/25/201392Chico HamiltonJazz drummer New York, New York

Rest in Peace
Chico Hamilton

September 20, 1921 - November 25, 2013

Chico Hamilton was an American jazz drummer and bandleader who rose to prominence as sideman for Lester Young, Gerry Mulligan, Count Basie, and Lena Horne.

Hamilton became a bandleader, first with a quintet featuring Fred Katz on cello as a lead instrument, an unusual choice for a jazz band in the 1950s.

10/27/201371Lou ReedAmerican singer/songwriterLiver diseaseSouthampton, New York

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Lou Reed

March 2, 1942 - October 27, 2013

Lou Reed, guitarist for the Velvet Underground who later had a highly successful solo career, has died of liver failure at the age of 71.

Reed began a solo career in 1972, but didn't hit commercial success until the release of his second album Transformer, produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson and featuring the hit song "Walk on the Wild Side."
Each verse of "Walk on the Wild Side" describes a person in the Andy Warhol Factory scene of the mid-to-late 1960s:
(1) Holly Woodlawn,
(2) Candy Darling,
(3) "Little Joe" Dallesandro,
(4) "Sugar Plum Fairy" Joe Campbell and
(5) Jackie Curtis.

In 1998, Reed was the subject of an installment of the PBS American Masters series that chronicled his career. The program was released on DVD as Rock and Roll Heart. The film received a Grammy Award for best long-form music video.

After a liver transplant in May, 2013, Lou Reed died of liver disease at his home on Long Island, New York.

9/17/201366Roger PopeElton John, drummer England

Rest in Peace
Roger Pope

Roger Pope played drums on Elton John's early recordings and later toured and recorded six albums with him.

Pope toured with Elton John, performing in more than 80 shows. He played on six of Elton John's albums (including 1969's debut, 'Empty Sky,' and 'Blue Moves' from 1976). He also worked with Daryl Hall and John Oates and made his own music with a band called Hookfoot.

In 1974, Pope played with Kiki Dee on her big solo hit 'I've Got the Music in Me'. Pope also sat in with Buddy Guy, Al Stewart and Cliff Richard over the years and drummed on several of Harry Nilsson's great albums from the '70s.

Pope died Sept. 17, 2013 at the age of 66.

9/15/201369Jackie LomaxBritish singer/songwriter

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Jackie Lomax

May 10, 1944 - September 15, 2013

Jackie Lomax was a British guitarist and singer-songwriter best known for his association with George Harrison and Eric Clapton.

Lomax was signed on the Beatles' Apple record label. His debut Apple single, "Sour Milk Sea" was penned by George Harrison and featured members of the Beatles with Eric Clapton and Nicky Hopkins. Despite the all-star lineup, the record was a commercial flop. "Sour Milk Sea" appears on the album Is This What You Want? Much of the album was recorded in Los Angeles with Hal Blaine and other members of the famous Wrecking Crew.

At the time of his death, Lomax had recently finished a new album titled "Against All Odds."

9/12/201380Ray Dolbysound pioneerLeukemiaSan Francisco

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Ray Dolby

January 18, 1933 - September 12, 2013

Ray Dolby, an American inventor, audio pioneer and founder of Dolby Laboratories, has died at his home in San Francisco. He was 80 and had been living with Alzheimer's disease, compounded by a recent diagnosis of leukemia.

Dolby was born in Portland, Oregon. As a child, he became fascinated with sound when studying the vibrations of his clarinet reeds. At 16 he started work at Ampex, a videotape recording company. After studying electrical engineering at Stanford he earned a PhD in physics from Cambridge in 1961 and then consulted to the U.K.'s Atomic Energy Authority. After two years as a United Nations advisor in India he founded Dolby Laboratories in London, later moving to San Francisco.

Dolby's pioneering work in noise reduction and later in surround sound led to great advancements in audio recording technologies. His Dolby system reduced audible tape hiss of analog magnetic tape by compressing the dynamic range of the sound when recording and expanding it during playback.

He was awarded an Oscar for his contributions to cinema. He also received a Grammy award in 1995 and Emmy awards in 1989 and 2005. The Dolby Theatre, the Hollywood home of the Academy Awards, is named for his company.

With an estimated fortune of $2.4 billion, Dolby donated generously to philanthropic causes, including stem cell research at the University of California.

Other recent deaths of sound engineers include loudspeaker innovator Amar Bose who died in July 2013 and Fritz Sennheiser who passed in 2010.

9/7/201394Fred Katzjazz cellist Santa Monica, California

Rest in Peace
Fred Katz

February 25, 1919 - September 7, 2013

Fred Katz was a jazz cellist who helped establish the cello as a viable solo instrument.

Katz is best known as a member of drummer Chico Hamilton's quintet, one of the most important West Coast jazz groups of the 1950s. The Chico Hamilton Quintet, including Katz, appears in the 1957 film The Sweet Smell of Success, starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. He also scored films for horror director Roger Corman, most notably A Bucket of Blood (1959). The same music also appears in several other Corman films, including The Wasp Woman (1959) and Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961).

Later in his career, Katz became a professor of ethnic music in the Anthropology Department at California State University, Fullerton and California State University, Northridge, where he taught world music, anthropology and religion for over 30 years. One of his students was John Densmore, drummer of The Doors.

8/21/201395Sid Bernsteinmusic producer and promoter New York, New York

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Sid Bernstein

August 12, 1918 - August 21, 2013

Sid Bernstein brought the Beatles to America, booking them to play a show at Carnegie Hall. The show occurred just three days after the Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. He booked the Beatles for their 1965 show at Shea Stadium - Rock's first major stadium show. He also help bring The Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, The Moody Blues, and The Kinks to America.

He booked such top acts as Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland, The Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, The Moody Blues, and The Kinks. He brought the Swedish group ABBA to America for their first tour. He was the first promoter to stage a rock show at Madison Square Garden.

Bernstein died on August 21, 2013 in Manhattan, nine days after his 95th birthday.

8/19/201379Cedar Waltonjazz pianist New York, New York

Rest in Peace
Cedar Walton

January 17, 1934 - August 19, 2013

Cedar Anthony Walton, Jr. was an American hard bop jazz pianist. He came to prominence as a member of drummer Art Blakey's band and later established a long career as a bandleader and composer. Several of his compositions have become jazz standards, including "Mosaic", "Bolivia", "Holy Land," "Mode for Joe" and "Ugetsu", also known as "Fantasy in D"

8/10/201384Eydie Gormépopular singer Las Vegas, Nevada

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Eydie Gormé

August 16, 1928 - August 10, 2013

Eydie Gormé was a popular singer of swing music and ballads. She often sang with her husband, Steve Lawrence.

She earned numerous awards, including a Grammy and an Emmy. Gormé was a cousin of singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka.

8/10/201377Jody PayneWillie Nelson, guitaristHeart FailureStapleton, Alabama

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Jody Payne

January 11, 1936 - August 10, 2013

Jody Payne, tour guitarist with Willie Nelson from 1973 to 2008, has died. He was 77.

Payne also toured with Merle Haggard and performed on recordings with Hank Snow, Tanya Tucker and Leon Russell.

8/8/201382Cowboy Jack Clement Liver CancerNashville, Tennessee

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Cowboy Jack Clement

April 5, 1931 - August 8, 2013

Cowboy Jack Clement was a Nashville songwriter, recording artist, studio engineer, movie and music producer and general raconteur. He produced recordings for an amazing array of top-notch artists, including Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Eddy Arnold, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Charley Pride, Louis Armstrong, U2, John Hartford, Doc Watson, Frank Yankovic, John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Townes Van Zandt, Dickey Lee and Bobby Bare.

In 1963, Clement produced Johnny Cash's classic hit, "Ring of Fire."

Clement is also credited discovering and recording Jerry Lee Lewis at Sun Studios while Sam Phillips was away on a trip.

After a long illness, Cowboy Jack Clement passed away at his home in Nashville, Tennessee.

8/5/201367George Dukejazz keyboardistLeukemiaLos Angeles, California

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George Duke

January 12, 1946 - August 5, 2013

George Duke, a Grammy Award-winning jazz keyboardist and composer, has died after suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

He began playing with Jean-Luc Ponty in 1969. He produced and collaborated with artists such as Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Jill Scott and Michael Jackson during his career of more than four decades. His music was also sampled by Kanye West, Daft Punk and others.

Duke appeared on a number of Frank Zappa's albums in the early and mid-1970s, including Chunga's Revenge, 200 Motels, Waka/Jawaka, The Grand Wazoo, Apostrophe, Over-Nite Sensation, One Size Fits All, Bongo Fury and Roxy & Elsewhere.

7/25/201374JJ CalesongwriterHeart FailureLa Jolla, California

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JJ Cale

December 5, 1938 - July 26, 2013

Musician and songwriter JJ Cale, writer of such classic rock songs as "They Call Me the Breeze" (Lynyrd Skynyrd), and "Cocaine" and "After Midnight" (both hits for Eric Clapton), has died at age 74 after suffering a sudden heart attack.

He won a Grammy for the 2006 album The Road to Escondido, a collaboration with Eric Clapton.

He passed away at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California.

7/16/201374T Model Fordblues guitaristRespiratory FailureGreenville, Mississippi
7/11/201376Charles PopeThe TamsAlzheimer's DiseaseAtlanta, Georgia

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Charles Walter "Speedy" Pope

August 7, 1936 - July 11, 2013

Charles Walter Pope, founding member of the Atlanta-based R&B group the Tams, has died at age 76 of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Charles Pope started The Tams with his brother Joe in 1959. When Joe Pope died in 1996, Charles took over the role as lead singer.

The Tams had their greatest commercial success in the mid-1960s, with their biggest national hits being "What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am)" and "Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy."

The Tams were featured performers with Jimmy Buffett on his CD, Beach House on the Moon, and also toured with him around the country in 1999.

6/24/201358Alan MyersDevo, drummerCancerLos Angeles, California

Alan Myers
1955 - June 24, 2013

Alan Myers, longtime drummer for the punk rock band Devo, has died after a long battle with stomach cancer.

Myers was Devo's third drummer, joining in 1976 before the band released its groundbreaking debut, "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!" He remained with the band until 1985.

6/23/201361Darryl Read Motorcycle AccidentPattaya, Thailand

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Darryl Read

September 19, 1951 - June 23, 2013

Darryl Michael Roy Read, a pioneer in the British punk rock movement, has died after a motorcycle accident in Thailand.

Darryl Read was a British poet, singer, guitarist, drummer and writer. He was also an accomplished actor starring in a 1964 film "Daylight Robbery."

Mr. Read published a book of poems called "Set" in 1999, and in 2004 authored a novel entitled "Stardom Road." Also in 1999, Read and Ray Manzarek released a poetry album with music titled Freshly Dug. Another collaboration with Manzarek, Bleeding Paradise, followed in 2007.

6/23/201383Bobby BlandR & B vocalist Germantown, Tennessee

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Bobby Bland

January 27, 1930 - June 23, 2013

Bobby "Blue" Bland, a legendary R&B singer and 1992 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has died at age 83.

He is best known for hits like "Turn on Your Love Light", "That's the Way Love Is" and "I Pity the Fool". His crowning achievement might be 1961's Two Steps From the Blues.

He was granted the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

6/12/201390Slim Whitmancountry singerHeart FailureOrange Park, Florida

Rest in Peace
Slim Whitman

January 20, 1923 - June 12, 2013

6/4/201367Joey CovingtonJefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna, drummerCar CrashPalm Springs, California

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Joey Covington

June 27, 1945 - June 4, 2013

Joey Covington, who was the drummer for the San Francisco rock band Jefferson Airplane and their spinoff Hot Tuna, has died at age 67 after crashing his car into a retaining wall in Palm Springs.

Joey played Congas on 1969's Volunteers album, and officially joined Jefferson Airplane in 1970 when Spencer Dryden quit the group. With them, he co-wrote "Pretty as You Feel" which appears on the Bark album. In 1976, he co-wrote Jefferson Starship's "With Your Love."

5/25/201362Marshall LytleBill Haley and the Comets, bassistLung CancerNew Port Richey, Florida

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Marshall Lytle

September 1, 1933 - May 25, 2013

Marshall Lytle was a rock 'n' Roll bassist, best known for his work with the groups Bill Haley & His Comets and The Jodimars in the 1950s. He played on the original 1954 recording of Rock Around the Clock.

5/21/201362Trevor BolderUriah Heep, bassistPancreatic CancerYorkshire, England

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Trevor Bolder

June 9, 1950 - May 21, 2013

Trevor Bolder, longtime bassist for Uriah Heep and former member of David Bowie's Spiders from Mars band, has died in England at age 62.

5/20/201374Ray ManzarekThe Doors, keyboardistCancerRosenheim, Germany

Rest in Peace
Ray Manzarek

February 12, 1939 - May 20, 2013

Raymond Daniel Manczarek Jr., keyboardist with The Doors, died in Germany at age 74.

5/2/201349Jeff HannemanSlayer, vocalistLiver FailureLos Angeles?

Rest in Peace
Jeff Hanneman

January 31, 1964 - May 2, 2013

Jeff Hanneman was a heavy metal guitarist and founding member of Slayer.

5/1/201334Chris KellyKris KrossDrug OverdoseAtlanta, Georgia
4/30/201350Tim HensleyCountry session musicianLiver FailureNashville, Tennessee
4/28/201375Barry FeyColorado rock music concert promoterSuicideColorado
4/26/201381George JonesCountry superstar Nashville, Tennessee
4/22/201372Ritchie HavensfolksingerHeart FailureJersey City, New Jersey
4/21/2013 Dani CrivelliKrokus, drummerFell from bridgeSolothurn, Switzerland
4/21/201353Chrissy AmphlettDivinyls, singerBreast CancerNew York, New York
4/14/201368George Jacksonsinger/songwriterCancerRidgeland, Mississippi
4/11/201387Jonathan Winterscomedian Montecito, California
4/11/201359Don Blackmanjazz-funk pianistCancerNew York, New York
4/10/201376Jimmy Dawkinsblues musician Chicago, Illinois
4/8/201370Annette Funicelloactress/singerMultiple sclerosisBakersfield, California
4/7/2013 Neil SmithAC/DC, bassistCancerAustralia
4/7/201362Andy Johnssound engineer and record producer Los Angeles, California
3/30/201372Phil RamoneMusic Producer New York, New York
3/28/201370Hugh C. McCrackensession musicianLeukemiaNew York, New York
3/27/201388Gordon StokerJordanaires, singer
3/27/201364Paul WilliamsCrawdaddy!, writer San Diego, California
3/24/201368Deke RichardsMotown songwriterEsophageal CancerBellingham, Washington
3/20/201392Jack Stokesdirector England

Jack Stokes

April 2, 1920 - March 20, 2013

Jack Stokes was an animation director best known for his work on the 1968 Beatles film Yellow Submarine.

3/12/201356Clive BurrIron Maiden, drummer London, England

Rest in Peace
Clive Burr

March 8, 1957 - March 12, 2013

Clive Burr was the drummer for Iron Maiden from 1979 until 1982.

3/8/201382Sammy Mastersrockabilly musician
3/7/201365Peter BanksYes, guitaristHeart FailureLondon, England

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Peter Banks

July 15, 1947 - March 7, 2013

Peter Banks was the original guitarist of the progressive rock band Yes.

3/6/201368Alvin LeeTen Years After, guitarist Spain

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Alvin Lee

December 19, 1944 - March 6, 2013

Alvin Lee (born Graham Alvin Barnes) was an English rock guitarist and singer, best known as the lead guitarist and singer with the band Ten Years After.

3/3/201373Bobby RogersMiracles, vocalist Southfield, Michigan

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Bobby Rogers

February 19, 1940 - March 3, 2013

Bobby Rogers & Smokey Robinson co-founded the Motown vocal group The Miracles in 1955.

2/27/201370Richard StreetThe TemptationsPulmonary embolismLas Vegas, Nevada
2/27/201378Van Cliburnpianist Fort Worth, Texas

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Van Cliburn

July 12, 1934 - February 27, 2013

Harvey Lavan "Van" Cliburn, Jr. was a famous American classical pianist.

He played for royalty, world heads of state, and every U.S. president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama.

2/15/201364Dan TolerDickey Betts / Allman Brothers, guitaristLou Gehrig's disease (ALS)Sarasota, Florida

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Dan Toler

September 23, 1948 - February 25, 2013

"Dangerous Dan Toler" was a guitarist for Dickey Betts & Great Southern. He later became a member of the Allman Brothers Band from 1979 until 1982. With his brother David, Toler was also a member of the Gregg Allman Band in the 1980s.

His work can be heard on the Allman Brothers albums Enlightened Rogues (1979), Reach for the Sky (1980) and Brothers of the Road (1981).

2/21/201375Magic Slimblues guitarist Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Magic Slim

August 7, 1937 - February 21, 2013

Morris Holt, better known as "Magic Slim", was a Mississippi-born delta blues guitarist.

2/18/201368Kevin AyersSoft Machine, vocalist Montolieu, France

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Kevin Ayers

August 16, 1944 - February 18, 2013

Kevin Ayers was an English singer-songwriter and a founding member of the pioneering psychedelic band Soft Machine.

2/18/201362Damon HarrisThe Temptations, vocalistProstate CancerBaltimore, Maryland

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Damon Harris

July 17, 1950 - February 18, 2013

Damon Harris, a former member of the Motown group The Temptations, has died at age 62.

Harris joined the Temptations at age 20 in 1971 to replace Eddie Kendricks, one of the group's original lead singers. He was best known for singing tenor on the band's hit, "Papa was a Rolling Stone."

Harris left The Temptations in 1975. In 1978, as a solo artist, he released an album, Damon Harris: Silk.

2/17/201337Mindy McCreadycountry music singersuicideHeber Springs, Arkansas

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Mindy McCready

November 30, 1975 - February 17, 2013

Malinda Gayle "Mindy" McCready was an American country music singer. Active from 1995 until her death in 2013, she recorded a total of five studio albums.

2/16/201372Tony SheridanBeatles, associateHeart FailureHamburg, Germany

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Tony Sheridan

1940 - February 16, 2013

Singer-songwriter Tony Sheridan, who collaborated with the Beatles during their early days, has died in Hamburg following a long illness.

Sheridan hired the Beatles, then known as the Silver Beatles, as his back-up band when they played in Hamburg nightclubs in the early 1960s. With the Beatles, he recorded standards including 'My Bonnie', 'Ain't She Sweet' and 'When The Saints Go Marching In' under the name Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers.

Sheridan is also credited as being the first British musician to play the electric guitar on television. He went on to tour with Chubby Checker, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry.

In 2002, he released his final solo album, Vagabond.

2/11/201372Rick HuxleyDave Clark Five, bassistEmphysemaOld Harlow, Essex, England

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Rick Huxley

August 5, 1940 - February 11, 2013

Rick Huxley, bassist for the British Invasion group The Dave Clark Five, has died at age 72.

The Dave Clark Five hits included "Glad All Over," "Bits and Pieces" and "Everybody Knows." They enjoyed a large following in the United States after appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show just two weeks after the Beatles in Feb., 1964.

Denis Payton, who played saxophone, harmonica and guitar, died in 2006. Mike Smith, the lead singer and keyboardist, died in 2008.

The Dave Clark Five were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

2/4/201371Reg PresleyTroggsCancerAndover, England

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Reg Presley

June 12, 1941 - February 4, 2013

Reg Presley was the lead singer of the 1960s rock and roll band The Troggs. Their hit song "Wild Thing" was a US #1 hit, selling over 5 million copies.

Reg was born Reginald Maurice Ball, but was given the stage name Reg Presley by the New Musical Express journalist and publicist Keith Altham.

Presley used his songwriting royalties to fund his interest in subjects such as alien spacecraft, lost civilizations, alchemy, and crop circles. He outlined his findings in a 2002 book, Wild Things They Don't Tell Us.

2/1/201365Cecil WomackWomack and Womack Johannesburg, South Africa
1/30/201367Ann RabsonSafire / Uppity Blues WomenCancerFredericksburg, Virginia
1/30/201394Patty AndrewsAndrews Sisters, vocalist Los Angeles, California

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Patty Andrews

Feb. 16, 1918 - January 30, 2013

Patty Andrews, the youngest and last surviving member of the Andrews Sisters vocal trio, has died at age 94 at her home in Los Angeles. Sisters Patty, Maxene and LaVerne Andrews recorded songs like "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B)," "Rum and Coca-Cola" and "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me).

The sisters performed with Bing Crosby and the Glenn Miller orchestra, made movies, sold war bonds, and entertained American troops.

Eldest sister LaVerne died of cancer in 1967, and Maxene died on October 21, 1995.

Patty and Maxene's careers experienced a resurgence in 1973 when Bette Midler recorded her own version of their song "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."

1/26/201369Leroy BonnerOhio Players, vocalistCancerTrotwood, Ohio

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Leroy Bonner

March 14, 1943 - January 26, 2013

Leroy Bonner, better known as Sugarfoot, the frontman of the funk band the Ohio Players, has died in Trotwood, Ohio (near Dayton). He was 69.

The Ohio Players had a string of hits in the mid-1970s, including the classic funk songs "Love Rollercoaster," "Fire," "Skin Tight" and "Funky Worm."

"Love Rollercoaster" appears on the 1975 album Honey. The album is noted for its racy cover depicting a nude Playboy Playmate dripping honey on herself. An urban legend surrounds the song "Love Rollercoaster", claiming that the girl on the album cover was stabbed in the studio when she threatened to sue in connection with supposed skin damages caused by the fake honey used - and that her screams are heard on the song. However, the scream is actually that of keyboardist Billy Beck.

"Love Rollercoaster" was covered by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1996.

1/19/201377Steve KnightMountain, keyboardistParkinson's diseaseRiverdale, New York

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Steve Knight

May 12, 1935 - January 19, 2013

Steve Knight was best known for being the keyboard player in the rock band Mountain. He played on their albums "Climbing!", "Nantucket Sleighride", "Flowers Of Evil", and "The Road Goes Ever On". Mountain also included members Felix Pappalardi (bass), Leslie West (guitar/vocals) and Corky Laing (drums).

After Mountain disbanded in 1972, Steve played in jazz bands and worked in the construction industry. He also was a councilman in Woodstock, New York for several years.

1/12/201371Precious Bryantblues musician Columbus, Georgia
1/11/201367John Wilkinsonrhythm guitarist for Elvis PresleyCancerMissouri

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John Wilkinson

July 3, 1945 - January 11, 2013

John Wilkinson, longtime rhythm guitarist for Elvis Presley, has died at his home in southwest Missouri. He was 67. Wilkinson also played with the Kingston Trio and the New Christy Minstrels.

Wilkinson liked to tell the story of meeting Elvis in 1955. At age 10, he snuck into Presley's dressing room before a concert and told him "You can't play guitar worth a damn."

Wilkinson joined Elvis Presley's backup group, the TCB band, in 1968 and continued to play with Elvis until the singer's death in 1977.

In 2006, he authored a book My Life Before, During and After Elvis Presley documenting his experiences working with Elvis.

01/11/201373Jimmy O'NeillDJ, host of Shindig! West Hollywood, California

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Jimmy O'Neill
January 8, 1940 - January 11, 2013

Jimmy O'Neill was a Los Angeles disc jockey who, with his wife, Sharon K. "Shari" Sheeley, created the ABC-TV musical variety series Shindig! which aired from 1964 - 1966.

O'Neill was owner of Pandora's Box, an influential Sunset Strip music venue in West Hollywood, California that was the center of the 1966 Sunset Strip curfew riots.

1/10/201376Claude Nobsfounder of the Montreux Jazz Festivalskiing accidentLausanne, Switzerland

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Claude Nobs

February 4, 1936 - January 10, 2013

Claude Nobs was the founder and general manager of the Montreux Jazz Festival. He is the "Funky Claude" mentioned in the Deep Purple Song "Smoke on the Water."

The first Montreux Jazz Festival was held in 1967. The annual event when on to attract the greatest names in jazz and later diversified to include other forms of music. During the 1990s, Nobs shared the directorship of the festival with Quincy Jones, and made Miles Davis an honorary host.

In 1973, Nobs became the director of the Swiss branch of Warner, Elektra and Atlantic. On the live Jethro Tull album Bursting Out (recorded on 28 May 1978 in Bern), Nobs can be heard announcing "Gueten Abig mitenand, und herzlich willkommen in der Festhalle Bern!" (Good evening everybody and welcome to the Festhall of Bern).

Nobs played harmonica on the opening track of the 1983 Chris Rea album Water Sign.

Claude was involved in a skiing accident on Christmas Eve, 2012. He fell into a coma and died January 20, 2013. Other notable personalities who died while skiing include musician/congressman Sonny Bono, Michael Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy and Michel Trudeau, son of the Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

1/8/201370Tandyn Almersongwriter McLean, Virginia

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Tandyn Almer

July 30, 1942 - January 8, 2013

Tandyn Almer was a songwriter, musician and record producer. His most notable composition, "Along Comes Mary," was a 1966 hit for The Association. After the success of "Along Comes Mary" Almer was featured alongside Frank Zappa, Graham Nash, Roger McGuinn, and Brian Wilson on Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution, a 1967 CBS TV News feature presented by Leonard Bernstein.

He became good friends with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. The two collaborated in the early 1970s on several projects. He co-wrote the Beach Boys singles "Marcella" and "Sail On, Sailor".

Almer is also credited with inventing a waterpipe called the Slave-Master. A member of Mensa International, he moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 1977, and lived there for the remainder of his life.

After his death, a collection of vintage recordings of his songs, Along Comes Tandyn, was released on Sundazed Records.

1/4/201366Sammy Johnssinger/songwriter Gastonia, North Carolina

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Sammy Johns

February 7, 1946 - January 4, 2013

Sammy Johns was an American country singer-songwriter, best known for his million-selling 1975 hit single, "Chevy Van".

"Chevy Van" (1975) reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remained in the chart for 17 weeks. The song had been recorded in 1973, but was initially shelved and only released after 18 months with the album. The song sold about three million copies, and is credited for an increase in van sales the following year. The song and an album (also titled "Chevy Van") led to a contract with Warner Curb Records to produce a soundtrack for the 1977 film The Van.

Johns died on January 4, 2013, at Gaston Memorial Hospital in Gastonia, North Carolina, at the age of 66.

1/1/201385Patti Pagepop singer Encinitas, California

Rest in Peace
Patti Page

November 8, 1927 - January 1, 2013

Patti Page, a popular singer whose 1950 recording of "Tennessee Waltz" is one of the best-selling recordings ever, has died. She was 85.

Page, born Clara Ann Fowler, is remembered for singing "How Much is That Doggie in the Window", "Old Cape Cod" and other hits. In all, she had 24 records in the top 10.

On television, she was the first singer to have shows on all three major networks, including "The Patti Page Show" on ABC TV.

Patti was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Grammys. She has stars on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Country Music Walk of Fame.

Patti Page died on January 1, 2013 at the Seacrest Village Retirement Community in Encinitas, California. Page had been suffering from heart and lung disease. She is buried at El Camino Memorial Park in San Diego.


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