ATLANTA (AP) — James Brown, the dynamic, pompadoured ”Godfather of Soul,” whose rasping vocals and revolutionary rhythms made him a founder of rap, funk and disco as well, died early Monday, his agent said. He was 73.
Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday and died around 1:45 a.m. Monday, said his agent, Frank Copsidas of Intrigue Music. Longtime friend Charles Bobbit was by his side, he said.
Copsidas said the cause of death was uncertain. ”We really don’t know at this point what he died of,” he said.
Along with Elvis Presley and a handful of others, Brown was one of the major musical influences of the past 50 years. At least one generation idolized him, and sometimes openly copied him. His rapid-footed dancing inspired Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson among others. Songs such as David Bowie’s ”Fame,” Prince’s ”Kiss,” George Clinton’s ”Atomic Dog” and Sly and the Family Stone’s ”Sing a Simple Song” were clearly based on Brown’s rhythms and vocal style.
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British actor/comedian Charlie Drake has passed away. Drake recorded the classic novelty “My Boomerang Wont Come Back” in late 1961. The BBC’s obit is at http://news.bbc.co.uk:80/1/hi/entertainment/4634199.stm.
AP Story below, NY Times Article at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/14/arts/music/14cnd-ertegun.html?ref=music
Dec 14, 6:33 PM (ET)
By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY
NEW YORK (AP) - Ahmet Ertegun, who helped define American music as the founder of Atlantic Records, a label that popularized the gritty R&B of Ray Charles, the classic soul of Aretha Franklin and the British rock of the Rolling Stones, has died, his spokesman said. He was 83.
Ertegun remained connected to the music scene until his last days - it was at an Oct. 29 concert by the Rolling Stones at the Beacon Theatre in New York where Ertegun fell, suffered a head injury and was hospitalized. He later slipped into a coma.
“He was in a coma and expired today with his family at his bedside,” said Dr. Howard A. Riina, Ertegun’s neurosurgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Ertegun will be buried in a private ceremony in his native Turkey, said Bob Kaus, a spokesman for Ertegun and Atlantic Records. A memorial service will be conducted in New York after the New Year’s.
Ertegun, a Turkish ambassador’s son, started collecting records for fun, but would later became one of the music industry’s most powerful figures with Atlantic, which he founded in 1947.
The label first made its name with rhythm and blues by Charles and Big Joe Turner, but later diversified, making Franklin the Queen of Soul as well as carrying the banner of ritish rock (with the Rolling Stones, Cream, Led Zeppelin) and American pop (with Sonny & Cher, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and others).
Today, the company, part of Warner Music Group, is the home to artists including Kid Rock, James Blunt, T.I., and Missy Elliott.
Ertegun’s love of music began with jazz, back when he and his late brother Nesuhi (an esteemed producer of such jazz acts as Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman) used to hang around with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington in the clubs of Washington, D.C.
“My father was a diplomat who was ambassador to Switzerland, France and England before he became ambassador to the United States, and we lived in all those countries and we always had music in the house, and a lot of it was a kind of popular music, and we heard a lot of jazz,” Ertegun recalled in an interview with The Associated Press.
“By the time we came to Washington, we were collecting records and we amassed a collection of some 25,000 blues and jazz records.” Ertegun parlayed his love of music into a career when he founded Atlantic with partner Herb Abramson and a $10,000 loan.
When the label first started, it made its name with blues-edged recordings by acts such as Ruth Brown. Despite his privileged background, which included attending prep school and socializing with Washington’s elite, Ertegun was able to mix with all kinds of people - an attribute that made him not just a marketer of black music, but a part of it, said Jerry Wexler.
“The transition between these two worlds is one of Ahmet’s most distinguishing characteristics,” Wexler said. Black music was the backbone of the label for years - it was Atlantic, under Wexler’s production genius, that helped make Franklin the top
black female singer of her day.
“We had some pop music - we had Bobby Darin … and we developed other pop artists such as Sonny and Cher and Bette Midler and so on,” said Ertegun. “But we had been most effective that set a style as purveyors of African-American music. And we were the kings of that until the arrival of Motown Records, which was long after we started.”
But once music tastes changed, Ertegun switched gears and helped bring on the British invasion in the ’60s.
“If Atlantic had restricted itself to R&B music, I have no doubt that it would be extinct today,” Wexler said. Instead, it became even bigger.
In later years, Ertegun signed Midler, Roberta Flack and ABBA. He had a gift for being able to pick out what would be a commercial smash, said the late producer Arif Mardin, who remembered one session where he was working with the Bee Gees on an album - but was unsure of what he had produced.
“Then Ahmet came and listened to it, and said, ‘You’ve got hits here, you’ve got dance hits,’” Mardin once told the AP. “I was involved in such a way that I didn’t see the forest for the trees. … He was like the steadying influence.”
One strength of the company was Ertegun’s close relationships with many of the artists - relationships that continued even after they left his label. Midler still called for advice, and he visited Franklin’s home when he dropped into Detroit.
His friendships extended to the younger generation, too, including Kid Rock and Lil’ Kim.
Besides his love of music, Ertegun was also known for his love of art, and socializing. It was not uncommon to find him at a party with his wife, Mica, hanging out until all hours with friends.
Although he was slowed by triple-bypass surgery in 2001, he still went into his office almost daily to listen for his next hit.
Finding those hits were among the most wonderful moments in his life, he said.
“I’ve been in the studio when you go through a track and you run down a track and you know even before the singer starts singing, you know the track is swinging … you know you have a multimillion-seller hit - and what you’re working on suddenly has magic,” he said. “That’s the biggest.”
12/12/06 story from AP
By RICHARD PYLE
NEW YORK — Georgia Gibbs, a versatile singer who starred on the popular show Your Hit Parade and reached the top of the charts in the 1950s with covers of songs by black artists, has died. She was 87.
Gibbs died Saturday (12/9/06) at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, family friend Leslie Gottlieb said. The cause was complications from leukemia.
Among her 15 Top 40 hits, mostly for Mercury Records, was the tango-based Kiss of Fire, which went to No. 1 in 1952.
But she is known historically — and controversially — as one of the whites who gained success in the 1950s covering rhythm and blues hits by black artists, sometimes upstaging the original versions with sanitized lyrics.
Tweedle Dee, an adaptation of LaVern Baker’s R&B hit, reached No. 2 in 1954, while Dance With Me Henry, another R&B cover, reached No. 1 in 1955 with cleaned-up lyrics.
The original, Roll With Me, Henry or The Wallflower, was by Etta James as an “answer song” to the hit Work With Me, Annie.
“At that time you weren’t allowed to say ‘roll’ because it was considered vulgar,” James said in a 1987 Associated Press interview. “So when Georgia Gibbs did her version, she renamed it Dance With Me, Henry and it went to No. 1 on the pop charts.”
Besides a stint on Your Hit Parade, the radio and TV show that showcased the most popular songs each week, Gibbs was a regular on programs hosted by Garry Moore, Jimmy Durante and Danny Kaye and was a frequent guest on other radio and early television variety shows
Other memorable Gibbs recordings included the novelty If I Knew You Were Coming, I’d've Baked a Cake in the early 1950s, and her last Top 40 record, The Hula Hoop Song, in 1958.
Gibbs, along with Pat Boone, Connie Francis and others, was profiled this year in the book Great Pretenders: My Strange Love Affair With ’50s Pop Music, by music critic Karen Schoemer.
In a review for The New York Times, singer Nellie McKay called the book’s subjects “seven of the most neglected performers of the 20th century.”
Gibbs, born Freda Lipschitz in Worcester, Mass., in 1919, began singing in Boston ballrooms as a teenager, using the name Gibbons, later becoming Georgia Gibbs. As her star rose, Moore began introducing her on the air as “Her Nibs, Miss Georgia Gibbs,” which became a popular phrase.
Although Gibbs was semiretired after 1960, her singing career spanned more than 60 years, “a remarkable and enduring talent, and very persistent,” Gottlieb said.
A highlight of Gibbs’ life, Gottlieb said, was performing for Israeli soldiers in 1949, after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, which helped establish the Jewish state.
Gibbs was married to Frank Gervasi, an author and World War II correspondent for United Press, who died before her. Survivors include a grandson and a brother
Originally a MySpace posting forwared by Bruce Wolff:
IT IS WITH MUCH REGRET AND SADNESS THAT I ADVISE YOU OF THE PASSING OF WALTER WARD.
WALTER, THE ORIGINAL LEAD SINGER OF THE LEGENDARY GROUP, THE OLYMPICS, PASSED AWAY THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 11, 2006, AFTER A LENGTHY ILLNESS.
THE OLYMPICS RECORDED SUCH GREAT HITS AS “MY BABY LOVES THE WESTERN MOVIES” “BIG BOY PETE”, “HULLY GULLY” (WHICH STARTED A DANCE CRAZE!!) “DANCE BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON”, “THE BOUNCE” AND “GOOD LOVING” TO NAME A FEW.
FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS ARE PENDING. INQUIRIES AND QUESTIONS MAY BE DIRECTED TO ME, FREDA SINCLAIR, EITHER BY E-MAIL, OR AT THR ADDRESS LISTED BELOW.
C/O WALTER WARD/THE OLYMPICS
P.O. BOX 335212
NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV.. 89033
(E-mail address not forwarded)
Freddie Marsden, drummer for his younger brother’s group, Gerry & The Pacemakers, passed away on December 9th. Press story below.
13 December 2006
Of all the successful Merseybeat musicians, Freddie Marsden
was the most down-to-earth. He was a friendly, charming man
who enjoyed his success in the Sixties as the drummer with
Gerry and the Pacemakers and then happily settled down to
the routine of a daily job.
In late 1962, Gerry and the Pacemakers were the second band
to be signed up by Brian Epstein - the Beatles were the
first. When the Beatles rejected Mitch Murray’s
light-hearted “How Do You Do It”, Epstein told the record
producer George Martin that he had just the group to do it.
On 22 January 1963, Gerry and the Pacemakers travelled from
Liverpool to London to record the song, as Marsden recalled:
We were sat in the back of a freezing van for 10 hours in
the worst weather you can imagine. The road manager slept
through it all because he was shattered. We knew that the
Beatles had turned down “How Do You Do It” and I thought
they were silly to do that, as it was a much better song
than “Love Me Do”.
The single went to No l, as did its cheeky follow-up, “I
Like It”. Having seen Paul McCartney’s success around the
Liverpool clubs with “Over the Rainbow”, Gerry and the
Pacemakers wanted a similar, emotional show-stopper and they
picked “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the 1945 Rodgers and
Hammerstein musical Carousel. With George Martin’s
arrangement, they became the first UK beat group to record
with strings. They also became the first act to reach No l
with their first three singles. “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
was subsequently adopted by Liverpool football club and
became the Kop anthem.
Freddie Marsden was born in the working-class Dingle area of
Liverpool in 1940 and his brother, Gerry, followed two years
later. Their father, Fred, was a railway clerk who
entertained the neighbours by playing the ukulele. With the
vogue for skiffle music in the mid-Fifties, he took the skin
off one of his instruments, put it over a tin of Quality
Street and said to Freddie, “There’s your first snare drum,
In 1957 the brothers appeared in the show Dublin to Dingle
at the Pavilion Theatre in Lodge Lane. Studies meant little
to either of them - Freddie left school with one O-level and
worked for a candlemaker earning £4 a week, and Gerry’s job
was as a delivery boy for the railways. Their parents did
not mind and encouraged their musical ambitions.
The Marsdens’ first group was called the Mars Bars, but when
the confectioners complained, they became Gerry and the
Pacemakers. The line-up changed from time to time and, in
1959, Les Chadwick joined on bass. They were featured on a
beat show with Gene Vincent at Liverpool Stadium in 1960
and, later in the year, followed the Beatles to Hamburg,
with a residency at the Top Ten Club, playing for five hours
a night. “We had to drive from Liverpool to Hamburg,”
Freddie Marsden recalled.
We had our own van and I did most of the driving. We got to
Hamburg about two o’clock in the afternoon and when we got
to the Top Ten Club, the manager said that we were on at
seven. We were given [the slimming drug] Preludin to keep
awake. Gerry was our main singer, and all the singing and
the smoking battered his voice. When he was 12 or 13, he was
in the church choir and his voice was absolutely brilliant,
but he got that huskiness from Hamburg.
In 1961 they were joined by Les Maguire on piano and thus
the hit-making Pacemakers line-up was complete. They
alternated at the Cavern club’s lunchtime sessions with the
Beatles and, one famous night at Litherland Town Hall, they
combined their talents to form the Beatmakers. Freddie
Marsden had his 21st birthday party in the Dingle with the
Beatles as guests. It is sometimes reported that he was
considered as a possible replacement for the Beatles’
drummer Pete Best after Best was sacked in August 1962, but
“That’s rubbish,” he told me.
Look at my high forehead. I could never have had a Beatle
haircut for a start. I considered myself a very basic
drummer. I laid the beat down and didn’t do anything fancy.
I knew my limitations and I stuck with the strong off-beat
and it seemed to work. We were nice and tight. Ringo was
definitely more technical than me.
After the three No 1 hits for Gerry and the Pacemakers in
1963, their fourth single, Gerry’s own song “I’m the One”,
went to No 2 the following year. Freddie felt that they
would have had a fourth chart-topper if they had picked
their stage favourite, “Pretend”. Freddie co-wrote “Don’t
Let The Sun Catch You Cryin’”, which became their biggest US
hit, reaching No 4 in 1964. He was immensely proud when José
Feliciano recorded the song. Freddie Marsden also co-wrote
“Why Oh Why” and “You’ve Got What I Like”, and sang the
occasional vocal, joining Gerry on harmony for “A Shot of
Rhythm and Blues”.
The group were featured on scooters for the film Ferry Cross
The Mersey (1965), which was written by the creator of
Coronation Street, Tony Warren. Although the plot is trite,
the film offers invaluable views of Merseyside sights and
clubs of the Sixties. The title song, written by Gerry
Marsden, charted for the group in 1965. “There were lots of
songs about Chicago, Broadway and London,” said Freddie,
“but nobody had mentioned Liverpool until then.”
In 1968 Gerry Marsden replaced Joe Brown in the West End
musical Charlie Girl, and effectively broke up the group.
Freddie never criticised his brother publicly but I always
sensed some resentment. “We were left without a singer and
instead of looking for another one, we called it a day,” he
The two Leses got a garage and I had no qualifications and
despite what people thought, I hadn’t got much money.
Looking back, I underrated myself as a drummer. I was always
more into sport than playing drums and when I compared
myself to some of the drummers I’d heard in America, I
didn’t fancy getting up to their standards.
Freddie Marsden became a telephone operator for £14 a week
but later opened the Pacemaker driving school in Formby.
Although he was always courteous to his fans, he never
returned to music. A few years ago, when I asked him if he
still had his drums, he said, “No, I got rid of them. They
took up too much space in the garage.”
Frederick John Marsden, drummer: born Liverpool 23 October
1940: married 1964 Margaret Naylor (one son, one daughter);
died Southport, Lancashire 9 December 2006.