This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
Continuing from yesterday, people associated with music who died this year.
LOU REED was one of the most important musicians in the second wave of rock & roll. He was intelligent, literate but aware of the limitations of his craft, saying that what he wrote wouldn't be considered a big deal if it appeared in a book or film.
Lou liked to alienate listeners and was fond of contradicting himself throughout his career.
He first came to notice as songwriter, singer and guitarist for the Velvet Underground, a group that didn't have much of a following but was hugely influential. Initially under the auspices of Andy Warhol, they soon went their own way.
In the early seventies, Lou began a solo career that was equally influential. Most bands that started after this time claim that his music was the most important factor in their becoming musicians.
Often dismissed by some for having a monotonous voice and perfunctory guitar skills, nonetheless what he produced was mesmerizing. Instead of the expected song, Walk on the Wild Side, I'll go with Lou in surprisingly mellow mood with Perfect Day. (Lou was 71)
JOHN TAVENER was an English composer who admired and took inspiration from Stravinsky, Boulez and Messaien. He began as a concert pianist but couldn't overcome his stage fright so turned to composing. In later years he specialized in religious music. (69)
ROLAND JAMES was a session guitarist at Sun Records during its heyday. He played guitar on Jerry Lee Lewis's great first songs and also backed Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich and others from that time. (80)
NOEL HARRISON was an English singer and actor. He was also an accomplished sportsman and represented Britain in skiing at the Winter Olympics in 1952 and 1956. Noel had his first hit with the song, A Young Girl, written by Charles Aznavour.
As an actor he performed in the TV series, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. with Stephanie Powers. He later recorded and had a hit with the song Windmills of your Mind used in the film The Thomas Crown Affair. His father was the actor Rex Harrison. (79)
VAN CLIBURN was an American classical pianist. He came to international attention in 1958 when he entered the inaugural Tchaikovsky Competition, a piano competition intended to showcase Russian superiority in classical music at the time.
To the surprise of most he won. However, because of that, he started a thaw in east-west relations, particularly in the field of classical music.
On the basis of his win, he became an international star in the piano world. He was the first classical performer to sell a million albums. His forte was the music of the Romantic composers, particularly Rachmaninov and Chopin.
Here he plays probably the most famous of Chopin's polonaises, the Heroic. (78)
YUSEF LATEEF was a jazz saxophone and flute player. He started out as a straight sax player in bands led by Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and Cannonball Adderley.
When he formed his own group he thought that the music needed more color so he introduced the flute, oboe, bassoon and a variety of non-western instruments. That led him to explore music from Asia, the Middle East and other parts of the world. He kept playing music until shortly before his death at 93.
RICK HUXLEY was the bass player for the British group The Dave Clark Five who came to prominence in the wake of The Beatles. Touted at the time as a rival to the fab four, history has shown their place in the scheme of things. Later Rick set up and ran his own electrical wholesale organization. (70)
TREVOR BOLDER played bass guitar with David Bowie’s Spiders from Mars and the heavy metal band Uriah Heep. He was also an accomplished trombone and cornet player. (62)
BEN TUCKER was a jazz bassist who played with Quincy Jones, Peggy Lee and others. He was also a successful songwriter who had his tunes recorded by many of the top jazz musicians. (82)
JIMMY DAWKINS was an American blues guitarist and singer. He performed Chicago blues as he moved to that city from his native Mississippi when he was 19. He found work there, both gigging in the clubs and as a session musician.
He eventually recorded his own music and toured internationally, especially to Europe and Japan where he was extremely popular. Jimmy performs Things I Used to Do. (76)
KEVIN AYRES was an English guitarist, bass player and songwriter who was a founding member of the alternative psychedelic band, The Soft Machine.
This band often shared the stage with Pink Floyd and he became friends with several members of that band and they often played together. He later had a long solo career and recorded quite a few albums. (68)
CHICO HAMILTON was a jazz drummer and band leader whose group featured classical instruments such as cello and flute. As a native of Los Angeles, he often produced music for films.
He started his professional career at the very top with gigs with Count Basie and Duke Ellington. His first taste of fame came as a member of the Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker quartet. He later formed his own group as well as performing as a session musician in many styles of music. (92)
ANNETTE FUNICELLO was the most famous Mouseketeer, and she was the reason we young lads tuned in to the Mickey Mouse Club She later had several hits in that period between rock & roll's first incarnation and its second coming launched by The Beatles.
Most memorable, well sort of, were Pineapple Princess and Tall Paul. There were others as well.
She later made a bunch of films, usually set on the beach and mostly costarring Frankie Avalon. Annette was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the early nineties and she died from complications of that disease. (70)
SLIM WHITMAN was one of the biggest-selling musicians in the history of country music. He had a distinctive style and was not averse to having a bit of a yodel. He got that from listening to old Jimmie Rodgers' records when he was young.
He started singing on a ship when he was in the navy during the war. Later, he managed to get a recording deal thanks to "Colonel" Tom Parker. He had many hits, both country and popular, in the fifties and he kept performing until quite recently.
China Doll is one of those hits. (90)
BOBBY PARKER was a blues singer and guitarist whose recordings were so influential that his licks were pinched by John Lennon, Carlos Santana and Jimmy Page.
He also influenced James Brown with his performing style. Alas, he reaped little reward for all this and had to keep performing until his death to make ends meet. (76)
PAUL WILLIAMS was an American journalist and writer who created the music magazine Crawdaddy. This publication was probably the first to take rock music seriously as a viable art form (or at least, a decent craft). He wrote many books, usually on music themes. (64)
DONALD BYRD was a gifted jazz trumpet player who was at the forefront of bebop in the fifties and sixties. He later recorded soul and popular music to considerable success. This was rather frowned on by jazz purists.
He introduced a couple of his fine sidemen to Miles Davis and they went on to play with him. At one stage Donald took time off to study composition in Paris and also a law degree in Washington. He later earned a PhD in education from Columbia University and lectured on both music and law (and where they intersect). (80)
MARIE-CLAIRE ALAIN was a French organist and composer (as were her two brothers) and also a teacher of the organ. She was trained at the Paris Conservatory and recorded a vast number of albums in the organ repertoire, particularly the works of J.S. Bach. (86)
MARVIN RAINWATER was an early rock & roll performer. Initially, he was classically trained on the piano but an injury curtailed that and he switched to guitar. He left the navy after the war and performed country music.
He was taken by rock music and switched to play that style. He was particularly popular in Europe. Marvin also wrote songs, many of which were hits for other artists. (88)
PATTY ANDREWS was the last of the Andrews Sisters. She was the blonde one, usually in the middle, who sang lead vocals.
The Andrews Sisters initially modeled themselves on the Boswell Sisters whom they heard on the radio with Bing Crosby. Later, they would record a couple of songs with Bing (and several other performers). They became the most successful sister singing act of all time, selling millions of records.
Later there was more than a bit of tension in the ranks but they didn’t discuss their differences outside the group fearing it might dent their image. It did erupt publicly when Patty went solo at the behest of her husband. Lawsuits flew all over the place.
They reunited briefly in the mid-fifties but that was short-lived and the acrimony remained. From their first time around, here is Bei Mir Bist Du Schon. (94)
ANDY JOHNS produced most of Led Zeppelin's albums. He was also responsible for the Rolling Stones' albums from the seventies. And he worked with Traffic, Blind Faith, Ten Years After, Rod Stewart, Joe Satriani, Van Halen and many others. He was the younger brother of another record producer, Glyn Johns. (61)
After leaving school, EYDIE GORME first worked at the United Nations as an interpreter. She made her first recordings in 1950 with the Tommy Tucker Band and later she worked with several other bands.
Eydie made her first TV appearance in 1953 on The Tonight Show (the Steve Allen version) where she met Steve Lawrence. They were soon married and started performing together. That continued until she died at age 84.
DEKE RICHARDS was born Dennis Lussier and he was a songwriter and record producer with a long association with Motown records. He wrote for and produced The Jackson 5, Bobby Darin, The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas among many others. (68)
JAMES DEPREIST was one of the first African-American symphony conductors. He was a director of the Juilliard conducting program and led the Oregon Symphony Orchestra for more than 20 years. He also twiddled the baton in Montreal, Tokyo, and Monte Carlo.
James was a nephew of the great singer, Marian Anderson. He also overcame polio and kidney disease and kept on creating music. (76)
BOBBY "BLUE" BLAND was described as having a voice as soft as silk. He created a delicate blend of the blues, gospel and soul genres and influenced Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and many performers of the rock era.
Bobby was from Tennessee and started out singing in a choir. After hearing T-Bone Walker he was drawn to the blues and went to Memphis where he became a regular on Beale Street with such artists as Rosco Gordon, Earl Forest and B.B. King.
He became good friends with B.B. and they often performed and recorded together. Bobby performs I Just Tripped on a Piece of Your Broken Heart. (83)
PHIL CHEVRON was an Irish songwriter, guitarist and singer. He founded Dublin's first punk band, Radiators From Space. Later he joined the Pogues to play banjo, guitar and mandolin. (56)
JOHN HOPKINS was a British-born Australian conductor and music administrator. In Australia, he created the Prom concerts in Melbourne and Sydney and started a series of new classical music, mostly featuring (then little-known) Australian composers. Many of these were world premieres.
He started the Victorian College of the Arts and was director of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. (86)
MARSHALL LYTLE was a guitarist and bass player. He was most noted as the enthusiastic upright bass player for Bill Haley's Comets. After arguments with Bill over money, he left and founded The Jodimars, the first rock group to play Las Vegas regularly. (79)
CHRISSY AMPHLETT was an Australian rock & roll singer and songwriter. She was the lead singer for the group The Divinyls. This group had a revolving membership held together by Chrissy and Mark McEntree. In spite of this they recorded half a dozen albums and had chart topping songs in Britain and the U.S. as well as Australia.
She died of complications of both multiple sclerosis and breast cancer. The Divinyls perform their mega-hit, I Touch Myself. (53)
BOB BROZMAN was an American guitarist and musicologist (a real one), who played many instruments, starting at the age of six. He collaborated with musicians from all over the world – Papua-New Guinea, India, Africa, Japan and many other places. (59)
CLEOTHA STAPLES was one of the Staple Singers. Not as well known as her younger sister Mavis, Cleotha's soprano voice added a soothing touch to the group's sound.
As the oldest, she was the mother figure and defused arguments, not just in the group but also when they were taunted by racist audience members (you wonder why they'd attend their concerts). She was plagued by Alzheimer's for the last several years of her life. (78)
BERNIE MCGANN was an Australian alto saxophone player and was one of the earliest of modern jazz performers in this country. He was also a session musician and contributed to many rock and pop records as well as jazz. He led his own jazz group for many years, decades really, and was performing until his death at 76.
BOBBY ROGERS was a founder member of The Miracles, a very successful band fronted by Smokey Robinson. That's Bobby on the right. He was also a songwriter and collaborated with Smokey on several of their hits.
He sang the tenor parts alongside Smokey's famous falsetto. Bobby's brother Sonny and sister Claudette were also members of the group (and she eventually married Smokey).
After Smokey left for a solo career The Miracles continued for a time with Bobby singing the lead parts but they eventually folded. There have been several reunion concerts over the years.
Here, the Smokey version of The Miracles sing You've Really Got A Hold On Me with Bobby singing lead. Smokey does the falsetto. (73)
KATHARINA WOLPE was a classical pianist who went to England from her native Vienna when she was 16 to escape the Nazis.
Her greatest love was Schubert, however she also performed all the classical composers, especially Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn. Besides them, she championed the works of Berg, Scriabin, Schoenberg and Webern as well.
She later settled in Canada and became pianist in residence at the University of Toronto. (81)CLIVE BURR was the original drummer for the heavy metal group Iron Maiden. He was with them for their first three albums whereupon they fired him.
Later he was in various groups in France, America and elsewhere. Various members of Iron Maiden later said it was a mistake to remove him as he was a far better drummer than his replacement. Alas, Clive died from complications of multiple sclerosis at the young age of 56.
JIM HALL was described as the father of modern guitar playing. He was universally considered a really nice person with a great sense of humor.
Besides that, he was an outstanding guitarist who played with the likes of Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins and Chico Hamilton. He influenced many later guitarists, in particular Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell and John Scofield. (83)
Although he was a widely respected singer, songwriter and guitarist in his own right and played in a number of bands, STEVE HYAMS was best known for his time in the group Mott the Hoople. (62)
MARIAN MCPARTLAND was a jazz pianist who was born in England but spent most of her life in America. She made many albums over her long career but was even more influential through her long running radio program where she'd play with other musicians and interview them as well.
There were more than 800, including Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, George Shearing, Wynton Marsalis and, of course, many, many others. She started playing the piano at age three and she was later classically trained although after hearing jazz that was it for her.
Marian plays the old jazz classic, On Green Dolphin Street. (95)
MAGIC SLIM was born Morris Holt and was given his name by his friend and fellow bluesman, Magic Sam, because he was so tall, Sam said.
He moved to Chicago in the fifties with Sam where they started performing and eventually recording. Slim was an electrifying guitarist who was at his best in front of as live audience rather than in the recording studio. His distinctive slide work was made with his finger rather than a bottle neck or steel as is usual. (75)
JACK CLEMENT was a record producer, songwriter, publisher and musician in his own right. He produced artists as diverse as Louis Armstrong, U2 and Jerry Lee Lewis. He was the producer for Jerry Lee's groundbreaking early records. He also released several albums of his own music. (82)
DEBORAH CHESSLER was a songwriter and music manager and was one of the key figures in the success of DooWop. She managed and wrote songs for Sonny Til and The Orioles. (89)
RAY PRICE was a country singer and guitarist who stared his career playing honky tonk style music and later became famous for his ballad singing.
He hired then unknowns like Willie Nelson, Roger Miller and Johnny Paycheck to play in his bands and remained friends and occasional musical collaborators with them. He stared a music publishing company and kickstarted the careers of songwriters Harlan Howard, Hank Cochran and Willie. (87)
WENDY SADDINGTON was often referred to as "Australia's Janis Joplin". This did her a disservice, after all she lived way past the sixties and seventies.
Her early life is a mystery; even her friends know nothing of it. During the sixties, she started performing in Melbourne coffee lounges before joining a couple of rock and soul bands.
She was a founder member of the famous blues/rock band Chain but left before their big success. She wrote for a music magazine besides having her music career.
In 1970, she joined the band she's most associated with, Copperwire, and they recorded and toured Australia extensively for a couple of years. Later, Wendy performed in music theatre.
From her days with Copperwire, Looking Through a Window. This will take (some of) us back to 1971. (63)
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Janet Thompson: The Results are Not In Yet