Rock & Roll Heaven

Daryle Singletary Gone Too Soon

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Submitted by Don Graham

One of the finest voices in country music has left the planet at young age of 46. Daryle Singletary passed away suddenly at his home in Lebanon, Tennessee just outside of Nashville.

Singletary born in Cairo, Georgia got started early in music singing gospel songs with his brother and cousins. Moving to Nashville in 1990, he played the local nightclubs before signing with Evergreen Records in 1992. He worked as a demo singer and one of the demos that Singletary sang was "An Old Pair of Shoes", which Randy Travis eventually recorded. Travis liked what he heard and recommended Singletary to his management team, who helped him sign to a recording contract with the Irving Azoff’s Warner-distributed Giant Records.

Hugh Masekela South African Jazz Pioneer Who Fought the Evil of Apartheid

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Story Credit: Robin Denselow The Guardian
Hugh Maskela Guardian 2011 Photo Credit Sarah Lee

Hugh Masekela, who has died aged 78, was one of the world’s finest and most distinctive horn players, whose performing on trumpet and flugelhorn mixed jazz with South African styles and music from across the African continent and diaspora. Exiled from his country for 30 years, he was also a powerful singer and songwriter and an angry political voice, using his music and live performances to attack the apartheid regime that had banished him from homeland.

Even when he had returned to the country of his birth under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, after having lived and worked in the US and in Botswana, Masekela continued to comment fearlessly on political events in South Africa and around the world, enjoying his status as an international celebrity, playing for presidents and royalty and concert audiences, and often collaborating with other musical greats.

Edwin Hawkins When Jesus Comes Oh Happy Day!

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

In 1960’s, when music had become immersed in drug related songs (Magic Carpet Ride, Itchycoo Park, Kicks, Inna Gadda Da Vida) Edwin Hawkins hit the charts with ‘Oh Happy Day’. An unlikely hit  for 1969.

“Oh Happy Day” paved the way for seismic changes in gospel music. An exuberant paean to the spiritually cleansing powers of Jesus.  It was a hymn written in the mid-18th century, but it was Edwin Hawkins  who popularized it and turned it into a global standard.

The song became a hit in 1969, credited to the Edwin Hawkins Singers, and reached No 2 in the UK and No 1 in France and Germany, as well as No 4 on the US’s Billboard Hot 100 chart. It sold more than a million copies in two months, and would eventually sell 7m internationally.

Fans of Motown or soul singers such as Sam Cooke or Aretha Franklin could identify with the sound immediately, but instead of pop lyrics, Oh Happy Day was an unabashed celebration of religious faith. In 1970 it won a Grammy award for best soul gospel performance. Also that year the Four Seasons covered it on their album Half and Half, and it would be recorded by Glen Campbell, Johnny Mathis, Elvis Presley, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Franklin and Mavis Staples, not to mention Robson and Jerome, and Susan Boyle. George Harrison cited it as an inspiration for his hit My Sweet Lord.

Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries Gone at 46

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Story Credit: Associated Press

Dolores O'Riordan, whose urgent, powerful voice helped make Irish rock band The Cranberries a global success in the 1990s, died suddenly on January 15, 2018, at a London hotel. She was 46.

The singer's publicist, Lindsey Holmes, confirmed she died in London, where she was recording,"No further details are available at this time," Holmes said, adding that the singer's family was "devastated" by the news. London's Metropolitan Police force said officers were called just after 9 a.m. Monday to a hotel where a woman in her 40s was found dead. The police force said the death was being treated as "unexplained."To all those who follow and support Irish music, Irish musicians, and the performing arts, her death will be a big loss," Higgins said in a statement.

O'Riordan was born on Sept. 6, 1971, in Ballybricken, southwest Ireland. In 1990, she answered an ad from a local band in nearby Limerick city — then called The Cranberry Saw Us — that was looking for a lead singer.

A name change and a confluence of factors turned The Cranberries into international stars. Their guitar-based sound had an alternative-rock edge at a time when grunge was storming the music scene.The band's songs — on which O'Riordan was chief lyricist and co-songwriter — had a Celtic-infused tunefulness. And in O'Riordan they had a charismatic lead singer with a distinctively powerful voice.

Heavy play on MTV for their debut single "Dream" and the singles that followed helped bring the group to the attention of a mass audience.

Artist Manager and Music Business Consultant Janice Starodub Passes Away

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
(Courtesy of Anya Wilson Promotion & Publicity)

The Manitoba country music industry has suffered the devastating loss of artist manager Janice Starodub on New Year’s Eve at the age of 49. Janice Anne Starodub passed away peacefully at the Selkirk Regional Health Centre surrounded by her family, husband Phil and three children, after a yearlong battle with cancer.

Janice began her career as a teacher whose creativity led her to songwriting, which in turn took her to Nashville, where networking introduced her to connections within the publishing community. It was also the place where she discovered where she fit in with the music industry. Her teaching experience, can-do attitude, and patience made her an ideal fit to fill the much-needed role of advising and developing young artists, initiating imaging and media training sessions, working on grants and arranging successful songwriting trips and showcases in LA, Nashville, and domestically.

Janice formed her company JanSTAR Entertainment in November 2011 and worked alongside renowned-Manitoban songwriter, manager and producer, Chris Burke Gaffney. She also worked as a day-to-day manager for Bryce Pallister, a young singer/songwriter on Mike Denney’s MDM Recordings Inc. label.

France Bids Farewell Rock Icon Johnny Hallyday

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Courtesy of The Associated Press
Photo: Funeral Service for Johnny Halladay in Paris, France AP PhotoThibault Camus, Pool

France is bidding farewell to its biggest rock star, honoring Johnny Hallyday with an exceptional funeral procession down the Champs-Elysees, a presidential speech and a parade of motorcyclists -- all under intense security.

Few figures in French history have earned a send-off as elaborate as the one Saturday for the man sometimes dubbed the French Elvis. It was ordered by President Emmanuel Macron -- a Hallyday fan himself, like generations of others across the French-speaking world.

Hallyday's death Wednesday at age 74 after fighting lung cancer unleashed emotion across the country, where the man known to the public simply as Johnny had been an icon for more than half a century.

Johnny HalladayJohnny HalladayFans chanting "Johnny! Johnny!" massed in Paris as the funeral cortege headed past his home in a Paris suburb near Versailles to Napoleon's Arc de Triomphe monument. The procession will then head down the Champs-Elysees, through the Place de la Concorde plaza on the Seine River, and then to the columned Madeleine Church.

Adding a rock touch to the pomp-filled event, hundreds of motorcyclists came to Paris to join the procession.

The Real David Cassidy – More Than Just a Pretty Face

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

So much has been said in the last week of David Cassidy – tv anchorwomen and female radio announcers as well as fans all saying things like ‘he was my first crush’,’I had his poster on my wall all through High School’, ‘he was so cute and had such a great smile and amazing hair’.

And then the battle with addictions, as well as his ongoing development of dementia, a disease that took his beloved mother from him.

But the story that needs to be told is what an amazing performer he became as he aged, being a strong businessman, producer, writer and director. Here are some highlights of the pretty boy from The Partridge Family’s outstanding career.

David Cassidy had managed to stay at the top of his game for over four decades, with a unique ability to re-invent himself and adapt to numerous genres from concerts to theatre, television to Las Vegas, and even actor/singer to producer/writer/director with a demographic that crosses three generations. David rose to stardom in “The Partridge Family” and became the biggest TV and performing phenomenon in history by the time he was 20.

Mel Tillis, Singer-Songwriter and Country Music Hall of Famer, Dies at 85

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By Erin Nyren and Chris Willman
Courtesy of Variety
Photo Credit Steve C. Mitchell

Mel Tillis, country music singer and songwriter, has died, the Country Music Hall of Fame confirmed in a statement. He was 85.

According to the Tennessean, Tillis died early Sunday morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Fla. after almost two years of ill health stemming from a bout of diverticulitis, for which he received surgery. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure.

Tillis began recording in the late 1950s and continued to perform through 2015, but remained best known for a string of No. 1 country hits in the late ’70s, along with a succession of appearances in Hollywood movies alongside Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood that helped make him a household name even outside the country music sphere.

“Mel Tillis spent a lifetime giving us joy and laughter and music, which is why his death brings such sadness,” said Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young. “Had he never stepped on a stage, he would still have been one of the funniest and most genuine people on the planet.”

“But his whimsy and warmth were only a part of his appeal. He wrote some of country music’s most compelling and consequential songs, he fronted a remarkable band, and he sang with power and emotion. He also shone as an inspiration, revealing what others called an impediment as a vehicle for humor and hope.”

Robert Knight Gave Us ‘Everlasting Love’

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Robert Knight has sadly passed away at the age of 72.

The legendary singer was known world-wide for his hit song “Everlasting Love.”
Robert Knight, who recorded the first version of ‘Everlasting Love’, one of the biggest songs to come out of Nashville, died Sunday, November 5, 2017 after a short illness.

He was born Robert Peebles in Franklin on April 24, 1945.

As young man, he was a member of the Fairlanes and sang lead for the Paramounts before becoming a solo artist.

In 1967, while performing during a fraternity party at Vanderbilt University, Mac Gayden heard "this voice coming from the Kappa Sigma House." He ran over there and met Knight as he was coming off the stage. "He didn't want to talk to me, but I gave him my card," Gayden remembered. Gayden introduced Knight to Buzz Cason, who signed Knight to Rising Sons Music, and they began working on an album.

Cason and Gayden had written a song called ‘The Weeper’, which they thought would be Knight's breakout hit. But then he cut another Cason/Gayden composition: ‘Everlasting Love’. It was, Gayden said, the last song cut during the session, "kind of like a throwaway tune."

Knight's infectious, soaring recording became an R&B and pop hit, and a beach music staple. Over the last half-century, it has been covered by Carl Carlton, Love Affair, U2 and Gloria Estefan, among others.

Boogie Nights Singer Keith Edward Wilder Passes On

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Funk Legend of the hit song ‘Boogie Nights’ passed away on October 29, 2017, at the age of 68. The unconfirmed cause of death was a massive heart attack.

Keith Edward Wilder was a vocalist for the legendary funk band Heatwave. Formed in 1975 by Wilder’s brother Johnnie Wilder, Jr., Heatwave hits included "Boogie Nights," "Always and Forever" and "The Groove Line."It was 40 years ago at this time that Heat Wave was climbing to #2 on the pop chart with this disco-dance smash.

In London during the mid-1970’s Johnnie Wilder, Jr. and Rod Temperton (both who have passed away 2006 and 2016 respectively) with several other musicians including Keith came together and created music history. The group has changed musician members over the years. Napoleon Eugene Phillips, Elliot Levine, Keith Busey, Geno Myers, Nathan Watson, Ignatius Mason, Byron Byrd, Donavan Blackwood and my longtime friend ElWarren Weatherspoon (World-Class Drummer) affectionately known in the industry as “Spoon”.

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