Rock & Roll Heaven

Doo Wop Singer Marshall Sewell Passes On

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Marshall Sewell, the outstanding bass vocalists of the Doo Wop band, The Edsels has passed away in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.

The Edsels were an American doo wop group active during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The name of the group was originally The Essos, after the oil company, but was changed to match the then-new Ford automobile, the Edsel. The Edsels recorded over 25 songs and had multiple performances on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. The Edsels were one of the few doo wop groups to sign with a major record label, as most groups of that era found success with small independent labels. Before their national hit "Rama Lama Ding Dong," songs like "What Brought Us Together," "Bone Shaker Joe," and "Do You Love Me" helped the group land a major recording contract with Capitol Records in 1961.

Today, the group is known almost exclusively for their song, "Rama Lama Ding Dong." The song was recorded in 1957 and released, under the erroneous title "Lama Rama Ding Dong," in 1958. The song did not become popular until 1961, after a disc jockey in New York City began to play it as a segue from The Marcels doo wop version of "Blue Moon." The song eventually became popular throughout the USA, topping the Cashbox Charts in the Top Ten.

Cornelius ‘Nini’ Harp of The Marcels Passed On

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Cornelius ‘Nini’ Harp, the former lead singer for the group The Marcels, passed away on June 5, 2013.

The Marcels were an American doo-wop group known for turning popular music songs into rock and roll. The group formed in 1959 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and signed to Colpix Records, with lead Cornelius Harp, bass Fred Johnson, Gene Bricker, Ron Mundy, and Richard Knauss. The group was named after a popular hair style of the day, the marcel wave, by Fred Johnson's younger sister Priscilla.

In 1961 many were surprised to hear a new version of the ballad "Blue Moon", that began with the bass singer saying, "bomp-baba-bomp" and "dip-da-dip." The record sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc and was featured in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. The disc went to number one on the Cashbox Magazine Charts. Additional revivals in the same vein as "Blue Moon" – "Heartaches" and "Melancholy Baby" – were less successful, although "Heartaches" peaked at No. 7 on the Cashbox Charts and eventually sold over one million copies worldwide.

I Want To Live Like That – Larry Wayne Clark

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Submitted by Mike Biggar

On May 30, 2013, our dear friend and prolific songwriter Larry Wayne Clark passed away after living with cancer for 3 years. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Larry's career in country music as a songwriter, producer, teacher and music journalist spanned 30-plus years in both Nashville and Vancouver. He was loved by artists, writers, producers, publishers and other music industry professionals literally around the world. The richness of Larry’s life’s work is evidenced not just in the hundreds of songs he penned for a myriad of top-level artists, nor in the unending accolades and recognition he received for his craft. Possibly the greatest record of Larry’s success – and that for which I envy him most - is the deep affection he enjoyed from those he worked with.  You just couldn’t help but love Larry Wayne Clark.  Now his legacy lives on in the beautiful music he created, but even more in the beautiful person that he was, and the lives of those he touched.

Ed Shaughnessy Joins Johnny, Doc and Ed Once Again

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Submitted by Cashbox Magazine

Ed Shaughnessy, the jazz drummer who for nearly three decades anchored the rhythm section of Doc Severinsen’s “Tonight Show” band, has died in Southern California. He was 84 years old. He died of a heart attack at his home in Calabasas, outside of Los Angeles, California.

Shaughnessy .was the drummer on Carson’s lengendary late night talk show from 1963 until 1992.

"When you have a high profile gig like The Tonight Show, people kind of assume that's your  thing. . "But prior to getting that gig, I had a really deep and rich jazz background and I really made my living as a jazz drummer."

The New Jersey native began his jazz career as a teenager, playing with Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman and Count Basie. He replaced Buddy Rich in Tommy Dorsey’s band.

He was married to Ilene Woods, the voice of Cinderella in the Disney animated film, who passed away in 2010.

Shaughnessy is survived by a son and three grandchildren.

R.I.P Ed, the beat goes on!

Ray Manzarek Closes The Door

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

How bizarre it was on Monday May 20, 2013. Facebook and Twitter accounts buzzed with the death of Ray Manzarek, then immediately apologized for the “hoax, ,reports, were issued that was indeed NOT dead. Then ,NO, he is dead!  Sort of like long ago bandmate Jim Morrision of the Doors, dead or alive? Finally confirmation came the keyboardist Ray Manzarek had died at the age of 74 in Rosenheim, Germany after a long battle with bile duct cancer.

Manzarek and Jim Morrison were the founding members of the legendary rock band the Doors. Manzarek and Morrison met by chance on Venice Beach in California. Morrison said he had written some songs, and Manzarek expressed an interest in hearing them.  Morrison then sang a rough version of "Moonlight Drive". Manzarek liked the songs and co-founded the Doors with Morrison at that moment. They formed the band with John Densmore and Robby Kreiger whom Manzarek had met at a Transcendental Meditation Conference.

Alan O’Day Goes to Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Singer/songwriter Alan O’Day. Who wrote the Righteous Brothers classic Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven has gone home. The 72 year old O’Day passed away after a short battle with brain cancer and left behind a legacy of hit tunes. Besides the aforementioned ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven’, O’Day wrote ‘The Drum’ for Bobby Sherman, ‘Train of Thought’ for Cher  and the classic ‘Angie Baby’ for Helen Reddy.

Perhaps best known for his own record ‘Undercover Angel’ which became the number one song on the U.S. Charts and sold over 2 million copies. In 1983, O'Day met San Francisco's singer-songwriter Janis Liebhart, with whom he co-wrote a children's song for a new Saturday morning animated TV show, Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies. Within eight years they had written almost 100 songs for the program, which won an Emmy Award and has since been syndicated internationally.

So R.I.P. Alan O’Day and remember……

If you believe in forever

Then life is just a one-night stand

If there's a rock and roll heaven

Well you know they've got a hell of a band

(The Righteous Brothers 1974)


Jeff Hanneman Dies of Liver Failure Contributed to Spider Bite

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

On Thursday, May 2, 2013, Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman passed away from liver failure in a Los Angeles hospital.  In what was a bizarre set of circumstances, the theory was that a bite from a spider over two years ago might have contributed to his death. The bite was over two years ago, which led to a severe infection that Hanneman never really totally recovered from and family felt that it may have contributed to his death.

Hanneman was thought to be on the mend and he had been writing songs with the band in anticipation of recording a new album later this year.

Hanneman had been slowly recovering from necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease that nearly cost him his arm. Such an infection can develop from a minor cut or scratch.Hannenman was bitten while in a friend’s hot tub and failed to seek immediate treatment. Infections by flesh-eating bacteria are rare. The affliction can destroy muscle, fat and skin and may require surgery to remove the diseased tissue to save a patient's life.

Hanneman had several operations to remove dead and dying tissue from his arm, the band said on its website last year.It's unknown if Hanneman was bitten by the dangerous brown recluse spider,but it is said that whatever spider  bit the Slayer guitarist never recovered.

The government estimates roughly 750 flesh-eating bacteria cases occur each year, usually caused by a type of strep germ. About 1 in 5 people with the most common kind of flesh-eating strep bacteria die.

Greg Quill Journalist and Artist – Gone Too Soon

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

In  Canada most people know him as one of the country's leading cultural journalists, senior arts columnist at the Toronto Star.

In Australia, a few will remember another Greg Quill, the award-winning singer-songwriter and leader of the seminal Australian roots band Country Radio, which scored hits with "Gypsy Queen", "Wintersong", "Fleetwood Plain" and "She Do It To Me", toured the country endlessly, headlined at the Sydney Opera House,and shared stages with many musical icons of the era, including Fairport Convention, Elton John, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santana, J.J. Cale and Stephen Stills, among others.

George Jones: Rest in Peace Possum

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Submitted by Don Graham

Country music legend George Jones has passed away. He died in Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday April 26 after being admitted for fever and irregular blood pressure. He was 81 years old.

Possum had one of the most recognizable voices of any genre; he had No. 1 songs in five separate decades, 1950s to 1990s. Waylon Jennings said “If we all could sound like we wanted to, we'd all sound like George Jones.” But it wasn’t always like that. When he started out, and was known as Thumper Jones he prided himself on sounding like Hank Williams. While doing a radio show in the early years, he met Williams who gave him some of the best advice he could have given him.  Hank said when he started out he sounded like Roy Acuff. Then Williams said to himself “There already is a Roy Acuff and decided to start singing like himself. His advice to Jones?  “Start singing like George Jones!” And the rest as they say is history.

Richie Havens Gone at 72

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Submitted Don Graham
Photo: Richie Havens @ Hugh's Room 2006

Richie Havens, singer/songwriter/guitarist and folk icon passed away on April 22, 2013 in New Jersey at the age of 72.

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1941, Richie Havens headed to  Greenwich Village in the early sixties to get involved in the burgeoning folk music scene. Havens soon got a reputation as a solo performer in the Village folk circle and after cutting a couple of records with a small label, was signed by Bob Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman, who then signed him to Verve Forecast, a big folk label at the time. His debut album “Mixed Bag” was released in 1967 and contained the anti -war anthem ‘Handsome Johnny’ which Havens had written with the then unknown Louis Gosset Jr. Also on that album were Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘I Can’t Make It Anymore’, Dylan’s ‘Just Like A Woman’, ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and a beautiful version of ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’.

By 1969 Havens had released five more albums, two of which were “exploitation” albums from Douglas Records who he was signed to before Verve. Also in 1969 Havens was the first act to perform at the historic Woodstock Festival. His set was a three hour marathon, partly because a lot of the acts were caught in the traffic jam leading to the Festival. Acts were being helicoptered into the event to get around the traffic. The Woodstock performance was a huge turning point in Havens’ career and the subsequent release of the movie would help him reach a worldwide audience.

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