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Marvin Hamlisch: Nobody Did it Better

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Award winning composer Marvin Hamlisch has passed away at the age 68 . He lived in New York but died in Los Angeles, California on Monday August 6th after a brief illness.  Hamlisch was best know for his theatre work but also spent a lot of time on the pop charts. His composition of “Sunshine, Lollipops and Roses”, a huge hit for Leslie Gore in the 60’s and Barbara Streisand’s  “The Way We Were” became a classic love song. “The Way We Were” also won the composer an Oscar. He is one of eleven people to win an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony and one of two to win all three as well as  a  Pulitzer Prize.

Mr. Hamlisch had a long association with Barbara Streisand that began when, at 19, he became a rehearsal pianist for her show “Funny Girl.” He told Current Biography in 1976 that Ms. Streisand was reluctant to record what became the pair’s greatest collaboration, “The Way We Were.” “I had to beg her to sing it,” he said. “She thought it was too simple.” Mr. Hamlisch prevailed, though, and the song became a  # 1 pop single, an Oscar winner and a signature song for Ms. Streisand. They continued to work together across the decades. Mr.Hamlisch was the musical director for her 1994 tour and again found himself accepting an award for his work, this time an Emmy.

Larry Hoppen Lead Singer of Orleans Dies

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Larry Hoppen, “the voice” of 70’s group Orleans has passed away at the age of 61. The Woodstock, New York band’s biggest song was “Still The One” which, with hits like “Dance With Me’ and ‘Love Takes Time”, cemented the band Orleans place in the history of music in the 70’s.

Hoppen formed Orleans in 1972, with John Hall and Wells Kelly. Hoppen's brother Lance and Jerry Marotta would later join the group, creating the classic-period quintet that released the 1976 album "Waking and Dreaming."

The band charted three top-20 singles in its lifetime, during which Larry Hoppen, vocalist and guitarist, was always a member. This year the band was celebrating 40 years in the business with concerts in New York and Pennsylvania scheduled for July 27 and July 28. These dates have been cancelled but shows for later in the year will go on as scheduled in Hoppen’s “honour.”

In a posting on Hoppen’s official Facebook page, his wife, Patricia Smith Hoppen, wrote: “For those who don’t already know, Larry passed away yesterday. ... For his fans, I am deeply sorry for YOUR loss. I know he will be missed. I will (ask) that my family’s privacy be respected during this horrible time.”

The posting did not cite a cause of death.

Deep Purple Founder Jon Lord Dies at Age 71

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Another page is turned in the story of rock n roll history as we bid goodbye to yet another 60’s icon; Jon Lord, Deep Purple's co-founder and former keyboard player, has died at age 71.

A BBC Report says that Lord had been in treatment for pancreatic cancer since last August. A statement said he died at the London Clinic on Monday July 16 2012, surrounded by his family.

Lord co-founded Deep Purple in 1968 and co-wrote many of the band's songs, including "Smoke On The Water." He played with the metal pioneers until they split in 1976, and again from 1984–2002. Lord played with other bands and musicians throughout his career, including The Artwoods, Whitesnake and Paice as well as Ashton & Lord.


Born in Leicester, England on June 9, 1941, Jon Lord began playing piano at an early age, taking classical music lessons. He received a scholarship to drama school in London at the age of 19, and started his London band career in 1960 with jazz ensemble the Bill Ashton Combo.

Lord also had a career as a composer and has composed various concertos that have been performed by Deep Purple and the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Deep Purple recorded six studio albums and have sold over 150 million units.

Kitty Wells Another Angel Goes Home

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Submitted by Don Graham

The first queen of country music Kitty Wells has gone home. Miss Wells passed away July 16, 2012 at her home in Nashville at age of 92. She surrounded by family and friends.

Her 1952 breakthrough hit “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” catapulted her to fame and paved the way for future female country singers. At that time in country music, female singers weren’t accepted as main stage entertainers and were given a small role as a “guest” and then left the stage to let the male singers carry on with the show. Kitty Wells changed all that and paved the way for Loretta Lynn to break through as a major female country music star.  It’s safe to say that without the pioneering of Kitty Wells the careers of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Reba, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Michelle Wright and right up to Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert would not have been.

“It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”  was the answer song to Hank Thompson’s “ Wild Side of Life”. Wells wasn’t sure about the song but took the offer to record it Owen Bradley’s studio because of the $125 union scale recording payment. "I wasn't expecting to make a hit," said Wells later. " I just thought it was another song."

In 1976, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame .Wells became the second female country singer to be elected with Patsy Cline being the first to be honoured as a solo act in 1973. In 1991, Wells was presented a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Legendary Funk Brothers bassist Bob Babbitt Dies of Cancer

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

If his name doesn’t seem familiar to you, the thumping bass of dozens of Motown hits was his calling card, putting the funk into the Funk Brothers sound. As a member of the un-credited backing band at Motown Studios from 1966-1972, Bob Babbitt was on numerous hits including Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed Sealed Delivered (I’m Yours), Edwin Starr’s ‘War’, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’  ‘Tears of A Clown’ and ‘Just My Imagination’ (Running Away With Me) by the Temptations, Marvin Gaye's Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology), Edwin Starr's War, Gladys Knight & The Pips' Midnight Train To Georgia and The Capitols' Cool Jerk to name a few tunes.

Babbit was born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh in 1937. He got his start playing in nightclubs in his hometown, then finally cutting his first Top Ten hit ‘Flamingo Express’ with the Royaltones in 1961. He caught the ear of the legendary Del Shannon, and became his tour mate which led him to finally land in Detroit City.

Legendary Funk Brothers bassist Bob Babbitt Dies of Cancer

Bob Babbitt and the Funk Brothers.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

If his name doesn’t seem familiar to you, the thumping bass of dozens of Motown hits was his calling card, putting the funk into the Funk Brothers sound. As a member of the un-credited backing band at Motown Studios from 1966-1972, Bob Babbitt was on numerous hits including Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed Sealed Delivered (I’m Yours), Edwin Starr’s ‘War’, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’  ‘Tears of A Clown’ and ‘Just My Imagination’ (Running Away With Me) by the Temptations, Marvin Gaye's Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology), Edwin Starr's War, Gladys Knight & The Pips' Midnight Train To Georgia and The Capitols' Cool Jerk to name a few tunes.

Babbit was born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh in 1937. He got his start playing in nightclubs in his hometown, then finally cutting his first Top Ten hit ‘Flamingo Express’ with the Royaltones in 1961. He caught the ear of the legendary Del Shannon, and became his tour mate which led him to finally land in Detroit City.

Don Grady of My Three Sons Had Musical Career

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Don Grady passed away after a long battle with cancer at the age of 68.  Most people associate Don Grady only with his acting credits, which include a period in the late '50s spent as a Disney Mouseketeer and a long-running stint as Robbie Douglas, the character he played for a dozen years on the television sitcom My Three Sons during the '60s and early '70s. But how many  realize that the actor had a musical career both during and after his My Three Sons days ?

Frances Williams Preston Former BMI CEO Dies in Nashville

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Frances Williams Preston, passed away on Wednesday morning of congestive heart failure in Nashville, Tennessee at age 83.

Preston, who worked with top songwriters as president of the royalties company Broadcast Music Inc., BMI, was said to have been the first female executive in the state of Tennessee and was definitely a pioneering female in the music industry.

Preston was president of the New York-based BMI, which collects and distributes royalties to songwriters, from 1986 to 2004. Prior to that, she was head of the company's office on Music Row in Nashville, where she was born and raised.

During her career, Preston worked with a host of writers and artists including Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings and Tammy Wynette. As BMI president, she oversaw a company that represented Paul Simon, Janet Jackson, Sting and others. Sting and others. Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame member Dick Damron reached at his Alberta home working closely with Preston and had this to say; “ She was always very good to me during my Nashville days! Great lady.”

Preston received the highest Grammy award given to a non-performer, the National Trustees Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1998.

The well respected Preston was a member of the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Bob Welch 1945-2012

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Bob Welch, a former member of Fleetwood Mac of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. He was 66.

Welch was found with a chest wound in his south Nashville home on Thursday, June 7, 2012. Welch apparently had experienced health issues recently. Police said a suicide note was left by Welch.
Bob Welch was a guitarist and vocalist for Fleetwood Mac from 1971 to 1974. He went on to form the group Paris in 1976, and had hits including “Sentimental Lady” in 1977 and “Ebony Eyes” in 1978 The song was originally written by Welch (the original 1972 version by Fleetwood Mac and in 1977 as a solo hit for Welch when he recorded it on his first solo album, French Kiss. His other singles included “Precious Love” in 1979 and “Hot Love, Cold World” in 1978.

When Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, Welch was not included in the group. “It basically comes down to the fact that they don't like me any more,” he told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland at the time. “I guess they can do what they want. I could understand it if I had been a sideman for a year. But I was an integral part of that band ... I put more of myself into that band than anything else I've ever done.”

Arthel "Doc" Watson 1923 - 2012 Was Blind But Now Can See

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Submitted by Don Graham

Doc Watson passed away in North Carolina on May 29th, 2012 at the age of 89.

Arthel Watson was born in Deep Gap North Carolina in 1923. An eye infection caused him to lose his vision before he reached the age of one. Despite his handicap he was taught to work hard and as a boy his brother and he were told if they chopped down some old, dead chestnut trees on their property they could sell the wood to the local tannery. With his profits, Arthel bought a Stella guitar for ten dollars and a career was born. While doing a radio show , the announcer mentioned that Arthel was a difficult name to pronounce and perhaps Watson should come up with a simple nickname. An audience member yelled out “ Call him Doc.” And Doc he was for the rest of his life.

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