Rock & Roll Heaven

Don Grady of My Three Sons Had Musical Career


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


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.

Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees Dies of Cancer


Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Robin Gibb passed away May 20, 2012. Gibb had been battling colon and liver cancer since last year and fell into a coma for a week in mid-April after falling gravely ill with pneumonia. He emerged from the coma and, according to reports, was making an impressive recovery however it was short lived.

A statement from a spokesperson says "The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time." Gibb had been ill for months and in November, 2011, Robin revealed that he had been battling liver cancer - which had spread from his colon - for several months. Since then there have been varying reports that he was on the mend, some saying he was in remission. This month, however, he had to back out of attending the London Premiere of the classical work Titanic Requiem, which he composed with his son Robin John.

Donald “Duck “ Dunn 1941- 2012


Stax recording artist and member of Hall of Fame group, Booker T. and the  M.G.’s ,died while tour in Tokyo, Japan.  The Memphis born was 70 years old.

Apart from being a member of Booker T and The M. G.’s and the original bass player for The Blues Brothers, some of the hits he was responsible for the bottom end are:  Dock of The Bay, Respect, I’ve Been loving You Too Long by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett’s In The Midnight Hour and Sam and Dave’s Hold On, I’m Coming.

He formed his first band with guitar great Steve Cropper who was on tour in Japan with Duck when he passed. The band was called the Royal Spades which became The Mar-Keys. When Cropper left the band to become a session musician, Dunn followed and they became the house band at Stax.

He was a bass player's bass player and influenced many with his style and steadiness. Bass player George Gardos, co-writer on Mountain’s For Yasgurs Farm was saddened and said “He was my lifetime best bass player influence, Simple, Solid, Soulful, the 3 essences of great bass playing. Hard to believe... RIP.

RIP Duck Dunn, heaven‘s band just got a little funkier!

The Last Dance for Donna Summers

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Donna Summer’s death has been announced today, May 17, 2012, losing her battle with cancer at the age of 63 years old. Her illness was basically kept a secret by her own wishes. She was actually currently working on a new album. Summer won five Grammys and six American Music Awards, and sold millions of albums. Her best-known hits include Grammy "Hot Stuff," "I Feel Love," "Bad Girls" and "She Works Hard for the Money."



Submitted by Cashbox Canada

A post on the Beastie Boys website reads, "It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam "MCA" Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer."

In 2009, Yauch revealed in a video posted online that he was being treated for cancer in a parotid gland and a lymph node. He had since undergone surgery and radiation therapy, and was pursuing alternative treatment, including a vegan diet. It was reported in early 2011 that the rapper was cancer free, but he was quick to take to the Beastie Boys website and refute the reports.
Yauch co-founded the Beastie Boys in 1979. The group started out as a hardcore punk band but later turned to rap and rock and became the lineup of Yauch, Mike "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad Roc" Horowitz (later, "Mix Master Mike" Schwartz would join in). They burst onto the music scene in 1986 with the seminal album Licensed to Ill, which spawned the classic hit "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)."

Yauch sat out the Beastie Boys' induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April, and his treatments delayed the release of the group's most recent album, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2, which was eventually released in April, 2011.

Levon Helm Remembered by Hawkins

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Courtesy of CTV

Levon Helm, the legendary drummer and singer with the popular rock-and-roll group The Band, died Thursday after losing his 14-year battle with throat cancer.

Helm was 71.

The three-time Grammy Award winner had been fighting throat cancer since 1998. He passed away at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York surrounded by family.
"He just played two weeks ago," Ronnie Hawkins told CTV's Canada AM on Friday.

"It's been a very sad two, three days, but we were told. We were kind of expecting it," Hawkins said during a phone interview from Lakefield, Ont.

The Juno-winning rockabilly star was one of the first musicians to work with Helm and the members of The Band.  The group, comprising Helm, Rick Danko, Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel met as the backing group to journeyman Hawkins in the late 1950s.

Those were happy times, according to Hawkins. "We laughed at everything. We were learning. We didn't know nothin'," Hawkins, said with a laugh.  "All we wanted to do was play. Canada was a promised land for us," he said.

During his career, Helm was most widely known for the songs he sang with The Band that found their way onto the pop charts.  Those earthy, folk-rock tunes included "Up On Cripple Creek," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and "Don't Do It."  Helm and The Band also became Bob Dylan's backing band, touring with the singer in 1965, 1966 and 1974.




TORONTO – Billy Bryans, the Juno Award winning artist, died peacefully in Toronto today at the age of 63 after a long battle with cancer.

A drummer, producer, promoter and DJ, Bryans was best known as a founder of the Parachute Club and one of the writers of its hit song “Rise Up.” He helped to change the sound of Canadian music by bridging cultures in a career that spanned four decades and crossed many musical genres.

Born in Montreal, where he was a member of ’60s beat group MG & the Escorts, Bryans moved to Toronto and immersed himself in the local blues scene, playing in various groups and co-producing Downchild Blues Band’s hit song “Flip, Flop and Fly.”

He became a key figure of Toronto’s Queen Street scene in the late ’70s and early ’80s, performing in new wave acts like The Government and producing records for groups as diverse as rockabilly’s the Bop Cats and jazz-jug revivalists the Original Sloth Band.

While working at Daniel Lanois’ Grant Avenue Studios in Hamilton as the producer-drummer for the Time Twins, Bryans proved himself a catalyst: his otherworldly recordings of the avant-pop duo attracted the interest of Brian Eno, who ultimately became Lanois’ production partner for U2.

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