Rock & Roll Heaven

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.

Dick Clark of American Bandstand Dies of Massive Heart Attack


Television legend Dick Clark – who for 33 years helmed the groundbreaking TV music show American Bandstand while ringing in countless New Year’s Eves for viewers at home since the 1970s – has died. He was 82.

Clark's agent Paul Shefrin said in statement that the veteran host died this morning following a "massive heart attack."

Celebrated for his youthful appearance and relentlessly upbeat manner, Clark was a TV icon long before the contemporary notion of celebrity took hold. He hosted American Bandstand from 1956 to 1989  making it the must-visit stop on the promotional itinerary for every happening pop musician in its day. More recently, Clark rang in the New Year alongside reality TV host Ryan Seacrest, an obvious chip off the block.

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest was s consistent hit with viewers, commanding such talent as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber (to name  two recent guests) to perform December 31 in Manhattan’s Time Square.

Clark also served as a host to the game show, Pyramid. Like many celebs who flourished in the golden age of television, Clark made his mark early on in radio.



The Canadian music scene lost one of its most influential figures over the weekend with the death of Steve Kirman, founder of Steve's Music Store. Kirman is the Steve of Steve's Music, a music store chain that opened in Montreal in 1965, expanded to include Toronto and Ottawa, and today is considered indispensable for music equipment in each city.

For decades, his stores have been a popular gathering place for a city musician and his shop in Montreal on St-Antoine and Clark now takes up almost the entire block.

At all three stores, the phones were ringing off the hook, with musicians from all over the world wanting to pass along their condolences. "He's seen many of these clients go on to major fame, he's seen many of these clients go on to different parts of the world and still have extremely fond memories of Steve," said Sheldon Sazant, the shop's general manager and an employee for 34 years.

Ironically, for a man who loved the music business, Kirman didn't play an instrument, although he could tune a guitar. The joke was his favourite instrument was his cash register.

Davy Jones of the Monkees Dead from Heart Failure

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Davy Jones the lead singer of the Monkees has passed away. On the morning of 29 February 2012, Jones was found dead at his Indiantown, Florida home at the age of 66. His publicist announced that Jones had suffered a massive heart attack in his sleep and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Jones is survived by his wife Jessica and 4 daughters Anabel, Talia, Sarah and Jessica.  from previous marriages. He was 66-years-old. Jones was married to Jessica Pacheco -- his 3rd wife.

Jones joined The Monkees in 1965 along with Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork ... and together they churned out a bunch of hugely popular songs including 3 number 1 hits -- "Daydream Believer," "Last Train to Clarksville" and "I'm a Believer."

Because of his popularity with The Monkees another singer named David Jones was forced to change his name to David Bowie. 

Davy Jones was born in Leamington Street, Openshaw, Manchester, England, on 30 December 1945. At the age of 11, he began his acting career, and appeared on the British television soap opera Coronation Street as Ena Sharples's grandson, Colin Lomax in 1961. He also appeared in the BBC police series Z-Cars. However, after the death of his mother from emphysema when he was 14 years old, he left acting and trained as a jockey with Basil Foster.

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