Rock & Roll Heaven

Whitney Houston – Gone Too Soon.

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On Saturday, February 11, the music world shook with the sad news of the sudden death of Whitney Elizabeth Houston.


Born on August 9, 1963, Whitney Elizabeth Houston was an American treasure being a singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all time. Her awards include two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston was also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide. Inspired by prominent soul singers in her family, including her mother Cissy Houston, cousins Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick, and her godmother Aretha Franklin, Houston began singing with her New Jersey church's junior gospel choir at age 11 After she began performing alongside her mother in nightclubs in the New York City area, she was discovered by Arista Records label head Clive Davis. Houston released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification.

Photographer Andrew MacNaughtan dies on Rush Shoot

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Toronto photographer Andrew MacNaughtan, longtime documenter of Rush’s exploits and the man behind dozens of iconic portraits of Canadian celebrities, passed away suddenly in Los Angeles on Wednesday.  MacNaughtan, in his mid-40s, reportedly suffered a heart attack while in California shooting his old friends, Rush.

A member of the band’s local management said they are  “heartbroken over here,” while Rush members Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart issued a joint statement in MacNaughtan’s honour via their Facebook page: “We’re deeply shocked and heartbroken to learn of the sudden passing of our close friend and longtime photographer, Andrew MacNaughtan. He was a sweet person and a very talented artist. Words cannot describe how much he will be missed.

Charlie Camilleri

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Charlie Camilleri, music industry veteran, passed away on December 23, 2012, and his family is honouring his legacy at a public celebration of his life on January 28, 2012 from 2 -4 p.m. at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 3.


For more information contact his son, Ron Camilleri at camroncreative@rogers.com.


You can read more about Charlie Camilleri's life at http://cashboxcanada.ca/2455/charlie-camilleri-legacy-be-remembered.

Len Nevin

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Len Nevin was a Northern Ontario Country Music Hall of Fame inductee who made music for more than 40 years.


Nevin died January 6, 2012 at Sault Area Hospital after a brief illness. Nevin was 74. With his wife, Yuanita, he toured Ontario and Michigan with his Country Ramblers band. That group disbanded in 1991, but the Plummer Hospital tradesman kept performing. Nevin played bass with Happy Days Band, featured Wednesday afternoons at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25. Two other groups, Yesterday's Wine and Friends, entertained seniors in nursing and retirement homes.


"It's such a thrill for me to see that my God, we're getting through to a few of these people," he told The Sault Star in 2007. "I've seen it happen. It's fantastic." Not only was he "a good musician," he made sure to arrive early before the rest of the Happy Days Band to set up before a show at the Legion Hall, said bandmate Bob Jenkins. "He moved so much equipment without ever complaining," he said. "He was very generous with his time. He was a really kind guy."


His efforts on the technical side paid off. The band's sound "wasn't great" at first, but picked up after Nevin joined the group. "He'd really look after the details," said Jenkins. When Nevin was inducted to the Northern Ontario Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004, it was Jenkins who did his portrait. "He couldn't do enough for people," he said. "He was most generous with his time, for everybody."

Charlie Camilleri A Legacy to Be Remembered

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By Sandy Graham

The Canadian Music Industry has lost ‘one of our own’. Charlie Camilleri, well known in the old school circles, has left us, and the business has lost an icon who truly paved a path for future record reps to learn the ropes.

I met Charlie in the mid-70’s in Montreal, when I was a very young Music Director at CJFM. When all the reps would show up on Wednesday to push their latest new hits, they were a young hip bunch, dressed in the latest looks. Not Charlie. He would show up in shirt and tie, looking more like a bank manager than a record rep. But boy did he know his stuff. He was a music man, from his relationships with radio, nightclubs, theatres and the artists, managing to make them all happy and feel good about this business.

Burton Cummings and CharlieBurton Cummings and CharlieCharlie was also more mature than the rest. We were in our 20’s and he was pushing 40-ish so that was mature for us back then. He was a gentleman as well, and never made you feel obligated to play his latest ‘push’, but somehow he always got his songs played and charted by his persuasive promo skills.

Charlie also spent time with his artists, and was always on the tour with them; making lifelong friends with stars like Tony Bennett, Ronnie Hawkins, Tom Jones and Andy Williams to name a few.

Dobie Gray

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Singer, songwriter and Nashvillian, Dobie Gray, famous for his 1973 hit song "Drift Away" passed away Tuesday, December 6. Gray's website confirmed his death late Tuesday evening.


Gray was born near Houston, Texas, by his own account in Simonton although some sources suggest the nearby town of Brookshire. His birth name was probably Lawrence Darrow Brown, who is listed in the Fort Bend County Birth Records as being born in 1940 to Jane P. Spencel and Jethro Clifton Brown. Other sources suggest he may have been born Leonard Victor Ainsworth, a name he used on some early recordings.

DAVID REA (1946-2011) On His Last Pilgrimage to Paradise

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Guitarist, singer, songwriter David Rea has passed away at the age of 65. The Akron Ohio born Rea, although not a household name, was responsible for some of the great sounds in early Canadian folk music. Playing lead guitar on Gordon Lightfoot’s debut album LIGHTFOOT and the great guitar work on folk icons IAN & SYLVIA recordings, cemented David’s place in Canadian music history.  Their recording of his song, ‘Pilgrimage to Paradise’ was a highlight for David Rea.

I got to spend some time with David in Montreal in the early days and was so impressed with his guitar work and his incredible entertaining skills.

David Rea passed away in Portland Oregon and is survived by his longtime partner Kathleen and three children.

Sylvia Tyson of IAN &SYLVIA so simply said "So many of the people who played with us are gone now. All that music silenced - so sad."
David Rea is at last on his’ Pilgrimage To Paradise!’  RIP DAVID!

Don Graham

The Music Industry loses a Canadian icon - Steve Propas 1948-2011

Steve Propas

By Sandy Graham

It is said that the music industry in Canada has become a huge market, mixed with the ‘old school’ that started it all and many, many more professionals who have come on the scene to turn it into a growing, vibrant market of music people. It does show how small the business still is when we lose ‘one of our own’  - and Steve Propas was one of those people.

When word got out yesterday that Propas had passed away suddenly on August 2, 2011, blackberries, emails, facebooks and twitters got the word out to his ‘music family’ to tell each other the sad news that we have lost a one-of-a-kind music man.

I last saw Steve doing what he does best – wheeling and dealing. He was actively holding court at the Canada Stand in Cannes, France at the yearly MIDEM. He looked healthy, happy and very, very busy, which is what he loved to do – make deals.

We all have known Steve in this business through different incarnations of his career – as a band manager, the trailblazer duo of Dixon and Propas, which led to birth of Solid Gold Records, which boasted the best of the best, The Good Brothers, The Mightly Pope, Toronto were just a few of the acts they had at that time. It was the 70’s in Toronto and Neill and Steve were ‘it’ when it came to bookings.

GENE MACDANIELS PASSES AWAY

Gene McDaniels

By ROCKIN' ROBIN
COURTESY OF CASHBOX MAGAZINE U.S.

Gene McDaniels, who was most famous for the 1961 hit "A Hundred Pounds Of Clay" and for writing the 1974 #1 hit "Feel Like Makin' Love" for Roberta Flack,  died today (July 29, 2011). He was 76.

Details are sketchy surrounding the circumstances of McDaniels' passing at presstime. Word of McDaniels' passing came to this writer courtesy of his good radio friend, Dick Bartley, who in turn passed along information posted on the web site of Ann Ruckert, The Music Business Guru. According to Wikipedia, McDaniels had been residing in Maine. It's believed he died in his sleep. On her website, Ruckert said, "His wife, Karen, told me he was working until the very end. They went to bed last night, he was full of ideas and new projects, and this morning, she turned in bed to wake him and he was gone."

The son of the Reverend B.T. McDaniels, Eugene Booker McDaniels was born February 12, 1935, in Kansas City and grew up in Omaha. According to Joel Whitburn's Record Research, he sang in church choirs and attended the Omaha Conservatory Of Music. According to writer Norm N. Nite, he  joined a professional gospel group at the age of 13, played saxophone in his high school band and would eventually form his own vocal quartet. McDaniels had at least one minor single release in 1960 with "In Times Like These" before hitting the jackpot with a song about God building the world.

America’s Dan Peek, From 0 to 60

Dan Peek

By Don Graham

From 1970 to 1977 the folk/pop band America was one of the hottest commodities on the music scene. With hits like ‘Ventura Highway’, ‘Tin Man’, ‘Sister Golden Hair’ and ‘Horse with No Name’ the music of America was heard everywhere. The trio consisted of  Dewey Bunnel, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek.

Peek contributed lead and  background vocals as well as playing guitars, bass, keyboards and harmonica on the band’s recording and penned  four Top 100 singles: ‘Don’t Cross The River’(#35), his most successful single ‘Lonely People’ hit (#5), ‘Woman Tonight’ (#44), and ‘Today’s The Day’ (#23). ‘Lonely People’ and ‘Today's the Day’ also hit number 1 on the A/C charts.

Peek left the band and renewed his Christian faith and became a pioneer in the booming Contemporary Christian market. He went on to sign with Pat Boone’s Lamb and Lion Records.

Peek's first album and single (in 1979) ‘All Things Are Possible’ became big hits on Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) radio stations and charts. The single ‘All Things Are Possible’ not only hit number 1 on the CCM singles chart, it also crossed over to the single and adult contemporary charts, becoming one of the earliest  CCM's crossover hits. The album was nominated for a Grammy but lost out to The Imperials ‘Heed the Call’.
On July 24th, 2011 Dan Peek got the call and went to meet the Lord, to whom he had given his heart.

Rest in peace Dan!

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