Rock & Roll Heaven

Phoebe Snow dies at 58

Phoebe Snow

US folk and blues singer Phoebe Snow has died of complications from a stroke she suffered last year. She was only 58 years old.  The singer-songwriter, who was best known for her 1975 hit ‘Poetry Man’, had been in a coma since suffering a stroke in January 2010.

Snow largely dropped out of the public spotlight soon after her first album to care for her daughter who was born with a severe brain injury. However she continued to make albums, releasing 16 during her career.

"Our treasured icon heroically fought for almost a year-and-a-half to come back, enduring bouts of blood clots, pneumonia and congestive heart failure ... until her body finally could take it no more," manager Sue Cameron said in a statement. Phoebe was one of the brightest, funniest and most talented singer-songwriters of all time and, more importantly, a magnificent mother to her late brain-damaged daughter, Valerie, for 31 years.  Phoebe felt that was her greatest accomplishment," Ms Cameron added.

Born Phoebe Ann Laub in New York City in 1950, the singer changed her name after seeing Phoebe Snow, a fictional advertising character for a railroad, on trains that passed through her hometown in New Jersey. Snow’s acclaimed 1974 self-titled album debut reached number four in the chart, spawning the hit ‘Poetry Man’ as well as earning Snow a best new artist Grammy nomination.



Prominent Nineties Alt Rock singer John Bottomley, winner of the 1992 Juno award for most promising male vocalist chose to end this life Wednesday April 6, 2011 near his home in Brackendale, British Columbia. A family spokesperson confirmed that he had recently been suffering from depression.

Bottomley was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1960 into a Canadian Forces family and travelled in various parts of the world, experiencing different cultures and musics at an early age.

Bottomley started as a professional musician with the band Tulpa, made up of his brother Chris Bottomley and Mike Severin. Tulpa were pioneers of Toronto's Queen Street indie-rock scene and were one of the first Canadian bands to regularly play the legendary CBGB's in New York City

Bottomley launched a solo career in 1990 with the release of the excellent "Library of the Sun" which caught the attention of the mainstream music industry. In 1992 BMG Music Canada released the Juno award-winning album "Songs with the Ornamental Hermits" and the follow-up album "Blackberry" which produced the top ten hit song "You Lose You Gain" and also earned Bottomley a 1996 SOCAN Songwriter Award. 

Richard Patterson of The Esquires Passes Away

Richard Patterson (far right) Bruce Cockburn (second from right) with the band 3's a Crowd

Photo: Richard Patterson (far right) Bruce Cockburn (second from right) with the band 3's a Crowd

A bit of Ottawa music history was lost on April 3, 2011 with the passing of Richard Patterson, the drummer for the 60’s pop band, The Esquires.
During the 1960s, Patterson was the drummer for the well-known Ottawa band (The Esquires) and later Canada Goose. He also played in at least two bands with Bruce Cockburn, The Children and 3’s a Crowd.

Ottawa music maven Harvey Glatt said Patterson was at the centre of the action during that period.

“Richard was a very important part of the Ottawa and the Canadian music scene in the 1960s, ’70s and even into the ’80s,” said Glatt, who at one time managed The Esquires. “He had a great sense of music, a really great ear and musical taste.”

The Esquires had hit songs including “So Many Other Boys” and instrumental number “Atlantis.” The band won an RPM Award in 1964, a precursor to the Juno Awards.

During the 1960s, the band toured with such acts as the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and the Dave Clark Five. Fellow musician Gary Comeau, one of the founders of the Esquires, was friends with Patterson for almost 50 years. Comeau recalls one occasion in 1970 when he and Patterson, in Canada Goose, played for U.S. president Richard Nixon, who later enthused to reporters about how much he enjoyed the performance.


Cover, April 1, 2011


Submitted by:  Randy Owen, Country 107 3, Tillsonburg, Ontario

That was how a band member would introduce the late Conway Twitty.  When introducing Terry on stage, I would sometimes mention that quote and said it also applied very appropriately to Terry Sumsion.

Last night, Saturday, March 26, 2011, Terry took his last breath.  Terry Sumsion has passed away at the age of 64 after a courageous, three-year-battle with esophegeal cancer at a hospice in Brantford, Ontario, surrounded by his loving family.

Born February 7, 1947 in the small town of Burford, Ontario, the former truck driver would establish himself as one of the most powerful voices in country music, of country music, and for country music in Canada.  The story of his early years is not much different from that of other country singers, slugging away in bars, playing smoke-filled dives, and driving unimaginable distances just to get to the next gig, hoping for a chance at stardom.

But Terry was different.


Terry Sumsion

By Rob Butterworth

Canada and the Canadian music community have lost a legend.  Terry Sumsion of Harley, Ontario passed away on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at the age of 64, following a courageous three-year battle with esophageal cancer.

Terry’s name and music are known nationwide in Canada and through the British Isles and Europe.  Playing to sell-out audiences up until early this year, Terry’s hearty sense of humor and strong rapport with his friends and fans, new and old, always created a relaxed and enjoyable entertainment experience.  Terry was best known for hits like “Our Lovin’ Place” and “Midnight Invitation”.

Terry leaves behind his loving wife Jeannie, daughter Tammy and son Jeff.  He also leaves behind a score of fans but most important to Terry himself, a very close and dear group of friends.  Over the past year Terry accomplished two major goals that were important in his life – his treasured tour bus and his final CD (“Encore”) released just last week.

Terry Sumsion, the songwriter and musician, was a Canadian treasure.  To his family and friends he was so much more and he will be sorely missed.  His last CD entitled “Encore” had an alternate title – “Friendship Train”, also a song in the collection.  It was Terry’s way of saying thank you to all of his friends and fans all of whom supported him throughout his illness and always with his music.  

Bob Dylan's 'Freewheelin' Muse Susan Rotolo Dead

Susan Rotolo

Susan "Suze" Rotolo, who inspired several of Bob Dylan's love songs, died Friday night at home in her New York City loft following a long illness.  She was 67.

When Rotolo was a teenager, she met Dylan backstage after one of his Concerts.

Dylan described her in his book 'Chronicles' as "the most erotic thing I'd ever seen." The two began dating between 1961 and 1964. She is most known as the woman walking with Dylan on the cover of his album 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.'

When she left New York to study at the University of Perugia in Italy, the separation inspired Dylan to write two love songs: 'Don't Think Twice, It's Alright' and 'Tomorrow is a Long Time.' The couple eventually split.

In 1972, Rotolo went on to marry Italian filmmaker Enzo Bartoccioli and had a son, Luca.

Lightfoot guitarist, Terry Clements, dies

Terry Clements

The Canadian Press TORONTO - Terry Clements, a Detroit native who played guitar for Gordon Lightfoot since the early 1970s, has died. He was 63.

Clements died on Sunday, 10 days after suffering a stroke. The news was confirmed by Lightfoot's publicist.

Born in 1947, Clements began playing guitar when he was only five years old.

After graduating from high school, Clements spent two years in the Navy before joining a '60s outfit called Golden Sunflower, managed by Lou Adler, who also steered the careers of the Mamas & the Papas and Carole King.

In the early '70s, Lightfoot met Clements while working on an early Burt Reynolds movie and soon brought the guitarist up to Toronto to audition to join his band. A 40-plus-year collaboration was then born.

Clements contributed to nearly all of Lightfoot's most memorable tunes, including "Carefree Highway," "Sundown" and, of course, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," which features a haunting solo from the guitarist.

Mick Karn

Mick Karn

Japan bassist Mick Karn has lost his battle with cancer at his home in London. He was 52.

Karn, real name Andonis Michaelides, announced he had been diagnosed with the disease at the beginning of June, telling fans on his website that the security and well-being of his wife and young son are now his top priority.

A statement posted on his website on Tuesday confirmed Karn "was surrounded by his family and friends" at the time of his death.

Born in Cyprus, Karn was a big part of the U.K.'s new wave movement in the early 1980s. As well as becoming a member of Japan, he also worked with Gary Numan and Kate Bush and founded Dalis Car in the mid-1980s with Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy.

He moved back to London from his native Cyprus last year following the diagnosis he was terminally ill and fans launched several appeals via his website to help cover medical costs and offer financial support to his family.

Live Aid hero and Ultravox frontman Midge Ure was in the throes of hosting a charity concert in support of Karn when the bassist died.

Ure told the BBC last year, "When it comes to a situation like Mick's - who is in dire straits - he needs help, financial help and emotional help. I have had a lot of contact from people I haven't spoken to in a long time; we are looking at availabilities for various venues. It's a long, slow process, so we need to nail the venue and date.

Gerry Rafferty: 'Baker Street' singer dead at 63

Gerry Rafferty

The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Gerry Rafferty, the Scottish singer-songwriter behind hit songs "Baker Street" and "Stuck in the Middle With You," has died. He was 63.

Rafferty's agent Paul Charles confirmed Tuesday that his client had passed away following a long illness, but said he had no additional information on how or where he had died.

Rafferty's classic record "Baker Street" — renowned worldwide for its distinctive haunting saxophone solo — climbed to No. 3 in the U.K. and No. 2 in the U.S. music charts in 1978. It still achieves considerable airplay on radio stations.

The singer also recorded "Stuck in the Middle With You" in 1972 while performing as part of the Scottish folk-rock band Stealers Wheel. The ode — or mocking tribute— to Bob Dylan's raspy voice grew new wings in film maker Quentin Tarantino's movie "Reservoir Dogs," and has sold more than a million copies worldwide.

Rafferty made headlines in recent years for his public struggles with alcoholism and had also undergone treatment for liver failure. He reassured fans of his well-being in February 2009 after a former bandmate expressed concerns over his health and whereabouts in the press. Later that year, Rafferty released the album "Life Goes On."

After initially cutting his teeth as a busker, Rafferty appeared with Scottish comedian Billy Connolly in folk group the Humblebums and released a solo record before founding Stealers Wheel.


Jim Clench

Jim Clench, a Montreal bass player and vocalist who played with April Wine and Bachman Turner Overdrive, has died. He was 61. 

Clench died Tuesday in a Montreal hospital after a battle with lung cancer, according to April Wine's Brian Greenway.

Clench was with April Wine, the Montreal band known for hits such as You Could Have Been a Lady and The Whole World's Goin' Crazy from 1970 to 1975, then rejoined as the band underwent a resurgence from 1992 to 2007.

He was with BTO from 1977 until the band's breakup in 1979.

His musical career began with a band called the Coven, before he joined April Wine.

Clench played bass on four April Wine albums — 1971's April Wine, 1972's On Record, 1973's Electric Jewels and 1975's Stand Back.

He also took over lead vocals from Myles Goodwyn on songs such as Weeping Widow and Oowatanite, a song he wrote. His growling voice was a distinctive element for the band.

He left to join another band with Greenway, who eventually joined April Wine as a permanent member after that other group failed to get a recording contract.

Clench then played with BTO, taking over bass and sharing lead vocal duties with Fred Turner in the period after Randy Bachman left the group.

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