Bob Crewe, who at least co-wrote and/or produced over 60 Top 40 hits, including the vast majority of the Four Seasons' hits, died Thursday in Scarborough, Maine. According to writer Paul Cashmere, Crewe was 82. At press time, the cause of death wasn't known.
Crewe's career dates back to the 1950's, when he co-wrote the top tenner "Silhouettes" for the Rays in 1957. He co-wrote and produced "La Dee Dah" and "Lucky Ladybug" for the duo Billie and Lillie in 1958. In 1959, he did the same thing for Freddy (Boom Boom) Cannon's breakthrough hit, "Tallahassee Lassie."
Crewe's career took off in 1960, when he started working with a struggling group that began as the Four Lovers. That was about the time the Four Lovers decided to rename themselves after a bowling alley...and the Four Seasons were born. Crewe was behind the Four Seasons' #1 hits "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like A Man" and "Rag Doll." The only Four Seasons chart-topper that he didn't write or produce was "December 1963 (Oh What A Night)."
Crewe was also behind back-to-back #1's from 1975: "My Eyes Adored You" (Frankie Valli) and "Lady Marmalade" (LaBelle). The latter would become a #1 remake in 2001 for the four-act combination of Christina Aguillera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink. Among the other acts he helped manufacture hits with were Michael Jackson, Lesley Gore, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Diane Renay, the Walker Brothers, Herman's Hermits, the Tremeloes, Oliver, the Osmonds and Disco Tex And The Sex-O-Lettes.
Writer Ryan McPhee reported that Bob Crewe's work has been heard in the Broadway Musical "Jersey Boys," which became a movie of the same name. Peter Gregus, who portrayed Crewe in the play, pointed out, "What you see in 'Jersey Boys' is the tip of the iceberg of what he contributed to the Four Seasons and the music industry. If we told his part of the story, we'd be there until four in the morning."
John Dawson Winter III, the guitarist, songwriter and producer has passed away on July 16, 2014 at the age of 70.
Son of John and Edwina,Winter was born in Leland, Mississippi, but the family moved to Beaumont, Texas, while he was still an infant. Both Johnny and his younger brother Edgar were born with albinism. The pair began playing music before they went to school, Johnny initially trying the clarinet before switching to the ukulele and guitar while Edgar played keyboards. In 1959 the Winter Brothers, already known from local talent and TV shows, cut the singles School Day Blues and You Know I Love You for the Houston label Dart Records. In 1962 Johnny formed Johnny and the Jammers, with Edgar on keyboards. In the early 60s Johnny recorded numerous singles for such local labels as Frolic, Diamond and Goldband, and scored a local hit with Eternally, distributed by Atlantic. Between 1965 and 1967 he played regularly across the deep south with Black Plague (featuring Edgar) and his own band It and Them (also known as The Crystaliers). In 1966 Johnny hit the Billboard Hot 100 with a version of Harlem Shuffle, which he recorded with the Traits.
After a long and brave fight, Bill Misener, beloved husband of Patti Jean (Seman-Colvin), passed away on June 26, 2014. The son of Roy and Marjorie (Marr) Misener, Bill was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
A multi-talented professional singer, composer, arranger, record producer and voice-over actor, Bill had five solo albums and numerous albums as part of the Laurie Bower Singers to his credit. He was a featured soloist and contributor to the prestigious "In the Dawning - A History of Canada" project.
His voice can be heard backing up Gordon Lightfoot, Alice Cooper, Ann Murray, Keith Hampshire, Christopher Plummer, Roger Whittaker and a host of others. Over 50 Misener compositions have been recorded and released around the world. As a voice-over actor, he is best known as the voice of Folgers Coffee from 1985-1998, and was featured on commercials for Norelco, L'Eggs, Red Lobster and Coca-Cola, among others.
Bill was deeply devoted to his Lakota Sioux family in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and to his Lakota Ogna, walking his road in a sacred manner and giving counsel and compassion to all those who came to him. Bill was blessed with many wonderful friends.
During his years in Warwick and Mt. Hope, Bill contributed his beautiful words, music and voice to many compositions honoring those for whom he felt enormous love and respect: "The Veteran's Waltz", "They Were Golden", "Raymond Hose Company", "As A Tree" and the album "Locally Grown".
Robert Dwayne "Bobby" Womack has passed away at the age of 70. Bobby Womack was born on March 4th, 1944 to Friendly Womack and Naomi Womack, and grew up in the Cleveland slums, so poor that the family would fish pig snouts out of the local supermarket's trash. "The neighborhood was so ghetto that we didn't bother the rats and they didn't bother us," he said. "They walked past and hollered, 'How you doin', man?'" He was the third of five sons: Bobby had to share a bed with his brothers, Friendly Jr., Curtis, Harry and Cecil.
An active recording artist since the early 1960s, when he started his career as the lead singer of his family musical group the Valentinos and as Sam Cooke's backing guitarist, Womack's career spanned more than 50 years and spanned a repertoire in the styles of R&B, soul, rock and roll, doo-wop, gospel, and country.
Gerry Goffin, lyricist , has died at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75. His wife, Michelle Goffin, says he died of natural causes.
It used to be when you picked up a “record” there was the song title in a large font and right underneath in smaller print and in parenthesis the songwriter or songwriters. In the 60’s under the title of some of your favourites you would see ( Goffin /King). The King was Carole King the Goffin - Gerry Goffin. This pair wrote some the classics that are woven into the tapestry of the American songbook of the 60’s. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Up On The Roof, Chains covered by the Beatles, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.
Goffin was born in Brooklyn in 1939 and met King at Queens College. The two were married in 1959 while they were in their teens. Goffin and King wrote more than 50 Top 40 hits, including Pleasant Valley Sunday for the Monkees, Crying in the Rain by The Everly Brothers, Take Good Care of My Baby by Bobby Vee and the classic You've Got a Friend by James Taylor. They also wrote Locomotion and Halfway To Paradise.
"She was interested in writing rock 'n' roll, and I was interested in writing this Broadway play," Goffin said in 2001. "So we had an agreement where she would write the music to the play if I would write the lyrics to some of her rock 'n' roll melodies. And eventually it came to be a boy-and-girl relationship. Eventually I began to lose heart in my play, and we stuck to writing rock 'n' roll."
A well-known music promoter is being remembered now as an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and an advocate for his own city, Winnipeg.
Kevin Walters passed away on Monday, June 23, 2014 after a courageous battle with cancer.
Kevin Walters had long been a prominent festival and event organizer for Culture Days, the Manitoba Homecoming 2012, the BBQ & Blues Festival, the Red River Ex and the Junos earlier this year.
Across the country through social media, Walters was being mourned as a staunch supporter of music, film and art in the city. He played an instrumental part in bringing the Juno Awards back to Winnipeg just this March in 2014.
A tweet from the official Juno Awards Twitter account Monday was one of many pouring in from around Canada.
“We are saddened by the passing of Kevin Walters. We will miss you. From Winnipeg, MB and beyond, your legacy remains,” the tweet read.
Rick Fenton, who worked alongside Walters in running the Winnipeg BBQ & Blues festival, called Walters one of his best friends.
“Kevin got me involved and certainly professionally was important to the community and to me, and very selflessly introduced me,” Fenton said. “Throughout his career with everyone, he was always so engaged. He could talk to the premier, he could talk to the mayor, and at the same time be helping a young artist and they all walked away feeling like they had a connection. “Coupled with ability and a great mind, he was a very rare person.”
Submitted Courtesy of Rob Durkee Author, "American Top 40: The Countdown Of The Century"
There's only ONE way to salute radio pioneer extraordinaire Casey Kasem……with a Long Distance Dedication.
It goes out not just to Casey, but to his fans...millions of listeners covering at least two generations....people who experienced the enjoyment, the honor and the sheer thrill of hearing perhaps radio's greatest voice ever. With his friendly voice, his human interest stories, trivia and chart pieces, Casey educated us about pop music even though we hardly realized it. He was heard world-wide in over 75 foreign countries.
If Elvis Presley was the King of Rock and Roll and Michael Jackson the King of Pop, then surely Casey was the King of the Countdowns. To paraphrase Carly Simon, nobody did it better. And for nearly 40 years from 1970 to 2009, when he played about 10,000 records and read some 4000 dedication letters.
Casey Kasem wasn't just a one-in-a-million air talent. One-in-a-Centillion was more like it...a talent you'd be fortunate to hear in your lifetime. And his legacy lives to this day...because "American Top 40," now hosted by Ryan Seacrest, is heard on over 400 radio stations worldwide.
Jerry Vale, the romantic crooner, known for many hits in the 1950’s and 1960’s has passed away.
In high school, to earn money, Vale took a job shining shoes in a barbershop in New York City. He loved to sing while shining shoes, his employer was so impressed he financed music lessons for the young boy. This led to Vale singing in High School musicals at a local night club.
This led to additional club dates, including one that lasted for three years at a club in the suburb of Yonkers, New York, This led to being noticed by Paul Insetta, (road manager for Guy Mitchell and a hit songwriter) heard him and promptly signed him to a management contract. This led to the decision to change his name, record demos and get them to the A&R department. He then arranged for Vale to record Columbia Records. Vale then signed a recording contract with Columbia, and resulted with Insetta managing him for many years to come.
Vale was a friend of fellow Italian-American crooner Frank Sinatra, and he was an honorary pallbearer at Sinatra's funeral on May 20, 1998. "While performing at the Sands in Las Vegas, Nevada, I befriended a number of fellow entertainers. There was Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis, Jr., Nat King Cole and, of course, I worked alongside one of my early idols, Frank Sinatra, whose generous recommendation landed me the job in the first place," Vale told Palm Springs Life in 2000.
Jackson was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He performed in vocal groups and as a soloist while he attended Ann Arbor High School, and was signed by producer Ollie McLaughlin while still in school. Ollie McLaughlin was known for launching the career of Barbara Lewis with the hit ‘Baby I’m Yours’. His first single was his own "You Said You Love Me", followed by "Come Back Home"; both were regional hits in his native Michigan.
Jackson toured heavily on the local club circuit before releasing his next record, 1966's "Love Makes the World Go Round" on Carla Records. The tune became a major pop hit, and a full-length album was released subsequently on Atco Records. Although he has been referred to as a "one hit wonder", Jackson had two more successful singles and recorded until the end of the decade, but then faded from view, living and performing in the Chicago area as a popular performer in the clubs and legacy circuit.
After leaving the entertainment industry, Jackson became a teacher and counselor in the Wheaton, Ill., school district. A personal remembrance posted on an online bulletin board said that Jackson never told his students about his past fame until they found an early performance on YouTube.
Deon Jackson died on April 18, 2014 at the age of 68.