Hilton Valentine Animal Guitarist Has Passed Away

Fri Feb 05, 2021

Hilton Valentine, founding guitarist of the 60s group the Animals and the man responsible for one of the most famous and recognizable  intros in recorded music has died at age 77. His now famous arpeggio guitar intro Am/C/F/D/ Am/E brought an old folk tune, “House Of The Rising Sun”, into the rock world with a simple progression that anyone with a guitar could play, and still play to this day.

Jimmie Rodgers Another Voice Silenced

Fri Jan 22, 2021

American singer/songwriter Jimmie Rodgers has passed away at age 87. The cause of death and the location has not been released at this time.  Jimmie Rodgers was born just across the river from Portland, Oregon in  Camas, Washington where he took music in school and sang in the choir.

He started singing around 1952, joined the Air Force and got deployed to Korea. While in the military, he joined a band called "The Melodies" and during his service he was transferred to Nashville to Seward Air Force Base from 1954-1956.  It was during this time that he began expanding his musical repertoire. While in Nashville he heard the song that would change his life, “Honeycomb.” He started singing around in clubs with his eye on one day becoming a recording artist. He worked his way to California where he auditioned for different folks until he eventually headed east to New York City.

Former Lou Reed, Foreigner And Downchild Keyboardist Michael Fonfara Passes on at 74

Fri Jan 15, 2021

Internationally renowned Canadian keyboard player, Michael Fonfara has died in a Toronto hospital on January 8, 2021, due to complications from his two-year battle with cancer. He was 74.

Born in Stevensville, ON, Canada in 1946, the former Lou Reed keyboardist/bandleader appeared on nine of Reed's albums between 1974 and 2005, including his highest charting US album (#10) Sally Can't Dance on RCA, as well as Rock and Roll Heart, Street Hassle, The Bells (which Fonfara executive produced) and Growing Up In Public that was co-written and co-produced by Fonfara for Clive Davis' Arista Records in 1980.

A supremely talented musician, Fonfara loved many different styles of music, performing on British-American Rock band Foreigner's iconic album 4, produced by Mutt Lange, including their Top 5 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Urgent". He also recorded with The Everly Brothers, Rough Trade, Rhinoceros, Electric Flag and was a current and 30-year plus member of Canadian blues legends Downchild, who are perhaps best known as the inspiration for Hollywood stars Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi's hit film The Blues Brothers, until his untimely death.

Country Star Misty Morgan Has Passed Away

Fri Jan 08, 2021

Misty Morgan of Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan fames has passed away at age 75 after a courageous battle with cancer. The was duo best known for their mega hit Tennessee Birdwalk which went to Number One on the country charts and  No. 23 on the pop charts. This was followed by another novelty hit in "Humphrey the Camel", at No. 5 country and No. 78 pop.

Tennessee Birdwalk was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group at the 13th Grammy Awards but lost to Johnny Cash and June Carter for ‘If I Were A Carpenter’.

June 20, 2014 we did a feature story on Jack and Misty and would like to offer it to you today as a tribute to a beautiful and talented artist.

God Speed Misty, you will be missed.

cashboxcanada.ca/features-music/jack-and-misty-still-doing-tennessee-birdwalk/1643

Chad Stuart Passes On

Fri Dec 25, 2020

Chad Stuart, one half of the British Invasion duo Chad and Jeremy , passed away from pneumonia on December 20, 2020 just 10.days after his 79th birthday on December 10th.

The duo was a part of the British Wave of the 60s that included Gerry and The Pacemakers, Freddie and the Dreamers, The Searchers, The Tremeloes and their counterparts Peter and Gordon. All of these of course came storming through the door kicked wide open by The Beatles Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde were best known for such ’60s hits as “Yesterday’s Gone,” “A Summer Song” and “Willow Weep for Me.”

Watch “Summer Song” Chad and Jeremy here:

Iconic Legend Passes on - Helen Reddy Gone at 78

Thu Oct 01, 2020

Helen Reddy whose star shone brightly in the 1970s due largely to iconic feminist anthem “I Am Woman” has died at 78.

Reddy's children Traci and Jordan announced that the singer/actor died in Los Angeles, California with the following statement:

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th 2020 in Los Angeles. She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever.”

Lucille Starr: A New Starr in the Sky Tonight

Fri Sep 11, 2020

Canada has lost one of its earliest singing stars Lucille Starr, singer, songwriter who earned her place in music history with for her 1964 hit single, "Quand Le Soleil Dit Bonjour Aux Montagnes" ("The French Song.")

She was born Lucille Savoie in St. Boniface, Manitoba, but was raised in Port Coquitlam in the  Francophone community of Maillardville, British Columbia. She adopted the stage name Lucille Starr and joined a  local group called Les Hirondelles. Using the stage name, Lucille Starr. She became part of a duo Bob and Louise who between 1958 and 1963 released several 45's mostly covers of  songs of everyone from Perry Como to Connie Francis. They had minor success on the North American West Coast and in 1963 they were signed by A&M Records recording as "The Canadian Sweethearts."

Millie Small of ‘My Boy Lollipop’ Fame Passes Away

Fri May 15, 2020

Credited as the first Jamaican Artist to Break with a Top Ten Chart Hit (Little Millie Small) died Monday, May 5, 2020 in England, she was 73 years old.

Some musical history buffs like to say she had a reggae hit, but in actuality the sound of “My Boy Lollipop” reflected more of Ska and Rock Steady sounds.

The song was a huge hit on the charts in 1964 and peaked at #2 on the Cashbox Charts on July 4, 1964, with the #1 position being held by the Beach Boys with “I Get Around.” The song reputedly sold over six million copies. It also reached #2 in England, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Plus, it was #1 in Australia.

Listen in to My Boy Lollipop here:

The song was used a 1985 episode of “Miami Vice”; was heard in a British TV series “Heartbeat”; made the soundtrack of the 1997 Spice Girls’ movie “Spice World”; and was featured in the London 2012 Olympics’ opening ceremony.

American Soul Singer Bill Withers Passes On

Fri Apr 10, 2020

The career of Bill Withers, who has died aged 81 of heart complications, followed an unusual trajectory. He did not try to enter the music industry until after he had spent nine years in the US Navy, leaving the service in 1965 and moving to Los Angeles two years later. By the time he released his debut album, Just As I Am, in 1971 he was 33, an age at which many pop careers have already been and gone.

But Withers made up for lost time. His album was packed with memorable songs, including Harlem and Grandma’s Hands, and entered the US Top 40. Ain’t No Sunshine, his first single, reached No 3 and became one of the landmark songs in his career, despite lasting a scant two minutes. Inspired by Blake Edwards’ gruelling 1962 film about alcoholism, Days of Wine and Roses, it has become an enduring anthem of loneliness and heartbreak.

John Prine When I Get To Heaven

Fri Apr 10, 2020

“When I get to Heaven I'm gonna shake God's hand
Thank him for more blessings than one man can stand
Then I'm gonna get a guitar and start a Rock and Roll band
Check into a swell hotel
Ain't the 'Afterlife' grand!”

John Prine, Lyrics to When I Get To Heaven

And now John Prine has started his journey to Heaven and I am sure that he is doing exactly what he voiced in these lyrics, no doubt with his buddy and fellow Chicagoan Steve Goodman who passed away in 1984. Goodman and Prine will always be intertwined for it was when Steve was opening for Kris Kristofferson that the pieces began to fall into place. Kris was impressed with Goodman and offered to get him recording when Steve said, “You think I’m good? You need to see my friend John Prine!”

Joe Diffie Gone Too Soon

Fri Apr 03, 2020

It was a tough week for country music, we lost Kenny Rogers, Jan Howard and Joe Diffie. Howard was 91, Rogers 81 and died of natural causes but  Joe Diffie only 61 years old and was taken by the Covid-19 Corona Virus.

Joe Logan Diffie was born on Dec. 28, 1958, in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Joe and Flora Diffie. His father held various jobs and later drove a tour bus for the country superstar Toby Keith; his mother was a schoolteacher and owned a flower shop. His family moved frequently before settling back in Oklahoma, where Mr. Diffie attended high school and college. As a child, he played with his aunt’s country band, and later as part of rock, gospel and bluegrass outfits.

Kenny Rogers, The Gambler Has Left the Table

Fri Mar 27, 2020

The dealin’ is done, the gambler has left the table. Kenny Rogers, best known for his multi-genre, multi-media, the song was a radio hit and it was made into a movie, The Gambler, has passed away at age 81.

Rogers’ career spanned many decades, starting in 1966 with popular New Christie Minstrels who had a big hit with a song called “Green, Green”. In 1967 Rogers and three members of Minstrels, Mike Settle, Terry Williams and Thelma Camacho left the group to form The First Edition. The band had a string of hits, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” a Mickey Newbury song that was rescued by this version. Jerry Lee Lewis had also cut a really bad version of it, but it suited the band and especially Rogers’s voice perfectly. The band knew how to pick songs including the Mike Settle composed “But You Know I Love You” Mel Tillis’ “Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love To Town)”, and Mac Davis’ “ Something’s Burning.”

John Mann Has “Gone Home For A Rest”

Fri Nov 22, 2019

John Mann, the driving force behind Spirit of the West, has lost his long-time battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He succumbed on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, to the early-onset of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 57.

Mann rose to fame in the 1980s as one of the main singers and songwriters for Spirit of the West, a popular Celtic-inspired group. He was also an accomplished actor, with several film and theatre credits to his name. He was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2014, and the band played its last show two years later. Though the disease was degenerative and his battle several years long, news of his death shook Spirit of the West drummer Vince Ditrich.

Scott Walker The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore

Fri Jun 14, 2019

Scott Walker (born Noel Scott Engel) was an American-born British singer-songwriter, composer and record producer. Walker was known for his distinctive baritone voice and an unorthodox career path which took him from 1960s pop icon to the 21st-century avant-garde musician. Walker's success was largely in the United Kingdom, where his first three solo albums reached the top ten. He lived in the UK from 1965 and became a British citizen in 1970.

First coming to fame in the mid-1960s as the frontman of the pop music trio The Walker Brothers, Walker began a solo career with 1967's Scott, moving toward an increasingly challenging baroque pop style on late '60s albums such as Scott 3 (1969) and Scott 4 (1969).

Kelly Jay of Crowbar Fame Suffers Stroke

Fri Jun 14, 2019

Editor's Note: Since the writing of this article Kelly Jay has passed away. His daughter Shawna posted this on Facebook. "My mum called the big guy home to her this morning. Together forever. Dance among the stars. Sing your heart out to her (as she called you “the voice”) embrace one another and dad, kiss and hug her for me. Play the piano in front of all the angels. Watch your little girl tiff boogie the night away. RIP daddio"

Kelly Jay, Canada’s legendary band-mate of Crowbar fame has suffered a stroke which has no chance of recovery for him. His family is raising money for his funeral expenses in advance to celebrate his life at https://www.gofundme.com/kelly-jays-celebration-of-life

Please read their post here and considering donating for a rock n roll legend.

New Orleans Legend Dr. John Dies of Heart Attack

Fri Jun 14, 2019

Dr. John, a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a six-time Grammy winner, died Thursday June 6, 2019 morning from a heart attack, said publicist and social media manager Karen Beninato.

Dr. John, whose real name was Malcolm John Rebennack Jr, was 77.

Beninato's post on Dr. John's Facebook page said memorial arrangements will be announced.

Dr. John "created a unique blend of music which carried his home town, New Orleans, at its heart, as it was always in his heart," she wrote.

According to the Grammy website, Dr. John began his musical career working as a songwriter and guitarist in the 1950s. He later played keyboards for Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and Van Morrison.

He told Smithsonian.com in 2009, that in 1960, or so, he got shot in a finger when he went to defend a bandmate who was being pistol-whipped.

Graham Powers Music Memories and Montreal

Thu Apr 04, 2019

Submitted by Sandy Graham

During my radio days, I had the pleasure of meeting Graham Powers when he came to CJFM to promote music to me as a music director. It was at that time, I was looking for an assistant and he suggested his then girlfriend, Debbie to come work with me. I hired her and she married Graham and had a family together. That turned out to be a lifelong friendship. So it was with a heavy heart I heard the news of Graham’s passing.

Truth be known, although I had not met him yet, I was one of those teenyboppers who used to go see MG & the Escorts play in Montreal at the Bonaventure Curling Club, when that stage graced the likes of Graham’s band, along with other Montreal bands JB & the Playboys, The Rabble, Bartholomew Plus Three and hosting by then DJ Dave Boxer of CFCF. Boxer would be instrumental in breaking MG’s first singles and getting them on those shows.

Hal Blaine May He Rest Forever On the 2 and the 4

Fri Mar 15, 2019

Hal Blaine, the drummer for The Wrecking Crew, has passed away at the age of 90. Blaine was one of the most recorded studio drummers in the history of the music industry, having played on an estimated 35,000 sessions, 6,000 singles and on 40 number 1 hits.

Hal Blaine was actually the driving beat behind the soundtrack of our lives From the early days of Phil Spector and The Ronettes to The Byrds and The Beach Boys Hal Blaine’s creative style shaped the sound of pop music The opening drum hits on The Ronettes ‘Be My Baby’ made the song instantly recognizable. Pop legend Andy Kim said on his Facebook page “Listening to the explosive intro of ‘Be My Baby’ by The Ronettes made my transistor radio shake, and started me dreaming of what my world would be like living inside that radio. Thank you, Hal Blaine.” Blaine even played at his own 90th birthday bash.

Peter Tork More Than Just a Monkee

Fri Mar 01, 2019

Peter Halsten Thorkelson better known as Peter Tork, was an American musician, composer and actor, best known as the keyboardist and bass guitarist of the Monkees. Peter Tork was the loveable wise guy of the Monkees, the popular television rock group that rocketed to stardom in the 1960s. But Peter Tork was a serious musician who pushed for the Monkees to create their own music instead of the outside musicians and songwriters the producers used when the show started. Tork wrote the song “For Pete’s Sake,” which was used for the closing credits during the Monkees second season. He continued to record and perform folk and blues music after the Monkees, releasing his latest album with his band Shoe Suede Blues in 2018.