Rock & Roll Heaven

Artist Manager and Music Business Consultant Janice Starodub Passes Away

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
(Courtesy of Anya Wilson Promotion & Publicity)

The Manitoba country music industry has suffered the devastating loss of artist manager Janice Starodub on New Year’s Eve at the age of 49. Janice Anne Starodub passed away peacefully at the Selkirk Regional Health Centre surrounded by her family, husband Phil and three children, after a yearlong battle with cancer.

Janice began her career as a teacher whose creativity led her to songwriting, which in turn took her to Nashville, where networking introduced her to connections within the publishing community. It was also the place where she discovered where she fit in with the music industry. Her teaching experience, can-do attitude, and patience made her an ideal fit to fill the much-needed role of advising and developing young artists, initiating imaging and media training sessions, working on grants and arranging successful songwriting trips and showcases in LA, Nashville, and domestically.

Janice formed her company JanSTAR Entertainment in November 2011 and worked alongside renowned-Manitoban songwriter, manager and producer, Chris Burke Gaffney. She also worked as a day-to-day manager for Bryce Pallister, a young singer/songwriter on Mike Denney’s MDM Recordings Inc. label.

France Bids Farewell Rock Icon Johnny Hallyday

Funeral Service for Johnny Hallay in Paris, France AP PhotoThibault Camus, Pool.jpg

Courtesy of The Associated Press
Photo: Funeral Service for Johnny Halladay in Paris, France AP PhotoThibault Camus, Pool

France is bidding farewell to its biggest rock star, honoring Johnny Hallyday with an exceptional funeral procession down the Champs-Elysees, a presidential speech and a parade of motorcyclists -- all under intense security.

Few figures in French history have earned a send-off as elaborate as the one Saturday for the man sometimes dubbed the French Elvis. It was ordered by President Emmanuel Macron -- a Hallyday fan himself, like generations of others across the French-speaking world.

Hallyday's death Wednesday at age 74 after fighting lung cancer unleashed emotion across the country, where the man known to the public simply as Johnny had been an icon for more than half a century.

Johnny HalladayJohnny HalladayFans chanting "Johnny! Johnny!" massed in Paris as the funeral cortege headed past his home in a Paris suburb near Versailles to Napoleon's Arc de Triomphe monument. The procession will then head down the Champs-Elysees, through the Place de la Concorde plaza on the Seine River, and then to the columned Madeleine Church.

Adding a rock touch to the pomp-filled event, hundreds of motorcyclists came to Paris to join the procession.

The Real David Cassidy – More Than Just a Pretty Face

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

So much has been said in the last week of David Cassidy – tv anchorwomen and female radio announcers as well as fans all saying things like ‘he was my first crush’,’I had his poster on my wall all through High School’, ‘he was so cute and had such a great smile and amazing hair’.

And then the battle with addictions, as well as his ongoing development of dementia, a disease that took his beloved mother from him.

But the story that needs to be told is what an amazing performer he became as he aged, being a strong businessman, producer, writer and director. Here are some highlights of the pretty boy from The Partridge Family’s outstanding career.

David Cassidy had managed to stay at the top of his game for over four decades, with a unique ability to re-invent himself and adapt to numerous genres from concerts to theatre, television to Las Vegas, and even actor/singer to producer/writer/director with a demographic that crosses three generations. David rose to stardom in “The Partridge Family” and became the biggest TV and performing phenomenon in history by the time he was 20.

Mel Tillis, Singer-Songwriter and Country Music Hall of Famer, Dies at 85

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By Erin Nyren and Chris Willman
Courtesy of Variety
Photo Credit Steve C. Mitchell

Mel Tillis, country music singer and songwriter, has died, the Country Music Hall of Fame confirmed in a statement. He was 85.

According to the Tennessean, Tillis died early Sunday morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Fla. after almost two years of ill health stemming from a bout of diverticulitis, for which he received surgery. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure.

Tillis began recording in the late 1950s and continued to perform through 2015, but remained best known for a string of No. 1 country hits in the late ’70s, along with a succession of appearances in Hollywood movies alongside Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood that helped make him a household name even outside the country music sphere.

“Mel Tillis spent a lifetime giving us joy and laughter and music, which is why his death brings such sadness,” said Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young. “Had he never stepped on a stage, he would still have been one of the funniest and most genuine people on the planet.”

“But his whimsy and warmth were only a part of his appeal. He wrote some of country music’s most compelling and consequential songs, he fronted a remarkable band, and he sang with power and emotion. He also shone as an inspiration, revealing what others called an impediment as a vehicle for humor and hope.”

Robert Knight Gave Us ‘Everlasting Love’

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Robert Knight has sadly passed away at the age of 72.

The legendary singer was known world-wide for his hit song “Everlasting Love.”
Robert Knight, who recorded the first version of ‘Everlasting Love’, one of the biggest songs to come out of Nashville, died Sunday, November 5, 2017 after a short illness.

He was born Robert Peebles in Franklin on April 24, 1945.

As young man, he was a member of the Fairlanes and sang lead for the Paramounts before becoming a solo artist.

In 1967, while performing during a fraternity party at Vanderbilt University, Mac Gayden heard "this voice coming from the Kappa Sigma House." He ran over there and met Knight as he was coming off the stage. "He didn't want to talk to me, but I gave him my card," Gayden remembered. Gayden introduced Knight to Buzz Cason, who signed Knight to Rising Sons Music, and they began working on an album.

Cason and Gayden had written a song called ‘The Weeper’, which they thought would be Knight's breakout hit. But then he cut another Cason/Gayden composition: ‘Everlasting Love’. It was, Gayden said, the last song cut during the session, "kind of like a throwaway tune."

Knight's infectious, soaring recording became an R&B and pop hit, and a beach music staple. Over the last half-century, it has been covered by Carl Carlton, Love Affair, U2 and Gloria Estefan, among others.

Boogie Nights Singer Keith Edward Wilder Passes On

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Funk Legend of the hit song ‘Boogie Nights’ passed away on October 29, 2017, at the age of 68. The unconfirmed cause of death was a massive heart attack.

Keith Edward Wilder was a vocalist for the legendary funk band Heatwave. Formed in 1975 by Wilder’s brother Johnnie Wilder, Jr., Heatwave hits included "Boogie Nights," "Always and Forever" and "The Groove Line."It was 40 years ago at this time that Heat Wave was climbing to #2 on the pop chart with this disco-dance smash.

In London during the mid-1970’s Johnnie Wilder, Jr. and Rod Temperton (both who have passed away 2006 and 2016 respectively) with several other musicians including Keith came together and created music history. The group has changed musician members over the years. Napoleon Eugene Phillips, Elliot Levine, Keith Busey, Geno Myers, Nathan Watson, Ignatius Mason, Byron Byrd, Donavan Blackwood and my longtime friend ElWarren Weatherspoon (World-Class Drummer) affectionately known in the industry as “Spoon”.

Fats Domino Adieu Antoine Godspeed

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Submitted by Don Graham

Antione “Fats” Domino, one of the most influential rock and roll performers of the 1950s and 60s, has died at the age of 89.

He was best known for his songs ‘Ain't That A Shame’, ‘I’m Walkin’ and ‘Blueberry Hill’ and sold more than 65 million records, outselling every 1950’s rock and roll acts with the exception of  Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley once referred to Fats Domino as "the real king of rock n roll" and Paul McCartney reportedly wrote the Beatles song ‘Lady Madonna’ in Fats’ style of piano playing. He was one of the first rhythm and blues artists to gain popularity with a white audience and his music was most prolific in the 1950s.

Domino had 11 US Top 10 hits and his music was a big influence on artists during the 1960s and 70s.

He was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, but by then he would no longer leave New Orleans, not even to accept the award.

Fellow New Orleans-born musician and actor Harry Connick Jr. paid tribute to Domino on Twitter, saying he had "helped pave the way for New Orleans piano players".

Lighthouse co-founder and drummer Skip Prokop Gone at 74

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Story Credit: Ryan Awram Victoria, BC, Canada / 100.3 The Q!
Skip Prokop in 2012 Photo Credit Jonathan Grime Photography

Skip Prokop, co-founder of Canadian band Lighthouse, has died. He was 74. Prokop had been living with a heart condition and was reportedly ill for some time.

Born Ronald Harry Prokop, the Hamilton native had his first taste of success with Canadian psychedelic rock band the Paupers in the early 1960s. After the group broke up, Prokop was a session musician for industry heavyweights including Carlos Santana, Janis Joplin and folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary.

Prokop co-founded Lighthouse in 1968 with jazz pianist and film composer Paul Hoffert. They teamed with guitarist Ralph Cole and some 10 other musicians from the jazz, rock and classical world.

Sun Records Artist Sonny Burgess Passes Away in Little Rock, Arkansas

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Photo: Sonny Burgess, performing at the Country Music Hall Of Fame in Nashville in 2015

Rockabilly singer, songwriter and guitarist Sonny Burgess passed away on August 18, 2017 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Burgess made his career when he became one of Sam Phillips/Sun Records' stars, with signatory whoops and howls all along accompanied by his furious guitar.

Born May 28, 1929, Burgess was raised on a farm near Newport, Arkansas. He grew up listening to shows from the Grand Ole Opry, and started out playing with friends in local bars and dance halls in a band they called The Rocky Road Ramblers. His original dream was to be a professional baseball player, but after a couple of years spent in the minor leagues, Burgess entered the U.S. Army, and served in West Germany during the Korean War. After advice from Sun record producer Sam Phillips, the group expanded to form the Pacers, at first called the Newport Pacers. Burgess was sharing dates with the likes of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

In recent years, Burgess was one of the hosts of a weekly program for member station KASU at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark.; the show was named We Wanna Boogie, after one of the songs on Burgess' first recording for Sun Records.

Glen Campbell Adios

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Submitted by Don Graham

When I got the word that Glen Campbell had passed away my reaction wasn’t the same as when I heard of other passings. When Glenn Frey passed I was shocked, when George Jones and Merle Haggard passed I was sad, when Canadian teen idol and friend Bobby Curtola passed I was devastated. But when I heard about Glen Campbell passing the first word that came to mind was finally, finally free from the grip of that horrible disease Alzheimer’s. I was also terribly sad and nostalgic to hear but felt a great relief for him and his family. The last days of his life he couldn’t speak, communicate or interact in any way. Who knows for sure what was going on in his head. His family released a statement on his website “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease … In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund at Bright Focus Foundation through the CareLiving.org donation page.”

Campbell was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in June 2011, he had been suffering from short-term memory loss for years, but the Alzheimer’s diagnosis was confirmed that year. The battle was long and hard and well documented in the Academy Award winning film “I’ll Be Me” , which followed the singer and his family on his 2011 tour as his memory declined.

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