Rock & Roll Heaven

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.

Bobby Taylor Passes Away in Hong Kong

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Credit Wikipedia

Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers were a soul band from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada. The group recorded for the Gordy Records (division of Motown Records) in 1968, where they had a top 30 hit single, "Does Your Mama Know About Me". As a producer and solo artist, Bobby Taylor contributed to several other soul recordings, both inside and outside of Motown. Taylor is most notable for discovering and mentoring The Jackson 5. Tommy Chong was a member of Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers before he became famous as a comedian.

Bobby Taylor, born February 18, 1934 in Washington, DC, was raised in Washington. As a young man, he moved to New York City and sang in doo-wop groups with singers who later joined successful acts such as Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers and Little Anthony and the Imperials.[1] In 1958 he began his music career as a member of The Four Pharaohs, who released a few locally-selling recordings in the Columbus, Ohio area.

Norro Wilson Hall of Fame Songwriter Dies

Submitted by Don Graham

Norris “Norro” Wilson, Nashville Songwiter Hall of Fame member  has passed away.. Wilson,the  co-writer of classic songs  like “The Grand Tour,” “The Most Beautiful Girl” and “A Picture of Me (Without You),” died after several months of bad health at 79 years old.

During his long career Wilson his career was active in many different aspects of the music business as a performer, a songwriter, a song plugger, a publisher, an A&R rep and a producer,  working  with artists that included George Jones, Kenny Chesney, Charley Pride, Tammy Wynette and Reba McEntire.

Born on April 4, 1938, in Scottsville, Kentucky.  Wilson began performing in a barbershop quartet in high school. Going to  Western Kentucky State College after highschool he  joined the Southlanders Quartet,  that brought him to Nashville in 1957.

In 1970, as an artist, he was picked for Country Radio Seminar’s inaugural “New Faces of Country Music.” That year, his recording of "Do It to Someone You Love" which reached as high as # 20 , the highest-charting single of his singing career. He gave up recording entirely when he started thriving as a songwriter and music executive.

Charlie Rich’s 1973 crossover hit with "The Most Beautiful Girl," written by Wilson, Billy Sherrill and Rory Bourke,  topped the country, pop and adult contemporary charts. Two years later, Wilson and Sherrill’s “A Very Special Love Song”, also recorded by Charlie Rich, was named Best Country Song at the Grammy Award.

Record Industry Icon Gerry Lacoursiere Passes On

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Germain Robert Joseph (Gerry) Lacoursiere, the man responsible for the launch of A&M Records in Canada, has passed away on May 9th at his family home in Windsor, Ontario.
The legendary Canadian record label executive was inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in 1997, just after he retired from the position of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Polygram Group. He was also presented the Billboard International Business Achievement Award by the trade publication.

A & M Records Canada was established in 1970 under Lacoursiere’s direction. It was headquartered in Toronto, and, by 1990, had branch offices in six other cities.

A & M Records of Canada Ltd. Canadian subsidiary of A & M Records, a US company founded in 1962 by the trumpeter Herb Alpert (then leader of the Tijuana Brass) and the producer Jerry Moss. A & M and its subsidiaries became part of PolyGram in 1990. A & M (Canada) was established in 1970 under the direction of Gerry Lacoursiere, with head offices in Toronto and, by 1990, branch offices in six other cities. (Joe Summers succeeded Lacoursiere as president in 1990.)

Though established to distribute and promote A & M's US releases in Canada, it actually went on to release many recordings by Canadian pop artists, including Bryan Adams, The Arrows, Véronique Béliveau, Bim (Roy Forbes), CANO, Chilliwack, Lucien Francoeur, Offenbach, Payola$, Peter Pringle, Erroll Starr, Lucille Starr, Ian Tyson, Valdy and Gino Vannelli.

Jurgen Peter of The Haunted Passed Away

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Co-founder and guitarist of one of Canada’s original garage bands The Haunted from the 1960’s has passed away in British Columbia. Details are not available at the time of publishing.

The Haunted were a Canadian garage rock band from Montreal , Quebec. The band was formed by Jurgen Peter (guitar) in 1965, and went on to release several records before finally disbanding in 1971. They were among the first Canadian bands to achieve a level of success in their musical genre.

In 1965, Jurgen Peter joined up with Bob Burgess (vocals), Al Birmingham (lead guitar), Glenn Holmes (bass), and Peter Symes (drums) to form The Haunted. Besides Peter, the other constant band member through most of its six-year history was Birmingham. The band membership that recorded the band's best known song, "1-2-5" was composed of Birmingham (lead guitar), Peter (rhythm guitar), Burgess (vocals), Mason Shea (bass) and Dave Wynne (drums).

Tommy Page Singer and Billboard Publisher Dead at 46

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Courtesy of Billboard Magazine

Singer-songwriter and music industry executive Tommy Page, best known for his No. 1 single “I’ll Be Your Everything," was found dead Friday, March 3, 2017. The cause of death was unclear at press time, but according to reports from several friends, it was an apparent suicide. He was 46.

Page started his career as a recording artist for Sire Records -- as he told it, he was working as a coat-checker at the New York nightclub Nell's and gave his demo to label head Seymour Stein -- and topped the Billboard Hot 100 with his single, "I'll Be Your Everything" in April 1990. The song was written by Page, along with Jordan Knight and Danny Wood of Page's tourmates New Kids on the Block. The group's Donnie Wahlberg, along with Knight, also had a hand in producing the track.

Page later returned to NYU's Stern School of Business to pursue his career as a music executive. He recorded nine studio albums and continued to tour throughout his career.

"My whole life I dreamed of having a No. 1 record, ever since I could remember getting into music. I wanted to be on top of the Billboard charts," Page remembered in 2011.

Page later joined Warner Bros./Reprise Records, where he served as an A&R executive and vice president of top 40 promotion. During that time, he helped shape the careers of many successful artists, including Michael Buble, Alanis Morissette, Josh Groban, David Foster and Green Day.

Sonny Geraci, lead singer of legendary Cleveland rock group The Outsiders, dead at 69

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Story Credit: By Michael Norman (cleveland.com)

Sonny Geraci, the Cleveland-born pop singer who scored national hits as lead singer of The Outsiders in the 1960s and Climax in the 1970s passed away on  February 5, 2017. He was 69, and had been in ill health since suffering a brain aneurysm in 2012.

Geraci, a graduate of John Adams High School, became lead singer of The Starfires in 1964. The band, founded by guitarist and songwriter Tom King soon changed its name to The Outsiders and put four singles on the U.S. pop charts during the late 1960s, including "Time Won't Let Me," "Girl in Love," "Help Me Girl" and "Respectable (What Kind of Girl Is This)," a remake of the Isley Brothers tune.

Geraci left the band in 1970, striking out on his own and eventually forming the band Climax with Walter Nims, who had been a member of both the Starfires and The Outsiders. That group later scored a Top 3 single with "Precious and Few," written by Nims. Climax disbanded in 1975.

Geraci left the music business in the early 1980s, but tried a comeback, under the pseudonym Peter Emmett, in 1983, releasing an unsuccessful album on MCA.

Later, he played the oldies circuit, performed for a time with the Grass Roots and toured from 2007-2012 as Sonny Geraci and the Outsiders.

The Outsiders - Time Won´t Let Me (1966)

Rest in Peace Steve Lang April Wine

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Submitted by Don Graham

Steve Lang bassist for Canada’s April Wine passed away June 4, 2017 at the age of 67.

Lang joined AW in 1976 replacing the late Jimmy Clench. He was with the band from 1976 to 1984, some of their most productive years. Myles Goodwyn, April Wine founder, posted a YouTube of the song ‘Hot On The Wheels of Love’ with this note praising his band mate’s ability “This is a song written by Steve Lang and myself. I brought the tune, with lyrics, to an AW rehearsal for the making of the FIRST GLANCE album. As we arranged the song, Steve`s bass part was so creative and fantastic and helped define the energy in the song to such an extent, that I decided to give him a writing credit. It was deserved.” In another Facebook statement Goodwyn said “My dear friend Steve Lang passed away this weekend. Steve played bass with AW for years and his musicianship was exceptional. Steve was a very intelligent guy that used his smarts to do well in the music industry as a player/writer, and later, in the world of finance. He was a nice man, a real gentleman. The last conversation I had with Steve was wonderful. I`m so happy that we had the chance to have had it....My condolences go out to his family. He will sadly be missed by his friends and by fans everywhere.”

Peter Sarstedt of Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) Fame Passes On

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Courtesy of Ray Connolly The Daily Mail
Peter Sarstedt pictured with Anita Atke at London Heathrow Airport in 1969

Many popular songs catch the feeling of the time. That’s why they become popular. But few songs are able to freeze that moment to the extent that nearly half a century after we first heard it we can sing along to the lyrics.

That was what Peter Sarstedt, who died January 8, 2017 at age 75, achieved with his #1 smash Where Do You Go To (My Lovely). He was not quite a one-hit wonder (his follow-up, Frozen Orange Juice, also made the Top Ten), but Sarstedt’s career was defined by that No 1 song.

And what a song. Sounding unlike anything else that was around in 1969, it topped the charts all over Europe and in Australia, and was a hit even in Japan.

Just to hear that opening French-sounding accordion, playing in the then dreaded waltz-time — a rhythm your grandparents used to dance to — at the very height of the Sixties, should have condemned it to everlasting obscurity. But the very opposite happened. It touched an international nerve.

Tommy Allsup Joins His Friends in Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven

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Submitted by Don Graham

Tommy Allsup, the guitar player in Buddy Holly’s band for the Winter Tour in 1959, will join Buddy and Waylon Jennings in that historic trio in Rock ‘n’ Roll heaven. Tommy passed away in Lubbock, Texas at the age of 85.

Neither Tommy nor Waylon were on the flight that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. ( Big Bopper) Richardson on February 3rd, 1959. After Holly’s death, Allsup moved to Los Angeles, where he found work with local bands, did some session work, along the way earning a songwriting credit for The Ventures', "Guitar Twist".

Allsup had recorded with Holly before he began touring with him in the summer of 1958. The first song he cut with the rising star was “It’s So Easy (To Fall in Love).”

After completing the Holly tour, Allsup moved to California playing guitar in a Los Angeles nightclub where he met the head of Liberty Records. Snuff Garrett. Garrett hired him to play on a Buddy Knox session which led to more session work for the label.

Eventually, Allsup worked his way up to head of A&R for Liberty’s country music division. It was there that he produced Willie Nelson, Tex Williams and Billy Mize, amongst others.

Allsup moved to Odessa,Texas where he set up a recording studio after he left Liberty. It was there that the duo Zager & Evans recorded their song “In the Year 2525.” Allsup released the song on his own label, then it was picked up by RCA and went #1 on the charts.

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