'What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others'. Pericles (495 - 429 b.c.)
b. Andre Williams (Zephire Andre Williams), 1st November 1936, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 17th March 2019, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The American R&B musician and songwriter, Andre Williams, has died. He was 82.
Born in Detroit in 1936, Andre began recording in the mid-1950s for Fortune Records.
As a songwriter, his hits include ‘Jail Bait’, ‘Greasy Chicken’, ‘Bacon Fat’ (in 1957) and ‘Cadillac Jack’ (in 1966).
He was also the co-writer of the R&B hit ‘Shake a Tail Feather’ (the Five Du-Tones and Ike & Tina Turner).
From Fortune he moved to Motown Records in the early 1960s, writing and producing for the likes of Stevie Wonder ('Thank You (For Loving Me All The Way)', The Contours ('I'll Stand By You') and Edwin Starr ('Hey, Bobby').
By the 1980s, Andre had hit hard times, but went through a renaissance in the late 90s, recording first with The Sadies ('Red Dirt' in 1999) and then with The Dirtbombs ('Black Godfather').
b. Michael Wycoff, 1st January 1956, Torrance, California, U.S.A.
d. 13th March 2019, California, U.S.A.
The Soul singer and songwriter, Michael Wycoff, has died. Michael was 63. He passed away as a result of pancreatic cancer.
Michael will be fondly remembered for the Soul classic 'Looking Up To You'.
Based in Los Angeles, Michael contributed to Stevie Wonder's album ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’.
He signed to RCA Records in 1980 and he released three albums between 1981 - 1983.
Michael collaborated with the late soul producer, Webster Lewis on his hit ‘Looking Up To You’.
The track was sampled in Zhané's 1993 hit ‘Hey Mr. DJ’.
Michael worked with many artists, including Evelyn King, Merry Clayton, The Winans, Bobby Womack and Peabo Bryson.
In 2007 he began work on a new solo album entitled ‘Return’, which has never been released.
b. Franklyn Leon Smith, 1953, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 8th March 2019, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The singer and songwriter, Frankie Smith, has died. He was 65. Frankie died at his home in Philadelphia.
The news was passed on by his daughter, Indy, on her Facebook page.
Frankie started out writing songs for The O'Jays, Barbara Mason, The Futures, Archie Bell (‘Hard Not To Like You’) and the Spinners.
His classic ‘Double Dutch Bus’ popularized his form of slang that influenced later rappers like Snoop Dogg.
He recorded one album (‘Children Of Tomorrow’ on WMOT) and several singles up until mid-80's.
b. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 6th February 2019, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The record producer, Lonnie Simmons, has died. He passed away in his sleep.
Lonnie was said to be around 73 years old.
Lonnie brought Charlie Wilson and The Gap Band, along with Yarborough & Peoples to the public.
b. Harvey Scales, 27th September 1942, Arkansas, U.S.A.
d. 11th February 2019, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
The singer, songwriter, and producer, Harvey Scales, has died. Harvey was 78.
Harvey penned many songs for the likes of The Dells, The Dramatics, Johnnie Taylor and The O'Jays.
Born in Arkansas, he was a member of the group, Harvey Scales and The Seven Sounds.
The group were signed to Chess Records in 1969.
He worked with the late Johnnie Taylor, co-writing his hit ‘Disco Lady’.
Harvey, also, worked with Bunny Sigler, going on to record the first two albums of his career, ‘Confidential Affair’ (in 1978) and ‘Hot Foot: A Funque Dizco Opera’ (in 1979).
He, later, released ‘Somebody Else's Somebody’ for the Four Sight Records imprint.
b. James Edward Ingram, 16th February 1952, Akron, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 29th January 2019, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The musician, songwriter, record producer and actor, James Ingram, has died. He was 66.
James died from brain cancer at his home in Los Angeles.
He will be fondly remembered for his duet with Patti Austin, ‘Baby, Come to Me’, which topped the U.S. pop chart in 1983.
James also provided the vocals to the songs, ‘Just Once’ and ‘One Hundred Ways’ for Quincy Jones's album ‘The Dude’, both of which earned him a triple Grammy nomination in 1981.
During his career, James collaborated with the likes of Donna Summer, Ray Charles, Anita Baker, Nancy Wilson and Natalie Cole.
He also collaborated with Michael McDonald on the song ‘Yah Mo B There’.
In 1985, he participated in the charity single ‘We Are the World’.
With Quincy Jones, he performed on the song ‘The Secret Garden’, which also featured Barry White, El Debarge, and Al B. Sure!.
b. Edwin L. Birdsong, 22nd August 1941, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 21st January 2019, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The singer, songwriter, record producer and keyboard player, Edwin Birdsong, has died Edwin was 77.
Current reports do not indicate a cause of death at this point.
During his career, he had recorded for several well known labels, including the Polydor, Bamboo and Philadelphia International imprints. In 1971 he signed a record deal with Polydor, releasing the albums ’What It Is’ and ‘Supernatural’.
At Bamboo Records he released ‘Dance of Survival’, in 1975.
He recorded for Philadelphia International in 1979, going on to collaborate with Roy Ayers.
Edwin co-penned ‘Running Away’ and ‘Freaky Deaky’ with Roy.
He went on to perform session work for Stevie Wonder..
b. Steven Peter Madaio, 18th July 1948, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
d. 15th January 2019, Palm Desert, California, U.S.A.
The American trumpeter, songwriter and producer, best known as the trumpet player of Stevie Wonder, Steve Madaio, has died.
Steve suffered a heart attack at his Palm Desert home. He was 70.
He toured with the Rolling Stones in the Seventies, and was a regular member of Stevie Wonder’s group.
Steve performed with the likes of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart and Ringo Starr, B.B. King, Etta James, Robert Cray, Freddie Hubbard and Billy Cobham.
b. Larry Cunningham, 1953, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 10th January 2019, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.
Larry Cunningham, a member of the Detroit group, the Floaters, has died. He was 67.
Larry had recently suffered a heart attack, and was in hospital in Arizona.
The Floaters were best remembered for their 1977 song ‘Float On’, which reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song also reached 1 on the U.K. Singles Chart.
The Floaters featured the late singer James Mitchell, his brother Paul Mitchell, Charles Clark, Ralph Mitchell and Larry.
The group also released the single ‘You Don't Have to Say You Love Me’ and released four studio albums over the following years.
‘Float On’ has been sampled on numerous occasions by many R&B artists.
b. Clydie May Crittendon, 21 August 1943, Atlanta, Georgia,U.S.A.
d. 7th January 2019, U.S.A.
The singer Clydie King has died. She was 75.
Clydie sang background vocals for the likes of Humble Pie, Venetta Fields, Sherlie Matthews, B.B. King, The Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker, Dickey Betts, Joe Walsh, amongst others.
She was a member of the group The Blackberries with Venetta Fields and Sherlie Matthews.
Clydie also sang on Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, which became a film.
With Merry Clayton, she sang the background vocals on Lynyrd Skynyrd's hit song ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and sang on Elton John’s ‘The Bitch Is Back’, the Rolling Stones ‘Tumbling Dice’ and with Barbra Streisand on ‘A Star Is Born’.
b. Nancy Sue Wilson, 20th February 1937, Chillicothe, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 13th December 2018, Pioneertown, California, U.S.A.
The Jazz and Soul songstress, Nancy Wilson, has died. Nancy was 81.
Nancy died from a long-illness at her home in Pioneertown, California.
In recent years, Nancy had been hospitalized with anemia and potassium deficiency, and was on I.V. sustenance while undergoing tests.
In 2008, she had been hospitalized for lung related complications.
Since the 1950’s Nancy’s career has spanned many genres, although she will be, probably, best remembered for her contributions to Jazz.
Nancy recorded more than seventy albums and won three Grammy Awards as part of her C.V.
She was born on the 20th of February 1937 in Chillicothe, Ohio and was the first of six children.
Nancy won a TV-talent show when she 15, and began appearing regularly on the TV show ‘Skyline Melodies’ whilst still in high school.
She attended Ohio's Central State College before leaving to become a professional singer.
Nancy recorded her first record with Rusty Bryant's Carolyn Club Big Band in 1956.
She later signed to the Dot Records imprint.
Cannonball Adderley then advised her to relocate to New York in 1959.
She began a series of shows at The Blue Morocco Night Club in The Bronx, where Adderley's agent heard her and signed her.
Nancy signed to Capitol records in 1960, releasing ‘Guess Who I Saw Today’.
Her 1964 song ‘(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am’ reached number 11 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart.
Nancy went on to achieve 11 songs in the Hot 100.
She released four albums in Billboard's Top LP charts between March 1964 and June 1965.
In 1964, she won her first Grammy Award for the album ‘How Glad I Am’.
In addition to singing, she enjoyed a successful career as an actress.
Nancy was married twice, to drummer Kenny Dennis from 1960-70.
She also married the Presbyterian minister Wiley Burton in 1973.
They were married for 35 years until his death in 2008, and had two children.
...those who left us in 2018...