'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. Jean Caliste, 26th January 1943, Crescent City, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 22nd November 2023, U.S.A.
The R&B singer, Jean Knight has died. Jean was 80.
Jean died from natural causes. She will be best remembered for her Stax Records hit 'Mr Big Stuff'. Check the link below for more information.
b. George Melvin Brown, 15th January 1949, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 16th November 2023, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The drummer for the group Kool and the Gang, George Melvin Brown, has died. George was 74.
He died from lung cancer in Los Angeles.
George was the drummer and co-founder for the group, Kool and the Gang, since it’s conception in 1964 and continued performing with the group up until his death.
He was also a singer, and percussionist for the group, earning the nickname George ‘Funky’ Brown, additionally.
George was one of the co-founders of the band, and as a co-songwriter, wrote some of their biggest hits including ‘Celebration’, ‘Ladies Night’ and ‘Jungle Boogie’.
Kool and the Gang won two Grammy awards and achieved 31 gold and platinum albums throughout their career.
Of his music, George once stated ‘Let’s go make some people happy’.
b. Rudolph Bernard Isley, 1st April 1939, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 11th October 2023, Olympia Fields, Chicago, Ilinois, U.S.A.
The American singer-songwriter (and one of the founding members of The Isley Brothers), Rudolph Bernard Isley, has died. Rudolph was 84.
He was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and began singing with the Isley's at a very early age.
The Isley's began their career in the late Fifties at the RCA imprint.
In 1959, the Isley family had moved from Cincinnati to a home in Englewood, New Jersey.
They went on to records for Motown Records, and then moved on to their own T-Neck imprint.
In the Seventies, Rudolph became recognisable for his stylish hats and fur coats and was also known for carrying a cane.
He sang lead on several tunes such as ‘You Still Feel the Need’ (from the album, Harvest for the World), and their 1979 hit, ‘It's a Disco Night (Rock Don't Stop)’.
In 1986, Rudolph’s eldest brother Kelly suddenly died of a heart attack in his sleep.
Kelly's death devastated Rudolph as the brothers had been close.
Following recording the albums, ‘Smooth Sailin' and ‘Spend the Night’, Rudolph left the group and the music industry for good in 1989 and became a Christian minister.
Rudolph was inducted as member of the Isley’s to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.
b. Katherine Elaine Anderson Schaffner, 16th January 1944, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 20th September 2023, Corewell Health Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.A.
Original vocalist with the group the Marvelettes, Katharine Anderson (the group’s second soprano), has died. Katharine was 79.
She died on Tuesday the 20th of September at Corewell Health Dearborn in Michigan. She had been suffering from heart related issues since July.
She co-formed the group along with her schoolmates Gladys Horton, Georgeanna Tillman, Juanita Cowart (now Cowart Motley), and Georgia Dobbins.
The women formed the earliest incarnation of the group, that went on to become famous for the hit song ‘Please Mr.Postman’, along with other hits including ‘Playboy’, ‘Beechwood 4-5789’, ‘Too Many Fish in the Sea’, ‘Don’t Mess with Bill’ and ‘The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game’.
Katharine is survived by her daughters, Keisha Schaffner and Kalaine Schaffner Tamlin.
b. Eli Tatarsky, 2nd March 1946, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 17th August 2023, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The American musician, arranger, composer, and record producer, Bobby Eli, has died. Bobby was 77.
The details are not clear (regarding Bobby’s passing) at this point.
‘I created a page for Bobby at this site, after he got in touch with me many years ago. He was a mine of information, and was complimentary about the site. He played on the session for the Detroit Spinners song ‘Games People Play’, and I was curious as to who the female vocalist was on that song. He told me it was the late Yvette Benton (who died in 2021).
Bobby proceeded to send me many images of himself and his friends in MFSB. Ironically, it was Bobby who became one of the few surviving members of that group...until the 17th of August. A very considerate human being, who will be much missed my this old fool.’
Toby Walker - 18th August 2023
b. Clarence Alexander Avant, 25th February 1931, Climax, North Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 13th August 2023, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The American producer, labels and radio owner, (also called ‘The Black Godfather’), Clarence Avant, has died at his home in California. Clarence was 92.
During his career, Clarence managed the likes of R&B singer Little Willie John, jazz singers Sarah Vaughan, Kim Weston, Luiz Bonfa, Wynton Kelly, Freddie Hubbard, Curtis Fuller, Pat Thomas, jazz producer Creed Taylor, jazz musician Jimmy Smith and the Argentine pianist-composer, Lalo Schifrin.
He worked for Venture Records before he founded his own label, Sussex, in 1969.
The label closed in 1975.
Clarence went on to found Tabu Records.
In 2016, Clarence received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (next to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis' star) for his contributions in the recording industry.
b. Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, 10th July 1942, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 8th August 2023, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
The American singer/songwriter and guitarist, Sixto Rodriguez, has died. Sixto was 81.
The reason for Sixto’s passing is unknown at this point.
During his earlier career, Sixto became a Motown session musician.
The singer released the solo album ‘Cold Fact’ (for the Sussex imprint) in 1970.
Sixto’s sociopolitical lyrics gained him some popularity in the U.S., however he did perform onstage with Hispanic activists, the Brown Berets.
In South Africa, Sixto’s music was realising much more attention, in that country he became somewhat of a cult hero.
In 2012, the Sundance Film Festival hosted the premiere of the documentary film ‘Searching for Sugar Man’, by Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul.
The film followed the efforts of two South African fans to see if his rumoured death was true and, if not, to discover what had become of him.
Tracks from the album ‘Cold Fact’ made it to the radio stations in South Africa (originally imported as cassettes and then pressed onto vinyl) during Apartheid.
The song ‘I Wonder’ did make it to the airwaves, however, the ruling government scratched songs they didn’t want playing on the radio from the album, at the stations themselves.
The documentary won the the World Cinema Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award, World Cinema Documentary.
In addition, the film went on to receive awards in several other major film festivals around the world.
Malik Bendjelloul once said on stage, ‘Thanks to one of the greatest singers ever, Rodriguez’.
Sixto went on to tour Australia (with the group Midnight Oil) during the 1980’s.
Sixto's brother Jesse (aka Jesus Rodriguez) co-wrote songs for Sixto’s catalogue and repertoire.
The Searching for Sugar Man soundtrack features a compilation of Rodriguez tracks from his albums ‘Cold Fact’ and ‘Coming from Reality’, in addition to three previously unreleased songs from his third unfinished album.
b. Myra Barnes, 21st November 1939, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 3rd July 2023, Rex, Georgia, U.S.A.
The Soul singer, Vicki Anderson, has died. Vicki was 83.
She was the wife of the singer Bobby Byrd, and was the mother of the singer Carleen Anderson.
Vicki was recruited to the James Brown group in 1965.
She became James’ main female vocalist, and stayed with James (for most of the time) up until 1972.
James stated, in his autobiography, that Vicki was the best singer ‘he ever had in his revue’.
In 1970, Vicki released the song ‘The Message from the Soul Sisters’.
Vicki toured the U.K. with the James Brown Funky People Revue in the late 1980’s.
She later toured with her husband Bobby Byrd, the founder of The Famous Flames, in the mid-1990’s.
b. Anna Mae Bullock, 26th November 1939, Brownsville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 24th May 2023, Küsnacht, Switzerland.
The singer and actress, Tina Turner, has died. Tina was 83.
During her career she became known as the ‘The Queen Of Rock 'n' Roll’.
Her troubled marriage with Ike Turner has now become wee documented, however, Tina’s career underwent something of a renaissance in the mid Eighties, leading to a huge surge in popularity and subsequently Tina becoming one of the most successful artists of her generation.
Tina became something of a household name due to her successful career with hits such as ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ alongside her husband Ike Turner in the 1960s.
Tina and Ike later separated after years of abuse, as she reported in her autobiography ‘I, Tina’.
Producer Rupert Hine helped relaunch her career in the 1980’s, leading to such its as ‘Let's Stay Together’ (and the parent album ‘Private Dancer’).
As an actress, Tina played 'The Acid Queen' in ‘Tommy’ and 'Aunt Entity' in the film ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ (which featured her single ‘We Don't Need Another Hero’).
In 2008, she came out of semi-retirement and embarked on her ‘Tina! - 50th Anniversary Tour’.
Rolling Stone magazine has hailed her as ‘One of the greatest singers of all time’.
b. Linda Ann Fredericks, 27th September 1950, West Ham, Essex, London.
d. 3rd May 2023, Ramsgate, Kent, United Kingdom.
The singer and songwriter, Linda Lewis, has died. Linda was 72.
During her career, Linda once portrayed a screaming fan in the Beatles film ‘A Hard Day's Night’ in 1964.
As a session singer, Linda is credited for her appearances on albums such as ‘Possible Projection of the Future’ by Al Kooper, David Bowie's ‘Aladdin Sane’ (in 1973), Cat Stevens's ‘Catch Bull at Four’ (in 1972) and Hummingbird's first album ‘Hummingbird’ (in 1975).
b. Frederick Russell Jones, 2nd July, 1930, Pittsburgh, Pennysylvania, U.S.A.
d. 16th April 2023, Ashley Falls, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
The American jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, and educator, Ahmad Jamal, has died. Ahmad was 92.
He had been suffering from complications from prostate cancer.
For many decades, he was one of the most successful small-group leaders in jazz music.
Amongst Soul Music fans, Ahmad will be best remembered for his Motown Records album ’Night Song’.
The album featured musical contributions from Oscar Brashear and Robert O'Bryant (trumpet), Maurice Spears and Garnett Brown (trombone), Pete Christlieb (alto sax), Ernie Fields (baritone sax), Dean Paul Gant and Gil Askey (keyboards), Calvin Keys and Greg Purce (guitar), John Heard and Keni Burke bass) and Chester Thompson (drums)
Ahmad won a Lifetime Achievement Grammy for his contributions to music history.
b. Charles Emanuel Sherrell, 8th March 1943, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 29th March 2023, U.S.A.
The musician ‘Sweet’ Charles Sherrell, (famous for his bass performances with James Brown), has died. Sweet Charles was 80.
Charles learned to play the guitar whilst washing the car of Curtis Mayfield.
He was rewarded, in exchange, for guitar lessons.
Charles will, probably, be best remembered for his rare groove song, ‘Yes It’s You’.
b. Robert Hunter Caldwell, 15th August, 1951, Manhattan, New York, New York State, U.S.A.
d. 14th March 2023, New York, New York State, U.S.A.
The American singer, songwriter and musician, Bobby Caldwell, has died. Bobby was 71.
His wife stated on Twitter that ‘Bobby passed away here at home. I held him tight in my arms as he left us. I am forever heartbroken. Thanks to all of you for your many prayers over the years’.
Bobby’s health had declined following suffering severe side effects from the illness, fluoroquinolone.
b. Wayne Shorter, 25th August 1933, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 2nd March 2023, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter has died. Wayne was 89.
He came to prominence in the late 1950s as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
During his career, he collaborated with the likes of Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Carlos Santana, Steely Dan, Donald Byrd, Chick Corea and Horace Silver amongst others.
As a performer, Wayne was part of (the aforementioned) Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet, The Manhattan Project and Weather Report.
b. Charles Jackson, 22nd July 1937, Latta, South Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 16th February 2023, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
The American Soul singer, Chuck Jackson, has died. Chuck was 85.
He became famous for his versions of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic, ‘Any Day Now’.
He later became popular of the Modern Soul circuit through his dancer, ‘All Over the World’.
b. Burt Freeman Bacharach, 12th May 1928, Kansas City, Missourri, U.S.A.
d. 8th February 2023, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The American composer, songwriter, record producer, and pianist, Burt Bacharach, has died. Burt was 94.
He died of natural causes at his home in the Los Angeles area on Wednesday the 8th of February 2023 with his family by his side.
He composed many of Pop and Soul’s classic songs, from the late Fifties up until the Nineties, many in collaboration with his friend and lyricist Hal David. He passed away in Los Angeles. His hugely impressive biography is in the link below.
b. Barrett Strong, 5th February 1941, West Point, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 29th January 2023, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
The American singer and songwriter, Barrett Strong, has died. Barrett was 81.
He will be best remembered for his, first Motown hit, ‘Money (That's What I Want)’, which reached the number 2 position in the US R&B chart in 1960.
He was the first artist to record a hit for the Motown imprint, and was popular for his songwriting collabration with the producer Norman Whitfield.
Born in West Point, Mississippi, Barrett signed to the Tamla Records label in 1959.
His hit ‘Money (That's What I Want)’ was originally released on the parent label and then leased to the Anna label where it sold over one million copies.
The song was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA and was covered by many artists including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Kingsmen, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Searchers, the Flying Lizards and Buddy Guy.
Alongside the producer Norman Whitfield, he went on to pen several Motown classics, including ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ (by both Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight & the Pips), ‘War’ (by Edwin Starr), ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)’ (by Paul Young), ‘Smiling Faces Sometimes’ (by the Undisputed Truth) along with tracks by the Temptations, including ‘Cloud Nine’, ‘I Can't Get Next to You’, ‘Psychedelic Shack’, ‘Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)’, and ‘Papa Was a Rollin' Stone’, amongst others.
Barrett received a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1973 for ‘Papa Was a Rollin' Stone’.
He and Norman Whitfield went on to pen the ballad ‘Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)’,which reached the Billboard No. 1in 1971.
The song the last Temptations single to feature the original members Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams.
When Motown relocated from Detroit, Michigan, to Los Angeles, California, Barrett left the label and resumed his singing career.
He signed to Epic Records in 1972, alter joining Capitol Records, where he recorded two albums in the 1970s, which featured the evergreen ‘Man Up In The Sky’.
He continued to record during the Eighties, and was later inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.
Barrett recorded ‘Stronghold II’, for which he wrote and composed in collaboration with Eliza Neals in 2008.
In 2010, he appeared in ‘Misery’, his first music video in his fifty years of recording music.
keith 'duke' beaton
b. Keith W. Beaton, 30th July 1950, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 14th January 2023, U.S.A.
The Tenor vocalist for the group Blue Magic, Keith Beaton, has died. Keith was 72.
Blue Magic were a Soul vocal group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Keith was an original member and co-founder, created in 1972.
The Delfonics' Randy Cain brought Ted Mills to ATCO Records initially, following which Ted Mills became the leader of the group.
The group released eight albums between 1974 and 1989.
Keith’s passing follows the death of Richard Pratt, who died a year earlier.
l to r: vernon sawyer, ted mills, wendell sawyer and keith beaton in 1983
b. Anita Marie Pointer, 23rd January 1948, Oakland, California, U.S.A.
d. 31st December 2022, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.A.
The American singer-songwriter, Anita Marie Pointer, has died. Anita was 74.
She was a founding member of the vocal group the Pointer Sisters and sang the lead vocals for the group’s best known songs ‘Yes We Can Can’, ‘Fire’, ‘Slow Hand’ and ‘I’m So Excited’.
Born in California, Anita was one of six siblings, who, initially, became well known for their twenties costumes and melodies to suit the period.
The Pointer Sisters developed their musical stylings, most notably on their 1982 hit single ‘I’m So Excited’.
In 1994, the Pointer Sisters received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2015, she retired from the Pointer Sisters following medical issues as a result of receiving chemotherapy.
Anita died from cancer at her home in Beverly Hills, California, on the 31st December 2022, shortly before her 75th birthday.
...those who left us in 2022...