'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.)
marilyn mcleod (1939-2021) / Burgess La Marr Gardner (1936-2021)
b. Ronald Wilson, 1948, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
d. 2nd November 2021, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
Ronnie Wilson, a founding member of the R&B group the Gap Band has died. He was 73.
Ronnie’s wife, Linda Boulware-Wilson, said that he died on the morning of Tuesday 2nd of November, after suffering a stroke last week.
Ronnie, not only created and produced music, but also played the flugelhorn, trumpet and keyboards.
He, and his brothers, grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The GAP Band name is an abbreviation for ‘Greenwood, Archer, and Pine’, which were three streets in the Black Tulsa neighbourhood.
The Gap Band became famous for the hit songs ‘Burn Rubber on Me’, ‘You Dropped a Bomb on Me’, ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ and ‘Outstanding’.
Ronnie Wilson also produced records for several artists, including on the artist Goodie for his 1982 album ‘Call Me Goodie’.
b. Thomas DeBarge, 6th September 1957, Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 21st October 2021, New York, U.S.A.
Tommy DeBarge, member of the R&B group Switch, has died. He was 64.
Tommy had suffered from liver and kidney failure over the years and recently declined in health.
Reports stated that he had been hospitalized a few weeks ago, and died on Thursday the 21st of October 2021.
His sister, Bunny, announced the news on her Facebook page.
Tommy and his brother Bobby founded the group Switch, which consisted of the star's family members.
Switch were created in 1976 and were signed to a subsidiary of the iconic Motown label not long after forming.
regi hargis hickman (1951-2021) / william shelby (1956-2021)
b. Lonnie Smith, 3rd July 1942, Lackawanna, New York, U.S.A.
d. 28th September 2021, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.A.
Dr. Lonnie Smith, the American jazz Hammond B3 organist, has died. He was 79.
Lonnie was a long time member of George Bensons quartet and recorded with Lou Donaldson for Blue Note Records before becoming a solo act.
He was part of several vocal groups in the 1950s, relocating to New York City in the Sixties, where he met George Benson.
Lonnie released his first solo album (‘Finger Lickin' Good Soul Organ’) in 1967.
In the Seventies, Lonnie came to the attention of Soul Music fans with his album ‘Gotcha’, which featured the evergreeen ’Sweet Honey Wine’.
During his career, Lonnie performed alongside the likes of Grover Washington Jr., Ron Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Lou Donaldson, Santana, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Etta James, and Esther Phillips.
sweet honey wine
b. Sarah Dash, 18th August 1945, Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 20th September 2021, Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The ex LaBelle singer and actress, Sarah Dash, has died. Sarah was 76.
She was found dead at her home in Trenton (from unknown causes).
Apart from becoming part of LaBelle, Sarah collaborated with the Rolling Stones during her career.
She will, probably, be best remembered for her disco classic dancer, 'Sinner Man'.
b. Samuel Salter, 16th February 1975, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 27th August 2021, Apple Valley, California, U.S.A.
The singer-songwriter, record producer, vocal producer, artist, Sam Salter, had died. Sam was 46.
During his lifetime, he collaborated with the likes of Babyface, Tony Rich, Robin Thicke, Gordon Chambers, Frankie J, Destiny's Child, Tyrese Gibson, Usher, B2K, The Dream, Tricky Stewart, 98 Degrees, Charlie Wilson, Deborah Cox, Willie Nelson, Kandi Burruss, Richie Sambora, Bonjovi, K. Michelle and Tamar Braxton.
Sam sang gospel music at Faithful Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles.
After a demo tape found its way into the hands of L.A. Reid of LaFace Records, he signed him to the label quickly and Salter began to work on his debut album with Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds.
His debut album ‘It's On Tonight’ was released on the 23rd September 1997.
Sam left LaFace Records and continue writing for other artists such as Jesse Powell, Jersey Ave., B2K, B5, The Isley Brothers and Tyrese.
In 2008 he begin working on his third studio album ‘Strictly 4 The Bedroom’ but the album was shelved.
In 2016, he signed with artist management company Flight Club Entertainment.
Sam’s sophomore album ‘Little Black Book’ was partially released on streaming services (four of the album tracks being released via R&B compilations by DJ Deepkut).
dennis 'dt' thomas
b. Dennis Ronald Thomas, 9th February 1951, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.
d. 7th August 2021, U.S.A.
One of the original founders of the group Kool and the Gang, Dennis Thomas, has died. Dennis was 70. Dennis died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday in New Jersey.
He was a singer, composer, saxophonist and keyboardist for the group.
He was a resident of Montclair and his last appearance with the group was on the Fourth of July at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
b. Clarence McDonald, 24th February, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 21st July 2021, U.S.A.
Clarence McDonald was a hugely resected producer, songwriter, arranger and musician.
During his career he wrote and produced the Emotions album, ‘Rejoice’ (which featured the single ‘The Best of My Love’).
He also penned several famous Soul tunes including Deniece Williams’ ‘Silly’, and had also worked with the likes of Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Justin Timberlake, Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Carole King, Freddie Hubbard, Nancy Wilson, Boz Scaggs, Seals & Crofts, Bill Withers, and the Jackson 5.
He collaborated with Carole King and James Taylor, which led to him featuring on the latter singers albums’ Gorilla’ (in 1975), ‘In the Pocket’ (in 1976) and ‘JT’ (in 1977).
In 2010, he was the co-writer and co-publisher of the single ‘Everything To Me’ recorded by Monica, which remained at No. 1 on the R&B Charts for seven weeks.
raul de souza
b. João José Pereira de Souza, 23rd August 1934, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
d. 13th June 2021, Paris, France.
The Brazilian composer, trombonist and sax player, Raul de Souza, has died. He was 86.
He had been suffering from throat cancer, and passed away in France on the 13th of June 2021.
Also known as Raulzinho, he had collaborated with the likes of Sérgio Mendes, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Milton Nascimento, Sonny Rollins, Cal Tjader and the group, Caldera.
The late George Duke, produced Raul’s first and second album releases for Capitol in the mid-1970s.
‘Sweet Lucy’ (1977) and ‘Don't Ask My Neighbors’ (1978) saw tracks written by Skip Scarborough.
In 1979, he released 'Til Tomorrow Comes’, The record saw a shift from Jazz & Fusion, to the disco/funk genre.
In the Sixties, he was a member of Sérgio Mendes’ original Bossa Rio group.
Later in the decade saw him featuring in the Bossa Rio group which was led by keyboardist Manfredo Fest.
Raul, later, returned to live in Brazil where he continued to play and compose.
b. Albert Prentis Hamilton, 8th December 1939, U.S.A.
d. 31st May 2021, U.S.A.
Al Kent was born Albert Prentis Hamilton on the 8th December 1939.
In 1955, Al and his brother, Bobby Recco Hamilton, traveled to New York City for some auditioning appointments.
He went to Detroit and recorded for the Checker record label, a subsidiary of Chess Records in Chicago.
The artist and producer, changed his stage name to Al Kent.
Al penned many songs for the likes of Spanky Wilson, The Reflections, Jackie Wilson, The Fantastic Four, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Royal Jokers, Edwin Starr, J. J. Barnes, Ronnie McNair, Four Tops, David and Jimmy Ruffin, the Detroit Emeralds, Freddy Gorman, Gloria Taylor, the Flaming Embers, the Supremes, the Debonaires, San Remo's Golden Strings and for himself.
At one time, he was a member of the group the Nitecaps.
He also wrote many songs using the name Hamilton, A. Hamilton, Al Hamilton, and Albert Hamilton.
Al was married to Norma Jean Toney, an artist and songwriter, originally, from Virginia, U.S.A.
He wrote a book entitled ‘Custodians of the Hummingbird’ in 2017.
b. Lloyd Price, 9th March 1933, Kenner, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 6th May 2021, New York, U.S.A.
The R&B vocalist, Lloyd Price, hads died. Lloyd was 88.
Given the monicker, ‘Mr. Personality’ (after his 1959 million-selling hit, ‘Personality’), he will be best remembered for the hit single ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ in 1952.
Away from the music, during the 1970s, Lloyd helped the boxing promoter Don King promote the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire.
Lloyd Price Avenue in his hometown Kenner, Louisiana, was named for the singer in 1995.
The city also celebrates an annual Lloyd Price Day.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Lloyd and his wife resided in Westchester County, New York.
b. Gregory Jacobs, 25th August, 1963, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
d. 22nd April 2021, Tampa, Florida, U.S.A.
The lead vocalist for the group Digital Underground, Shock G, has died. He was 57.
He was found dead in a Tampa, Florida hotel room.
Gregory Jacobs (his birth name), rapped and sang on the tunes ‘The Humpty Dance’ and ‘Doowutchyalike’.
In his early years, his family settled in Tampa, Florida, before settling in New York.
He was originally a drummer, before trading his instruments for turntables, forming the Master Blasters, a mobile DJ crew which featured three DJs and four emcees.
Later, Gregory took up the keyboard teaching himself to play the piano.
He relocated to Oakland, California, and formed Digital Underground along with Chopmaster J, and the late Kenneth Waters (a.k.a. Kenny-K).
In 1988 the group released a 12-inch single on Macola Records, ‘Your Life's a Cartoon’ b/w ‘Underwater Rimes’.
In 1989, the group signed with Tommy Boy Records and released ‘Doowutchyalike’, which was followed by their debut album ‘Sex Packets’.
In 1990, ‘The Humpty Dance’ followed.
b. Gaynel Hodge, 4th January 1937, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
d. 3rd June 2020, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
*This posting has only just been reported in April 2021*
The R& B singer, Gaynel Hodge, has died. Gaynel was 83.
Gaynel passed away in his sleep in 2020, following a 15 month battle with cancer.
He sang with the groups, the Platters and the Hollywood Flames, amongst others.
He started singing (and playing the piano) as a child.
Gaynel sang with harmony groups on the street corners of Los Angeles.
He co-wrote the song ‘Earth Angel’, released by The Penguins when he was 16.
At the same time, Gaynel helped form The Platters, along with his brother Alex Hodge, both of whom were in the group for their first two years.
Throughout his career he collaborated with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Stevie Wonder, and Dr. John.
He released a Jazz album called ‘What Is This Thing Called? Jazz’ in 1998, which featured several standards.
He is survived by his wife Ilona Hodge & son Anthony Hodge in Amsterdam, daughter Acia Hodge Magwood, grandson Rico Jr. Magwood & grand-daughter Amber Magwood, (Atlanta, GA), and sons Alex & Armon Hodge (Los Angeles, California), and grand-daughter Amanda Holt & great-grandson Harvey Holt III (Pasadena, CA).
many thanks to charles hunt for this information
b. Malcolm Cecil, 9th January 1937, London, England
d. 28th March 2021.
One half of the production team, consisting of Malcolm Cecil and Robert Marghouleff, Malcolm Cecil, has died. He was 84.
Initially, Malcolm was a Jazz musician, however, his life ’tour de force’ arrived through the transformation in the sound of Stevie Wonder, from the Sixties into the Seventies.
Malcolm formed the group Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, a synthesizer led group, which came to the attention of Stevie, as he looked to a new form of music which realised the ‘music in his mind’ across that time.
Intially, the revolutionary transformation began with Stevie’s ‘Music Of My Mind’, which featured ‘ the single ‘Superwoman (Where were You When I Needed You)’. So impressive and inspirational was that album, that Stevie collaborated further on his albums ‘Talking Book’, ‘Innervisions’ and ‘Fulfillingness' First Finale’.
The calibre of their work led to collaborations with other of Stevie’s contemporaries, including Minnie Riperton, Quincy Jones, Bobby Womack, the Isley Brothers, Billy Preston, Gil Scott-Heron, Weather Report, Stephen Stills, the Doobie Brothers, Dave Mason, Little Feat, Joan Baez, and Steve Hillage.
The artist, Gil Scott-Heron, stated that Malcolm was a creative genius.
b. James Burke, 19th September 1950, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 19th February 2021, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The American Soul guitarist and vocalist and member of the family group Five Stairsteps, James Burke, has died. He was 70. James had been suffering from pneumonia.
In the Seventies and early Eighties, James was part of the group for '2nd Resurrection' in 1976. James penned the song ‘Pasado’ on the album, which was later covered by the group Pockets.
He was a featured member of a later incarnation of the family group, the Invisible Man’s Band, in 1980 and 1982.
James penned the dancer ‘Love Can’t Come/Love Has Come’ on the group’s debut album.
He also penned the song ‘Along The Way’, with his brother, Clarence in 1982, for the group. In addition to his music career, James was a very talented artist (earning a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago at the age of 10).
b. Bruce Andre Hawes, 26th July 1953, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 17th February 2021, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The American singer, pianist, songwriter and producer, Bruce Hawes, has died. Bruce was 67.
His career started at Philadelphia International Records in 1972.
Throughout the Seventies, he collaborated with several Philly groups, along with the artists, the Detroit Spinners (co-penning 'Games People Play'), the Stylistics, Johnny Mathis, Melba Moore, the Whispers and Little Anthony and the Imperials.
After leaving Philadelphia, he worked as an independent producer and music publisher since the Eighties, relocating to Florida in later life.
b. Mary Wilson, 6th March 1944, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 8th February 2021, Henderson, Nevada, U.S.A.
One of founding members of the Supremes/Primettes, Mary Wilson, has died. Mary was 76.
Mary died in her sleep in Henderson, Nevada, U.S.A.
Her cause of death is unknown. Two days before her death, she had announced that she was planning to release new solo material with the Universal Music Group imprint.
Motown founder Berry Gordy said Mary was ‘quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes’.
Mary is survived by her daughter, son, adopted son, several grandchildren, a sister, and a brother.
b. Nolan Frederick Porter, 10th May 1949, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 4th February 2021, Van Nuys, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
The American singer and songwriter, Nolan Porter, has died. Nolan was 71.
He died at his home in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
Nolan recorded two albums and six singles in the Seventies.
Nolan’s most famous song was ‘Keep On Keeping On’, which formed the template for the British group Joy Division’s song ‘Interzone’.
He released two studio albums, which were ‘No Apologies’ (in 1970) and ‘Nolan’ (in 1972.
Nolan was married to the artist, Frank Zappa's sister, Candy.
He had previously worked with Frank and his band, the Mothers Of Invention, on his 1970 debut album (released on Lizard Records).
His 1972 album ’Nolan’ was released on the ABC Records imprint.
At various times, Nolan worked in Los Angeles nightclubs as a musician and comedian.
He also toured in Spain and the United Kingdom.
b. James Purify, 12th May 1944, Pensacola, Florida, U.S.A.
d. 23rd January 2021, Pensacola, Florida, U.S.A.
James Purify, has passed away to complications to COVID-19 in Pensacola on the 23rd of January.
James Purify and his brother Bobby are best remembered for their 1966 single, ‘I’m Your Puppet’.
The song reached number 5 on the US R&B chart and number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966.
‘I’m Your Puppet’ was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1967 for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
The song ranked at number 46 on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1966.
Purify leaves behind six children and a host of grandchildren.
The services and arrangements have not been determined.
b. Harvey Phillip Spector, 25th December 1940, The Bronx, New York City, U.S.A.
d. 16th January 2021, Stockton, San Joaquin County, California, U.S.A.
Phil Spector passed away on Saturday the 16th of January at the age of 81.
His ‘Wall of Sound’ production style changed the way rock music was recorded in the early 1960’s.
His life was ultimately tragic, with, just as groundbreaking as his studio accomplishments were, they were all, almost, overshadowed by his 2009 conviction for the murder of the actress Lana Clarkson.
Phil’s death was confirmed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, stating ‘California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector was pronounced deceased from natural causes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at an outside hospital’.
Following a hung jury that leaned heavily toward a guilty verdict in September 2007, he underwent a second murder trial that began in October 2008, and resulted in a conviction on second-degree murder charges.
In 2009, Phil was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison, where he remained until his death.
b. Edward G. Fletcher, 1951, New York City, U.S.A. d. 13th January 2021, Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A.
Duke Bootee passed away from end stage congestive heart failure, at the age of 69.
Many thanks to Matthew Gee Blount Jnr.:
'Duke was the co-writer with Melle Mel on GrandMasterFlash's & the Furious Fives' 1982 iconic hit 'The Message'. He composed the music, beats, and composition and co-wrote some of the lyrics.'
...those who left us in 2020...