b. Louis Edward Satterfield, 3rd April 1937, Shaw, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 27th September 2004, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Ex-member of Earth, Wind & Fire, Louis Satterfield died on the 27th of September 2004 in Chicago. He was 67.
Louis was a fine bassist and trombonist and recently had been touring with Cash McCall.
Louis had been involved with a court battle, recently, involving Phil Collins regarding a Court Suit, along with Rahmlee Davis, regarding a live album and alleged royalties dating back to 1990.
He told the judge he had been living on state benefits since the royalties ended, while Rahmlee Davis, from California, said he had to pawn his musical equipment and instruments.
Louis was a former member of the group the Pharaohs.
One of the bands, the Jazzmen, was formed in the early '60's around trumpeter Charles Handy, trombone player Louis, and alto Don Myrick.
By the time of the Pharaohs' 1971 recording debut, 'Awakening', the group included Handy, Myrick, and Satterfield plus Big Willie Woods on trombone, Oye Bisi and Shango Njoko Adefumi on African drums, Yehudah Ben Israel on guitar and vocals, Alious Watkins on trap drums, Derf Reklaw-Raheem on percussion and flute, and Aaron Dodd on tuba.
Louis had often contributed to sessions at Chicago's Chess studios, so when Maurice White recorded a demo for a new band he wanted to form, Louis appeared on it.
Maurices' group were later to become Earth, Wind & Fire and his group were eventually officially hired by White as the Phenix Horns, with the addition of Pharaohs Yehudah Ben Israel and Rahm Lee, plus Michael Harris.
Lalomie Washburn (a.k.a. Lalomie Marion Washburn)
Lalomie Washburn has died.
At this juncture I am waiting on further details, however a performer that had worked with her e-mailed me and told me the news.
'Lomie' as she was affectionately know, was a fine performer and songwriter.
She was signed to the Parachute label in 1977, where she released her first album, entitled 'My Music Is Hot'.
For the next 20 years she wrote for and collaborated with several major soul acts including Rufus, Stevie Wonder, Paulinho Da Costa and Greg Phillinganes.
Lalomie was also the featured vocalist with the group Hi Voltage during the Eighties.
She was a featured vocalist on Quincy Jones's album 'The Dude' and appeared on the Bridgette McWilliams' album 'Too Much Woman'.
In 1992 she released several 12" singles with 'Try My Love' being particularly popular in the U.K.
In 1994, she was a featured vocalist on Misty Oldland's album 'Supernatural'.
In 1997, she released a second solo, self titled, album for the European Soulciety label.
Lalomie has also worked with Buddy Miles and the singer D.J. Rogers.
'Lomie' had been living in the Los Angeles County.
Services for Lalomie were held at the Inglewood Cemetery Mortuary, California, in the Grace Chapel at the cemetery.
Izora Armstead (Izora Rhodes Armstead)
two tons of fun
d. 16th September 2004, Near Oakland, California, U.S.A.
Izora Armstead, from the groups Two Tons Of Fun and the Weather Girls, has died from heart failure in California at the San Leandro Hospital.
There are no current records of her age at this time.
They first sang together in Gospel groups and Choirs around the Bay Area.
Izora worked alongside the singer Sylvester on many of his disco songs during the Seventies.
She, and her singing partner, Martha Wash performed on Sylvesters dance classic 'You Make Me Feel Mighty Real'.
The pair then left the Sylvester stable for a short solo career for the Fantasy label under their new group name, Two Tons of Fun.
The album, 'Two Tons O' Fun' contained the track 'Taking Away Your Space', whilst a second album in 1980 was entitled 'Backatcha'.
In 1982, the Two Tons 0' Fun moved to Columbia and changed their name to the Weather Girls, whose biggest success was the U.K. number 2 hit, 'It's Raining Men'.
After three albums, the Weather Girls were dropped by Columbia, and the pair, whilst remaining friends, went their separate musical ways.
Izora then relocated to Frankfurt, Germany, 15 years ago.
She then formed a new version of the Weather Girls with her daughter Dynell Rhodes.
Last month, Izora returned to California to undergo treatment for heart-related problems.
Billy Davis a.k.a. Roquel Billy Davis
photo coutesy of ashdaddy
b. Roquel 'Billy' Davis, 11th July 1932, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A..
d. 2nd September 2004, New Rochelle, New York, New York State, U.S.A.
Producer and songwriter, Billy Davis passed away following a long illness, in New York, on the 2nd of September. He was 72.
Billy attended the Northern High School (whose alumni included the Motown 'Funk Brother' bassist James Jamerson), Wayne State University, and the Maurice King School of Music.
In 1956, he had been recruited to the ranks of the Chess label, where he wrote for the group the Moonglows.
Billy co-wrote hits for the Brunswick Records star Jackie Wilson along with Motown founder Berry Gordy and his sister Gwen.
He was, actually, a cousin of Jackie Wilsons (their fathers were uncle and nephew).
They penned the hits 'Reet Petite', 'To Be Loved', 'Lonely Teardrops', 'I'll Be Satisfied', 'I'm Wanderin', and 'That's Why I Love You So', with Billy utilising the pseudonym 'Tyran Carlo'.
Another later song co-written by Billy and Chess staff pianist / producer Leonard Caston, 'I Had a Talk With Man', went to number three on the R & B charts for Mitty Collier, in the autumn of 1964.
Perhaps Billy's best known effort came in the form of his production work on Fontella Bass's 'Rescue Me' in 1965.
Billy also worked alongside the Dells and Little Milton and wrote songs for Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, The Supremes and Gladys Knight.
In 1968, he left Chess and the record business and began working for the McCann Erickson Advertising Agency, writing jingles and rising to Senior Vice President.
In the early Seventies, Billy co-wrote 'Id Like to Teach the World to Sing,' a song that ran in a Coca-Cola commercial at the time.
b. James Johnson Jnr., 1st February 1948, Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.
d. 6th August 2004, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The artist Rick James has died. He was 56.
He was found at his home at 9.45 a.m., and apparently died from natural causes reports state.
Rick had suffered a stroke in 1998 and had admitted an addiction to cocaine, although he had tempered the use in recent times.
During the Sixties, Rick had worked with the artist Neil Young in a band called the Mynah Birds.
It was during the Seventies when he, alongside Prince (with whom he had a great rivalry at the time), pioneered a new form of Funk Music.
Rick was, actually, the nephew of the Temptations singer, Melvin Franklin.
He led a very troubled life, including being arrested for draft evasion, assaulting two women in 1993 with a pipe and served two years in the Folsom State Prison in California.
Rick formed a group called the Main Line during the Seventies.
He later signed to the Motown imprint during the latter stages of the decade and introduced the World to 'Punk Funk', releasing the single 'You and I'.
Rick formed the group, the Stone City Band and put together the singing group the Mary Jane Girls.
He produced material on Teena Marie (with whom he had an alleged relationship. The Teena Marie song 'Portugesian Love' reputedly biographed an evening between the couple), Eddie Murphy, Val Young and Process and the Doo Rags.
The release of the album 'Street Songs' bought Rick a Grammy Award, and he collaborated with the Temptations on the 1982 release 'Standing On The Top'.
Rick became hospitalised several times over a five year period at the end of the Seventies and during the early Eighties.
By 1985, he had released the songs 'The Glow' and '17', to some success.
The following year he released the album 'The Flag', after which Rick left the Motown stable.
Relocating to the Reprise imprint, he released the single 'Loosey's Rap', collaborating with Roxanne Shante.
By 1990, Rick was reputed to have made an estimated $30 million to $40 million from M.C. Hammer's hit 'U Can't Touch This', a song that utilised a sample from 'Super Freak'.
Rick was jailed again in 1991, together with his girlfriend Manya Hijazi, for alleged various offences including dealing cocaine, assault and torture.
Shortly before his death, Rick was working on a double album release and discussed the war in Iraq with friends, apparently.
A very sad loss.
George Reginald Williams Jnr
b. 6th December 1935, Philadelphia, Pennsylania, U.S.A.
d. 28th July 2004, Maple Shade, New Jersey, U.S.A.
George Williams Jnr, lead singer of the group the Tymes, died from cancer in an apartment in Maple Shade in New Jersey on Wednesday the 28th of July 2004. He was 69.
He was born the 6th December 1935, in Philadelphia to the late Pinky and George Williams.
George was a graduate of Edison High School and also joined the Army in the early 1950's.
He sang the doo wop ballad 'So Much In Love', a song he wrote as a teenager.
George was married to Vivian Williams.
The Tymes were originally called the Latineers, but their name changed to The Tymes when they joined Cameo-Parkway Records.
The group have appeared on recent PBS specials, and were also known for tunes such as 'Wonderful, Wonderful', 'This Time It's Love', 'Ms Grace', 'God's Gonna Punish You' and 'You Little Trustmaker.'
George was the owner of Williams One Stop Record Shop at 29th and Dauphin Streets.
In 1978, he relocated to Europe where he performed on the entertainment circuit as a solo artist and founded StefCourt Music Publishing Co.
George returned to the U.S. in 2002.
b. Syreeta Wright, 3rd August 1946, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 6th July 2004, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The singer, songwriter and performer, Syreeta died in Los Angeles on the 6th of July 2004, after a two year battle with congestive heart failure (which was a complication from chemo or radiology treatments she was receiving for breast cancer). She was 58.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1946, Syreeta originally joined the Motown stable as a receptionist, however was later to become a performer after being discovered by Brian Holland.
Syreeta recorded under the name of Rita Wright, however, her birth name was Syreeta.
She began recording background vocals during the Sixties, releasing a single of her own in 1967.
That song was produced by Ashford and Simpson and was called 'I Can't Give Back The Love I Feel For You', a tune originally being intended for Diana Ross.
The following year, and following the suggestion by Stevie Wonder, she became a songwriter.
One early success between the two was the song 'It's A Shame' for the, then, Motown Spinners.
By 1970, the collaboration with Stevie saw the release of the song 'Signed, Sealed Delivered, I'm Yours', a song she co-wrote with Wonder, Lee Garrett and Lula Hardaway.
That same year, she collaborated with Stevie on his album 'Where I'm Coming From', co-writing the songs 'Do Yourself A Favor', 'Something Out Of The Blue', 'If You Really Love Me' (a song on which she sang) and 'Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer'.
Stevie and Syreeta married on the 14th September 1970, and although they were divorced just 18 months later, they continued to work together for several years.
In 1972, Syreeta released her debut album, simply entitled 'Syreeta' for the MoWest imprint.
The album was produced by Stevie and contained her version of the Stevie song 'I Love Every Little Thing About You', along with her interpretation of the Smokey Robinson tune 'What Love Has Joined Together', and the socially aware 'Black Maybe'.
In 1974, the couple collaborated again on the album 'Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta'.
This set brought her chart success with the singles 'Your Kiss Is Sweet' and 'Spinning and Spinning'.
On back ground vocal chores, the line-up included Deniece Williams and the late Minnie Riperton.
Their last collaboration came with the song 'Harmour Love', which became another crossover hit and was later included on her 1977 album 'One To One', a set that contained the excellent Leon Ware / C. Robertson Jnr song 'Tiki Tiki Donga'.
Syreeta recorded one album with G.C. Cameron, entitled 'Rich Love, Poor Love', in 1977, before collaborating with Billy Preston, an association that saw the pair producing the film 'Fast Break'.
The couples major success came with the U.S. and U.K. Top 10 hit, 'With You I'm Born Again', in 1979.
In 1980, Syreeta recorded the song 'And So It Begins', a tune that has become a 'rare groove' over the years.
Syreeta and Billy completed a further album project in 1981 and a single release entitled 'Go For It'.
In 1981, Syreeta released the album 'Set My Love In Motion', an album produced by Ollie E Brown.
By 1983, she had a further release with the album 'The Spell', this time under the production wing of Jermaine Jackson, an album including the song 'Forever Is Not Enough'.
She then became a guest vocalist with the performer Willie Hutch on the song 'The Glow', a tune featured in the movie 'The Last Dragon'.
After this release, family affairs took over and she stopped recording for a while.
She returned to the studio n the late 80's, recording several tracks for lan Levine's Motor City label, including a solo rendition of 'With You I'm Born Again' and new duets with Billy Preston.
Syreeta was off the scene for most of the 1990's, although she contributed the lyrics and sang the song 'Someday' for Nelson Rangells 'In Every Moment' project in 1992 for the GRP imprint.
Syreeta wrote, or recorded with Sheree Brown, George Howard, Gary Bartz, Patrice Rushen, Wayne Henderson, Jeffrey Osborne, The Stairsteps, George Duke, Quincy Jones and Donald Byrd, amongst others, at various times.
I would like to thank Sibongile (who used to braid Syreeta's hair, and was a personal friend) for sending me some invaluable information regarding this great artist.
b. Ray Charles Robinson, 23rd September 1930, Albany, Georgia, U.S.A.
d. 10th June 2004, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.A.
Ray Charles was described by many writers as 'A Genius' and the 'Father of Soul Music'.
He died on the 10th of June 2004 from acute liver disease. He was 73.
Ray was born into extreme poverty.
He was slowly blinded by glaucoma until, at the age of six, he had lost his sight completely.
Whilst he could still use his eyesight, he had to cope with the tragic death of his brother, whom he had seen drown in a water tub.
Ray studied composition and learned several instruments at the St. Augustine School for the Deaf and the Blind.
His mother Aretha died when Ray was 15, and he was brought up by Mary Jane (the first wife of Ray's absent father).
Ray worked as a musician in Florida for a while before using his savings to move to Seattle in 1947.
Here he continued his career, playing piano at several nightclubs.
Ray began recording in 1949, with several of these sessions being released several years later.
He achieved his first Top Ten R & B hit with 'Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand' in 1951.
In 1952, Atlantic Records recruited Ray.
'It Should've Been Me', 'Mess Around' and 'Losing Hand' were released at this time and Ray began working with Guitar Slim in New Orleans.
Ray arranged Guitar Slim's million-selling single, 'Things That I Used To Do', a song that was later to influence Ray's own personal stylings.
He, also, put together a group for the R & B singer Ruth Brown.
It was at Atlantic Records that Ray released 'I Got a Woman', a number two R & B hit in 1955.
Ray released further recordings, including 'This Little Girl Of Mine' in 1955, 'Talkin' 'Bout You' in 1957 and 'Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying' in 1959.
Later that year, Ray released the energetic, 'What'd I Say', a song that became his first Top Ten pop hit, and one of his final Atlantic singles, as he left the label in November 1959 for the ABC imprint.
The ABC deal for Ray gave him a greater degree of artistic control over his recordings.
Here he released 'Georgia On My Mind', in 1960, and 'Hit The Road Jack' the following year.
In 1962, Ray released a Country and Western album entitled 'Modern Sounds In Country And Western', topping the charts with the single 'I Can't Stop Loving You'.
Further successful Sixties releases included the songs 'Busted', 'I Don't Need No Doctor', 'You Are My Sunshine', 'Take These Chains From My Heart', and 'Crying Time', however, Ray was arrested in 1965 for heroin possession.
He recorded the song 'Let's Go Get Stoned' in 1966.
Ray's career faded at this time as much of his output became seen as MOR.
In 1967, Ray sang the title song for the Norman Jewison / Rod Steiger / Sidney Poitier move 'In The Heat Of The Night', with Ray working alongside the artist Quincy Jones.
He also covered Beatles songs at this time, having substantial hits with his own versions of 'Yesterday' and 'Eleanor Rigby'.
Ray influenced many Rock artists including Joe Cocker, Van Morrison and Steve Winwood in particular.
During the 1970's, 'A Message From The People' and 'Renaissance' were released and included versions of Stevie Wonder's 'Living In The City' and Randy Newman's 'Sail Away'.
In the 1980's, Ray released more and more Country and Western influenced outings.
He also made a cameo appearance in the film 'The Blues Brothers', and contributed to the U.S.A. For Africa release, 'We Are The World' in 1985.
Ray has been honoured with several awards during his career including the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 1992, 'Ray Charles, The Genius Of Soul', was broadcast by CBS television.
'My World' was released on Warner Brothers in 1993 and included his version of Leon Russell's 'A Song For You'.
The album was seen to be a real return to form by the music pundits.
Ray returned to the recording studio in 2002 with the release of 'Thanks For Bringing Love Around Again', which included a re-working of his classic tune 'What'd I Say'.
There are those who say that Ray Charles was the father of Soul Music. Who am I to argue that? I will just miss the man terribly. A very sad day and the worst this year.
Elvin Ray Jones
b. 9th September 1927, Pontiac, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 18th May 2004, Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Born in Pontiac, Michigan on the 9th September 1927, Elvin Ray Jones was the youngest of ten children, and one of three brothers.
Elvin taught himself to play the drums at thirteen.
He served in the U.S. Army from 1946 to 1949.
After leaving the army he returned to Michigan and began gigging in the Detroit area with his brothers.
Elvin worked with Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.
In 1955 Jones toured with Charles Mingus (including Newport) and Bud Powell, ending up in New York.
He remained there and worked with J.J. Johnson, Donald Byrd, Tyree Glenn, Harry Edison, and Miles Davis, who introduced Elvin to John Coltrane.
In 1960 Coltrane asked Jones to join his quartet
He recorded several times with his brothers Hank ('Here's Love', 1963, Argo) and Thad (The Magnificent Thad Jones', 1956, Blue Note).
In 1961 he recorded his own album 'Elvin' (Riverside) with Hank, Thad, Frank Foster, Frank Wess and Art Davis.
Elvin's association with Coltrane continued until late 1965, when he added Rashied Ali as a second drummer.
He left the ensemble in 1966, one year before Coltrane's death from liver disease.
Elvin then joined the Duke Ellington band for a European tour.
In 1968 he ended a contract with Impulse Records and moved to Blue Note.
Later he recorded for smaller labels including Storyville, Muse and Enja before returning to Blue Note in 1998.
In the 1990's he formed the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine.
His Japanese wife, Keiko, acted as his business manager and even helped tune the drum kit.
The couple lived in Nagasaki, Japan, as well as New York.
In 1994, Elvin and Hank Jones collaborated on 'Upon Reflection: The Music of Thad Jones' (Verve) in honor of their late brother.
In April, reports of his poor health led to rumors that Elvin had died.
Despite his heart condition he continued to perform, often bringing an oxygen tank onstage.
Elvin Jones passed away on the 18th of May 2004.
John Cavadus Whitehead
b. 10th July 1948, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d, 11th May 2004, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
John Whitehead was shot dead, whilst working on a vehicle with another man, in Philadelphia on the 11th of May 2004. He was 55.
The killer fled after shooting John in the neck and then shooting his colleague, who was rushed to hospital after the incident.
Gene McFadden (who was Whitehead's songwriting partner in the singing group McFadden and Whitehead) went to the scene of the shooting in the city's West Oak Lane neighbourhood and stood there trembling apparently, WPVI-TV reported.
The partnership formed a group called the Epsilons in their youth and were discovered by Otis Redding.
They also toured with Otis in the 1960's.
After a brief stint at the Stax imprint, the duo then wrote hit songs performed by several artists for the Philadelphia International imprint in the 1970's, including 'Back Stabbers,' 'For the Love of Money,' 'I'll Always Love My Mama,' 'Bad Luck,' 'Wake Up Everybody,' 'Where Are All My Friends,' 'Don't Let Love Get You Down,' 'The More I Get, The More I Want,' and 'Cold, Cold World.'
The pinnacle of their own recording success came with 'Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now', which went to No. 1 on the R & B chart and reached No. 13 on the pop chart.
John embarked, briefly, on a solo career in 1988 with the release of 'I Need Money Bad' on Polygram Records in 1988.
Ernesto McKenzie Phillips
b. Ernesto McKenzie Phillips, b. 1954, Crownsville, U.S.A.
d. 25th March 2004, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
Ernesto Phillips died on the 25th of March 2004 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after a stroke.
He was one of the lead singers of the group Starpoint.
Ernesto was raised in Crownsville and graduated from Arundel High School in Gambrills.
He attended the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
He was a graduate of Anne Arundel Community College and attended Howard University.
Ernesto and his four brothers formed a group called Licyndiana, an R & B group named after his mother and his sisters.
His later success came with the group Starpoint, whom, along with Renee Diggs and his brothers scored several R & B hits throughout the Eighties.
Starpoint toured with Luther Vandross and appearred on the show 'Soul Train'.
The group went their seperate ways in 1990.
More recently, Ernesto worked as a counsellor for teenagers at Sheppard Pratt psychiatric clinic in Ellicott City.
b. Rosemary Timotea Aurro a.k.a. Timi Yuro & Mrs Selnick, 4th August 1940, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 30th March 2004, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
Timi Yuro passed away on the 30th of March 2004. She was 63.
Timi Yuro moved to Los Angeles as a child.
In the late 50's she was singing in her mother's Italian restaurant.
Timi worked with Johnnie Ray, Phil Spector and Willie Nelson during her career.
Her debut single, 'Hurt' was released in 1961 and reached number four in the pop charts.
Produced by Clyde Otis, the song was a remake of a Roy Hamilton 1954 R & B hit.
The song was later to re-enter the charts via an excellent version by the Soul Group, The Manhattans.
'l Apologise' and Smile' were released in 1962.
Timi had several minor hits during this time, the biggest of which was 'What's a Matter Baby (Is It Hurting You)'.
The song made number 12 in the U.S., and was covered by the Small Faces a few years later as the B-side of their first single.
She recorded throughout the '60s and '70s.
Timi left the Liberty label in 1964.
She recorded for Playboy, in 1975, and in 1981 a reissued 'Hurt' which was a big hit in the Netherlands.
Timi signed to Polydor and, during the late 80's, she recorded an album of songs by Willie Nelson, but soon afterwards her performing career was curtailed by serious illness.
b. John William Bristol, 3rd February 1939, Morganton, North Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 21st March 2004, Howell, Brighton Township, Michigan, U.S.A.
Johnny Bristol died on Sunday the 21st of March 2004 at the St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital in Howell, Michigan from natural causes. He was 65.
Michigan State Police in Brighton stated Johnny suffered an apparent seizure at his Brighton Township home and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Johnny, originally, married Iris Gordy and became a part of the Motown family.
He began his career in 1960 as part of the duo of Johnny And Jackie.
Johnny met Jackie Beavers during a period of National Service in the U.S. Air Force.
The duo recorded the first version of the tune 'Someday We'll Be Together' for Gwen Gordy and Harvey Fuqua's Tri-Phi Imprint.
The Supreme's later reached the National Charts, with the song, later in the decade in 1969, with Johnny pitching in on background vocal chores.
Johnny stayed with Motown for the duration of the Sixties, partnering Harvey Fuqua and writing and producing for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Martha Reeves, Jimmy Ruffin, the Four Tops, The Detroit Spinners, the late Edwin Starr, David Ruffin and Junior Walker ('How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You' and co-writing 'What Does It Take To Win Your Love').
By 1973, Johnny had departed from the Motown stable and left for CBS Records.
The arrangement didn't work out and he left a year later for the MGM imprint.
He scored an, almost, instant success with the song 'Hang On In There Baby', which was a first solo offering.
Johnny had two more hits for the MGM label, 'You And I' and 'Leave My World' in 1974 and 1975, respectively.
One of his songs, 'Love Me For A Reason' was released as a single, however, a cover version by the group The Osmonds, received all the qudos.
Johnny released several fine albums following the parent album to his initial hit single.
In 1976, he had relocated to the Atlantic label and had an R & B hit with the song 'Do It To My Mind'.
His album 'Strangers' was released in 1979, with the title track becoming highly collectable and covered by the group Tavares under the title 'Strangers In Dark Corners'.
Johnny re-recorded 'Hang On in There Baby' with the group Alton McClain and Destiny on Polydor in 1980.
The same year, Johnny had a top 40 hit with the singer Amii Stewart entitled 'My Guy, My Girl'.
Johnny also recorded for the Ariola and Handshake label before recording with Ian Levine's label Motorcity in the early Nineties.
Here he released a version of the Barrett Strong song 'Man Up In The Sky' in 1989, followed by the song 'Come To Me' for the Whichway imprint in 1991.
Johnny released an excellent album in Japan, in 1996, entitled 'Life And Love'.
Henry 'Hank' L. Marr
b. Henry 'Hank' L. Marr, 30th January 1927, Flytown, U.S.A.
d. 16th March 2004, Columbus, U.S.A.
Hank Marr passed away on Tuesday the 16th March 2004.
Hank was widely recognized as one of the world's masters of the Hammond B-3 organ.
He was born on the 30th of January 1927 in the Columbus neighborhood of Flytown (present-day Thurber Village).
Hank taught himself how to play the piano in his early teens, listening to the melodies on the radio show 'The Early Worm'.
At the end of the second World War he graduated from East High School, and, in 1947, joined the Army.
Here he played in the army band after being moved into the special services unit.
On leaving the forces, he joined the group Charlie Brantley and the Honeydippers.
By 1951, he took a course at the Ohio State University, majoring in music theory, although there were no Jazz courses at the time there, so he chose a course in the Classics.
He graduated in 1954.
In the early 1950's, Hank joined Rusty Bryant's band whose line-up included one Nancy Wilson.
They played in Atlantic City where Hank first heard the jazz organist Jimmy Smith.
Inspired by Jimmy, Hank began playing the Hammond B-3 organ in 1957.
He formed his own group and toured the United States, Canada, and Germany until 1969.
From 1969 until 1978, he was musical director for the impressionist George Kirby, performing at Caesar's Palace, The Johnny Carson Show, The Mike Douglas Show and The Merv Griffin Show.
In 1981, Hank joined the CJO, and in that same year, he accepted a teaching position at his place of education, OSU.
He retired from OSU in 2000, but returned to teach part-time last autumn.
He was recently performing with the CJO and his own groups and was featured as an organ clinician at the annual Jamie Aebersold Jazz Camp in Louisville, Kentucky.
Hank played with the likes of Nancy Wilson, Della Reese, Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Lou Rawls, and many others.
Hank was the father of four, with seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
b. Edmund Sylvers, 25th January 1957, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 11th March 2004, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.
Edmund Sylvers died on Thursday the 11th of March from lung cancer at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, following a 10-month illness. He was 47.
The family group the Sylvers recorded for Pride, MGM, Capitol, Casablanca, and Geffen during their recording career.
Edmund was one of ten brothers and sisters.
The Sylvers, 1972 Pride single, 'Fool's Paradise', reached number 14 on the R & B charts.
They had three other Top Ten R & B hits in the '70's, with 'Hotline' being highly popular and reaching the Top Ten in 1976.
The group had a Top 20 R & B single on Casablanca in 1978, 'Don't Stop, Get Off'.
Edmund then left the group and recorded a solo album for the same label, entitled 'Have You Heard'.
A further album, entitled 'Take Me Over', was recorded at Arista Records in the mid-1980's but was never released.
Estelle Axton & Jim Stewart
b. Estelle Stewart, 11th September 1918, Middleton, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 24th February 2004, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.
Estelle Axton died of natural causes on the 24th of February 2004 at the age of 85.
She passed at the hospice at Saint Francis Hospital.
The artists on the label called Estelle 'Lady A'.
'Were it not for her, there's no way Stax could have become what it became,' said David Porter.
David and Isaac Hayes co-wrote numerous Stax hits, including Sam and Dave's 'Soul Man' and 'Hold On, I'm Coming.'
Estelle was responsible for a great deal of the racial harmony at Stax, during a highly charged period during the Sixties.
'You didn't feel any backoff from her, no differentiation that you were black and she was white,' Isaac Hayes said. 'Being in a town where that attitude was plentiful, she just made you feel secure. ... She was like a mother to us all.'
Between 1960 and 1975, Stax's roster also included Booker T. and the MG's, Rufus Thomas, Albert King, Johnnie Taylor, The Mar-Keys and the Bar-Kays.
Bad business decisions forced Stax into insolvency in 1975.
Estelle established the Fretone label which produced Rick Dees' 1977 hit 'Disco Duck.'
David Porter said Estelle encouraged him and others in the Stax stable after she mortgaged her home to help start the record company with her brother, Jim Stewart.
Stax began as Satellite Records in 1957 but was forced to change the name because a California company already was using it.
The brother and sister combined their last names -- the 'St' from Stewart and the 'Ax' from Axton, to form the company name 'Stax'.
Isaac Hayes was a pallbearer at her funeral.
Estelle, incidentally, co-wrote the song 'Heartbreak Hotel for Elvis Presley.
b. Versle Eugene Allison, 29th August 1934, Pegram, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 28th February 2004, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
The Nashville R & B singer Gene Allison has died at the age of 69.
Gene Allison, who was famous for the song 'You Can Make It If You Try', died on the 28th of February 2004 at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Gene suffered liver and kidney failure.
'You Can Make It If You Try' was covered by The Rolling Stones' in 1964.
When Gene was 7, he relocated from Pegram to Nashville.
He grew up singing in church and began working with professional quartets including The Fairfield Four and the Skylarks.
He was still in high school when Fairfield Four leader Sam McCrary used him as a session singer.
Recorded at Owen Bradley's studio on 16th Avenue in Nashville, and released in 1957, 'You Can Make It If You Try', was a top 5 hit on Billboard magazine's R & B chart, and it also crossed over onto Billboard's list of top 40 pop songs.
In 1958 Mr. Allison used the proceeds from the song to lease a restaurant at the corner of 17th and Charlotte avenues.
Gene's mother took charge of the 24-hour soul food establishment, which stayed in business for about a decade.
He had some success with two other singles, namely 'Have Faith' and 'Everything Will Be All Right'.
Both songs charted in the R & B Top 20.
Gene's success faded in the 1960's, however, he recorded for several independent labels.
A shy man, he rarely gave interviews, however, he had lately considered returning to the recording studio.
Funeral arrangements and other details are still waiting to confirmed.
b: Carlton Earl Anderson, 27th February 1945, Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S.A.
d: 23rd February 2004, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Carl Anderson died on the 23rd of February after a long illness, four days short of his 59th birthday.
He had an ongoing fight with Leukaemaia.
Carl was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, and moved to Washington during the Sixties.
He performed at Jackie Lee's Lounge on Kennedy Street, NW for a number of years.
At that time, Carl was managed by Dewey Hughes, who was instrumental in linking Carl to Stevie Wonder and his later role in Jesus Christ Superstar.
Carl sang with the rock band Second Eagle before relocating to Los Angeles in the early '70's and joining Motown in 1971.
While working with Stevie Wonder on some songs that were never issued, Carl began acting.
As previously mentioned, Carl was in both the film and stage productions of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' during the early and mid-70's, and also made appearances in several L.A. clubs.
Larkin Arnold signed Carl to his label in 1980, and Richard Rudolph produced his Columbia debut, 'Absence Without Love', in 1982.
Although containing the excellent 'Buttercup' (a collaboration with Stevie Wonder), it didn't attract much attention, but the second LP, 'On & On', included the single "Magic" and duet 'It's The Love' with Vanesse Thomas.
He recorded two more LPs for the label, and the 1986 release 'Carl Anderson' earned him a pop hit with the duet 'Friends and Lovers' with soap star Gloria Loring. The song reached the number two spot.
Carl recorded with Nancy Wilson and Weather Report in 1987.
He recorded 'An Act of Love' for Polydor in 1988 and 'Pieces of A Heart' (containing a collaboration with Leon Ware on 'How Deep Does It Go?") and 'Fantasy Hotel' for GRP in 1990 and 1992, respectively.
His acting career included appearances in the television shows 'Hill Street Blues', 'Magnum', Starsky & Hutch', 'The Incredible Hulk' and 'Hotel', along with a part in the movie 'The Color Purple'.
In 2001, Carl began work on a new project, as yet untitled, which he described as 'real Rhythm And Blues'.
That set remains unreleased.
Carl is survived by his mother, wife, son, two step daughters, six sisters and three brothers.
A memorial fund has been set up in Anderson's name at the Lynchburg Academy of Fine Arts, at 600 Main St., Lynchburg, VA 24504.
b. Doris Higginson, 6th January 1937, New York City, U.S.A.
d. 16th February 2004, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
Doris Troy passed away in her sleep on the 16th of February in Las Vegas, Nevada, after a lengthy bout with emphysema. She was 67.
Doris was the daughter of a Baptist preacher.
She also used to sing in the jazz group, the Halo's.
She recorded as half of Jay And Dee and began songwriting, using her grandmother's surname of Payne.
In 1960, Dee Clark recorded one of Doris's songs, 'How About That' for the Vee Jay imprint.
She also recorded for the Everest label before becoming a background singer on a regular basis.
Doris worked with the ex-Drinkard Singers Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick.
She also recorded with their aunt Cissy Houston, backing many groups including the Drifters, Solomon Burke and Chuck Jackson.
In 1963, Doris co-wrote 'Just One Look', which became a U.S. Top 10 hit.
It was covered the following year by the U.K. band the Hollies, and reached the U.K. number 2 position.
'What'cha Gonna Do About It?' reached the U.K. Top 40 in the following year.
Doris also recorded for the Capitol and Calla imprints.
After settling in London in 1969, she recorded a self-titled album for the Beatles label, Apple, with the help of the late George Harrison and Eric Clapton.
Doris also recorded for the People and Polydor labels and later worked as a session singer, contributing to a number of albums including Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon' along with Nick Drake's 'Bryter Layter' on the song 'Poor Boy'.
From the mid-80's to 1991, Doris performed in the U.S. musical (personal) biography, 'Mama, I Want To Sing', and repeated her performance when the show opened in London in February 1995.
The wake is planned for Monday, February 23, from 4 - 7p.m. Funeral services will begin at 7p.m. The location is Williams Institutional CME Church, 2225 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, New York City, NY 10027-7805 (7th Avenue between 131-132nd Streets).
Herbert Earlshell Johnson Jr.
b. 26th December 1935, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 19th January 2004, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A
Herb Johnson died from cancer on the 19th of January 2004.
He was 68 and lived in West Philadelphia.
He recorded many records during a 40 year career.
In recent years he was recording for the the Funkadelphia record label.
Herb moved to West Philadelphia when he was 9 and attended Overbrook High School.
Whilst he was there he attended the Royal Theater on South Street working on the radio station, WPEN.
Herb recorded 'You Belong to Me,' also recorded by the Orioles.
In 1953, he joined the Air Force and sang with a group called the Lyrics and also sang with the group the Ambassadors.
Herb also recorded for Len 'Buddy' Caldwell's Len label releasing, 'Guilty' and 'Have You Heard,' in March 1960.
He also performed with the Impacts in Philadelphia.
Herb recorded for the V-Tone, Palm, Jimmy Bishop's Arctic labels, Bernie Binnick and Tony Mamorella's Swan complex, Toxsan, Tyler and Brunswick.
In the early 1970's, he recorded his last song, 'Damph F'aint'.
In the mid-1980's, Herb began singing again, firstly with the Zip Codes, then with a group called Moment's Pleasure, who were a doo wop group.
Herb is survived by his wife, Velma, four daughters, Cassandra Johnson-Dallas, Hershall, Elizabeth and Meta Johnson, six grandchildren and a grandchild.
b. Alessandro Randazzo, 13th May 1935, New York, U.S.A.
d. 21st November 2003, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.
Teddy Randazzo died, suddenly, on Friday 21st of November, at his home in Orlando.
The cause is undetermined at this point. He was 68.
Teddy began his solo career in 1957, prior to which he was a member of the Brooklyn-based band The Three Chuckles, who scored a number 18 hit with the song 'Runaround'.
He later met Bobby Weinstein and the pair began a fine songwriting collaboration.
Along with Bobby, Teddy Randazzo wrote many cross-over hits including 'Goin' Out of My Head,' (for Little Anthony and the Imperials), 'Hurts So Bad' (Little Anthony and the Imperials, Willie Bobo etc), 'Gonna Take a Miracle,' (recorded by many artists including Deniece Williams), 'I'm on the Outside Looking In' (Little Anthony and the Imperials, Smokey Robinson, The Shells etc), 'Pretty Blue Eyes' and 'Have You Looked into Your Heart.'
Bobby Weinstein & Teddy Randazzo songs were recorded by more than 350 artists including Frank Sinatra, Little Anthony & The Imperials, The Royalettes, The Manhattans, Gil Evans, Arif Mardin, Eric Gale, Joe Simon, The Temptations, The Manhattans, Queen Latifah, Laura Nyro and Luther Vandross.
According to the BMI Pop Awards, 'Goin' Out of My Head' accumulated more than 6 million radio plays whilst 'Hurt So Bad' received more than 4 million.
He released two 'Twist' based albums in 1962 entitled 'Teddy Randazzo Twists' and 'Hey, Let's Twist', followed by two albums the following year, 'Journey To Love', for the Paramount imprint, and 'Big Wide World' for the Colpix label.
Teddy and Bobby were co-writing new songs at the time of his death and, earlier this year, were nominated for induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Teddy is survived by his wife Shelly, four sons and three daughters.
Arthur Lee Conley
b. 4th January 1946, McIntosh, Georgia, U.S.A.
d. 17th November 2003, Ruurlo, Netherlands.
Arthur Conley has died from cancer in Ruurlo in the Netherlands. He was 57.
Arthur was a protégé of Otis Redding.
Born in McIntosh, Georgia in 1946, Arthur Conley was raised in Atlanta and first recorded for the NRG label as Arthur And The Corvets.
He then signed to Otis's Jotis label, who leased his future singles to the Volt and Stax imprints prior to 'Sweet Soul Music' charting on both sides of the Atlantic in 1967.
Arthur recorded the song based upon 'Yeah Man', a re-working of a Sam Cooke tune.
After the tragic death of Otis Redding, Arthur's career lost some momentum, although he did score with the song 'Funky Street'.
Arthur toured with the Stax / Volt Revue and later joined the Soul Clan with Atlantic labelmates Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, Don Covay, Ben E. King, and Joe Tex.
He continued recording throughout the late Sixties before relocating to the Capricorn imprint in 1971.
Arthur later recorded with Swamp Dogg and relocated to the Netherlands to reside.
He recorded a live album in 1980 under his other name, Lee Roberts.
That album was released some eight years later.
Arthur ran his own label in Holland and appearred on television and radio programs.
b. 1955, New York City, New York State, U.S.A.
d. 12th November 2003, Encino, California, U.S.A.
Drummer with Chic, Tony Thompson died on the 12th of November 2003 in Encino, California, from renal cancer.
He was 48 and only had a month's notice regarding his illness.
Tony came from New York City and became one of the most sought after session drummers throughout his career.
He played, briefly for the group LaBelle, before joining the Disco group, Ecstasy, Passion & Pain.
The move led him to team up with Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards and was, subsequently, enlisted to their latest project, the band Chic.
Chic signed to Atlantic Records and released a debut album in 1977.
The group scored several R & B and chart hits, in the form of 'Dance, Dance, Dance', 'Freak Out' and 'Good Times' (a track heavily sampled by various Rap artists).
By the early '80's the Disco bubble had burst and Tony joined forces with several Rock and R & B artists including David Bowie (Let's Dance'), Sister Sledge, Debbie Harry, Madonna, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and the Power Station.
Tony was to have played at the Live Aid concert at the KFK Stadium in 1985, alongside members of the group Led Zeppelin, however, Phil Collins was drafted in leaving Tony as the second drummer.
Following a serious car accident, Tony continued as a session drummer, appearing on recordings by Robert Palmer, Duran Duran, Platinum Blonde, Rod Stewart, and Jody Watley.
In the Nineties, he worked on several tribute albums dedicated to Queen, Jimi Hendrix and Aerosmith.
Tony died early on Wednesday morning, the 12th of November 2003.
A fundraising concert that was due to take place, on 16th December 2003, in order to raise money for the drummers treatment still took take place but as a tribute.
The concert was held at the Beverley Hills Hard Rock Café.