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Tag: In Memoriam (41-50 of 329)

Goodbye, Possum: The Oak Ridge Boys' Joe Bonsall remembers George Jones

To honor George Jones, EW asked the Oak Ridge Boys’ Joe Bonsall to recall his fondest memories of the country legend, who died today at the age of 81. They include the time Jones told Bonsall he should’ve just kicked his ass — and hearing “He Stopped Loving Her Today” before its release.

By: Joe Bonsall

As fate might have it, last night at a show in Missouri someone yelled from the audience, “How is George Jones doing?”

Well, we had no answer. We were well aware that George was in the hospital again and had been there since the middle of the month, but for some reason we thought he was doing all right but we did not know for sure. We all looked at each other on stage after the question in wonder… Each man’s face registered concern at NOT knowing the answer.

Then we arrived home this morning and heard the sad news that the Possum has gone home. How very sad. What an incredible and devastating loss for all who knew him, respected him, admired him, and loved him.

So many memories come to mind. A young Joey Bonsall once driving from Philadelphia to Youngstown, Ohio in a ’59 Ford all alone… to see George Jones and Tammy Wynette. He was a bit on the edge that night (being kind), and I remember being mad at him. As a young man who was in total love with Tammy, I perceived him to be a bit disrespectful of her onstage and I considered waiting for him at the stage door to tell him so… but I just drove all night back home.

I told him that story years later, and he told me I should have just kicked his ass and we both laughed.  READ FULL STORY

Missing George Jones -- and other late icons we never got to see live

The word “legend” gets thrown around a lot in music, but when you’re talking country great George Jones, it fits.

Jones, who died this morning at age 81 after being hospitalized April 18, was in the midst of his goodbye tour, and I was supposed to see him in June for the first time — a concert that had been postponed from last summer, when he canceled shows for health reasons.

Never having seen him live will remain one of my biggest regrets. While I console myself with some YouTube videos below, tell me who you wish you’d been able to see in concert before the opportunity was lost. READ FULL STORY

Woodstock singer Richie Havens dies at age 72

Richie Havens, who sang and strummed for a sea of people at Woodstock, has died of a heart attack Monday, his family said in a statement. He was 72.

Havens, a folk singer and guitarist, was the first performer at the three-day 1969 Woodstock Festival. He returned to the site during the 40th anniversary in 2009.

“Everything in my life, and so many others, is attached to that train,” he said in a 2009 interview with The Associated Press. READ FULL STORY

Divinyls' singer Chrissy Amphlett dies

Chrissy Amphlett, the raunchy lead singer of the Australian rock band Divinyls whose hit “I Touch Myself” brought her international fame in the early 1990s, died at her home in New York City on Sunday. She was 53 years old.

“Christine Joy Amphlett succumbed to the effects of breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, diseases she vigorously fought with exceptional bravery and dignity,” her musician husband Charley Drayton said in a statement.

“Chrissy’s light burns so very brightly. Hers was a life of passion and creativity. She always lived it to the fullest. With her force of character and vocal strength, she paved the way for strong, sexy, outspoken women,” he said.

Amphlett was an icon of Australian music renowned for her distinctive singing voice as well as edgy stage performances clad in school uniforms and fishnet stockings. READ FULL STORY

Music producer Phil Ramone dies at age 79

Music producer and 14-time Grammy winner Phil Ramone died Saturday morning in New York City, his family confirmed to CNN.

The 79-year-old (Updated: Initial reports indicated he was 72) worked with some of the best-known artists of the past 50 years, including Madonna, Bob Dylan, Bono, Carly Simon, and Aretha Franklin. Many of Ramone’s collaborators released statements and took to Twitter on Saturday to pay their respects.

“Phil Ramone was a lovely person and a very gifted musician and producer,” said Tony Bennett in an official statement. “It was a joy to have him work with me in the recording studio on so many projects as he had a wonderful sense of humor and a deep love of music. Phil had the admiration and respect from everyone in the entertainment industry and his passing is a great loss.”

Glee star Matthew Morrison tweeted, “Today the music business and the world lost a music icon in Phil Ramone. I am honored that I had the opportunity to work with him on my forthcoming album, which I dedicate to him.” Bette Midler called him “a giant in the recording world,” and Josh Groban said Ramone “made music the right way.”

Ramone produced songs and soundtracks for films like Ghostbusters, Flashdance, and Midnight Cowboy. He also contributed to theater productions, including Chicago and The Wiz.

According to his official website, Ramone was a pioneer in audio technology and an early proponent of digital and fiber optic recording techniques.

Motown producer Deke Richards dies

Motown songwriter-producer Deke Richards has died at a hospice at age 68.

Richards, whose real name was Dennis Lussier, died Sunday at the Whatcom Hospice House, Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center spokeswoman Amy Cloud confirmed Monday.

Richards (pictured above, center) had been battling esophageal cancer, according to a statement from Universal Music.

As leader of the Motown songwriting, arranging and producing team known as The Corporation, Richards was involved in writing and producing many Jackson 5 hits, the Universal Music release said. Those songs included the Jackson 5’s first three No. 1 hits — “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” and “The Love You Save.”

He also co-wrote “Love Child” for Diana Ross & The Supremes, as well Ross’ solo “I’m Still Waiting.”

Other recording artists for whom Richards produced or wrote songs include Bobby Darin, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas.

He is survived by his wife, Joan Lussier, a brother and two nephews.

'Sunday Kind of Love' singer Fran Warren dies

Fran Warren, whose 1947 recording of “A Sunday Kind of Love” was one of the classic hits of the big band era, has died.

Alan Eichler, a spokesman for the singer-actress, said Tuesday that Warren died March 4 of natural causes at her home in Brookfield, Conn. She was 87.

Warren’s career spanned more than 50 years with hits that included the Tony Martin duet “I Said My Pajamas (and Put On My Prayers),” the Lisa Kirk duet “Dearie” and “It’s Anybody’s Heart.” Her films roles included Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd.

She frequently appeared and performed on the talk shows of Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin and Steve Allen.

Warren is survived by two daughters, a son-in-law and two nieces.

Bobbie Smith of soul legends the Spinners dies at 76

Bobbie Smith, original lead singer of legendary soul group the Spinners, has died at the age of 76, according to the Associated Press (via Billboard). A statement issued today by the group’s manager said Smith was diagnosed with lung cancer in November and passed away on Saturday morning due to complications from pneumonia.


Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. dies at 39

Jason Molina, the musician behind beloved indie-rock outfits Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co., died from organ failure on Saturday at his home in Indianapolis. He was 39.

Molina’s death, Chunklet reports, was caused by years of alcohol abuse, which the musician had been dealing with publicly. Molina’s last few years included numerous stints in rehab centers in America and England, and Pitchfork reports that his family members had set up a fund in 2011 for fans wanting to contribute to his medical costs.

In May of last year, Molina posted a statement on Magnolia Electric Co.’s website acknowledging his struggle but letting fans know that he was improving. It was his last public comment about his health:

Treatment is good, getting to deal with a lot of things that even the music didn’t want to. I have not given up because you, my friends have not given up on me. I do still need your support however that takes shape, good vibes are worth more than you might think.

Molina released his most recent album in 2012, the  solo effort Autumn Bird Songs. His body of work includes more than two decades of music created under various names — most of it released on his longtime label, Secretly Canadian.

The label issued an emotional statement on its website; you can read it in full below:


Grand Ole Opry star Jack Greene dies at 83

Jack Greene, a longtime Grand Ole Opry star who earned fame with his hit “There Goes My Everything,” died on Thursday at his home here. He was 83. The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, said Jessie Schmidt, a spokeswoman for the Grand Ole Opry.

“There Goes My Everything” reached No. 1 on the Billboard country chart and No. 65 on the pop chart in 1966. It earned the deep-voiced Mr. Greene awards for single of the year and male vocalist of the year from the Country Music Association in 1967. That same year he began performing regularly at the Grand Ole Opry.

His other hits, mostly in the late 1960s, included “All the Time,” “What Locks the Door” and “Statue of a Fool.”

“There Goes My Everything,” written by Dallas Frazier, was covered by several other singers, including Elvis Presley. Engelbert Humperdinck’s version reached No. 20 on the Billboard pop singles chart in 1967.

“I had letters by the thousands from people who had lost loved ones,” Mr. Greene once said about the reaction to that song. “It touched a lot of people’s lives.”

Mr. Greene was born in Maryville, Tenn., where he started in radio at WGAP. In addition to singing and playing guitar, he played bass and drums in various groups. His big break came when the influential singer-songwriter Ernest Tubb hired him as his drummer in the early 1960s.

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