Clarence Burke Jr passed away on May 25th, he was 62. He was a singer, songwriter and guitarist with 1970’s family band “The Five Stairsteps“. The band was best known for it’s hit “O-o-h Child“, a song rated at 392 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 of All time. The video below is the band on “Soul Train“.
Tony Sheridan, an early Beatle (Ok the Beat Brothers), he is one of only 2 men (the other being Billy Preston) to be credited on a Beatle song, and the only person to sing lead on a Beatle single, passed away on February 16, 2013. All the stories have been told, so no point in rehashing them. Suffice to say that the Beatles first album was released as “My Bonnie” by Tony Sheridan and the Beatles. The band’s name was changed to Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers as the word Beatles sounded too much like the German word for penis. I wonder how they dealt with that as the Beatles became more and more famous.
He was an original rock & roll artist, but migrated to more of a jazz player as his career continued. He continued recording right up to 2008. Here is a sampling of his work.
Shake It Some More, recorded in 1966.
With The Beatles
Some more recent material
Reg Presley passed away on February 4, 2013. Reg was an English singer and songwriter, best known as the lead singer for 19560’s band The Troggs. They has several hits back in the day, but the one he will be most remembered for will be “Wild Thing“. The band also had a major hit with “With A Girl Like You”. Both are linked below. He was also an author, writing “Wild Things They Don’t Tell Us”, a book about lost civilizations etc. Another piece of my youth has left us.
And a bonus, the answer to who originally did Wet Wet Wet’s 1994 hit “Love Is All Around”.
March 6th was a tough day. The world also lost Alvin Lee, guitarist, leader and singer of Ten Years After. This band is one of those bands that etched a big place in the soundtrack of my life, this song in particular. “I’d Love To Change The World“. It has a short interview at the beginning and gets cut off at the end, Oh well.
The band hit its stride at Woodstock, and contributed to the idealism of the 60’s and early 70’s. Terrific player, great band, he will be missed, Alvin Lee, dead at 69.
- Tributes To ‘Ten Years After’s’ Alvin Lee Led By Queen Guitarist Brian May (contactmusic.com)
- RIP Ten Years After guitarist Alvin Lee (brooklynvegan.com)
- Ten Years After singer Alvin Lee has died at 68 (todayentertainment.today.com)
On our recent trip to Spain, we were sitting in a small tapas bar in the Born area of Barcelona. We were enjoying some great food, and some excellent wine, when a song came on that made us both go, “Who in the heck is that”. We asked our server who it was and he went to find out for us. Turns out that it was Donald Byrd, who, unfortunately, passed away on February 4, 2013 at he age of 80. Having just discovered him (where was he hiding), I was quite saddened by this news, A great trumpet player, his career spanned 7 decades and included, besides his solo work, stints and recordings with a who’s who of the jazz and blues world. John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Sonny Rollins and Herbie Hancock may ring a few bells with you.
He recorded over 40 albums on his own and many more as a sideman. An outstanding career. The song I have chosen in memorial, is the one we heard in Barcelona, “Falling (like dominoes)” of his Places and Spaces album, which was recorded in 1975.