At this time of year we reflect on what happened, what we’ve gain and what we’ve lost. It is about reflection. There were good times and bad times and things we expected and things that we did not expect. In 2014, we say goodbye to several musicians that not only have had an impact on the music business, but to us in some way or another. These are some of the musicians that were influential to me.
We most recently lost the legendary and soulful English crooner Joe Cocker. He had a string of hits in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. One of my favorites that he recorded is Feeling Alright. Of course, he had some other big hits including: You Are So Beautiful, Up Where We Belong and A Little Help From My Friends. Gerald Wilson was a big band leader for many, many years and was still working into his 90’s. He lead big bands on television as well over the years.
If you’ve listened to the Rolling Stones over the years there is saxophone solo on many of those songs. The saxophonist was Bobby Keyes who was a part of the band for 40 years. His horn is prevalent on the song Emotional Rescue. Another musician that we lost was Buddy DeFranco who was a jazz clarinetist. He played with many great singers over the years including Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. Another clarinetist that had a huge instrumental hit titled Stranger on the Shore was Acker Bilk. He was a British musician that had success in the United States before the Beatles.
We lost one of the great piano players in Joe Sample. He was one of the original Jazz Crusaders that later became the Crusaders. He had some solo success with songs: Rainbow Seeker, Carmel, Voices in the Rain, Spellbound, Sermonize and he played on the Steely Dan album Aja and with other artists as well. Another influential musician and singer was Bobby Womack. He was also a gifted song writer and guitarist. He wrote the song I Used to Love Her that was a big hit for the Rolling Stones back in the 60’s. He recorded some hits of his own including: If You Think You’re Lonely Now, Lookin For A Love, A Woman’s Gotta Have It and Across 110th Street.
Johnny Winter was a legendary blues guitarist. He was not as famous as his brother Edgar Winter, but if you know anything about blues music then you know that Johnny Winter was a big contributor. Back in the 60’s and 70’s, Paul Revere and the Raiders were a popular group and they had a few hits including: Indian Reservation. It was probably their most well known song. Most people are familiar with David Ruffin who was the lead singer of the Temptations in their early years. His brother Jimmy Ruffin was a pretty good singer himself. He had a big hit in 1966 titled What Becomes of a Broken Hearted. He also recorded a song or two with brother David.