The music will carry on for generations to come inspiring young musicians to play and write. We will hear their voices, feel their pain through the music they proudly shared with us.
In memory of the great musicians, composers, and producers.
Jimi Jamison, who was the singer of the rock band Survivor in the ’80s and twice again in the 2000s, died at the age of 63 following a heart attack on Sunday Aug. 31. Prior to joining Survivor, Jamison was the singer of the hard rock bands Target and Cobra. Before he left us, he recorded a few songs that were not released and they are making their appearances, look for his music to live on.
Singer Joe Cocker, best known for his cover of the Beatles’ With A Little Help From My Friends, has died aged 70 from lung cancer. Joe was an English rock and blues singer from Sheffield who became popular in the 1960’s and was known for a gritty voice and his cover versions of popular songs, especially those of The Beatles.
Jack Bruce – Legendary Cream singer-bassist. Along with bandmates Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, Bruce took Cream to huge heights in the 1960’s despite only existing for two years as a band. The power trio still managed to release four albums, with Bruce writing and singing such classic hits as ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ and ‘White Room.’ He left us on October 25.
Johnny Winter – On July 16, the world of music lost a true legend, Johnny Winter. The iconic blues artist passed away in a Zurich, Switzerland hotel room at the age of 70, only a few days after playing a gig in Austria. During his landmark career, Winter would go on to release well over 30 records, including studio albums, live albums and compilations. Johnny was one of our local favorites – playing Toad’s Place every January / February.
Rick Rosas – Neil Young’s longtime bassist who also performed with Joe Walsh, Pegi Young, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ron Wood
Dick Wagner was best known as Alice Cooper’s longtime guitarist, co-writing hits like ‘Only Women Bleed’ and ‘You and Me.’ He also worked with Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel and Kiss.
Bernard ‘Doc’ Neeson, lead singer of the Angels, died on June 4 at the age of 67 from a brain tumor. Although they never achieved mainstream fame outside of their native Australia, where they were contemporaries of AC/DC, the Angels were still loved by bands like Guns N’ Roses and Cheap Trick.
Phil Everly, one-half of the pioneering rock duo the Everly Brothers, died of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on Jan. 3. He was 74. Along with his brother Don, Phil Everly was one of the architects of rock music in the ’50s. The duo scored a number of hits, influencing everyone from the Beatles to Simon & Garfunkel.
After an eight-year battle with cancer, original Foreigner bassist Ed Gagliardi passed away on May 10 at the age of 62. He performed on their first two albums, which included the Top 10 singles ‘Feels Like the First Time,’ ‘Cold As Ice,’ ‘Double Vision’ and ‘Hot Blooded.’
Former Toto, Trillion and Le Roux singer Dennis “Fergie” Frederiksen died on Jan. 18 after a nearly four-year-long battle with cancer. Frederiksen sang on Toto’s 1984 ‘Isolation’ album, which featured the hit single ‘Stranger in Town.’
A true icon of American music, Pete Seeger passed away on Jan. 27 at the age of 94. As a member of the Weavers, he helped popularize folk music in the ’40s and ’50s. Red Scare blacklisting threatened his career, but he fought through it and continued leading the country in song and fighting for progressive causes for the next 60 years. On his banjo head, he had inscribed the phrase “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”
From 1954 to 1962, Franny Beecher was the lead guitarist for rock n’ roll pioneers Bill Haley & the Comets, playing on classics like ‘Rip It Up’ and ‘See You Later, Alligator,’ but not ‘(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock.’ Before that, he spent several years in Benny Goodman’s orchestra and various country bands. He died on Feb. 24 at the age of 92.
On March 14, Gary Burger died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 72. Burger fronted the Monks, a garage band founded by GIs stationed in Germany in the ’60s. While their one album, 1966’s ‘Black Monk Time,’ didn’t sell well, it became a cult classic and was re-issued in 2009 to great acclaim.
One of the many songwriters who took up shop in New York’s Brill Building, Gerry Goffin, often working with his then-wife Carole King, wrote lyrics for dozens of hits ranging from Little Eva’s ‘The Loco-Motion’ to ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ by the Shirelles. Following their divorce in 1969, he continued to write hits with other composers well into the ’80s. He died on June 19 at the age of 75.
The guitarist for the Arrows, Jake Hooker wrote ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ which was later a No. 1 hit for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Following their breakup, he worked on some of the ’80s most successful soundtracks. He died Aug. 4 of undisclosed causes.
Jay Traynor, The frontman for the ’60s group Jay & the Americans passed away at the age of 69 after a struggle with liver cancer. Even though Traynor left the band shortly after its first hit, 1962’s ‘She Cried,’ they scored a number of Top 40 songs through 1970.
Bobby Womack, who died on June 27 at the age of 70 after a bout with colon cancer, is best known to rock fans as the writer of ‘It’s All Over Now’ by the Rolling Stones and ‘Looking for a Love’ by the J. Geils Band. But he also had plenty of hit R&B singles and albums in his 50-year career, most notably ‘Across 100th Street,’ from the film of the same name.
Jerry LaCroix sang and played saxophone with Edgar Winter‘s White Trash, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Rare Earth in the early-to-mid-70s. He passed away on May 7 from complications related to congestive heart failure suffered in 2010.
A true “songwriter’s songwriter,” Jesse Winchester was loved by such names as Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello, but moving to Canada to avoid the Vietnam War greatly affected his career. He died April 11 at the age of 69 following a long battle with cancer of the esophagus.
Jim Keays, who died on June 13 at the age of 67 after a long battle with multiple myeloma, was the lead singer of Masters Apprentices, one of Australia’s most popular garage bands from the mid-’60s to the mid-’70s. They were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame in 1998.
Veteran drummer Joe Lala died on March 18 at the age of 65 after a long struggle with lung cancer. Lala played with Blues Image on their classic ‘Ride Captain Ride’ and then went on to a prolific career as one of L.A.’s top session men for more than a decade. After carpal tunnel syndrome forced him to give up the drums, he had a solid career as a television actor.
As for the guitarist for the Outfield, John Spinks contributed to a string of ’80s hits like ‘All the Love in the World,’ ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ and, most famously, ‘Your Love.’ He died from liver cancer on July 9. He was 60 years old.
Johnny Ray Allen was the bassist for the Subdudes, recording five albums with them from 1987-96, and had reunited with them in March 2014. He died Aug. 8 at the age of 56.
Larry Ramos, who died on April 30 from melanoma, joined the Association as a singer and guitarist in 1967. With him in the group, they had three Top 10 hits, ‘Windy,’ ‘Never My Love’ and ‘Everything that Touches You.’ He left the group in 1975, but returned five years later and remained until his retirement in Jan. 2014.
Leonard Delaney, original drummer for the early surf-rock band the Tornadoes, died at the age of 71 in October after an extended battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Delaney co-wrote the Tornadoes’ biggest hit, the 1962 single ‘Bustin’ Surfboards,’ which was revived in 1994 in the movie ‘Pulp Fiction.’
Please check back for part 2 of In Memory of the Musicians who left us.