Saturday, February 01, 2014

Anna Gordy and others

A few more deaths to report I'm afraid.
Anna Gordy, who has died aged 92, never made a record but was a big influence in the early years of Motown. The sister of Berry Gordy, she gave her name to the first of the Tamla Motown stable of labels in 1958 which produced its first big hit - Barrett Strong's Money. Anna married Marvin Gaye, 17 years her junior, and they had a stormy marriage, eventually divorcing in 1977. Anna wrote two songs for his What's Going On album and co-wrote a couple more with Marvin for The Originals. His 1978 album Here My Dear gave Marvin's jaundiced view of the marriage and the royalties from the album became part of their divorce settlement.
The Mighty Hannibal (real name James Shaw) has died aged 74. Starting out as a doowop singer, Hannibal met up with Larry Williams and Johnny Guitar Watson and assumed his stage name in
1959, (originally as just Hannibal) recording some soul/R and B records for Pan World and King, including Baby Please Don't Change Your Mind which was successful. In the late sixties he adopted an anti Vietnam war stance and had his biggest successes with the deep soul song Hymn No 5 and the anti-drug song The Truth Shall Set You Free. He appeared at the Ponderosa Stomp in 2008 (see photo).
Another death is that of Kentucky-born bluegrass and rockabilly singer Rusty York, aged 78, who recorded for King in Cincinnati and enjoyed success with Sugaree, written by Marty Robbins. His one UK release on Parlophone in 1958 was a cover of Peggy Sue, but it was only issued as a demo and is worth a cool £1500 if you can find one (I haven't!). After that brief success he returned to bluegrass and country music and concentrated on running the Jewel recording studio in Cincinnati. Nice video this one:


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