Sunday, March 18, 2018

Latest music deaths

It's been a couple of weeks in which several famous people have died, including theoretical physicist and guest on shows such as The Simpsons, Stephen Hawking, Bullseye presenter Jim Bowen and the last of the music hall greats, Sir Ken Dodd. Doddy of course was not only a comedian but a very successful singer with no fewer than 18 top 40 records. His hits, such as Love Is Like A Violin in 1960, his only number one Tears (the third best selling UK hit of the sixties), The River and Happiness, were certainly not to me taste, but they sold in large quantities, as any visit to a car boot sale will attest. I prefer to remember him for his one liners.
More significantly, musically speaking, were the deaths of a number of musicians. Nokie Edwards,
who has died aged 82, was bass guitarist with the Ventures before taking over as lead guitar in 1961. The group's instrumental sound sold millions of singles in the early sixties, beginning with Walk Don't Run and following up with Perfidia, Ram Bunk Shush, Lullaby Of The Leaves and Hawaii Five-0 among others. Their regular stream of albums ensured that they remained popular for many more years, particularly in Japan, with variations on a theme, including titles such as The Colourful Ventures, Twist With The Ventures, Going To A Ventures Dance Party, Surfing, The Ventures In Space, Ventures A-Go-Go,, Guitar Freakout and Super Psychedelics. Nokie left and rejoined the Ventures a couple of times and found success as a solo artist in the early 2000s with two Grammy nominations. The Ventures were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. Nokie often appeared with  Deke Dickerson in recent years, including at the Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans in 2005 (see photo) and on Deke's regular Guitar Geek events.
Dickie Bishop is something of a forgotten name in the early history of British pop music, having
replaced Lonnie Donegan as banjo player in Chris Barber's band, before forming his own skiffle outfit the Sidekicks. His real claim to fame is that he recorded and co-wrote what was probably the best British record of the era (1957), No Other Baby, a song, that was later recorded by Paul McCartney among others. No Other Baby was officially the B side of Dickie's version of Cumberland Gap, but still stands up today. Later records were unsuccessful and Dickie's moment of magic had passed. He later moved to Germany.
Another near forgotten name from the early sixties is Maggie Stredder, who was a member of the Vernons Girls and, later, the Ladybirds. She was instantly recognisable at the time as 'the one with the glasses' and the trio worked on the Benny Hill Show for many years. Their mostly forgettable singles included Lady Bird, The White Cliffs of Dover and Memories.


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