Wednesday, September 16, 2020

More music deaths

There are a few more music deaths to report sadly.

Barry St John, who has died aged 77, was born Eliza Thomson in Glasgow and was a leading background singer in the seventies. Prior to that she had several solo records and touched the lower reaches of the top 50 in 1965 with 'Come Away Melinda'. The B side 'Gotta Brand New Man', which closely resembled James Brown's 'Papa's Got A Brand new Bag', later became popular on the Northern soul scene. Other singles included covers of the Jarmels' 'A Little Bit of Soap' and the Newbeats'  'Bread and Butter'. Her backup work included Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of the Moon' and records by Bryan Ferry and Elton John among others and continued into the nineties.

Songwriter Rudy Clark, who has died aged 85, discovered James Ray and wrote his hits in his all too brief career, including 'If You Gotta Make A Fool of Somebody' and 'Got My Mind Set On You'. Other classic songs composed by Rudy included 'It's In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)' for Betty Everett (later covered by Cher), 'Good Lovin' for the Olympics and the Young Rascals and 'Everybody Plays The Fool' for the Main Ingredient (later covered by Aaron Neville).

Another death is that of Brill Building songwriter Al Kasha (83), whose writing credits included Aretha Franklin's 'Operation Heartbreak', I'm A Fire' for Donna Summer, Bobby Darin's 'Irresistible You' and several songs for Jackie Wilson including 'I'm Coming On Back To You' and 'My Empty Arms'. Together with Joel Hirschhorn he won Oscars for 'The Morning After' from The Poseidon Adventure and 'We May Never Live Like This Again'  from The Towering Inferno.

The latest death I hear of is that of Roy Hammond, better known as Roy C, whose 'Shotgun Wedding' was a major UK hit on two occasions, and which was issued on Island with two different B sides. Roy, who was 81, started his career in a vocal group called the Genies, and had his big hit after a spell in the air force. He went on to record for several labels, including Mercury, which released two albums 'Sex and Soul' and 'More Sex and More Soul'. He was outspoken politically and his 1973 record with the Honeydrippers, 'Impeach The President' has been much sampled. He also released records on his own labels, including Alaga and Three Gems. Sadly, I never saw Roy perform live. May he, and the others, Rest In Peace.


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