Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Tommy DeVito RIP + others

It seems as though all The Vinyl Word ever does is report on music deaths these days. Sadly, the lack of live gigs and the impossibility of music trips to the States or Europe has made this somewhat inevitable. As ever, there is no shortage of deaths to report, with more taking place almost every day.

One that I missed recently was that of Tommy DeVito, an original member as vocalist and guitarist with the Four Seasons, a group who came closer than anyone to achieving vocal group perfection in the sixties. Tommy, who was 92, teamed up with Frankie Valli in 1954 and recorded as the Four Lovers before teaming up with Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi to eventually become the 4 Seasons, named after a bowling alley in Union, New Jersey. Their first single 'Bermuda' was unsuccessful but the next one, 'Sherry', was a huge hit and led to a decade of success on Veejay and then Philips, with such hits as 'Big Girls Don't Cry', 'Walk Like A Man', 'Dawn (Go Away)', 'Working My Way Back To You'...the list is endless as the photo of some of my Seasons LPs shows. DeVito left the group in 1970 citing the constant travelling and sold his rights to the 4 Seasons material to Valli and Gaudio.

Another recent death is that of W S 'Fluke' Holland, (aged 85), a drummer who played with Carl Perkins at Sun and toured as part of Johnny Cash's band for many years. My photo above shows him at Viva Las Vegas in 2018 where he played in part of the Sun reunion. 

Today's news reveals two more deaths. One is Mac Davis, a country music singer and songwriter who wrote a number of hits for Elvis, including 'In The Ghetto' and 'A Little Less Conversation'. As a solo artist he had great success with 'Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me' and also with 'Stop  And Smell The Roses' and 'Rock and Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life)'. He was also a successful TV show host and actor.

Helen Reddy, who has died aged 78, was one of Australia's most successful singers, who made her name in the US, incitially with 'One Way Ticket' and 'I Believe In Music' (penned by Mac Davis) and then with the feminist anthem 'I Am Woman'. She sold millions of records in the seventies and enjoyed US number ones with 'Delta Dawn' and 'Angie Baby'.  As her chart career declined she moved to stage musicals and the one woman show 'Shirley Valentine'. 

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