British singer-songwriter Roger Whittaker has died at age 87. He passed away in a hospital in southern France surrounded by his wife Natalie and their five children.
Before taking up a career in music, Whittaker studied medicine and trained as a teacher in Kenya, where he was born to English parents. He also completed his National Service in the Kenya Regiment, a unit of the British Army. Whittaker said that he was “stupid, selfish and angry” in his youth and that the army “made a man” out of him.
In 1959 he moved to Wales to continue his studies. At that time he treated his musical career purely as a part-time occupation, entertaining small groups of friends and playing the occasional folk club date. However, by 1961, having played many cabaret slots and recording an independently-funded single for charity, he secured a contract with Fontana Records. When his second single, “Steel Man”, reached the lower regions of the UK charts, he decided to abandon a promising career in science in favour of one in entertainment.
Roger Whittaker went on to sell an estimated 50 million records globally and will be remembered for hits like “New World In The Morning,” “Durham Town,” “I Don’t Believe in if Anymore” and “The Last Farewell.”
Gary Wright, the musician best known for his hit singles “Dream Weaver” and “Love is Alive” has died. He was 80.
Wright, a soulful singer, keyboard player and synthesiser pioneer, was a founding member of British blues rock band “Spooky Tooth.” He was also an in-demand session musician who played on all of George Harrison’s solo albums, Ringo Starr’s early singles, songs by Nilsson, B.B. King and many others.
Gary’s son Justin shared that his father died on Monday morning at his home in California surrounded by family. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s and Lewy Body dementia for several years.
American singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett has died. The singer, author and businessman was 76 years old. According to a statement on his website he died peacefully on the night of September 1, surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs.
Although Buffett released numerous albums and singles, his 1977 classic Margaritaville was his only really big hit. However, that hit became the foundation for his business empire. Business magazine Forbes estimated the singer’s fortune at one billion dollars this year. His Margaritaville franchise included restaurants, resorts and merchandise.
One of Jimmy Buffett’s more recent songs, “Down at the Lah De Dah,” spent two weeks at number 1 on RadiJohan’s top 10 countdown in 2020.
According to The Washington Post the singer was good friends with Warren Buffett, the well-known investor. Apparently they even had a DNA test done to establish if they were related but that was not the case. Warren Buffett, himself a billionaire, is said to have acted as a mentor to his musical namesake, who called him “Uncle Warren.”
According to the New York Post, Buffett had to cancel performances in recent months after a number of hospitalizations. His cause of death has not been disclosed.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Robbie Robertson, best known as a member of Canadian-American group “The Band” has passed away. He died in Los Angeles on Wednesday at the age of 80, his management has reported to US media.
Robertson began his career at a young age by joining the backing band of rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins in the late 1950’s. In the mid-1960’s, “The Band” emerged, initially as a backing band for Bob Dylan. Later “The Band” grew into a much appreciated group in their own right, with classics such as “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “The Weight.” In 1976, “The Band” said goodbye with “The Last Waltz,” a grand farewell concert that was made into an album and a movie. The show featured many celebrity guest appearances. The movie was directed by Martin Scorsese.
Robertson also scored a solo hit with 1987’s “Somewhere Down the Crazy River” which was a big hit in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK.
Robertson also worked on many movie soundtracks including “The Color of Money,” “Gangs of New York, “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Irishman.” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” released earlier this year, was Robertson’s last movie
Robertson died surrounded by family, a statement from his manager said.
Renowned American composer Burt Bacharach has passed away at the age of 94. The author of songs such as “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” reportedly died of natural causes with his family by his side.
Bacharach began his career as a songwriter in the 1950’s and became Hollywood icon Marlene Dietrich’s pianist, which shot him to fame. The songwriter and pianist scored dozens of hits in his decades-long career, many of which he wrote together with Hal David (1921-2012). Bacharach and David met Dionne Warwick in 1961 and she had 39 of her hit singles penned by the musical duo. Bacharach also worked with big names like Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones and Elvis Costello. Many others covered his songs, including Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Frank Sinatra.
The legendary composer was a frequent guest at the White House, whether the president was Republican or Democrat. He scored 73 Top 40 hits in the United States and 52 in the United Kingdom over the decades. In total he composed more than 500 songs, won six Grammys and three Oscars.
Robbie Bachman, drummer and co-founder of Canadian rock band “Bachman-Turner Overdrive,” has died at the age of 69. His older brother Randy Bachman, front-man and guitarist of the group, made the announcement on Twitter. The band, often abbreviated “BTO,” was founded in the 1973 by the Bachman brothers and bassist Fred Turner. Their 1970’s discography included five top 40 albums and six US top 40 singles (11 in Canada).
Robbie Bachman was last active with the band from 1988 to 2005. The drummer experienced the band’s most successful period in the 1970s with hits including “Roll On Down the Highway,” Takin’ Care of Business,” “Hey You” and their best known hit “You Ain’t seen Nothing Yet.”
British guitarist Jeff Beck has passed away at the age of 78. His family said in a statement that he passed away “after suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis.”
Jeff Beck initially played in a band called “The Tridents” but became known to the general public in 1965 when he replaced Eric Clapton in “The Yardbirds.” Although he remained in The Yardbirds for only 20 months, the band recorded most of their Top 40 hits while he was in the band, including “Over Under Sideways Down,” “Heart Full of Soul” and “Shapes Of Things.”
The guitar virtuoso went on to form “The Jeff Beck Group” and recorded “Truth,” one of rock’s great debut albums. Despite a constantly changing lineup the group’s unique approach to blues and rock had a lasting impact on popular music. In 1975, Jeff went solo, recording his first album “Blow By Blow” with “The Beatles” producer George Martin. The record went on to chart in the Top 10 in the US.
Jeff Beck has won eight Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice, once with “The Yardbirds” in 1992 and once as a solo artist in 2009. In 2015 Beck was ranked fifth in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list. Many would consider him the greatest of all time.
Terry Hall, the lead singer of British Ska group “The Specials,” has died. He was 63 years old. The band reported this on Twitter describing him as “a great man and father” and “a very sincere soul”. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Terry, our beautiful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists in this country,” the band wrote. Hall died after a short illness.
He began his musical career with the punk group “Squad” in his hometown of Coventry. He later continued with “The Specials,” founded in 1977. The band’s debut single, Gangsters (1979), was immediately well received by the general public and reached number 6 in the UK charts. The Specials’ biggest success came in 1981 with the number 1 hit Ghost Town, a song was about urban decay and unemployment. Ghost Town received a lot of attention during the many riots over racism that broke out between young black people and the police in the United Kingdom that year.
After Ghost Town was released Hall left the band to start a new group called “Fun Boy Three” with two of his Specials band mates. In 1992, Hall joined forces with “Dave Stewart,” most famous for his role as one half of “Eurythmics.” The duo took on the name “Vegas” and released Vegas, a slick electronic pop album which spawned the moderately successful single Possessed.
Earlier this year Hall was still performing with “The Specials” who had reformed in 2008.
English musician and songwriter “Christine McVie” has passed away at the age of 79. She died in hospital after a short illness. The singer and songwriter is best known for her time with the band “Fleetwood Mac” in which she sang and played keyboards. She left the band in 1998 after 28 years but returned in 2014. Between 1970 and 1976, she was married to singer and bassist John McVie. Outside of Fleetwood Mac, Christine was also an accomplished solo performer, releasing several solo albums as well as a collaboration with longtime Fleetwood Mac bandmate Lindsey Buckingham.