Category: News

Melanie Dies Aged 76

Singer-songwriter Melanie, who performed at Woodstock in 1969 and had big hits with “Brand New Key” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” in the early ’70’s, passed away peacefully Tuesday according to a statement on her Facebook page.

Melanie was one of only three female solo artists to perform at the original Woodstock festival in 1969 alongside Janis Joplin and Joan Baez and was helicoptered into the festival as a virtual unknown before she had any hits on the radio.

In 1970 “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain),” a gospel-flavored collaboration with the Edwin Hawkins Singers was Melanie’s first pop hit. It reached number 1 in The Netherlands and Canada, and number 6 on the USA Hot 100. Her biggest hit came the following year, when “Brand New Key,” which was taken as a sort of children’s tune by some and full of sexual innuendo by others, reached the top 10 in The Netherlands, Ireland and the UK, and number 1 in The USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Melanie’s other (minor) hits included “What Have They Done To My Song Ma,” “Nickel Song,” “Beautiful People” and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday.”

By the mid-1970s Melanie’s popularity had waned, but she maintained a following and kept recording and playing live. She had recently been working on a new album of cover songs.


Magnum legend Tony Clarkin passes aged 77

Magnum founder, guitarist and songwriter Tony Clarkin has died after a short illness. The news was confirmed in a statement shared by his family on Magnum’s official social media channels. Last month the band revealed that Tony had been diagnosed with a rare spinal condition, which brought about the cancellation of their Spring 2024 tour.

Tony Clarkin founded Magnum in his hometown Birmingham together with vocalist Bob Catley in 1972 in order to appear as the resident band at Birmingham’s “Rum Runner” nightclub. Clarkin and Catley remained at the centre of the band, producing 23 studio albums across six separate decades. Tony Clarkin was the sole songwriter throughout Magnum’s history, writing all of their material.

Magnum’s latest album, Here Comes The Rain, is due for release this Friday, January 12.

“I didn’t look to live forever”
(TC 2024)

R.I.P. David Soul

Actor and singer David Soul has died at the age of 80, his wife Helen Snell has confirmed. David Soul, born David Richard Solberg on August 28, 1943, was an American-British actor and singer, best known for his role as California detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson in the series Starsky and Hutch from 1975 to-1979. After a successful singing career, Soul led an obscure life throughout the 1980’s and had a lengthy battle with alcoholism. He recently appeared in various American television series, playing relatively small roles.

David Soul scored his biggest hits in the mid 70’s, including the 1976 chart topper “Don’t Give Up On Us” which went to number 1 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

Roger Whittaker’s Last Farewell

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 Dead at 80

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.

Jimmy Buffett Dead at 76

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.

Robbie Robertson dies at 80

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.

Music Legend Tina Turner Dies at 83

Tina Turner, whose soul classics like What’s Love Got to Do With It and pop hits like The Best made her a superstar, has died at the age of 83.

Tina had suffered a number of health issues in recent years including cancer, a stroke and kidney failure.

She rose to fame alongside husband Ike in the 1960’s with songs including Proud Mary, Nutbush City Limits and River Deep, Mountain High.

She divorced Ike, who was abusive, in 1978, and went on to find even greater success as a solo artist in the 1980’s.

Dubbed the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Tina Turner was known for her raunchy and energetic stage performances and her husky, powerful vocals.

Her death was announced on her official Instagram page.

“With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow,” the post said.

“Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music.”

Composer Burt Bacharach has died

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.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive Drummer dead at 69

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.”