On March 14, 1991, Jerome Solon Felder aka Doc Pomus died aged 65. He was singer and songwriter, co-writer (together with Mort Shuman) of big number of hits, many of them became rock and roll standards, including: “A Teenager in Love”, “Save The Last Dance For Me”, “Hushabye”, “This Magic Moment”, “Turn Me Loose”, “Sweets For My Sweet”, “Go, Jimmy, Go”, “Little Sister”, “Can’t Get Used to Losing You”, “Suspicion”, “Surrender” and “His Latest Flame”. He also co-wrote with Phil Spector few successful tracks including “Young Boy Blues”, “Ecstasy”, “First Taste of Love” and “What Am I to Do?” His songs were performed by hundreds of artists including The Beatles, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, Bad Company, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Buble, Dolly Parton, Joe Cocker, ZZ Top, Emmy Lou Harris, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Harry Nilsson, John Hiatt, The Beach Boys, B.B. King, Dion, The New York Dolls, Shawn Colvin and Los Lobos. As singer Pomus performed with Milt Jackson, Mickey Baker, and King Curtis. In 1991 he was inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, in 1992, in the “Songwriters Hall of Fame”, and in 2012 into the “Blues Hall of Fame”.
On February 2010, Henry Gray died aged 95. He was musician (piano) and singer, credited as one of the creators of the distinctive sound of the Chicago blues piano. In his seven decades long career he performed with many artists including Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Robert Lockwood Jr., Billy Boy Arnold, Morris Pejoe and The Rolling Stones. As leader Gray released more than 50 albums. In 2017, he was inducted into the “Blues Hall of Fame”.
On December 17, 1982, Joseph Lee “Big Joe” Williams died aged 79. He was musician (guitar), singer, and songwriter, best known for his distinctive sound of his nine-string guitar. His songs “Baby Please Don’t Go”, “Crawlin’ King Snake” and “Peach Orchard Mama”, were covered by many artists. In October 1992, Williams was inducted into the “Blues Hall of Fame”. As a leader he released sixteen studio and one live album.
On December 8, 1981, Walter Horton aka Big Walter Horton or Walter “Shakey” Horton died aged 60. He was musician (harmonica), regarded as one of the best harmonica players in the blues history. Willie Dixon said about Horton “the best harmonica player I ever heard”, and Robert Palmer named him as “one of the three great harmonica soloists of modern blues”. In 1982, Horton was posthumously inducted into the “Blues Hall of Fame”.
On August 4, 2005, James Milton Campbell Jr. aka Little Milton died aged 70. He was a singer and musician (guitar), co-founder of Bobbin Records. He started his recording career in 1853 at “Sun Records”, and also recorded for “Checker Records”, “Meteor, “Stax”, “Glades”, “Golden Ear”, “MCA”, and Malaco. Milton recorded 33 albums, and in 1988 was inducted into the “Blues Hall of Fame”.
On September 29, 2018, Otis Rush died aged 84. He was singer, guitarist and songwriter, together with Magic Sam and Buddy Guy, regarded as creator of the West Side Chicago blues style. In 1984, Rush was elected to the “Blues Hall of Fame”; in 2015, “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked him at number 53 on its list of “100 Greatest Guitarists”; in 2018, “Jazz Foundation of America” honored Rush with a “Lifetime Achievement Award”. Rush influenced many musicians, including Peter Green, Michael Bloomfield and Eric Clapton.
On January 20, 2012, Jamesetta Hawkins aka Etta James died aged 73. She was singer with powerful voice, performing blues, R&B, soul, jazz and gospel music She won six “Grammy Awards” and 17 “Blues Music Awards”; In 1993, she was inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, in 1999 she was inducted in “Grammy Hall of Fame”, and in 2011 in the “Blues Hall of Fame”. “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked Etta James at number 22 on its list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”.
On June 3, 2009, Cora Walton aka Koko Taylor died aged 80. She was blues singer, known by powerful and rough vocal, performing rhythm and blues, Chicago Blues and blues. Often called “The Queen of Blues”, for her work she received number of awards including:
- In 1985, Grammy Awardfor Best Traditional Blues Album
- In 1996, Howlin’ Wolf Award
- In 1997, inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame
- In 1999, Blues FoundationLifetime Achievement Award
- In 2004, NEA National Heritage Fellowship
- 24 times the Blues Music Award in the following categories:
- Female Artist
- Traditional Blues Female Artist
- Vocalist of the Year
- Contemporary Blues Female Artist
- Entertainer of the Year
On February 26, 1977, Booker T. Washington “Bukka” White died aged 67. Being one of the best known and most influential Delta blues guitarist and singers. “Bukka” White, was posthumously inducted into the “Blues Hall of Fame” in 1990.On November 21, 2011, the “Recording Academy” announced that his song “Fixin’ to Die Blues” was to be added to its 2012 list of “Grammy Hall of Fame Award” recipients.