On February 8, 2005, Keith Knudsen died aged 56. He was musician (drums), vocalist and songwriter, member of the Blind Joe Mendlebaum Blues Band, Lee Michaels band, The Hoodoo Rhythm Devils and Southern Pacific, but was best known as drummer of The Doobie Brothers. In 2020, Knudsen was posthumously inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” as a member of The Doobie Brothers.
On December 15, 1943, Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller died aged 39. He was musician (piano, organ, violin), singer, and a comedic entertainer, a pioneer in creating the sound of the modern jazz piano. As composer he copyrighted over 400 songs, some of them with his collaborator Andy Razaf. Waller’s compositions “Honeysuckle Rose” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’” were inducted into the “Grammy Hall of Fame”, In 1970 he was inducted in the “Songwriters Hall of Fame”, in 1989 into the “Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame”, in 1993 he was posthumously awarded “Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award”, in 2005 he was inducted into the “Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame”, and in 2008 into the “Gennett Records Walk of Fame”.
On December 9, 2010, James Moody died aged 85. He was musician (saxophone, flute) and singer, best known for his work in bebop and hard bop Jazz. He recorded and performed with some of the biggest names in Jazz music including Dizzy Gillespie, Art Farmer, Kenny Barron, Jon Faddis, Eddie Jefferson, Johnny Coles, Todd Coolman, Rufus Reid, Gil Fuller, Milt Jackson, Dexter Gordon, Elvin Jones, Quincy Jones, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Lalo Schifrin, Bobby Thimons, Cedar Walton, Tubby Hayes, and Roberta Gambarini. In 2011, Moody posthumously won “Grammy Award” for “Best Jazz Instrumental album”, for his album “Moody 4B”. The “New Jersey Performing Arts Center” hosts the “James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival”. As a leader Moody released 44 albums.
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 November 29, 2001, George Harrison died aged 58. He was musician (guitar), singer, songwriter, and music and movie producer, lead guitarist and occasional lead vocalist of The Beatles. His interest in folk music and especially in Indian music had serious influence on the band’s Hindu-aligned spirituality in the later years. Some of his songs composed for the band include “Here Comes the Sun”, “Something”, “Taxman”, “Within You Without You”, and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. After The Beatles broke-up in 1970, Harrison released the album “All Things Must Pass” which included the track “My Sweet Lord”, his most successful single, and the first solo single by any member of The Beatles that sold over million copies. In 1971, together with Ravi Shankar he organized “Concert for Bangladesh”, the first big benefit concert in the music history. In 1974, Harrison founded the music label “Dark Horse Records”, and co-founded movie label “Hand Made Films” in 1978. In 1988, with Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison, he co-founded the supergroup The Travelling Wilburys. As a guitarist he recorded for Badfinger, Billy Preston, Bob Dylan, Duane Eddy, Randy Newman, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, and Tom Petty. “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked Harrison at number 11 in their list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. In 1988, as a member of The Beatles he was inducted in the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, and in 2004, posthumously for his solo career. As a solo artist, Harrison released twelve studio and two live albums.
On August 27, 1990, Stephen Ray Vaughan died aged 35. He was songwriter, musician (vocal,, guitar), and record producer, best known as the guitarist and frontman of the blues rock band Double Trouble. He is regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, with a big influence on many guitarists. Vaughan released six albums (one released posthumously with ten previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1984 and 1989).
On August 6, 2004, James Ambrose Johnson Jr. aka Rick James died aged 56. He was a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer, known as “The King of Punk-Funk”. He was a member of few bands, before starting a successful recording career after signing with Motown’s “Gordy Records”. James released twelve studio albums, plus one released posthumously in 2007. As a songwriter and producer, he worked with Smokey Robinson, the Temptations, Teena Marie, The Mary Jane Girls, and Eddie Murphy.
On December 27, 1978, Christopher Branford Bell died aged 27. He was songwriter and musician (guitar, singer), best known as founding member, guitarist and singer of the band Big Star. His work has inspired, and his songs were covered by many musicians and bands including R.E.M., Wilco, Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream, Afghan Whigs, Pete Yorn, Beck The Posies, and The Replacements. In 2013, “Magnolia Pictures” released documentary “Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me”, which documented his life and work. In 2018, the book “There Was a Light: The Cosmic History of Chris Bell and the Rise of Big Star”, was published, also dealing with his life and music. Bell’s album “I Am the Cosmos” was posthumously released in 1992.
On May 30, 1980, Carl Dean Radle died aged 37. He was musician (bass, guitar) and music producer, best known as the bass player with Derek and the Dominoes. Radle has worked with many influential artists including Gary Lewis & the Playboys, George Harrison, Joe Cocker, Dave Mason, Delaney and Bonnie, Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon, Duane Allman, Bobby Whitlock, Rita Coolidge, Kris Kristofferson. J. J. Cale, Leon Russell, and Buddy Guy. In 2006, he was posthumously inducted to the “Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame”.
On February 23, 1968, “Volt” label released “The Dock of the Bay”, the first Otis Redding posthumously released album. It was recorded July 1965 – December 1967, and was produced by Steve Cropper. It contains a number of singles and B-sides dating back to 1965. In 2003, “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked “The Dock of the Bay” at number 161 on its list of the “500 Greatest Albums of all Time”.
- (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay – Steve Cropper, Otis Redding
- I Love You More Than Words Can Say – Eddie Floyd, Booker T. Jones
- Let Me Come on Home – Al Jacobson, Jr., Jones, Otis Redding
- Open the Door – Otis Redding
- Don’t Mess with Cupid – Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd, Deanie Parker
- The Glory of Love – Billy Hill
- I’m Coming Home to See About You – Otis Redding
- Tramp – Lowell Fulson, Jimmy McCracklin
- The Huckle-Buck – Roy Alfred, Andy Gibson
- Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down and Out) – Jimmy Cox
- Old Man Trouble – Otis Redding