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 January 28, 2016, Paul Lorin Kantner died aged 74. He was musician (guitar, banjo, and harmonica) and vocalist, member of the KBC Band and Jefferson Starship, but was best known as the co-founder, rhythm guitarist and occasional vocalist of the Jefferson Airplane. In 1996, as a member of Jefferson Airplane, Kantner was inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”.
On January 16, 2021, Harvey Phillip Spector died aged 81. He was musician (guitar, piano), vocalist, songwriter and music producer. He developed music production “Wall of Sound”, he described as “Wagnerian approach to rock and roll”. Spector started the music career as member of the band Teddy Bears, at age of 21 he co-founded “Philles Records” and became the youngest ever US label owner to that point. In the 60’s he wrote songs or produced music for The Ronettes, The Crystals, Ike & Tina Turner, produced Beatles album “Let It Be”, and few solo John Lennon and George Harrison recordings. He also worked with Leonard Cohen, Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector, The Wrecking Crew, The Righteous Brothers, and The Ramones. In 1973 Spector won “Grammy Award for Album of the Year” for co-producing Harrison’s “Concert for Bangladesh”, in 1989 he was inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, and in 1997 he was inducted into the “Songwriters Hall of Fame”. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at number 63 on their list of “The Greatest Artists in History”.In 2009, he was convicted for the 2003 murder of the actress Lana Clarkson and sentenced to 19 years to life in prison, where he died.
On January 10, 2005, Spencer Dryden died aged 66. He was musician (drums), member of the bands New Riders of the Purple Sage, The Ashes (later The Peanut Butter Conspiracy), The Dinosaurs, but was best known as the drummer of Jefferson Airplane. In 1996, Dryden was inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”.
On January 5, 2019, Eric Haydock died age 75. He was musician (bass) best known as the original bass guitarist of The Hollies. He was one of the first British musicians to play a “Fender Bass VI”, a six-string bass. In 2010, as member of The Hollies, Haydock was inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”.
On December 14, 2006, Ahmet Ertegun died aged 83. He was businessman, philanthropist, composer, and music producer. He was the co-founder and president of “Atlantic Records” (with Herb Abramson), and discovered and supported the careers of many rhythm and blues and rock musicians, including Aretha Frankiln, Led Zeppelin, and Ray Charles. Ertegun was chairman of the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, and in 2017 was inducted in the “Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame”. He was regarded as “one of the most significant figures in the modern recording industry”.
On December 14, 1963, Ruth Lee Jones aka Dinah Washington died aged 39. She was musician (piano) and singer, known as the “the most popular black female recording artist of the ’50s”, and “Queen of the Blues”. Her music was mixture of R&B, and traditional pop, but she was primarily a Jazz singer. She performed and recorded with Fats Waller, Clifford Brown, Clark Terry, Cannonball Adderley, Ben Webster, Lionel Hampton, and Nat King Cole. In 1986, Washington was inducted in the “Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame”, and in 1993 was inducted in the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”. In 1959, she won “Grammy Award” for “Best Rhythm & Blues Performance”. As a leader Washington released 17 albums.
On December 6, 1949, Huddie William Ledbetter aka Lead Belly died aged 61. He was musician (guitar, piano, mandolin, harmonica, violin, windjammer), regarded as one of the pioneers of the blues and folk music. His songs covered a wide range of genres including folk, blues, and gospel, some of them like “Goodnight, Irene”, “Midnight Special”, “Cotton Fields”, and “Boll Weevil” became standards, and influenced generations of musicians. In 1988, Lead Belly was posthumously inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, and in 2008 in the “Louisiana Music 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 13, 1971, Curtis Ousley (born Curtis Montgomery) aka King Curtis died aged 37. He was music director, record producer, and musician (soprano, alto and tenor saxophone, trumpet), worked in various music genres, rhythm, and blues, rock and roll, soul, blues, funk, and soul-jazz. He performed and recorded with numerous musicians and bands including Aretha Franklin, Nat Adderley, Wynton Kelly, ]Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Andy Williams, The Coasters, LaVern Baker, Joe South, John Lennon, the Rimshots, Champion Jack Dupree, Jerry Jemmott, Oliver Jackson, King Pins, Bernard Purdie, The Shirelles, The Noble Band, Cornell Dupree, and Duane Allman. At the 1970 “Grammy Awards”, Curtis won the “Best R&B Instrumental Performance Grammy” for “Games People Play”. In March 2000, he was posthumously inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”.