On March 1, 2019, Paul Nigel Vincent Yarlett aka Paul Williams died aged 78. He was musician (bass, keyboards, harmonica, percussion), singer and songwriter, worked with Zoot Money, Aynsley Dunbar, Juicy Lucy, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Allam Holdsworth, Micky Moody, John Mayall and Blue Thunder, but was best known as member of Tempest.
On February 18, 2013, Otis Robert Harris Jr. aka Damon Harris died aged 62. He was singer, founding member of the Temptations tribute band The Young Tempts (a.k.a. The Young Vandals), later performed under the name Impact, but was best known as member of The Temptations from 1971 to 1975.
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 February 13, 2010, Delmar Allen “Dale” Hawkins died aged 73. He was musician (guitar), singer, songwriter and record producer, known as the architect of swamp rock boogie. His song “Susie Q.” was chosen as one of “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”.
On January 24, 2018, Mark Edward Smith died aged 60. He was singer and songwriter, founder and leader of the band The Fall. During its 42 years existence, The Fall released 32 albums. Alongside his work with The Fall, Smith released two spoken-word solo albums.
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 13, 2019, Roy Loney died aged 73. He was singer, member of the bands Phantom Movers, and the Longshots, but was best known as the lead singer of the Flamin’ Groovies,
On December 5, 2017, Jean-Philippe Léo Smet aka Johnny Hallyday died aged 74. He was musician (piano, guitar), singer and actor, the pioneer of the French rock and roll scene. He was called “The French Elvis”, and described as “The biggest rock star you’ve never heard of in English-speaking countries”. In 1997, he was made “Chevalier of the Legion of Honour”, and in 2001, Officer of the “Order of the Crown” in Belgium. In his more than four decades long career he worked with many famous musicians including Mick Jones, Jimmy Page, Tony Joe White, Dalida, Bon Jovi, Michael Bolton, Sylvie Vartan, Bono, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Tommy Brown, Connie Francis, and Laura Pausini. In his lifetime Hallyday released 81 studio and live albums.
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 November 9, 2008, Zenzile Miriam Makeba died aged 76. She was singer, songwriter, actress, civil rights activist, and United Nations goodwill ambassador, nicknamed Mama Africa. She was the first African woman to win a “Grammy Award” (for “Best Folk Recording” in 1966 with Harry Belafonte for “An Evening with Belafonte and Makeba”). Makeba popularized African music among Western audience. Few of her popular songs were critical of apartheid, making her a symbol of opposition to the apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa. Upon her death, former Nelson Mandela said “her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us.”