On December 27, 1981, Hoagland Howard “Hoagy” Carmichael died aged 82. He was composer, pianist, singer, actor, and bandleader. Carmichael composed several hundred songs, including fifty that achieved hit record status. His best known songs are four among the most-recorded American songs of all time: “Stardust”, “Georgia on My Mind” (lyrics by Stuart Gorrell), “The Nearness of You”, and “Heart and Soul” (lyrics by Frank Loesser). His song “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening,” (lyrics by Johnny Mercer, won the “Academy Award for Best Original Song” in 1951. Carmichael’s songs were performed by many famous musicians including Sidney Arodin, Louis Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Bix Beiderbecke, Ray Charles, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Helen Forrest, Harry James, Spike Jones, Frank Loesser, Johnny Mercer, Glenn Miller, Dinah Shore, Jack Teagarden and Paul Whiteman.
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 December 26, 2012, Fontella Marie Bass died aged 72. She was musician (piano, singer) and songwriter, collaborated with Little Milton, Bobby McClure (The Oliver Sain Soul Revue featuring Fontella and Bobby McClure), Maurice White, David Bowie, Minnie Ripeton and Art Ensemble of Chicago. She recorded 8 albums during her career.
On December 25, 2009, James Victor Chesnutt died aged 45. He was songwriter and musician (guitar, singer), Chesnutt collaborated with many musicians and bands including Bob Mould, Widespread Panic, Elf Power, Danger Mouse, Lambchop, Bill Frisell and Jonathan Richman. He recorded 17 albums during his career.
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.