We note with sadness the following contributors to rock and pop music from the 50s to the 80s – the BEST music ever made! – who passed away last month:
● Alec John Such / (Alexander John Such) → New Jersey bar manager responsible for booking late-teenage Jon Bon Jovi & The Wild Ones onto his stage, then became a founding member and bassist in hard rock Bon Jovi for five albums and nine Top 10 hits, including “Livin’ On A Prayer” (#1, UK #4, 1986), left the band in 1994 due to a ten-year age difference over his bandmates and burnout from touring, retired from music but briefly rejoined for the band’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, died at home in his sleep from natural causes on 6/4/2022, age 70.
● Jim Seals / (James Eugene Seals) → With Darrell “Dash” Crofts, future country-pop star Glen Campbell and others as teenagers in late 50s instrumental rock band The Champs (“Tequila,” #1, 1958), left with Crofts in the mid-60s to form light pop-rock duo Seals & Crofts wth the wistful, enduring hits “Summer Breeze” (#6, 1972) and “Diamond Girl” (#6, 1973) along with six other Top 40 hits in the 70s, disbanded in 1980, reunited in 1991–1992, and again in 2004, when they released their final album, Traces, in between touring with his brother Dan (“England” Dan Seals, of England Dan & John Ford Coley), suffered a stroke in 2017 and died following a long, undisclosed illness on 6/6/2022, age 79.
● Julee Cruise / (Julee Ann Cruise) → Grammy-winning dream pop singer, songwriter and actress best known for her late 80s and early 90s collaborations with composer Angelo Badalamenti and film director David Lynch, the two wrote multiple songs for her, including her lone hit “Falling” (Modern Rock #11, UK #7, 1990), the instrumental version Lynch used as the theme song to his hit TV series Twin Peaks (and in which she had minor but recurring role), toured with pop-rock The B-52’s in the 90s, appeared in Broadway shows and continued to record through to a final album in 2011, struggled with depression and lupus for years and died by suicide on 6/9/2022, age 65.
● Joel Whitburn / (Joel Carver Whitburn) → Lifelong rock and pop music lover who started detailing the chart performance of singles on index cards as a teenager and eventually became the foremost authority on the history of popular music and charts, quit his job as an RCA Records salesman to start his own company, Records Research, Inc. and publish his first book, “Top Pop Singles” in 1970, followed with over 200 individual, highly-detailed books covering pop charts since 1940, mostly in collaboration with Billboard magazine but including data from Cash Box and other sources, amassed a vinyl collection of over 200,000 records, including every 45 RPM single to reach the Billboard charts, his work is used daily by other historians, DJs and music lovers worldwide, died at home from unspecified causes on 6/14/2022, age 82.
● Arnold Skolnick / (Arnold H. Skolnick) → Manhattan-based freelance graphic designer given the last-minute task to design a concert promotion poster over a weekend and returned on Monday with the now-hugely recognizable image of a white catbird perched on the neck of an acoustic guitar, the iconic pop-culture symbol of the 1969 Woodstock Music & Arts Fair, received a pittance in royalties for his creation but enjoyed a long career in graphic media, arts book publishing and painting, died from respiratory failure on 6/15/2022, age 85.
● Brett Tuggle → L.A. session keyboardist in the 70s in between stints with Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, Steppenwolf and Rick Springfield, then co-founded the David Lee Roth Band in the 80s and co-wrote with Roth the hit single “Just Like Paradise” (#6, 1988), joined the reunited Fleetwood Mac in the 90s and played on every one of the band’s tours from 1997 until 2017, along with work on solo projects with bandmembers Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVee, remained with Buckingham after he left Fleetwood Mac in 2018 and was scheduled to tour with him in 2022 but dropped out due to a diagnosis of cancer, died from the disease on 6/19/2022, age 70.
● James Rado / (James Alexander Radomski) → Actor, playwright, composer and co-creator, along with Gerome Ragni, of the Grammy winning, 1967 counter-culture musical hit, Hair, the Broadway version of which ran for over 1,700 performances and spawned a #1 soundtrack album, a 1979 movie, and Top 10 hits with covers by The Fifth Dimension (“Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In,” #1, 1969), the Cowsills (“Hair,” #2, 1969), Oliver (“Good Morning Starshine,” #3, 1969) and Three Dog Night (“Easy To Be Hard,” #4, 1969), revived the show for a Tony-winning return to Broadway and London in 2009 and collaborated with Ragni and others on various musical theater projects until his death in a Manhattan hospital from cardiorespiratory arrest on 6/21/2022, age 90.
● Tommy Morgan / (Thomas Morgan Edwards) → Extraordinarily prolific session harmonicist estimated to have played on over 7,000 recordings, including over 500 soundtracks to feature films and thousands of individual songs across hundreds of albums, his harmonica can be heard on “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys (#1, 1966), “Rainy Days And Mondays” by The Carpenters (#2, 1971), on albums by Dolly Parton, James Taylor and many others, on TV theme songs for Family Guy, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The Waltons, among others, and on dozens of classic films including Oscar-winners Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Right Stuff (1983) and Dances With Wolves (1990), retired after a stroke in 2013 and died from unspecified causes on 6/23/2022, age 89.