We note with saddness the following contributors to rock and pop music of the 50s through the 80s – the BEST music ever made! – who died last month:
● Drummie Zeb / (Angus Gaye) → Founding member, drummer and vocalist in long-lived, Grammy-winning Brit roots-reggae trio Aswad (Arabic for “black”) and their several hits, including “Don’t Turn Around” (R&B #45, UK #1, 1988), one of the most popular and successful British reggae bands with charting UK singles over 40 years, died from undisclosed causes on 9/2/2022, age 62.
● John Till → Canadian-born guitarist in several Toronto-area rock bands, one of which became Ronnie Hawkins’s backing band the Hawks (along with future members of The Band), left for New York City and session work in the late 60s, formed the Full Tillt Boogie Band and later the Kozmic Blues Band touring behind Janis Joplin (“Me And Bobby McGee,” #1, 1971), recreated the Full Tilt Boogie Band (minus the extra “l”) at Joplin’s insistence and played with her until her death in 1970, left the music industry shortly thereafter, moved back to Ontario and worked as a computer technician until his death following a long and unspecified illness on 9/4/2022, age 76.
● Sonny West / (Joseph Sonny West) → Texas teenager who wrote and recorded “Rock-ola Ruby” and “Sweet Rockin’ Baby” in 1956 with his band – the songs have since become rockabilly classics – and wrote “Oh Boy” (#10, UK #3, 1957) and “Rave On” (#37, UK #5, 1958) for Buddy Holly & The Crickets, among other songs he wrote or recorded for himself or others over the years, issued his debut album Sweet Rockin’ Rock-Ola Ruby in 2002 and died from undisclosed causes on 9/8/2022, age 85.
● Ramsey Lewis / (Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis Jr.) → Grammy-winning jazz pianist, bandleader and composer with over 80 albums of traditional jazz, be bop, bossa nova and smooth jazz, in a rarity for a jazz musician notched six Top 40 jazz instrumental covers of pop songs in the mid-60s, including “The ‘In’ Crowd” (#5, R&B #2, 1965) and “Hang On Sloopy” (#11, R&B #6, 1965) as The Ramsey Lewis Trio and “Wade In The Water” (#19, R&B #3, 1966) with session musicians, hosted a weekly syndicated radio program and a morning show on Chicago radio from 1990 to 2009, in 2007 received a Jazz Master designation from the National Endowment for the Arts, the nation’s highest honor for a jazz musician, died from undisclosed causes on 9/12/2022, age 87.
● Jesse Powell → One hit wonder R&B/soul and blues singer with the Top 10 hit “You” (#10, R&B #2, 1999) and six other charting singles, younger brother of singer-songwriters Trina and Tamara Powell, died from cardiac arrest on 9/13, 2022, age 51.
● Jim Post / (Jimmie David Post) → Singer and songwriter with then-wife Cathy Conn Post in one hit wonder folk-pop duo Friend & Lover and their inspirational pop hit “Reach Out Of The Darkness” (#10, 1968), disbanded and divorced after failing to find a follow-up hit, continued to write and perform folk music as a solo act in the Chicago area into the 10s, wrote children’s books with another of his wives from five marriages, died in hospice care from congestive heart failure on 9/14/2022, age 82.
● Anton Fier / (Anton John Fier III) → Teenaged Cleveland record store clerk and drummer for local groups including an early line-up of proto-punk Pere Ubu, moved to New York City in 1978 and gigged with indie rock The Feelies, punk rock the Voidoids and avant-jazz combo the Lounge Lizards, toured with jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock and eclectic musician Laurie Anderson in the mid-80s, founded and was the longest serving member of multi-genre, experimental rock supergroup The Golden Palominos (“Alive And Living Now,” Alt Rock #14, 1991) and the group’s nine studio albums through 2012, suffered from depression in his later years and died in Switzerland from an assisted suicide on 9/14/2022, age 66.
● Irene Papas / (Eirini Lelekou) → Greek actress and folk-pop singer with starring roles in over 70 films in a 50-year, internationally-acclaimed career, including award-winning films such as The Guns Of Navarone (1961), Zorba The Greek (1964), Z (1969) and The Trojan Women (1971), often with roles depicting strong-willed female characters from Greek tragedy, issued three solo albums of Greek folk songs and appeared in a cameo singing role on the album 666 (1972) by Greek prog-rock Aphrodite’s Child, lived with Alzheimer’s disease in her later years and died from complications thereof on 9/14/2022, age 96.
● Marva Hicks / (Marva Denise Hicks Taha) → Gospel then R&B-pop singer, stage, screen and TV actress, debuted on Broadway in the jazz and pop musical Lena Horne: The Lady And Her Music (1981), moved to L.A. and later toured with Steve Winwood, released a lone solo album and the single “Never Been In Love Before” (R&B #7, 1991), performed with Michael Jackson on his HiStory world tour in 1996, returned to New York City and Broadway with roles in The Lion King (1997), Motown: The Musical (2013) and others, played various characters on TV shows L.A. Law, Star Trek: Voyager, One Life To Live, among others over 25 years, died at home while asleep on 9/16/2022, age 66.
● Ray Edenton / (Ray Quarles Edenton) → Acoustic and rhythm guitarist fluent in country, pop and rock, longtime member of the heralded Nashville A-Team collective of top-tier session musicians, played on many thousands of recordings by a wide variety of artists including the The Everly Brothers (“Wake Up Little Susie,” #1, Country #1, 1957)”, Roger Miller (“King of the Road,” #4, Country #1, 1965) and Neil Young (album Comes A Time, #7, 1978), plus Elvis Presley, the The Beach Boys, Reba McEntire and many others, co-wrote the hit “You’re Running Wild,” (Country #7, 1956) for the Louvin Brothers, retired in 1991, inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007 and died on 9/22/2022, age 95.
● Coolio / (Artis Leon Ivey, Jr.) → Musician, film and TV actor, producer and superstar West Coast rapper with the anthemic, Grammy-winning mega-hit “Gangsta’s Paradise” (Worldwide #1, 1995), one of five Top 40 rap-to-pop crossover hits in the 90s, went on to appear in over 50 films and over 30 TV programs – often as himself – through the early 20s, died from an cardiac arrest at a friend’s home in L.A. on 9/29/2022, age 59.