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:
● Sam Gooden / (Samuel Gooden) → Founding member and baritone vocals for quintessential 60s Chicago-soul/gospel/doo wop vocal group The Impressions and “It’s All Right” (#4, 1963) plus another ten Top 10 and twenty-five R&B Top 10 hits, led the group for five decades following the departures of groupmates Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield for solo careers, died at home in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, from undisclosed causes on 8/4/2022, age 87.
● Judith Durham / (Judith Mavis Cock) → Lead vocals for Aussie folk-sunshine pop group The Seekers and the hit “Georgy Girl” (#2, UK #3, AUS #1, 1967), the first Australian pop group to achieve success in the U.K. and U.S., left the group in 1968 for a moderately successful solo career, performed in several reunion events through the years, died from a life-long chronic lung disease, bronchiectasis, on 8/5/2022, age 79.
● Mike Irving / (Michael Herbert Lang) → Multi-keyboardist noted for playing on an estimated 2,500 film and TV scores starting in the mid-1960s, including music soundtracks by virtually every great late 20th Century film composer and covering jazz, classical, pop, and R&B sounds, including John Williams‘ Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and John Barry‘s Body Heat (1981), plus TV theme songs for The Waltons and Kung Fu in the 1970s and The Simpsons and Frasier in the 90s, among hundreds of others, also did session work over five decades for Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, John Denver, NSYNC, John Lennon, Barbra Streisand, Frank Zappa and others, died from lung cancer on 8/5/2022, age 80.
● David Muse → Multi-instrumentalist and original member of 70s soft rock supergroup Firefall, played flute, sax and keyboards on the hits “You Are The Woman” (#9, 1976) and “Just Remember I Love You” (#11, 1977), left in 1981 for stints with numerous other national and regional acts, including ten years with The Marshall Tucker Band and three separate engagements with various incarnations of Firefall, released six solo albums, the last being Ninety Degree Phase Shift in 2021, died from non-Hodgkins lymphoma on 8/6/2022, age 73.
● Lamont Dozier / (Lamont Herbert Dozier) → With brothers Eddie and Brian Holland, one-third of Motown Records‘ legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting and production team, co-wrote many hits for The Four Tops, Martha & The Vandellas and The Isley Brothers, plus ten of The Supremes’ twelve Number 1 hits in the US, including “Baby Love” (#1, R&B #1, UK #1, 1974) and “Stop! In the Name of Love” (#1, R&B #2, UK #7, 1965), left Motown with his teammates in 1968 to form their own Invictus and Hot Wax record labels, left the team in 1974 for a solo singing and songwriting career, the biggest hit being “Trying To Hold On To My Woman” (#15, &BH #4, 1974) before co-writing movie theme song “Two Hearts” (#1, UK #6, 1989) with Phil Collins, continued to write and produce sporadically into the 00s, died from unspecified causes on 8/8/2022, age 81.
● Olivia Newton-John → English-born, Australian Grammy-winning pop singer known for five Billboard #1 hits, six Top 10 albums, and the starring role in the hit movie Grease (1977) and the commercial flop Xanadu (1980), one of the top-selling artist of the late 20th century, her music and persona transformed from a soft country-pop style in the 70s (“Have You Never Been Mellow,” #1, 1975) to a harder-edged pop-rock in the 80s (“Physical,” #1, 1981), much the same way as her virginal, girl-next-door sweetness early in Grease became the leather-clad, vixen at the end of the movie, diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, became an activist for research and plant-based cures but suffered a recurrence in 2017 and died from the disease on 8/8/2022, age 73.
● Darryl Hunt / (Darryl Gatwick Hunt) → English musician, singer/songwriter and bass guitarist in a number of 70s and early 80s pub-rock and punk bands in and around London, joined Celtic punk band The Pogues (“Fairytale Of New York,” UK #2, IRE #1, 1987) in 1984 as sound man, van driver and road manager, moved up to bassist and occasional songwriter in 1986 and stayed with the band through to their final dissolution 2014, founded indie-pop band Bish and released three albums of his songs before dying in London from undisclosed causes on 8/8/2022, age 72.
● John Eastman / (John Lindner Eastman) → Entertainment industry attorney with a history of helping high-profile clients through difficult periods in their careers, most notably representing Paul McCartney (husband of sister Linda Eastman) during the dissolution of The Beatles in 1969 and 1970, also represented Billy Joel in lawsuits against his former manager and lawyer, as well as David Bowie, Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Webber and others, continued to work with McCartney and his various business ventures, including a 2017 lawsuit with Sony Music over the U.S. copyrights to songs McCartney wrote with John Lennon, died from pancreatic cancer on 8/10/2022, age 83.
● Bill Pitman / (William Keith Pitman) → Guitarist, session musician and member of the acclaimed and elite group of L.A.-based session players known as The Wrecking Crew, played on hundreds of the biggest hits and top albums of the 60s, including The Beach Boys‘ “Good Vibrations (#1, 1966) and the ukulele part on “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” (#1, 1969), recorded the soundtracks to over 200 feature films, from MAS*H (1970) to Dirty Dancing (1987), and on dozens of TV theme songs, joined the MGM Hotel house band in Las Vegas in the late 70s and played there until retiring in 1989, suffered a fractured spine in a fall and died four weeks later on August 11, 2022, age 102.
● Jerry Allison / (Jerry Ivan Allison) → Drummer in early and influential rock ‘n’ roll The Crickets alongside frontman Buddy Holly, with whom he co-wrote the classic hits “That’ll Be The Day” (#1, 1957) and “Peggy Sue” (#3, 1957), became de factor leader of The Crickets after Holly left in 1958, but their success was limited over the ensuing years, continued to record and front The Crickets in various incarnations for six decades, including a stint as the Liberty Records house band and for years on the oldies tour, died from cancer on his Tennessee farm nine days before his 83rd birthday on 8/22/2022, age 82.
● Creed Taylor / (Creed Bane Taylor V) → Acclaimed jazz music record label entrepreneur, first with Bethlehem Records in the early 50s, founded Impulse! records in 1960, later the home of jazz legend John Coltrane and other stars, moved to Verve Records in the early 60s and produced the massively influential, Grammy-winning bossa nova LP Getz/Gilberto by Stan Getz and guitarist João Gilberto that included “The Girl From Ipanema” (#5, AC #1, 1964), formed CTI Records (Creed Taylor Inc.) in 1967 and issued top-end, high-quality albums by George Benson, Stanley Turrentine, Grover Washington Jr. and many others in the 70s, kept the label alive through financial difficulties in the 80s, created and toured as manager of the CTI All-Stars through the 10s, suffered a stroke and died several weeks later on 8/22/2022, age 93.
● Mable John → Underrated R&B, blues and gospel singer, older sister of R&B legend Little Willie John, became the first female vocalist signed by Berry Gordy to his Tamla label (which preceded Motown Records by two years), left after several unsuccessful singles, recorded for Stax Records (“Your Good Thing Is About To End,” #95, R&B #6, 1966) and sang in Ray Charles‘ backing group, The Raelettes, appeared as blues singer Bertha Mae in Honeydripper (2007) and the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom (2013) about R&B backing singers, founded an L.A. charity in 1986 that helped feed and clothe the homeless and later received a Doctor of Divinity degree, died from undisclosed causes on 8/25/2022, age 91.