We inadvertently overlooked the following contributors to rock and pop music from the 50s to the 80s – the BEST music ever made! – who passed away in 2022:
● Beverly Ross → Brill Building songwriter and musician who co-wrote several dozen hits in the 50s and 60s, including the earliest pop-to-R&B crossover hit “Dim, Dim The Lights (I Want Some Atmosphere)” for Bill Haley & His Comets (#11, R&B #11, 1954), “Lollipop” for The Chordettes (#2, R&B #3, 1958), and “Judy’s Turn To Cry” for Leslie Gore, (#5, R&B #10, 1963), dropped out of the business in the mid-60s and later accused Phil Spector of theft of her music, moved to Nashville in 1989 and continued to co-write songs and musical theater shows until a few years before dying from dementia on 1/15/2022, age 87.
● Jon Lind / (Jonathan Gus Lind) → Late 60s classical guitarist and Greenwich Village folk singer, fronted folk-pop Fifth Avenue Band and Howdy Moon in the 70s with little commercial recognition, focused on songwriting and co-wrote “Boogie Wonderland” (#6, R&B #2, 1979) for Earth, Wind & Fire and “Crazy for You” (#1, UK #2, 1985) for Madonna, plus dozens of other hit songs, joined Warner Bros. in 1984 as a senior VP of A&R at subsidiary Hollywood Records and moved over to Disney Music in 1998 for thirteen years, battled cancer for two years prior to dying from the disease on 1/15/2022, age 73
● Norma Waterson / (Norma Christine Watersons) → Leading and influential figure on the British traditional-folk revival scene in the early 60s, co-founded and fronted renowned family harmony group The Watersons, performed with her siblings, children, cousins, and husband, noted Brit folk singer-songwriter-guitarist Mike McCarthy, in various incarnations over 40 years, issued five solo albums between 1996 and the last, Anchor, in 2018, died from pneumonia on 1/30/2022, age 87.
● Bill Walker / (William Alfred Walker) → Country-pop musical arranger and one of several key architects of the sophisticated, “countrypolitan” Nashville Sound of the 60s and 70s, orchestrated top hits for Eddy Arnold (“Make The World Go Away,” #6, AC #1, Country #1, 1965), Donna Fargo (“The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.,” #11, AC #7, Country #1, 1972) and many others, served as musical director for TV music variety programs The Johnny Cash Show (1969-71), The Statler Brothers Show (1991-98) and their spin-off specials, conducted the orchestras for the annual CMA Awards Show, provided musical guidance to dozens of other Nashville TV specials over the years, contracted pneumonia during a knee replacement surgery and died on 5/26/2022, age 95.
● Dave Smith / (David Joseph Smith) → Business entrepreneur, electronics engineer, creator of the Prophet-5 in 1978, the world’s first polyphonic synthesizer with fully programmable memory, and leader of the team that developed the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) protocol for linking electronic instruments and audio equipment, both of which were essential to the development of synthesized music, in particular the 80s-90s synth-pop sounds of A-Ha, Duran Duran, Madonna and many others, designed digital software synthesizers in the 90s creating music directly from a PC, returned to designing analog equipment in the 10s with new products and an updated version of the original Prophet-5, died from a heart attack while attending an electronic music industry convention in Detroit on 5/31/2022, age 72.
● Tom Springfield / (Dionysius Patrick O’Brien) → Older brother of Dusty Springfield and prominent figure on the folk and pop music scene in the 60s, first as an artist with Dusty in folk trio The Springfields (“Silver Threads And Golden Needles.” #20, 1962) and later as a songwriter and producer for other acts, particluarly Aussie folk-pop The Seekers, for whom he wrote “The Carnival Is Over” (#105, UK #1, AUS #1, 1965) and co-wrote “Georgy Girl” (#2, UK #3, AUS #1, 1966), left the industry in the early 70s and lived a reclusive life until his death from undisclosed causes on 7/27/2022, age 88.
● Inez Foxx / (Inez Rebecca Fox) → With elder brother Charlie, one half of the one hit wonder R&B/soul duo Inez & Charlie Foxx and their lone big hit “Mockingbird” (#7, 1963), the pair co-wrote the song and many others in their repertoire before separating in 1969, enjoyed a mildly-successful solo career in the early 70s, particularly in the UK with its northern soul movement, dropped from sight and lived out of the limelight until her death from unspecified causes on 8/25/2022, age 84.
● Lowry Mays / (Lester Lowry Mays) → Petroleum engineer turned investment banker who inadvertently purchased a struggling radio station in San Antonio, Texas in 1972, the acquiring company became Clear Channel Communications and bought dozens more radio and TV stations through the 90s, and, following deregulation of the industry in 1996, amassed a portfolio of over 1,200 radio stations, 40 TV stations and 750,000 outdoor advertising displays, retired from the business in 2005 after suffering a stroke and managed the charitable Mays Family Foundation until his death from unspecified causes on 9/12/2022, age 87.
● Marybeth Peters → Entry-level file clerk in the United States Library of Congress in the 60s, graduated from law school in 1971 and went on to a 40-year career in the U.S. Copyright Office as attorney-advisor, chief information officer, general counsel, and, from 1994 to 2010 as Register of Copyrights, the senior intellectual and creative rights advocate during the rise of the internet, digital file sharing, and streaming services, continued to advise the music industry from private practice during retirement in the 10s, died in her sleep on 9/29/2022, age 83.
● Robert Gordy / (Robert Louis Gordy Sr.) → Songwriter, sometime pop singer, younger brother of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Jr., and chief executive of the company’s publishing division, Jobete Music, credited with growing the business from a mid-60s holding company for Motown‘s copyrights into a major, highly-profitable global publishing enterprise by the 80s, retired in 1985 and led a quiet life outside the music industry, died at home from natural causes on 10/21/2022, age 91.
● Joe Tarsia / (Joseph Dominick Tarsia) → Sound technician at Cameo Parkway Records in Philadelphia in the early 60s, eventually became chief engineer and owner/operator at famed Sigma Sound Studios, a key player in the development of the Philly Sound of lush, strings-and-horns soul music in the 70s epitomized by The O’Jays (“Backstabbers,” #3, R&B #1, 1972)) and Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (“If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” 3, R&B #1, 1972), opened three other studios in New York City in the 1976 and engineered albums by Madonna, Whitney Houston, Steely Dan and others, sold the New York studios in 1988 and the original Philly studio in 2003, retired from recording, died from unspecified causes on 11/1/2022, age 88.
● Don Lewis / (Donald Richard Lewis Jr. ) → Electronics engineer, multi-instrumentalist session and touring musician for Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson and others, university music professor, mentor to youthful musicians, and inventor of pioneering electronic music devices, best known for the 1977 creation of the Live Electronic Orchestra (LEO) integrated sound controller for analog synthesizers, which merged multiple instruments into a one-man electronic symphony and predated the ubiquitous MIDI controller by ten years, later worked on the widely popular Yamaha DX7 synthesizer and Roland TR808 drum machine projects as a consulting engineer, died from cancer on 11/06/2022, age 81.
● Shel Macrae / (Andrew Raeburn Semple) → Lead vocals and rhythm guitarist for Scottish harmony group The Fortunes from 1966 through 1977, joined the band just after their biggest Brit-beat hit , “You’ve Got Your Troubles” (#7, UK #2, 1965) at the peak of the 60s British Invasion and just as the advent of psychedelic rock rendered clean-cut Brit boy bands irrelevant, played on the band’s recording of the Coca-Cola jingle “Things Go Better With Coke” (1967}, performed solo on the UK oldies circuit over the decades, retired in 2012 and died following a short illness on 11/22/2023, age 77.
● Henry Grossman / (Henry Maxwell Grossman) → Freelance photographer for major print news outlets in the 50s, 60s and 70s with a huge oeuvre of memorable images of notable political, social, and cultural luminaries, less known for taking more than 7,000 photos, mostly candid, of The Beatles between 1964 and 1968, including iconic shots from their Ed Sullivan Show appearance (1964) and the recording sessions for the LP Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (#1, UK #1, 1967), moonlighted as principal tenor in the New York Metropolitan Opera and performed on Broadway in over 1,000 performances of Grand Hotel (1989), published two collections of his Beatles images in the 10s, sustained injuries in a fall and died in a hospital several months later on 11/27/2022, age 86.