Wednesday, 31 July 2013

George Liberace born 31 July 1911

George Liberace (July 31, 1911 – October 16, 1983) was an American bandleader, violinist and television performer who for years was the silent straight man for his flamboyant piano

- playing younger brother, Liberace.

George was born in Menasha, Wisconsin to Salvatore Liberace and Frances Zuchowska.  There were four sons in the family -- George, Angie, Rudy and "Lee," with the youngest achieving the greatest popularity and fame.  His father played French horn professionally while working a "day job" as a factory worker or common laborer.
Young George Liberace played violin, while Lee was a prodigy on the piano.  (Note: Angie and Rudy were also said to be musically talented, but no records were readily available.)

George, like Lee, had his greatest successes during the '40s, '50s and '60s.  He made guest appearances with various orchestras and fronted his own orchestra on a number of occasions, including the Beverly Hilton in Hollywood.  He appeared as conductor for such orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Milwaukee Philharmonic, the St. Louis Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, and the Hollywood Bowl Symphony. 

                         Here's Blue Monday from above LP


He appeared in several movies (including the one that starred his younger brother, "Sincerely Yours") and made television appearances with Jack Benny, Red Skelton, George Gobel, Jimmy Durante and others.  During World War II, his musical career was put on hold while he served in the Navy's Construction Battalion (SeaBees), and after the war he stepped into the role that occupied him for many years, that of musical director of his brother's TV show (1952-1955).

He made command performance appearances before the Pope, the Queen of England, and the President of the U.S.  In the late 1960s he branched out from his musical background and set up two fast food franchises, neither of which survived the long run.  (They were "Mr. Turkey" and "Mr. Ed restaurants.)  In the 1970s, he founded the successful "Music by George" music publishing house. He retired from conducting in the late 1970's and moved to Las Vegas to devote full time to the Liberace Museum showcasing his younger brother, he assumed administration of that venue until his death.  

He was deeply involved with the Liberace Foundation for the Performing & Creative Arts, which provided music scholarships for young artists at colleges across the United States. George died of leukemia on 16 October 1983 in Las Vegas, Nevada and was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills.

(info mainly

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Paul Anka born 30 July 1941


Paul Albert Anka, OC (born July 30, 1941) is a Canadian singer, songwriter and actor. Anka became famous in the late 1950s and 1960s with hit songs like "Diana", "Lonely Boy", and "Put Your Head on My Shoulder". He went on to write such well-known music as the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and one of Tom Jones' biggest hits, "She's a Lady", and the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra's signature song, "My Way" (originally French song "Comme d'habitude"). He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1990.

Anka was born to Andy and Camelia Ankain in Ottawa, Ontario, where they owned a restaurant called the Locanda. His parents are both of Greek Orthodox Lebanese descent. He sang with the St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church choir under the direction of Frederick Karam, with whom he studied music theory. He studied piano with Winnifred Rees. Anka attended Fisher Park High School and Lisgar Collegiate Institute.

Anka recorded his first single, "I Confess," at age 14. In 1957, he
went to New York City where he auditioned for Don Costa at ABC, singing a lovestruck verse he had written to a former babysitter. The song, "Diana", brought Anka instant stardom as it rocketed to number one on the charts "Diana" is one of the best selling 45s in music history. He followed up with four songs that made it into the Top 20 in 1958, making him, at 17, one of the biggest teen idols of the time. He toured Britain and then, with Buddy Holly, he toured Australia.



His talent went beyond singing, writing Buddy Holly's giant hit, "It Doesn't Matter Anymore," the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (reworked in 1962 from a song Anka wrote earlier called "Toot Sweet," which had been rewritten with lyrics and recorded by Annette Funicello in 1959 as "It's Really Love"), Tom Jones' biggest hit record, "She's A Lady", and the English lyrics for "My Way," Frank Sinatra's signature song and sung by many well known artists, including Greta Keller and Elvis Presley, for whom the words were very fitting.

In the 1960s, Anka would begin acting in motion pictures as well as writing songs for them, most notably the theme for the hit movie The Longest Day. From his movie work, he wrote and recorded his monster hit, "Lonely Boy". He then went on to become one of the first pop singers to perform at the Las Vegas casinos. Anka returns to
Canada several times a year, regularly playing to sold out crowds at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara After more than ten years without a hit record, in 1974, he teamed up with Odia Coates to record the number 1 hit, "Having My Baby." They would record two more duets that both made it into the Top 10. In 1975, he wrote a jingle for Kodak called "The Times of Your Life". The jingle became so popular, he recorded it as a full song, and it became a hit a year later.

By the 1970s, Anka's career centered around adult contemporary and big-band standards, played regularly in Las Vegas. On September 6, 1990, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He returned to his home town to buy a part of the Ottawa Senators hockey team. In 2005, his album Rock Swings,
comprising big-band arrangements of contemporary standards, provided a mainstream comeback of sorts and saw Anka awarded a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto.

In 2006 he recorded in duet with 1960s Italian hitmaker Adriano Celentano a new cover of "Diana," with Italian lyrics by Celentano-Mogol and with singer/songwriter Alex Britti on the guitar. The song immediately reached #3 on the charts.

On October 12, 2009, Anka stated that Michael Jackson's new release titled "This Is It" was a collaborative effort between the two
musicians, and that it was co-written by Anka in 1983. According to Anka, after recording the song, Jackson decided not to use it and the tune was then recorded and released by singer Sa-Fire. After Anka threatened to sue for credit and a share of royalties, the administrators of Jackson's estate granted Anka 50% of the copyright. An additional song that Jackson co-wrote with Anka from this 1983 session, "Love Never Felt So Good", was discovered shortly thereafter and will be released in the near future. His album Songs of December charted at #58 in Canada in November 2011.

Anka was married to Anne de Zogheb, the daughter of Lebanese diplomat, Charles de Zogheb, from February 16, 1963, until
September 28, 2000. They met in 1962 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she was a fashion model on assignment and under contract to the Eileen Ford Agency. Zogheb, brought up in Egypt, is of English, Lebanese, French, Dutch and Greek descent. The couple married the following year in a ceremony at Paris-Orly Airport. She quit modelling after their second child was born. They have five daughters: Amelia, Anthea, Alicia, Amanda (who is married to actor Jason Bateman) and Alexandra.

In 2008 Anka married his personal trainer, Anna Åberg, in Sardinia. They divorced in 2010 and share custody of their son, Ethan.(Info edited from Wikipedia)

Monday, 29 July 2013

Don Redman born 29 July 1900

Donald Matthew Redman (July 29, 1900 – November 30, 1964) was an American jazz musician, arranger, and composer known as “The Little Giant of Jazz”, Redman was born in Piedmont, West Virginia. His father was a music teacher, his mother was a singer. Don began playing the trumpet at the age of 3, joined his first band at 6 and by age 12 he was proficient on all wind instruments ranging from trumpet to oboe as well as piano. He studied at Storer's College in Harper's Ferry and at the Boston Conservatory, then joined Billy Page's Broadway Syncopaters in New York City.

In 1922 Don Redman joined the Fletcher Henderson orchestra, mostly playing clarinet and saxophones. He soon began assisting in writing arrangements, and Redman did much to formulate the sound that was to become big band Swing. His importance in the formulation of arranged hot jazz can not be overstated; a chief trademark of Redman's arrangements was that he harmonized melody lines and pseudo-solos within separate sections; for example, clarinet, sax, or brass trios. He played these sections off each other, having one section punctuate the figures of another, or moving the melody around different orchestral sections and soloists. His use of this technique was sophisticated, highly innovative, and formed the basis of much big band jazz writing in the following decades.

In 1927 Jean Goldkette convinced Redman to join the Detroit,
ichigan-based band McKinney's Cotton Pickers as their Musical

Director and Leader. He was responsible for their great success and arranged about half of their music (splitting the arranging duties with John Nesbitt through 1931). Redman was occasionally featured as their vocalist, displaying his charming, humorous vocal style.
Redman then formed his own band in 1931 (featuring, for a time, Fletcher Henderson's younger brother Horace on piano), which got a residency at the famous Manhattan jazz club Connie's Inn. Redman's band got a recording contract with Brunswick Records and a series of radio broadcasts. Redman and his orchestra also provided music for the animated short I Heard, part of the Betty Boop series produced by Fleischer Studios and distributed by Paramount. Redman composed original music for the short, which was released on September 1, 1933.

Below is one of the first songs recorded by Don Redman and and his brand new Orchestra. He recorded 3 takes of 'Shakin' the Africann', first on Sep 24, 1931, released on Brunswick 01244, then 2 more on Oct 15, 1931, takes 'A' and 'B'. Both 'A' and 'B' were released on Brunswick 6211, this being the 'A' take.


The Brunswick records Redman made between 1931-1934 were some of the most complex pre-swing hot jazz arrangements. Not just relying on a driving rhythm or great solists, but an overall level of arranging sophistication that's unlike anyone else of the period.Notable musicians in Redman's band included Sidney De Paris, trumpet, Edward Inge, clarinet, and singer Harlan Lattimore, who was known as "The Colored Bing Crosby". On the side Redman also did arrangements for other band leaders and musicians, including Paul Whiteman, Isham Jones, and Bing Crosby.

In 1933, he made a Vitaphone short film for Warner Bros. (See Video below.) Redman recorded for Brunswick Records through 1934. He did a number of sides for ARC in 1936 (issued on their Vocalion, Perfect, Melotone, etc.) and in 1937, he pioneered a series of swing re-arrangements of old classic pop tunes for the Variety label. His use of a swinging vocal group (called "The Swing Choir") was very modern and even today, a bit usual, with Redman's sophisticated counter-point melodies. He signed with Bluebird in 1938 and recorded with them until 1940, when he disbanded and concentrated on freelance work writing arrangements. Some of his arrangements became hits for Jimmy Dorsey, Count Basie, and Harry James.

In 1946 he led an all-star orchestra that became the first band to visit postwar Europe, and eventually became Pearl Bailey's musical director. Don Redman had a musical television show on the CBS Television network for the 1949 season. In the early 1960s he played piano for the Georgia Minstrels Concert and soprano sax with Eubie Blake & Noble Sissle's band.

Don Redman died in New York City on November 30, 1964. (Info edited from Wikipedia)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Frankie Yankovic born 28 July 1915

Frankie Yankovic (July 28, 1915 Davis, West Virginia - October 14, 1998) was a grammy award winning polka musician. Known as "America's Polka King," Yankovic was the premier artist to play in the Slovenian style during a long and successful career.

Born in Davis, a small town in West Virginia, accordionist Frank Yankovic grew up in the Slovene-Italian section of Collinwood, Ohio. His parents were Andy Yankovic and Rose Mele. Frank

began playing the accordion when he was 9, and his mother bought him his first "piano-accordian" when he was 16. Frank's first band consisted of Albert Naglitch (piano), Johnny Hokavar (Hocevar) (bass), Bill Dunlavey (sax), Frank Skufka (banjo), and Lee Novak (drums). They became the most popular band in Cleveland performing at weddings and all sorts of parties.

In 1938 23 year old Frank Yankovic asked Columbia and RCA to make recordings of his band. Both companies turned him down. So Frank decided to produce two 78 RPM records under his own "Yankee" label. It was Heinie Martin who took Frank and his band to the Cleveland Recording Company Studios, in Downtown Cleveland. Fred Wolf owned the studio. Since Frank was not thinking of a music career yet, he used "Slovene Folk Orchestra" for his band name. Frank put up all the money for his first records. All 4,000 copies were sold by Mervar's Music Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, in just a few weeks.   

Yankovic enlisted in the Armed Forces in 1943, and cut some records while on leave, prior to his departure for Europe. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, where a severe case of frostbite nearly resulted in the amputation of his hands and feet; fortunately, he was able to beat the gangrene before that became necessary, and was awarded a Purple Heart. The doctors urged him to have his fingers amputated, but he refused, since that would mean he would not be able to play the accordion.

Frankie Yankovic hit the national scene when he earned two platinum singles for Just Because (1947) and Blue Skirt Waltz (1949). Frankie Yankovic obtained the title of America's Polka King after beating Duke Ellington in a battle of the bands in Milwaukee.   



 Three Yanks Polka

Yankovic also hosted the television series Polka Time for Buffalo, New York-based WKBW-TV for 26 weeks in 1962. He commuted from Cleveland to host each episode, which aired live. He also hosted a similar show in Chicago at about the same time.

Yankovic won a grammy award in 1986 for his album 70 Years of Hits. At his peak, Yankovic was performing on the road in 325 shows a year. Before he died, Yankovic had sold 30 million records and won the first Grammy awarded for a polka album, in 1986.

Yankovic released over 200 recordings in his career. He seldom strayed from the Slovenian-style polka, but did record with country singer Chet Atkins, pop singer Don Everly, and a version of the “Too Fat Polka” with comedian Drew Carey, also from Cleveland.
Frankie Yankovic also had a longstanding relationship with accordion virtuoso Joey Miskulin.
Frankie Yankovic is not related to "Weird Al" Yankovic (who himself has been known to perform polka), although Al did play accordion for "Who Stole the Kishka?" on one of Frankie's final records, Songs of the Polka King, Vol. 1.

Yankovic died on October 14, 1998, in New Port Richey, Florida, due to heart failure, at the age of 83. He was buried in Cleveland's Calvary Cemetery. Hundreds of friends, family, his loyal fans and fellow musicians showed up to send him off.  (info edited from various & Wikipedia. n.b a few sources give his birthdate as 15th July, but I have opted for the majority of 28 July)


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Bobbie Gentry born 27 July 1944

Bobbie Gentry (b. Roberta Lee Streeter in Chickasaw County, Mississippi on July 27, 1944) is an American singer-songwriter and remains one of the most interesting and underappreciated artists to emerge out of Nashville during the late '60s.

Bobbie Gentry Best-known for her crossover smash "Ode to Billie Joe," was one of the first female country artists to write and
produce much of her own material, forging an idiosyncratic, pop-inspired sound that, in tandem with her glamorous, bombshell image, anticipated the rise of latter-day superstars like Shania Twain and Faith Hill. Of Portuguese descent, Gentry was born Roberta Streeter in Chickasaw County, MS, on July 27, 1944; her parents divorced shortly after her birth and she was raised in poverty on her grandparents' farm. After her grandmother traded one of the family's milk cows for a neighbor's piano, seven-year-old Bobbie composed her first song, "My Dog Sergeant Is a Good Dog," years later self-deprecatingly reprised in her nightclub act; at 13, she moved to Arcadia, CA, to live with her mother, soon beginning her performing career in local country clubs. The 1952 film Ruby Gentry lent the singer her stage surname.

After graduating high school, Gentry settled in Las Vegas, where
she appeared in the Les Folies Bergère nightclub revue; she soon returned to California, studying philosophy at U.C.L.A. before transferring to the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. In 1964, she made her recorded debut, cutting a pair of duets — "Ode to Love" and "Stranger in the Mirror" — with rockabilly singer Jody Reynolds. Gentry continued performing in clubs in the years to follow before an early 1967 recording a demo found its way to Capitol Records producer Kelly Gordon; upon signing to the label, she issued her debut single, "Mississippi Delta." However, disc jockeys began spinning the B-side, the self-penned "Ode to Billie Joe" struck a chord on country and pop radio alike, topping the pop charts for four weeks in August 1967 and selling three million copies. Although the follow-up, "I Saw an Angel Die," failed to chart, Gentry nevertheless won three Grammy awards, including Best New Artist and Best Female Vocal, also the Academy of Country Music's Best New Female Vocalist.


In 1968 Gentry issued a duet album with Glen Campbell, returning to the country Top 20 with "Let It Be Me"; the duo regularly collaborated throughout the 1970s.

In 1969, Gentry generated her first U.K. number one, a smoldering rendition of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David perennial "I'll Never
Fall in Love Again." The single's success also earned Gentry her own short-lived BBC television variety series.

Gentry's 1969 marriage to Desert Inn Hotel manager Bill Harrah ended after only three months, but the following year she returned to the county and pop Top 40 with the title cut from her fifth album Fancy. In 1971, she issued her final Capitol effort, Patchwork, primarily confining her performing to her nightclub act for the next several years. A CBS summer replacement series, The Bobbie Gentry Happiness Hour, aired for four episodes in 1974; Gentry next surfaced on the big screen, credited as co-writer for a 1976 film adaptation of Ode to Billie Joe.

 After a second marriage, to fellow singer/songwriter Jim Stafford, ended in 1979 after only 11 months, Gentry gradually receded from public view, retiring from performing and eventually settling in Los Angeles. She since has remarried, but the groom is not known at this time. (info mainly edited from AMG)

Friday, 26 July 2013

Erskine Hawkins born 26 July 1914

Erskine Hawkins (July 26, 1914 – Nov 11, 1993) A talented high-note trumpeter and a popular bandleader, Erskine Hawkins was nicknamed "the 20th Century Gabriel."

Jazz trumpeter, Erskine Hawkins, was born in Birmingham, Alabama July 26, 1914. A talented high-note trumpeter and a popular bandleader, Erskine Hawkins was nicknamed “The 20th Century Gabriel.” He learned drums and trombone before
switching to trumpet when he was 13, and was one of five inaugural inductees into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1978. He also became on of the principal influences on a young rhythm and blues piano player named Ray Charles.

While attending the Alabama State Teachers College, he became the leader of the college band, the Bama State Collegians. They went to New York in 1934, became the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra, started making records in 1936 and by 1938 were quite successful. The first formal appearance of Erskine Hawkins and his Orchestra was in 1938 when the band won a recording contract with RCA Victor. However, the inception of the band had occurred two years earlier when it was known as The 'Bama State Collegians.

Hawkins, whose biggest influences were Louis Armstrong records, skipped out on a 'Bama State Collegians band trip to New Jersey so he could play some gigs in New York. At one of these early shows, Armstrong surprised him backstage at the Apollo Theater. From then on, whenever Hawkins came to New York, Armstrong would also take the stage at the Savoy Ballroom, where Hawkins' dance band attracted a loyal following.


Hawkins had three major hits (”Tuxedo Junction,” “After Hours” and “Tippin' In”) and was able to keep the big band together all the way until 1953. Hawkins' band was so popular that he was able to retain a permanent roster of players, most of whom were from Birmingham. The style was “down-home” and blues-inspired, but it could still swing and lay down a great dance beat. Two of his chief arrangers were pianist Avery “After Hours” Parrish and trumpeter Sammy Lowe. (See Sammy Lowe's biography, also on this website.) Baritone saxophone soloist Haywood Henry, who stayed with Hawkins until the band broke up in 1953, anchored the music securely in a solid harmony. During the band's heyday, the 1930s and 40s, Hawkins featured vocalists Ida James, Delores Brown and Della Reese. ROCKIN ROLLERS JUBILEE (1938) was ahead of its time, but TUXEDO JUNCTION (1939) became the anthem of American GIs in Europe during the early years of WWII.

Hawkins was trumpeter and band leader in the lobby bar and show nightclub at The Concord Resort Hotel in Kiamesha Lake, New York. from 1967 to 1993 with his last performing group Joe Vitale piano, Dudly Watson bass, Sonny Rossi vocals & clarinet, and George Leary drums . Hawkins died in Willingboro, New Jersey in November 1993, after a brief visit with his sister in Alabama before he was able to return to resume playing with his band at the Concord at the age of 79. He is buried in Elmwood Cemetery, alongside his sister, in Birmingham, Alabama. (info mainly from All About Jazz)

 Here's a clip of Erskine Hawkins & His Orchestra with "Swinging In Harlem" from 1938.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Gene Phillips born 25 July 1915

Gene Phillips (b. Eugene Floyd Phillips, 25 July 1915, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. d. 1990) was a West Coast session stalwart who appeared on a myriad of jump blues waxings during the late '40s and early '50s. Singer/guitarist Phillips was a mainstay of Modern Records during the label's formative years, his Louis Jordan-like jumpin' R&B giving the label many of it's earliest best sellers.

Phillips learned to play ukulele and switched to guitar at the age of 11, after which he began playing and singing for tips and graduated through several obscure local bands. Between 1941 and 1943, he played guitar behind the Mills Brothers, relocating with them to
Los Angeles, and later worked and recorded with Lorenzo Flennoy, Wynonie Harris, Johnny Otis and Jack McVea.

Phillips was one of the first important artists to be signed by the fledgling Modern Music Company back in 1946, and probably ranks as the label's second-most important early signing behind Hadda Brooks. Even though he was only signed to the label as an artist for 3-4 years, he enjoyed a lengthy subsequent association with the Bihari brothers' West Coast R&B indie as a sideman. Any serious collector of the Bihari brothers' budget-priced Crown albums (you know, the ones with those ubiquitous cheesy cover illustrations by artist "Fazzio") should be intimately familiar with Phillips's LP -- it's one of the best Crown acquisitions you can possibly make (especially since there's no CD equivalent yet).

Phillips' Charlie Christian & T-Bone Walker inspired guitar and jump-blues shouting began to be featured on his own recordings supported by west coast stalwarts such as Maxwell Davis and Jack McVea. His often-ribald jump blues gems for the firm included "Big Legs," "Fatso," "Rock Bottom," "Hey Now," and a version of Big Bill Broonzy's witty standard "Just a Dream." Phillips's bandmates were among the royalty of the L.A. scene: trumpeter Jake Porter, saxists Marshall Royal, Maxwell Davis, and Jack McVea, and pianist Lloyd Glenn were frequently on hand. Phillips returned the favor in Porter's case, singing and playing on the trumpeter's 1947 dates for Imperial.
Phillips" later records for RPM, Imperial Records, Exclusive, Federal (with Preston Love) and Combo, were successful locally and he spent the 50s doing extensive session work with artists such as Percy Mayfield, who played on "Please Send Me Someone To Love" and Amos Milburn. After a 78 of his own for Imperial in 1951 ("She's Fit 'n Fat 'n Fine"), Phillips bowed out of the recording wars as a leader with a solitary 1954 effort for Combo, "Fish Man," backed by McVea's band. (It's recently been established that he played on the Oscar McLollie sessions from 1955, and indeed he may well have continued his relationship with Modern beyond then...)

He retired from the music business with the advent of rock 'n' roll and some sources say he passed away in 1990. (Info edited from also AMG & NME)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Heinz Burt born 24 July 1942

Heinz Burt, (24 July 1942, Detmold, Free State of Lippe, Germany – 7 April 2000, Weston, Hampshire, England) was a German-born bassist and singer, who performed under the stage name Heinz.

Heinz was born Heinz Henry George Schwarz in Detmold, but from the age of seven was brought up in Eastleigh, Hampshire, England. His father was killed during World War II and his mother decided to relocate to England. Heinz was influenced by the US singer Eddie Cochran and played in a skiffle band the Falcons in
1950s. Working in a Southampton grocery shop Heinz came to the attention of record producer, Joe Meek, becoming his protégé.

Meek styled Heinz' image which included persuading him to peroxide his hair. Heinz was a member of the Tornados famous for their multi-million selling hit "Telstar". With Meek in love with Heinz, he struggled to launch him on a solo career. Due to the inadequacies of Heinz' voice, his vocals were over-dubbed on his first single Dreams Do Come True by another singer (Meek artist, Mark Douglas a.k.a.Billy Gray, Real Name William Halsey), the single being a commercial failure. With Meek vigorously promoting Heinz, he was sent on a tour with Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis. Audiences did not take to him and he was attacked on stage and had beans thrown over him.  

His next and biggest selling solo hit was "Just Like Eddie", a tribute to Eddie Cochran. Its success coincided with the emergence of the Beatles and was the high point of commercial success for Heinz. Two successful EPs, Heinz and Live It Up, followed and 1963 he appeared in the British music-film Live It Up!, with music produced by Meek, in which he acted the role of Ron and also contributed a song. Following a well-received tour with Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas and Bobby Rydell, Heinz was seen as belonging to an era of rock and roll as the more modern Merseybeat became more popular. He covered the Bob Dylan song "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" which was another commercial failure and even a move from the Decca label to EMI saw him gain a minor hit with "Diggin' My Potatoes".

Differences of a professional and personal level with Meek appeared and with Heinz introducing his girlfriend to Meek their relationship faltered. Although he had lived briefly in Meek's flat, further disagreements over royalties saw him move out leaving some possessions behind including a shotgun. It was this shotgun with which Meek killed his landlady and then himself in 1967, and although Heinz was
questioned by police they concluded he had nothing to do with their deaths.

His recording career came to a halt after the death of Joe Meek, but he continued to act and perform live for the rest of his life, with highlights including the vast "London Rock & Roll Show" of 1972 and a highly acclaimed performance opposite Dame Helen Mirren in David Hare's 1975 play "Teeth 'n' Smiles". He also appeared in pantomime and made periodic revival recordings with other original members of The Tornados. He suffered from ill health for several years before being diagnosed with motor neurone disease in the early 1990's; he met the diagnosis head on and refused to give into its challenges, even continuing to perform in a wheelchair up until two weeks before his death. 

Heinz performed his final set in a social club in Hampshire on 24th March, 2000. Seated in a wheelchair, to which he was confined, he sang Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On, Three Steps To Heaven, and his biggest solo hit, Just Like Eddie.

He died on 7th April, after a stroke. Aged 57.When he died, Heinz had just eighteen pounds in his pocket to his name. A tragic end.(Info edited mainly from from Wikipedia)


The Smart Aleck's - Don't You Understand.
Heinz Burt (Vocals) / Steve Marriott (Drums)
David Hemmings (Guitar) / John Pike (Bass Guitar)

This version was for the Movie "Live It Up"

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Richie Kamuca born 23 July 1930

Richie Kamuca (July 23, 1930–July 22, 1977), was an American jazz tenor saxophonist.

Kamuca was born in Philadelphia, but like many players associated with West Coast jazz, he grew up in the East before moving west around the time that bebop changed the prevailing style of jazz. His early playing, in what is generally considered the Lester Young style, was done on tour with the big bands of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman, where he became a member of the later line-ups of Herman's Four Brothers saxophone section with Al Cohn and Bill Perkins.

               Here's "Early Bird" from above album (1957)  

Kamuca stayed on the West Coast playing with the smaller groups of Chet Baker, Maynard Ferguson, Shorty Rogers, and others. He was one of the Lighthouse All-Stars in 1957 and 1958, and recorded with Perkins, Art Pepper, Jimmy Rowles, Cy Touff and many others in those years, as well as leading recording sessions in his own right. 

 Kamuca was a member of the group Shelly Manne and His Men from 1959 through 1962, when he returned East and settled in New York. Here he worked with Gerry Mulligan, Gary McFarland, and Roy Eldridge before returning to the West Coast in 1972, where he recorded in the studios and performed with local groups and with Bill Berry's L.A. Big Band. In his later years (1977) before his death from cancer (the day before his 47th birthday), Richie Kamuca recorded three wonderful albums for Concord. .
(Info mainly Wikipedia)