Monday, 30 April 2018

Bob Jaxon born 30 April 1930


Bob Jaxon (born Robert Jackson 30th April 1930, New York City, New York was a Rock & Roll and Rockabilly singer. Bob Jaxon made some mighty fine teen rock 'n' roll during a recording career that spanned from 1955 through to the mid-sixties but, up to now, has been unjustifiably overlooked.  

Robert Jackson was educated at the P.S. 90 & Taft High School. He joined the US Army and saw active service in the Korean War. Somewhat amusingly, he stated out as a tank gunner but ended up as a cook. It was during this time that he started to entertain his buddies with his singing and this wetted his appetitive for a post army show business career.  

Upon being discharged in 1952, he adopted the stage name of Bob Jaxon and made his national television debut on the Georgia Gibbs NBC Show on 22nd July 1952. It was with contacts developed from this appearance that he managed to secure a recording contract with Archie Bleyer's Cadence Records in 1955.

Jaxon's release for the label was 'Why Does A Woman Cry/Ali Baba' which, in all honesty, is typical sterile fifties pop music. The record must have made some waves as it saw a release in Great Britain on the London American label in August 1955 and was also covered by Kitty White on Mercury Records.

Jaxon was astute enough to ensure that his recording contract stipulated that he could record his own compositions. However, with this record failing to achieve national success, Bob determined that to make the big time, he had to board the rock 'n' roll train that was coming out of the sidings on to the main line of American consciousness. After all, he was still young enough to identify with this new wave of music that was sweeping across the country and thus gain street credibility. As a native New Yorker, it was relatively easier for him to knock at the doors of the big record companies based in the Big Apple. And what better company was there to call upon than that that had the hottest property (namely Elvis Aron Presley) than RCA Victor Records?  
 
 
                                 


He secured a contract with the label and whilst he never became a second Elvis, never even coming close, it is an indisputable fact that with the three discs issued for RCA, Jaxon laid down some excellent teen fifties rock 'n' roll music. At his first recording session for the company, three tracks were laid down with the musical accompaniment being provided by the Jesse Stone orchestra. From these, 'Beach Party' and 'I'm Hanging Around' were culled for release around June 1957. Also in August 1957, the novelty song '(Gotta Have Something In The) Bank Frank' was issued . The flipside, 'Come On Down' is a very tasty piece of rockin' music.  

For his third RCA release, recorded in late 1957, Jaxon laid down 'Declaration Of Love/I'm Hurtin' Inside'  but again this was a commercial failure as whereas the next singles issued in 1958. Without a hit, RCA declined to renew Jaxon's contract and so he was back on the streets seeking a new deal. These efforts came to fruition in mid 1959 when he signed with the American arm of the British record company Top Rank. However, there was a name change to Bobby Jack with the release 'Tempting Me/Early Morning'. This disc was also issued in the UK.  

From here-on, it was a series of label hops. In late 1959, Bob signed with Sherman Edward's New York based Joy label and reverting back to the name of Bob Jaxon, saw a solitary release with 'The Gift (Of You)/The End Of The World' in February 1960. After this record went nowhere chart wise, there ensued a lull in his
recording career until he signed with ABC Paramount Records in mid 1962. In January 1963, Bob parted with 20th Century Fox Records. Effectively this was the termination of his recording career, apart from a release later in the sixties under the name of The Bob Jaxon Band on the Big Name label. Whilst it bore grandiose nomenclature, this was in fact a small company with limited distribution. 

Whilst pursing a recording career, Bob played dates in and around New York City at bars, clubs, functions and dances. He built up a solid reputation as a good musician and was in constant demand for live appearances. Whilst it has not been possible to establish his current whereabouts, it is beyond doubt that Jaxon's musical legacy, despite being a small imprint in the encyclopaedia of rock 'n' roll, is nevertheless an important (and above all) entertaining chapter of musical history. 

(Info edited from an article by Klaus Kettner & Tony Wilkinson)

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Tino Rossi born 29 April 1907


Constantin "Tino" Rossi (29 April 1907 – 26 September 1983) was a French singer and film actor who sold some 200 million records in a 50-year career. His best-known hit was ''Petit Papa No"el,'' which has sold 30 million records. 

Rossi, born in Ajaccio, Corsica, was gifted with a voice well suited for opera. He became a tenor in the French cabaret-style. Later, he appeared in various movies. During his career he recorded hundreds of songs and he appeared in more than 25 films, the most notable of which was the 1954 production, Si Versailles m'était conté... directed by Sacha Guitry. His romantic ballads had especially women swooning and his art-songs by Jules Massenet (1842–1912), Reynaldo Hahn (1875–1947), and other composers, sold out theatres wherever he performed. 

As a young man, Rossi played guitar and sang in many places of his hometown of Ajaccio, but later he went to perform in Marseille and at resort clubs along the French Riviera. In the early 1930s he went to Paris and within a few years achieved enormous success, joining a Columbia Records roster that included the biggest stars of that time such as Lucienne Boyer, Damia, Pills et Tabet, Mireille, and Jean Sablon. 

Rossi's success was greatly aided by songwriter Vincent Scotto (1876–1952), who wrote his first hits and collaborated with him for many years, composing and arranging many of Rossi's songs. Prior to World War II, Rossi was a major box office attraction in the French speaking world, and expanded his audience  to North America and Canada during a first visit there. In October 1934 Rossi represented Corsica in La Parade de France, where he was met with much acclaim, but his fame didn't truly commence until he began starring in films (which were accompanied by songs), including Les Nuits Moscovites (1934); and his first real success with Marinella (1936) also Naples au Baiser de Feu (1937). 

In 1938, Rossi toured the United States after his ''Vieni, Vieni'' stayed at the top of the American record charts for 28 weeks. 
 

 
                              

During the Occupation of France by Nazi Germany Rossi's film career reached its peak, notably with Fièvres (1942), Le Soleil a toujours raison (1943), Mon amour est près de toi (1943) and L'Île d'amour (1944). Like many celebrities, Tino Rossi was arrested on October 7, 1944 by several police officers in search of information on his close Corsican friend, Etienne Leandri, suspected of active collaborationism. Following three months detention in the prison of Fresnes, near Paris, during which he stubbornly refused the assistance of a lawyer, he was freed from further detention by a judge, who deemed the charge levelled against him void of substance. Tino Rossi who, in October 1943, had loaned his personal car to a resistance network to transport weapons and enable several escapes (including that of a general), accepted – an extremely rare action at the time – exceptional official apologies. 

In 1946 he recorded song Petit Papa Noël for the film “Destins.”  About 100,000 copies of the record are still sold each Christmas. The song is the recipient of the prestigious musical award Grand Prix du Disque.

In 1948 Tino Rossi married Lilia Vetti, a young dancer he had met in 1941 thanks to revue leader Mistinguett. They had one son Laurent (1948-2015) and remained married to each other until his death. 

In 1955 he starred in the operetta Méditerranée, and in the following years he continued performing around France and the world. Tino Rossi's career also evolved into the television era, appearing in a number of popular variety shows. Rossi largely retired from performing by the 1960’s as he passed his 50th birthday and rock-and-roll made his style of music obsolete, but he remained enormously popular with a following built up over 50 years of performing. 

In 1982, for his contribution to France and its culture, President François Mitterrand named Tino Rossi a Commander of the Legion of Honour. That same year Rossi gave his last public performance at the Casino de Paris, a show that popular demand turned into a three month stint.He died shortly after in his home in the Parisian suburbs on September 26, 1983 of pancreatic cancer.

His body was transported to Ajaccio for burial in the family grave. His wife died in 2003 aged 79. Ajaccio named a street and the sailing harbour in his honour and in Nogent-sur-Marne, there is a square named Tino Rossi Square. Tino Rossi's unique status on Corsica is reflected in several (somewhat hidden) references to him in the comic book "Asterix in Corsica" (1973) by Uderzo and Goscinny 

(Compiled and edited from various sources including AllMusic but  mainly Wikipedia)


Saturday, 28 April 2018

Blossom Dearie born 28 April 1924



Margrethe Blossom Dearie (April 28, 1924 – February 7, 2009) was an American jazz singer and pianist. She was physically petite, with a recognizably light and girlish voice One of the last supper club/cabaret performers, she performed regular engagements in London and New York City over many years. She collaborated with many musicians, including Johnny Mercer, Miles Davis, JackSegal, Johnny Mandel, Duncan Lamont, Bob Dorough, and Dave Frishberg.

 
Margrete Blossom Dearie was born on April 28, 1924, in East Durham, New York, to a father of Scots Irish descent and a mother of Norwegian descent. She reportedly received the name Blossom because of "a neighbour who delivered peach blossoms to her house the day she was born", although she once recalled it was her brothers who brought the flowers to the house.  

After high school, Dearie moved to New York City to pursue a music career. Dropping her first name, she began to sing in groups such as the Blue Flames (with the Woody Herman Orchestra) and the Blue Reys (with Alvino Rey's band) before starting her solo career. 

Dearie moved to Paris in 1952. She formed a vocal group, the Blue Stars (1952–1955), which included Michel Legrand's sister, Christiane, and Bob Dorough. In 1954 the group had a hit in France with a French-language version of "Lullaby of Birdland", arranged by Michel Legrand. The Blue Stars would later evolve into The Swingle Singers. On her first solo album, released two years later, she played the piano but did not sing. While living in Paris in the early 1950s, Dearie met and married Bobby Jaspar, a Belgian flutist and saxophonist. 

In 1954, Dearie and King Pleasure recorded "Moody's Mood for Love" (a vocal adaptation by Eddie Jefferson of a James Moody sax solo for "I'm in the Mood for Love") and this is so noted on the Prestige album King Pleasure Sings. One of Dearie's most famous song recordings from that period is "The Riviera", with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Joseph McCarthy, in 1956. 

 
After returning from France in 1957, Dearie made her first six American albums as a solo singer and pianist for Verve Records in the late 1950s and early 1960s, mostly in a small trio or quartet setting. Dave Garroway, host of The Today Show and an early fan of Dearie, featured her on several occasions, increasing her exposure with the popular audience. In 1962, she recorded a radio commercial for Hires Root Beer. As it proved very popular, the LP Blossom Dearie Sings Rootin' Songs was released as a premium item that could be ordered for one dollar and a proof of purchase. 
 
 
                                
 
In 1964, she recorded the album May I Come In? (Capitol/EMI Records). It was recorded (atypically for her) with an orchestra. During this same period, she performed frequently at New York supper clubs and in 1966 made her first appearance at Ronnie Scott's club in London. She recorded four albums in the United Kingdom during the 1960s that were released on the Fontana label, including a recording of her 1966 performance at Ronnie Scott's.
 
 After a period of inactivity, Dearie recorded the album That's Just the Way I Want to Be (containing the cult song "Dusty Springfield", an ode to the British pop star, co-written by Dearie with Norma Tanega), which was released in 1970. In 1974, Dearie established her own label, Daffodil Records, which allowed her to have full control of the recording and distribution of her albums. Dearie appeared on television throughout her career, most notably giving her voice to the children's educational series Schoolhouse Rock!.  

The songwriter Johnny Mercer, with whom Dearie collaborated for her 1975 song "I'm Shadowing You", gave one of his final compositions to her for the title song of her 1976 Daffodil album My New Celebrity is You. According to Dearie, she and Mercer were close friends. In 1983, Dearie was awarded the first Mabel Mercer Foundation Award 
 

She continued to perform and record during the 1980s through to the early 2000s, cantered mostly in New York but also a regular attraction in London as well. She retired from playing live in 2006 due to health concerns.


On February 7, 2009, after a long illness and failing health, Dearie died in her sleep of natural causes at her apartment on Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village, New York City, according to her representative and manager Donald Schaffer. (Info edited mainly from Wikipedia. Correct birth year given by New York Times)
 

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Dorothy Donegan born 26 April 1922


Dorothy Donegan (April 26, 1922 – May 19, 1998) was an American jazz pianist primarily known for performing in the stride piano and boogie-woogie style. She also played bebop, swing jazz, and classical music.

Donegan was born and grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and began studying piano in 1928. She took her first lessons from Alfred N. Simms, a West Indian pianist who also taught Cleo Brown. She graduated from Chicago's DuSable High School, where she studied with Walter Dyett, a teacher who also worked with Dinah Washington, Johnny Griffin, Gene Ammons, and Von Freeman. She also studied at the Chicago Musical College and the University of Southern California.

In 1942 she made her recording debut. She appeared in Sensations of 1945 with Cab Calloway, Gene Rodgers, and W. C. Fields and was known for her work in Chicago nightclubs. She was a protege of Art Tatum, who called her "the only woman who can make me practice." She said that Tatum "was supposed to be blind...I know he could see women.") In 1943, Donegan became the first African American to perform at Chicago's Orchestra Hall. She later said of this path-breaking performance:

“In the first half I played Rachmaninoff and Grieg and in the second I drug it through the swamp – played jazz. Claudia Cassidy reviewed the concert on the first page of the Chicago Tribune. She said I had a terrific technique and I looked like a Toulouse-Lautrec lithograph.”
 
 
               Here's "Tea For Two" from above 1959 album.
 
                              

In May 1983, Donegan, along with Billy Taylor, Milt Hinton, Art Blakey, Maxine Sullivan, Jaki Byard, and Eddie Locke, performed at a memorial service for Earl Hines, held at St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church in New York City.

Her first six albums proved to be obscure compared to her successes in performance. It was not until the 1980s that her work gained notice in the recorded jazz world. In particular, a recorded appearance at the 1987 Montreux Jazz Festival and her live albums from 1991 were met with acclaim. Even so, she remained best known for her live performances. She drew crowds with her eclectic mixture of styles and her flamboyant personality. Ben Ratliff argued in The New York Times that "her flamboyance helped her find work in a field that was largely hostile to women. To a certain extent, it was also her downfall; her concerts were often criticized for having an excess of personality."

Donegan was outspoken about her view that sexism, along with her insistence on being paid the same rates as male musicians, had limited her career. In 1992, Donegan received an "American Jazz Master" fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1994, an honorary doctorate from Roosevelt University. Donegan died of lung cancer in 1998 at her home, Los Angeles, California
 
Despite admiring tributes at her death, is that never was Dorothy Donegan given due recognition for her artistry by the sacred cows of jazz, the critics, during her more than sixty years of performing throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Wilson brought this to readers' attention: "In fact, in jazz circles she is scarcely even thought of as a jazz pianist. . . . Her reputation as a lounge entertainer has virtually buried the fact that she is potentially the greatest jazz pianist playing today."


Leonard Feather, in his Encyclopedia of Jazz in the 1960s, lends support to this observation in his listing of Donegan with the closing comment, "Much of her appeal, however, is based on her visual antics." In a later edition Feather omits the pianist, as did John Chilton in his Who's Who Of Jazz and, more recently, both The Guiness Who's Who of Jazz and The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz.  (Wikipedia & The Last Post)   

Here's a clip taken June 18, 1993 from the 40th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival, held in a tent on the lawn of the White House.
 

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Jinny Osborn born 25 April 1927


Jinny Osborn (April 25, 1927 – May 19, 2003), born Virginia Cole, was an American popular music singer. She founded the group The Chordettes with three friends in 1946, which became one of the longest-lasting American vocal groups of the mid-20th century. Her final departure in 1961 led to the group's dissolution.
 
Osborn was born to Orlan H. "King" Cole and Katherine Flack in Seattle and grew up in Sheboygan. Her father was president of the Barbershop Harmony Society, and is also remembered today as the founder of the "Clipper City Chordsmen" of Manitowoc. He was also the president of the Kingsbury Breweries Company. 

Osborn attended Shimer College, which at the time was a four-year junior college, for the 11th and 12th grades, graduating in 1945. Shimer was well known for its music program, and she majored in music and also played violin in a student group that performed in nearby towns. 

The original members of the group in 1946 were Janet Ertel, Alice Mae Buschmann Spielvogel (replaced by Carol Buschmann, her sister-in-law, in 1947), Dorothy "Dottie" (Hummitzsch) Schwartz, and Jinny Osborn (who sang tenor). In 1952 Lynn Evans replaced Schwartz and in 1953, Margie Needham replaced Osborn (who was having a baby), though Osborn later returned to the group. Nancy Overton also was a member of the group at a later time 

Initially they did principally folk music in the barbershop quartet style, though they gradually adopted more conventional pop forms. After performing locally in Sheboygan, they won on Arthur Godfrey's radio program Talent Scouts in 1949. They held feature status on Godfrey's daily program, and then they recorded several 10-inch EPs for Columbia Records. 

In 1953, Godfrey's music director and orchestra leader, Archie Bleyer, founded Cadence Records. He signed a number of Godfrey regulars and former regulars, including the Chordettes, who had a number of hit records for Cadence. In the same year, Osborn (now Jinny Janis) left the group to have a daughter, thereby missing appearing on the recording of "Mr. Sandman". She was temporarily replaced by Margie Needham. Osborn did however appear on several of the group's subsequent major hits, including "Born to be With You" (1956), "Just Between You and Me" (1957) and "Lollipop" (1958). 
 
 
                            
The Chordettes appeared on American Bandstand on August 5, 1957, the first episode of that show to be broadcast nationally on the ABC Television Network. They also charted with a vocal version of the themes from Disney's Zorro (U.S. #17) (1959) and  Never on Sunday (U.S. #13) (1961). Other hits for the girls included "Eddie My Love" (U.S. #14) and "Lay Down Your Arms" in 1956.. Their cover of "The White Rose Of Athens" hit the Australian Top 15 in May, 1962. The US single "In The Deep Blue Sea" was a one-week Music Vendor entry four months later (#128).

Janet Ertel married Bleyer in 1954. Her daughter Jackie married another Cadence recording star, Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers. 

In 1961, Jinny Osborn was forced to quit the group because of family problems. Unable to find a replacement with whom they were happy, the group disbanded. After the breakup of The Chordettes, Osborn lived in southern California and largely avoided public life. However, she continued to sing in informal barbershop quartet groups, including annual gatherings in Chicago with a group called the Pioneers.

The Chordettes, were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.Jinny died of cancer on May 19, 2003 in Palm Springs.  

Janet Ertel Bleyer died in 1988. On April 5, 2009, Nancy Overton died after a long battle with esophageal cancer. Dorothy Dottie” (Hummitzsch) Schwartz died on April 4, 2016. The longest living member of the Chordettes who has sung on all the Chordettes' recordings, both on acappella and Cadence recordings, is Carol Buschmann               (Info edited from Wikipedia)
 

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Ruth Welcome born 24 April 1919


Ruth Anneliese Welcome (April 24, 1919 – March 6, 2005) was a German-born American zither player. During her 30-year career (1945-1975) she distinguished herself as America's only professional zitherist, and, as a recording artist for Capitol Records, producing 18 albums and several singles.
 
Welcome learned to play zither as a child, and was familiar with the instrument at age 8, when in 1927, her family emigrated to the United States and settled in New York City. There she took lessons on piano and zither, and upon graduation from high school she was accepted at the Juilliard School of Music, where she studied piano and violin; she later taught piano at the School for several years. 

During the Second World War she joined the USO and entertained the troops overseas, finding the zither more portable than the piano, and more suitable for solo work than the violin. After the war she continued to volunteer in military hospitals for several years. 

In 1949 Anton Karas' theme music for the British film noir The Third Man had a vogue in the United States, and reintroduced the sound of the zither to an American public which hadn't paid it much notice since the turn of the previous century. The popularity of Karas' zither-based score helped set the stage for Welcome's professional debut as a zitherist, in 1953. Her performance, in Manhattan's famous Hampshire House, was well-received, and she became a regular attraction there for the next five years. 
 
 
                              
 
At the end of her run at the Hampshire House, Welcome took her zither on the road, touring the US and Canada with such success, that Capital Records signed her to an exclusive recording contract that same year (1957). Her colourful zither sounds were created on a custom-made Meinel instrument, which is the zither counterpart to a Stradivarius. 

She recorded eighteen zither albums for Capital, which became popular all over the world, and started something of a "zither revival" in North America. A number of manufacturers began producing concert zithers again in such numbers that today (2016) if you buy a used zither it is most likely to come either from the period 1895-1910, or from 1955-1965. 

Her first album, Hi-Fi-Zither, was released in 1958, and over the next fifteen years she recorded seventeen zither albums for Capitol, as well as a number of singles. Her repertory consisted primarily of standards and showtunes, in a style that came to be known as "mood music" or "easy listening" in the mid-1960s.

Welcome retired from touring and recording in 1975, and relocated from Connecticut to Sun City, Arizona, where she spent most of the remainder of her life. She died in Peoria, Arizona, on March 6, 2005, and is buried in Sunland Memorial Park. 

During her career, Welcome recorded more zither albums than any other zither player. While the zither has again waned in popularity since the 1960s, Welcome's albums continue to sell briskly as collectors’ items, and several have been re-released on CD. In 2013 the Guardian released an article noting the continued popularity of her music on on-line sharing services such as Spotify.
(Info mainly edited from Wikipedia)

Monday, 23 April 2018

"Cow Cow" Davenport born 23 April 1895


Charles Edward "Cow Cow" Davenport (April 23, 1894 – December 3, 1955) was an American boogie-woogie and piano blues player as well as a vaudeville entertainer. He also played the organ and sang. He is remembered most for his famous song "Cow Cow Blues" which is one of the earliest recorded examples of the Boogie-Woogie or Barrelhouse, as it's sometimes called. 

He was born in Anniston, Alabama, one of eight children. He learned to play piano and organ in his father's church from his mother who was the organist and it looked like he was going to follow in the family footsteps until he was expelled from the Alabama Theological Seminary in 1911 for playing Ragtime at a church function.  

Davenport's early career revolved around carnivals and vaudeville including Banhoof's Travelling Carnival which was a medicine show.  He toured Theatre Owners Booking Association with an act called Davenport and Company with Blues singer Dora Carr and they recorded together in 1925 and 1926. The act broke up when Carr got married. Davenport briefly teamed up with Blues singer Ivy Smith as the “Chicago Steppers”in 1928 and worked as a talent scout for Brunswick and Vocalion records in the late 1920s and played rent parties in Chicago. He also performed with Tampa Red. 
 
 
                               
 
Davenport recorded for many record labels. He also made recordings under the pseudonyms of Bat The Humming Bird, George Hamilton and The Georgia Grinder.  His best-known tune was "Cow Cow Blues". The "Cow Cow" in the title referred to a train's cowcatcher. The popularity of the song gave Davenport the nickname "Cow Cow." In 1953, "Cow Cow Blues" was an influence on the Ahmet Ertegün-written "Mess Around" by Ray Charles, which was Charles's first step away from his Nat "King" Cole-esque style, and into the style he would employ throughout the 1950s for Atlantic Records. 

"Cow-Cow Boogie (Cuma-Ti-Yi-Yi-Ay)" (1943) was probably named for him, but he did not write it. It was penned by Benny Carter, Gene de Paul and Don Raye. It combined the then popular "Western song" craze (exemplified by Johnny Mercer's "I'm an Old Cowhand") with the big-band boogie-woogie fad. The track was written for the Abbott and Costello film Ride 'Em Cowboy. 

Davenport claimed to have been the composer of "Mama Don't Allow It". He also said he had written the Louis Armstrong hit "I'll be Glad When You're Dead (You Rascal You)", but sold the rights and credit to others. 

He moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1930 and toured the TOBA vaudeville circuit and recorded with Sam Price. In 1938 he suffered a stroke that left his right hand somewhat paralyzed and affected his piano playing for the rest of his life, but he remained active as a vocalist until he regained enough strength in his hand to play again.  


In the early 1940s Cow Cow briefly left the music business and 
Davenport with Art Hodes
worked as a washroom attendant at the Onyx Club on 52nd Street in New York where he was found by the jazz pianist Art Hodes. Hodes assisted in his rehabilitation and helped him find new recording contracts as he was able to do some limited piano playing 

In 1942 Freddie Slack's Orchestra scored a huge hit with "Cow Cow Boogie" with vocals by seventeen year old Ella Mae Morse which sparked the Boogie-Woogie craze of the early 1940s; this led to a revival of interest in Davenport's music.   

He tried to make a "comeback" in the forties and fifties but his career was often interrupted by sickness. He died in 1955 of heart problems in Cleveland. He is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Bedford Heights, Ohio. He is a member of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Cripple Clarence Lofton called him a major influence. 

(Compiled and edited from various sources mainly Wikipedia & Red Hot Jazz)

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Glen Campbell born 22 April 1936

 
Glen Travis Campbell (April 22, 1936 – August 8, 2017) was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, television host, and actor.

Born Glen Travis Campbell, his father was a sharecropper and Glen was his seventh son, making him the seventh son of a seventh son. He learned to play music on a five-dollar guitar he received from his father, taking lessons from an uncle. His family moved to
Houston when he was an adolescent and from there, he moved to Albuquerque to join his uncle's band, Dick Bills and the Sandia Mountain Boys, later forming his own group, the Western Wranglers. 

In 1960, Campbell moved to Los Angeles to become a session musician. That October, he joined the Champs. By January 1961, Campbell had found a daytime job at publishing company American Music, writing songs and recording demos. Because of these demos Campbell soon was in demand as a session musician and became part of a group of studio musicians later known as the Wrecking Crew. Campbell played on recordings by the Beach Boys, Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, the Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean, Frank Sinatra, Ronnie Dove, Phil Spector and Elvis Presley.
 
In May 1961, he left the Champs and was subsequently signed by Crest Records, a subsidiary of American Music. His first solo release, "Turn Around, Look at Me", a moderate success, peaked at number 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. Campbell also formed the Gee Cees with former bandmembers from the Champs, performing at the Crossbow Inn in Van Nuys. The Gee Cees, too, released a single on Crest, the instrumental "Buzz Saw", which did not chart.  

In 1962, Campbell signed with Capitol Records. After minor initial success with "Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry", his first single for the label, and "Kentucky Means Paradise", released by the Green River Boys featuring Glen Campbell, a string of unsuccessful singles and albums followed. By 1963 his playing and singing were heard on 586 recorded songs. He never learned to read music, but besides guitar, he could play the banjo, mandolin and bass. 

From 1964 on, Campbell began to appear on television as a regular on Star Route, a syndicated series hosted by Rod Cameron, ABC's Shindig!, and Hollywood Jamboree. From December 1964 to early March 1965, Campbell was a touring member of the Beach Boys, filling in for Brian Wilson, playing bass guitar and singing falsetto harmonies. 

 
 
                                 
 
  He first solo hit was 1967's 'Gentle on My Mind' which was a minor success upon its first release. The song was followed by the bigger hit "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" later in 1967, and "I Wanna Live" and "Wichita Lineman" in 1968, remaining on Billboard's Top 100 charts for 15 weeks. He won four Grammy Awards for "Gentle on My Mind" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix". Later that year, he was a television star as well, starring in 'The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour' on CBS, which ran for three years.  

In 1969, he hit the big screen as a co-star in the John Wayne film 'True Grit'. His songs hit the charts regularly, though seldom becoming big hits. He finally had a resurgence in the mid-'70s with 'Rhinestone Cowboy', one of the biggest hits of 1975, and 'Southern Nights', a remake of an Allen Toussaint song. Campbell began having problems with alcoholism and cocaine addiction in the 1970s. Campbell credited his fourth wife Kim with helping him turn his life around. Campbell eventually stopped drinking alcohol and taking drugs in 1987 but relapsed in 2003. 
 

In all, Campbell recorded nearly 60 albums and appeared in several films. In 1994, he wrote his memoir; 'Rhinestone Cowboy' and he became a regular performer in Branson, Missouri, playing his hits. 

In 2011, he announced he had Alzheimer's Disease and despite the diagnosis, he released an album, 'Ghost on the Canvas' to positive reviews, and followed it with a tour. He earned several awards, including a lifetime honour from the Grammys. Later, he was featured in the documentary, 'Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me'. A song from the movie, 'I'm Not Gonna Miss You', was nominated for an Oscar.

He became a patient at an Alzheimer's long-term care and treatment facility in 2014. Glen died in Nashville, Tennessee on August 8, 2017 at the age of 81 and was buried in the Campbell family cemetery at Billstown, Arkansas.


In April 2017, Campbell's final album, Adiós, was announced, featuring twelve songs from his final 2012–13 sessions. The album was released on June 9, 2017. Adios was named by the UK's Official Charts Company as the best-selling country/Americana album of 2017 in Britain. 

(Compiled and edited from various sources mainly Wikipedia)