2008 Music Obituaries, May

Eddy Arnold
Eddy Arnold

World Music Central’s list of musicians, scholars and music industry professionals who left us in 2008.


Mary Berry, 90, musicologist. Ms. Berry was a noted Augustinian canoness, choral conductor and musicologist with a specialty in Gregorian Chant. She founded the Schola Gregoriana at Cambridge. She was also a sponsor of the Spode Music Week. She authored Plainchant For Everyone and Cantors: A Collection of Gregorian Chants.

Jim Hager, 61, singer. Part of the Hager Twins or Hager Brothers, Mr. Hager gained fame as a singer and comedian on the television series Hee Haw. The brothers hit it big on the country charts in 1969 with their “Gotta Get to Oklahoma (‘Cause California’s Gettin’ to Me.”

Ilyas Malayev, 72, musician. Mr. Malayev was an Uzbekistani musician and poet who played the tar, tanbur and violin. He became a popular performer in state-sponsored ensembles and noted in the shashmaqam music genre.

Kishan Maharaj, 84, musician. Mr. Maharaj was a tabla player in the Benares Gharana tradition of Hindustani classical music. He played with greats like Ustad Faiyaz Khan, Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan. He is also credited with the compositions “Tala Vadya Kacheri” and “Palghat Raghu.”

Thomas Boggs, 63, musician. Mr. Boggs will be remembered as the drummer for the group the Box Tops. The group had the hit “Sweet Cream Ladies” in 1969 with Mr. Boggs at the drums.

Jerry Wallace, 79, singer. Mr. Wallace was a country singer and best remembered for his songs “How the Time Flies,” “Shutters and Boards” and “If You Leave Me Tonight I’ll Cry.” He earned a Country Music Association award as the Male Vocalist of the Year and a Single of the Year award for his “To Get To You.”

Franz Jackson, 95, musician. Mr. Jackson was a clarinetist and saxophonist who played such clubs as Joe’s Bebop Café and Andy’s in Chicago. He was honored with a jazz Mater Award in 1996 from Arts Midwest.

D.C. Minner, 73, musician. Considered a blues musician, as well as a teacher and philosopher, Mr. Minner played with such luminaries as Chuck Berry, Freddie King and Bo Diddley. He was inducted into the Oklahoma jazz Hall of Fame in 1999. Mr. Minner also owned the Down Home Blues Club where the Dusk ‘til Dawn Blues Festival is held in Rentiesville, Oklahoma.

Eddy Arnold, 89, singer. Mr. Arnold was popular country music singer who had 146 songs that made it onto the country music charts. His discography includes The Chapel on the Hill, Sometimes I’m Happy, Sometimes I’m Blue, The Glory of Love and After All These Years. Mr. Arnold was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966.

Larry Levine, 80, audio engineer. Mr. Levine was an audio engineer and collaborator with Phil Spector and the Wall of Sound recording technique. He won a 1966 Grammy Award for the Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass recording A Taste of Honey.

Frioz Dastur, 89, singer. Mr. Dastur was a vocalist in the Kirana Gharana school of Hindustani classical music. He frequently performed at the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival. In addition to his musical career, Mr. Dastur was an actor in Indian films in the 1930s.

Pascal Sevran, 62, lyricist. As well as a singer and songwriter, Mr. Sevran was also a French television host, producer and an author. He wrote the songs Il Venait D’Avoir 18 Ans” and “Comme Disait Mistinguett.”

Leyla Gencer, 79, singer. A popular opera soprano from Turkey, Ms Gencer was known as “La Diva Turca” or “La Regina.” Her performances include Madame Butterfly, Aida and L’Assassino Nella Cattedrale at La Scala. She was best known for her Donizetti roles in Belisario, Anna Bolena and Lucrezia Borgia.

Jessica Jacobs, 17, singer. A singer and actress from Australia, Ms. Jacobs appeared in children’s series and a production of The Sound of Music. Playing bass in the rock band The Volten Sins, Ms. Jacobs can be heard on The Saddle Club soundtrack and the 2003 single “Trouble”

Mario Schiano, 74, musician. Mr. Schiano was a saxophonist in the free jazz movement. He was a member of the Italian Instabile Orchestra and recorded with musicians Famoudou Don Moye, Eugenio Colombo and Gianluigi Trovesi. His discography includes On the Waiting List, Redland Blue and Uncaged with Famoudou Don Moye.

Dottie Rambo, 74, singer, songwriter and musician. A gospel singer and songwriter, Ms. Rambo wrote more than twenty-five hundred songs, including “He Looked Beyond My Fault” and “Go to the rock.” She won a Grammy Award, a Dove award and was given an ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award. .

John Rutsey, 55, musician. Mr. Rutsey is best remembered as the drummer and co-founder of the group Rush. His discography includes Rush, Fly by Night and Snakes & Arrow.

Alexander Courage, 88, composer. Mr. Courage was an orchestrator, arranger and composer for television and film. He worked on such films as Gigi, Funny Face and Superman. His work for television includes the theme music for Star Trek: The Original Series, Lost in Space and Daniel Boone.

Walt Dickerson, 80, musician. Mr. Dickerson was a jazz vibraphonist with the likes of Andrew Hill, John Coltrane and Andrew Cyrille. His discography includes Infinite You, Evelyn, Death and Taxes, Visions, To My Queen, Vibes in Motion and The Cry.

Bob Florence, 75, composer and arranger. Mr. Florence was a jazz pianist and arranger who worked with the likes of Herb Geller, Frank Capp and Bob Enevoldsen. He also worked as an arranger for Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich and Count Basie. He was awarded a Grammy award for Best Large jazz Ensemble Performance in 2000. His recordings include Earth and Serendipity.

Jolyon Brettingham Smith, 58, composer and musicologist. Mr. Brettingham Smith was a composer, conductor, performer and author, as well as a radio host. His compositions include The Ruins of Time, Dancing Days and The Doors of Perception. He was also a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts.

Wilfrid Mellers, 94, author, composer, musicologist and music critic. In addition to writing for the publication Scrutiny, Mr. Mellers was professor and head of the music department at the University of York and an honorary fellow at Downing College. His writing on music includes Music and Society: England and the European Tradition, Music in the Making and A Darker Shade of Pale: A Backdrop to Bob Dylan.

Michelle Meldrum, 39, musician. Ms. Meldrum was a rock guitarist with the bands Phantom Blue and Meldrum. Her recordings include New Renaissance Records Compilation with the group Wargod, Phantom Blue and Built to Perform with the group Phantom Blue and Loaded Mental Cannon and Blowin’ Up the Machine with the group Meldrum.

Siegmund Nissel, 86, musician. Mr. Nissel was a violinist with the Amadeus Quartet and later served as the group’s administrator. He was also a professor at the Royal Academy of Music.

Utah Phillips, 73, singer. Born Bruce Duncan Phillips, Utah Phillips was a folk singer, poet and labor activist, known as the “Golden Voice of the Great Southwest.” An avid traveler, story teller and activist, Mr. Phillips championed workers, the homeless and the downtrodden through his music. His recordings include I’ve Got to Know, Fellow Workers, Starlight on the Rails: A Songbook and Rebel Voices.

Jimmy McGriff, 72, musician. Mr. McGriff was a bop, soul and jazz organist who is remembered by his Hammond B3 organ playing. Mr. McGriff recorded such hits as “I’ve Got A Woman” and “All About My Girl.” He is also remembered for the blues/jazz recording Blues for Mr. Jimmy, for the Black Pearl recording with Junior Parker and The Last Blues Album Volume 1 with Buddy Rich.

Sonny Okosun, 61, musician. Mr. Okosun was one of Nigeria’s leading musicians and a member of The Postmen, Melody Maestros and leader of Paperback Limited and Ozziddi. He is best remembered for his songs “Fire in Soweto” and “Highlife.” He later became a gospel musician using the name Evangelist Sonny Okosun.

Camu Tao, 30, rapper and producer. Mr. Tao was a rapper, producer and part of the duo S.A. Smash with the rapper Metro and member of the Weathermen. His recordings include King of Hearts, Nighthawks with The Nighthawks and Smashy Trashy with S.A. Smash, as well as singles “Hear Me Talking to You and “Hold the Floor.”

Earle Hagen, 88, composer. Mr. Hagen is remembered for his contribution of music for film and television, including co-writing “The Fishin’ Hole” theme from The Andy Griffith Show and “Harlem Nocturne for the Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer series. He also composed the themes for The Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl and The Mod Squad. He later went on to write books on musical scoring, including Advanced Techniques for Film Scoring and his autobiography Memoirs of a Famous Composer-Nobody Ever Heard of.

Howlin’ Dave, 52, disc jockey. A Filipino radio disc jockey, Howlin’Dave is best remembered for championing Pinoy or Filipino rock music to listeners. Once called “the best rock DJ the Philippines ever had,” Howlin’ Dave also introduced punk and new wave music to listeners and hosted the New Wave Nights radio program.

Danny Moss, 80, musician. A jazz tenor saxophonist, Mr. Moss is remembered for his performing with British jazz luminaries like Vic Lewis, Ted Heath and Humphrey Lyttelton. During his career, he played with greats like Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. His recordings include Weaver of Dreams, Good Life and Easy to Remember.

Campbel Burnap, 68, musician and singer. Mr. Burnap was a jazz trombonist and singer who played with the Hot Sands jazz Band and Geoff Bull’s Olympia jazz Band. He also played with Ian Armit, Alan Elsdon and Alex Welsh.

Nat Temple, 94, bandleader and musician. Mr. Temple was a big band leader, as well as a clarinetist and saxophonist. Over his career, Mr. Temple played with greats like Eartha Kitt, Petula Clark, Mel Torme and Paul Daniels.

Author: TJ Nelson

TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.

Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.

Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.


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