Several excellent musicians passed away in 2014, here we celebrate their lives and contributions to the world of music.
3 January 2014: Phil Everly
The first of our dead musicians of 2014 is Phil Everly, one half of The Everly Brothers, who spent nearly 60 years harmonizing on classics like “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and “Bye Bye Love”. Phil was born in Chicago, Illinois, and spent most of his childhood in Iowa before the family moved to Tennessee in 1953.
The Everly Brothers were country-influenced rock and roll singers, known for acoustic guitar and close harmony singing. They were spotted by Chet Atkins and signed for Columbia Records in 1956.
The Everly Brothers had 35 Billboard Top-100 singles, 26 in the top 40, and hold the record for the most Top-100 singles by any duo. In the UK, they had 30 chart singles, 29 in the top 40, 13 top 10, and 4 at No. 1 between 1957 and 1984. They had 12 top-40 albums between 1960 and 2009.
They were one of the first ten artists to be elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Phil Everly died in Burbank, California, 16 days before his 75th birthday, of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on 3 January 2014.
18 January 2014: Dennis “Fergie” Frederiksen
Dennis Hardy Frederiksen (May 15, 1951 – January 18, 2014) was an American rock singer and lead singer of Trillion, Angel, LeRoux and Toto, as well as providing backing vocals for Survivor.
He sang on hit singles in three consecutive years, with three different bands: Survivor’s “American Heartbeat” in 1982, LeRoux’s “Carrie’s Gone” in 1983 and Toto’s “Stranger in Town” in 1984.
He died from cancer on January 18, 2014 at his home in Mound, Minnesota
27 January 2014: Pete Seeger
Peter Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014) was an American folk singer and social activist. He had a string of hit records in the early 1950s as a member of the Weavers, most notably with Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene”, which topped the charts in 1950, for 13 weeks.
He re-emerged in the 1960s as a prominent singer of protest music in support of international disarmament, civil rights, counterculture, and environmental causes.
A prolific songwriter, he was best-known for songs including “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”, “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, which have been recorded by many artists and are sung throughout the world. “Flowers” was a hit recording for the Kingston Trio (1962); Marlene Dietrich, who recorded it in English, German and French (1962); and Johnny Rivers (1965). “If I Had a Hammer” was a hit for Peter, Paul and Mary (1962), Trini Lopez (1963) and the Byrds had a number one hit with “Turn! Turn! Turn!” in 1965.
Pete Seeger was one of the folk singers responsible for popularizing the spiritual “We Shall Overcome” which became the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.
He died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on January 27, 2014, aged 94
17 February 2014: Bob Casale
Robert Edward “Bob” Casale, Jr. (14 July 1952 – 17 February 2014), was born in Kent, Ohio. He was an American multi-instrumentalist, composer, and record producer with a music career spanning more than 40 years. From 1973 he was the keyboardist and rhythm guitarist of the new wave band Devo who released a Top 20 hit in 1980 with the single “Whip It” and maintained a cult following for many years.
He died of heart failure in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 61.
24 February 2014: Franny Beecher
Francis “Franny” Beecher (29 September 1921 – 24 February 2014), was born and died in Pennsylvania. He was lead guitarist in the Benny Goodman Orchestra from 1948 to 1949, and the lead guitarist for Bill Haley & His Comets from 1954 to 1962.
His guitar solos mixed country music and jazz, and he wrote the classics “Blue Comet lues”, “Goofin’ Around” and “Shaky” when he was the lead guitarist for Bill Haley and the Comets. He continued to perform with the surviving members of the Comets until 2006 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of the Comets, in 2012.
He died in his sleep from natural causes on 24 February 2014, aged 92.
26 February 2014: Paco De Lucia
Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gómez (21 December 1947 – 26 February 2014), known as Paco de Lucía was a Spanish virtuoso flamenco guitarist, composer and producer. He helped legitimize flamenco among the Spanish establishment and was one of the first flamenco guitarists to cross over successfully into other genres of music such as classical and jazz.
In the late 1970s his collaborations with guitarists John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola and Larry Coryell saw him gain wider popularity outside of his homeland of Spain and become probably the world’s most famous flamenco guitarist.
Paco de Lucía died of a heart attack while on holiday with his family in Mexico, on 25 February 2014, aged 66.
15 March 2014: Scott Asheton
Scott Randolph Asheton (16 August 1949 – 15 March 2014) was an American musician, best known as the drummer for the Stooges, which he co-formed with Iggy Pop in 1967. He was the only member of the band, other than Iggy, to play on all five of the Stooges studio albums.
The 1974 breakup of the Stooges hit Asheton, who had become a heroin addict, hard and he was reduced to living on the streets of Los Angeles. He eventually sold his drum kit and bought a ticket back to his childhood home town of Detroit, where he survived by working as a carpenter and bricklayer. He was then recruited as drummer for the Rendezvous Band, who managed to release only one single in six years, although they did also back Iggy Pop in 1978.
Scott kept in touch with Iggy Pop and a Stooges revival finally came about in 2003. They began touring regularly in 2004, and in 2007 they released a new album, The Weirdness. The Stooges were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
After a show in France on 17 June 2011, Scott suffered a severe stroke, which caused his temporary retirement from playing live. He returned for a gig at the Austin City Limits festival in 2012 and played on the Iggy & the Stooges album Ready To Die in 2013, but was unable to do full-scale touring again.
He died of a heart attack, aged 64, on 15 March 2014.
23 March 2014: Dave Brockie
David “Dave” Brockie (30 August 1963 – 23 March 2014), was a Canadian musician and lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Gwar, in which he performed as Oderus Urungus.
He also performed as bassist and lead singer in Death Piggy, X-Cops, and the Dave Brockie Experience (DBX), as well as starring in the comedy/horror TV sitcom Holliston as Oderus Urungus.
He died of a heroin overdose in Richmond, Virginia in 2014, aged 40.
15 April 2014: Shane Gibson
Shane Paul Gibson (February 21, 1979 – April 15, 2014) was an American musician and touring guitarist for the American metal group Korn. He also played lead guitar for the solo tour of Korn’s Jonathan Davis.
He died from complications from a blood clotting disorder on April 15, 2014, in Birmingham, Alabama, aged 35.
12 May 2014: Ernie Chataway
Ernie Chataway (2 September 1952 – 12 May 2104) was a co-founder and guitarist with Judas Priest and played with the British heavy metal band in 1969 and 1970.
He died of cancer on 12 May 2102, aged 62.
27 June 2014: Bobby Womack
Robert Dwayne Womack (March 4, 1944 – June 27, 2014) was an American singer, songwriter and record producer. His Career started in the early 1960s as the lead singer of his family musical group the Valentinos and as Sam Cooke’s backing guitarist. His career lasted more than 60 years, playing R&B, soul, rock and roll, gospel, and country.
He was a prolific songwriter who wrote and originally recorded the Rolling Stones’ first UK number one hit, “It’s All Over Now” His songs were also recorded by Janis Joplin, Georgie Fame, Kellie Rowland, George Benson and Mary J Blige.
Bobby Womack died at his home in Tarzana, California on June 27, 2014, aged 70.
11 July 2014: Tommy Ramone
Thomas Erdelyi (January 29, 1949 – July 11, 2014), known as Tommy Ramone, was a record producer, musician, and songwriter. He was the drummer for the legendary, influential punk rock band the Ramones (One of the LOUDEST band I ever saw live!) for the first four years their existence and was the last surviving original member of the Ramones.
Tommy Ramone died at his home in New York on July 11, 2014, following unsuccessful treatment for bile duct cancer, aged 65.
16 July 2014: Johnny Winter
John Dawson Winter III (February 23, 1944 – July 16, 2014), known as Johnny Winter, was an American musician, singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist.
He was best known for his high-energy blues-rock albums and live performances in the late 1960s and 1970s, and produced three Grammy Award-winning albums for the one and only, legendary blues singer and guitarist Muddy Waters. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1988 and was ranked 63rd in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” in 2003.
He was found dead in his hotel room two days after his last performance, at the Cahors Blues Festival in France, at the age of 70. The cause of his death was not officially released but it is believed that he died of emphysema combined with pneumonia.
30 July 2014: Dick Wagner
Richard Allen “Dick” Wagner (December 14, 1942 – July 30, 2014) was an American rock guitarist and songwriter, who was best known for his work with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, and KISS. He also fronted his own Michigan-based bands, the Frost and the Bossmen.
He died of respiratory failure in Phoenix, Arizona on July 30, 2014, aged 71.
28 August 2014: Glenn Cornick
Glenn Douglas Barnard Cornick (23 April 1947 – 28 August 2014) was a British bass player, and founding member of Jethro Tull and played on their first three albums.
He died in Hawaii from congestive heart failure on 28 August 2014, aged 67.
9 September 2014: Robert “Throb” Young
Robert “Throb” Young (1964 – 9 September 2014) was a Scottish musician and member of the rock band Primal Scream from 1984 to 2006.
He joined Primal Scream near to the start of their career in the mid-80s and was with them until 2006. He joined as bassist but switched to guitar after the release of their debut album Sonic Flower Groove and the departure of guitarist Jim Beattie. He was instrumental is the band’s switch to a harder rocking sound on their second album, Primal Scream and their next album, Screamadelica, won the Mercury music prize in 1992.
He was found dead in his flat in East Sussex on the afternoon of 9 September 2014, aged 49. A cause of death has not been officially announced but Primal Scream’s manager, Alan McGee, has suggested that it was a result of drug/alcohol abuse.
8 October 2014: Mark Bell
Mark Bell (c. 1971 – 8 October 2014) was a British musician and producer of electronic house music. He was a member of the pioneering electronic music group LFO, who were pioneers of the bass-heavy techno, IDM, and acid house music of the late 1980s to mid-1990s. He also collaborated with a wide range of artists including Björk, Erasure and Depeche Mode, whose album Exciter he produced.
He died from complications resulting from surgery, aged 43.
25 October 2014: Jack Bruce
John Symon Asher “Jack” Bruce (14 May 1943 – 25 October 2014) was a Scottish musician, singer and songwriter known mainly for his work with Cream, which also included Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker. He sang “White Room,” “Sunshine of Your Love” and many other of their most beloved songs.
Rolling Stone readers selected him as the eighth greatest bass guitarist of all time in 2011, and the magazine said. “Most musicians would have a very hard time distinguishing themselves if they wound up in a band with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, but Jack Bruce was so gifted on the bass that he did it with ease.”
Jack Bruce died from liver disease on 25 October 2014, aged 71.
11 November 2014: Big Bank Hank
Henry “Big Bank Hank” Lee Jackson (January 11, 1956 – November 11, 2014), was an American old school rapper and manager. He was a member of the trio The Sugarhill Gang, who were the first hip hop act to have a hit with the cross-over single “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979.
A resident of Tenafly, New Jersey, he died from cancer at Englewood Hospital on November 11, 2014, aged 57.
17 November 2014: Jimmy Ruffin
James “Jimmy” Lee Ruffin (May 7, 1936 – November 17, 2014) was an American soul singer, and elder brother of David Ruffin of the Temptations. He had many hit records between the 1960s and 1980s, the most famous being the Top 10 hits “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and “Hold On (To My Love)”.
Jimmy moved to Britain in the 1980s. In 1984 he collaborated with Paul Weller on the song Soul Deep and in 1986 he sang on Heaven 17’s songs A Foolish Thing to Do and My Sensitivity. During the 1990s, he branched out into radio work, and made the seven-part series Jimmy Ruffin’s Sweet Soul Music for Radio 2.
After his brother David died of a cocaine overdose in 1991, Jimmy became a committed anti-drugs campaigner.
Jimmy Ruffin died in Las Vegas on November 17, 2014 with the cause of death still not publically known.
2 December 2014: Bobby Keys
Robert Henry “Bobby” Keys (December 18, 1943 – December 2, 2014) was an American saxophonist who performed as a member of several horn sections of the 1970s. He appeared on albums by the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Harry Nilsson, George Harrison, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker and may others. He played on hundreds of recordings and toured from 1956 until his death in 2014.
He died from liver cancer at his home in Franklin, Tennessee, on December 2, 2014 aged 70 – sixteen days before his 71st birthday.
3 December 2014: Ian McLagan
Ian McLagan (12 May 1945 – 3 December 2014) was an English keyboard instrumentalist for the Faces and Small Faces. His versatile, forceful playing defined rock & roll classics like “Stay With Me”.
He also did session work and backed many artists including Chuck Berry, Jackson Browne, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Raitt, Izzy Stradlin, John Hiatt, Frank Black, John Mayer and Bruce Springsteen.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.
Ian McLagan died in Austin, Texas from a stroke aged 69.
22 December 2014: Joe Cocker
John Robert “Joe” Cocker, OBE (20 May 1944 – 22 December 2014) was a singer and musician known for his gritty voice and definitive versions of popular songs.
His cover of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” reached number one in the UK in 1968 and he performed it at Woodstock in 1969. He also sang it at the Party at the Palace concert for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002. His cover of “You Are So Beautiful”, in 1974, reached number five in the US.
Cocker was the recipient of several awards, including a Grammy Award in 1983 for his US number one duet with Jennifer Warnes “Up Where We Belong”.
In 2008 he received an OBE for services to music in the UK. He was also ranked number 97 on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest singers list.
Joe Cocker died in Crawford, Colorado from lung cancer on 22 December 2014, aged 70.
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