Stars we have lost
Steve Burns, aka ‘Doctor Vinyl’, pays tribute to those who we lost in 2012.
Last year was no different from any other year; we lost several people who had made a major impact on the world of music. Here’s a look at some of them.
Johnny Otis left us in January; his biggest hit in the UK was ‘Ma (He’s Making Eyes At Me)’, which got to number two in the chart in 1957. He is probably best known for ‘Willie And The Hand Jive’ which was a big hit in the USA, but never made our charts. Three days after Otis, Etta James (who Otis discovered) also left us. She had a wonderful voice – ‘At Last’ and ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’ (which wasn’t a hit until 1996, although it was recorded in the late 1960s) being the two songs she is best known for.
February saw the death of Whitney Houston at the age of 48. She had a hit single in the UK charts every year between 1985 and 2000 (33 singles in total), including four number one hits, the greatest probably being the song written by Dolly Parton which featured in the film ‘The Bodyguard’ – ‘I will always love you’ topped the chart for ten weeks in 1992/93. Houston also had a starring role in the film.
The month of May saw us lose both Donna Summer and Robin Gibb within three days of each other. Donna Summer had her first hit in 1974 with ‘Love To Love You Baby’, and she had the biggest of her 42 hits with ‘I Feel Love’ in 1977. It was a major hit across the world and changed dance music for years to come.
Robin Gibb had four hit singles in his own right, the best known being ‘Saved By The Bell’ which reached number two in 1969, but was best known for being part of The Bee Gees. They had 38 hit singles, including five number ones, their best time coming with the soundtrack to the film ‘Saturday Night Fever’, which topped the album charts for 18 weeks.Max Bygraves left us in August at the age of 89. A much loved singer, actor, comedian and TV personality, he had a string of hit records including the fabulously titled ‘Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellen Bogen By The Sea’, which reached number seven in 1954. Other well known hits of his included ‘You’re a Pink Toothbrush’, ‘You Need Hands’ and ‘Tulips From Amsterdam’. He later released a series of LPs called ‘Singalongamax’ which sold in huge numbers through the Seventies.
In September we lost Andy Williams. He was known for his great voice which delivered several smooth songs. He only had one number one in the UK – ‘Butterfly’ in 1957 – but also released several timeless songs, ‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You’, ‘Almost There’, ‘Music To Watch Girls By’, ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’, ‘Home Lovin’ Man’, ‘(Where Do I Begin) Theme From Love Story’. Classic songs from a great artist.
Last year we also lost . . .
Bert Weedon, and I bet nearly everyone of a certain age had his book ‘Play in a Day’ when struggling to master the guitar!
Jimmy Jones, who had two big hits in 1960 with ‘Handy Man’ and ‘Good Timing’.
Scott McKenzie had two hits (both in 1967), one being ‘San Francisco’ which topped the charts for four weeks.
Joe South, who had only one hit with ‘Games People Play’ in 1969, but also sang ‘Walk A Mile In My Shoes’.
Dave Brubeck, a giant in the world of jazz, but remembered for just one song, ‘Take Five’. It was recorded in 1959 and reached number six in the charts in 1961 and is still regarded as one of the finest jazz pieces ever.
On December 26, Fontella Bass left us. She had a 1965 hit with ‘Rescue Me’.
Write to Dr Vinyl, Let’s Talk, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 1RE or email email@example.com. We cannot do valuations of individual collections, but can give advice. Contact his 1960s and 1970s disco on 01603 432709 or 07917 351163.