Monday, December 31, 2018

The Day The Music Died: To Those Country Music Lost in 2018

K.F. Raizor, author of the website Raizor's Edge and the book We Can't Sing and We Ain't Funny: The World of Homer and Jethro is our guest writer today on That Nashville Sound. She's ever so gracious to provide wonderful tributes to honor those to whom the music we treasure just wouldn't be the same without. Thank you, K.F.

Here are the people who sang their final song in 2018.

Sammy Allred (May 9, unknown cause, age 84): known to a generation of fans as "Sam Geezinslaw" of the Geezinslaw Brothers, he was also a longtime, award-winning Austin, Texas DJ.

Casey Anderson (November 26, natural causes, age 92): the former husband and songwriter partner of Liz Anderson and the father of Lynn Anderson.

Rayburn Anthony (April 21, unknown cause, age 80): rockabilly singer/songwriter for Sun Records in its early days, he later became a member of Billy Walker's band and co-wrote Walker's #1 hit "Sing Me a Love Song to Baby."

Charles Aznavour (October 1, natural causes, age 94): the "French Frank Sinatra" was an accomplished singer and songwriter. One of his best-known songs, "Hier Encore," was a 1969 country and pop hit for Roy Clark as "Yesterday, When I Was Young."

Stu Basore (February 5, Lewy Body dementia, age 80): steel guitarist who played with numerous greats, including providing the mournful steel on Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You."

Delia Bell (June 15, natural causes, age 83): longtime bluegrass performer as a solo act and as part of a duet with Bill Grant.

John T. Benson III (October 28, natural causes, age 90): Gospel Music Hall of Fame former head of the Benson Music Company, founded by Benson's grandfather and recognized as the oldest permanent music organization in Nashville.

Ponty Bone (July 13, progressive supranuclear palsy, age 78): legendary Texas accordion player who had his own band, the Squeezetones, as well as touring as a member of Joe Ely's band.

Jerry Chesnut (December 15, natural causes, age 87): Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famers who gave the world songs ranging from heartbreak ballads ("It's Four in the Morning," "A Good Year for the Roses") to vibrant foot-stompers ("T-R-O-U-B-L-E").

Brandon Church (June 29, seizure, age 36): brother of singer Eric Church and co-writer of his brother's hit "Without You Here."

Roger Clark (May 24, heart attack, age 67): Muscle Shoals session drummer who worked on albums by artists as diverse as Carl Perkins, Hank Williams Jr., Conway Twitty, and T.G. Sheppard.

Roy Clark (November 15, pneumonia, age 85): Country Music Hall of Fame singer, multi-instrumental wizard, and Hee Haw host who delighted audiences for decades.

Lorrie Collins (August 4, illness, age 76): half of rockabilly's Collins Kids, who appeared countless times on Town Hall Party.

Larry "Big D" Doolittle (October 17, unknown cause, age 61): the merchandising manager for Hank Williams Jr. for 40 years.

Nokie Edwards (March 12, long illness, age 82): Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member of the Ventures (of "Walk, Don't Run" fame) who also worked as a guitarist with Buck Owens in the early days of Owens' career.

Gene Eichelberger (October 9, long illness, age 77): legendary Nashville recording engineer who worked with greats in country (Johnny Cash, Vern Gosdin, Randy Travis), rock (Bob Seger, Grand Funk), and folk (Joan Baez, Cat Stevens).

Phil Emmanuel (May 24, asthma, age 65): Australian guitarist who worked with numerous country guitarists (including Chet Atkins) as well as his brother, Tommy.

Helen Farmer (May 13, natural causes, age 92): longtime executive at the Country Music Association.

D.J. Fontana (June 14, natural causes, age 87): the last surviving member of Elvis' 1950s band was also an in-demand session drummer who worked with countless country and rock acts.

Bob Fuller (June 7, complications of diabetes/broken leg, age 84): Canadian country music singer and founder of the Old-Time Country Music Club of Canada.

Pete Goble (July 25, unknown cause, age 86): bluegrass songwriter who wrote such tunes as "Tennessee 1949" and "Blue Virginia Blues."

Dr. Billy Graham (February 21, natural causes, age 99): evangelist whose televised crusades included countless country singers, including Johnny Cash and Ricky Skaggs.

Dr. Burton Grant (June 30, long illness, age 86): father of Amy Grant and father-in-law of Vince Gill.

Steve Hall (December 28, natural causes, age 64): in addition to his work as a singer and comedian, he was the puppeteer behind Nashville Now's Shotgun Redd.

Freddie Hart (October 27, pneumonia, age 91): legendary country singer and songwriter with hits such as "The Key's in the Mailbox" and "Easy Loving."

Kersto Herston (December 4, unknown cause, age 87): country music executive at United Artists (where he helped promote the success of Del Reeves), Mercury (bringing Jerry Lee Lewis into country), and a producer for Sonny James' hits at Capitol.

Brandon Jenkins (March 2, complications of heart surgery, age 48): Red Dirt singer/songwriter.

Michael "Cookie Monster" Jones (February 8, unknown cause, age 65): pedal steel guitarist who worked with the Louvin Brothers, Barbara Mandrell, and Connie Smith.

Mike Kennedy (August 31, car wreck, age 59): the drummer in George Strait's Ace in the Hole band for 30 years.

Roberta "Bert" LaBour (January 26, cancer, age 59): wife of Fred "Too Slim" LaBour of Riders in the Sky and Emmy-winning costumer designer for the Riders in the Sky's TV program.

Jake Landers (February 13, unknown cause, age 79): bluegrass musician and songwriter whose credits include "Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine."

Billy Ray Lantham (August 19, long illness, age 80): banjo player for the Dillards and, later, the Bluegrass Cardinals.

Polly Lewis (August 19, Parkinson's disease/Lewy Body dementia, age 81): member of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame group the Lewis Family.

Jim Malloy (July 5, natural causes, age 96): longtime recording engineer who worked with artists as diverse as Henry Mancini, Eddy Arnold, Charley Pride, and Doris Day. He was also the sound engineer for Johnny Cash's TV series.

Steve Mandell (March 14, prostate cancer, age 76): bluegrass guitarist whose best-known work was as half of the duet who performed "Dueling Banjos" for the film Deliverance.

George McCeney (August 11, long illness, age 79): co-founder of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine and a board member of the International Bluegrass Music Museum.

George McCormick (February 5, natural causes, age 84): longtime session guitarist who worked with Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton (together and separately), as well has having his own recordings.

Johnny Mosby (February 19, unknown cause, age 84): half of the 60s then-husband-and-wife country duo Johnny and Jonie Mosby, who gave us hits such as "Just Hold My Hand" and "Don't Call Me From a Honky Tonk."

Kenny O'Dell (March 29, natural causes, age 73): Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member who composed a number of award-winning hits, including Charlie Rich's classic "Behind Closed Doors" and the Judds' hit "Mama, He's Crazy."

Floyd Parton (December 6, illness, age 61): the brother of Dolly Parton wrote songs, the best-known of which is "Rockin' Years."

Tom Perryman (January 11, long illness, age 90): Country DJ Hall of Fame disc jockey and one-time business partner with Jim Reeves.

Billy Poe (October 31, unknown cause, age 77): steel guitarist whose work included time in Billy Walker's band.

Royce Porter (May 31, unknown cause, age 79): 50s rockabilly singer who became a hit country songwriter, penning songs such as "Ocean Front Property" and "Miami, My Amy."

Ronnie Prophet (March 2, multiple organ failure, age 80): Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee with a career that lasted five decades.

Felton Pruett (September 19, natural causes, age 89): steel guitarist on the Louisiana Hayride throughout the show's entire history, he also played steel with Hank Williams.

Eddie Reeves (November 18, unknown cause, age 79): executive at Warner Brothers' Nashville office, he also co-wrote the song "Rings," a hit for Tompall and the Glaser Brothers.

Herb Remington (October 26, natural causes, age 92): Steel Guitar Hall of Fame member, Texas Playboy, and steel guitar designer (Remington Steel Guitars).

Burt Reynolds (September 6, heart attack, age 82): the legendary actor had several connections to country music, including co-starring with Jerry Reed in Smokey and the Bandit and Dolly Parton in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (in which he also sang a duet with Parton).

Norm Rogers (February 19, cancer, age 61): former drummer for the Americana band the Jayhawks.

Dave Rowland (November 1, stroke, age 74): besides being the "Dave" in the late 70s trio Dave & Sugar, he was a member of the Four Guys and sang backup with Charley Pride.

Ronnie Samoset (July 29, unknown cause, age 71): songwriter who wrote hits such as "A Jukebox With a Country Song" and "Lying to the Moon."

Dave Schober (May 23, leukemia, age unknown): recording engineer who worked with the likes of Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, and Josh Turner.

Randy Scruggs (April 17, short illness, age 64): Earl Scruggs' son and the namesake of "Randy Lynn Rag" had his own career as a Grammy-winning musician.

Wayne Secrest (June 2, illness, age 68): the founder and original guitarist for the band Confederate Railroad.

Ben Selecman (September 12, injuries from a fall, age 29): son-in-law of Country Music Hall of Fame singer Alan Jackson.

Daryle Singletary (February 12, suspected heart attack, age 46): neo-traditionalist country singer who rose to prominence in the 1990s.

Beverly Sloan (August 27, unknown cause, age 79): wife of Melvin Sloan, leader of the Opry's square dance troupe the Melvin Sloan Dancers, and part of the dance group.

Hazel Smith (March 18, heart failure, age 83): longtime country music journalist and publicist, she was credited with coining the term "outlaw music."

Glenn Snoddy (May 21, natural causes, age 96): longtime recording engineer in Nashville, he accidentally invented the "fuzz tone" sound on Marty Robbins' hit "Don't Worry," and later replicated the sound in a "fuzz pedal."

Neil Stretcher (August 16, unknown cause, age 80): Grand Ole Opry staff band pianist for over a dozen years as well as a singer and songwriter.

Joe Taylor (May 14, unknown cause, age 85): one of Nashville's biggest booking agents, he promoted two generations' worth of country stars, from Dave Dudley to Sylvia. He also worked for Martha White Flour as advertising manager when the brand became associated with bluegrass music.

Ernie Thacker (April 10, bone infection, age 46): bluegrass guitarist and singer who got his start in Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys, and who overcame a near-fatal car wreck in 2006 to return to performing.

Fay Jennings Thompson (September 5, unknown cause, age 86): member of the Anita Kerr Singers and an author of books on the history of shape note singing.

Billy ThunderKloud (ne Vincent Clifford) (June 5, complications of a stroke, age 70): Canadian country music singer, whose biggest hit was "What Time of Day" in the 70s, remembered for wearing costumes to highlight his native ancestry.

Bill Wagner (October 13, unknown cause, age 55): writer for Bluegrass Unlimited, Acoustic Guitar, and Old-Time Herald.

Dean Webb (June 30, unknown cause, age 81): mandolin player in the Bluegrass Hall of Fame group the Dillards.

Herman Webb (July 28, unknown cause, age 83): brother of Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle.

Earl Webster (April 24, natural causes, age 85): half of the Webster Brothers, a Knoxville-based duet who performed in the same vein and era as the Louvins and the Brewsters.

Lari White (January 23, peritoneal cancer, age 52): 1990s-era country singer who also branched out into acting, appearing in the film Cast Away.

Tony Joe White (October 24, heart attack, age 75): the "Swamp Fox" who blended country, blues, and R&B into a successful mixture with hits such as "Polk Salad Annie."

Jerry Wiggins (June 26, illness, age 73): drummer for Buck Owens during the Hee Haw days, he was also the husband of Owens' duet singer, Susan Raye.

Sam Wilson (February 25, stroke/kidney failure, age 69): guitarist in Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys.

Les Woodie (March 23, natural causes, age 86): bluegrass fiddling great who is part of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame with the Stanley Brothers' band.

Jimmy Work (December 22, natural causes, age 94): songwriter who gave country music several hits, including "Tennessee Border" and, most memorably, "Making Believe."

Also, sadly:

Sean Adler, 48
Blake Dingman, 21
Jacob Dunham, 21
Cody Gifford-Coffman, 22
Sgt. Ron L. Helus, 54
Alaina Housley, 18
Dan Manrique, 33
Justin Meek, 23
Mark Meza, 20
Kristina Morisette, 20
Telemachus Orfanos, 27
Noel Sparks, 21

These twelve individuals were killed when a gunman opened fire inside the Borderline Bar and Grill, a country music venue in Thousand Oaks, California, on November 7.

Farewell, and thank you for the music.

No comments:

Post a Comment