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Jeff Moehlis

Jeff Moehlis: Remembering Musicians Who Died in 2013

A tribute to the famous and not-so-famous artists who passed away last year

Former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek performs at the Sunset Strip Music Festival in 2011.
Former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek performs at the Sunset Strip Music Festival in 2011.  (L. Paul Mann / Noozhawk photo)

By Jeff Moehlis, Noozhawk Contributing Writer |

The following is a list of some of the notable musicians who passed away in 2013, including a few who performed in the Santa Barbara area in recent years. Some are well-known, many are not, but all are worthy of our respect. R.I.P. — Rock In Peace.

» Lou Reed — It has been said that the Velvet Underground sold only a few thousand copies of their first album, but everyone who bought one started a band. Indeed, their influence has been immense, and over the span of the four studio albums for which Reed was the principal songwriter, lyricist and singer, they laid the foundation for much of rock music that lies outside of the mainstream.

Reed also had a notable solo career, with music ranging from glam rock (the Transformer album with the hit "Walk on the Wild Side"), dark drama (the album Berlin), avant noise (Metal Machine Music) and much more. Reed performed at Campbell Hall in 2006.

» Ray Manzarek — He is best known for being the co-founder and keyboard player for The Doors. Since The Doors didn't have a bassist, he also usually covered the bass parts on the keyboard as well. The Doors recorded six acclaimed studio albums before singer Jim Morrison died.

Manzarek has also recorded several solo albums, including The Golden Scarab and The Whole Thing Started with Rock & Roll Now It's Out of Control, both from 1974. His production credits include the debut album by Los Angeles punk band X. Click here for a review of Manzarek's concert at the SOhO Restaurant & Music Club in March 2010.

» George Jones — He is regarded by many as the greatest vocalist in the history of country music. He had No. 1 hits in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, including "White Lightning," "She Thinks I Still Care," "The Grand Tour" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Despite his hard-living lifestyle, Jones made it to the ripe old age of 81, with his final concert just a few weeks before he died.

» Van Cliburn — He won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958 at age 23 with the blessing of Premier Nikita Krushchev, a significant event during the height of the Cold War. He played for every U.S. president from Harry Truman onward.

» Jim Hall — An influential jazz guitarist who began recording in the 1950s, he collaborated with Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Pat Metheny and many others. He received a Jazz Masters award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2004.

» Hugh McCracken — One of the greatest session guitarists ever, he played on recordings by Van Morrison (you can hear him on "Brown Eyed Girl"), John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Steely Dan and many more.

» Richie Havens — He was a folk singer/guitarist who opened the Woodstock concert in 1969, playing for three hours because other acts were delayed in traffic. He released more than 20 albums during his career.

» Alvin Lee — He played fiery, blues-rockin' guitar for Ten Years After, a band best known for their performance of "I'm Going Home" at the Woodstock concert and the hit single "I'd Love to Change the World."

» Bobby "Blue" Bland — He brought influences from blues, jazz, pop and more to his vocals, on display in hits including "Little Boy Blue," "I Pity the Fool" and "That's the Way Love Is."  "Turn On Your Love Light," a song first recorded by Bland, was often covered in concert by The Grateful Dead. Bland was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.

» JJ Cale — Best known through cover versions of his songs "After Midnight" and "Cocaine" by Eric Clapton, he was a hugely respected singer/guitarist/songwriter who helped originate the Tulsa Sound.

» Slim Whitman — One of history's most famous yodellers, he sold millions of records, many through seemingly ubiquitous TV commercials in the 1970s. He showed his sense of humor by allowing his music to be used for killing the aliens in the movie Mars Attacks!

» Annette Funicello — Known primarily as a Mouseketeer in the 1950s and beach party movie actress in the 1960s, she also had hit songs including "Tall Paul" and "Pineapple Princess."

» Ray Price — A country singer who originated the so-called Ray Price shuffle rhythm with 1956's "Crazy Arms." His other hits, of which there were many, include "City Lights," "Heartaches by the Number," "Make the World Go Away" and "For the Good Times."

» Kevin Ayers — A co-founder of the pioneering prog rock band Soft Machine, he left after the band's first album for a solo career that included 1969's Joy of a Toy, 1971's Whatevershebringswesing and 1973's Bananamour.

» Jeff Hanneman — He co-founded and played guitar for thrash metal pioneers Slayer, whose 1986 album Reign in Blood is often hailed as one of the most important and influential heavy metal albums ever produced.

» Patti Page — She was the best-selling female artist in the 1950s, with hits including "Tennessee Waltz" and "(How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window." She continued to have hit songs into the 1960s.

» "Shadow" Morton — He is best known for his songwriting and production for the girl group The Shangri-Las, including co-writing the song "Leader of the Pack." He also produced recordings by Janis Ian, Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly ("In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida") and The New York Dolls.

» Jack Clement — He worked as a producer and engineer at Sun Records, recording songs by Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash (including producing "Ring of Fire") and Jerry Lee Lewis, who he is credited with discovering and whose song "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" he recorded. He also wrote songs including "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" and "Guess Things Happen That Way."

» Phil Ramone — He produced recordings by notable artists including Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and many more.

» Andy Johns — He engineered classic albums by Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones, Blind Faith and more, and produced recordings including television's Marquee Moon.

Other Notable 2013 Musician and Music-Related Deaths

» Peter Banks — original guitarist for Yes, Flash

» Mindy McCready — country singer

» Donald Byrd — jazz trumpeter

» Reg Presley — singer for The Troggs ("Wild Thing")

» Chrissy Amphlett — singer for Divinyls

» Scott Miller — frontman for Game Theory, Loud Family

» Eydie Gorme — pop singer

» Jane Harvey — jazz singer with Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman

» Patty Andrews — member of the Andrews Sisters ("Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B)")

» Stompin' Tom Connors — Canadian country/folk singer

» Tony Sheridan — worked with The Beatles before they were famous

» Jackie Lomax — Apple Records artist, sang "Sour Milk Sea"

» Mick Farren — singer for The Deviants

» Kongar-ol Ondar — acclaimed Tuvan throat singer

» Cleotha Staples — member of The Staple Singers

» George Duke — keyboard player, including with Frank Zappa

» Bryan Gregory — founding guitarist for The Cramps

» Philip Chevron — Pogues guitarist

» Magic Slim — blues singer and guitarist

» Benjamin Curtis — guitarist for School of Seven Bells, a band which opened for Interpol at The Thunderdome at UCSB in February 2011

» John Wilkinson — rhythm guitar for Elvis Presley

» Clive Burr — drummer for Iron Maiden

» Alan Myers — drummer for Devo

» Lee Crystal — drummer for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

» Richard Coughlan — drummer for progressive rock band Caravan

» Ricky Lawson — drummer for The Yellowjackets

» John Brookes — drummer for The Charlatans UK

» Joey Covington — drummer for Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna

» Trevor Bolder — bassist for David Bowie's Spiders from Mars, Uriah Heep

» Cordell "Boogie" Mosson — bassist for Parliament/Funkadelic

» Marshall Lytle — bassist for Bill Haley & His Comets

» Nic Potter — bassist for Van der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammill solo albums

» Tim Wright — bassist for Pere Ubu and DNA

» Faye Hunter — bassist for Let's Active

» Alastair Donaldson — bassist for The Rezillos

» Roger LaVern — played keyboards for The Tornados ("Telstar")

» Steve Knight — played keyboards for Mountain

» Chris Kelly — from Kris Kross

» Gordon Stoker — leader of vocal quartet The Jordanaires, which worked with Elvis Presley

» Yusef Lateef — jazz multi-instrumentalist and composer

» Rick Huxley — founding member of Dave Clark Five

» Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner — singer for The Ohio Players

» Bobby Rogers — founding member of The Miracles, songwriting collaborator with Smokey Robinson

» Richard Street — singer for The Temptations

» Otis "Damon" Harris — singer for The Temptations

» Bobby Smith — lead singer for The Spinners

» Fran Warren — sang "Sunday Kind of Love"

» Marvin Junior — from The Dells, wrote "Oh What a Night"

» Johnny Smith — wrote "Walk Don't Run"

» Tandyn Almer — co-wrote "Along Comes Mary" for The Association, "Sail On, Sailor" for The Beach Boys

» Walter De Maria — drummer for The Primitives, which also included Lou Reed and John Cale and predated The Velvet Underground, also an acclaimed sculptor

» Allen Lanier — worked with Patti Smith, The Clash, The Dictators, Jim Carroll, and was part of the band that became Blue Oyster Cult

» Marian McPartland — host of NPR show "Piano Jazz"

» Storm Thorgerson — did album art for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and more

» Sid Bernstein — promoter who brought British Invasion bands including The Beatles to America

» Deke Richards — co-wrote "ABC", produced Jackson 5

» Jimmy O'Neill — host of Shindig!

» Martin Sharp — did the artwork for Cream's Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire album covers, co-wrote Cream's "Tales of Brave Ulysses"

» Murray Gershenz — record store owner known as "Music Man Murray," and the subject of a documentary that played at the 2012 Santa Barbara International Film Festival; click here for the preview

» Ray Dolby — engineer who invented Dolby noise reduction

» Amar Bose — audio engineer and founder of Bose Corp.

» Paul Tanner — developed the electro-theremin, which was used in The Beach Boys song "Good Vibrations"

» Paul Williams — created Crawdaddy! magazine

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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