Rest in peace, Johnny Mandel: “Suicide is Painless” (1970)

Award-winning composer Johnny Mandel passed away on Monday at the age of 94. A classically-trained musician, Mandel was responsible for a wide variety of movie soundtrack music. His first notable work was 1958's I Want to Live!, which earned him three Grammy nominations. Mandel was no stranger to the Grammys; he was nominated for a … Continue reading Rest in peace, Johnny Mandel: “Suicide is Painless” (1970)

Rest in peace, Betty Wright: “Clean Up Woman” (1971)

Soul singer Betty Wright passed away today at the age of 66. Wright technically started her singing career before she turned three. She was a member of Echoes of Joy, a group that featured her whole family, in Miami in 1956. It wasn't until ten years later, at the age of 13, that she recorded … Continue reading Rest in peace, Betty Wright: “Clean Up Woman” (1971)

Rest in peace, Bill Withers: “Lovely Day” (1977)

Bill Withers passed away on Friday (April 3) at the age of 81. Heart complications were indicated as the cause of death. In total Withers put six records in the pop Top 40 with many more on the R&B charts. He's perhaps best known for two of them: "Lean On Me," which spent three weeks … Continue reading Rest in peace, Bill Withers: “Lovely Day” (1977)

Rest in peace, Eric Weissberg: “Dueling Banjos” (1973)

Eric Weissberg, who had a huge hit in 1973 with the instrumental hit "Dueling Banjos," passed away Sunday at a senior care facility near Detroit after a long battle with dementia. He was 80. Weissberg was fascinated by the banjo after seeing Pete Seeger play it as a part of his folk act in the … Continue reading Rest in peace, Eric Weissberg: “Dueling Banjos” (1973)

Rest in peace, Manu Dibango: “Soul Makossa” (1973)

Word circulated today that Manu Dibango, best described as a jazz-funk saxophonist, passed away at the age of 86 as a result of COVID-19 infection. Dibango was a legend in his native Cameroon for his music, which went worldwide in 1973 with the release of "Soul Makossa." The tune made it up to #35 in … Continue reading Rest in peace, Manu Dibango: “Soul Makossa” (1973)

Rest in peace, Gershon Kingsley: Hot Butter, “Popcorn” (1972)

Word is making the rounds that Gershon Kingsley passed away last week in New York City at the age of 97. Kingsley made music that you know even though you might not know his name. He was one of the earliest pioneers of the Moog synthesizer. His work with Jean-Jacques Perrey yielded some memorable collaborations; … Continue reading Rest in peace, Gershon Kingsley: Hot Butter, “Popcorn” (1972)

Grand Rapids charts: The WZZM-FM Hot 40, October 22, 1971

(Above: It's a cool layout with a clumsy slogan.) I don't believe we've ever done an FM playlist on the blog, so let's fix that today. I just happen to have, in a pile of surveys I file under "research" in my office, the playlist from WZZM-FM in Grand Rapids, Michigan from October 22, 1971. … Continue reading Grand Rapids charts: The WZZM-FM Hot 40, October 22, 1971

A night in front of the TV: REO Speedwagon, “Roll With the Changes” (1978)

(The famous Los Angeles Times photo of the Bronco chase.) "So - what are we going to do about the O.J. thing?" This was the topic of conversation after my morning show finished on Monday, June 20, 1994. I was working as the lead character of the show on Oldies WQQL-FM in Springfield, Illinois. The … Continue reading A night in front of the TV: REO Speedwagon, “Roll With the Changes” (1978)

Rest in peace, Dr. John: “Right Place Wrong Time” (1973)

(Above: 1973's In the Right Place LP cover) Malcolm John Rebennack, better known as Dr. John, passed away today in New Orleans of a suspected heart attack. He was 77. Renneback's career started as a backup and session musician in the 1950s. He cut his teeth in New Orleans, working with luminaries such as Professor … Continue reading Rest in peace, Dr. John: “Right Place Wrong Time” (1973)