RIP Little Richard, Unique Trailblazer

By |2020-09-10T11:02:03-07:00May 11, 2020|1960s, Beatle History, Obituaries, Other bands, Paul McCartney|

  Richard Penniman, whose music and performance stylings reshaped rock 'n' roll, died on Saturday at the age of 87. His full-throated, emotion-packed singing, piano playing, and songwriting had a profound influence on the Beatles, as well as on a wide range of other musicians and performers through the decades. I wrote about seeing Paul McCartney perform "Long Tall Sally" at Candlestick Park back in 2014, and that performance was such a strong reminder of the many, many influences that go into creating a musical moment. There are a multitude of reasons to celebrate Little Richard's legacy; his impact on the Beatles [...]

Charles Manson Is Dead

By |2020-09-10T11:21:32-07:00November 20, 2017|1968, Obituaries, Paul Is Dead (PID), The White Album|

Manson, wannabe musician. Charles Manson, who used a paranoid reading of the Beatles' "White Album" to spur his followers to murder, is dead at 83. Alas, the kind of fear-mongering false narrative that he helped pioneer is very much alive. Like the mixers of the toxic social media soup we're all swimming in today, Manson specialized in us-vs-them stories, especially racist ones. He didn't really care if they were true; he cared that they were effective. He was one of the origin points of the "alternative facts" conspiracy theory. Manson was also relentlessly narcissistic, convinced that the Beatles were sending [...]

Tony Barrow 1936-2016

By |2016-05-16T12:53:46-07:00May 15, 2016|Obituaries|

The Beatles and Tony Barrow, 1963 Former Beatles press agent Tony Barrow has died at age 80. A member of the group's original Liverpool gang, Barrow was part of the Beatles' story from 1961-1968. Record reviewer for the Liverpool Echo from the age of 17, Barrow was working for Decca when Brian Epstein called for some advice regarding a pop group he'd just agreed to manage. Using his connections, Barrow was able to finagle the Beatles an audition. Not forgetting the favor, Brian Epstein later hired him away from Decca to handle press for all the NEMS groups. As every [...]

George Martin obituary roundup

By |2016-03-10T08:20:39-08:00March 8, 2016|George Martin, Obituaries|

Beatles record producer George Martin has died at the age of 90. (And I didn't even know he was sick!) Below is a link to the obituary in The Guardian; we'll add other notable ones as they appear--please suggest additions in the comments. The Guardian. SPIN. Vulture. The New York Times. And yet another link to the Beatles story is lost -- remorselessly, inevitably experience is becoming history.

Bowie and The Beatles

By |2016-01-11T18:36:21-08:00January 11, 2016|Obituaries|

Love you, too, Dave. Impossible, folks, to let a full Earth's rotation pass without a post on the late, great David Bowie. Bowie has always seemed to me to be a performer whose rise to fame would've been impossible without the Beatles coming first, preparing the way. The seven years of Fabdom were essential in priming the audience for what Bowie was and wanted to be, and where he would lead them. As Keith Richards said about the Stones, there'd be no Bowie without the Beatles. And I don't think it's a coincidence that Bowie blew up after it was [...]

David Bowie, Shine On

By |2016-01-11T18:33:45-08:00January 11, 2016|David Bowie, john and yoko, John Lennon, Obituaries, Paul McCartney|

The news that David Bowie has died at age 69 has saddened people worldwide. He profoundly influenced musicians, fashion designers, and countless teenage kids who felt they were "weird" until they encountered his work. And he collaborated successfully with many other artists, including Brian Eno, Mick Jagger, and John Lennon, Bowie and John joined forces on the song "Fame," released in 1975, and were friends throughout the 70s. Today Yoko Ono paid tribute to Bowie, writing that "After John died, David was always there for Sean and me. When Sean was at boarding school in Switzerland, David would pick him up and take him [...]

Cilla Black, 1943-2015

By |2015-08-03T14:06:24-07:00August 3, 2015|Brian Epstein, Liverpool, Obituaries|

Entertainer Cilla Black, whose career was championed by Brian Epstein and who was a close associate of the Beatles in the 1960s, died yesterday at her home in Spain. Thanks to veteran Hey Dullblog commenter Hologram Sam for passing on the information to us first. Black and McCartney in the studio, 1968 Black (whose birth name was Priscilla White) came a long way from her start as a coat check girl at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. She had two number one hits in 1964, "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "You're My World." But her first single, in 1963, [...]

BB King, 1925-2015

By |2015-05-15T05:49:47-07:00May 15, 2015|Obituaries|

C. 1966: Dig the Beatle boots. “But the other part of me says, ‘Well, I wish I could just do it like B.B. King.’ If you put me with B.B., I’ll feel silly. … I really like B.B. King.” — John Lennon Riley B. King, former disc jockey and blues guitarist, dead at age 89. Few who enjoy this site have not enjoyed his music. Those who haven’t might take the time. I’m no scholar of his vast (as in vast) recorded catalog. But you might start, as I did, with Boss of the Blues, a sometime-in-the-Sixties collection of Fifties [...]

Cynthia Lennon: 1939-2015

By |2015-12-30T11:19:58-08:00April 1, 2015|books, Cynthia Lennon, Obituaries, Wives and girlfriends|

The news today that Cynthia Lennon, ne Powell, is dead at the age of 75 has hit me, and I’m certain many others, with unexpected force. As her book A Twist of Lennon (one of the better Beatles-insider memoirs) made clear—without ever seeming bitter or vengeful about it—sweet Cynthia often got the shit end of the genius stick. She and John, I gather, shared most of their best times together early on, before fame; she was one of the things, perhaps the most important thing, that kept him, and so the band, together and moving forward. Cynthia (sitting, left) serenaded by [...]

Joe Cocker and The Beatles

By |2014-12-22T13:53:37-08:00December 22, 2014|Billy Preston, Cocker, Covers, Obituaries|

English rocker Joe Cocker. They don't tell you when you're young, how your world falls away person by person. The ever-morbid social network informs me that spasmodic English rocker Joe Cocker has died, after a long battle with lung cancer. According to the BBC, "Sir Paul McCartney said he was a lovely guy who 'brought so much to the world.'" Not sure why the lovely guy part isn't quoted too; maybe Paul swore a lot, and they paraphrased it as "a lovely guy." That's what happened in my world, at least. Cocker achieved the near-impossible: he made Beatles covers that [...]

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