International Songwriters Association (ISA) Songs And Songwriting • Obituaries

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Songwriter Obituaries 2022

Mickey Gilley
(86), singer-songwriter whose hits include 'Stand By Me', 'Room Full Of Roses' and 'Lonely Nights', and first cousin to both Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart.

Born in Natchez, Mississippi, Mickey Gilley was taught piano by Jerry Lee Lewis. Initially, he veered towards rockabilly and honky-tonk music, but afer signing with Playboy Records, he hit the charts with the old George Morgan number 'Room Full Of Roses', before going on to score with such classics as 'Chains Of Love', 'Honky Tonk Memories', 'She's Pulling Me Back Again' and 'Here Comes The Hurt Again'.

He used the royalties to open a nightclub in Pasadena, Texas, called 'Gilleys' which became the back-drop for the movie 'Urban Cowboy' in which he appeared alongside John Travolta, Debra Winger and Johnny Lee. This led to roles in several popular television series including 'Murder She Wrote', 'The Fall Guy', 'Fantasy Island' and 'Dukes of Hazzard'.

He continued to record and tour, scoring 39 Top 10 hits and 17 No 1 songs throughout his career and earning six Academy of Country Music Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an induction into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.

Suddenly, in Branson, Missouri, USA, having suffered a heart attack after finishing a fifteen-night tour

© Bill Miller

Warner Mack
(86), singer-songwriter whose first hit 'Is It Wrong (For Loving You)' was penned at the age of twelve.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Warner Mack's family moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi when he was just nine. Returning to Nashville some ten years later, he signed with Decca Records, scoring 23 hits between 1957 and 1977, including his #1 classic 'The Bridge Washed Out'. Other top ten hits included 'Surely', 'I'll Be Alright In The Morning','Sittin' In An All Nite Cafe', 'Talkin' To The Wall', 'It Takes A Lot Of Money', 'Drifting Apart', 'How Long Will It Take', 'I'm Gonna Move On' and 'Draggin' The River'.

Then, at the height of his fame, he was critically injured in an auto accident, forcing him to undergo 14 operations, and effectively ending his recording and touring career, although he eventually made a partial comeback fifteen years later.

By that time, he had performed more radio shows for the US Air Force than any country artist and had also become the first country singer to record Coca Cola commercials for worldwide distribution. Along with his sister, Willa Dean, he also recorded the album 'Songs We Sang In Church At Home' which was Grammy Nominated.

His songs continued to be covered by dozens of pop and country acts including Bill Anderson, Brenda Lee, Connie Smith, Del Reeves, Don Gibson, Eddy Arnold, Ferlin Husky, Gene Watson, George Jones, Jack Greene, Jean Shepherd, Kitty Wells, Little Texas, Loretta Lynn, Lynn Anderson, Marty Stuart, Mickey Gilley, Pat Boone, Ray Peterson, Ricky Van Shelton, Sonny James, Tom Jones, Bobby Bare, Wanda Jackson, Webb Pierce and The Wilburn Brothers.

A shrewd businessman, he also started his own record label (Pageboy Records), along with a publishing company (Bridgewood Music), plus a storefront in Nashville called Warner Mack’s Country Store.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Country Music Hall Of Fame Inductee.

Grammy Award Nominee.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, of heart failure

© Jim Liddane

Judy Kenske
(85), folk singer-songwriter whose songs include 'High Flying Bird' (covered by Jefferson Airplane), 'Yellow Beach Umbrella' (covered by Bette Midler and also Three Dog Night), 'Might As Well Have A Good Time' (Crosby, Stills & Nash), 'Sauvez-Moi' (a #1 hit in France for Johnny Hallyday), and who worked live with such stars as Judy Garland, Phil Ochs, James Taylor, Jackson Brown, Shel Silverstein, Johnny Cash, Frank Zappa and Lenny Bruce. Married to the Association's (and later The Lovin Spoonful's) Jerry Yester, her personality and lifestyle inspired the lead character in Woody Allen's 'Annie Hall'.

In Los Angeles, California, USA, of cancer

© Bill Miller

Naomi Judd
(76), Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Judds.

Naomi Judd was born in Ashland, Kentucky, but moved to California with her two daughters Wynonna and Ashley when her marriage to Michael Ciminella failed. With Wynonna, she formed The Judds, a mother-daughter country music duo, which went on to score twenty hits - fifteen of which reached #1 - including such classics as 'Mama He's Crazy', 'Why Not Me', 'Girls' Night Out', 'Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout The Good Old Days)', 'Rockin' With The Rhythm Of The Rain', 'Cry Myself To Sleep', 'Young Love (Strong Love)' and 'Let Me Tell You About Love'. In all, the duo won five Grammy Awards, while Naomi won a sixth for her composition 'Love Can Build A Bridge'.

In 1991, their stellar career came to an abrupt end when Naomi was diagnosed with hepatitis C. That same year, she founded the Naomi Judd Education & Research Fund, and although she no longer toured, she continued to advise Wynonna on a new solo career, while appearing herself in a number of movies, including 'More American Graffiti' and 'A Holiday Romance'. Meanwhile, her daughter Ashley Judd was emerging as a successful movie actress with such films as 'Heat' and 'Norma Jean & Marilyn' just as Wynonna was starting a run of country hits which would make her one of country music's most enduring stars.

Naomi herself embarked on a career in television, appearing in such shows as ‘Star Search' hosted by Arsenio Hall, ‘Naomi's New Morning’, a talk show on the Hallmark Channel, ‘Can You Duet?’, 'The Killing Game' (opposite Laura Prepon), and 'An Evergreen Christmas' (alongside Andy Griffith), while penning a number of books, including the best-seller 'Naomi's Guide To Aging Gratefully'.

Mother and daughter also re-united on several occasions for sold-out tours , but following one of these appearances, Naomi announced that she was developing depression, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts. Her death occurred the day before she was due to be inducted (alongside Ray Charles) into the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Six-time Grammy Award Winner.

Country Music Hall Of Fame Member.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, from undisclosed causes, although her daughters in a statement said that they had lost their mother 'to the disease of mental illness'

© Jim Liddane

Bobby Weinstein
(82), songwriter, singer and BMI executive, whose career spanned sixty years.

Born into a musical family in Manhattan, New York, Bobby Weinstein formed The Legends while at the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan. Although they made several records, many of which became collector's items, the act failed to break through, but via the group, Bobby met singer-songwriter and record producer Teddy Randazzo, with whom he collaborated for many years.

Their first hit, 'Pretty Blue Eyes', was recorded by Steve Lawrence in the USA, and charted also in the UK for Craig Douglas. A tie-up with songwriter Bobby Hart led to a series of hits recorded by Little Anthony & The Imperials, including 'I'm On The Outside (Looking In)', 'Goin' Out Of My Head' and 'Hurt So Bad'. 'Goin' Out Of My Head' was recorded by more than four hundred recording acts, becoming one of the of the Top 50 Most Recorded Songs Of All Time, selling in all, a reputed one hundred million copies.

He went on to pen songs for The Box Tops, Dionne Warwick, Duke Ellington, The Lettermen, Jerry Vale, Deniece Williams, The Temptations, Luther Vandross, The Royalettes, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Ella Fitzgerald, Linda Ronstadt and Frank Sinatra. During this period, he also sang with Teddy Randazzo's band in Las Vegas alonside Tommy Boyce and Bpbby Hart.

In 1970, Weinstein became an executive with Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), serving as as liaison for the songwriter affiliates. He was a Songwriters Hall of Fame board member for 24 years, and acted as President of the organisation from 1993 to 1999. He also served on the board of the National Academy Of Popular Music for more than two decades.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Songwriters Hall Of Fame Inductee.

In New York City, USA, of heart failure

© Jim Liddane

Art Rupe
(104), record producer, label owner and music publisher, who discovered Little Richard, Sam Cooke and Lloyd Price.

Born in Pennsylvania, Art Rupe became interested in what was then termed 'race music' and while working in Los Angeles for a firm building ships for the war effort, he decided to set up a record label specialising in black acts. The label, Specialty Records, soon attracted such musicians as Percy Mayfield and Roy Milton, with Rupe both handling production himself while also utilising the services of other producers like Robert 'Bumps' Blackwell and J W Alexander.

Rupe's affection for gospel music brought the Soul Stirrers (featuring a teenage Sam Cooke), The Silvertones, Alexa Bradford and Sister Wynona Carr to the label, but its initial success between 1946 and 1950 soon attracted secular acts such as Little Richard, Larry Williams, Lloyd Price and Don & Dewey.

After Lloyd Price struck gold with the 1952 recording of 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy', a string of classic hits followed, including 'Tutti Frutti', 'Long Tall Sally', 'Good Golly Miss Molly', 'The Girl Can't Help It', 'Lucille', 'Rip It Up', 'Ready Teddy', 'Slippin And Slidin' (all by Little Richard), 'Bony Moronie' (Larry Williams), and 'The Things I Used To Do' (Guitar Slim), and by 1959, the label was regarded as one of the most influential in the American music industry even though it had earlier lost Sam Cooke and producer 'Bumps' Blackwell, due to Rupe's unwillingness to let Cooke perform secular music.

Two years later, the label also lost Little Richard, who at the peak of his success, decided to give up recording and study for the ministry. That same year, Little Richard sued Rupe for unpaid royalties (like most record labels of rhe rock & roll era, Specialty was notorious for paying as little as half-a-cent a disc), and that court action, coupled with Rupe's unwillingness to continue to pay DJs for radio play (a practice known as payola which was later declared illegal), led him to diversify his business interests, moving into oil and gas investing, and setting up the philanthropic organisation The Art N Rupe Foundation. He stopped working as a producer in 1965, eventually selling Specialty to Fantasy Records in 1992.

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee.

In Santa Barbara, California, USA, of heart failure

© Jim Liddane

Chris Bailey
(65), singer-songwriter, record producer and co-founder of The Saints.

Born In Kenya, his family moved to Belfast, Ireland for several years before emigrating to Brisbane, Australia when Chris was seven. At the age of 16, he and two school friends formed Kid Galahad & The Eternals, which later became The Saints, scoring such hits as 'I’m Stranded' (listed as one of the top 30 Australian songs of all time by APRA), 'Prodigal Son', 'Eternally Yours', 'Prehistoric Sounds', 'All Fools Day', and 'Just Like Fire Would', (later covered by Bruce Springsteen).

Between 1991 and 1996, Chris recorded several solo LPs, but reunited with the Saints in 1996, going on to release a further five well-received albums, including 'Imperious Delirium' in 2006 and 'King Of The Sun' in 2012, while continuing to tour in Australia, the USA and Europe throughout that decade.

In Brisbane, Australia, of undisclosed causes

© Ray Coleman

Con Cluskey
(86), founder (along with John Stokes and Declan Cluskey), of the Irish vocal group The Bachelors.

In 1955, the trio started out in Dublin as The Harmonichords, later appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show and Opportunity Knocks, before changing their name in 1960 to The Bachelors, on the advice of UK Decca A&R manager Dick Rowe.

Between 1963 and 1966, they scored a number of hits for Decca including 'Charmaine', 'Diane', 'I Believe', 'Ramona', 'I Wouldn't Trade You For The World', 'Marie', 'In The Chapel In The Moonlight' and 'The Sound Of Silence'.

In Elland, West Yorkshite, UK, of natural causes

© Jim Liddane

C W McCall
(93), singer-songwriter who wrote and recorded the 1975 million-selling song 'Convoy'.

Born Billie Dale Fries in Audobon, Iowa, his parents were both part-time musicians but Billie's first interest was cartooning, eventually becoming art director at the advertising agency Bozell & Jacobs.

One of its clients was Old Home Bread, whose distinctive trucks were a feature on local highways, and for them, he created a series of ads based on a trucking theme, featuring the fictional truck-driver 'C. W. McCall' (the C W came from the term 'country & western' while the McCall was borrowed from the James Garner movie 'Cash McCall').

Billie along with another staff writer Chip Taylor (a classically-trained musician who would later head Mannheim Steamroller and actually disliked country music), produced a number of songs for the campaign, with Billy (under the adopted name of C W McCall) handling the vocals. The campaign won a Clio Award, while the songs, created solely for the TV advertising campaign, proved so popular that MGM Records signed McCall to a recording contract, releasing a series of singles which charted on both the country and pop charts, most notably 'Old Home Filler-Up An' Keep On A-Truckin' Cafe', 'Classified', 'Wolf Creek Pass', and 'Black Bear Road'.

However, it was the fifth single, 'Convoy', based on the idea of using CB radios to protest the new federal speed limit of 55 mph, that proved most popular, reaching Number 1 on all American charts, as well as being a huge hit internationally.

A movie also titled 'Convoy' followed, starring Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, Burt Young, and Ernest Borgnine, but an ill-considered label switch to Polydor produced only a few country hits which lacked crossover appeal, including 'There Won't Be No Country Music (There Won't Be No Rock 'n' Roll)', and ''Round The World With The Rubber Duck', although he again topped the country charts in 1977 with 'Roses for Mama'.

McCall used his royalties to retire to Quray, Colorado, where we was elected Mayor on a number of occasions, and although he rarely toured, in 2007, his song was voted into Rolling Stone's '100 Greatest Country Songs Of All Time', and became a radio hit again in Canada in 2022 when it was adopted by the Freedom Convoy protests.

In Quray, Colorado, USA, of cancer

© Jim Liddane

Bobby Rydell
(78), singer who scored more than thirty hit records, including such million-sellers as 'Volare' and 'Wild One'.

Born in Philadelphia, Bobby Rydell emerged onto the local TV scene in 1951 as an accomplished jazz drummer appearing frequently on the Paul Whiteman Show from the age of nine onwards. Signing to a local label, Cameo Parkway Records, his third record 'Kissing Time made the US Top 10. This was followed by a series of million-selling releases including 'Wild One', 'Little Bitty Girl' and 'Swinging School', leading to his first engagement at New York's Copacabana, making him at 19, the youngest singer ever to top the bill at the prestigious club.

Over rhe next five years, he scored two dozen hits including 'Volare', 'Sway', 'I Got Bonnie', 'Wildwood Days', 'Doing The Cha-Cha-Cha' and 'Forget Him'.

At the peak of his recording career, Rydell turned to movies, playing the part of Hugo in 'Bye Bye Birdie', alongside Dick VanDyke and Ann-Margaret, and his success in this film led to roles in other major Hollywood productions including 'Combat', 'The Lady From Peking' and in 1999, 'The Alan Freed Story'. However, although his acting was widely praised on his debut, Rydell disliked California, declining to buy a home there, preferring to continue living in Pennsylvania in the same mansion he had built in 1962 to accommodate his parents and grandparents - and in later years, his own family as well.

He did however become a regular guest on such TV productions as The Red Skelton Show, The Danny Thomas Show, as well as shows fronted by Jack Benny, Joey Bishop, George Burns and Milton Berle, but his recording career was badly damaged by Cameo Parkway's inability (due to ongoing financial and litigation problems) to re-issue any of his recordings between 1970 and 2005. Rydell did however produce for K-Tel some credible re-makes of his biggest sellers during this period, and in total, recorded more than forty albums.

In spite of his absence from the charts, his influence on the next generation of pop stars could be seen in the Beatles’ song ‘She Loves You’ (inspired by Rydell’s hit ‘Swinging School’), and “Rydell High” - the name given to the school in the ‘Grease’ series of movies. Philadelphia even re-named one of its main thoroughfares ‘Bobby Rydell Boulevard’ while Wildwood, New Jersey paid similar homage to the singer who had spent his summer vacations there as a kid.

Up to his death, he continued to tour in the USA, Canada and Australia (a country which he visited no fewer than twenty times), frequently appearing as part of the Golden Boys revue, featuring himself, Frankie Avalon and Fabian, and still headlined regularly in Las Vegas.

In 2016, he published a best-selling autobiography ‘Teen Idol On The Rocks: A Tale Of Second Chances’.

In Abington, Pennsylvania, USA, from complications of pneumonia

© Jim Liddane

Timmy Thomas
(79), singer-songwriter, session musician and record producer, whose biggest hit was the R&B classic anti-Vietnam War song ‘Why Can't We Live Together’.

Born in Evansville, Indiana, he started out as a session musician in Memphis, working with Cannonball Adderley and Donald Byrd, while releasing a number of unsuccessful singles on Goldwax. Then in 1972, he moved to Florida where he produced 'Why Can't We Live Together' which went on to sell more than two million copies worldwide.

Follow-up hits included ‘People Are Changing’, ‘Let Me Be Your Eyes’, ‘What Can I Tell Her’, ‘One Brief Moment’, ‘I've Got To See You Tonight’, ‘You're the Song (I've Always Wanted To Sing)’, ‘Gotta Give A Little Love (Ten Years After)’ and ‘What Do You Say To A Lady’ (with Jackie Moore).

In 2015, Drake sampled ‘Why Can't We Live Together’ on his own single ‘Hotline Bling’.

In Miami, Florida, USA, of cancer

© Bill Miller

Brad Martin
(48), singer-songwriter who moved from Greenfield, Ohio to Nashville, signing with Sony Records in 2002. His first single 'Before I Knew Better' hit the Top 20 and his two subsequent records "Rub Me The Right Way" and "Just Like Love" also charted, but after Epic failed to renew his contract, he joined John Ramey to found the duo Martin Ramey. This disbanded in 2018.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, of undisclosed causes

© Bill Miller

Bruce Burch
(59), songwriter who penned Reba McEntire’s 'Rumor Has It' and 'It’s Your Call' as well as a number of songs recorded by T. Graham Brown, Faith Hill, Aaron Tippin, The Oak Ridge Boys, George Jones, Barbara Mandrell, John Anderson and Wayne Newton.

In Gainesville, Georgia, USA of leukaemia

© Bill Miller

Jimbeau Hinson
(70), singer-songwriter who was discovered at the age of 14 by Loretta Lynn when she invited him onstage to sing a duet with her. She introduced him to her mentors, the Wilburn Brothers who signed him, and he went on to win his first ASCAP Award at 17 with the song 'Sugar In The Flowers', recorded by Anthony Armstrong Jones.

Born in Newton, Mississippi, Hinson signed with Chart Records in Nashville, changing his name to Jimbeau to avoid being confused with the Muppets creator Jim Henson. He also penned a series of hits for the Oak Ridge Boys ('Fancy Free', 'Let Me Be The One', 'When You Give It Away'and 'Colors'), Kathy Mattea ('Train Of Memories'), David Lee Murphy ('Party Crowd'), Patty Loveless ('I'm On Your Side' and 'After All'), John Conlee ('Harmony'), Steve Earle ('Hillbilly Highway,' and 'Down The Road'), but always said that his greatest thrill was when his childhood idol, Brenda Lee, recorded 'Find Yourself Another Puppet', the song which earned him his second ASCAP Award.

Other acts to have hits with his songs included Reba McEntire, Tammy Wynette, Tracy Lawrence, Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Rodney Crowell, Lee Greenwood and Rhonda Vincent, and in addition to writing a number of songs for the Oak Ridge Boys, he also managed their music publishing company.

In his autobiography 'The All Of Everything In The Life And Times Of Jimbeau Hinson', he frankly discussed his open bi-sexuality which blocked him from becoming a country music recording star in the 1970's, while his later HIV diagnosis led to a ten-year debilitating illness, which he was lucky to survive. Much of his struggle was also recounted in his solo album 'Strong Medicine' and in the movie 'Beautiful Jim'.

In Nashville, Tennnessee, USA, folowing a series of strokes

© Bill Miller

Hargus 'Pig' Robbins
(84), Grammy-award winning pianist and songwriter whose piano work is to be heard on hundreds of classic country hits, but who also penned spngs for Roy Drusky, Mel Robbins, Porter Wagoner, Skeeter Davis and Red Sovine.

Born in Spring City. Tennessee, Hargus Robbins was blinded in an accident at the age of three, and never recovered his sight. He picked up the nickname 'Pig' while attending the Tennessee School For The Blind, because he was continually getting his clothes dirty while sneaking back into the building through a fire escape chute in order to practise on the school's grand piano.

At school. he developed a style influenced greatly by Floyd Cramer and Ray Charles, and in 1959, while playing in a club in Nashville, was recruited for the George Jones session that produced the singer's first hit 'White Lightning'. Within a few years, he had replaced Cramer (who had gone on to a solo career) on Nashville’s A Team of session musicians, and his skill at composing memorable riffs was such that outstanding piano players such as Leon Russell, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis and Charlie Rich pften asked Robbins to provide piano on their own sessions.

The success of 'White Lightning' was the start of a long career which saw him play on hit records by Patsy Cline, Duane Eddy, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Cowboy Copas, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Del Shannon, Chet Atkins, Jim Reeves, Burl Ives, Dottie West, Connie Smith, Dave Dudley, Norma Jean, Don Gibson, Bob Wills, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Pride, Bob Luman, Slim Whitman, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tammy Wynette, Jerry Reed, Bobby Bare, Bill Haley & The Comets. Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, The Everly Brothers, Donna Fargo, Carl Perkins, Roy Acuff, Ronnie Milsap, Johnny Rodriguez, Johnny Cash, Freddy Fender, Eddie Rabbitt, Billie Jo Spears, Don McLean, Sonny Curtis, B J Thomas, Hank Williams Jr., John Anderson, Bobby Goldsboro, Ray Charles, George Harrison, Shania Twain, Chet Atkins, Sturgill Simpson, Neil Young, J.J. Cale, John Hartford, Mark Knopfler, Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, Roger Miller, David Allan Coe, Jan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot, Moe Bandy, George Hamilton IV, Conway Twitty, Tom T. Hall, Faron Young, Marty Robbins. Leon Russell, the Statler Brothers, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, Mark Chesnutt, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire and dozens of other country stars.

It was he for example who provided the outstanding piano licks on Charlie Rich’s 'Behind Closed Doors', Patsy Cline's 'Crazy', Roger Miller's 'King Of The Road', Leroy Van Dyke’s 'Walk On By', Alan Jackson’s 'Don’t Rock The Jukebox' and 'Here In The Real World' and Crystal Gayle’s 'Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue' as well as 'The Gambler' by Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn’s 'Coal Miner’s Daughter', and 'She Thinks I Still Care' by George Jones.

Hargus Robbins could adapt to any style, as shown in his work on Bob Dylan's album 'Blonde On Blonde', but his first love remained country music, and in later years, he appeared on most of Dolly Parton's hit albums including 'Just Because I’m A Woman', 'Coat 0f Many Colors', 'My Tennessee Mountain Home' and 'Jolene'.

Although happy to remain in the background, he recorded a number of solo albums, including the Grammy winning 'Country Instrumentalist Of The Year', along with 'Pig In A Poke', and 'Unbreakable Hearts' and found himself immortalised in Robert Altman's movie 'Nashville' via the lines uttered by actor Henry Gibson who - upset at the playing of a hippie pianist booked for his recording session - screams at the engineer 'When I ask for Pig, I want Pig'.

In 2012. he was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame alongside Garth Brooks, but he remained working as a session musician, appearing on Connie Smith’s album 'The Cry Of The Heart', released only a few weeks before his death.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Grammy Award Winner.

Country Music Hall Of Fame Inductee.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, in his sleep, from suspected heart failure

© Jim Liddane

LaShun Pace
(60), singer-songwriter whose songs include 'Act Like You Know' and 'I Know I've Been Changed', both taken from albums which topped the American gospel charts.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, she and her eight sisters formed The Anointed Pace Sisters, and in 1989, she signed a solo contract with Savoy Records, releasing twelve albums over the next thirty years as well as penning a well-received autobiography 'For My Good But For His Glory'. In 2021, 'Act Like You Know' becase nationally known when the song accompanied a TikTok challenge, in which users acted out real-life situations.

Christian Hall Of Fame Inductee.

In Atlanta, Georgia, USA of organ failure

© Bill Miller

Pete St. John
(90), singer-songwriter best known for his songs 'Fields Of Athenry', 'The Ferryman', 'Danny Farrell', 'Waltzing On Borrowed Time, 'Rise Up And Follow Charlie', and 'Dublin In The Rare Ould Times', and whose work has been recorded by the Dubliners, Paddy Reilly, Johnny Logan, Johnny McEvoy, Mary Black, James Last, Danny Doyle, James Galway, the Dublin City Ramblers, Brendan Shine and Daniel O'Donnell.

Born Peter Mooney in Parkgate Street, Dublin, (his professional name was obtained for a combination of his Christian names Peter and John), he trained as an electrician in Limerick before moving to Canada and from there (via Alaska and the West Indies) to the USA , where he once worked renovating the White House in Washington. Returning to Ireland in 1972. he set up an electrical business, but following a fall, he whiled away a six-month recuperation period by writing songs. He had become aware of the huge economic and social changes which had taken place in Dublin during his time abroad, and this led to his penning 'Dublin In The Rare Auld Times', a hit initially for the Dublin City Ramblers. One year later, the song reached #1 on the Irish charts when re-recorded by Danny Doyle.

His next hit 'The Fields Of Athenry' also charted for Danny Doyle, but the biggest hit version was by Paddy Reilly. His recording - although it failed to reach #1 - spent more than 70 weeks on the Irish charts while the song went on to become a sporting anthem, originally for the Galway hurling team, before being adopted by Irish football supporters during the 1990 World Cup, and later by fans of Glasgow Celtic FC and Liverpool. In more recent years, it was taken up by a number of rugby union teams, including Munster, Connacht and London Irish. The song also featured in several movies including 'The Dead Poets Society', 'Veronica Guerin', '16 Years Of Alcohol' and 'The Matchmaker'.

Although possessed of a fine voice, he expressed little interest in a recording career, producing only a few singles in the 1980's, but he toured widely, in Europe, the UK and the USA. A lifelong activist, he was heavily involved in the international peace movement and civil rights struggles, but always descrbed himself politically as "a nationalist".

In Dublin, Ireland, of natural causes.

© Jim Liddane

Jody Wayne
(77), singer and record producer who scored 50 Gold and Platinum Discs in South Africa, and whose hits include 'Are You Sure', "Patches,", '16 Candles', "The Wedding," and "Tell Laura I Love Her".

Born in Bangalore, India to Canadian parents, Jody Wayne moved to England as a child, then to Rhodesia, and finally to Durban, South Africa, where he first fronted the band The Jody Wayne Scene, later to become Guys And Dolls. In 1970, after more than two dozen hits, he moved into production, discovering snd recording such acts as Ashley Roberts and Neil Herbert and also appeared in a number of stage productions, notably 'Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'. In recent years, he had continued to perform in South Afrixa, mainly in the country music genre.

In Johannesburg, South Africa, of heart failure

© Ray Coleman

Barbara Morrison
(72), singer and songwriter who also acted as an associate professor of jazz studies at UCLA.

Born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Barbara Morrison moved to Los Angeles having left college, and worked with such acts as Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson's and Johnny Otis. She later toured with Ray Charles and Etta James, and worked with Mel Tormé, Diane Reeves, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Tony Bennett, Dionne Warwick, Lou Rawls, Dizzy Gillespie, Esther Phillips, Dr. John, Kenny Burrell, Joe Sample, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, the Count Basie Orchestra and Doc Severinsen.

Three-time Grammy Award Nominee.

In Los Angeles, California, USA, from complications linked to cardiovascular disease

© Bill Miller

Mike Dekle
(77), singer-songwriter whose songs were recorded by George Jones, Keith Whitley, Kenny Rogers and many more, but who first arrived in Nashville from Athens, Georgia, with the intention of becoming a recording artiste. However when his first solo release 'Scarlet Fever' was covered by Kenny Rogers, he decided to concentrate instead on penning songs for the legendary star, presenting him with such hits as Two Hearts, One Love,' 'People In Love,' 'Some Prisons Don't Have Walls' and 'Someone Must Feel Like A Fool Tonight'.

Other hits included songs for Tracy Byrd ('Don't Love Make A Diamond Shine'), Joe Nichols' ('Size Matters (Someday)', and George Jones ('A Day in The Life Of A Fool') but in more recent years, he worked mainly with Brantley Gilbert, penning his #1 hits 'Country Must Be Country Wide' and 'One Hell Of An Amen' as well as multiple songs on the singer's first three albums.

Although a successful songwriter (other songs were recorded by Ricky Skaggs, Hank Thompson, Moe Bandy, The Whites. T.G. Sheppard, Scooter Lee, Colt Ford and Rhonda Vincent), Mike Dekle never lived in Nashville, nor did he ever give up the day job, working for State Farm Insurance Company in Athens, Georgia, until he retired. Yet he also found time to release six solo albums as a singer, scoring two chart entries 'Hanky-Panky' and 'The Minstrel' while also founding a music publishing firm - Square D Music.

In Athens, Georgia, USA, from complications linked to Pulmonary Fibrosis

© Bill Miller

Kenny Chater
(76), singer-songwriter and novelist, whose songs include such country classics as 'You Look So Good In Love' (George Strait), 'I Know A Heartache When I See One' (Jennifer Warnes), 'You’re The First Time I’ve Thought About Leaving' (Reba McEntire) and the Grammy-nominated 'I.O.U.' (Lee Greenwood).

Born in Vancouver, Canada, (his mother was the novelist and poet Elizabeth Chater), Kenny moved to San Diego in 1965 where (as a bass guitarist), he co-founded with Gary Puckett the pop band Union Gap, which went on to score such hits as 'Young Girl' and 'Woman, Woman'. Quitting the band after four years, he studied musical theatre in Los Angeles, writing and producing several shows. He also continued performing in the soft rock genre, signing with Warners as a solo act and scoring a Hot 100 hit with 'Part Time Love'.

However, one of his songs 'I Know A Heartache When I See One' was not only a hit for Jennifer Warnes, but achieved a number of country covers from such acts as Dee Messina, Lisa Brokop, Donna Fargo and Sandy Posey, pushing Chater more into the country genre, and from then on, hit followed hit.

'You Look So Good In Love' was recorded not only by Strait but also by Blake Shelton, while Kenny Rogers, Joe Cocker, Restless Heart, Highway 101, Loretta Lynn, Shenandoah, Conway Twitty, Anne Murray, Eddy Raven, The Osmonds, The Carpenters, Dolly Parton, Juice Newton, Tanya Tucker and Lorrie Morgan all recorded his tunes. His string of hits included Alabama’s 'If I Had You', Michael Martin Murphey’s 'What She Wants', Charlie Rich’s 'Even A Fool Would Let Go' and Jessica Andrews’ 'You Go First'.

Soon after moving to Nashville, Kenny Chater married songwriter Lynn Gillespie, and in addition to penning songs together, they also wrote such thrillers as 'Kill Point', 'Blood Debt' and 'Fortune’s Web', composed several musicals, and produced a number of solo albums by Chater.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Grammy Award Nominee.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, of lung cancer

© Jim Liddane

Gary Brooker
(76), singer-songwriter and co-founder with Keith Reid of Procul Harum, whose first major hit 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' remains one of the few singles to have sold more than 10 million physical copies.

Born in London, his father was a professional musician who moved the family to Southend-On-Sea when Gary was nine. In 1962 Brooker and his friend Robin Trower formed The Paramounts, which became a cult R&B band during the early sixties, frequently appearing with the Rolling Stones. The band signed with Parlophone Records, scoring one minor hit - a cover of The Coaster hit 'Poison Ivy' before disbanding.

In 1966, he co-founded Procul Harum, signing with Deram Records, and the following year, scored a massive international hit with the Denny Cordell-produced 'Whiter Shade Of Pale'. Although Brooker claimed authorship of the song with band-member Keith Reid, the band's organist Matthew Fisher later filed suit in London's High Court, claiming that he had actually written most of the music for the song, finally winning his case to be recognised as co-writer of the classic.

In 1977, Procul Harum broke up, and in 1979, Brooker released the first of three solo albums, going on to collaborate with Paul McCartney and George Harrison, while playing, writing and singing for Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings as well as Eric Clapton's band and touring with Ringo Starr's All-Stars. He also appeared as Juan Attilia Bramilia in the movie 'Evita' performing alongside Antonio Banderas and Peter Polycarp.

Re-forming Procul Harum in 1991, he remained a member of the band until his death.

In Guildford, Surrey, UK, of cancer

© Jim Liddane

Dallas Frazier
(82), singer-songwriter whose hits as a performer included 'Elvira', 'Just A Little Bit Of You', 'Everybody Oughta Sing A Song', 'The Sunshine Of My World', 'I Hope I Like Mexico Blues', 'The Conspiracy Of Homer Jones', 'California Cotton Fields', 'The Birthmark Henry Thompson Talks About', 'Big Mable Murphy' and 'North Carolina'.

Born in Spiro, Oklahoma in 1939, his family moved to Bakersfield, California where Dallas started playing guitar at the age of 12 with up-and-coming country star Ferlin Husky. Aged 14, he released his first single 'Space Command' on Capitol Records, but his first success as a songwriter was to become one of rock & roll's most classic songs, 'Alley Oop', penned when he was 16, and which went to Number 1 in the USA by the Hollywood Argyles (a session-group of which he was a member). A number of cover versions also charted, including one by Dante & The Evergreens which reached #15 in the USA, and another by the Dyna-Sores which reached #59. The tune was later recorded by The Beach Boys, Gary Paxton, The Kingsmen, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, The Tremeloes, and Darlene Love.

Using the substantial royalties from this song, Frazier moved to Nashville, where he signed again to Capitol Records as a performer, while pursuing a separate career as a songwriter, scoring several major successes including 'Timber I'm Falling', a #1 for Ferlin Husky, and 'There Goes My Everything', a #1 for Jack Greene which was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

At the peak of his career, a number of couuntry stars recorded entire albums comprising only songs written by Frazier, including O C Smith, George Jones and Connie Smith, while 'All I Have To Offer You Is Me' (recorded by Charlie Pride), and a re-make of his own hit 'Elvira' by the Oak Ridge Boys which reached #5 on the Billboard Hit 100, earned him his second and third Grammy nominations.

Amongst those who had hits with songs penned by Dallas Frazier were Diana Ross, Engelbert Humperdinck, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jack Greene, Connie Smith Willie Nelson, Brenda Lee, Charley Pride, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Gene Watson, Elvis Presley, Moe Bandy, Roy Head, Charlie Louvin, Rodney Crowell, Dan McCafferty, Poco, Ronnie Hawkins. Anne Murray. Glen Campbell, George Strait, Randy Travis, and Patty Loveless.

In 1988, at the height of his success, Dallas Frazier quit music to study for the ministry, becoming the pastor at Grace Community Fellowship in White House, Tennessee. When he retired from that post in 2006 at the age of 67, he returned to country music, releasing a new album titled 'Writing Songs Again', which resulted in several covers.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Country Music Hall Of Fame Inductee.

Three-time Grammy Award Nominee.

In Gallatin, Tennessee, USA, following a series of strokes.

© Jim Liddane

Marilyn Bergman
(93), Academy & Grammy Awards-winning songwriter, whose work, predominantly with her husband Alan, includes such classics as 'Nice & Easy' (Frank Sinatra), 'Someone In The Dark' (Michael Jackson), 'The Windmills Of Your Mind' (Noel Harrison), 'Sweet Gingerbread Man' (Sammy Davis), 'I Knew I Loved You' (Celine Dion), 'The Way We Were' (Barbra Streisand), 'The Playground' (Tony Bennett), 'You Don't Bring Me Flowers' (Neil Diamond) along with songs recorded by Johnny Mathis, Sergio Mendes, Bing Crosby, Taylor Dayne, Stephen Bishop, Paul Anka, Bill Medley, Sarah Vaughan, Patti Austin, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Dusty Springfield, Sting, Gladys Knight and James Ingram.

Born Marilyn Katz in New York, she studied piano from an early age and while still at school, was introduced by a friend to her uncle, Bob Russell, the songwriter of such classics as 'Don't Get Around Much Anymore' and 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother'. Russell, also a prolific writer of movie scores, was looking for a pianist to accompany him while he composed, and for several years, Marilyn worked with him most days after school.

However, her own ambition always had been to qualify as a psychologist, but she had no sooner achieved this goal than she suffered two badly-fractured shoulders in a debilitating accident. Seeking advanced treatment in California, she joined her parents who had retired to Los Angeles where she again met up with Bob Russell who had moved there some years earlier. He suggested that while recuperating, she might try writing songs herself. Unable to play piano due to her accident, she turned to penning lyrics, scoring a publishing contract and a modest advance with her very first song. In Los Angeles, she also met her future husband, the lyricist Alan Bergman, who had been invited to Hollywood by songwriter Johnny Mercer. In an odd coincidence, Alan had himself been born only a few blocks away from Marilyn's home in Brooklyn, although they had never met in New York.

Two years later, the couple married, and following early successes with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, went on to pen the lyrics for the theme of the hit movie 'In The Heat Of The Night' (recorded by Ray Charles), along with themes for a large number of television shows such as 'Good Times', 'Alice' and 'Maude' and the long-running series based on the 'Heat Of The Night' movie. Over the next fifteen years, their string of successes continued, culminating in their domination of the 1983 Oscar Awards, where three of the five songs nominated, had been penned by the couple.

In all, over a sixty-year career, the couple were awarded four Emmys, three Oscars, two Grammys and countless other accolades. Asked once, in view of the number of famous songwriting marriages which had failed, how the couple were able to collaborate while still remaining married, she famously replied "Like porcupines making love - very carefully'.

A political activist alongside Jane Fonda and Barbra Streisand, Marilyn helped raise money for the Democratic Party as well as penning material for Bill Clinton's first presidential inauguration. In 1985, she was elected to the board of ASCAP, the first woman ever to serve in that capacity, and also acted as ASCAP president between 1994 and 2009, before returning to serve a second term on the board. She also served as president of CISAC, while holding positions on both the National Recording Preservation Board, and the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Songwriters Hall Of Fame Inductee.

Eleven-time Grammy Award Nominee.

Two-time Grammy Award Winner.

Sixteen-time Oscar Award Nominee.

Three-time Oscar Award Winner.

In Los Angeles, California, USA, of respiratory failure

© Jim Liddane

Brrry Cryer
(86), comedian and scriptwriter for stars such as Bob Hope, The Two Ronnies and Morecambe & Wise, but who also scored a Number 1 record in Scandinavia with his 1958 cover of Sheb Wooley's 'Purple People Eater'.

In London, UK, of heart failure

© Ray Coleman

Don Wilson
(88), guitarist, composer and founder member of The Ventures, the best-selling instrumental act of all time, whose hits include 'Walk Don't Run', 'Hawaii 5-0' and 'Slaughter On 10th Avenue'.

In Tacoma, Washington, USA, of heart failure

© Bill Miller

Jerry Crutchfield
(87), songwriter, musician, producer and record label executive.

Born in Paducah, Kentucky, his initial interest was in gospel music, but at high school, he started writing songs with his brother Jen, and together they scored several hits, including 'Statue Of A Fool', which had the distinction of being a Top 10 hit on three occasions - for Jack Greene, Brian Collins and Ricky Van Shelton.

Turning down an offer to join The Jordanaires, he moved to Nashville, where he was signed by Chet Atkins, cutting albums for RCA while a member of The Country Gentleman and The Escorts, before reverting to songwriting for other acts.

During a career which stretched almost sixty years, he had songs recorded by Elvis Presley, The Crickets, Pery Como, Dave & Sugar, Ricky Van Shelton, Brenda Lee, Eddy Arnold, Tanya Tucker, Lee Greenwood, Lou Rawls, Ricky Nelson, Wanda Jackson, Tanya Tucker, Tammy Wynette, Ernest Tubb, Faron Young, Charley Pride, and Lefty Frizzell while his biggest hit pop song, Brenda Lee's 'My Whole World Is Falling Down' was also Number 1 across Europe for Sylvie Vartan.

As a producer, his best-known rock production was 'Please Come To Boston", a Number 1 for Dave Loggins but he also produced numerous hit singles and albums for Lee Greenwood, Tanya Tucker, Chris LeDoux, Tracy Byrd, Anne Murray, Dottie West, Tammy Wynette, Glen Campbell, Brenda Lee, Buck Owens and Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers.

As a label executive, he held a number of top posts including two stints as President of MCA Music Publishing, a company which which he established in Nashville, and Executive Vice President and General Manager of Capitol Records.

International Songwriters Associations Hall Of Fame Member.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, of heart failure

© Jim Liddane

R Dean Taylor
(82), singer, songwriter and record producer for Motown, whose own hits include the multi-million seller 'Indiana Wants Me', along with 'Gotta See Jane' and 'There's A Ghost In My House".

In addition to penning songs for himself, he also wrote for other Motown acts, providing such hits as 'I'll Turn To Stone' (The Four Tops), and 'All I Need' (The Temptations).

After the departure of the Holland-Dozier-Holland team from Motown, Taylor took over a lot of their production and writing duties, scoring hits like the Diana Ross & the Supremes' Number 1 "Love Child" and their Top 10 follow-up "I'm Livin' In Shame" as well as chart entries for Brenda Holloway and Marvin Gaye.

Born in Ottawa, (he moved to Detroit at the age pf 25), he remained a frequent visitor to his home country where his releases continued to amass sales and airplay, while he also operated his own recording studio in Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, California, USA, from an illness linked to Covid-19

© Bill Miller

Fred Parris
(85), Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, and lead vocalist with The Five Satins, whose hits include the self-produced 'In The Still Of The Night', (recorded in the basement of St Bernadette Church in New Haven, Connecticut), 'To The Aisle', 'I'll Be Seeing You', '(I'll Remember) In The Still Of The Night', 'The Masquerade Is Over' and 'Memories of Days Gone By'.

Although the group underwent numerous line-up changes over its sixty-year existence, Parris continued to tour with the unit until 2015.

Grammy Award Winner.

In Hamden, Connecticut, USA, of heart failure

© Bill Miller

Jon Lind
(73), singer-songwriter whose hits include 'Boogie Wonderland' for Earth, Wind And Fire, 'Crazy For You' (Madonna) and 'Save The Best For Last' (Vanessa Williams), as well as hits for Cher, The Temptations and Cheap Trick. He went on to become the Senior Vice President and head of A&R for Hollywood Records, working with such stars Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and the Jonas Brothers.

Grammy Award Nominee.

In Los Angeles, California, USA, of cancer

© Bill Miller

Meat Loaf
(72), Grammy Award-winning singer and actor best known for his wide-ranging voice and exciting stage shows, as well as the Jim Steinman-composed 'Bat Out Of Hell' trilogy, which sold more than 70 million copies, and produced such hits as 'I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That') and 'Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad'. However, he and Steinman subsequently engaged in a legal battle, with the consequence that Meat Loaf lost out on two further classic Steinman songs, 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' which went to Bonnie Tyler, and 'Making Love Out Of Nothing At All' which was a hit for Air Supply.

An accomplished actor, Meat Loaf appeared in more than fifty stage, movie and television productions, including 'The Rocky Horror Show', 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show', 'Fight Club', 'As You Like It', 'Glee' and 'Hair'.

Grammy Award Nominee.

Grammy Award Winner.

In Austin, Texas, USA, from an illness linked to Covid-19

© Bill Miller

Ronnie Spector
(78), former lead singer with the Ronettes, whose hits include such classics as 'Baby I Love You', 'Walking In The Rain' and 'Be My Baby'.

A star at 17, having had toured with both The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, she retired in 1967 to marry her producer Phil Spector, but later re-emerged as both a solo artiste and as lead vocalist with a revamped Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes. Following the couple's divorce, she sued her husband for unpaid royalties, eventually settling for $1 million. She also resumed touring and performing on television, her powerful voice and exuberant stage performances frequently cited by such singers as Amy Winehouse and Chrissie Hynde as being a major influence pn their own careers.

Although she was not as successful in her second career, she continued to perform and record, scoring a major hit accompanying Eddie Money on his 1986 hit 'Take Me Home Tonight'. and was actually on the American charts at the time of her death when The Ronettes original version of 'Sheigh Ride' reached the Billboard Top 10.

In New York City, USA, of cancer

© Bill Miller

Songwriter Obituaries 2021

Michael Nesmith
(78), singer, songwriter ('Different Drum' for Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys, 'Mary Mary' for the Paul Buttefield Band), actor ('The Monkees' TV series), writer ('Infinite Tuesday', 'American Gene') and film producer ('Repo Man', 'Elephant Parts').

Born in Houston, Texas, he moved to Los Angeles folllowing a stint in the Air Force, and in 1965, after releasing a number of unsuccessful solo singles, auditioned for a part as a member of a fictional Beatles-soundalike band which was being formed purely to front a comedy TV series called 'The Monkees'. However, the four stars, who had been chosen more for their acting ability than their musical prowess, went on to score such Top 10 hits as 'Last Train To Clarksville', 'I'm A Believer', 'Valleri', 'A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You', 'Pleasant Valley Sunday' and 'Daydream Believer' while the TV series itself ran for 58 episodes.

Following the break-up of The Monkees, Michael Nesmith formed The First National Band ('Joanne'), followed by The Second National Band, before embarking on a solo career, scoring minor hits with such songs as 'Rio'.

A shrewd businessman, (he later inherited $24 million from his mother Bette Nesmith, the company secretary who invented Liquid Paper - a product similar to Tippex), Nesmith went on to develop the concept of a 24-hour music TV channel which would in time become MTV, selling on the idea to Time-Warner.

This deal enabled him to found Pacific Arts Video which became a pioneer in the home video market, producing and a wide variety of programs including the Ken Burns award-winning 'The Civil War' but the company ceased operations temporarily after a contract dispute with PBS over home video licensing rights. The dispute eventually went to a six-week trial where a jury awarded Nesmith and his company Pacific Arts $48 million in damages.

In later years, he toured frequently both as a solo act and as part of 'The Monkees Present The Mike And Micky Show' (with Micky Dolenz of The Monkees), making his final appearance on stage with Dolenz at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, four weeks before his death.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Grammy Award Winner.

Four-time Grammy Award Nominee.

In Carmel Valley, California, USA, of heart failure

© Jim Liddane

Stonewall Jackson
(89), country singer whose successes include the million-sellers 'Waterloo' and 'BJ The DJ', along with such Top 10 hits as 'The Carpet On The Floor', 'Why I'm Walkin'', 'A Wound Time Can't Erase', 'I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water' and 'Me And You And A Dog Named Boo'.

A crowd favourite on the Grand Ole Opry since 1956, Jackson caused consternation in country music circles when - on his 77th birthday - he sued the venue for $20 million claiming age discrimination, alleging that the manager had told him that he didn't 'want any gray hairs on that stage or in the audience, and before I'm done there won't be any'. The Opry settled, Jackson returned to the Opry stage, and remained a member until his death.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, from complications of dementia

© Bill Miller

John Miles
(72), singer-songwriter whose 1976 hit 'Music' sold over a million copies. Other successes include 'Highfly', 'Remember Yesterday', and 'Slow Down'.

In a career lasting almost 50 years, Miles played alongside Tina Turner, Jimmy Page, Joe Cocker, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones, Andre Botticelli and many more.

A frequent participant at the Night Of The Proms, he also co-wrote a number of stage musicals, including 'Tom And Catherine', 'Dan Dare The Musical' and 'Dolly Mixtures'.

Ivor Novello Award Winner.

In London, UK, of heart failure

© Ray Coleman

Steve Bronski
(61), singer-songwriter and co-founder of Bronski Beat, whose hits include 'Smalltown Boy' and 'Why?'.

In Soho, London, UK, from smoke inhalation following a house fire

© Ray Coleman

Charley Pride
(86), singer and former professional baseball player whose 75 country hits (which produced 30 #1 singles) included 'All I Have To Offer You (Is Me)', 'Is Anybody Goin' To San Antone', 'It's Gonna Take A Little Bit Longer', 'She's Too Good To Be True', 'A Shoulder To Cry On', 'Then Who Am I', 'Don't Fight The Feelings Of Love', 'Amazing Love', 'Then Who Am I', 'Hope You're Feelin' Me (Like I'm Feelin' You)', 'Someone Loves You Honey', 'You're My Jamaica', 'Honky Tonk Blues', 'Mountain Of Love', 'Night Games', 'Shouldn't It Be Easier Than This?', 'Crystal Chandeliers', 'Kiss An Angel Good Morning' and 'Amy's Eyes'.

Four-time Grammy Award Winner.

Grand Ole Opry Member.

Country Music Hall Of Fame Inductee.

In Dallas, Texas, USA, from an illness linked to Covid-19

© Bill Miller

Ralph Carmichael
(94), composer and arranger who broke into the mainstream music business when - while providing music arrangemenets for Billy Graham - he was invited to work on Nat King Cole's Christmas album 'The Magic Of Christmas'. This led to him arranging all of Cole's albums until the singer's death in 1964.

He soon became involved in writing and arranging for secular television, working on the 'I Love Lucy', 'Bonanza' and 'Roy Rogers' shows, as well shows for Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Jack Jones, Peggy Lee, Al Martino and Roger Williams.

Reverting to his first love, Christian Music, he produced Andrae Crouch and George Beverly Shea, and penned a number of spiritual songs, one recorded by The Carpenters ('Love Is Surrender'), and another by Elvis Presley ('Reach Out To Jesus').

In Camarillo, California, USA, of heart failure

© Bill Miller

Stephen Sondheim
(91), composer, lyricist, and the person credited with "re-inventing the American Musical", and whose Broadway successes include 'West Side Story', 'Gypsy', 'A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum', 'Company', 'Follies', 'A Little Night Music', and 'Sweeney Todd'.

Born in New York City, Stephen Sondheim was introduced to Oscar Hammerstein 11, the father of one of his school friends. and went on to pen his first musical 'By George' while a student at George Prep School in Pennsylvania. The musical comedy was a success amongst his peers but when he asked Hammerstein to critique it, the great man panned the work, offering instead to teach Stephen everything he needed to know about musical theatre. This mentorship and indeed friendship, lasted for twenty years and it was Sondheim who was invited to speak the eulogy at Hammerstein's funeral in 1960.

At a party in New York that same year, he ran into producer Arthur Laurents who told him that Leonard Bernstein was working on a musical based on 'Romeo & Juliet' and offered to introduce them. The two clicked and the ensuing work 'West Side Story' went on to become one of Broadway's longest-running shows. Sondheim inexplicably refused Bernstein's offer of a 50-50 royalty split, settling for just 25% and a more prominent credit, something which he deeply regretted a few years later when his shows were not as commercially successful.

After the success of 'West Side Story', Laurents asked him to pen both words and music for a musical based on the life of burlesque dance Gypsy Rose Lee. However the proposed star of the show Ethel Merman, insisted that a more experienced composer (Julie Styne) be invited to pen the music, with Sondheim providing the lyrics. The ensuing show titled 'Gypsy' ran for two years.

Sondheim's first opportunity to write both words and music came with his next Broadway success, 'A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum', a production which ran on Broadway for almost three years, but this was followed by a series of less successful works (one of which closed in its opening week), although he he did pen (under the pseudonym Esteban Rio Nido) a parody of 'The Girl From Ipanema' titled 'The Boy From....' which became a turntable hit in 1966. That same year, short of money, he teamed up with actor Anthony Perkins to write a TV musical. Sondheim suggested the title 'A Little Night Music' but the TV executives demurred, and the musical finally aired as 'Evening Primrose'. He was then persuaded to team up with Leonard Bernstein to work on a musical version of a Brecht play, but was unable to accommodate himself to Bernstein's need to work only after midnight. Legend has it that mid-way through the project, he excused himself one morning to buy some cigarettes, took a taxi to JFK airport and never returned.

Sondheim had always been interested in puzzles, and even supplied a number of cryptic crosswords to the New York Magazine during this period. He was also the inspiration for Anthony Quayle's character in the hit drama 'Sleuth' which had as its working title 'Who's Afraid Of Stephen Sondheim' and went on to write (with Anthony Perkins) the screenplay for 'The Last Of Sheila' which starred James Mason, Raquel Welch and Dyan Cannon. Perkins and Sondheim worked on several more scripts, but none made it into production, although many years later, Sondheim did contribute music for Warren Beatty's 'Dick Tracy', with one of the songs 'Sooner Or Later' earning Sondheim an Oscar.

In 1970, Sondheim had run into a friend he had known since childhood, the now very successful theatrical director Hal Prince, which resulted in the hit musical 'Company'. This show ran for two years winning several Tony Awards. His next venture was 'Follies', which also ran for two years, and which was followed by what many critics believe to be his best work - 'A Little Night Music'. This show produced the chart-topping song 'Send In The Clowns', popularised by Judy Collins and quickly covered by dozens of singers including Frank Sinatra.

In 1976, his show 'Pacific Overtures' ran for six months while his operatic 'Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' ran on Broadway for 557 performances.

His next show 'Merrily We Roll Along' was not a hit, although Sondheim returned to his successful ways in 1984 with 'Sunday In The Park With George' and again in 1987 with 'Into The Woods'. His fame was now such that revues - comprising songs from his various shows and with titles like 'Sondheim On Sondheim', 'A Bed And A Chair' and 'A Little Night Conversation With Stephen Sondheim' - drew huge audiences across the United States and further afield. He was also in demand as a mentor, and recalling his own debt to Oscar Hammerstein, gave freely of his time. In 2008 for example, he was asked to listen to a mix-tape of a proposed musical to be titled 'Hamilton' but did not become involved, also turning down the opportunity to work on musical versions of several movies including 'Groundhog Day' and 'Being There'. A few weeks before his death, Sondheim unveiled a new musical titled 'Square One' penned with with David Ives, to star Nathan Lane and Bernadette Peters.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Oscar Award Winner.

Eight-time Grammy Award Winner.

Nine-time Tony Award Winner.

Pulitzer Prize Winner.

Laurence Olivier Award Winner.

US Presidential Medal Of Freedom Award.

At his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, USA, following a suspected heart attack

© Jim Liddane

Leslie Bricusse
(90), songwriter whose prodigious output earned him both Academy and Grammy Awards, and whose songs included such classics as 'My Kind Of Girl' (Frank Sinatra), 'What Kind Of Fool Am I' (Sammy Davis), 'Who Can I Turn To' (Tony Bennett), 'Goldfinger' (Shirley Bassey), 'You Only Live Twice' (Nancy Sinatra), 'Two For The Road' (Monica Mancini), 'If I Ruled The World' (Harry Secombe), 'The Candy Man' (Sammy Davis) and 'Talk To The Animals' (Rex Harrison), and who collaborated with such greats as John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Henry Mancini, Anthony Newley and John Barry.

Leslie Bricusse was born in London and educated at Cambridge. Soon after, using a pseudonym, he teamed up with Lonnie Donegan to pen the UK #1 hit 'My Old Man's A Dustman', and later with Anthony Newley, to pen the West End and Broadway musicals 'Stop The World I Want To Get Off' and 'The Roar Of The Greasepaint - The Smell Of The Crowd' along with music for the movie 'Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory'.

Although Bricusse was rightly acclaimed as a lyricist, he was also an award-winning composer ('Doctor Dolittle', 'Sherlock Holmes The Musical', 'Scrooge The Musical' and 'Goodbye Mr Chips'), but he was equally happy collaborating with Cyril Ornadel on 'Pickwick - The Musical', with John Williams on 'Hook', with Henry Mancini on both 'Victor/Victoria' and 'Tom & Jerry - The Movie' and with Anthony Newley on 'Sweet November'.

His songs have been recorded by such diverse vocal acts as Robbie Williams, P J Proby, The Turtles, Muse, Karmin, Matt Monro, Andy Williams, Lesley Gore, Tom Petty, Celine Dion, Perry Como, Nina Simone, Little Anthony & The Imperials and James Brown, as well as jazz acts like County Basie, Harry James, Bill Evans and Vince Guaraldi

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Two-time Oscar Award Winner.

Ten-time Oscar Award Nominee.

Grammy Award Winner.

Eight-tinme Grammy Award Nominee.

Five-time Tony Award Winner.

In Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, in his sleep, from heart failure

© Jim Liddane

Tom T Hall
(85), singer, songwriter and short-story author, whose songs include 36 Top 10 hits, of which ten reached Number 1. Also known as 'The Storyteller', Tom T Hall started out as a radio DJ in Kentucky and later West Virginia. His first success as a writer came in 1963 when country singer Jimmy C. Newman had a hit with Hall's song 'DJ For A Day'. The following year, Hall quit radio and moved to Nashville, signing with Newkeys Music, and scoring hits with songs recorded by Johnny Cash, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Alan Jackson, and Bobby Bare.

In 1968, Hall penned 'Harper Valley PTA' which was recorded by demo-session vocalist Jeannie C Riley who had recorded the demo for Newkeys Music. The subsequent record went to #1 on Billboard's pop charts, selling over seven million copies, spawning a movie of the same name and earning a Grammy Award.

Soon after, Hall embarked on a solo recording career, becoming one of country music's most enduring stars with hits like "A Week in a Country Jail", "Old Dogs, Children And Watermelon Wine", "I Love", "Country Is", "The Year Clayton Delaney Died", "I Like Beer", "Faster Horses (The Cowboy And The Poet)", and "That Song Is Driving Me Crazy".

At the peak of his success, Hall retired from both recording and public performance. In 1968, he had married English-born country songwriter Iris Lawrence, whose hits (penned under her writing name of Dixie Deen) included Dave Dudley's 'Truck Drivin' Son-Of-A-Gun'. After Hall's retirement, both worked together penning bluegrass songs. Together, they won The Society For The Preservation Of Bluegrass Music' Bluegrass Songwriter Of The Year award twelve times between 2002 and Dixie's death in 2015.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Songwriters Hall Of Fame Inductee.

Grammy Award Winner.

Grand Ole Opry Member.

Country Music Hall Of Fame Inductee.

At his home in Franklin, Tennessee, USA, by suicide

© Jim Liddane

Johnny Worth
(90), songwriter and singer, whose hit compositions include 'What Do You Want' (Adam Faith and Bobby Vee), 'As You Like It', 'Baby Take A Bow', 'Don't That Beat All', 'Don't You Know It?', 'Poor Me' and 'Someone Else's Baby' (all for Adam Faith), as well as 'Well I Ask You', 'Get Lost' and 'Forget Me Not' (Eden Kane), 'Gonna Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse' (Bobby Helms) and 'Jack In The Box' (Clodagh Rodgers), along with hits for Barbra Streisand, Petula Clark, Englebert Humperdinck, Sammy Davis Jr, Vince Hill, Anthony Newley, Shirley Bassey, Herman’s Hermits, Marty Wilde, Bobby Rydell, Cleo Laine, Jimmy Justice, John Leyton, Scott McKenzie, Mark Wynter, Cleo Laine, The Foundations and Freddie & The Dreamers.

Although Johnny Worth penned songs for a wide variety of singers, he became so much associated with Adam Faith's career, having written nearly all of his hits and earning in the process a huge amount of money, that he found himself immortalised in the Lonnie Donegan hit 'Have A Drink On Me' with the wry lines 'Well sell your shovel and your old long johns, You can make a fortune writing Adam Faith's songs'.

Johnny Worth, whose real name was Yiannis Skordalides (later changed to John Worsley), but who frequently worked under the name Les Vandyke, initially recorded for the Embassy, Oriole and Columbia labels during the fifties and sixties, before joining The Raindrops vocal group where he met orchestra leader John Barry who was about to start recording actor Adam Faith.

Worth himself recorded a number of cover version singles and albums for Embassy Records, producing interesting impersonations of Elvis Presley, The Big Bopper, Steve Lawrence, Paul Anka, Cliff Richard, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and even Adam Faith!

In later years, he married singer Catherine Stock (sister of songwriter and producer Mike Stock of Stock, Aitken and Waterman) for whom he wrote her 1986 hit 'To Have And To Hold'. He also produced albums for 'The Two Ronnies' and penned the hit West End musical 'Nell', as well as recording three songs for the score of the 1968 short film 'Les Bicyclettes De Belsize', including the title song.

For a period during the 70's, he specialised in penning tunes for such movies as 'What A Whopper', 'The Kitchen', 'Mix Me A Person', 'Some People', 'Johnny Cool', 'Psychomania', and 'Saturday Night And Sunday Morning'.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

In Consett, County Durham, UK of undisclosed causes

© Jim Liddane

Nancy Griffith
(68), singer-songwriter whose hits include such classics as 'From A Distance', 'Love At The Five And Dime', 'Outbound Plane', 'The Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness', 'Listen To The Radio', 'Once In A Very Blue Moon' and 'If These Old Walls Could Speak'.

In addition to a huge body of solo work, she also duetted with such stars as Emmylou Harris, Mary Black, John Prine, Don McLean, Jimmy Buffett, Dolores Keane, Willie Nelson, The Chieftains, John Stewart and Darius Rucker and toured with The Crickets (who were her support act for a number of years), John Prine, Iris DeMent, Suzy Bogguss, and Judy Collins.

Grammy Award Winner.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, of cancer

© Bill Miller

Biz Markle
(57), singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, radio DJ and television personality, who was known as 'The Clown Prince Of Hip Hop', and whose hits include the 1989 multi-million selling 'Just A Friend'. The follow-up 'Alone Again' however had to be withdrawn when Gilbert O'Sullivan sued Warner Brothers pointing out that the song featured an unauthorised sample of his own hit 'Alone Again Naturally'. The subsequent landmark ruling (that all samples have to be cleared with the original artist before they can be used), stands to this day.

Markle's subsequent album, humorously titled 'All Samples Cleared!' did not do as well as hoped, and he negan a move into television, appearing on such shows as ''In Living Colour' and 'The Dirty Dozens' while guesting on albums by The Beastie Boys, Don Byron and Will Smith. He went on to act in movies such as 'Men In Black 2' with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, and in 2020, was given his own daily four-hour radio show on Sirius XM.

In Baltimore, Maryland, USA, from a stroke following a diabetic coma

© Bill Miller

Tshepo Tshola
(69), singer-songwriter and musician known affectionately as The Village Pope, whose hits include 'Ho Lokile', 'Mbube', 'You Inspire Me', 'Ntate' and 'Stop The War'. Having started his career in Lesotho in the 1970's as lead vocalist with the boy band Lesotho Blue Diamonds, Tshepo Tshola went on to co-found the internationally successful Sankomota with Frank Leepa, a band which toured Europe and the USA and scored several hit albums.

In Masaru, Lesotho, from an illness linked to Covid-19

© Ray Coleman

Sanford Clark
(85), singer-songwriter whose early rock hits 'The Fool' and 'The Cheat' influenced Elvis Presley and Keith Richards. Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Sanford Clark also scored on the country charts with 'Son Of A Gun' and 'Farm Labour Camp #2' for Lee Hazlewood's LH label and in later years, recorded for his own Desert Sun Records.

In Joplin, Missouri, from an illness linked to Covid-19

© Bill Miller

Steve Kekana
(62), singer-songwriter and university law professor, whose hits include 'Raising My Family', 'The Bushman' and 'Feel So Strong', and who recorded more than forty albums, earning more than 70 Gold Disk awards.

Born in Limpopo, South Africa, Steve Kekana lost his sight at the age of five, and attended a school for the blind in Pietersburg before going on to university, emerging with a degree in law. That same year, he exploded onto the South African music scene with 'Raising My Family' which also charted in a number of European countries.

In 1985, he was included in The TOYP (Ten Outstanding Young People Of The World) Awards. In recent years, although he continued to tour and record (his most recent album 'Ubuntu' charted in 2019), he also lectured as Professor of Labour Law in the University Of South Africa.

SAMA Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

In Pietersburg, South Africa, from an illness linked to Covid-19

© Ray Coleman

Pam Belford
(70), songwriter and Nashville City librarian, who penned George Strait's 'If I Know Me' and 'Holding My Own', along with the Connie Francis hit 'Don’t Tell Me Not To Cry', Leon Everette's 'Sad State Of Affairs', and songs recorded by Doug Stone, Blackcreek, Rich McCready, Renee Wahl, and her occasional collaborator Dean Dillon.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, of heart failure

© Bill Miller

Glenn Tubb
(85), singer-songwriter, who in 1968 penned the classic Henson Cargill #1 'Skip A Rope' and lived to to see it back on the charts 53 years later (in 2021) by Marty Stuart.

'Skip A Rope', which was nominated for a Grammy, was also recorded by Jimmy Dean, B.J. Thomas, Conway Twitty, Autry Inman, Lynn Anderson, Gene Vincent, George Jones, Joe Tex, Patti Page, Rex Allen, The Jordanaires, Bobby Bare, The Brothers Four and The Kentucky Head Hunters.

Glenn Tubb also penned 'Two Story House' and 'Together Again', two chart-topping duets for George Jones & Tammy Wynette, 'Home Of The Blues' a hit for Johnny Cash, and 'I Talk To Jesus Every Day' (recorded by both Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan), along with songs for Dwight Yoakam, Kitty Wells, Hank Williams Jr., Sonny James, Charley Pride, Bob Dylan, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Gene Watson, Billy Walker, Anne Murray and Ernest Tubb.

One of his lesser-known collaborations was a posthumous one with Hank Williams. Williams, had who died in 1953, had left an unfinished lyric titled 'Heartbroken, Forsaken and Alone' which his widow asked Glenn Tubb to finish. The song was finally recorded in 2009 by Jennifer Brantley.

A recording artist in his own right, Glenn Tubb (mainly under the name Glenn Douglas) recorded for the Dot, Decca, Mercury and MGM labels, while touring with such heavyweights as Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, George Jones, Conway Twitty, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Marty Robbins. Married to country star Dottie Snow Tubb, who like Tubb was a minister of religion, they both presided over 'The Kitchen Tabernacle' which was broadcast every Sunday worldwide, and as a regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry and The Ozark Jubilee, Glenn - who was the nephew of Country Music Hall Of Fame member Ernest Tubb and cousin of Opry star Justin Tubb - performed up until his death at the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree in Nashville.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Grammy Award Nominee.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, of heart failure

© Jim Liddane

Michael Julien
(93), songwriter and Harley Street hypnotherapist who was involved in penning two Eurovision-winning songs.

Michael Julien, who qualified initially as a solicitor but never practised deciding instead to train as a hypnotherapist, started his career in show business in 1954 by penning 'Impossible' for Norman Wisdom. Later hits included Shirley Bassey's 'Kiss Me Honey Honey Kiss Me' which spent 17 weeks on the UK charts in 1958 even though it had been denounced by the Archbishop of York as 'musical pornography', along with 'Constantly' an international hit in 1964 for Cliff Richard.

Using money from his 1950's hits, Michael Julien opened and managed the Club d'Azur at 47 Frith Street, London, which attracted such celebrities as Anita Ekberg, Jayne Mansfield, Brigitte Bardot and Dean Martin, before selling the building in 1965 to Ronnie Scott, who wanted to move his jazz club in Gerrard Street to a larger premises.

In 1967, he penned 'Let's Live For Today' which was recorded by the American rock band the Grass Roots, and their version quickly became 'the unofficial anthem' of the American troops on the ground in Vietnam. The song sold more than three million copies in the USA alone, was featured in several movies, and was covered by more than 50 acts.

In 1968, Michael Julien was approached to pen English lyrics for Spain's winning Eurovision entry 'La La La' and the following year, his song 'Boom-Bang-A-Bang', performed for the UK by Lulu, won the Eurovision held in Madrid.

Other successes included 'Love Is A Gamble' for Jackie Lee, 'Nine Times Out Of Ten' for Muriel Day, and 'Teach Me' for David Hughes as well as recordings by The Kaye Sisters, The Rokes, The Living Daylights, Lesley Gore, Jerry Vale, James Last, Ray McVay, Lena Zavaroni, The Lords Of The New Church, Billie Davis, Amanda Lear, Matt Monro, Judith Durham, and Jane McDonald.

Having retired as a psychotherapist, Michael Julien continued to write songs, and in 2015, cut his first recording - singing one of his own compositions, 'You're So Loveable', This was followed by a sell-out concert in London featuring Rhiannon Davis and Richard Beavis performing his material, including some new songs which he had just written for a planned West End musical.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

In London, UK, having contracted Covid 19 while recuperating in hospital following surgery

© Jim Liddane

DeWayne Blackwell
(84) songwriter whose hits include such classics as 'Mr Blue' (The Fleetwoods, Bobby Vee, Johnny Crawford, Bobby Vinton, Pat Boone, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Garth Brooks and Bob Dylan), '(I've Got) Friends In Low Places' (Garth Brooks), 'I’m Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home' (David Frizell) and 'Honkytonk Man' (Marty Robbins).

A teenage member of the family group The Blackwells (his brother Ron penned the Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs hit 'Lil’ Red Riding Hood' but died in a car crash the week before the song reached ~1), Blackwell wrote 'Mr Blue' in 1959 which earned him his first million seller, going on to pen Top 10 hits for a slew of pop stars including Billy Fury ('Love Or Money'), The Everly Brothers ('The Ferris Wheel'), Bobby Vee ('Hickory, Dick And Dock') and Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs ('Oh That’s Bad - No That’s Good') along with other charting songs for Roy Orbison, The Four Preps, Peggy March, Little Richard and The Ventures.

In 1969, he turned his attention to country music, scoring with 'Mama Come’n Get Your Baby Boy' recorded by Johnny Darrell, followed by such hits as 'Saturday Night Special' by Conway Twitty, David Frizzell's 'I’m Gonna Hire A Wino' which was nominated for a songwriting Grammy Award, 'Honkytonk Man' by Marty Robbins (the title song of a Clint Eastwood movie), Garth Brooks' iconic hit 'Friends In Low Places' (named Single of the Year by both the CMA and the ACM and which was nominated for a Grammy and was named ASCAP’s Country Song of the Year in 1991), 'Cowboy In A Three-Piece Business Suit' (Rex Allen Jr), 'Turn The Pencil Over' (Porter Wagoner), 'Tulsa Ballroom' (Dottie West), 'A Million Light Beers Ago' (David Frizzell), 'Make My Day' (T.G. Sheppard & Clint Eastwood), 'Still Pickin’ Up After You' (The Kendalls), 'When Karen Comes Around' (Mason Dixon), 'Nobody Gets Off In This Town' (Garth Brooks) and 'Yard Sale' (Sammy Kershaw).

At the peak of his career, DeWayne Blackwell suddenly left Nashville to live in the Mexican city of Ajijic on the shores of Lake Chapala, where he opened a restaurant named Senor Azul - Spanish for his first-ever hit 'Mr Blue' and where he frequently performed.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Grammy Award Nominee.

In Baja California, Mexico, of heart failure

© Jim Liddane

Patsy Bruce
(81), songwriter and entrepreneur who with her husband country singer Ed Bruce, penned 'Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys' which was a hit for both Ed Bruce and the later pairing of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings whose recording won the 1979 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group. She also penned 'Texas When I Die' which reached Number 1 for Tanya Tucker as well as 'Girls, Women and Ladies', '(When You Fall In Love) Everything's A Waltz', 'After All' and 'Ever, Never Lovin' You', all recorded by Ed Bruce.

She became President of the Nashville Songwriters Association International in the late 1970s and also acted as manager for her husband's career, setting up the Ed Bruce Talent Agency in Nashville. She was later appointed casting director for the TV series remake 'Maverick' and the movie 'Urban Cowboy' and following her divorce, she set up the event management company 'Events Unlimited'.

A supporter of the Democratic Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen, she served for ten years on the Tennessee State Board of Probation and Parole. In recent years, she went into business with her son, the songwriter Trey Bruce whose hit songs have been recorded by Randy Travis, Faith Hill, Leann Rimes, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood. Together, they opened Songbird Tours in 2017, a luxury purpose-built bus which circles the major songwriting attractions in Music City, while Nashville songwriters perform for the occupants and which quickly emerged as one of the top visitor attractions in Music City.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, of heart failure

© Bill Miller

Marcel Stellman
(96), Belgian-born songwriter, record producer, journalist (for 'Cashbox'), BBC producer and later BBC radio presenter, whose songs (penned under more than 20 different pen-names) were recorded by such acts as Max Bygraves ('Tulips From Amsterdam'), Lance Fortune ('Be Mine'), Jess Conrad ('The Pullover'), Kathy Kirby ('Dance On'), Françoise Hardy ('Find Me A Boy'), Tony Bennett ('I Will Live My Life For You'), Engelbert Humperdinck ('How Near Is My Love'), Bing Crosby ('A Little Love And Understanding'), Cilla Black ('There I Go'), Dean Martin ('Cha Cha Cha d'Amour'), Charles Aznavour (whom he persuaded to record for the first time in English), Louis Prima, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Nina Simone, Jimmy Young, Maureen Evans, Craig Douglas, Benny Hill, Marianne Faithfull, Los Bravos, Vikki Carr, Wayne Newton, Petula Clark, Noel Harrison, Julie Andrews, Peters & Lee, Stephane Grappelli, The Shadows, The Bachelors, Slim Whitman, Mantovani, Dave Berry, Edith Piaf, Nana Mouskouri, Dana, Shirley Bassey, Gilbert Becaud, and The George Martin Orchestra,

As a producer mainly with Decca Records (UK), he worked with Dirk Bogarde ('Lyrics For Lovers'), Edmundo Ros (for whom her produced twenty albums), Eric Sykes & Hattie Jacques, Ted Heath, The Tornados, Unit 4 + 2, Caterina Valente, Anita Harris, Noel Harrison, Manuela, Honor Blackman, The Goons, Papa Abraham & The Smurfs, and Dusty Springfield.

While on a visit to Cannes, Marcel Stellman licensed the French TV quiz show 'Des Chiffres Et Des Lettres', bringing it to UK audiences under the name 'Countdown' which was the first programme broadcast by Channel 4, and was still running 7,000 editions later.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Freeman Of The City Of London.

Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

In London, UK, of natural causes

© Jim Liddane

Lloyd Price
(88), singer-songwriter whose Top 20 hits include 'Personality' (covered in the UK by Anthony Newley), 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' (covered by Elvis Presley), 'Stagger Lee' (covered by Tommy Roe), 'Lady Luck', 'Question', 'Misty', 'Amen' and 'I'm Gonna Get Married', and who went on to found Double L Records (which recorded Wilson Pickett) and the Broadway night-club Birdland.

A shrewd businessman, Lloyd Price invested heavily in real estate, owning two construction firms which built homes in the Bronx and Staten Island, as well as the food company Global Icon Brands, and became involved with Don King in the 'Rumble In The Jungle' boxing fixture between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire.

In spite of his many business activities, Lloyd Price continued to perform live up until his death, to work with Phil Ramone on the Broadway musical 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' and to manage his various music publishing and recording firms.

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee.

In New Rochelle, New York, USA from complications linked to diabetes

© Bill Miller

Tommy West
(78), singer-songwriter and record producer, who founded The Criterions ('I Remain Truly Yours'), before moving into radio at WRLB in New Jersey. From there he joined ABC Records in New York where he teamed up with songwriters Terry Cashman and Gene Pistilli to form the trio Cashman, Pistilli & West which released a series of well-received albums while the trio simultaneously recorded under the name of The Buchanan Brothers ('Medicine Man').

West moonlighted as a backup vocalist on singles by Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Sammy Davis, Jr., Connie Francis, and Mitch Ryder and in 1970, wrote a series of songs for the emerging Partridge Family ('She'd Rather Have The Rain', 'Only A Moment Ago', 'Every Song Is You', 'One Day At A Time', 'Come On Love', 'Sunshine Eyes', 'It Sounds Like You're Saying Hello', and 'It's Time That I Knew You Better'), before the trio scored their first hit with 'American City Suite'.

As this was entering the charts, they were producing an album for the folk duo Jim & Ingrid Croce, eventually signing Croce to a solo contract at ABC-Dunhill, leading to a series of gold and platinum albums including 'You Don't Mess Around With Jim', 'Life And Times', and 'I Got A Name', and such hit singles as 'Bad, Bad Leroy Brown', 'I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song', 'Workin' At The Car Wash Blues','Operator' and 'Time In A Bottle'. Sadly, at the height of their success, Jim Croce died in an air-crash in Louisiana in 1973.

West and Cashman moved on to set up Lifesong Records, scoring hits with Henry Gross ('Shannon') and Dion's comeback album 'The Return Of The Wanderer', followed by a series of country albums for Ed Bruce, achieving such # 1 country hits as 'You're The Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had' with Ed Bruce (MCA Nashville) and 'Until I Met You' with Judy Rodman (one of two number ones for MTM Mary Tyler Moore Records). Teaming up with Anne Murray, West also produced the double-platinum album 'What A Wonderful Christmas' followed in 2002, by 'Country Croonin' which went gold.

In Jersey City, New Jersey, USA, from complications associated with Parkinson’s disease

© Bill Miller

Charlie Black
(71), songwriter whose hits include such country classics as Anne Murray’s 'A Little Good News', Reba McEntire’s 'You Lie' and Jennifer Warnes’ 'I Know A Heartache When I See One', but who started out as a singer whose career came to a halt when his first song was covered by Tommy Overstreet, leading to his being asked to pen a series of hits for that singer including I Don’t Know You Anymore' (1971), 'Send Me No Roses' (1973), 'I’ll Never Break These Chains' (1973), 'Jeannie Marie You Were A Lady' (1974) and 'If I Miss You Again Tonight' (1974).

Putting his own performing career on hold, Charlie Black emerged over the next 35 years as one of the most successful songwriters in the history of country music, scoring such hits as Anne Murray’s 'Shadows In The Moonlight', as well as her hits 'Lucky Me', 'Blessed Are The Believers' and 'Another Sleepless Night'. These hits were followed by 'Do You Love As Good As You Look,' (The Bellamy Brothers'), 'Be There For Me Baby' (Johnny Lee), 'Sounds Like Love' (Johnny Lee), 'Slow Burn' (T.G. Sheppard), 'Another Motel Memory' (Shelly West), 'Honor Bound' (Earl Thomas Conley) and 'Strong Heart' (T.G. Sheppard).

Twenty years after his first successes, Black scored with a succession of Number 1 country acts, including the Gary Morris hit '100% Chance Of Rain', Lee Greenwood's 'Someone', 'Timeless And True Love' for The McCarters, a song later covered by Jeannie Kendall & Alan Jackson in 2003.

K.T. Oslin's 'Come Next Monday' followed, along with Reba McEntire’s chart-topping 'You Lie', the BlackHawk hit 'Goodbye Says It All', Collin Raye’s 'Little Red Rodeo', Alan Jackson’s 'Right On The Money' and Vassar’s singles 'Carlene' , 'Six Pack Summer' and 'Don’t Miss Your Life' (2012).

Although these were his biggest hits, stars who queued up to record his material included Kenny Rogers, Lynn Anderson, John Conlee, Crystal Gayle, George Strait, Andy Williams, Juice Newton, Charlie Rich, Jerry Reed, The Osmond Brothers, Bobby Bare, Don Williams and Joe Nichols.

Charlie Black married songwriter Dana Hunt who penned several George Strait hits including 'Check Yes Or No' - the 1995 CMA Single of the Year, and 'Write This Down'.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

In Port Saint Joe, Florida, USA, of heart failure

© Jim Liddane

Jim Steinman
(73), songwriter, record producer, performer and playwright, described as 'the greatest ever composer of symphonic rock' whose hits include such classics as Bonnie Tyler's 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart', Air Supply's 'Making Love Out Of Nothing At All', Meat Loaf's 'I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)', the Sisters of Mercy's 'This Corrosion', Barry Manilow's 'Read 'Em And Weep', Celine Dion's 'It's All Coming Back To Me Now' and Boyzone's 'No Matter What' as well as penning the music for Meat Loaf’s 'Bat Out Of Hell',which sold 14 million copies in the US alone.

In the field of musical theatre, Jim Steinman also scored with 'Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical', 'Whistle Down The Wind', and 'Tanz der Vampire - Dance Of The Vampires'.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Grammy Award Winner.

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee.

In Ridgefield, Connecticut, USA, of kidney failure

© Jim Liddane

Barry Mason
(85), songwriter whose hit songs include such classics as 'Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)', 'The Last Waltz', 'I Pretend', 'Here It Comes Again', 'There Goes My First Love', 'A Man Without Love', 'Winter World Of Love' 'Now That You Are Gone', 'Rowbottom Square', 'Delilah', 'Love Is All', 'I Pretend', 'Les Bicyclettes De Belsize' and 'You Just Might See Me Cry'.

Over a sixty year career, his songs were recorded by Tom Jones, P. J. Proby, David Essex, The Drifters, Rod Stewart, Petula Clark, Perry Como, Elvis Presley, Engelbert Humperdinck, The Fortunes, Charles Aznavour, Tony Christie, Connie Francis, Mireille Mathieu, Barbra Streisand, The Dave Clark Five, Demis Roussos, Malcolm Roberts, Our Kid and Ashley Maclaine.

In addition, he also penned 'Marching On Together' (also known as 'Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!'), the anthem of Leeds United FC.

Born in Wigan, UK but brought uip in the entertainment city of Blackpool, in his early years Les wanted to be an actor, and ended up as understudy to Albert Finney at the Royal Court Theatre, after which he appeared in the Finney movie 'Saturday Night And Sunday Morning', singing the Adam Faith hit 'What Do You Want?'.

Later he had a short-lived spell in pop management having discovered Tommy Bruce and producing that singer's UK Number 1 'Ain't Misbehaving'. Unable to find a follow-up tune, Barry decided to try and pen one himself and soon discovered that he had a talent for songwriting, going on to pen hundreds of songs which sold more than 50 million copies, many in collabration with such songwriters as Les Reed, Peter Lee Stirling, Roger Greenaway and Tony MacAulay.

Although a predominantly pop songwriter, he also penned two country Number 1 songs, for Tom Jones and Joe Stampley, became involved in musical theatre writing several musicals including 'Miranda' and also emerged as a singer with the album 'Rowbottom Square' which was a big hit in Germany.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Five-time Ivor Novello Award Winner

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

In London, UK, of natural causes

© Jim Liddane

Rusty Young
(75), singer-songwrter and co-founder of Poco, whose hits include 'You Better Think Twice', 'Keep On Tryin', 'Rose of Cimarron', 'Indian Summer','Crazy Love', 'Heart Of The Night', 'Under the Gun', 'Shoot For The Moon"' 'Call It Love' and 'Nothin' to Hide'.

In Davisville, Missouri, USA, following a heart attack

© Bill Miller

Bill Owens
(85), songwriter, musician, environmentalist, and uncle to Dolly Parton, and whose songs have been recorded by Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Ricky Skaggs, Kris Kristofferson and others.

As well as playing guitar behind Dolly Parton in her early days, he was also noted environmental activist who partnered with Dollywood, The American Chestnut Foundation, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and The American Eagle Foundation to bring the native chestnut tree back to the Great Smoky Mountains area. He and his wife, Sandy, also planted 70,000 trees across the park property.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, of heart failure

© Bill Miller

(50), songwriter, rapper and actor, whose hits include 'Get At Me Dog', 'How's It Goin' Down', 'What's My Name?', 'What These Bitches Want', 'Party Up (Up In Here)', 'X Gon' Give It To Ya' and 'Lord Give Me A Sign'. In total, he sold 25 million albums and is regarded as the fifth best-selling rap or hip-hop artist of all time.

DMX, whose real name was Earl Simmons, also acted in wighteen movies, including 'Belly', 'Romeo Must Die', 'Exit Wounds', 'Cradle 2' and 'Last Hour' and penned an autobiograhpy 'E.A.R.L - The Autobiography of DMX'.

Three-time Grammy Award Nominee.

In New York City, USA, following a heart attack

© Bill Miller

Shay Healy
(78), songwriter, author and broadcaster who penned Johnny Logan's 1980 Eurovision Song Contest winner "What's Another Year", as well as songs for Billy Connolly ('The Orient Express', 'The Shitkickers Waltz' and 'The Country & Western Supersong'), along with 'Edge Of The Universe', performed by Linda Martin, which won the 1983 Castlebar Song Contest.

'What's Another Year', arranged by Bill Whelan, went on to sell over a million copies, spending two weeks at Number 1 in the UK, as well as going Top 10 in almost every European country and earning him the 2020 equivalent of more than £1 million.

He had been working for RTE Television when he wrote the song, and between 1988 and 1992 also hosted the TV chat show 'Nighthawks', one of whose interviews resulted in the resignation of the Irish Prime Minister Charles J Haughey when a former Justice Minister alleged that members of the government were aware of an order to illegally tap the phones of a number of journalists.

He had also been involved in musical theatre, collaborating with Niall Toibin on 'The King' (a tribute to Elvis Presley, and later writing 'The Wiremen' which ran for six weeks at Dublin's Gaiety Theatre.

A prolific journalist, for many years he penned a weekly column for The Daily Mail and published two novels ('The Stunt' and 'Green Card Blues') as well as a partial autobiography 'On The Road'.

In Dublin, Ireland, having suffered for many years with Parkinson's Disease

© Jim Liddane

Connie Bradley
(75), ASCAP Senior Vice President and Nashville Head, who worked with such stars as Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks, Rodney Crowell, Billy Currington, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and George Strait. Connie Bradley was married to Jerry Bradley and was a member of the CMA Board of Directors from 1983 to 2012, having been elected both President and Chairperson.

In Fort Myers, Florida, USA, of undiscolosed causes

© Bill Miller

Scott Whitehead
(61), singer-songwriter, music executive, and one half of the country duo Hometown News, whose hits include 'Minivan' and 'Wheels'. In recent years, he acted as business manager for GrassRoots Promotion whose clients include such stars as Alabama, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, and Randy Travis.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, of undisclosed causes

© Bill Miller

Michael Stanley
(72), singer-songwriter, broadcaster, and founder member of Silk, and later the Michael Stanley Band (also known as MSB), whose hits included 'He Can’t Love You' and 'Falling In Love Again', and who later hosted WJW Channel 8's 'PM Magazine', winning 11 local Emmy Awards, while spending more than 30 years on the radio at Cleveland’s classic rock station WNCX, handling the afternoon shift as well as Saturday mornings.

In Cleveland, Ohio, USA, of lung cancer

© Bill Miller

Prince Markie Dee
(52), songwriter, producer, radio host and member of The Fat Boys, whose hits include such rap classics as 'Typical Reasons (Swing My Way)' and 'Love Daddy'. After the group split, Dee produced hits for Mary Jo Blige ('Real Love'), Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Craig Mack and Marc Anthony while building up a major reputation as a radio DJ in Miami, Florida.

In Miami, Florida, USA, folowing a heart attack

© Bill Miller

Chick Corea
(79), jazz pianist and composer whose classic compositions included such pieces as 'La Fiesta', 'Armando's Rhumba' and 'Spain', and who worked with such jazz greats as Miles Davis, Gary Burton, Herbie Hancock, Cab Calloway and Sarah Vaughan.

Twenty-one time Grammy Award Winner.

Sixty-three time Grammy Award Nominee.

In Tampa Bay, Florida, USA, of cancer

© Ray Coleman

Jim Weatherly
(77), singer-songwriter, whose hits include 'The Need To Be' and 'I'll Still Love You' and whose songs recorded by other acts include 'Midnight Train To Georgia' by Gladys Knight & The Pips which went to Number 1 on the pop and R&B charts, and won a Grammy Award. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999, and chosen by the National Endowment For The Arts as No. 29 of the 365 Songs of the Century.

Born in Pontotoc, Mississippi in 1943, Weatherly started writing songs at the age of 13, before going on to play football for the University of Mississippi. However, following graduation, he turned down a professional football career in favour of music. Moving to Beverly Hills, he recorded initially as Jim Weatherly & The Vegas on 20th Century Fox Records before forming The Gordian Knot on Verve and RCA, working alongside such folk-rock acts as The Byrds, Johnny Rivers and Barry McGuire.

Subsequently he signed a solo contract with Buddah Records, scoring such hits as 'Loving You Is Just an Old Habit' and 'The Need to Be' (both pop hits), before switching to country with chart entries like 'It Must Have Been The Rain', 'All That Keeps Me Going', 'Smooth Sailing', 'Gift From Missouri' and 'Safe In the Arms Of Love (Cold In The Streets)'.

Simultaneously, he penned more than fifty tracks for Ray Price including his hits 'Storms Of Troubled Times', 'Like A First Time Thing', 'Like Old Times Again', 'Roses And Love Songs', 'Farthest Thing From My Mind' and 'If You Ever Change Your Mind', along with twelve for Gladys Knight & The Pips, including the hit songs 'Neither One Of Us', 'Where Peaceful Waters Flow', and 'Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me'.

Over a fifty-year career, Jim Weatherly penned songs for Dionne Warwick, Vince Gill, Tanya Tucker, Mac Davis, Marie Osmond, B.J. Thomas, Andy Williams, Eddy Arnold, Lynn Anderson, Joan Osborne, Neil Diamond, The Temptations, Trisha Yearwood, The Oak Ridge Boys, Hall & Oates, The Detroit Spinners, Reba McEntire, Dean Martin, Ray Charles, Johnny Lee, Peter Cetera, Lee Greenwood, Brenda Lee, Aretha Franklin, Steve Wariner, Kenny Chesney, Julie Andrews, Dottie West, Bobby Goldsboro, Garth Brooks, The Indigo Girls, Bob Luman, Ed Bruce, Johnny Mathis, Dan Seals, Reverend James Cleveland, Peggy Lee and Widespread Panic. In recent years, he penned songs for such acts as Kenny Rogers, Delbert McClinton, Jeff Carson, Etta James and The Manhattans

In 2002, Jim Weatherly filed a lawsuit claiming that he had been underpaid royalties for 'Midnight Train To Georgia'. The defendants argued that Weatherly could not proceed on his action because the one-year contractual limitation (common in most contracts) had passed. The courts disagreed saying that 'A defendant cannot hinder the plaintiff's discovery through misrepresentation, and then fault the plaintiff for failing to investigate'. This decision which still stands has enabled other artists fight claims of failure to pay royalties due.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Grammy Award Winner.

Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee.

In Brentwood, Tennessee, USA, of heart failure

© Jim Liddane

Hugh X Lewis
(90), singer-songwriter and radio/TV host, whose compositions include Stonewall Jackson's Number One hit 'BJ The DJ' as well as 'Angry Words' and 'Ship In The Bottle' (also for Jackson), 'Take My Ring Off Your Finger' (Carl Smith), 'Just Thought I’d Let You Know' (Carl Butler & Pearl), along with hits for Kitty Wells, Ray Pillow, Mac Wiseman, Jimmy C. Newman, George Morgan, Charley Pride, Jimmy Dickens, Lynn Anderson, Jim Ed Brown, Del Reeves and Bobby Goldsboro.

As a singer, he scored chart entries with 'What I Need Most', 'Out Where The Ocean Meets The Sky', 'I’d Better Call The Law On Me', 'You’re So Cold (I’m Turning Blue)', 'Evolution And The Bible' and 'All Heaven Broke Loose'.

As a presenter, he hosted the 'Hugh X. Lewis Country Club', a syndicated weekly TV show produced from his own nightclub in Printer’s Alley, Nashville, and also appeared in the movies 'Forty Acre Feud' (1966), 'Gold Guitar '(1967) and 'Cotton Pickin’ Chicken Pickers' (1967).

In 1984, he retired but returned to the music business in 1998, this time with such gospel albums as 'God, Home & Country' and 'Stand Up And Be Counted' and started hosting a weekly gospel radio show 'The Christian Country Store' on WSGS and WKIC in Hazard, Kentucky along with daily features on the Gospel Radio Network.

In Hazard, Kentucky, USA, of heart failure

© Bill Miller

Jimmie Rodgers
(87), singer-songwriter and one of the only acts who managed to achieve hit singles on the pop, country, rhythm & blues, folk and adult contemporary charts.

Born in Washintom State, Jimmie Rodgers moved to Nashville after service during the Korean War, and in 1957, reached Number 1 with his version of 'Honeycomb', quickly followed by such hits as 'Kisses Sweeter Than Wine', 'Oh-Oh, I'm Falling In Love Again', 'Secretly', and 'Are You Really Mine'. Other hits include 'Bo Diddley', 'Bimbombey', 'Because You're Young', 'Ring-A-Ling-A-Lario', 'Tucumcari', 'Tender Love And Care (T.L.C)', 'Make Me A Miracle', 'I'm Never Gonna Tell' and a version of 'Waltzing Matilda' which was featured in the movie 'On The Beach'. A regular on American television, he also charted with 'English Country Garden', along with the opening theme song of the film 'The Long, Hot Summer' starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Orson Welles.

Further hits incuded 'It's Over' (penned by Rodgers and later recorded by Eddy Arnold, Elvis Presley, Glen Campbell, Mason Williams, and Sonny James), 'Child Of Clay', 'Just a Closer Walk With Thee', 'The Wreck Of The John B', 'Woman From Liberia', 'No One Will Ever Know', 'Face In A Crowd', 'Two-Ten, Six-Eighteen', 'The World I Used To Know', 'The Windmills Of Your Mind', 'A Good Woman Likes To Drink With The Boys', 'Everytime I Sing A Love Song' and 'Easy To Love'.

Rodgers also appeared in a number of films, including 'The Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come' opposite Neil Hamilton, and 'Back Door To Hell', which he helped finance.

In 1967 at the height of his popularity, disaster struck when his car was stopped by off-duty policemen outside Los Angeles. When a friend found him later, he was semi-conscious, and claimed he had been beaten by a number of police officers, something which the officers denied, saying that he had fallen and struck his head. However they were subsequently disciplined for leaving the injured Rodgers alone in his car and Rodgers eventually accepted a $200,000 settlement from the Los Angeles City Council.

Recovery from his injuries was slow, and Rodgers rarely appeared on stage during the 1970's, although he continued to have Adult Contemporary and Country chart entries on a number of labels including Dot and A&M. However, ill health continued to plague him, and he retired from public performance in 2008 to write his autobiography 'Dancing On The Moon' although he returned to perform live in 2011.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

In Camas, Washington, USA, of heart failure

© Jim Liddane

Jamie O'Hara
(70), singer-songwriter and one-half of the country duo The O'Kanes, whose seven hits included "Can't Stop My Heart From Loving You" which reached Number 1 and was a Grammy Award Nominee.

A prolific songwriter for other acts, Jamie O'Hara scored with hits by The Judds ("Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Ol' Days)" which reached Number 1 and earned him a Grammy Award for Best Country Song, Ronnie McDowell ("Older Women" and "Wandering Eyes"), as well as chart entries for Shelby Lynne, Gary Allan, Tim McGraw, George Jones, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker and Trisha Yearwood.

In addition to his work with The O'Kanes, Jamie O'Hara released several solo albums on RCA, scoring such hit singles as "What's A Good Ol' Boy To Do", "The Cold Hard Truth", "It Ain't Over (Til Your Heart Says It's Over)" and "50,000 Names".

Grammy Award Winner.

Grammy Award Nominee.

In Nashville, Tennessee, USA, of cancer

© Bill Miller

Phil Spector
(81), record producer, musician, songwriter. and creator of the much-imitated 'Wall Of Sound', whose classic hits include 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (The Righteous Brothers), 'The Long and Winding Road' (The Beatles), and 'My Sweet Lord' (George Harrison), and who while penning numerous hit songs, also worked with such songwriting teams as Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

Regarded as one of the most influential figures in popular music, he scored more than 50 hit singles (including the most-broadcast single of the 20th Century), and produced more than 25 hit albums in a career which extended from 1958 to 2006.

Born in New York, Phil Spector first came to fame in Los Angeles as a singer, songwriter and guitarist with The Teddy Bears, whose hit 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' was inspired by the inscription on the grave of his father who had committed suicide nine years earlier. The single went to Number 1 in 1958. Moving to New York the following year, he went to work for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller as a trainee producer, co-writing the Ben E King classic 'Spanish Harlem' while producing several other hits including Ray Peterson's 'Corinne Corinna' and Curtis Lee's 'Pretty Little Angel Eyes' as well as 'Every Breath I Take' (Gene Pitney), 'I Love How You Love Me' (The Paris Sisters), 'I Could Have Loved You So Well' (Ray Peterson) and 'Second Hand Love' (Connie Francis). He also played guitar on a number of records, including the Drifters' hit 'On Broadway'.

Having returned to Los Angeles and forming Philles Records with Lester Sill in 1960, Spector developed his Wall Of Sound production technique, utilising such session players as Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel, Steve Douglas, Carol Kaye, Roy Caton, Glen Campbell, and Leon Russell, going on to produce a string of hits for The Crystals ('There's No Other Like My Baby', 'Uptown', 'He's A Rebel', 'He's Sure the Boy I Love', 'Then He Kissed Me', and 'Da Doo Ron Ron'), Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans ('Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah', 'Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Heart', and 'Not Too Young To Get Married'), Darlene Love ('Wait 'til My Bobby Gets Home', 'A Fine, Fine Boy' and 'Christmas Baby, Please Come Home'), The Ronettes ('Be My Baby', 'Baby, I Love You', 'The Best Part Of Breakin' Up', 'Do I Love You?' and 'Walking in the Rain'), The Righteous Brothers ('You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin', 'Just Once In My Life', 'Unchained Melody', 'Hung On You' and 'Ebb Tide'), Ike & Tina Turner ('River Deep Mountain High'), along with the multi-million selling Christmas album 'A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records'.

In 1970, after a two year sabattical during which he married Veronica Bennett, later known as Ronnie Spector and the former lead singer of The Ronettes, Spector returned to the Top 10 with 'Black Pearl' and 'Proud Mary' both by Sonny Charles & The Checkmates, before moving to London to work with The Beatles.

This sojourn produced John Lennon's 'Instant Karma', along with the Beatles album 'Let It Be' which gave them a number one single 'The Long & Winding Road', the remix of which irritated the song's composer Paul McCartney who was unhappy with the end result.

He next turned his attention to George Harrison, producing two hit singles 'My Sweet Lord' and 'What Is Life' along with the album 'All Things Must Pass', before delivering John Lennon's 'Imagine' and 'Power To The People'. In 1972, he won a Grammy for the triple album 'The Concert For Bangladesh'.

Soon after, Spector has involved in a near-fatal car crash in Hollywood, which caused severe head injuries and necessitated 800 stitches, and again withdrew from the music industry. However, in 1977 he co-wrote and produced Leonard Cphen's 'Death Of A Ladies' Man' LP, which on one track 'Don't Go Home With Your Hard-On' involved both Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg on background vocals. He then worked with the Ramones, producing their classic hits 'Rock 'n' Roll High School', 'Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?' and their cover of the Ronettes song, 'Baby, I Love You'. His final major productions included Yoko Ono's 'Season Of Glass' and Starsailor's 'Silence Is Easy'.

That same year, Spector was arrested and charged with the second-degree murder by shooting of actress Lana Clarkson at his home in Hollywood. Before the trial, Spector said in a deposition that he had been treated for bi-polar disorder, adding "No sleep, depression, mood changes, mood swings, hard to live with, hard to concentrate, just hard - a hard time getting through life, I've been called a genius and I think a genius is not there all the time and has borderline insanity."

Two trials followed, during which Spector claimed that Lana Clarkson's death was an 'accidental suicide', but in 2009, Soector was found guilty and sentenced to 19 years to life in the California state prison system.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

Grammy Award Winner.

At the California Prison Health Care Facility in Stockton, California, USA, from an illness linked to Covid-19

© Jim Liddane

Ed Bruce
(81), songwriter, singer and actor, whose hit compositions recorded by other artists include 'Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys' (Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings), 'Texas When I Die' (Tanya Tucker), 'Then Man That Turned My Mama On' (Tanya Tucker), 'See The Big Man Cry' (Charlie Louvin), 'Restless' (Crystal Gayle) and 'Save Your Kisses' (Tommy Roe).

As a singer, Ed Bruce scored 38 US Hot Country hits, including his own version of 'Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys', 'Last Train To Clarksville', 'Diane', 'The Last Cowboy Song', 'When You Fall In Love (Everything's A Waltz)', 'Evil Angel', 'Love's Found You And Me', 'You're The Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had', 'You Turn Me On Like A Radio', 'Nights', 'Everybody Wants To Get To Heaven', 'Song For Jenny'. and 'Quietly Crazy'.

In his early years, Ed Bruce recorded dozens of national TV and radio commercials including United Airlines, McDonalds, Kawasaki, John Deere, Dodge Trucks and the Armed Services Campaign 'It's a Great Place To Start' and so in 1988, he turned his talents to acting, playing non-musical roles in more than twenty movies, including 'Bret Maverick' with James Garner, 'Fire Down Below' with Steven Seagal, 'Kingfish: A Story of Huey P Long' with John Goodman, 'Public Enemies', 'Country Strong' (with Gwyneth Paltrow), 'The Last Days Of Frank And Jesse James' (with Kris Kristofferson), 'Finding Harmony', 'The Pardon' and 'American Honey' as well as hosting several TV shows, including 'Truckin' USA' and 'American Sports Cavalcade'.

Grammy Award Nominee.

In Clarksville, Tennessee, USA, of heart failure

© Bill Miller

Gerry Marsden
(78), singer-songwriter with Gerry & The Pacemakers, whose first three releases 'How Do You Do It', 'I Like It' and 'You’ll Never Walk Alone' reached number one in 1963 and who penned 'Ferry Cross The Mersey', described by John Lennon as 'the one song I would loved to have written'.

Part of the Liverpool wave and managed by Brian Epstein, Gerry & The Pacemakers toured the world, scoring a dozen US hits, including 'I'm The One', 'Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying', 'It's Gonna Be All Right' (all penned by Marsden), and 'I'll Be There'.

The band broke up in 1967 and Gerry commenced a new career on children's TV while also starring in the West End musical 'Charlie Girl' alongside Derek Nimmo and Anna Neagle. In 1972, he put together a new lineup of the Pacemakers, which over the next forty years would embark on several world and North American tours.

By now, 'You’ll Never Walk Alone' had become the anthem of Liverpool FC, and during the 1980's, he re-recorded several of his hits releasing them as charity singles in support of various causes including the Bradford Football Club stadium tragedy in which 56 were killed, and the Hillsborough football disaster, which with 96 fatalities and 766 injuries, became the worst disaster in British sporting history. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he released a version of 'You'll Never Walk Alone', in tribute to the National Health Service.

International Songwriters Association Hall Of Fame Member.

At Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside, after being diagnosed with a blood infection in his heart

© Jim Liddane

Liam Reilly
(65), singer-songwriter and keyboardist with Bagatelle, whose hit singles include 'Summer In Dublin', 'Second Violin' (which became a hit across South America) and 'Leeson Street Lady', and who also competed for Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1990, performing the song 'Somewhere In Europe' which was placed placed 2nd that year. He went on to pen Ireland’s 1991 entry 'Could It Be That I’m in Love', performed by the singer Kim Jackson, which finished 10th in Europe.

Widely respected on the Irish rock scene (Bono once stated that Bagatelle were a big influece on the early U2), Liam also penned songs for other acts, including the Number 1 hit 'Streets Of New York' (the Wolfetones), 'Flight Of The Earls' and 'Boston Rose'.

In Dundalk, Co Louth, Ireland, of undisclosed causes

© Jim Liddane

Songwriter Obituaries Prior To 2021

ISA • International Songwriters Association (1967)