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Songwriter Obituaries 2021

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 hus 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, from heart failure

© 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, Hermanís 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 inyeresting 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 undisclosed causes

© 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, of undisclosed causes

© 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 'Donít 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), 'Iím 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 'Lilí 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 Thatís Bad - No Thatís 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 Comeín Get Your Baby Boy' recorded by Johnny Darrell, followed by such hits as 'Saturday Night Special' by Conway Twitty, David Frizzell's 'Iím 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 ASCAPís 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 Pickiní 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'), FranÁoise 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 líOrdre 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 Parkinsonís disease

© Bill Miller

Charlie Black
(71), songwriter whose hits include such country classics as Anne Murrayís 'A Little Good News', Reba McEntireís 'You Lie' and Jennifer Warnesí '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 Donít Know You Anymore' (1971), 'Send Me No Roses' (1973), 'Iíll 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 Murrayís '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 McEntireís chart-topping 'You Lie', the BlackHawk hit 'Goodbye Says It All', Collin Rayeís 'Little Red Rodeo', Alan Jacksonís 'Right On The Money' and Vassarís singles 'Carlene' , 'Six Pack Summer' and 'Donít 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 Loafís '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 Canít 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 Clevelandís 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 Iíd 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', 'Iíd Better Call The Law On Me', 'Youíre So Cold (Iím 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 Printerís Alley, Nashville, and also appeared in the movies 'Forty Acre Feud' (1966), 'Gold Guitar '(1967) and 'Cotton Pickiní 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 'Youíll 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, 'Youíll 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 Irelandís 1991 entry 'Could It Be That Iím 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 ē International Songwriters Association (1967)