Billy Joe Royal

Billy Joe Royal (April 3, 1942 – October 6, 2015) was an American pop and country singer. His most successful record was “Down in the Boondocks” in 1965.
Born in Valdosta, Georgia to Clarence Royal and Mary Sue Smith, and raised in Marietta, Georgia, Royal performed at the Georgia Jubilee in Atlanta during his teens. He formed his own rock and roll band, and became a local star at the Bamboo Ranch in Savannah in the late 1950s and early 1960s, where his singing style was influenced by African-American performers including Sam Cooke.[1]

He was a friend of performer and songwriter Joe South, and recorded what was intended as a demo of South’s song “Down in the Boondocks”. The recording was heard at Columbia Records, who offered Royal a singing contract in 1965 and released his version of the song, produced by South.[1] “Down in the Boondocks” remained his best-known song, reaching number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100,[2] and number 38 in the UK.[3]

He followed up his initial success with the singles “I Knew You When” (Top 20, 1965) and “Hush” (1967), also written and produced by Joe South. Another South composition, “Yo-Yo,” just missed the top 40 in Canada and charted poorly in the U.S. when Royal released it in 1967, but a later remake by The Osmonds was a much greater success. His 1969 single, “Cherry Hill Park”, peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.[4] In the 1970s his recording of “Heart’s Desire” gained popularity among Northern soul enthusiasts and was regularly played in Northern soul nightclubs.[5]

By the late 1970s, Royal had become a regular performer in Las Vegas, and also appeared as an actor in movies and on television. His last hit on the US pop charts was in 1978, when his version of “Under the Boardwalk” became a minor hit. However, he reinvented himself in the 1980s as a mainstream country star, and had his first hit on the country music chart in 1984 with “Burned Like a Rocket”, released on the Atlantic label. His other country hits included “I’ll Pin a Note on Your Pillow” (1987), “Tell It Like It Is”, and “Till I Can’t Take It Anymore” (both 1989). His successes on the country charts continued until the early 1990s.[1]

Royal experienced a second comeback during the 2000s due to regular airplay on “oldies” radio stations. His music was further exposed to younger generations through a movement known as The Beat Army, an online music forum based on Facebook which is operated by author and music producer Paul Collins. Royal continued to tour regularly, performing concerts at casinos, music festivals and clubs in Canada, the United States, Japan and throughout Europe. His set lists included a mixture of songs representing multiple genres from the 1960s onwards. He also played Robert Ally in the indie Western film Billy the Kid (2013), co-starring country singer Cody McCarver.[6][7]

Royal died in his sleep on October 6, 2015 in Morehead City, North Carolina.[8]

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Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor (21 September 1954 – 11 November 2015), better known as “Philthy Animal” Taylor, was an English rock drummer in the British heavy metal band Motörhead from 1975–1984 and 1987–1992 recording ten studio albums and the live albums No Sleep ’til Hammersmith and No Sleep At All. The classic Motörhead line-up consisted of Lemmy, Taylor, and Fast Eddie Clarke.

Phil Taylor died on 11 November 2015 at the age of 61 after an illness. “Fast” Eddie Clarke said of his former bandmate via Facebook:

My dear friend and brother passed away last night.

He had been ill for sometime but that does not make it any easier when the time finally comes. I have known Phil since he was 21 and he was one hell of a character. Fortunately we made some fantastic music together and I have many many fond memories of our time together. Rest in Peace, Phil!”[7][8][9]

Lemmy told Classic Rock that he’s “devastated” to have lost one of his best friends as he also remembered former Motörhead guitarist Michael “Würzel” Burston, who died in 2011.

I’m feeling very sad at the moment, in fact devastated because one of my best friends died yesterday. I miss him already. His name was Phil Taylor, or Philthy Animal, and he was our drummer twice in our career. Now he’s died and it really pisses me off that they take somebody like him and leave George Bush alive. So muse on that. We’re still going, we’re still going strong, it’s just first Wurzel and now Philthy, it’s a shame man. I think this rock’n’roll business might be bad for the human life.[10]

Lemmy himself died less than seven weeks after Taylor, on 28 December 2015.[11]

Later it was revealed that liver failure was cited as the cause of Taylor’s death.[12]

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Scott Richard Weiland

Scott Richard Weiland (/ˈwaɪlənd/, born Scott Richard Kline;[1] October 27, 1967 – December 3, 2015) was an American musician, singer and songwriter. During a career spanning three decades, Weiland was best known as the lead singer for the band Stone Temple Pilots from 1989 to 2013, as well as the supergroup Velvet Revolver from 2003 to 2008. He also established himself as a solo artist, releasing two studio albums, two cover albums, a live album and collaborations with several other musicians since 1995.

Though derided by critics early in his career, Weiland’s onstage persona was known as being flamboyant and chaotic; he was also known for constantly changing his appearance and vocal style, his use of a megaphone in concert for vocal effect, as well as his battles with substance abuse.[2] Now widely viewed as a talented and versatile vocalist,[3] Weiland has been ranked in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader (No. 57).

In 2012, shortly before his departure from Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland formed Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, receiving mixed reviews: some critics and fans noted Weiland’s apparently failing health and dwindling energy. While touring for his 2015 album Blaster, Weiland died of a drug overdose on his tour bus in Minnesota at the age of 48. Upon his death, many critics and peers offered reevaluations of Weiland’s life and career, including David Fricke of Rolling Stone[4] and Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, the latter calling Weiland one of three “voices of the generation” alongside Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley.

Weiland was found dead on his tour bus on December 3, 2015

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