RAYMOND LOUIS “RAY” KENNEDY

RAYMOND LOUIS “RAY” KENNEDY (NOVEMBER 26, 1946 – FEBRUARY 16, 2014) WAS AN AMERICAN SINGER, SONGWRITER, MUSICIAN AND RECORD PRODUCER, BASED IN LOS ANGELES. HIS WORKS SPAN MULTIPLE GENRES INCLUDING R&B, POP, ROCK, JAZZ, FUSION, ACID ROCK, COUNTRY AND MANY OTHERS. HE CO-WROTE “SAIL ON, SAILOR”, ONE OF THE BEACH BOYS’ MID-CAREER HITS[1] AS WELL AS TWO HITS FOR THE BABYS: “EVERYTIME I THINK OF YOU” AND “ISN’T IT TIME”.
Born in Philadelphia, Kennedy began playing saxophone at age nine; he sang in a cappella groups in New Jersey and Philadelphia before becoming a dancing regular on American Bandstand in 1960. Dick Clark eventually offered to pay him to pantomime playing saxophone with groups such as The Platters, The Drifters, Chubby Checker, Little Richard, and many more.
In 1965 Kennedy recorded his first single as vocalist with then-unknown Kenny Gamble, “Number 5 Gemini” on Guyden Records. That year Kennedy also auditioned for and received a gig playing tenor sax with Gerry Mulligan, one of the top baritone jazz saxophonists in the world. That led to Kennedy leaving his home in New Jersey, playing various jazz clubs and making his way south.
With drummer Jay David, Kennedy eventually left the tour to play various gigs with Dizzy Gillespie, J. J. Johnson, Buddy Rich and the Gene Krupa Jazz Group, until he decided in 1962 that the lifestyle of a jazz musician was simply not for him.
Kennedy went to Paducah, Kentucky to play a few gigs with Brenda Lee; one-nighters with Little Richard, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Wilson Pickett, and many others followed. Encouraged by friend Otis Redding, Kennedy shifted his focus back to singing and moved to New York in 1963. He was signed by Ahmet Ertegun to Atlantic Records, recording as “Jon and Ray” and touring with Jon Mislan, AKA ( Johnny Angel ). In 1966 he formed another band called “Group Therapy” and recorded two albums before deciding to move to Los Angeles with them in 1968.
Kennedy’s first solo album, “Raymond Louis Kennedy”, was released in 1970. That year he befriended Dave Mason of Traffic, and toured with him in support of Mason’s solo album, “Alone Together,” also collaborating on a song “Seasons” that ended up on a future Mason solo album, “Let It Flow.” During this period, Kennedy also co-wrote the Beach Boys hit, “Sail On, Sailor”.
He was featured on the soundtrack to the Brian DePalma cult film sensation Phantom of the Paradise. Kennedy sang “Life at Last”. In the movie, the song was lip-synched by Gerrit Graham as the character Beef, who performed the song as a Frankenstein-type transvestite constructed by the members of The Undead while they themselves performed “Somebody Super Like You (the Beef Construction song)”.
Kennedy spent the next several decades writing, recording and touring with and for musicians including Sly and the Family Stone, Brian Wilson, Dave Mason, Jeff Beck, Barry Goldberg, Maurice White, Aerosmith, Michael Schenker, Engelbert Humperdinck, Wayne Newton, Tanya Tucker, Bill Champlin, Willie Nelson, Mick Fleetwood and many others

JOHN “JAY” TRAYNOR

JOHN “JAY” TRAYNOR (MARCH 30, 1943 – JANUARY 2, 2014) WAS AN AMERICAN SINGER.
Traynor was the third lead vocalist of the Mystics, singing falsetto on “The White Cliffs of Dover” and lead on “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and “Blue Star”. Later, he started Jay and the Americans with Kenny Vance and Sandy Yaguda, and was the original lead singer. He sang lead on the Americans’ first hit, “She Cried,” which was followed up by the LP, She Cried. All recordings were produced by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, who produced numerous artists and wrote many hits for Elvis Presley, the Drifters, the Coasters, and many more.
Traynor left the Americans, releasing solo records, including “I Rise, I Fall” on the Coral label in 1964. His name on the label was denoted as “JAY … formerly of Jay & the Americans”.[1] Later in the ’60s, he released “Up & Over”, produced by Dennis Lambert for Don Costa Productions. The song became a big hit with the UK “Northern Soul” underground dance clubs. Traynor was replaced in the Americans by David Blatt, who agreed to perform under the stage name Jay Black. After working for Woodstock Ventures, the company that put on the “Woodstock” festival, Traynor then began a career working behind the scenes with many ’70s acts (Mountain, West, Bruce & Laing, The Who, Ten Years After, Yes, and gospel singer Mylon LeFevre).
In 1977 Traynor moved to Albany, New York, near his roots in Greenville and worked at WNYT as a studio camera operator. He then performed with cover bands (George and “Friends”), jazz trios, and finally as the male singer with the Joey Thomas Big Band, where his love for Frank Sinatra’s music began. The Big Band put out a few CDs with Traynor, including Live On WAMC & The Sinatra Show. In 2006, Traynor received a call from Jay Siegel, and he toured with Jay Siegel’s Tokens for the remainder of his life.[citation needed]
Jay Traynor died January 2, 2014 of liver cancer at a hospital in Tampa, Florida

John “Jay” Traynor

John “Jay” Traynor (March 30, 1943 – January 2, 2014) was an American singer.
Traynor was the third lead vocalist of the Mystics, singing falsetto on “The White Cliffs of Dover” and lead on “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and “Blue Star”. Later, he started Jay and the Americans with Kenny Vance and Sandy Yaguda, and was the original lead singer. He sang lead on the Americans’ first hit, “She Cried,” which was followed up by the LP, She Cried. All recordings were produced by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, who produced numerous artists and wrote many hits for Elvis Presley, the Drifters, the Coasters, and many more.
Traynor left the Americans, releasing solo records, including “I Rise, I Fall” on the Coral label in 1964. His name on the label was denoted as “JAY … formerly of Jay & the Americans”.[1] Later in the ’60s, he released “Up & Over”, produced by Dennis Lambert for Don Costa Productions. The song became a big hit with the UK “Northern Soul” underground dance clubs. Traynor was replaced in the Americans by David Blatt, who agreed to perform under the stage name Jay Black. After working for Woodstock Ventures, the company that put on the “Woodstock” festival, Traynor then began a career working behind the scenes with many ’70s acts (Mountain, West, Bruce & Laing, The Who, Ten Years After, Yes, and gospel singer Mylon LeFevre).
In 1977 Traynor moved to Albany, New York, near his roots in Greenville and worked at WNYT as a studio camera operator. He then performed with cover bands (George and “Friends”), jazz trios, and finally as the male singer with the Joey Thomas Big Band, where his love for Frank Sinatra’s music began. The Big Band put out a few CDs with Traynor, including Live On WAMC & The Sinatra Show. In 2006, Traynor received a call from Jay Siegel, and he toured with Jay Siegel’s Tokens for the remainder of his life.[citation needed]

ROBERT LEE “BOBBY” PARKER

ROBERT LEE “BOBBY” PARKER (AUGUST 31, 1937 – OCTOBER 31, 2013[2]), WAS AN AMERICAN BLUES-ROCK GUITARIST, SINGER AND SONGWRITER.[3] HE IS BEST KNOWN FOR HIS 1961 SONG, “WATCH YOUR STEP”, A SINGLE FOR THE V-TONE RECORD LABEL WHICH REACHED THE BILLBOARD HOT 100; THE SONG WAS PERFORMED BY, AND INFLUENCED, THE BEATLES AMONG OTHERS.
Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, but raised in Los Angeles, California, Parker first aspired to a career in entertainment at a young age.[3] By the 1950s, Parker had started working on electric guitar with several blues and R&B bands of the time, with his first stint being with Otis Williams and the Charms. Over the next few years, he also played lead guitar with Bo Diddley (including an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show),[3] toured with Paul Williams, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, LaVern Baker, Clyde McPhatter, and the Everly Brothers. He first recorded, as Bobby Parks, with the Paul Williams band in 1956.[4]
His first solo single, “Blues Get Off My Shoulder”, was recorded in 1958, while he was still working primarily with Williams’ band. The B-side, “You Got What It Takes”, also written by Parker, was later recorded for Motown by Marv Johnson, but with the songwriting credited to Berry Gordy, Gwen Fuqua and Roquel Davis. Parker told the Forgotten Hits newsletter in 2008:[5]
“I wrote ‘You’ve Got What It Takes,’ that was MY song. Even had the Paul Hucklebuck Williams band playing on it behind me… And then Berry Gordy just stole it out from under me, just put his name on it. And what could I do? I was just trying to make a living, playing guitar and singing, how was I going to go on and fight Berry Gordy, big as he was, and Motown Records? There wasn’t really nothing I could do about it – it was just too big and I didn’t have any way to fight them…”
Parker also performed frequently at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and in the late 1950s toured with Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Little Richard. By the early 1960s, he had settled into living in the Washington, D.C. area and played at blues clubs there after having left Williams’ band.
He recorded the single “Watch Your Step” for the V-Tone label in 1961. The song was written by Parker, inspired by Dizzy Gillespie’s “Manteca” and Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say”.[6] It reached no.51 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961,[7] although it did not make the national R&B chart. It was later covered by the Spencer Davis Group, Dr. Feelgood, Steve Marriott, Adam Faith, and Carlos Santana,[3] and was performed by the Beatles in concerts during 1961 and 1962. The song’s guitar riff inspired the introduction to the Beatles’ 1964 hit single “I Feel Fine”,[8] and, according to John Lennon, also provided the basis for “Day Tripper”.[6] In relation to the Beatles’ use of the riff, Parker said: “I was flattered, I thought it was a cool idea. But I still had, (in the) back of my mind, (the idea) that I should have gotten a little more recognition for that.”[9] Led Zeppelin also used the riff as the basis for their instrumental “Moby Dick.”[10]
With the success of the song, both in the United States and overseas, he toured the UK in 1968 and recorded his next record, “It’s Hard But It’s Fair” produced by Mike Vernon and released on Blue Horizon. Jimmy Page was a fan of Parker’s and wanted to sign up Parker with Swan Song Records. Page offered an advance of US$2000 to fund the recording of a demo tape, but Parker never completed the recording, and an opportunity for Parker to be exposed to an international audience was lost.[citation needed] On January 1, 2012, Parker’s “Watch Your Step” sound recording became Public Domain in Europe, due to the 50 year copyright law limit in the E.U.[11][12]
For the next two decades, Parker played almost exclusively in the D.C. area. By the 1990s, Parker started to record again for a broader audience. He recorded his first official album, Bent Out of Shape, for the Black Top Records label in 1993, with a follow-up in 1995, Shine Me Up.[3] In 1993, he also was the headliner for the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festival. Parker continued to perform as a regular act at Madam’s Organ Blues Bar in Washington.
Bobby Parker died of a heart attack on October 31, 2013, at the age of 76.

JANICE LYNN “JAN” KUEHNEMUND

JANICE LYNN “JAN” KUEHNEMUND (NOVEMBER 18, 1961 – OCTOBER 10, 2013) WAS AN AMERICAN LEAD GUITARIST WHO FOUNDED THE ALL-FEMALE HARD ROCK/GLAM METAL BAND VIXEN.
Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Kuehnemund formed Vixen in St. Paul in 1973 while still in high school. She moved the band along with singer Janet Gardner to Los Angeles in 1981.[1] The band gained notice by appearing in the 1984 teen film Hardbodies under the on-screen name Diaper Rash.[2] She eventually added Roxy Petrucci on drums and Share Pedersen on bass, the lineup that signed to EMI Records. They released their self-titled debut, Vixen, in 1988. The band toured with the Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, and Bon Jovi, and appeared in Penelope Spheeris’ 1988 film, The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years.[3]
The album, Rev It Up, followed in 1990, along with tours with Kiss and Deep Purple. The band’s album sales declined and they were dropped from their record label. Vixen disbanded in 1991, but formed again in 1997 without Kuehnemund.[2] Kuehnemund sued and won the rights to the band’s name.[4] She then continued the band in 2001 with new members, and toured and released Live & Learn in 2006. Gardner, Petrucci and Pedersen formed their own band JanetShareRoxyGina (aka JSRG) with guitarist Gina Stile. The group’s most well-known lineup did reunite in 2004 to perform for VH1’s Bands Reunited.[3]
Kuehnemund died in Colorado Springs, Colorado on October 10, 2013 after a 10-month long battle with cancer. Her age at the time of her death was widely reported as 51.[3] St. Paul’s Pioneer Press published that she was 59.[2]

John Richard ‘Jackie’ Lomax

John Richard ‘Jackie’ Lomax (10 May 1944 – 15 September 2013)[1] was an English guitarist and singer-songwriter, best known for his association with George Harrison and Eric Clapton. Born in Wallasey, Cheshire, England,[1] he later resided in Ojai, California, United States, with his wife, Annie (previously Norma Richardson),[2] mother of fashion photographer Terry Richardson.[3]
Lomax was a member of Dee and the Dynamites, The Undertakers, The Lomax Alliance, Heavy Jelly and Badger. He worked with The Tea Bags, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Leon Russell and Nicky Hopkins.[1]

Allen Glover Lanier

Allen Glover Lanier (June 25, 1946 – August 14, 2013) was an original member of Blue Öyster Cult. Lanier played keyboards and rhythm guitar. He resided in Manhattan.[1]
Lanier wrote several songs for Blue Öyster Cult albums, including “True Confessions”, “Tenderloin”, “Searchin’ for Celine”, “In Thee”, and “Lonely Teardrops”. In addition to his work with Blue Öyster Cult, he also contributed to music by Patti Smith, Jim Carroll, The Dictators and The Clash, among others. He dated Patti Smith for several years during the 1970s.[2]
Lanier first performed with the band (then known as Soft White Underbelly) in 1967. He left the group in 1985, and was replaced by Tommy Zvoncheck (of Clarence Clemons and Public Image Ltd fame).[3] He returned in 1987. He retired from performing with them after the autumn of 2006.
Without any official announcement from Blue Öyster Cult, the band’s line-up photograph was updated to remove Allen, and a brief mention on the page for Richie Castellano has the following to say: “Since the retirement of Allen Lanier, Richie has switched over to the guitars/keyboards position, both of which he’s quite the master!”,[4] which would seem to indicate that Allen Lanier retired from both Blue Öyster Cult and music, in 2007, having played his last concert with them in late 2006. He would rejoin them for their 40th anniversary concert in New York in November 2012, which proved to be his last ever appearance with the band.
Allen’s death was announced by Blue Öyster Cult on August 14, 2013. According to their official Facebook page, “Allen succumbed to complications from C.O.P.D.” Lead singer Eric Bloom posted the following:[5]

EYDIE GORMÉ

EYDIE GORMÉ (ALSO SPELLED GORME;[2] AUGUST 16, 1928 – AUGUST 10, 2013) WAS AN AMERICAN SINGER WHO PERFORMED SOLO AS WELL AS WITH HER HUSBAND, STEVE LAWRENCE, IN POPULAR BALLADS AND SWING. SHE EARNED NUMEROUS AWARDS, INCLUDING A GRAMMY AND AN EMMY. AFTER RETIRING IN 2009, SHE DIED IN 2013, AND IS SURVIVED BY LAWRENCE, WHO CONTINUES TO PERFORM AS A SOLO ACT.

Robert Calvin “Bobby” Bland

Robert Calvin “Bobby” Bland (January 27, 1930 – June 23, 2013), né Brooks, also known professionally as Bobby “Blue” Bland, was an American blues singer.
Bland developed a sound that mixed gospel with the blues and R&B.[1] He was described as “among the great storytellers of blues and soul music… [who] created tempestuous arias of love, betrayal and resignation, set against roiling, dramatic orchestrations, and left the listener drained but awed.”[2] He was sometimes referred to as the “Lion of the Blues” and as the “Sinatra of the Blues”;[3] his music was also influenced by Nat King Cole.[4]
Bland was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.[5] The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame described him as “second in stature only to B.B. King as a product of Memphis’s Beale Street blues scene”.[3]

KRIS KROSS

KRIS KROSS WAS AN AMERICAN RAP DUO OF THE 1990S, CHRIS “MAC DADDY” KELLY AND CHRIS “DADDY MAC” SMITH. THE DUO WAS BEST KNOWN FOR THEIR HIT 1992 SONG “JUMP”, WHICH WAS NO. 1 ON THE BILLBOARD HOT 100 FOR EIGHT WEEKS AND CERTIFIED DOUBLE PLATINUM AS A SINGLE. KRIS KROSS WAS ALSO NOTED FOR THEIR FASHION STYLE, WHICH CONSISTED OF WEARING THEIR CLOTHING BACKWARDS.