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]

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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.

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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]

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