Musicians Who Died In 2017

Of the many celebrities who died in 2017 over 100 were musicians. Here are the five I will miss most. Full obituaries available by clicking the hyperlinks.

Chuck Berry (18 Mar 2017):

Chuck Berry, singer-songwriter and guitarist who was one of the architects of rock ‘n’ roll, died Saturday, March 18, 2017. He was 90.

Berry is known for his distinctive Berry bop and walk on his guitar solos. His signature song was ‘Johnny B. Goode’ (although he’s also known for several other hit singles in his lifetime). His influence and contribution to rock & roll was obvious. He was one of the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it opened in 1986.

Gregg Allman (27 May 2017)

Founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, singer and keyboardist Gregg Allman passed away on Saturday, May 27th, at his home in Savannah, Georgia. He was 69. The New York Times and his publicist, Ken Weinstein, confirmed the cause of death was from complications of liver cancer.

Gregg Allman picked up the guitar before his older brother Duane. However,  Duane soon surpassed his abilities. That when Gregg turned to the keyboards and microphone to put his stamp on what was to become one of the most important American bands in rock music history: The Allman Brothers Band. Gregg’s contributions also included penning some of the group’s most notable songs, including “Whipping Post” and “Midnight Rider,”

Glen Campbell (08 Aug 2017)

Glen Campbell, the country singer, guitarist, songwriter, television host, and actor died Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 81.

His career spanned decades, merged popular genres, and earned him record sales, industry awards, and a string of hits. He charted 80 hit songs in a music career that spanned 60 years. In the ’60s, he was riding a solo career that ran strong for 20 years. Hits included  “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Gentle on My Mind,” “Galveston,” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

Walter Becker  (03 Sep 2017)

Co-founder of Steely Dan, guitarist, bassist, songwriter Walter Becker died September 3rd, 2017.

Becker was born and raised in New York City, meeting his eventual co-conspirator and band mate Donal Fagen at Bard College. The songwriting duo kicked around New York for a while before moving to California and forming Steely Dan.

Shortly afterward, the group released Can’t Buy A Thrill. The album was a success on the strength of now-classic tracks like “Reelin’ In The Years,” “Dirty Work,” and “Do It Again.” They launched a string of hit albums, culminating in Aja in 1977, the biggest-selling album in the group’s catalog. Featuring “Peg,” “Josie,” and “Deacon Blues,”

Tom Petty (02 Oct 2017)

Tom Petty, American rock star beloved by millions for his authentic heartland rock and roll, died Monday, Oct. 2, at the age of 66.

The news of his death seemed untimely. Just weeks before (late September 2017), he and the Heartbreakers’ were playing three sold out nights at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. This was the last stop on the extensive North American tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of their self-titled debut.

Tom Petty and his band, the Heartbreakers, produced a long string of hits that melded California rock with his Southern heritage. With songs like “Refugee,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “Free Fallin,’”. Petty sold millions of albums. He performed at the 2008 Super Bowl and entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Scroll down

Silent Night. The History of a Famous Carol

Silent nightChristmas Eve 1818.  In 1818, the carol “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht” was heard for the first time in a village church in Oberndorf, Austria. The congregation at that Midnight Mass in St. Nicholas Church listened as the voices of the assistant pastor, Father Joseph Mohr, and the choir director, Franz Xaver Gruber, rang through the church to the accompaniment of Father Mohr’s guitar. On each of the six verses, the choir repeated the last two lines in four-part harmony. On that Christmas Eve, a song was born that would wing its way into the hearts of people throughout the world. Now translated into hundreds of languages, it is sung by untold millions every December from small chapels in the Andes to great cathedrals in Antwerp and Rome.

Though meant for a performance in a church, “Silent Night” was composed for guitar. That is rather unusual for those days. Joseph Mohr’s guitar still can be seen at Hallein’s Franz Gruber Museum.

Today books, films and Internet sites are filled with fanciful tales purporting to tell the history of “Silent Night.” Some tell of mice eating the bellows of the organ, creating the necessity for a hymn to be accompanied by a guitar. Others claim that Joseph Mohr was forced to write the words to a new carol, in haste, since the organ would not play. A recent film, created for Austrian television places Oberndorf in the Alps and includes evil railroad barons and a double-dealing priest, while a recent book by a German author places a zither in the hands of Franz Gruber and connects Joseph Mohr with a tragic fire engulfing the city of Salzburg. You can read claims that “Silent Night” was sung on Christmas Eve in 1818 and then forgotten by its creators. Of course, the latter are easily discounted by manuscript arrangements of the carol by both Mohr and Gruber which were produced at various times between 1820 and 1855. In this age of tabloid journalism, it’s not surprising that some feel it necessary to invent frivolous anecdotes and create fables for a story that is quite beautiful in its simplicity.

mohrFather Joseph Mohr. A young priest in Mariapfarr. The German words for the original six stanzas of the carol we know as “Silent Night” were written by Joseph Mohr in 1816, when he was a young priest assigned to a pilgrimage church in Mariapfarr, Austria. His grandfather lived nearby, and it is easy to imagine that he could have come up with the words while walking through the countryside on a visit to his elderly relative. The fact is, we have no idea if any particular event inspired Joseph Mohr to pen his poetic version of the birth of the Christ child. The world is fortunate, however, that he didn’t leave it behind when he was transferred to Oberndorf the following year (1817).

gruberFranz Gruber. On December 24, 1818 Joseph Mohr journeyed to the home of musician-schoolteacher Franz Gruber who lived in an apartment over the schoolhouse in nearby Arnsdorf. He showed his friend the poem and asked him to add a melody and guitar accompaniment so that it could be sung at Midnight Mass. His reason for wanting the new carol is unknown. Some speculate that the organ would not work; others feel that the assistant pastor, who dearly loved guitar music, merely wanted a new carol for Christmas.

via Silent Night. The history of a famous carol.


This will be my final post on the topic of Christmas music. I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Brad

Here Comes Santa Claus

santawithkids2014Sinter Klaas Comes To New York

St. Nicholas made his first inroads into American popular culture towards the end of the 18th century. In December 1773, and again in 1774, a New York newspaper reported that groups of Dutch families had gathered to honor the anniversary of his death.

The name Santa Claus evolved from Nick’s Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas). In 1804, John Pintard, a member of the New York Historical Society, distributed woodcuts of St. Nicholas at the society’s annual meeting. The background of the engraving contains now-familiar Santa images including stockings filled with toys and fruit hung over a fireplace. In 1809, Washington Irving helped to popularize the Sinter Klaas stories when he referred to St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York in his book, The History of New York. As his prominence grew, Sinter Klaas was described as everything from a “rascal” with a blue three-cornered hat, red waistcoat, and yellow stockings to a man wearing a broad-brimmed hat and a “huge pair of Flemish trunk hose.”

Gift-giving, mainly centered around children, has been an important part of the Christmas celebration since the holiday’s rejuvenation in the early 19th century. Stores began to advertise Christmas shopping in 1820, and by the 1840s, newspapers were creating separate sections for holiday advertisements, which often featured images of the newly-popular Santa Claus. In 1841, thousands of children visited a Philadelphia shop to see a life-size Santa Claus model. It was only a matter of time before stores began to attract children, and their parents, with the lure of a peek at a “live” Santa Claus. In the early 1890s, the Salvation Army needed money to pay for the free Christmas meals they provided to needy families. They began dressing up unemployed men in Santa Claus suits and sending them into the streets of New York to solicit donations. Those familiar Salvation Army Santas have been ringing bells on the street corners of American cities ever since.

In 1822, Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal minister, wrote a long Christmas poem for his three daughters entitled “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.” Moore’s poem, which he was initially hesitant to publish due to the frivolous nature of its subject, is largely responsible for our modern image of Santa Claus as a “right jolly old elf” with a portly figure and the supernatural ability to ascend a chimney with a mere nod of his head! Although some of Moore’s imagery was probably borrowed from other sources, his poem helped popularize the now-familiar image of a Santa Claus who flew from house to house on Christmas Eve–in “a miniature sleigh” led by eight flying reindeer–leaving presents for deserving children. “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” created a new and immediately popular American icon. In 1881, political cartoonist Thomas Nast drew on Moore’s poem to create the first likeness that matches our modern image of Santa Claus. His cartoon, which appeared in Harper’s Weekly, depicted Santa as a rotund, cheerful man with a full, white beard, holding a sack laden with toys for lucky children. It is Nast who gave Santa his bright red suit trimmed with white fur, North Pole workshop, elves, and his wife, Mrs. Claus.

18th-century America’s Santa Claus was not the only St. Nicholas-inspired gift-giver to make an appearance at Christmastime. Similar figures were popular all over the world. Christkind or Kris Kringle was believed to deliver presents to well-behaved Swiss and German children. Meaning “Christ child,” Christkind is an angel-like figure often accompanied by St. Nicholas on his holiday missions. In Scandinavia, a jolly elf named Jultomten was thought to deliver gifts in a sleigh drawn by goats. English legend explains that Father Christmas visits each home on Christmas Eve to fill children’s stockings with holiday treats. Père Noël is responsible for filling the shoes of French children. In Russia, it is believed that an elderly woman named Babouschka purposely gave the wise men wrong directions to Bethlehem so that they couldn’t find Jesus. Later, she felt remorseful, but could not find the men to undo the damage. To this day, on January 5, Babouschka visits Russian children leaving gifts at their bedsides in the hope that one of them is the baby Jesus and she will be forgiven. In Italy, a similar story exists about a woman called La Befana, a kindly witch who rides a broomstick down the chimneys of Italian homes to deliver toys into the stockings of lucky children.

Source: Santa Claus – HISTORY.com