Day Of The Dead: Music In Memoriam 2009-10

Rocks Off doesn't mean to be morbid, but today is the Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday and festival honoring those who have gone before. So instead of waiting until the end of the year, the more traditional time for such things, we wanted to compile a list of the notable names who left us since last November 2.

We figured we'd spend a couple of hours culling notable musical names from Wikipedia, which conveniently organizes deaths month by month, and that would be that.

Boy were we wrong. There were a lot of people who died in the past 12 months - not just musicians, but the guys who invented the EZ-Bake Oven and founded Taco Bell, to name just a couple.

It took almost all day, we got as far as January, and now we are completely depressed. We'll pick up with February as soon as our spirits lift. Give us a few days.

November 2009

Jerry Fuchs, 34: Drummer with post-rockers Maserati and dance-rockers !!!. Fell down an elevator shaft in Brooklyn, Nov. 8

Haydian Neale, 39: Lead singer of Canadian R&B group jacksoul, which has won several Juno awards. Lung cancer, Nov. 22.

Bob Keane, 87: Founded Del-Fi records, which signed Ritchie Valens and Frank Zappa. Also signed Barry White and the Bobby Fuller Four to Del-Fi sister labels Mustang and Bronco. Renal failure, Nov. 28.

Also: Beverley O'Sullivan, Westlife singer, 28 (Nov. 2); Art D'Lugoff, The Village Gate owner, 85 (Nov. 4); Dick Katz, jazz pianist/arranger, 85 (Nov. 10); Derek B, British rapper, 44 (Nov. 15); Johnny Almond, Mark-Almond (British jazz-rock band), 63 (Nov. 18); Pim Koopman, drummer, Kayak (Dutch progressive-rock band), 56 (Nov. 23); Bess Lomax Hawes, folklorist/musician, 88 (Nov. 27)

December 2009

Vic Chesnutt, 45: Melancholy singer-songwriter and cult hero whose patrons and collaborators included R.E.M., Widespread Panic, alt-country band Lambchop and jazz guitarist Bill Frisell. December 25, muscle relaxer overdose.

Jack Rose, 38: Guitarist noted for his acoustic technique and compared to 1960s "primitivists" like John Fahey. Also played with Philadelphia noise-rockers Pelt. Dec. 5, heart attack.

Bruce C. Allen, 54: Guitarist and singer with The Suburbs, peers of the Replacements, Soul Asylum, etc. in the 1980s Minneapolis scene. Dec. 7, organ failure.

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Aaron Schroder, 83: Wrote Elvis' "It's Now or Never," "Stuck On You," "Good Luck Charm" and hundreds of other songs. Dec. 2., Alzheimer's Disease.

Also: Bill Lister, honky-tonk singer, 86; Donald Washington Sr., jazz saxophonist, 79 (Dec. 1); Torrie Zito, pianist/arranger, 76 (Dec. 2); Liam Clancy, folksinger, 74 (The Clancy Brothers); Luis Dias, "The Father of Domenican Rock," 57 (Dec. 8); Kenny Dino, pop singer, 67 (Dec. 10); Chris Feinstein, bassist, The Cardinals, 42 (Dec. 14); Mick Cocks, guitarist, Australian hard rockers Rose Tattoo, age unknown (Dec. 22); Tim Hart, British folk-rockers Steeleye Span, 61 (Dec. 24).

January 2010

Shirley Collie Nelson, 78: Country singer and Willie Nelson's second wife. Their duet "Willingly" was his first appearance on the country charts. Jan. 27, natural causes.

Apache, 45: Rapper associated with New Jersey's Flavor Unit crew, whose most famous alumni are Queen Latifah and Naughty by Nature. Jan. 22, "protracted illness."

Robert "Squirrel" Lester, 67: Singer with ultra-smooth Chicago soul group the Chi-Lites ("A Lonely Man," "A Letter to Myself"). Jan. 21, liver cancer.

Lynn Taitt, 75: Jamaican guitarist and arranger credited with creating the first rock-steady bass line. Also worked with Houston native Johnny Nash. Jan. 20, cancer.

Kate McGarrigle, 63: Singer with revered Canadian folk duo Kate & Anna McGarrigle. Mother of Rufus and Martha Wainwright with ex-husband Loudon Wainwright III. Jan. 18, cancer.

Carl Smith, 82: Singer and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame with more than 30 Top 10 hits ("Loose Talk," "Deep Water"). June Carter Cash's first husband and Carlene Carter's father. Jan. 16, natural causes.

Jimmy Wyble, 87: Port Arthur native and steel-guitar ace who played with Bob Wills and toured behind Frank Sinatra. See more here. Jan. 16, heart failure.

Bobby Charles, 71: Swamp pop pioneer ("See You Later, Alligator," "Walking to New Orleans") and one of Louisiana's most distinguished songwriters. Jan. 14, natural causes.

Chilton Price, 96: Songwriter who wrote the 1950s pop hits "Slow Poke" and "You Belong to Me." Also a former violinist with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra. Jan. 14, natural causes.

Teddy Pendergrass, 59: Philly soul singer supreme. See more here. Jan. 13, cancer.

Jay Reatard, 29: Punk and garage-rock provacateur. Played Walter's barely a month before his death. Jan. 13, cocaine toxicity.

Ed Thigpen, 79: Jazz drummer with Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald, among others. Jan. 13, natural causes.

Brian Damage, 46: Drummer with Verbal Abuse invited by Glenn Danzig to join the Misfits - just in time for the group's last show on Halloween night 1983. Later played with Susanna Hoffs and the Fuzztones. Jan. 12, cancer.

Jimmy O, 35: Haitian rapper. Jan. 12, killed in Port-au-Prince earthquake.

Mick Green, 65: Guitarist with British Invasion groups Johnny Kidd & the Pirates and Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. Influenced Pete Townshend and later played with Paul McCartney, Van Morrison and Bryan Ferry. Jan. 11, no cause given.

Dick Johnson, 84: Clarinetist with Artie Shaw Band. Jan. 10, natural causes.

Tony Clarke, 68: Produced the Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed and Octave albums. Jan. 4, emphysema.

Gregory Slay, 40: Drummer and co-founder of '90s/early-'00s alt-rockers Remy Zero, some of whom went on to record the Emmy-nominated theme song for plastic-surgery cable grotesque Nip/Tuck. Jan. 1, cystic fibrosis.

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