Thursday, May 17, 2012

In Memory: Dunn, Woods, Brown & Summer

The music world was still in a bit of shock upon learning of the passing of Adam Yauch, known as MCA of the Beastie Boys. This week has been one of the most devastating weeks as we lost four legendary artists only days apart who made contributions to help change the course of music. We send our condolences to the families and fans around the world.

Donald “Duck” Dunn
(November 24, 1941 – May 13, 2012)

Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame bassist, songwriter and producer for Booker T. and The MG's and also a session musician for Stax Records. He was also a bassist for The Blues Brothers Band and featured in both Blues Brothers movies. He is also featured on several recordings by other notable acts and performances as a sideman.

Belita Karen Woods
(October 23, 1948 – May 14, 2012)

Was the lead singer for 1970's R&B group Brainstorm. She also sang with Parliament-Funkadelic for two decades. Brainstorm had a disco hit in 1977 called "Lovin' Is Really My Game". Their follow-up album, 1978's Journey To The Light, featured a more soul-funk sound, anchored by the album tracks "We're On Our Way Home" and "If You Ever Need To Cry". Prior to joining Brainstorm, Woods released a single "Magic Corner"/"Grounded" on Detroit's Moira label in 1967.

Chuck Brown
(August 22, 1936 – May 16, 2012)

Affectionately known as the "Godfather of Go-Go", Brown is regarded as the fundamental force behind the creation of go-go music. Brown's early hits include "I Need Some Money" and "Bustin' Loose". "Bustin' Loose" has been adopted by the Washington Nationals baseball team as its home run celebration song. Brown also recorded go-go covers of early jazz and blues songs, such as "Go-Go Swing" Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing If Ain't Got That Swing", "Moody's Mood for Love", Johnny Mercer's "Midnight Sun", Louis Jordan's "Run Joe", and T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday". The song "Ashley's Roachclip" from the Soul Searchers' 1974 album Salt of the Earth contains a famous drum break, sampled countless times in various other tracks.

Donna Summer
(December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012)

Commonly known by the "Queen of Disco" moniker, Summer was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the U.S. Billboard chart. Bad Girls, an album that had been in production for nearly two years, was based the whole concept on prostitution, even with Summer dressing as a hooker herself on the cover art. The album became a huge success, spawning the number one hits "Hot Stuff" and the title track and the number two "Dim All the Lights". With "MacArthur Park", "Hot Stuff", "Bad Girls", and the Barbra Streisand duet "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)", Summer achieved four number one hits within a thirteen month period. Those aforementioned songs, along with "Heaven Knows", "Last Dance", "Dim All the Lights", and "On the Radio" (from her upcoming double-album) would give her eight US Top 5 singles within a two year period. "Hot Stuff" later won her a second Grammy in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, the first time the category was included.

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