Categotry Archives: Musicians

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Adan Sanchez

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Categories: Musicians

asanchez.jpgSinger Adan Sanchez, the son of balladeer Rosalino “Chalino” Sanchez, died on March 27 in an automobile accident in Sinaloa, Mexico. He was 19.

Sanchez was on a promotional trip through northwestern Mexico when the 1989 Ford Crown Victoria he was riding in blew a tire. The driver lost control and the vehicle rolled. Sanchez, who was not wearing a seatbelt, sustained serious head injuries and died on the scene. The other passengers were hospitalized for their injuries.

Chalino Sanchez was a Los Angeles-based music legend who transformed traditional Mexican ballads into tough tales about criminals and drug traffickers. He was kidnapped and murdered in 1992.

Adan, who adopted Chalino as his middle name, recorded nine albums of ballads and tributes to his father. His songs were mostly played on Spanish language radio stations, but his matinee idol looks appealed to thousands of teenaged fans. Sanchez’s final CD, “Homenaje a Mi Padre,” was released last year.

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Jan Berry

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Categories: Musicians

William Jan Berry, one-half of the 1960s duo Jan & Dean, died on March 26. Cause of death was not released. He was 62.
Berry was attending University High School in West Los Angeles when he and his friends formed a doo-wop group called The Barons. Berry transformed his family’s garage into a practice area, complete with reel-to-reel tape machines and a piano, and hooked up with his friend Baron Arnie Ginsburg to record the song, “Jennie Lee.”
They went to a local recording studio to convert their tape into a record, and the catchy tune was overheard by producer Joe Lubin, vice president of Arwin Records. In June 1958, “Jennie Lee” by Jan & Arnie became a Top 10 hit. They appeared on the “Dick Clark Show” and played in front of nearly 12,000 fans at the first rock-n-roll show ever held at the Hollywood Bowl, but their follow-up singles didn’t sell as well. The duo broke up at the end of the year, and Arnie went to college to study architecture. The Barons also disbanded at graduation.
Berry and classmate Dean Torrence still wanted to make music, so they joined forces in college to form Jan & Dean. Inside Berry’s garage, they recorded the song, “Baby Talk,” which hit the Top 10 in 1959 and led to an appearance on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.” Jan & Dean became pioneers of the West Coast sound during the 1960s, chronicling the surf world of Southern California with a string of hits such as “Linda,” “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” and “Surf City.”
“Deadman’s Curve,” which was co-written with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, became a prophetic anthem for teens who risked their lives by driving too fast. In 1966, Berry’s own career was cut short when his speeding Corvette hit a parked landscaping truck. He suffered severe brain damage that left him partially paralyzed and unable to talk, and was forced to undergo years of recovery in order to resume singing and songwriting. In the mid-1980s, Southern California Rehabilitation Services launched the Jan Berry Center for the Brain Injured.
Discography

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Les Gray

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Categories: Musicians

lgray.jpgThomas Lesley Gray, the lead singer of 1970s glam rock group Mud, died on Feb. 21 from a heart attack. He was 57.

Gray played the trumpet in his school band and joined a traditional jazz band when he was 12 years old. He later wrote commercials for an advertising agency and played in a skiffle group called The Mourners with his younger brother, Pete.

In 1966, Gray, drummer Dave Mount, bassist Ray Stiles and guitarist Rob Davis formed Mud. The band won a talent contest and appeared on “The Basil Brush Show,” then toured Great Britain as the opening act for Jack Jones. Mud produced more than a dozen hit singles, including the chart-toppers “Lonely This Christmas,” “Tiger Feet” and “Oh Boy.” “Tiger Feet” was the biggest-selling single of 1974.

The band split up three years later, and Gray launched a solo career. He released five singles between 1977 and 1982, and toured as Les Gray’s Mud. In 1981, he also recorded “Rock on Elvis” under the name Tulsa McLean.

After smoking 50 cigarettes a day, Gray spent his final years battling throat cancer. Although doctors wanted to remove his voicebox, he opted for chemotherapy instead.

Watch Classic Mud Video Clips

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Vilayat Khan

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Categories: Musicians

Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan, one of India’s leading sitar players, was born into a musical family. He could trace his lineage back six or seven generations to Miyan Tansen, the court musician of Emperor Akbar of the late 16th century.
Khan gave his first public performances at six, and began recording his own music two years later. A determined child prodigy, he sometimes practiced until his fingers bled.
Khan was credited with creating his own style of playing the sitar, and performed in venues all over the world. He twice received the Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan, but rejected these honors because he said the awards committee was too incompetent to judge his artistic abilities.
Khan had a second home in New Jersey. He frequently lectured at Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, Calif., and was scheduled to give a performance this spring at Zankel Hall in New York City. He also composed music for the films, “Jalsaghar” and “Guru.”
Khan died on March 13. Cause of death was not released. He was 76.

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Chuck Niles

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Categories: Actors, Media, Military, Musicians

Chuck Niles, the velvety voice of jazz in Los Angeles, died on March 15 from complications of a stroke. He was 76.

Born Charles Neidel, Niles learned the clarinet when he was seven years old, and was playing the saxophone professionally by the time he was 14. He joined the Navy in 1945 and served briefly in the South Pacific. After returning to the states, he played alto sax in the jazz band, the Emanon Quartet, earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from American International University and landed a job playing music on WTXL in Springfield, Mass.

In 1956, Niles moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. He appeared in a few films (“Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Teenage Zombies”) and stage productions until his friend Sleepy Stein recruited him to be an announcer on KNOB.

He would remain on the air for more than 40 years.

Niles hosted shows on several L.A. stations. Known as “Be-Bop Charlie,” “Mr. Jazz” and the “Minister of Cool,” he spent the past 14 years making the afternoon drive time a pleasant and informative experience for listeners of KKJZ. His love of the genre also endeared him to jazz artists, who wrote songs like “Niles Blues,” “Nilesology” and “Bebop Charlie” in his honor. Niles is the only jazz disc jockey to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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