Obituaries: Bill Bartolin, Stephen Gately, John Wilson, Abu Talib, Lucy Vodden

Bill “Cupid” Bartolin, lead guitarist and songwriter for the ’70s power-pop band Blue Ash, died Oct. 3. He was 58.

Formed in Youngstown, Ohio, Blue Ash was known for “Abracadabra … (Have You Seen Her),” which led off their first album, No More No Less.

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Stephen Gately, a singer with Irish boy band Boyzone who made headlines when he came out as gay a decade ago, died Oct. 10 while on vacation in Spain. He was 33.

Boyzone was a U.K. hitmaker in the 1990s, selling millions of records and topping the British charts with six No. 1 singles, including “All That I Need” and a cover of the Bee Gees’ “Words.” The band announced a comeback tour at the end of last year. Gately also had released several solo singles and appeared in stage musicals, including “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

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The Rev. John “Bootsie’’ Wilson, a former lead singer and last surviving member of the soul group The Silhouettes, died Sept. 21 at age 69.

The Philadelphia native joined The Silhouettes in 1961, after the original lead singer left the group. Notable recordings by the group with Wilson included 1962’s “Move On Over (To Another Land).” The 1968 recording “Not Me Baby,” which Wilson in an interview earlier this year called his favorite, went on to become a 1970s dance hit in Great Britain, said music historian Charlie Horner of Classic Urban Harmony of Somerset, N.J.

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Bluesman Abu Talib, who recorded and toured with Ray Charles and Little Walter under his given name, Freddy Robinson, died Oct. 8 at age 70.

He played with Charles, Howlin’ Wolf and pianist Monk Higgins and recorded and wrote several songs including “Black Fox,” “At the Drive-In,” “Bluesology” and the blues instrumental “After Hours.”

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Lucy Vodden, who provided the inspiration for The Beatles’ song “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” has died after a long battle with lupus. Her death was announced Sept. 28 by St. Thomas’ Hospital in London; hospital officials said they could not confirm the day of her death.

Vodden’s connection to The Beatles dates back to when she made friends with 4-year-old schoolmate Julian Lennon, John Lennon’s son. Julian came home from school with a drawing one day, showed it to his father, and said it was “Lucy in the sky with diamonds.” The image inspired John Lennon to write the song.

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