Obituaries: Dan Seals, Uriel Jones, Ted Jarrett, Eddie Bo, Jack Lawrence, Anne Wiggins Brown, Harvey Geller, Marilyn Borden Thiel and Marty Bronson

by  Goldmine Staff and The Associated Press

Dan Seals, who was England Dan in the pop duo England Dan and John Ford Coley and later had a successful country career, died March 25 of complications from cancer. He was 61.

With England Dan and John Ford Coley, Seals had hits including “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” and “Nights Are Forever,” both in 1976. His country hits in the ’80s and ’90s included “Bop,” “You Still Move Me,” “Love on Arrival,” and a duet with Marie Osmond, “Meet Me in Montana.”

Seals’ older brother, Jimmy, was the Seals in Seals & Crofts, who recorded the hits “Summer Breeze” and “Diamond Girl” in the ’70s. Until Dan Seals got sick, the brothers were working as a duo, Seals & Seals. They performed some shows and were recording an album but never finished it. The songs they did complete, about eight in all, will be released.

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Uriel Jones, a drummer whose versatile, passionate beat fueled classic Motown hits by The Temptations, Four Tops and Smokey Robinson And The Miracles, died March 24 following complications from a heart attack. He was 74.

Jones was part of Motown house band the Funk Brothers, and played on numerous tracks, including “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” performed by The Temptations, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder, “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” by Jimmy Ruffin, and versions of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight And The Pips.

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Nashville rhythm and blues and country music writer, producer and talent scout Ted Jarrett died March 23 at the age of 83.

Jarrett’s songs include the Webb Pierce 1955 No. 1 country hit “Love, Love, Love” and “You Can Make It If You Try,” which broke through barriers of genre and color. He was a writer, producer and label chief on the Grammy-winning Night Train To Nashville album.

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New Orleans blues singer and pianist Eddie Bo, who worked with such musicians as Irma Thomas and Art Neville, died of a heart attack at the age of 79 March 21.

Eddie Bo, whose real name was Edwin Joseph Bocage, penned the 1960 Etta James hit “My Dearest Darling” and “I’m Wise,” which was made famous by Little Richard when renamed and released in 1956 as “Slippin’ and Slidin’.”

Bocage released more than 50 singles in his career — a number second only to Fats Domino among New Orleans artists, including “Check Mr. Popeye” in 1962.

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Jack Lawrence, who wrote the lyrics for Frank Sinatra’s first hit recording “All Or Nothing At All,” as well as standards sung by such stars as Dinah Shore and Bobby Darin, died March 15 at age 96.

He wrote The Ink Spots’ 1939 smash recording of “If I Didn’t Care,” and the song that introduced Shore to the American radio audience, “Yes, My Darling Daughter.”

During World War II, Lawrence served in the U.S. Merchant Marine and wrote that service branch’s official theme song, “Heave Ho! My Lads! Heave Ho!” He also wrote new lyrics for what became “Beyond the Sea,” popularized by Bobby Darin.

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Anne Wiggins Brown, the African-American soprano who starred as the original Bess in George Gershwin’s landmark folk opera “Porgy and Bess” but saw her career limited by racial discrimination, died March 13 at age 96.

Brown had lived in Oslo, Norway, since 1948 after complaining of racial discrimination in the United States.

At 16, she was the first black vocalist admitted to New York City’s famed Juilliard School of Music, where she won the Margaret McGill prize as the school’s best female singer.

In 1998, Ms. Brown received the George Peabody Medal for her outstanding contribution to music from the Peabody Institute, the Baltimore conservatory that would not accept her decades earlier.

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Harvey Geller, a music journalist, popular music historian and folk lyricist who wrote “Blue Water Line,” died March 12 of pneumonia. He was 86.

The Kingston Trio, The Brothers Four and The River City Ramblers recorded Geller’s songs, including “Blue Water Line,” “Charleston Town,” “Mark Twain” and “Deep Blue Sea.’’

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Marilyn Borden Thiel
, an actress best remembered as half of the chubby singing twins Teensy and Weensy on “I Love Lucy,” died March 25 of congestive heart failure. She was 76.

Thiel and her late twin Rosalyn Borden Shackley also performed regularly beginning in the 1950s as the Borden Twins on the “Jimmy Durante Show” and later as Hotsy and Totsy on the nightclub circuit. Shackley died in 2003.

On “Lucy” the twins played the country daughters of a sheriff whose off-key act was as mortifying to Desi Arnaz as it was impressive to Tennessee Ernie Ford in the episode titled “Tennessee Bound.”

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St. Louis singer and showman Marty Bronson died March 17 at age 79 of complications of a stroke.

Bronson was an entertainment fixture in St. Louis for decades. He was a television personality on the old KSD-TV from 1964 to 1968 and sang the National Anthem at the 1964 World Series.

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