NEW YORK (AP) — Jerry Ragovoy, 80, a producer and songwriter credited with songs made famous by the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin and others, died July 13, 2011 of complications from a stroke.
Among Ragovoy’s most famous tunes were “Time Is On My Side” by The Rolling Stones, “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin and “Pata, Pata” by Miriam Makeba. Some of his songs were credited to a pseudonym, Norman Meade. His songs also were recorded by Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Aretha Franklin.
EUSTIS, Florida (AP) — Rob Grill, the lead singer of 1960s rock band The Grass Roots, died at a Florida hospice facility July 11, 2011, near Orlando. He was 67.
Grill sang on such hits as “Midnight Confessions,” “Temptation Eyes,” and “Let’s Live for Today.”
The Grass Roots were a Los Angeles-based band associated with San Francisco’s music scene. They formed in the mid-1960s and went through three incarnations, with band members leaving and others joining, before they recorded a series of hits. Grill joined in 1967 and the group disbanded in 1975. Grill released a solo album, “Uprooted,” in 1979.
BERKELEY, California (AP) — Theodore Roszak, the author, scholar and critic who brought the term “counterculture” into the mainstream as he documented the social upheavals of the 1960s, died of cancer July 5, 2011. He was 77.
The longtime professor’s best-seller “The Making of a Counter Culture” was published in 1969 and gave a label to the assortment of youth movements upending life on college campuses and beyond. His last book, “The Making of an Elder Culture: Reflections on the Future of America’s Most Audacious Generation,” called on baby boomers to resurrect the spirit of the counterculture in their later years.
HAVANA (AP) — Manuel Galban, a Grammy-winning Cuban guitarist who rose to international fame as a member of the Buena Vista Social Club, died of a heart attack in Havana July 7, 2011. He was 80.
Born in 1931 in Gibara, in the eastern province of Holguin, Galban made his professional debut in 1944. In 1963 he joined Los Zafiros. The group became one of the island’s most popular until it disbanded in 1972. Galban then headed Cuba’s national music ensemble and later formed the group known as Batey.
In the 1990s he became part of the Buena Vista Social Club project, a group of elderly musicians who were living quietly in Cuba before U.S. guitarist and producer Ry Cooder brought them together. The album was an international smash hit and later the subject of a documentary. In 2003, Galban teamed up with Cooder to record “Mambo Sinuendo”; it later won a Grammy.
LONDON (AP) — Amy Winehouse, 27, the diva whose self-destructive habits overshadowed a distinctive musical talent, was found dead July 23, 2011. The cause of her death was not immediately known.
Winehouse shot to fame in 2006 with the album “Back to Black,” whose blend of jazz, soul, rock and classic pop was a global hit. It won five Grammys and made Winehouse — with her black beehive hairdo and old-fashioned sailor tattoos — one of music’s most recognizable stars. But her personal life, with drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders and destructive relationships, soon overshadowed her career.
In June, Winehouse canceled her European comeback tour after she swayed and slurred her way through barely recognizable songs. Booed off stage, she flew home, and her management said she would take time off to recover.
Born in 1983 to Mitch Winehouse, taxi driver, and his pharmacist wife Janis, Winehouse grew up in the north London suburbs, and was set on a showbiz career from an early age. When she was 10, she and a friend formed a rap group, Sweet ’n’ Sour — Winehouse was Sour. She attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School and, later went to the Brit School, a performing arts academy in the “Fame’’ mold, and was originally signed to “Pop Idol” svengali Simon Fuller’s 19 Management.
Her jazz-influenced 2003 debut album, “Frank,’’ was critically praised and sold well in Britain.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Bossa Nova composer Billy Blanco, 87, died July 8, 2011, in Brazil, of complications from a stroke.
Blanco was at the heart of the Bossa Nova movement when it bloomed in the early 1960s. He authored more than 300 songs and collaborated with the genre’s biggest names, such as Tom Jobim, Joao Gilberto and Baden Powell.
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Facundo Cabral, one of Latin America’s most admired folk singers, was killed July 9, 2011, when three carloads of gunmen ambushed the vehicle in which he was riding.
Cabral, 74, rose to fame in the early 1970s, one of a generation of singers who mixed political protest with literary lyrics and created deep bonds with an audience struggling through an era of revolution and repression across Latin America. Cabral was a confirmed vagabond, born poor in 1937 in the provincial city of La Plata. He did odd jobs and was illiterate until he got some education in a reformatory as a teenager. He began singing for tourists in the beach resort of Mar del Plata, and by 1970 became internationally known through his song “No soy de aqui ni alla” — “I’m Not From Here Nor There” — which was recorded hundreds of times in many languages. Cabral later fled to Mexico, but he lived mostly on the road, in hotels and with friends, telling interviewers that he owned no home.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Jane Scott, 92, a rock music critic who followed everyone from The Beatles to Britney Spears during a career that continued into her 80s, died July 4, 2011, following a long illness.
Small in stature and always wearing her signature red plastic eyeglasses, Jane Scott was a fixture on the Cleveland rock music scene from the mid-1960s until she retired in 2002. A 1941 graduate of the University of Michigan, Scott’s first day at The Plain Dealer was March 24, 1952, three days after Cleveland’s Moondog Coronation Ball, considered the world’s first rock concert.
She began as a society writer, penning columns for teens and senior citizens. It was the Beatles who changed her career and life after she attended their Sept. 15, 1964, concert, though she was more than 20 years older than most of their fans. She would later cover a Who’s Who of rock royalty, including the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin and David Bowie. The Doors’ Jim Morrison once invited her backstage for a beer. When Bruce Springsteen played Cleveland in 1975, Scott’s review predicted, “He will be the next superstar.”