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And the Beat Goes on: Musicians Dead in May

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Death is inevitable. But at The Spec, we share this sentiment with Neil Strauss: “Everyone loves you when you’re dead.”

Learn a little more about some of the musicians dead in May…

Guy Carawan, dead at 87

Guy Carawan had a successful career as a musicologist and folk musician. He is well-known for his protest song “We Shall Overcome,” which was released in response to the American Civil Rights Movements. Carawan was a singer, and also played hammered dulcimer, guitar and banjo. He often sang alongside his wife Candie Carawan and sometimes with his son Evan. His personal recordings include twenty releases.


Craig Gruber, dead at 63

Craig Gruber was an American bass player. Throughout his career, he formed and played with several bands. Rainbow, Zvekan, Elf, Csaba Zvekan, Raven Lord and ED3N are some of the bands he performed with from the 1970s up until more recent years.


Errol Brown, dead at 71

Errol Brown was a singer-songwriter who was born in Jamaica and raised in the United Kingdom. He was popular for his role as the frontman of the funk and soul band called Hot Chocolate. “Brother Louie,” “Emma,” “You Sexy Thing,” and “So You Win Again” are among the hits by the band. Brown got his big break in music in 1969, after recording a version of “Give Peace a Chance.” He could not change the lyrics to the song without permission of John Lennon and so he sent a copy of his version to the label and Lennon approved it.


Bobby Jameson, dead at 70

Robert “Bobby” Jameson, was a singer and songwriter from Illinois. He was active from the 1960s to the mid-1980s. Jameson recorded with Frank Zappa, The Rolling Stones and more. One of his lasting legacies is the album Songs of Protest and Anti-Protest, which was released in 1965 under his pseudonym Chris Lucey. Jameson was born in Geneva, but lived in Tucson and other Arizona towns for several years. His first record, Let’s Surfand credited to Bobby James.


Lucy Fabery, dead at 84

Lucy Fabery was a Puerto Rican jazz singer. Her career in music began in 1946 in her homeland where she drew attention performing at various night clubs. Over time, she started to record music and booked popular venues around Europe and Latin America. She built a fanbase around the world, especially in Cuba and Mexico. Fabery recorded for many years. Her 2013 release of Sentimentales with the trumpet player Humberto Ramirez received a lot of acclaim, earning her a nomination for a Latin Grammy.


B.B. King, dead at 89

Riley B. King, known by fans as B.B. King, was a Hall of Fame blues singer-songwriter and guitarist (he played a Gibson ES-355 he named Lucille). He has ranked in the top 10 list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” as determined by Rolling Stone and Gibson put him as number 17 on its “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time” list. These are just some of the many honors and awards that King received throughout his career, which spanned from the late 1940s up until recent years. He is widely respected and noted as one of the most influential blues guitarists to ever live. King sang in the choir of his Baptist church when he was young, bought his first guitar for $15 at the age of 12, taught himself how to play it, and started his career in 1949 when he began professionally recording songs with RPM Records.


Ortheia Barnes, dead at 70

Ortheia Barnes-Kernerly was a jazz and R&B songstress. Although she never signed with the famous Motown Records, Barnes was the opening act for several artists on the label, including Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. She recorded during the 1960s for Coral Records, Mickay Records and Decca Records.

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