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 February…
Anita Darian, dead at 87
Born as Anita Margaret Esgandarian in Detroit, Darian was a well-known songstress and actress whose career spanned from the 1950s into the 2010s. She performed as a soprano in the New York City Opera and New York Philharmonic. Her career also involved roles in various musicals, operas and TV productions. Darian studied opera in Philadelphia at Curtis Institute of Music and at Juilliard in New York.
The Jacka, dead at 37
Dominic Newton, best known under the moniker The Jacka, was a rapper from California. He originally came into the music scene in the late 1990s as a member of the group Mob Figaz. This hip-hop collective released its debut album in 1999. Over his career, Newton released 14 solo albums, most recently 2014’s What Happened to the World (Street Album). He also collaborated with numerous artists, released five albums with Mob Figaz, had four mixtape and several compilations, and owned his own label The Artist Records.
Joe B. Mauldin, dead at 74
Maudlin was an American audio engineer, songwriter and double-bassist. He was a member of the rock ’n’ roll group called The Crickets, a band that also included drummer Jerry Allison, guitarist Niki Sullivan and Buddy Holly. He eventually took a position as a recording engineer at Los Angeles’ Gold Star Studios, a place used by Brian Wilson, Phil Spector and many other 1960’s rock acts.
Steve Strange, dead at 55
Steven John Harrington was the birth name of the Welsh musician Steve Strange. He was a singer and frontman for the pop group Visage, which was most successful during the 1980s. During his career, he released music under EMI and Polydor labels. He was associated with The Photons, The Detroit Starzz, Blitz Kids, Strange Cruise and The Moors Murderers.
Sam Andrew, dead at 73
Sam Andrew III was a California-born musician, singer-songwriter, artist, composer, guitarist and founding member of the Big Brother and the Holding Company. Major accomplishments of his career, which started in the 1960s up until his recent death, including three platinum records and two hit singles. His music has been featured in a number of documentaries and movies.
Lesley Gore, dead at 68
Throughout her life, Gore played many parts. The New Yorker was a singer, actress, songwriter and an activist. Her success came early on. She was just 16 years old in 1963 whens he recorded the popular pop song “It’s My Party.” She followed this release with “You Don’t Own Me” and “Judy’s Turn to Cry.” Gore also acted and composed music with her brother, Michael Gore, for the film “Fame.” She was nominated for an Academy Award for her efforts. Her last studio album, Ever Since, was released in 2005, 42 years after she released her first album, I’ll Cry if I Want to.
Robert Belfour, dead at 74
Nicknamed “Wolfman,” Balfour was a blues musician from Mississippi. He was taught how to play guitar when he was young and continued to learn from watching musicians like Junior Kimbrough, R. L. Burnshide and Otha Turner. His style was marked by Mississippi Hill Country traditions. Balfour performed for years before releasing his first official album, What’s Wrong With You, in 2000 via Fat Possum Records. He followed his debut with Pushin’ My Luck, which came out in 2003.