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And the Beat Goes on: Musicians Dead in January

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

Below, learn more about some musicians who passed this month, and their music…

Fred Milano, dead at 72

Milano was a New York-born doo-wop singer known for his involvement in The Belmonts and Dion and the Belmonts. He was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.


Larry Reinhardt, dead at 63

Reinhardt, also known as Ryno and El Rhino, was an American guitarist. He worked with numerous musicians during his career, most popularly Captain Beyond and Iron Butterfly.


Robert Joseph “Bob” Weston, dead at 64

Bob Weston was a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. Though his music career lasted for over 40 years, the British musician is best known for his brief role (1972-74) as a songwriter and guitarist for Fleetwood Mac.


Enrique de Melchor, dead at 61

Born Enrique Jiménez Ramirez, Enrique de Melcho was a Spanish flamenco guitarist. He fell in love with music at a young age and followed in the footsteps of his father, who was also a guitarist. Ramirez made his first record with singer Antonio Mairena, and at the young age of 18, he was awarded the Premio Nacional de la Cátedra de Flamenco de Jerez.


Selwyn Baptiste, dead at 75

Trinidadian-born Baptiste is known for introducing the British public to the steel drum. He founded the second steel band in the country in 1967, and was involved in the creation of the Notting Hill Carnival.


Tom Ardolino, dead at 56

Ardolino was a drummer for the American rock band New Rhythm and Blues Quartet (NRBQ). He began simply as a fan of NRBQ, corresponding with keyboardist Terry Adams. When Tom Staley, NRBQ’s original drummer, did not return, Adams invited Ardolino to stand in and eventually become his successor.


Dave Alexander, dead at 73

Dave Alexander, also known as Omar Sharriff and Omar the Magnificent, was a Texan blues singer and pianist. In addition to being a musician, he was a writer and an advocate for blues an African-American music.


Etta James, dead at 73

James was an American singer known for performing music that spanned several genres, including blues, soul, jazz, R & B and gospel. She won several awards during her career, including Grammys and Blues Music Awards. She was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame, Blues Hall of Fame and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone included James on their list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and 100 Greatest Artists.


Johnny Otis, dead at 90

Ioannis Alexandros Veliotes, better known by his stage name Johnny Otis was, among many things, a singer, drummer, percussionist, vibraphonist, bandleader and record producer. He was coined as the “Godfather of Rhythm and Blues.”


Jimmy Castor, dead at 71

Castor began as a doo-wop singer in New York. He later became a popular funk and pop musician. One of the saxophonist’s biggest singles came with 1972’s “Troglodyte (Cave Man).”

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