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And the Beat Goes on: Musicians Dead in May

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

We lost several well-known acts this month, including Donna “Queen of Disco” Summer, Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Doc Watson, “Sweet Joe” Russell of The Persuasions, Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, and bass guitarist Donald “Duck” Dunn, who worked with famous acts such as Otis Redding, Booker T & the MG’s, and The Blues Brothers.

Below, listen to and learn about nine other musicians who passed away in May…

Charles Pitts, dead at 65

Also known as “Skip,” Charles Pitts was an American-born blues and soul guitarist. He was well known for his “wah-wah” sound associated with Isaac Hayestrack for the movie “Shaft.”


Lloyd Brevett, dead at 80

Born in Jamaica, Lloyd Brevett was a double bassist and founding member of the ska band The Skatalites.


Edith Bliss, dead at 52

Australian singer and TV presenter Edith Bliss got her start in 1979, after an unplanned audition landed her a contract with ATV Northern Publishing.


Michael Burks, dead at 54

Michael Burks, son of bassist Frederick Burks, was an American electric and soul blues singer, guitarist and songwriter. Burks, also called Iron Man, was active in the music field for more than 30 years.


Celso Chavez, dead at 44

Celso Chavez was a guitarist and founding member of the alternative-rock band Possum Dixon.


Trond Bråthen, dead at 35

Best known by his stage name Trondr Nefas, Trond Bråthen was a Norwegian musician. He was the lead singer and guitarist of the black metal band Urgehal, formed in 1992.


Chuck Brown, dead at 75

The “Godfather of Go-Go” Chuck Brown was a guitarist who is highly regarded as a major force behind the exposure of go-go music. His signature instrument was the Gibson ES-335.


Carrie Smith, dead at 70

Carrie Smith was a jazz and blues singer. Her major break came in 1974, when she played Bessie Smith in Dick Hyman’s “Satchmo Remembered.”


Eddie Blazonczyk, dead at 70

Eddie Blazonczyk was the founder of The Versatones and an award-winning polka artist. In 1963, Blazonczyk founded Bel-Aire Records in Chicago.

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