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And the Beat Goes on: Musicians Dead in November

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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.”

Find out more about some of the musicians dead this month…

Frances Nero, dead at 71

Born Willie Frances Nero, but better known as Frances, Nero was a soul and jazz singer from North Carolina. Her big break came after winning a talent contest in 1965. Nero would go on to record for Motown Records, Shrine Records, MotorCity Records and the label she founded, AJA Records. One of her most popular songs, “Footsteps Following Me” was a major hit single in the UK during the early 1990s.


Clive Palmer, dead at 71

Hailing from Edmonton, North London, Clive Palmer was a folk banjoist known as a founding member of The Incredible String Band. Palmer began learning how to play banjo at age 10. By 1957, he was playing with jazz bands around the Soho area and in 1965, he and guitarist Robin Williamson officially formed Tthe Incredible String Band. Throughout his career he also performed with other bands, including Clive’s Original Band, The Clive Palmer Band and Famous Jug Band.


Claire Barry, dead at 94

Clara Bagelman, best known as Claire Barry, was an American Klezmer and jazz entertainer. She was one half of The Barry Sisters, a duo that was active from the 1940s to the 1970s. Minnie and Clara Bagelman were born in the Bronx to Jewish parents from Austria and Russia. They started out by performing in Yiddish under the moniker The Bagelman Sisters. Their break into the industry as musicians came with their including in the WLTH RadioUncle Norman” show for kids. The sisters made their first recording in the late 1930s with Victor Records.


Jimmy Ruffin, dead at 78

Jimmy Ruffin was a soul singer hailing from Mississippi. He had numerous hit records from the 1960s to the 1980s. Perhaps one of his most notable singles and top 10 hits: “Hold On (To My Love)” and “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.” Ruffin was the older brother to David Ruffin, a member of The Temptations. Throughout his career, Ruffin released music on Motown, RSO, EMI and Polydor labels. His discography includes nearly a dozen albums, many of which earned high numbers on the charts.


Big Bank Hank, dead at 58

Henry Lee Jackson, also known as Big Bank Hank and Imp the Dimp, was a Bronx-born old rapper. He was a member of the hip-hop trio The Sugarhill Gang, which is known for its chart-topping single of 1979, “Rapper’s Delight.” Jackson graduated from Bronx Community College with an Associates of Science degree in oceanography. However, he was not able to find a job in that field and ended up working other jobs, including manager for musicians such as Grandmaster Caz and The Might Force MCs, and The Cold Crush Brothers. While managing the latter, he was discovered by Sylvia Robinson who heard hank rapping some of the group’s lines.


Jonathan Athon, dead at 32

Jonathan Athon was the bassist for Black Tusk, a heavy metal power band from Georgia that formed in 2005. Athon played with the band since its beginning, up until his death this year. He was on four of the bands albums released between 2007 and 2011, as well as three EPs and the Low Country split with ASG. Athon passed away as a result of injuries suffered from a motorcycle crash.


Gary Lane, dead at 76

Gary Lane was a member of the garage rock band The Standells. The LA-based band formed during the 1960s and are said to have inspired Ramones and The Sex Pistols, among others. The group received a lot of attention with its 1966 release of “Dirty Water,” which has since become the anthem for many Boston sports teams. Lane was The Standells bassist.


Wayne Static, dead at 48

Wayne Richard Wells, or Wayne Static, was the lead vocalist, keyboardist, guitarist and sequence for the metal group Static-X. His first and only solo album, titled Pighammer, was released in October 2011. At age three, Wells received his first toy guitar and by age seven, he was learning how to play the guitar on his S12 beginner model. Wells received formal guitar lessons and started performing in his first band by age 12. His professional career in the music industry spanned from 1977 to 2014. Wells passed away in his sleep, just three days prior to his 49th birthday.

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