Music Obituaries: December 2017
By Four Walls
January 2, 2018 9:04pm CST
The year 2017 is over. As with any other year, we lost our fair share of music and music-related individuals. I'll review the year in a separate post. Meanwhile, here are the people for whom the final curtain fell in December 2017: Johnny Hallyday (died December 6, lung cancer, age 74): not well known in the US, but had a popularity similar to Elvis in his native France. He was known as "the French Elvis." Sunny Murray (died December 8, multiple organ failure, age 81): jazz drummer who was considered one of the pioneers of "free form" rhythm in jazz. Leon Rhodes (died December 9, unknown cause, age 85): a long-time member of Ernest Tubb's band the Texas Troubadours. Pat Di Nizio (died December 12, injuries from a fall, age 62): the lead singer of the great 80s/90s college rock band the Smithereens. Warrel Dane (died December 13, heart attack, age 56): vocalist in thrash metal bands Sanctuary and Nevermore. Ralph Carney (died December 16, head injuries in a fall, age 61): rock saxophonist who played on sessions for Tom Waits, the B-52s, Elvis Costello, and countless others. Richard Dobson (died December 16, unknown cause, age 75): country songwriter who co-wrote the song "Old Friends," which was recorded by acts ranging from co-writer Guy Clark to Lacy J. Dalton. Keely Smith (died December 16, heart failure, age 89): jazz/pop singer (former wife of Louis Prima) who won a Grammy in 1959 for "I Wish You Love." Dominic Frontiere (died December 21, unknown cause, age 86): TV and film composer who did the themes for The Rat Patrol and The Outer Limits on television and Hang 'Em High in movies. Jordan Feldstein (died December 24, heart attack, age 40): the manager for the band Maroon 5. Curly Seckler (died December 27, natural causes, age 98): one of the last "first-generation" bluegrass musicians, he played with Charlie Monroe (Bill's brother), Flatt & Scruggs, and had his own career. He was inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2004. Rose Marie (nee Rose Marie Mazzetta) (died December 28, natural causes, age 94): the well-known and beloved Dick Van Dyke Show actress and Hollywood Squares panelist was the last surviving performer to have a hit record prior to World War II: as "Baby Rose Marie" she had a string of recordings in the 1930s. Hairl Hensley (died December 31, illness, age 81): Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame member, he was a longtime DJ for country and bluegrass on Nashville's WSM as well as a Grand Ole Opry announcer. Farewell, and thank you for the music. Here's Rose Marie, from 1933, singing one of her childhood-era hits:
Baby Rose Marie My BluesBird is Singing the Blues. The Vaudeville girl with a voice to fill the whole theatre. An Amazingly big voice in a tiny girl. I apolo...
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