Floyd Cramer master of the ‘slip note’

Country Music Hall of Fame pianist Floyd Cramer played piano for such stars as Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Roy Orbison, Jim Reeves, Don Gibson and the Everly Brothers.

But it was his 1960 piano solo ‘Last Date’ that made him famous. The “lonesome cowboy” melody sold over one million copies and went to number two on Billboard’s ‘Hot 100’ pop music chart. It was shut out from the number one spot by Elvis’s ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ — in which the pianist was none other than Floyd Cramer.

His “slip note” style of playing was described by Floyd himself as “a whole-tone slur which gives more of a lonesome cowboy sound. You hit a note and slide almost simultaneously to another.” The unique style became a key “Nashville sound” of the 1950s and 1960s and influenced a generation of pianists.

Floyd Cramer died on December 31, 1997. He was 64.


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Surviving Everly brother has died

DON EVERLY DIES

Don Everly, the surviving brother of what Rolling Stone Magazine once called “the most important vocal duo in rock” died Saturday at the age of 84.

“Don lived by what he felt in his heart,” said a family spokesperson. “Don expressed his appreciation for the ability to live his dreams with his soulmate and wife, Adela, and sharing the music that made him an Everly Brother.”

Phil and Don Everly were hugely popular in the 1950s and ’60s with one Billboard hit after another, including ‘Wake Up Little Susie,’ ‘Bye Bye Love,’ ‘Cathy’s Clown’ and ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream.’

“Starting with their first hit, ‘Bye Bye Love,’ the Everly Brothers brought the sound of deeply intertwined voices to rock and roll,” wrote David Browne in Rolling Stone. “The brothers were a major influence on the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas & the Papas, and many others.”

Phil Everly died in 2014 at 74. That story and more songs HERE.


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A cold death for seven souls

Dec 10 notice

THE CRUEL IRONY OF FATE

Soul Singer Otis Redding and his band never made it to this concert with the Grim Reapers. They were on their way when they came face to face with their own Grim Reaper.

The 26-year-old singer and five teenage members of his band The Bar-Kays were killed when their twin-engine aircraft plunged into icy Lake Monona in Wisconsin. The pilot also died.

DECEMBER 10, 1967


FRIGID DEATH IN WIS LAKE


KILLED IN PLANE CRASH

Otis Redding, lower right, with members of the Bar-Kays. The band members included, clockwise from bottom left, Phalon Jones, Ben Cauley, Carl Cunningham, Ronnie Caldwell, Jimmy King and James Alexander.

Nineteen-year-old Jones, Cunningham, 18, Caldwell, 19, King, 18, and 17-year-old valet Matthew Kelly (not pictured) were killed in the plane crash. The pilot, Richard Fraser, 26, also died. Ben Cauley was the only survivor.

ONE BAND MEMBER’S LUCKY DAY

On the fateful day, they boarded the plane for Madison, Wisconsin. Bar-Kays bassist James Alexander took a different flight because the Beechcraft was full.

Ben Cauley, who was sitting directly behind Otis Redding, fell asleep on the flight clutching his seat cushion. He woke up when he heard bandmate Phalon Jones look out of a window and say “Oh, no!”

At 3:28 in the afternoon the plane crashed into the icy waters of the Squaw Bay area of Lake Monona, on the outskirts of Madison.

BEN TRIED TO SAVE HIS BUDDIES

The impact of the crash tore a wing off the small plane and ripped apart the fuselage. Ben, still clutching his seat cushion, bobbed to the surface of the water. He tried to swim to the aid of his bandmates who were still strapped to their seats in the fuselage. He heard their desperate cries for help as they were pulled under the frigid water.

A Lake Monona resident heard the crash and called the authorities who arrived in a police boat. Ben Cauley was pulled to safety suffering from hypothermia and shock.

ONLY REDDING CRASH SURVIVOR
Ben Cauley performing at a Memphis club in 2015.

He went on to have a so-so career as a trumpet player and singer but his later life was marred by a stroke in 1989 and nightmares about the accident until his death in 2015 at the age of 67.

SITTIN ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY

OTIS’ HUGE BILLBOARD HIT

Otis was one of the star performers at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, with Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

Just before his death he made a series of innovative recording including Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay a huge crossover hit that sold more than two million copies and became the first posthumous Billboard No.1 single.

PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD LOVE OTIS’ SONG


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