The Queen is dead. Aretha Franklin, born in Detroit 76 years ago, and destined to be acknowledged as ‘The Queen Of Soul’ following her late-‘60s breakthrough, was the daughter of minister C.L. Franklin, developing her vocal prowess in the church, before embarking on a secular career in 1960, when she was 18.
Sheffield-born Peter Stringfellow who died yesterday, aged 77, was Britain’s most famous nightclub entrepreneur. The glitzy London club that bore his name a magnet for celebrities during the ‘80s, epitomising the glamourous world he always sought, in contrast to his cash-strapped working class roots.
Tom Wolfe, the famous American author and journalist, died yesterday, aged 88. He wrote the countercultural classic, ‘The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’, published in 1968, which documented the exploits of Ken Kesey’s Californian LSD evangelists, The Merry Pranksters, who played a leading role in the emergence of the psychedelic era during the 1960s – their ‘Acid Test’ gatherings, originally at Kesey’s La Honda farm, unleashing psychedelic light shows, whilst providing the launchpad for the band The Grateful Dead.
Tony Williams, the accidental UK catalyst for the fusion of Jamiacan Dub and New York dance music during the early-‘80s, sadly died on April 30th. Tony has received scant acknowledgement for this, and it wasn’t until I interviewed him in 2004 that he became aware of this legacy, resulting from the underground popularity of the self-released ‘(Money) No Love’ (artist credit Bo Kool, and arguably the first UK rap recording) and its instrumental flip side ‘Love Money’ (artist credit Funk Masters) pressed up in 1980 on a label named after his daughter, Tania – his production debut. When I commenced my Discotheque Archives series for DJ Magazine, the first edition featured ‘Love Money’ as the Classic Single:
Rock & Roll rest in peace – Chuck Berry has died, aged 90.
News has just emerged that Cleethorpes born Rod Temperton died from cancer in London last week, aged 66. The musician / songwriter was best known for his collaborations with Michael Jackson on the classic albums ‘Off The Wall’ (1979) and ‘Thriller’ (1982), as well as being part of the band Heatwave, who scored a string of hits in the ‘70s including ‘Boogie Nights’, ‘ ‘Always And Forever’, ‘Too Hot To Handle’, ‘Mind Blowing Decisions’ and ‘The Groove Line’, the first two going platinum in the US.
New Jersey born Bernie Worrell, keyboardist and composer with Funk supremos Parliament-Funkadelic, died last Friday aged 72. He’d been diagnosed with lung cancer in January.
Minnepolis born music icon Prince Rogers Nelson, better known as simply Prince, died today at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota aged 57. The cause of his death is still undetermined as I write this, but last week he was taken into hospital for a few days with flu-like symptoms, following an emergency plane landing in Illinois after he’d performed in Atlanta.
Howard Marks, the once international dope smuggler, later bestselling author and raconteur, died on Sunday. He was aged 70.
It’s now been announced that the body found in woodland outside Bristol on 10th March, has been confirmed as being former Bristolian Reggae DJ, Derek Serpell-Morris (aka DJ Derek), who had been missing since July 2015. He was 73.