Thursday, September 3, 2009

Three passings from the world of music: Chris Connor, Ellie Greenwich, Marie Knight

Music passes in three departures this week. Ellie Greenwich of the Barry & Greenwich songwriting team, was in her late sixties. Among the hits she is known for writing are Chapel of Love and Be My Baby. She was a "Brill Building" writer, known for writing hits that would first appear on records rather in live performance. They were part of a manufacturing chain that would extend wherever there was a radio or record player. Considering it was the 1960s, many of the ears connected to those appliances belonged to teens. People still buy records from that era, and moneyblows books & music still sells them!

Jazz singer Chris Connor passed away at the age of 81. "I Miss You So" from 1956 was one of her biggest hits. Her career began singing with the bands of Claude Thornhill and Stan Kenton. She was considered in the same jazz "school" as Anita O'Day, June Christy, Chet Baker and Julie London. From the time she left the Atlantic label in 1963, her career was eclipsed by rock 'n roll. She sang with romance, feeling, and cool, using little vibrato. The album shown above, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, is from her Atlantic era.

Finally, Marie Knight was 89 when she passed this week. A gospel superstar since the 1940s, she worked in the rhythm & blues idiom in the 1950s, dabbled in soul in the 1960s, and returned to gospel recording in the 1970s. We have an extremely rare copy of her 1965 release, You Lie So Well / A Little Too Lonely, which has become a Northern Soul classic. It's on the Musicor label and even has similar arrangements to another artist on that label, Gene Pitney.

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