Sunday, August 29, 2021

Music Of My Youth

The music of my youth was rock-a-billy, doo wop, early rock and roll, some crossover country, Motown, skiffle, and the British invasion. I love all sorts of music but those are my music.

Now I am not young. I recently celebrated my 74th birthday. Many of the performers of my music were older than me so it is not surprising that some have died. With the death of Don Everly I began to think about that. It is not surprising since people my age are often confronted with our own mortality.

Elvis... gone. He is THE biggest star of that group. On August 16, 1977, the world was shocked to learn of his death.

Bill Haley ... gone. He died in 1981 at the age of 55.

Ricky Nelson... gone. In 1985 the plane he was on crashed as it attempted to make an emergency landing because of a fire caused by a faulty heater.

Pat Boone... still with us. He is 87 years old and living in Florida.

Buddy Holly... gone. Died in a plane crash. Also on that charter plane were The Big Bopper and Richie Valens who also died. It is referred to as the day the music died.

Eddie Cochrane... gone. He was not driving the car that was going too fast when it crashed. He was expelled from the car and subsequently died of the injuries.

Jimi Hendrix... gone. I was not a huge fan but he could play that guitar. In 1970 he died from asphyxia due to an overdose of barbiturates.

Gene Vincent... gone. He died in 1971 of multiple internal causes in 1971.

Bobby Vee... gone. He died in 2016 of complications of Alzheimer's disease. He was both lucky and unlucky to be known as the one who filled in for Buddy Holly after the plane crash.

Billy "Crash" Craddock... still with us. The 82 year old lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Dion DiMucci... still with us. He is 82 and still active in the music business.

Big Mama Thornton... gone. She died in 1984. She was the first to record Hound Dog. She had such a raunchy sexy voice.

Herman's Hermits... all alive except Derek Leckenby who died of mom-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1994. Peter Noone, Keith Hopwood, Barry Whiwam, and Karl Green still perform although not necessarily together.

The Everly Brothers... both gone. The Everlys never made a bad song. Phil died in 2014 and Don died in 2021.

Chuck Willis... gone. He first recorded C.C. Ryder. Died in 1958 of peritonitis during surgery.

Della Reese... gone. She died in 2017. So many have forgotten she began as a singer.

The Beatles... mixed. John Lennon was assassinated in front of the building where he lived in 1980. George Harrison died after a long battle with cancer in 2001. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr both still perform.

Conway Twitty... gone. Yes he began as a rock-a-billy singer. In 1993 he died after collapsing onstage. The cause was an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

LaVerne Baker... gone. The second female inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame died of cardiovascular disease in 1997.

The Rolling Stones... mixed. Charlie Watts died in 2021. No cause of death has been issued but he was known to have problems with his heart. Brian Jones drowned in 1969. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Bill Wyman still perform.

Kenny Rogers... gone. He began by singing any kind of music he could perform. He suffered from bladder cancer and died in 2020.

Bobby Rydell... still with us. And still performing.

Fabian... still with us and still performing.

Frankie Avalon... still with us and still performing.

Janice Joplin... gone. She would belt out a song like few others could. She died in 1970 of a heroin overdose.

Jerry Lee Lewis... still with us. He suffered a stroke in 2019  and is not performing.

Sam Cooke... gone. Was there ever a smoother sexier voice? A disputed version of his death is that he was kidnapped and left with no clothes at a motel by a prostitute. As he angrily asked for assistance from the motel manager she says she shot him to death in self defense. It happened in 1964.

Aretha Franklin... gone. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. She died of a malignant pancreatic tumor in 2018.

Roy Orbison... gone. He survived many tragedies in his life. He died of a heart attack in 1988.

The Bee Gees... mixed. They are mostly known for their disco music but began in rock and roll. The first to die was not actually a member of the BeeGees. Andy Gibb died of an inflammatory heart virus brought on by drug use in 1988. Maurice Gibb died from complications caused by a twisted intestine in 2003. In 2012 his twin brother Robin died of kidney failure after a lengthy bout with cancer. The oldest of the brothers is Barry. He still performs.

Carl Perkins... gone. After suffering a series of minor strokes he died in 1998 of throat cancer. He wrote and was the first to perform Blue Suede Shoes.

I have not mentioned so many. If you have a favorite to add I will be happy.



  1. Replies
    1. There are so many I did not mention. I could write at least one more but I will not.

  2. I took note of the report of Don Everly’s death the other day as “Dream, Dream, Dream” was featured at one of our proms. I can’t remember whether it was my junior year (1957) or my senior year (1958).

    Your list is quite extensive and mind-blowing in the amount of research you did. Great job! I had no idea that Pat Boone now lives in Florida. He was a student at North Texas State College (now University) and sang with the music department’s dance band for some conference our high school sent some of us to during the same time period.

    1. What a nice footnote. You danced to Pat Boone who was there in person.

  3. P.S. — I also have a “less than six degrees of separation” connection to Elvis in that one of his original Jordannaires backup singers, the ones in the big plaid jackets behind him in the black-and-white clips of his first appearance on Ed Sullivan’s TV program, a tall fellow named Hugh Jarrett, was a friend of mine at our church here in Georgia for about 25 years before his death a few years back. That fact and about a dollar and a half will buy you a Hershey bar.

  4. Don’t want to make a pest of myself, but I also loved Della Reese’s deep powerful voice from that same time period — “And That Reminds Me Of You’ was her first big hit in 1957 and then “Don’t You Know?” In 1959. I didn’t find out until later that the music of “Don’t You Know?” Is actually “Musetta’s Waltz” from the Puccini opera La Boheme.

    1. Her voice envelopes you at the beginning of that song.

  5. This was such a sad look back and so many favorites who are now sadly gone. Ironically, the crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, The Big Bopper and the plane's pilot happened on the day of my 10th birthday and Dion DiMucci was part of the touring group but declined a seat on the plane and Waylon Jennings lost a seat in a coin toss with Valens.
    Happy belated 🎂birthday wishes to you, my blogger friend.

    1. Thank you for the additional information and the birthday wishes.

  6. Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones drummer, died of throat cancer. He had treatment for it in 2014 but the cancer returned. I posted a photo of him on my Miss Cellany blog.
    You mention so many names that are part of my childhood and growing up - happy memories!

  7. I think really few were known here too because of radio. Elvis is one of them.

    This was brief sad post dear Emma. Those who died in accidents made me sad and reminded one our most famous pop singer Junaid Jumshaid .each song he sang became heartbeat of the nation. He also died in plane crash unfortunately.

    1. It is always sad to learn of the death of someone we care about. Musicians often feel like family to us.

  8. That's quite a list. I wouldn't put Elvis at the top of mine, but his voice was the best.

    1. My list is not in any particular order. My favorite is not at the top. I wish I could have included more but the list is too long now. Thank you for your input. Who would you list first?

    2. I think in my teens it would have to be the Beatles. A little later it would be Jethro Tull.

    3. Jethro Tull was a bit after my youth I'm afraid. The Beatles are a good choice.

  9. Gosh! That is quite a list.

    We do listen to many on YouTube, their music lives on.

    All the best Jan

  10. Wow, Emma - that is a long list, and so many of them dead now. All except Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix and the Beatles and Rolling Stones were a bit before my youth - but my son so adored Elvis that I came to love him too.
    As I listen to radio I still have many todays (present?) singers on my list - but I am always astonished how well I memorise the texts of the old Beatles or Stones-Songs -- so much saved in my heart.
    Thank you for this great list of singers!

  11. What a roll call. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

    1. You are welcome. I had to leave a lot of wonderful musicians out.

  12. The list was a combo for me as well. I knew many of the artists, loved them. Thanks.