Ray Charles, (Ray Charles Robinson), 9/23/23 – 6/10/04. Born in Albany, Georgia, Ray Charles was a singer, bandleader and pianist known for bringing rhythm and blues into the mainstream. He died of liver cancer. Ray was 73.

Ray Charles is one of those names everyone knows. His career was long and legendary. He had the music in him and let nothing - including the loss of his site as a young boy - get in his way. Here is a video of him performing once of his best known songs.

Ray Charles - Georgia on My Mind
via FoxyTunes

Rick James, (James Johnson Jr.), 2/1/48 – 8/6/04. Born in Buffalo, New York, Rick was known as the “King of Punk Funk”. He had a controversial lifestyle and is often remembered for his hit song “Super Freak”. Rick died of “natural causes” but many illegal drugs were found in his system at his time of death. He was 56.

Rick's career was sometimes overshadowed by his personal life which included illegal activity, drug abuse and prison time. He admitted to having a $7,000 a week crack cocaine habit at one point. Not sure what else to say.

Rick James - Superfreak
via FoxyTunes

Laura Branigan, 7/3/57 – 8/26/04. Born in Brewster, New York, Laura had a career as a singer with working with musicians such as Leonard Cohen. She portrayed Janis Joplin in the musical, Love, Janis. Laura died of a brain aneurysm. She was 47.

A beautiful woman with a beautiful voice. She was also an actress who appeared on several TV shows and movies. I don't know much about her but do remember her song "Gloria". I read that she was having headaches prior to her death - a symptom most of us ignore. Very sad she died so suddenly.

Laura Branigan - Gloria 2004
via FoxyTunes

Johnny Ramone, (John Cummings), 10/8/48 – 9/15/04. Born in Long Island, New York, Johnny was a founding member and guitarist for The Ramones. He died of prostate cancer. Johnny was 55.

Johnny had a reputation for being an excellent rhythm guitar player but also is credited for "initiating one of the major sources of stress for the band when he started dating Hyman's (Joey Ramone's) ex-girlfriend, whom he later married." He and Joey both died of cancer. Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) wrote a song about Johnny while driving home from his funeral, its called "Life Wasted". Eddie considered Johnny to be his best friend.

"Dimebag Darrell" (Darrel Lance Abbot), 8/ /66 – 12/8/04. Born in Arlington, Texas Darrel was best known as the lead guitar player for heavy metal band Pantera. He was shot and killed onstage while performing with. He was 38.

This has to be one of the most shocking deaths in all of rock and roll history. Not only was Darrel shot and killed but three other people (trying to help him ) were also killed by the gunman (who was justifiably shot when the cops arrived). I saw a reenactment of this horrific scene on a tv show and two things stood out to me, that the shooter was absolutely ruthless and was there to kill not only Darrel, but anyone else that got in the way and that others risked their lives to help Darrel and died along with him, that is so brave and honorable. It said that Darrel was loved for his great rapport with his fans and known for his unique "groove metal" guitar style. I can't imagine what the people in the audience went through that night and continue to go through seeing someone shot down in front of their eyes. A very tragic death.

Pantera - Cemetary Gates
via FoxyTunes


Jack said...

what a shame, what a shame he had to die, i hope that the person that shot him will repent it forever... (even though he's dead too)

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Jack, thanks for coming by and leaving comments. The comments give this site a life of its own, sometimes I can feel the sadness of loss when I read them. But the deserve to be remembered. Thanks again.

Starrlight said...

Ray and Rick. Talk about originals.

Johnny was an asshole but he was a hell of a talented asshole.

Perplexio said...

Laura Branigan had one of the most emotive voices I've heard. I also enjoy her songs Self Control and How Am I Supposed to Live WIthout You (the latter written by Michael Bolton and later re-recorded by him-- I prefer Branigan's version though).