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Category Archives: Rest In Peace

In memory of great entertainers we have lost…

Hank Medress (1939-2007)

Hank Medress, co-founder of the group The Tokens died of lung cancer June 18, 2007 at his Manhattan home. Brooklyn High School classmates Medress and Neil Sedaka formed a singing group in 1955 called the Linc-Tones. They went on to record “While I Dream” on Melba records as The Tokens with Sedaka on lead vocals. After little success, Sedaka left to pursue a solo career and Medress formed Darrell and the Oxfords with singer Jay Siegel. He reformed the Tokens, added brothers Phil and Mitch Margo and got a recording contract with Warwick records. Shortly thereafter, the group scored their first charted hit, “Tonight I Fell In Love”.

In 1961, they moved to RCA-Victor records and scored a number one song with their first release, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, a traditional Zulu melody that the Weavers had released as a folk song in the early 50’s entitled “Wimoweh”. They enjoyed enough chart success with RCA to start their own label, B.T. Puppy.

It was at this point that Medress stopped singing backup harmony with the group and concentrated on producing. Hank’s produced three top-10 hits for the 1960s girl group The Chiffons, “Sweet Talkin’ Guy,” “One Fine Day” and “He’s So Fine.”

In addition to the Tokens recording on B.T. Puppy, Medress also produced

Hank Medress

the Happenings and had great success with “See You in September” and “I Got Rhythm.” Medress left the Tokens in 1970 and was the creative force behind the group Dawn, producing such hits as “Candida,” “Knock Three Times,” and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree”. Hank wanted to use Barry Manilow as the lead singer for the group, but Barry wanted a solo career, so he talked his good friend Tony Orlando out of retirement and the result was the pinnacle of Tony’s singing career. Other artists that Medress produced include Dan Hill, Melissa Manchester, Richard Simmons, Rick Springfield, and David Johansen (as his alter ego, Buster Poindexter).

From 1990 to 1992, Mr. Medress was president of EMI Music Publishing Canada and, after returning to New York, became a partner in Bottom Line Records, which released recordings of performances at the Bottom Line club in Greenwich Village as well as new work by emerging artists. Mr. Medress leaves four children and two grandchildren.

Listen for Darrel & the Oxfords and The Tokens on TUNEDEX MEMORIES at songsyoushouldhaveheard.com.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2010 in Rest In Peace

 

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Freddie Scott (1933-2007)

Freddie Scott, known for his soft, mournful ballads, died of a heart attack June 4, 2007 at the age of 74.  Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he sang with his grandmother’s gospel group the Gospel Keys while in his early teens. He studied medicine at the University of Rhode Island but gave it up for singing. He recorded his first solo single, “Running Home”, for the small J&S label in 1956. Over the next six years, he would release nine more records for four different labels, but with little or no success. He wrote songs and even did production work to keep his singing dream alive. His big break came in1962 when he recorded a demo of “Hey Girl”, written by the Brill Building writing team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The song was written

Freddie Scott

with Chuck Jackson in mind, but Chuck turned it down. Goffin and King liked Scott’s voice and recorded another version with Freddie and it was released in 1963 on the Colpix label, almost one year after he recorded the demo record. The record became a Top Ten hit and effectively launched Scott’s career. He hit the charts another two times for Colpix, but lost favor as many American singers did due to the British Invasion. He moved on to Columbia records and released four more singles, but this time, with no chart activity. In 1966 Bert Berns, the producer, songwriter and owner of Shout Records signed Freddie and returned him to the charts with “Are You Lonely For Me”. Freddie stayed on the charts until the untimely death of Bert Berns in 1967. Freddie’s chart career seemed to die with Berns. He did some jingle writing after that, and took some minor acting roles, but his singing career was over. One of Freddie’s songs from 1968 “You Got What I Need” was sampled in 1989 and became the signature song for rapper Biz Markie. While Scott’s star waned somewhat in the 1980s, he still toured and performed regularly, releasing a pair of new albums in 2001 and 2004. Over the course of his career, Freddie Scott released well over 30 single recordings and many, many albums. His talents will be truly missed. We are proud to play “Hey Girl” on TUNEDEX MEMORIES at songsyoushouldhaveheard.com.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2010 in Rest In Peace

 

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Tom Burdyshaw (1947-2008) “Tom from Garfield Heights”

I regret to inform my listeners that “Tom from Garfield Heights” has lost his battle with cancer.  Long time “loyal listeners” heard his name weekly for many years.  I began “the Innocent Age” approximately 10 years ago, and Tom found out about the show in April, 1989 at Steve Petryszyn’s Parma Record Convention.  He was excited about the show, but lived too far North of the station to be able to pick it up.  Later that year, we started broadcasting on the Internet, but Tom didn’t have a computer.  I sent him 2 cassettes every week for almost three years.  He would listen to the show and call me with his comments, which included his favorites and most shows contained at least 10 or 12 tunes he had never heard before.  That pattern continued week after week.  He came over a few times, and we would spend the entire time sharing music, just as I usually did with Steve and Frank Kramer.  Tom had the same passion for this music as the three of us did and it was a joy seeing the twinkle in his eye when he heard those “songs you should have heard” for the first time.

Tom had a fairly extensive collection of 45’s that he kept buying into the late 80’s.  Ironically, our mutual taste seemed to match as we talked about 70’s and 80’s music we liked as well.  Work schedules and family demands kept us from getting together very often, but we talked on the phone often.  If I found a really good CD, I’d let him know and he would go to the same store and buy it on my suggestion.  He was a good and genuine man.  I was devastated when I heard he had been diagnosed with cancer.  Not because I didn’t think he could beat this horrible disease, but because he simply didn’t deserve the pain and fear it takes to deal with it.  My wife has been cancer free for five years, but Steve Petryszyn lost his wife Sher after a five year battle.

I didn’t have much contact with Tom’s wife Liz other than to speak with her on the phone, but she knew how much music meant to Tom.  Tom’s entire family was with him the day he died.  While I never got a chance to say goodbye, his daughter Kimberly told me one of my shows was playing in the background when he passed.

I will miss Tom’s passion.  When I told him I wanted to some “nostalgia” on the station which included some vintage commercials if I could find them.  He called me back a few days later and read off over a hundred he thought would work.  I was able to find about 70 of those and the comprise the backbone of my “nostalgic” cuts.

Last year about this time, I brought him a tray of candy bars to keep his strength up.  Tom and I both shared a fondness for “Sky Bars” – a candy bar from our youth.  I found a place locally where I could buy a box of 24 took them over to him for Halloween.  I told his wife Liz that if she visits Tom at the cemetery and finds a Sky Bar, she’ll know I stopped by to say hello to him.

I am dedicating the Innocent Age running from November 10th through the 16th to Tom’s memory.  All the songs I’ll play on that show will be Tom’s favorites over the 9 years he listened to the show.  I’m hoping when people hear these songs in the future they’ll think of “Tom from Garfield Heights”…..

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2008 in Rest In Peace

 

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Jerry Wallace (1928 – 2008)

Smooth voiced pop-turned-country singer/guitarist/actor Jerry Wallace died May 5 at his home in Corona, Ca. of congestive heart failure. He was 79. Wallace is survived by four children and two grandchildren. A memorial service will be held May 9 in Corona, Ca., with burial to follow in Riverside, Ca.

Jerry Wallace was born in Guildford, Missouri on December 15, 1928, and grew up in Glendale, Arizona.Jerry Wallace

Wallace began his recording career in 1951 with Allied. Seven years later, after switching to Challenge Records, he broke onto the charts with How the Time Flies, which reached number eleven. A year later, he released the biggest hit of his career with Primrose Lane, which went to number eight. Interestingly, while both were very pop oriented, they crossed over onto the R&B charts and peaked at numbers eleven and twelve respectively.
In 1964, at the end of his time with Challenge, he once again challenged the upper parts of the charts with In the Misty Moonlight. While the single stopped at number nineteen on the pop charts, it ascended to number two on the Adult Contemporary. In total, Wallace placed thirteen singles in the top 100 between 1951 and 1972.

The following year, after signing a short term deal with Mercury, Wallace started to venture away from pop and toward a modern country sound. His Life’s Gone and Slipped Away was not a huge hit, but it did give him his first break on country radio. Wallace would continue to have minor hits on both Mercury and Decca until 1972 when he recorded a song for the series Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. If You Leave Me Tonight I Will Cry went to the top of the country charts and was followed just a few months later by the number two single Do You Know What It’s Like to Be Lonesome.

For the balance of the 70’s, Wallace would have ten more country hits on MCA, BMA and 4 Star before his popularity began to wain. He was also awarded the 1972 Male Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association.

Jerry also composed music for film and television, and appeared in films including “Flipper’s New Adventure” and “Goodbye Charlie.” He also worked on music for other television shows, including “Daniel Boone” and “Hec Ramsey.” Beyond recording, Wallace acted in films like Goodbye Charlie.

Listen for Jerry’s pop hits on TUNEDEX MEMORIES.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2008 in Rest In Peace

 

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Dan Fogelberg (1951-2007)

I love the music I grew up with. The music of the late 50’s and early 60’s will ALWAYS be my favorites. However, I didn’t stop listening to music as I grew older. I had favorite singers in the 70’s and 80’s also. By the 90’s, I was pretty much done adopting new artists, but I was always a sucker for singer/songwriters. Carole King, Neil Diamond, Jackson Browne and Billy Joel were artists that I bought albums sight unheard. I trusted their talent. But the “wordsmith” at the top of this list had to be Dan Fogelberg.

From the innocence and sincerity of his lyrics to the simplicity of his music, I enjoyed everything DanDan Fogelberg recorded. His talent knew no bounds. He wrote the music and lyrics. He played the instruments. He produced the records. He even painted the artwork for the album cover. He had a loyal and faithful following and avoided Corporate greed until the mid-eighties when his label made him join the “MTV Generation”. It was that “square peg in a round hole” decision that began the decline of Dan’s commercial success.

When I started my career in radio, I called my show “The Innocent Age”. I stole that from Dan. His two-record album of the same name included the hits “Same Old Lang Syne”, “Hard To Say”, “Leader Of The Band”, and “Run For The Roses”. This album makes my All-Time Top Ten list. If you’ve never listened to ALL the songs, check it out, you’ll be amazed as I was.

I feel blessed that I was able to see Dan perform live. He opened for Jackson Browne at Blossom Music Center. He opened the show with an acoustic set, but the crowd grew restless and demanded the band, so he shrugged it off, and continued the show. As a fan, I felt cheated out of the intimacy he was trying to share with the audience. With an outdoor venue, intimacy usually does not prevail, but I cherish the memories of that concert. I’ll never grow tired of Dan’s music. Dan made my life better for knowing him through his music. I never met my father and I still weep when I hear Dan’s moving and loving tribute to his father, “Leader of the Band”.

Dan battled prostate cancer for almost three years before he succumbed on December 16, 2007, at the age of 56. He is survived by his wife, Jean. Donations in Dan’s memory at the ProstateCancerFoundation.org website have raised over $40,000! Jean Fogelberg has announced on Dan’s website that a CD will be released this fall containing 11 previously unreleased songs called “Love In Time”. Dan is gone, but his music lives on.

Listen for Dan’s interpretation of “Rhythm of the Rain” on TUNEDEX MEMORIES

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2008 in Rest In Peace

 

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Tom Dawes (1943-2007)

Tom Dawes met Don Danneman at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. They soon formed a band with Marty Fried and Earle Pickens called the Rhondells. A local attorney, Nat Weiss heard them and got Columbia records to check them out. Before they knewTom Dawes Co-Founder of The Cyrcle what was happening, they were signed to a contract by Beatles manager Brian Epstein. Not surprisingly, the newly named group (purportedly by John Lennon) opened for the Beatles on their ’66 tour.

They had immediate success with “Red Rubber Ball” written by Paul Simon and Bruce Woodley of the Seekers. They hit the charts six times, but by the early 70’s the magic was gone. Tom turned to writing jingles and delivered one that made him a icon in the world of commercials. He wrote the “Plop-Plop Fizz-Fizz” ditty for Alka Seltzer. He met his wife Ginny Redington Dawes at a commercial writing competition. They would go on to collaborate on many writing projects.

Tom suffered a stroke from after carotid artery surgery and passed away on October 13, 2007. In additon to his wife Ginny, Tom is survived by his sister, Robin Ducey. We’ve always been big fans of the Cyrkle so you’ll find all their charted songs in our play list “the Honor Roll of Hits”.  Check us out here:  TUNEDEX MEMORIES

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2008 in Rest In Peace

 

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Arthur William Todd (1914-2007)

One of the biggest hits of 1958 was “Chanson D’Amour” by Art and Dotty Todd. The couple had already been married for 17 years when they hit the charts. While they only had that one hit, it enabled them to appear on both the Ed Sullivan show and American Bandstand. Arthur William Todd died October 10th, at the age of 93 of congestive heart failure in Honolulu.

Mr Todd was born the fourth child of a family of six in Baltimore Maryland. His motherArt Todd of Art & Dotty Todd played piano, his father violin and young Arthur wanted to be a banjo player. So, when he was 10, he built one, out of a cigar box, a broom handle, and four pieces of wire. His father was so impressed, he bought him the best banjo he could find and Mr. Todd played that banjo his entire life.

He met his future wife, Doris “Dotty” Dabb, a piano player, while both were performing in Providence, R.I. They married in 1941 and Mr. Todd served in the Army in an entertainment unit during World War II. After the war, the couple worked the lounge circuit in California in the 1940s and 1950s as Art and Dotty Todd and later was signed by CBS for their own radio show.

Art & Dotty enjoyed a bit hit in England with ‘Broken Wings’ in 1953, but had no recording success in America until 1958. Composer “Wayne Shanklin stopped them one day and said, ‘I’ve got a great song for you.’ He had already written big the big hits, ‘Jezebel’ and ‘The Old Man and the Sea.’ Art knew that a lot of the success of their song came from the many old-time DJ’s who resisted the emerging rock sound. The song peaked at No. 6 on Billboard’s Top 40 list on April 21, 1958. It remained on the list for 11 weeks.

Art & Dotty ToddThe Todds retired in Hawaii in 1980. They ran a supper club and were active members of the Oahu Country Club and Outrigger Canoe Club. Mrs. Todd died in 2000. Mr. Todd’s survivors include a sister, and eight nieces and nephews.

You’ll find ‘Chanson D’Amour’ on our play list, ‘the Honor Roll of Hits’. Listen for it on Tunedex Memories.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2007 in Rest In Peace

 

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