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Fuller Up, The Dead Musicians Directory



Click on name for biography on this page
Sam Cooke

Bobby Bloom

Marvin Gaye

Lem Winchester


John Whitehead


Al Jackson

Eddie Jefferson

John Lennon

Walter Scott

Scrapper Blackwell

Lee Morgan

Jaki Byard

Chano Pozo

Felix Pappalardi

Arlester "Dyke" Christian

Tupac Shakur

Notorious B.I.G.

Big L
(Lamont Coleman)

Freaky Tah

Jam Master Jay

Soulja Slim

Peter Tosh

Junior Braithwaite

Carlton Barrett

Cornell Gunther

Nat "Buster" Wilson

Roy Lee Centers

James Sheppard

Igor Talkov




Try Netflix Free

Rusty Day


Russ Columbo 


Jimmy "Orion" Ellis

Roger Troutman


Stacy Sutherland

Tebogo Madingoane














Select Musicians' Name for Official and Unofficial Websites

Sam Cooke

Age 33
b. 22 January 1931, Clarksdale, MS,
d. 11 December 1964, L A, California

Cooke first performed publicly with his brother and two sisters in their Baptist quartet, the Soul Children . As a teenager he joined the Highway QCs, before replacing Rebert ‘R.H.’ Harris in the Soul Stirrers. Between 1951 and 1956 Cooke sang lead with this innovative gospel group.  The Soul Stirrers recorded for the Specialty label where the singer's popularity encouraged producer ‘Bumps’ Blackwell to provide Sam with pop material, disguised under the pseudonym 'Dale Cook' to avoid offending the gospel audience. Initially content, the label's owner, Art Rupe, then objected to the sweetening choir on a follow-up recording, You Send Me, and offered Cooke a release from his contract in return for outstanding royalties. The song was then passed to the Keen label, where it sold in excess of 2 million copies. Sam left the label for RCA where Chain Gang (1960), Cupid (1961) and Twistin' The Night Away (1962), displayed a pop craft later offset by such grittier offerings as Bring It On Home To Me and Little Red Rooster. Cooke also founded the Sar and Derby labels. Cooke's own career remained in the ascendant with (Ain't That) Good News and Good Times but the purity of such music made his tawdry fate all the more perplexing. On 11 December 1964, following an altercation with a girl he had picked up, the singer was fatally shot by the manageress of a Los Angeles motel. 
~Music Central 96
(Bobby Womack of the Valentinos married Sam’s widow). 

Rusty Day


Died: March 6, 1982

Best known for his tenure as a member of Ted Nugent's Amboy Dukes, Rusty Day was a figure of legendary proportions in his native Detroit, a white soul singer whose weight tipped the scales at over 350 pounds. He and backing band the Midnighters enjoyed great success on the local club circuit throughout the mid-1960s, in 1966 issuing the single "I Gotta Move #1; " three years later Day joined the Amboy Dukes, making his debut with the group on their third album, Migrations.   Running afoul of bandleader Nugent's strict anti-drug policies, he was dismissed from the Dukes following 1970's Marriage on the Rocks, soon after joining Cactus. When that band disintegrated, Day assumed the reins of the group Detroit, previously led by Mitch Ryder; following their 1974 dissolution, he relocated to Orlando, Florida, where he was later murdered as a result of a drug deal gone bad. -- Jason Ankeny, All-Music Guide 

Igor Talkov


Died: 6 October 1991

On the pop scene, singer-songwriter Igor Talkov had endeared himself to millions of Russians whom his serious and clever songs helped to survive the crumbling of time-tested values... As thousands of defenders of democracy celebrated around the White House parliament building in downtown Moscow, Talkov was there singing his stirringly uplifting songs while millions of others watched the televised event... Six days later, on October 6, Igor Talkov was shot down backstage at the Yubileiny concert hall in Leningrad. Who did it and why we still don't know... ~http://www.vor.ru/century/1991m.html

(February 2, 2000)
 Murder of Igor Talkov 
Eight Years of Mystery

A famous pop singer and composer Igor Talkov was murdered on October 6, 1991 during the concert at the Olympiysky concert hall in St. Petersburg. During the concert two pop singers Talkov and Aziza quarreled over the queue to the stage. Aziza’s interests were protected by her friend Igor Malakhov, a showbiz tycoon well–known in the criminal circles. Another participant of the quarrel was Igor Talkov’s director Valery Shlyafmann. The verbal squabble ended up with a fatal shot.  The investigation should find out who pulled the trigger – Malakhov who escaped from the locus delicti and lost his revolver, or Shlyafmann who looked upset after the tragedy? The criminal proceedings are still suspended, since the convict can not be brought to trial.
The Independent Investigation has found out that Valery Shlyafmann is the main suspect of Igor Talkov’s murder. However, with the consent of the investigation officer, in 1992 he left Russia for Israel. The attempts of the Prosecutor’s office to bring him to trial failed, since there is sufficient evidence of his involvement. The authors of the program managed to contact to Valery Shlyafmann, and he gave an exclusive interview in which he provided a detailed story of what had happened that night, and explained why it was convenient to leave everything as it was.
 ~ http://tv.ntv.ru/program/talk/enezav_rassled.html


Marvin Gaye

 Age 44
Marvin Pentz Gay Jr.,
 b. 2 April 1939, Washington, DC,
 d. 1 April 1984
Gaye was named after his father, a minister in the Apostolic Church. The spiritual influence of his early years played a formative role in his musical career, particularly from the '70s onwards, when his songwriting shifted back and forth between secular and religious topics. He abandoned a place in his father's church choir to team up with Don Covay and Billy Stewart in the R&B vocal group the Rainbows.  In 1961, he married Berry Gordy's sister, Anna, and was offered a solo recording contract. Renamed Marvin Gaye, he began his career as a jazz balladeer, but in 1962 he was persuaded to record R&B, and notched up his first hit single with the confident Stubborn Kind Of Fellow, a Top 10 R&B hit.  In 1965, Gaye dropped the call-and-response vocal arrangements of his earlier hits and began to record in a more sophisticated style.  Gaye allowed his duet recordings to take precedence over his solo work, but in 1968 he issued the epochal I Heard It Through The Grapevine,  the record represented a landmark in Motown's history—not least because it became the label's biggest-selling record to date. But his career was derailed by the insidious illness and eventual death of Tammi Terrell in March 1970. Devastated by the loss of his close friend and partner, Gaye spent most of 1970 in seclusion. The following year, he emerged with a set of recordings which Motown at first refused to release, but which eventually became his most successful solo album, WHAT'S GOING ON. Gaye's next project saw him shifting his attention from the spiritual to the sexual with LET'S GET IT ON. Its explicit sexuality marked a sea  change in Gaye's career; as he began to use cocaine more and more regularly.  In 1980 under increasing pressure from the Internal Revenue Service, Gaye moved to Europe. Persistent reports of his erratic personal conduct and reliance on cocaine fuelled pessimism about his future career, but instead he re-emerged in 1982 with a startling single, Sexual Healing. He returned to the USA, where he took up residence at his parents' home. The intensity of his cocaine addiction made it impossible for him to work on another album, and he fell into a prolonged bout of depression. He repeatedly announced his wish to commit suicide in the early weeks of 1984, and his abrupt shifts of mood brought him into heated conflict with his father. 
~Music Central 96

On the day before Marvin's forty- fifth birthday they quarreled over his father's treatment of his mother.  Marvin lashed out at him, attacking him and beating him. His father calmly left the room, went down the hall to his own room, and returned with a gun.  He shot Marvin twice in the chest, the second time at point-blank range. Marvin Gaye died instantly.  
~Jeff Pike’s, Death of Rock & Roll   


Arlester "Dyke" Christian

Age 27

Dyke & the Blazers
An exuberant late-'60s soul unit featuring the spirited leads of Arlester "Dyke" Christian, a Brooklyn vocalist, they became Dyke & the Blazers in the mid- '60s, and were assisted by the O'Jays' backing band at one point. They made a string of crackling singles for Original Sound, starting with "Funky Broadway" in 1967. Their biggest hits were "We Got More Soul" and "Let a Woman Be a Woman - Let a Man Be a Man," both of which were Top Ten R&B singles in 1969. "Uhh" also did well in 1970, but "You Are My Sunshine" and "Runaway People" were only moderate successes. Things ended for the group when Christian [was fatally shot on the street in Phoenix on March 13, 1971]. ~ Ron Wynn,
All-Music Guide  











Cornell Gunter
Cornell Gunther)

 Age 54
(b. 14 November 1936, LA, CA,
d. 26 February 1990

And Nat "Buster" Wilson

The Coasters

After leaving the Coasters, Cornell embarked "D´s Gents" (with Chuck Barksdale and Johnny Carter from Chicago's the Dells plus the nucleus from Pittsburg's the Altairs), touring as back-up group to Dinah Washington. In late 1963 he formed his own Coasters group in L.A.   The spin-off Coasters were heavily engaged in Las Vegas (with a fresh line-up comprising Nat Wilson, Bobby Stregar and McKinley Travis) and even toured Britain in the mid ´60s as "The Fabulous Coasters". Cornell´s group became stage favorites and performed with various line-ups into the ´80s. Cornell´s bass singer Nat "Buster" Wilson was killed in 1980 (by their at that time manager - Wilson´s body was found in 1982). Cornell (who was gay and in later years preferred to spell his name Cornell Gunther) was in the process of making a new comeback, when an unknown shot him in his car in Las Vegas. He died on February 26, 1990 (some files say February 27). The survivors of his group continue to tour and have recently formed a "Cornell Gunter´s Coasters Inc." -

Nat "Buster" Wilson was shot in April 1980.  His body was dumped near Hoover Dam, and later found in a canyon near Modesto, California.

Bobby Bloom:

 Age 28

(d. 28 February 1974)

New York-based Bloom began his career during the '60s as one of several backroom entrepreneurs, including Anders And Poncia, Artie Ripp and Levine/Resnick, central to the Kama Sutra/Buddah group of labels. He also made several solo recordings, including Love Don't Let Me Down and Count On Me, and later formed a partnership with composer/producer Jeff Barry. Together, they contributed material for the latter-day Monkees, notably Ticket On A Ferry Ride and You're So Good To Me. Bloom's singing career blossomed with the effervescent Montego Bay which reached the US Top 10 and UK Top 3 in 1970. Its adept combination of bubblegum, calypso and rock was maintained on Heavy Makes You Happy and THE BOBBY BLOOM ALBUM, which Barry produced. However, despite this seeming ascendancy, a troubled Bloom was killed in an accidental shooting in 1971.   ~Music Central '96 

Some sources report that Bloom committed suicide. 

 Jimmy "Orion" Ellis

Age 53

December 12, 1998
 TOP ELVIS IMPERSONATOR KILLED  Gunned Down in His Alabama Pawn Shop
By Todd Venezia  

    ORRVILLE, Ala. (APB) -- One of the nation's most famous Elvis impersonators was killed when a robber with a sawed-off shotgun stormed into a pawn shop he owned and blasted him and his ex-wife at close range, authorities said.  
    Jimmy Ellis, who for years used his remarkably Elvis-like voice in a masked stage persona he called Orion, was standing before the display counter in his Jimmy's Pawn and Package Store just after noon Saturday when the gunman burst in and, in seconds, turned the quiet shop into a slaughterhouse. 
     "Mr. Ellis never had time to do nothing or say nothing," Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman Jr. told APB News. "He just opened fire in seconds and hit Mr. Ellis in the side."  
     After the first blast, which left the 53-year-old Ellis mortally wounded and crawling for safety, the gunman turned his weapon on the singer's 44-year-old ex-wife, Elaine Thompson, who was on a stool behind the counter. He fired once into her face, killing her instantly and hitting another worker, Helen King, in the hand. 


Select Musicians' Name for Official and Unofficial Websites

Al Jackson

 Age 39

b. 27 Nov. 1935,
 d. 1 Oct. 1975

Booker T. and the MG's
A session drummer at Stax, in Memphis, TN, Al Jackson as part of the MG's also backed Otis Redding, The Ventures, and Al Green.  The MG's hit in 1962 with Green Onions.  In 1975 he was shot by intruder into his house.  

 Walter Scott

Age 40
Bob Kuban and the In-Men

As Bob Kuban and the In-Men were preparing for a 20th anniversary reunion scheduled for June 23, 1984 at the Fox, Walter Scott mysteriously disappeared. He was last seen walking out his two story home near St. Peters at 7:05PM, December 27, 1983. On April 10, 1987, his badly decomposed, bound body was found floating face down in a cistern. Scott had been shot in the back. Scott's second wife, JoAnn (Calceterra), pled guilty to hindering prosecution in his murder. She received a five year sentence. And JoAnn's boyfriend (whom she married in 1986), James H.Williams Sr., was found guilty of two counts of capital murder in the deaths of his previous wife, Sharon Williams, and Walter Scott. James Williams received two life terms without the possibility of parole (affirmed by the Missouri Court of Appeals, April 4, 1995). And Walter Scott still sings, "Tough luck for the Cheater(s), Too bad for the fool-hearted clown(s)." ~ Harry Young, November 1995

Walter Scott, who fronted Bob Kuban and the In-Men, a mini-big-band (eight members) rock group from St. Louis that was started by drummer Kuban. They nearly broke into the 
big time in 1966 with the hit single (here comes the irony) "The Cheater" that got to Number 12 in Billboard. 

That was all a distant memory when Scott (born Walter Notheis, Jr.) vanished two days after Christmas in 1983. His former wife had been...cheating on him with a guy she then married after divorcing Scott. The sneaky couple were charged with murder after Scott's body was found in 1986...with a fatal bullet wound in the back. ~ Milo Miles,  Rock.com Music Editor

Walter Scott, the singer of the 1966 national hit song, "The 
Cheater" was hog-tied, shot in the back, and dumped in a cistern for over three years before his body was discovered.  It was the unfaltering persistence of Walter Scott's elderly parents that finally brought the case to trial.  People who knew 
the ultimately convicted murderer, Jim Williams, described him as a congenial, generous person.  Scott's second wife, JoAnn, who had married Williams, also faced capital murder charges, yet served only eighteen months in a Missouri correctional facility for "hindering the prosecution". 
~re-arranged from --James A. Cox, Editor The Midwest Book Review

Roger Troutman, 47
Born: Nov 29, 1951 in Hamilton, OH 
Died: Apr 25, 1999 in Dayton, OH 

Zapp's Roger and Larry Troutman Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide

Brothers Roger and Larry Troutman, founding members of seminal '80s funk outfit Zapp, were found dead Sunday (April 25) morning near their Dayton, Ohio recording studio in an apparent murder-suicide. 
Roger Troutman, 47, was found just outside the studio with several gunshots to his torso, according to the Associated Press. He died while in surgery at the Good Samaritan Hospital and Health Center. 
Roger's brother Larry was found dead in a car a few blocks away with a single gunshot wound to the head. Investigators believe the wound was self-inflicted, but won't know for a few days whether a handgun found in the vehicle was the same as that responsible for Roger's death.  
Roger and Larry Troutman founded Zapp in 1975, along with their brothers Lester and Terry Troutman. The group became an important part of the funk scene in the early '80s with such hit records as "More Bounce to the Ounce," "Dance Floor," and "Doo Wa Ditty." 
Roger, lead singer and guitarist for the group, frequently used a vocoder voice- distortion box for his lead vocals. The group's future-funk vibe provided the transition between the sloppy grooves of Parliament in the late '70s and the early electro foundations of hip-hop in the early '80s. Later in the decade, Roger went solo and earned a crossover hit with the record "I Want To Be Your Man." He later rejoined the family group under the moniker Zapp & Roger. 
After depleting a finite reserve of James Brown and George Clinton samples, hip-hop artists also took a liking to Zapp. Most recently, Roger Troutman was used by 2Pac and Dr. Dre for their 1996 award-winning collaboration "California Love." ~Jazzbo


Eddie Jefferson

Age 60
b. August 1918, Detroit, MI, 
d. 9 May 1979, Detroit, MI
Beginning his show business career as a dancer and occasional singer, Jefferson gradually concentrated on his latter talent. After achieving limited success, as a scat singer in the mid- to late '40s, Jefferson was largely responsible for the creation of so-called ‘vocalese’, devising lyrics to fit solos originally improvised by leading jazz musicians. Among the solos to which Jefferson wrote words was that played on Body And Soul by Coleman Hawkins, Parker's Mood by Charlie Parker, and James Moody's version of  I'm In The Mood For Love.  Jefferson subsequently worked with Moody's small group as both singer and manager, an association which lasted for almost 20 years. He continued to adapt solos by important musicians, including Miles Davis and Horace Silver. 
~Music Central 96  
In the early hours of Wednesday, May 9, 1979, jazz singer Eddie Jefferson was leaving Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, on Detroit’s north fringe, where he and his young partner, alto saxophonist Richie Cole, had just completed their opening night performance.  Eddie may have had an ominous feeling, for he ended the set abruptly and called a cab. Jefferson, his road manager and a woman friend went outside; Cole and a fan followed soon after.  An automobile parked in front of the club pulled up to the cab.  The driver fired four shotgun blasts, one of which struck Eddie Jefferson in the chest.  He staggered twenty-five feet and died.  [Police later arrested 41-year-old Ameer Al-Meet Mujahiid, formerly William Perryman, a frustrated dancer and laid-off factory worker who had known Jefferson for about ten years in New York.  But after a three-week trial, a jury brought in a verdict of not guilty].  Although the singer had been living in Queens, NY, he was buried in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, where he still had family. 
~Ira Steingroot’s liner notes for
Prestige LP There I Go Again   



Age 29
Mauro Mateus dos Santos

PAULO, Brazil (AP) --

Brazilian rap music performer Sabotage died after being shot four times early Friday morning, authorities said.

Sabotage, whose real name is Mauro Mateus dos Santos, was shot in the head and chest shortly before dawn as he returned home from a party.

Police have no leads in the attack, except for a ski mask found close to the crime scene.

Santos, 29, was a drug dealer in a Sao Paulo slum before his 2001 album, "Rap is Commitment," and his soundtrack for the Beto Brant film 'O Invasor' ('The Invader') propelled him to fame.

His brother coined the nickname 'Sabotage' in 1982, he said.

"My brother used to say, 'Damn, this kid just goes round causing sabotage. . . sabotage, sabotage, sabotage,' and it stuck," Santos said.

Santos was preparing to travel to the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, and was recording songs for his third Album.

He is survived by a wife and three children.














John Lennon

 Age 40
b. 9 October 1940, Liverpool, 
d. 8 December 1980, New York

Following the painful collapse of the Beatles, he came out a wiser but angrier person. Together with his wife Yoko Ono, he attempted to transform the world through non-musical means. Their bed-in in Amsterdam and Montreal, their black bag appearances on stage, their innocent flirting with political activists and radicals, all received massive media attention. Lennon's solo career began with UNFINISHED MUSIC NO 1—TWO VIRGINS. The sleeve depicted him and Yoko standing naked. Give Peace a Chance, Cold Turkey arrived via the Plastic Ono Band, consisting of John, Yoko, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman and drummer Alan White.  Lennon's incorrigible wit worked when he sent back his MBE to the Queen, protesting about the Biafran war, Britain supporting the American involvement in Vietnam and Cold Turkey slipping down the charts.  The release of JOHN LENNON— PLASTIC ONO BAND in January 1971 was a shock to the system for most Beatles’ fans. This stark ‘primal scream’ album was recorded following treatment with Dr. Arthur Janov. It is as brilliant as it is disturbing. John poured out much of his bitterness from his childhood and adolescence. Lennon's Dylanesque Working Class Hero is another stand-out track, in less vitriolic tone he croons ‘A working class hero is something to be, if you want to be a hero then just follow me’; the irony is that John was text-book middle-class and his agony was that he wanted to be working class. 1971 was to be his most creative year; following the album was another strong single Power To The People and after his move to New York, IMAGINE was released in October.  The title track, however, remains as one of his greatest songs.  The following year SOMETIME IN NEW YORK CITY was issued; this double set contained a number of political songs, and was written during the peak of Lennon's involvement with yippie-radical, Jerry Rubin.  The album's strongest track is yet another song with one of Lennon's statement-like titles; Woman Is the Nigger Of The World. The following year he embarked on his struggle against deportation and the fight for his famous ‘green card’. At the end of a comparatively quiet 1973, John released MIND GAMES, an album that highlighted problems between him and Yoko. Shortly after Lennon left for his ‘lost weekend’ and spent many months in Los Angeles in a haze of drugs and alcohol. During a brief sober moment he produced Nilsson's PUSSYCATS. At the end of a dreadful year, John released WALLS AND BRIDGES, which contained more marital material and a surprise US number 1, Whatever Gets You Through The Night. That month (November 1974), he made his last-ever concert appearance when he appeared onstage at Madison Square Garden with Elton John. That night John was reunited with Yoko and in his words ‘the separation failed’.  Following the birth of their son Sean, John became a house husband, while Yoko looked after their not inconsiderable business interests. Five years later, a new album was released to a relieved public and went straight to number 1, Double Fantasy
~Music Central 96

Still in a creative frenzy, the couple were already at work on their next project when, coming home late from a session, Lennon was hailed by a fan to whom he'd given an autograph earlier that day [photo], Mark David Chapman. Lennon turned and Chapman shot him five times with a .38 revolver. Lennon was rushed to the hospital but pronounced dead on arrival from a massive loss of blood. Chapman later claimed it was Lennon's remarks in 1966 on Jesus that drove him to his act, but more likely he was just a schnook in search of fame. He found it. 
~Jeff Pike’s, Death of Rock & Roll

Tebogo Madingoane
AGE 32

Died February 14, 2004

South African Musician gunned down in road rage attack ~ Julian Rademeyer and Lesley Mofokeng

Mafikizolo band member Tebogo Madingoane was shot dead in front of his girlfriend and two friends in an apparent road rage incident early yesterday.  The 32-year-old music star - known to his fans as Tebza - was shot once in the chest at about 1am during a heated argument with a motorist who allegedly skipped a red light, police said.  The shooting occurred near a Caltex garage on the Soweto highway in Diepkloof.
Police spokesman Superintendent Richard Luvhengo said Madingoane and his girlfriend were driving in a VW Polo Playa, followed by two friends in a BMW.  At the intersection with Klipvalley Road, a Toyota Corona shot through a red robot, Luvhengo said. Madingoane and his friends followed the vehicle and tried to reprimand the driver. He ignored them and kept on driving.  Madingoane then apparently blocked the road with his car, forcing the Corona to a halt. Witnesses said the driver jumped out of his vehicle. Madingoane approached him and asked him why he had failed to stop.
There was a single gun shot and Madingoane slumped to the ground. The alleged gunman then fled on foot towards policemen carrying out routine searches of vehicles along the highway. The police took him back to the scene where they found Madingoane bleeding heavily.
Madingoane's friends rushed him to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, but he was certified dead on arrival.
The alleged gunman, aged 32, a resident of White City, Soweto, was arrested. Police seized a licensed 9mm pistol. The suspect is expected to appear in the Protea Magistrate's Court tomorrow.  Mafikizolo collected three awards at the Metro FM Music awards in November: Best African Pop, Best Group and Best Album.
At last year's SA Music Awards they also picked up three prizes, including Best African Pop and Best Group. Their 2002 album, Sibongile, sold almost 200,000 copies in three months.


Select Musicians' Name for Official and Unofficial Websites

 Lee Morgan

 Age 33 
b. 10 July 1938, Philadelphia, PA, 
d. 19 February 1972, NYC

Prodigiously talented, Morgan played trumpet professionally at the age of 15 and three years later joined Dizzy Gillespie's big band. During this same period he recorded with John Coltrane, Hank Mobley and others.  In the late '60s, Morgan's career was damaged for a while by personal problems but a woman friend helped him recover. 
Unfortunately, this same woman became jealous of a new relationship he had formed and on 19 February 1972 she shot and killed him at  New York's, Slug's Club, where his quintet were performing. 
~Music Central 96 

Morgan's death, at only 33, has its place in jazz lore. A girlfriend of his at the time, Helen More, shot him on the stage of the New York City nightclub Slug's on Feb. 19, 1972.  After the two had an argument, More left the club, returned with a gun and shot him in the heart. Morgan died on the spot. ~Down Beat

Russ Columbo

Age 26

Birthdate: January 14, 1908 
Died: September 2, 1934 at 7:30 pm.

Born: Ruggiero Eugenio di Rudolpho Colombo  A Photo 

Russ Columbo spent most of Friday, August 31, 1934, at what would be his last session, recording the songs from Universal's Wake Up and Dream for the Brunswick label. That evening, he attended the preview of this film at the Pantages Theater on Hollywood Boulevard with Carole Lombard. His best friend of ten years, portrait photographer Lansing Brown, Jr., was also in the audience, but not seated near Lombard and Columbo. After appearing in close to a dozen films, Russ finally received top billing.  A Universal press release, prepared by John LeRoy Johnston ended with this quote from Columbo: "At 26, I find that I  have just about everything I want from life and am pretty happy the way things have turned out for me." 
On Saturday, September 1, Columbo drove to Santa Barbara for the out of town preview of Wake Up and Dream. That morning he had unsuccessfully attempted to telephone Lansing Brown, who had not given Russ his opinion of the film. Carole Lombard, exhausted from working on three productions in a row, heeded her doctor's advice and went with her secretary Madalynne Fields to Lake Arrowhead to rest. Rumors would later abound that the two had a fight, but this is not true. She and  Columbo planned a late supper Sunday evening with Carole's mother, Elizabeth Peters, and brother, Stuart. Feeling a  premonition of disaster, Lombard tried calling Columbo upon her arrival at Arrowhead, but found the telephone exchanges closed for the evening. They would never speak again...Lansing Brown kept a pair of antique dueling pistols on his desk. According to statements given at the inquest, Brown was toying with one of the pistols and holding an unlighted match in his left hand. The "trick" was that the hammer would ignite the match, although Brown would later testify that he did not know why he had the match and the gun, other than a sort of odd "habit." Unfortunately, the old relic had both gunpowder and a vintage minie ball. Somehow, the match and the hammer  triggered the gun powder, and the bullet was discharged. Detectives later determined that the bullet must have ricocheted off the mahogany desk between the two men, striking Russ Columbo in the left eye, lodging at the back of his brain. He slumped in the chair and immediately lost consciousness. It was 1:45 PM. Although Brown's father later testified that there was no evidence of  any quarrel, and no one had been drinking liquor that afternoon, rumor claimed that "servants" heard loud voices shortly before the shot. Brown, Sr., assuming Columbo had died instantly, contacted the police. When the coroner's ambulance arrived to pick up the body, it was discovered that Russ was unconscious, but still alive. He was taken first to Hollywood Receiving Hospital, then transferred to the Hospital of the Good Samaritan.  Doctors attempted to save his life by surgery, but it was too late. Carole Lombard rushed down by automobile from Lake 
Arrowhead after being telephoned by surgeon George W. Patterson, but it was close pal and actress Sally Blane who was at Columbo's bedside when he died at 7:30 PM. He was 26 years old.  Burial: Forest Lawn, Glendale CA. Russ was buried on October 17, 1934-this delay was caused by his family's debate on telling Julia Colombo her son was dead.   Russ is interred in the Sanctuary of the Vespers of the Great Mausoleum. Unlike the area where Carole Lombard is interred, this hallway is open to the public. Russ rests about a quarter of the way into the Sanctuary on the left side, about 8 feet from the floor. The crypt immediately beneath him is empty.  His brother Fiore, who died in 1929, is across from him, but on the top row. 
The Colombo family ultimately chose not to tell Julia that her son had died, thus creating one of Hollywood's most unusual legends. Julia Colombo died 10 years later, in 1944. ~
Max Pierce
The Notorious B.I.G

b. Chris Wallace, 
21 May 1972, Brooklyn, NY 
d. 9 March 1997, LA, CA
The Brooklyn-born rapper, The Notorious B.I.G., first gained attention for his work on Mary J. Blige's "What's the 411?" When he delivered his debut album, Ready to Die, in 1994, it became one of the most popular hip-hop releases of the year. In June of 1995, his single "One More Chance" debuted at number five in the pop singles chart, tying Michael Jackson's "Scream/Childhood" as the highest-debuting single of all time. Ready to Die continued to gain popularity throughout 1995, eventually selling two million copies.  With its success, the Notorious B.I.G. became the most visible figure in East Coast hip-hop, and he became a target in the heated feud between the two coasts; especially, he and Tupac Shakur, a former ally, became vicious rivals.  

As the Notorious B.I.G. was preparing his second album, Shakur was shot and killed in Las Vegas. Many in the media speculated that Biggie's camp was responsible for the shooting, accusations that he and his producer, Sean "Puffy" Combs, vehemently denied. However, the wheels had been set in motion for another tragedy.  

Early on the morning of March 9, the Notorious B.I.G. was returning to his hotel in Los Angeles after a Soul Train Award party when another car pulled up beside his car and opened fire, killing him instantly. Shakur had been killed just six months earlier. The Notorious B.I.G.'s second album, the double-disc Life After Death, was released three weeks later, debuting at number one on the charts.  ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All-Music Guide 

Get The Book:
The Murder of Biggie Smalls

It appears that the LAPD may finally have a suspect in the March 1997 murder of Christopher Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G. According to the Los Angeles Times, investigators at the LAPD have reason to suspect that former police officer David. A. Mack met with Death Row records head Marion Suge Knight to arrange a contract killing on the Brooklyn-born rapper. Mack, who is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for bank robbery is also suspected of hiring a former college classmate, Amir Muhummad, to perform the hit. Muhummad has not been seen since Christmas of 1997 when he visited Mack in prison. A witness identified Mack at the scene near someone who was in Biggie's motorcade.  He was also seen driving away from the scene in a dark-colored Chevrolet Impala. Mack grew up in the same Compton neighborhood with Knight and has refused to cooperate with the police investigation, even after the department has spent two years building a case against him. However, no formal charges have been filed. ~Blaze 
Get The Book:
The Murder of Biggie Smalls

James "Soulja Slim" Tapp

AGE 25
Died: November 26, 2003

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The murder of rapper Soulja Slim echoed the violence of his profanity-laced songs, which told of gangs, drugs and drive-by shootings.  The artist, whose real name was James Tapp, was shot Wednesday night on the front lawn of the two-story duplex he'd bought for his mother in New Orleans' Gentilly neighborhood.  To some, the 25-year-old was poised to capture the rap scene, to get a music video on MTV and maybe make it bigger than his childhood friends, rappers Master P and C-Murder.  His stepfather, who asked that his name not be used, said envy of Tapp's swift rise may have motivated the killing.  The rapper was shot at least three times in the face and once in the chest. Witnesses said they saw a man in dark clothing fleeing afterward. Police had no suspects in custody on Friday.  Tapp's stepfather said the performer's dark themes weren't meant to incite violence, but rather to expose the chaos of "ghetto life'' so it might be cured. He said Tapp broke no laws after ending a four-year prison stint in 2001 for a parole violation. Tapp had been convicted of armed robbery in 1995.  Master P, New Orleans' most famous rapper, appeared on several tracks of Tapp's first album, "Give It 2 'Em Raw.''  Tapp's second album, "The Streets Made Me,'' was released by Master P's No Limit Records. Tapp left No Limit in 2002 and released "Years Later'' on his own Cut Throat Committy label. ~AP

Details In Soulja Slim Shooting

By Nolan Strong

James "Soulja Slim" Tapp was shot and killed yesterday (November 26) in front of his mothers house in New Orleans. Police are investigating a number of leads in the killing, but have yet to charge anyone in connection with the crime. "Slim was wildin' out, he was on X (Ecstasy) hard," a source told AllHipHop.com. "He was out at a club on the West Bank. Someone said something like f*ck Magnolia (Magnolia projects in New Orleans), then all of Magnolia busted em up. The dude that got jumped has been walking around with a vest on all week, looking for Slim."
In addition to that incident, Slim allegedly got into an altercation at a club in Mississippi. The source said that a man was in the V.I.P. area of an unnamed club. Slim didn't recognize the man and apparently struck him, before being thrown out of the club. In another similar altercation in a club in Miami, Slim was allegedly involved in an altercation and took a man's jewelry. According to the source, there was also an altercation at a New Orlean's gas station. "This aint no bullsh*t," the source continued. "Slim must have forgot something, because he ran back into his mother's house and left his truck running. The dude walked up in all black from the side of the house and shot him 5 times in the head. This was a hit. Whoever did this had to have done it before. Slim was one of the realest n*ggas on the streets. B.G. and Juvenile and all the local rappers are planning to do a tribute concert for him on Friday. All this violence has got to stop. Kids see these big time rappers beefin and think that it's ok for them to do the same thing."


Chano Pozo

 Age 33 
b. Luciano Pozo y Gonzales, 
7 June 1915, Havana, Cuba, 
d. 2 December 1948, NYC
   Q:      Since you mentioned the coming together of mambo and jazz, what exactly was "Manteca" and "Tanga"?  There are those that say it was heroin, and those that say it was marijuana. For their benefit, which was it?  

        A:     It was pot. It was what got Chano Pozo killed. The story was that this guy gave him some bad quality stuff and Chano beat him up for that. Chano had a reputation as a tough street fighter from Havana so the guy went and got a gun and did him in.  
Q&A: A Conversation With Ray Santos By George Rivera 

Drummer and vocalist Pozo's first appearance in the USA was at a Carnegie Hall concert in September 1947, at which he played with Dizzy Gillespie. Thereafter he worked regularly with Gillespie, making a number of records which were enormously influential on many jazzmen who responded to the intriguing Latin-American rhythms he used. In December 1948, before the two men could fully exploit what was clearly a potentially exciting musical relationship... 

The effect of Chano Pozo to the attitudes of Jazz musicians in the whole USA was permanent. Unfortunately, Chano was killed in 1948 on a dispute for drugs. "Cabito", a veteran of the Second World War killed him because Chano slapped his face. Chano's real name was Luciano Pozo y Gonzalez. He was Cuban born and a member of the Black Cuban Abakua secret society. He descended from Nigerian slaves brought to Cuba to work the sugarcane fields.  His contribution to Latin-Jazz is enormous and permanent. You must listen only to two of his compositions to 
understand what I mean. I am referring to Manteca and Tin-Tin-Deo. Sabu Martinez, a Puerto Rican bongo player, 
played alongside Chano Pozo in Gillespie's orchestra.
~Prado page

Lem Winchester

Age 32

Born Mar 19, 1928 in Philadelphia, PA
Died Jan 13, 1961 in Indianapolis, IN

Lem Winchester had great potential as a vibraphonist but it was all cut short by a tragic accident. Influenced by Milt Jackson but developing a sound of his own, Winchester actually played tenor, baritone and piano before choosing to stick exclusively to vibes. A police officer in Wilmington, DE, he made a big impression at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival and was soon recording regularly with such major players as Oliver Nelson, Benny Golson and Tommy Flanagan. Winchester resigned from the police force in 1960 so as to be a musician full-time, but then on January 13, 1961 he unsuccessfully demonstrated a trick with a revolver! — Scott Yanow

Roy Lee Centers

Age 29

Born Nov.08, 1944
Died May 05, 1974

Roy Lee Centers sang lead and played rhythm guitar for Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys from early 1970 until his tragic death in 1974. Centers’ tenure is especially memorable in light of the fact that his voice sounded very similar to that of Carter Stanley. Roy Lee helped put Ralph’s new group on a level almost as legendary as the original Stanley Brothers. Born in the heart of feud country’s "BIoody Breathitt" County, Centers grew up in a musically rich area where poverty and violence had become part of the lifestyle. Like many eastern Kentucky youth, Roy Lee moved to southwest Ohio to find employment. He also became part of the local Bluegrass scene, working with Fred Spencer under the name Lee Brothers and for Jack Lynch and the Miami Valley Boys. After Larry Sparks left Ralph Stanley’s band in the fall of 1969, Joe Isaacs filled the spot temporarily until Roy Lee took it on a permanent basis. Later, Centers and his family moved to Breathitt County. The more than four years that Roy Lee Centers spent with the Clinch Mountain Boys coincided with tremendous growth of Bluegrass festivals. Stanley fans accepted the congenial Kentuckian as the nearest humanly possible version of a second Carter Stanley.  The Clinch Mountain Boys also included fiddler Curly Ray Cline, bass player Jack Cooke and for more than a year the youthful duo of Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs. As a result, they gained a large and loyal following on the festival circuit. They also toured Japan, where they received a tremendous welcome. Roy Lee also recorded a great deal with the Clinch Mountain Boys. He sang lead on two albums on Jessup, six on Rebel and another one on King Bluegrass (subsequently reissued on County). A two-album Live In Japan set issued on the Seven Seas label in Japan also later appeared on Rebel. Centers played on Curly Ray Cline’s albums and those of Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs, Lee Allen and J.D. Jarvis. Sometimes he played banjo rather than guitar, being equally skilled on both instruments. Given the wide acceptance that Centers received, Bluegrass fans were shocked when they learned that Roy Lee had been fatally shot in one of the shooting altercations that have made his section of Kentucky notorious. The fans were even more shocked when they learned that his killing went virtually unpunished. Centers came to be a revered figure in the Bluegrass world and his childhood friend and fellow musician, Lee Allen, wrote and recorded a tribute song entitled In Memory Of Roy Lee Centers. Vector Records released two albums made largely from live recordings. For a time, Roy Lee’s oldest son, Lennie, worked in the bands of Lee Allen and also of the Goins Brothers.  ~Ivan M. Tribe

"In 1974, Stanley once again found himself picking up the pieces, emotionally and professionally. Roy Lee Centers, his gifted lead singer, was shot and killed by a man who had accused him of having an affair with his wife, an apparently false charge. Stanley had once again lost his right-hand man. Centers was only 29. Exit Centers. Enter Keith Whitley." ~ Karl Rohr



Select Musicians' Name for Official and Unofficial Websites

 Age 23
(b. 16 April 1971, Lake Jackson, TX
d. 31 March 1995, Corpus Christi, TX)

The tragic shooting death of Tejano singer Selena spawned a reaction within the Latino community that can be compared to the reactions to the deaths of Elvis Presley and John Lennon.  An enormously popular singer in Latino communities across North America, her music crossed cultural boundaries to touch the lives of young and old alike. A flamboyant, sexy stage performer, sometimes hailed as the Latina Madonna, Selena was nonetheless considered a role model for off-stage she was family oriented, active in anti-drug campaigns and AIDS awareness programs.  She was born Selena Quintanilla to Mexican-American parents in Lake Jackson, TX. Before her birth, her father Abraham had been a member of Los Dinos. When Selena began performing at the age of ten, her father became her manager and Los Dinos 
became her backing band. In 1983, she made her recording debut in 1983 after appearing on popular the radio show of L.A. deejay Johnnie Canales. While Selena grew up understanding Spanish, English was her first language. Her first records were  recorded in Spanish and she sang the words phonetically. After her music began to catch on, she  began learning Spanish formally and by the time of her death, she was fluent in the language.  In the '80s, Selena married Los Dinos' lead guitarist Chris Perez. Other group members included her brother, Abraham Quintanilla, III, who played bass and penned many of her songs, and her sister Suzette, the drummer. By 1987, she was named Female Vocalist of the Year and Performer of the  Year at the Tejano Music Awards. Two years later she signed with EMI Latin and in 1990, she and Los Dinos released their eponymous debut album. Later that year she released a singles compilation, Personal Best, and she also released Ven Conmigo. In 1991 the title track of the latter became the  first Tejano record to go gold. Selena also released two more albums, including one of Cumbia  music, Baila Esta Cumbia that year.  She won her first Grammy in 1993 for Best Mexican  American Performance for her album Selena Live. That same year, she released an album of love songs, Quiero, and she also opened Selena Etc, a clothing manufacturing business.  In 1994, she  made her feature-film debut in Don Juan DeMarco, in which she played a singer.  Later that year,  she and her band embarked upon a tour of New York, LA, Argentina, and Puerto Rico.   Amor Prohibido was released in 1994; the record's title track won a Grammy and went gold.  In 1995,  Selena began preparing to make her breakthrough into the American pop mainstream.  

In the spring of that year she was working on her first English-language album, when she went to a  motel room in Corpus Christi, TX, to fire 34-year-old Yolanda Saldivar, the woman who managed  Selena's boutique in San Antonio, and the founder of the Selena fan club. A few days before the confrontation Selena's father had unearthed paperwork proving that Saldivar had been embezzling from the fan club. Saldivar and Selena argued and as the singer left, she was shot in the back. Selena didn't die right away and managed to stagger into the lobby where she named Saldivar as the killer.  An hour later, Selena died in a local hospital.  It was a death that rocked the entire Latino music industry. Saldivar was convicted for the murder of Selena in November, 1995 and sentenced to at least 30 years in prison.   A special service was held in the Los Angeles Coliseum where she was to give a concert. Less than a month later, Texas governor George W. Bush declared April 16, "Selena Day," in her honor.  Dreaming of You, her final album, was released posthumously in the early summer. It became the  first Tejano album to reach number one in America and was double platinum by the end of the year. 
~ Sandra Brennan, All-Music Guide 

MC Big L
(Lamont Coleman)

Age 24

Born: 30.5.1974
Died: 15 February  1999

Police have apprehended a suspect in connection with  the murder of underground Harlem MC Big L (Lamont  Coleman).  According to New York Police Officer Theresa Farello, Gerard Woodley, 29, was arrested 10:20 a.m. Thursday in a Bronx apartment and charged with second- degree murder. "The suspect had an ongoing dispute with Coleman's brother," Officer Farello told BLAZE Online. Gerard, who also is a native of Harlem, is wanted on a federal warrant for drug trafficking. He will be arraigned in a Manhattan Criminal Court and held without bail. As we last reported, Big L, a member of the Bronx hip hop crew Diggin' in the Crates, (a group of MCs and producers that include Fat Joe, Lord Finesse, Diamond D and Showbiz and A.G.), was gunned down February 15 near his home in Harlem, NY. An upcoming album by DITC, will posthumously feature Big L on several songs.  ~Blaze 

On February 15, 1999, Lamont Coleman was shot nine times in the face and chest at 139th Street and Lenox Avenue near his Harlem home. In May the same year, police arrested Gerard Woodley in his Bronx apartment and charged him with second-degree murder. Police believe Woodley killed Lamont in retaliation for a long-standing beef with Lamonts brother, who is in prison.

While Woodley was originally held without bail, a police spokesperson said her records showed that he is currently out on bail after having only posted 1 dollar. The police spokesperson added that Woodley is due back in court on July 5 for a pre-trial hearing, but only for a control date, which means the case is going to be adjourned to a new date.

As in the case of Tupac and of Biggie Smalls, L`s killer remains free.

John Whitehead

Age 55

Born 1948
Died May 11, 2004

Posted on Wed, May. 12, 2004
Elwood P. Smith / Daily News

John Whitehead was working on this SUV when he was shot behind his home yesterday afternoon.

R&B legend Whitehead slain


JOHN WHITEHEAD, half of the duo that penned some of the most popular R&B hits of the '60s and '70s, was shot to death behind his West Oak Lane home last evening, police said. Sources said police were questioning potential suspects, but no arrests as of late last night. Whitehead, 55, and his partner Gene McFadden, were best known for the hit "Ain't No Stoppin Us Now," which sold more than 8 million copies and earned the duo a Grammy nomination. They also wrote a slew of other classics, including "Backstabbers" for the O'Jays, and "I'll Always Love My Mamma."  The songwriter was shot in the head and another man critically wounded about 5 p.m. on Dallas Street near 19th, several sources said. The other victim, who was rushed to Albert Einstein Medical Center, was identified by family as a mechanic who was a close friend. He was listed in stable condition this morning, police said.  Whitehead, the father of 11 children, was in the alley behind his home repairing a hose on his SUV with the mechanic, said Aaliyah Medley-Castro, 27, his step-grandaughter.  "He was fixing his car and some guys came up and opened fire," Medley-Castro said. She said the mechanic had earlier had "an altercation" with the same men.  Family and friends, including McFadden, flocked to the brick rowhouse, where Whitehead's wife of 15 years, Elnor, sat sobbing with relatives in a second-floor bedroom. A steady stream of mourners offered their condolences. The mood was solemn, as they talked quietly, a visitor said. Whitehead's awards, a half-dozen gold and platinum plaques, cover a foyer wall. His living room is filled with family pictures.  "He was very lovable. He will light up a room. He made everyone laugh," his step-grandaughter said, adding that he had no enemies.  His manager, the singer Billy Paul, said the music community heard about the slaying at the Philly Music Awards, held last night at the Electric Factory.  Whitehead was to be a presenter, but never showed up, Paul said.  "I don't know what happened. He was always a jovial guy. We were going to take off and get McFadden tonight," said Paul, explaining that McFadden was going through some personal problems that they hoped to help him with. He wouldn't elaborate.   Details were sketchy, and police released little information about the shootings.  McFadden and Whitehead were natives of North Philadelphia. As young men they formed a group called the Epsilons.  They were discovered by Otis Redding, and toured with him until the late '60s, according to their Web site. Their first hit, "Backstabbers" for the O'Jays, became No. 1 in one week.  Paul said Whitehead was still writing and touring over the past couple of years.  "He was working. They just got back from New York," Paul said, adding that they toured London and Detroit last year.  He said he last spoke with Whitehead Monday night.  "He was worried about McFadden and like, we're out here trying to get heads or tails what happened.  "How we left it was, we said meet you at 8:15 at Electric Factory. He never showed up and it's not like him to not show up."  Kenny Gamble, co-founder of Philadelphia International Records, called Whitehead a creative wonder.   "The last time I saw him was maybe about a couple of months ago. He was in my office. We were talking about the old days and also about writing some new songs... He was very optimistic about the future."   Veteran DJ Jerry Blavat remembered Whitehead as "a nice guy, always upbeat, always happy." McFadden & Whitehead recently performed at Atlantic City's Borgata on a concert promoted by Blavat, who recalled Whitehead as "a creative songwriter."  A longtime friend who asked not to be named said, "Oh, I'm devastated. He was a friend of mine. I can't f------ believe it."  "He was a straight-up dude. There was no reason to kill him," said his friend of 36 years. "He's been singing all his life." 

Whitehead not target of gunmen, police say

By Murray Dubin and Thomas J. Gibbons Jr.

Music legend John Whitehead likely was not the intended target of gunmen who shot and killed him and wounded a close family friend behind Whitehead's West Oak Lane home, police said today. "At this time, we do believe that Mr. Whitehead was not the intended target, and that he was just there," said Police Capt. Richard Ross, commander of the Homicide Unit. "I certainly don't want to say he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, because he was outside his home."  Investigators have identified the other victim as Oemidd Johnson, 20, of the 5800 block of Stockton Road in East Germantown, who they said might have been a nephew of Whitehead's.  Investigators believe that Johnson, who was in stable condition today at Albert Einstein Medical Center with gunshot wounds to the buttocks, "may have been the intended target," Ross said.  Police are seeking two young men who brazenly opened fire in the driveway behind Whitehead's two-story rowhouse in the 1900 block of Dallas Street late Tuesday afternoon as Whitehead, 55, and Johnson worked on an SUV. The shooters then ran off.  "They just came up there and started shooting, obviously without any regard for anyone else who may have been around," Ross said.  Whitehead, who was best known for the hit he recorded with Gene McFadden, "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," was pronounced dead at the scene of a bullet wound to the neck.  Speaking at a news conference just before noon at Police Headquarters, Ross said that more than 10 shots were fired by the assailants from two different-caliber handguns.  Police have discounted robbery as a motive. "There's nothing that leads us to believe it was random at all," Ross said. "There may have been some dispute or some altercation that took place some time ago. We haven't firmed that up just yet. But that's the direction we're proceeding in."  According to court records, Johnson has been convicted twice. On Nov. 1, 2001, he was sentenced to one year of probation for a simple-assault charge, and on Feb. 26, 2003, he was placed in a rehabilitation program for drug offenses.  Police said they hoped someone would come forward and identify the gunmen, who did not attempt to disguise themselves.  At Whitehead's home today, friends offering condolences came and went in the bright sun and summer-like warmth.  Two women identified themselves today as Whitehead's wife. One of them, Elnor Whitehead, said she was in the basement doing the laundry when the shots rang out Wednesday afternoon.  At the time, John Whitehead and Johnson had been behind the house, installing a radiator hose in his vehicle.  "I ran out, lifted his head, and he wasn't breathing," she said as she began to cry. "His memory will never die."  Meanwhile, Anita Yvonne Whitehead, 50, of the 1700 block of East Washington Lane, maintained that she was Whitehead's widow, a statement supported by a police report of the shootings on which she is named as next of kin.  "I am his true legal wife," she said. Anita Whitehead said the couple were married in 1971 and had not divorced. And, although the couple lived apart, they were not separated, she said.
In front of John Whitehead's residence, grief and laughter commingled today. 
Dawn Whitehead, 33, of Warrington, one of the R&B artist's 10 children, said her father was a laughing free spirit who loved to have his feet rubbed, and would sometimes bribe his children to do it.  "This neighborhood is going to be so quiet now," she said. 
Standing in her father's house, with its gold and platinum records on the wall in the vestibule and family pictures in the living room, Caiya Whitehead, 19, said, "You heard him down the block when he was laughing."  Caiya Whitehead, who lives in Mount Airy, said, "They don't know who they killed."  Elnor Whitehead said that John Whitehead - who in the late 1970s was part of the Philadelphia Sound associated with Leon Huff, Kenny Gamble, and their Philadelphia International Records - had talked of new music, working with HBO, and writing his autobiography.  Standing on the steps of her son's house, Mary Whitehead talked of the song "I'll Always Love My Mama." The piece, which was recorded by the Intruders and penned by McFadden and Whitehead, "was written for me," she said. 
Sean Whitehead, 28, who lives in the Northeast and who resembles his father, asked: "How am I going to tell my boys? How do you break that kind of news?" 
His sons, Sean Jr., 9, and Alim, 7, had seen their "Pop-Pop" on Saturday. "I always brought them over on the weekend. We'd sit back, make some crabs, have some fun. My dad was a good dude who touched people with his music and with his character. He was just an innocent bystander. How do I tell them that?"

Tupac Shakur

Age 25

 (b.6/16/1971 in New York, NY
  d. 9/13/1996, Las Vegas, NV)
 Get The Book:
The Killing of Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur became the unlikely martyr of gangsta rap, becoming the tragic symbol of hardcore rap. The son of two Black Panther members, Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in New York City. His parents had separated before he was born, and his mother moved him and his sister around the country for much of their childhood. At the outset of his career, it didn't appear that he would emerge as one of the definitive rappers of the '90s, especially since he was a second-string rapper for Digital Underground, joining after they had their biggest hit.  But in 1992, he delivered an acclaimed debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, which quickly followed with a star-making performance in the urban drama, Juice. Over the course, of one year his profile raised substantially, as he became as well-known for his run-ins with the law as he did for his music. By 1994, 2-Pac was rivaling Snoop Doggy Dogg as the most controversial figure in rap, as he was spending as much time in prison as he was in the recording studio. His burgeoning outlaw mythology helped his 1995 album Me Against the World enter the charts at number one, and it also opened himself up to charges of exploitation. Yet, as the single "Dear Mama" illustrated, he was capable of sensitivity as well as violence. Unfortunately, the gangsta lifestyle he captured in his music soon overtook his own life. Signing with Death Row Records in late1995, Shakur released the double-album All Eyez on Me in the spring of 1996, and the record, as well as its hit single "California Love," confirmed his superstar status. While his celebrity was at its peak, he was publicly fighting with his rival the Notorious B.I.G. and there were tensions brewing at Death Row.  At the time of his murder in September 1996, there were indications that Shakur  was considering leaving Death Row, and maybe even rap, behind. None of those  theories can ever be confirmed, just as the reasons behind his shooting remain  mysterious.  
Shakur was shot on the Las Vegas strip as he was riding in the passenger seat of Knight's car. They had just seen the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon fight at the MGM Grand, and as they were leaving the hotel, 2-Pac got into a fight with an unnamed young black man. It has been suggested that this was the cause of the drive-by- shooting; it has also been suggested that Knight's ties to the mob and to gangs were the reason behind the shooting; another theory is that the Notorious B.I.G. arranged the shooting as retaliation for 2-Pac's comments that he slept with Biggie's wife, Faith Evans. Either way, Shakur was shot four times and he was admitted to University of Nevada Medical Center. Six days later, he died from his wounds.   Hundreds of mourners appeared at the hospital upon news of his death, and the entire entertainment industry mourned his passing, especially since there were no leads on his death. Many believed his death would end the much-hyped East Coast-West Coast rivalry and decrease Black-on-Black violence. Sadly, six months after his death, his rival the
Notorious B.I.G. was murdered in similar 
~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All-Music Guide 

In Las Vegas an hour and a half after the Tyson/Seldon fight, Suge Knight was driving the black BMW 1996 model, Tupac was in the passenger's seat.  Along the passenger's side came a late model white Cadillac. From inside, shots were fired, 14 of them. Tupac was hit four times, twice in the chest, once in the arm, and once in the thigh. Knight was mildly injured by some bullet fragments; Tupac Shakur died of the bullet wounds on Friday 13 September 1996.  ~MTV Report on 2Pac murder. 

Get The Book:
The Killing of Tupac Shakur

Junior Braithwaite

Age 52

(Died: June 2, 1999)
Junior Braithwaite, one of the original members of Bob Marley's seminal reggae group the Wailers, was murdered Wednesday (June 2, 1999) night in the home of a fellow musician in Kingston, Jamaica. 
 One of two men who were shot and killed by unidentified gunmen in the incident, Braithwaite had recently returned to his homeland after living in Chicago for more than 20 years.  
  Police are investigating the case.The death marks the second Wailer homicide, following the fatal shooting of co-founding member
Peter Tosh
at his Kingston home in 1987. 

  Braithwaite was a member of the original Wailers, formed in Kingston in the early 1960s with Marley, Tosh, Bunny Wailer, and Beverly Kelso. He sang on the 1965 hit "It Hurts To Be Alone." 

 Though he left the group in 1966, he had reportedly come back to his Caribbean homeland in hopes of reviving his singing career. His death leaves only Wailer and Kelso as surviving members of the original quintet. [Bob Marley died of brain, lung and liver cancer in 1981].~ Stephen Peters  


Age 21

born Jason Johnson
died May 19, 2003

(5/21/03, 7 a.m. ET) -- Georgia-based rapper Camoflauge was shot and killed on Monday (May 19), as he walked with his young son in front of his label, Pure Pain Records, on 37th Street in Savannah, Georgia. The rapper's son wasn't hurt in the shooting which occurred at 4:30 p.m. Camoflauge, whose birth name is Jason Johnson, was 21 years-old. He was pronounced dead at Memorial Health University Medical Center.

According to the Savannah Morning News, police have made no arrests and have no leads in the shooting.

Camoflauge released his debut set, I Represent, independently in 2000. The rapper issued his major label debut, Strictly 4 Da Streets: Drugs Sex And Violence, Vol. 1, on Universal Records in 2001. Camoflauge's last album was 2002's Keepin' It Real which was released on Pure Pain Records.

Camoflauge often said that Tupac, who was killed in a drive by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1996, inspired him most. "My biggest influence was Tupac," Camoflauge said. "'Pac used to speak about what was real, you know what I'm talking about? How his mom was on drugs. How he was a thug. Things he did. The way we live. You know it was like he was talking about my life, you know what I'm talking about? So that just taught me to keep it real throughout all my music."

Click here for: The motive

Tebogo Madingoane

AGE 32

Musician gunned down in road rage attack

Julian Rademeyer and Lesley Mofokeng

Mafikizolo band member Tebogo Madingoane was shot dead in front of his girlfriend and two friends in an apparent road rage incident early yesterday.  The 32-year-old music star - known to his fans as Tebza - was shot once in the chest at about 1am during a heated argument with a motorist who allegedly skipped a red light, police said. The shooting occurred near a Caltex garage on the Soweto highway in Diepkloof.  Police spokesman Superintendent Richard Luvhengo said Madingoane and his girlfriend were driving in a VW Polo Playa, followed by two friends in a BMW. At the intersection with Klipvalley Road, a Toyota Corona shot through a red robot, Luvhengo said. Madingoane and his friends followed the vehicle and tried to reprimand the driver. He ignored them and kept on driving. Madingoane then apparently blocked the road with his car, forcing the Corona to a halt. Witnesses said the driver jumped out of his vehicle. Madingoane approached him and asked him why he had failed to stop.  There was a single gun shot and Madingoane slumped to the ground. The alleged gunman then fled on foot towards policemen carrying out routine searches of vehicles along the highway. The police took him back to the scene where they found Madingoane bleeding heavily.  Madingoane's friends rushed him to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, but he was certified dead on arrival.  The alleged gunman, aged 32, a resident of White City, Soweto, was arrested. Police seized a licensed 9mm pistol. The suspect is expected to appear in the Protea Magistrate's Court tomorrow. Mafikizolo collected three awards at the Metro FM Music awards in November: Best African Pop, Best Group and Best Album.  At last year's SA Music Awards they also picked up three prizes, including Best African Pop and Best Group. Their 2002 album, Sibongile, sold almost 200 000 copies in three months.



  James Sheppard

 Age 33

(b. c.1936, Queens, New York, 
d. 24 January 1970)

James "Shep" Sheppard And The Heartbeats
Shep & The Limelights 

Ed. note: Still researching conflicting reports that Sheppard was shot dead on 24 January 1970.  Or that he wasn't robbed and beaten to death, his body found in his car on the Long Island Expressway) 

The Heartbeats were around from 1955 to 1959. They grew up from the st.albans area of queens new york. Originally formed as a quartet they were known as The Hearts. Not knowing there was a female group with the same name. At the time James Sheppard had his own group and was not a member of The Hearts. The lead singer was Al Crump. The Hearts congregated in a park in st.albans queens often engaging in "Battle of the groups"  contest against other vocal groups. One day The Hearts faced off with James Sheppard's group. It turned out The Hearts won.  Then after it was all over they asked James Sheppard to join the group. The Heartbeats performed at local functions around the area until Wally Roker met jazz musician "Illinois Jaquet". They auditioned for Jaquet, then were introduced to his brother Russell who recorded the group as "The Heartbeats Quintet". They recorded for a label called "Network". Tormented b/w After Everybody's Gone.~ John Vigilante 

Jaki Byard

Age 76
 Died: February 11, 1999
Jazz Artist Jaki Byard Died of Bullet Wound 

by Andrew Jacobs   

 A jazz musician who was found dead in his Queens home on Thursday night was killed by a gunshot wound to the head, police said.   

 Jaki Byard, 76, a prolific pianist who once toured Europe with Charles Mingus, was killed by a single bullet that entered through his nose,  the New York City Medical Examiner said on Friday.   

 Paramedics, responding to a 911 call, found Mr. Byard dead at 11:45 PM at the home on Hollis Avenue that he shared with two of his daughters, the police said.   

 Investigators said he was last seen by his family at 6 PM on Thursday and that he was killed about four hours later.   

Detective Joseph Pentangelo, a Police Dept. spokesman, said no weapon had been recovered and that investigators had no motive or suspects in the slaying. There were no signs of robbery, forced entry or a struggle, Detective Pentangelo said.   

~Editor's note: I'm guessing assisted suicide. 

Freaky Tah

 Age 28

    (Died: March 28, 1999)

Lost Boyz

Rapper Freaky Tah, a member of the Lost Boyz, was shot and killed in the New York borough of Queens on Sunday around 4 a.m. An unidentified gunman, who wore a ski mask, came up behind Tah, fired a shot into the rapper's head, and ran. Witnesses at the scene said the gunman fired into the air after shooting Tah, though police were unable to confirm the report. According to the Associated Press, police do not think robbery was a motive in the killing. Tah, whose real name was Raymond Rodgers, was 27 years old.  ~Wall of Sound Obituary:  

Jam Master Jay

 Age 37

b. Jason Mizell 
b. January 21,1965, Queens, NY 
d. 30 October  2002, Queens, NY

Run-DMC's Jam Master Jay gunned down in N.Y. recording studio

By Melanie Lefkowitz and Curtis Taylor

October 31, 2002, 11:03 AM CST

NEW YORK -- Jam Master Jay - the rap icon and DJ who was one-third of the fast-rhyming, groundbreaking trio Run-DMC - was shot dead last night in a Queens recording studio, police sources said.

Two men were buzzed into the second-floor studio shortly before shots were fired inside its lounge at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said. As of this morning, police had made no arrests.

The 37-year-old disc jockey, whose real name was Jason Mizell, was shot once in the head in the studio's lounge and died at the scene, said Detective Robert Price, a police spokesman.

Urieco Rincon, 25, who was not a member of Run DMC, was shot in the leg, police said. About five other people in the studio at the time were not hurt...

Doctor Dre, a New York radio station DJ who had been friends with Mizell since the mid-1980s, said, "This is not a person who went out looking for trouble. ... He's known as a person that builds, that creates and is trying to make the right things happen."

Publicist Tracy Miller said Mizell and McDaniels had planned to perform in Washington, D.C., on Thursday at a Washington Wizards basketball game. Mizell had performed on Tuesday in Alabama, she said.

Mizell was married and had three children, she said...

Jam Master Jay, 37, who was also a producer, grew up in Hollis, where he and two childhood friends, Run (Joseph Simmons) and DMC (Darryl McDaniels), came together to form the seminal 1980s band.

Simmons, the younger brother of Def Jam records founder Russell Simmons, first approached McDaniels about forming a rap group. The two then added Jam Master Jay as their DJ in 1982.

The trio popularized the rap genre as well as their signature look: unlaced Adidas sneakers and heavy gold jewelry.

In his book, "It's Like That: A Spiritual Memoir," Simmons attributed the group's look to Mizell.

It was 1984 and Mizell was walking down the street in Jamaica after purchasing some leather pants, a leather jacket, Adidas sneakers, a large gold rope chain, a black hat and some Gazelle glasses.

All eyes were upon Mizell, Simmons said.

"It was like everybody wanted to snatch something from him because he had it going on. I mean nobody had everything: the glasses, the leather, the shoes, and the gold rope," Simmons said. "We were doing well and Jay just was helping to create a nationwide trend and didn't know it."






Select Musicians' Name for Official and Unofficial Websites


 Age 58 

b.  17 June 1915,
d.10 November 1973
Country artist and Hee Haw regular.   Murdered (shot?) along with wife by burglar.   

Bluegrass festival, statue to honor Stringbean

 By Kimberly N. Martin  Central Kentucky Bureau  

          GRAY HAWK -- Music lovers knew him as Stringbean, but to his family David Akeman was just String.  
 More than 22 years after the bluegrass banjoist and comedian was murdered, his family and friends say it's time to remember and pay tribute to Stringbean.  

A festival in Stringbean's home Jackson County, featuring the music that made him famous seemed like the way to do it, said his nephew, Phillip Akeman, who coordinated the festival, which starts today.  
"It don't seem like it could be that long" since String died, Phillip Akeman said. "I guess it's time -- time that something like this was done."  

Akeman said he was initially hesitant to start a festival because of the violent way his uncle's life ended.  
Stringbean and his wife, Estelle, were murdered in their home by burglars Nov. 11, 1973. He was 58. 
But Akeman said he eventually realized it couldn't do any harm. In fact, he said it might help people to remember the man who was known for wearing his shirts long and his pants short.  
David Akeman picked up the name Stringbean during a 1930s appearance on Lexington's WLAP radio show, his nephew said. Asa Martin had the job of introducing David Akeman, but he couldn't remember his name.  
Family lore has it that Martin said "'he's a big ole' stringbean fellow,'" Akeman said. And the name stuck.  
Finding performers was the easiest part of putting together the show, he said. Household names among bluegrass lovers like
Grandpa and Ramona Jones and Porter Wagoner were lifelong friends of Stringbean.  
They performed together at the Grand Ole Opry, Akeman said.
Grandpa Jones and Springbean used to return to Stringbean's home town of Annville in Jackson County to hunt and fish.  
It's Wagoner's job Saturday to unveil a larger than life-size statue of his old friend. The statue will remain on the festival grounds throughout the year.  

Proceeds from the three-day festival will go toward maintaining the statue, and a few long-term and loftier goals such as creating a museum in Stringbean's honor and a scholarship for students who want to continue the bluegrass tradition.  
"A lot of these entertainers were his buddies, so it means a lot to me for them to be here," Akeman said.  
It also means a lot to local bluegrass music fans...  ~
All Contents © Copyright 1996 Lexington Herald-Leader. All Rights Reserved  

Subject of  book,  
The Stringbean Murders.  
by Causey, Warren B.  

Stringbean Photo

Stacy Sutherland

Age 32

(b. May 28, 1946 -
d. August 24, 1978
in Houston)
13th Floor Elevator 
Despite an occasional reunion, the Elevators disintegrated when [leader], Erickson, was committed to a mental institution and Sutherland was imprisoned. Reissues and archive compilations have furthered their reputation, but the group's personal tragedies culminated in 1978 when  
Sutherland was shot dead by his wife.  

 Carlton Barrett:

 Age 36
The Wailers
 Born: Dec. 17, 1950 
Died: April 17, 1987
On Good Friday  Carlton Barrett was brutally murdered as he opened the gate to his home.   Here we remember and pay tribute to one of the greatest drummers to emerge from the island of Jamaica.  

Carlton "Carly" Barrett was the originator of the one drop rhythm, a percussive drumming style. An essential member of the Wailers since 1969, Carly co-wrote "Talkin' Blues" and performed on every  Wailer album since. With  Carly's beats and his brother Aston's bass, the Wailer rhythm section planted the seeds of today's international reggae. The Barrett brothers came to prominence with their band the Hippy Boys. They began working with Lee "Scratch" Perry, and recorded an international hit, "Return of Django," under the name the Upsetters.  

The brothers teamed up with the Wailers in 1969-70 for several singles: "My Cup (Runneth Over)," Duppy Conqueror," Soul Rebel," and Small Axe." These songs became part of a double LP set that Perry released: Soul Rebels and Soul Revolution, and formed the early foundation of the one drop sound. ~Text Copyright 1997,
Island Trading Company Inc. 

Felix Pappalardi

Age 43

b.30 Dec 1939 The Bronx, NY, 
d. 17 April 1983

Mountain or Mountain Fan Page 

Felix Pappalardi was a member of the rock-group Mountain who hit in 1970 with "Mississippi Queen". Guided by the wizardry of Pappalardi, Mountain pioneered techniques that would become industry standards. Beginning with his renowned production work with Cream and then with Mountain, Pappalardi demonstrated a genius for approaching music in a totally new and fascinating way. He earned an impressive reputation and garnered a tremendous amount of praise from his peers. Bud Prager recalls Jimi Hendrix saying "I wish Felix would produce one of my albums. . . . Felix knows things I don't. He could help me make better records."~©1995-98 iMusic, Inc. 

His girlfriend shot him to death during an argument on April 17th of 1983. Leslie West: "We were in Indiana. We were leaving for the show and Corky got a phone call at the hotel and he had to run back inside and that was his wife calling to tell us the police were going to call us. And the police were going to ask us a few questions. We were suspects, believe it or not, at first, 'cause he was suing us. But that was quickly dismissed once they had his wife. That was really a sad day." 
~ from Goldmine interview. 









Peter Tosh

 Age 42

(b. Winston Hubert McIntosh,
9 or 19 Oct. 1944, Jamaica,
d. 11 Sept. 1987)
In the early Wailers lineup, Peter Tosh stood apart from the other members not only because of his six-foot-plus height but because of his boasty-boy attitude. He was known as the "stepping razor" after a song Joe Higgs had written, and his knife-sharp temper could whittle many a bad man down to size. But he had a soft, extremely humorous side as well, as evidenced in his frequent word play: he complained about the "crime ministers who shit in the House of Represent-a-Thief" and called America "A-sad-ica, because there is nothing merry about it." Tosh joined up with Bunny Wailer and Bob Marley in 1962, and they rehearsed nearly two years before they made their  Studio One 
debut with "Simmer Down." Tosh played guitar, melodica, piano, and organ on 
many of their early tracks, and even played behind American pop star Johnny Nash's Columbia Records sessions in the late '60s, when Nash had hired the Wailers as songwriters. By 1973, Tosh felt the need to pursue a solo career because of the mass of material he had written and his dissatisfaction with Island Records boss Chris Blackwell. Legalize It was his debut in 1976, remaking many of his earlier Jamaican recordings and giving the marijuana movement its most potent anthem in the title track, which Tosh would perform not once but twice in his '70s live concerts.  
A firm opponent of the hypocritical "shitstem," Tosh was a favorite target of Babylon's legal forces. Police in Jamaica beat him nearly to death on at least 
three occasions, and he bore the scars till his death. Equal Rights, 1977's 
follow-up, provided a key line that echoed 15 years later in the mouths of LA rioters: "I don't want no peace, I want equal rights and justice!" The Rolling Stones, impressed by Tosh's ferocious and unflinching posture, signed him to their fledgling label and released Bush Doctor in 1978, another series of hymns and harangues. Mystic Man (1979) and Wanted: Dread & Alive (1981) kept a militant attitude while trying to cross over to the mainstream that Marley had conquered, without achieving anything near Marley's success. Following 1983's Mama Africa and a live album from that tour, Tosh disappeared for four years, seeking advice from traditional medicine men in Africa and trying to extricate himself from various recording agreements when he found his records released in South Africa against  provisions in his contracts.  In 1987, shortly after the release of No Nuclear War, Tosh was assassinated at his home in Kingston. Only one of the three gunmen responsible was arrested; he was sentenced to hang after a brief trial. Like Marley, Tosh left at least ten children and no will. 
A brilliant documentary Peter Tosh: Red 
X-Stepping Razor was released in 1992, and there is hope that at least one more 
album will come out of the vaults. 

~ Roger Steffens, All-Music Guide 

Scrapper Blackwell

AKA born: Francis Blackwell
Born:  Feb 21, 1903  Syracuse, NC 
Died:  Oct 27, 1954 Indianapolis, IN 

Scrapper Blackwell was best known for his work with pianist Leroy Carr during the early and  mid-'30s, but he also recorded many solo sides between 1928 and 1935. A distinctive stylist whose  work was closer to jazz than blues, Blackwell was an exceptional player with a technique, built  around single- note picking, that anticipated the electric blues of the 1940s and 1950s. He  abandoned music for more than 20 years after Carr's death in 1935, but re-emerged at the end of  the 1950s and began his career anew, before his life was taken in an apparent robbery attempt...In 1962... soon after finishing his work on his first Prestige/Bluesville long-player 
Blackwell was shot to death in a back alley in Indianapolis, the  victim of a mugging. The crime was never solved.  ~ Bruce Eder,  All-Music Guide


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