Archive for Musicians

Uriel Jones

Posted in Woodlawn Cemetery (MI) with tags , , , on October 31, 2022 by Cade

June 13, 1934 – March 24, 2009

As a drummer for the legendary house band, the Funk Brothers, Uriel Jones played on many of Motown Records’ biggest hits of the 1960s. From “Ain’t to Proud to Beg” and “I Can’t Get Next to You” by the Temptations, to Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life”, Jones’ smooth and funky rhythm came to be a staple in the exploding R&B scene out of Detroit.

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James Jamerson

Posted in Woodlawn Cemetery (MI) with tags , , , on August 1, 2022 by Cade

January 29, 1936 – August 2, 1983

For a large portion of James Jamerson’s hall of fame career, he was unknown to most of the general public. Despite playing bass on some of the biggest hits of the 1960s, Jamerson – a studio musician at Motown’s Hitsville USA studios – remained officially uncredited until 1971. The in-house studio musicians at Motown referred to themselves simply as “The Funk Brothers” and Jamerson’s jazz stylings were among their most notable qualities.

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Leon Wilkeson

Posted in Riverside Memorial Park with tags , , on June 13, 2022 by Cade

April 2, 1952 – July 27, 2001

Known by all those who worked with him as the “Mad Hatter,” Leon Wilkeson was the longest-tenured bass player for the band Lynyrd Skynyrd. He was briefly part of an early Skynyrd prototype led by fellow classmate and lead singer, Ronnie Van Zant, but was not part of the actual founding of the group. He officially joined in 1972 after original bassist Larry Junstrom left, but got spooked by the prospect of fame that was dancing on the band’s doorstep. His absence was brief, though, and he rejoined when it was decided that bassist Ed King better served the band as one of the 3 guitarists. Skynyrd had its crazy-hat-wearing bass player back and the fame that Wilkeson wasn’t so sure about…found them.

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Larry Junstrom

Posted in Jacksonville Memory Gardens with tags , , , on June 6, 2022 by Cade

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June 22, 1949 – October 5, 2019

Larry “LJ” Junstrom met Ronnie Van Zant when the two were teenagers in Jacksonville, Florida. When Van Zant (along with Bob Burns, Gary Rossington and Allen Collins) wanted to form a band, Junstrom eagerly joined on bass. The band would become legendary rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd. LJ played with Skynyrd throughout the early years, but left in 1971, just prior to the recording of their first album…and their subsequent stardom. Fortunately for him, another Van Zant would also end up looking for a bass player a few years later.

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Allen Collins

Posted in Riverside Memorial Park with tags , , on May 23, 2022 by Cade

July 19, 1952 – January 23, 1990

There is something to be said about having one of the more tragic tales amongst the members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, considering the overall story arc of the ill-fated southern rock band. But guitarist Allen Collins – despite surviving the fatal 1977 plane crash – certainly could lay claim to it.

As a youngster in high school, Larkin Allen Collins Jr. was approached by classmates, singer Ronnie Van Zant and drummer Bob Burns, about joining their band, The One Percent. Collins had his own equipment and loved to play, so he joined. The One Percent would soon become Lynyrd Skynyrd and Collins, along with Van Zant, would co-write many of the band’s biggest hits including “Gimme Three Steps” and “Free Bird.”

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Steve Gaines

Posted in Cremated, Jacksonville Memory Gardens with tags , , , on May 9, 2022 by Cade

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September 14, 1949 – October 20, 1977

Steve Gaines was a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter who grew up in Oklahoma idolizing pioneer rock bands of the ’60s . It was after attending a Beatles concert as a teenager that Steve convinced his dad to buy him a guitar and the young virtuoso never looked back. He bounced around several bands throughout his late teens and early 20s, eventually recording a solo album with various bandmates called One in the Sun. In 1975, Steve’s sister, Cassie, joined the skyrocketing southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, as a backing vocalist. Around the same time, Skynyrd guitarist, Ed King, abruptly left the band. Down to two guitarists from their customary three, the band went looking for a replacement for King. Cassie suggested that her brother try out.

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Billy Powell

Posted in Riverside Memorial Park with tags , , , on May 2, 2022 by Cade

June 3, 1952 – January 28, 2009

Billy Powell was most widely known as the keyboard and piano player for the American southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Powell originated as a roadie for the fledgling band, but impressed the members with his piano playing during downtime. He was offered a position and went on to be one of the longest tenured members of the legendary group.

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Ronnie Van Zant

Posted in Jacksonville Memory Gardens, Riverside Memorial Park with tags , , , , on April 25, 2022 by Cade

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January 15, 1948 – October 20, 1977

Ronnie Van Zant was the oldest of three musical brothers from Jacksonville, Florida. In high school, Ronnie formed a band with classmates Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Bob Burns and Larry Junstrom. The band changed names a couple of times before landing on the name Lynyrd Skynyrd – a tounge-in-cheek nod to their gym teacher, Leonard Skinner. Van Zant served as the singer and primary lyricist. Continue reading

Earl Scruggs

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , , , on September 27, 2021 by Cade

January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012

There are banjo players…and then there’s THE banjo player.

Earl Eugene Scruggs not only reinvented how the instrument was used, but he opened the door for an entire new genre of music. As a young man, Earl joined the fabled Blue Grass Boys (led by the legendary Bill Monroe) where his patented 3-finger picking style helped shape and define the band’s sound. “Bluegrass” would eventually become an entire sub-genre in Country music and many of the sounds that came from the Blue Grass Boys became archetypes for the style. Maybe none more so than Scruggs’ fast-paced, solo banjo picking. Continue reading

Hank Snow

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , on September 13, 2021 by Cade

May 9, 1914 – December 20, 1999

Clarence Eugene “Hank” Snow grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada idolizing Country & Western legend, Jimmie Rodgers. Snow’s humble beginnings were marred with poverty, foster situations and abuse. But, the times he did get to live with his mother were relatively happy…and full of music. His mother was a talented singer and organ player and young Clarence soon began playing guitar and singing himself.

But, in Nova Scotia in the 1920s, music didn’t put food on the table, so Hank took various jobs – ranging from dock work to working on a fishing boat – to help make ends meet. All the while, he continued to stoke his passion for music. He eventually landed an audition at a local radio station which led to paying gigs and – eventually – a recording contract. He moved to Nashville in 1949. Continue reading