Archive for Singers

Cassie Gaines

Posted in Jacksonville Memory Gardens with tags , , on May 16, 2022 by Cade

gainesc1
January 9, 1948 – October 20, 1977

Cassie Gaines enjoyed a typical childhood in Miami, Oklahoma. She was a cheerleader in high school and was known for her school spirit and for performing on stage. A love for performing led her to a career as a singer, ultimately landing an invitation to join the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd as one of their three backing singers…collectively known as “The Honkettes.”

Continue reading

Ronnie Van Zant

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

vanzant1
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

Paul Robeson

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , , on February 7, 2022 by Cade

April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976

Paul Leroy Robeson was a staggeringly talented singer and performer. His definitive baritone voice led to landmark performances in New York, London and around the world. He starred notably in original Broadway productions of All God’s Chillun Got Wings and The Emperor Jones (both by Eugene O’Neill) and appeared in 4 different versions of Jerome Kern‘s quintessential hit, Show Boat, including the 1936 film version, which made famous his rendition of “Ol’ Man River.” Continue reading

Cab Calloway

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , , on November 15, 2021 by Cade

December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994

Cabell “Cab” Calloway III was one of the most prominent jazz bandleaders of the swing era of the 1930s and ’40s. He was most closely associated with the famed Cotton Club in Harlem where he and his band started by filling in for Duke Ellington when Ellington was on tour. Cab grew up in Baltimore and often found himself in trouble for playing dice or skipping school. Eventually, he found a more positive outlet for his energies: singing. Despite his mother’s protests (she wanted him to be a lawyer like his father) Cab continued to pursue music. He met and worked with greats like Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie and moved to New York City. After a stint at the Savoy, his band broke up and he joined The Missourians and jumped to the Cotton Club.

Continue reading

Donna Summer

Posted in Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens with tags , , on February 8, 2021 by Cade

December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012

The undisputed Queen of Disco, Donna Summer (LaDonna Gaines) was a steady presence in the Billboard Top 40 for more than a decade in the 1970s and ’80s. Born in Boston, Summer took a very unconventional route to international stardom. She left high school and moved to New York City to pursue a career in musical theatre…specifically, she wanted to be in the groundbreaking show Hair. She ended up landing a role in the Munich production of the show. While in Germany, she began her recording career and eventually fell in with producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte and began writing, recording and shopping new songs all throughout Europe. In 1974, the trio was able to get her single, “Love to Love You Baby” into the hands of Casablanca Records in the U.S. It became a hit and a popular early track in the emerging Disco scene.

Continue reading

Percy Sledge

Posted in Heavenly Gates Cemetery with tags , on January 4, 2021 by Cade

sledge2November 25, 1941 – April 14, 2015

Percy Sledge was a popular R&B and Soul singer in the 1960s and ’70s. He worked as an orderly in an Alabama hospital in his early years. Providential encounters through the hospital led to his distinctive and soulful voice getting discovered and he was offered a record contract. Sledge’s first recording produced what would become the signature song of his career: 1966’s “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Continue reading

J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson

Posted in Forest Lawn Memorial Park (TX) with tags , , on December 28, 2020 by Cade

bopper1October 24, 1930 – February 3, 1959

“Hellooo Baby!”

Celebrity and tragedy often go hand in hand. Sometimes, the former leads to the latter. And sometimes, the latter solidifies the former.

Jiles Perry “J.P.” Richardson was a radio personality in East Texas whose biggest claim-to-fame by the time he was 26 was successfully pulling off a 5-day on-air marathon broadcast that found him spinning some 1,821 consecutive records. Known to his audience as “The Big Bopper,” Richardson also dabbled in songwriting. His songs caught the ear of Mercury records and, in 1958, Bopper’s novelty song “Chantilly Lace” started steadily climbing the charts.

Continue reading

Eddie Kendricks

Posted in Elmwood Cemetery with tags , , , on December 21, 2020 by Cade

kendricks1December 17, 1939 – October 5, 1992

Eddie James Kendrick grew up singing in church in his native Alabama. Through the church choir, he met a young man named Paul Williams and the two quickly formed a doo-wop group called the Cavaliers. They moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1957 and, shortly thereafter, to Detroit where they enjoyed some local success rebranded as the Primes1. In 1961, the Primes broke up, but Kendricks (as he was now calling himself) and Williams joined another group called the Elgins. The Elgins would soon become the Temptations.

Continue reading

Selena

Posted in Seaside Memorial Park with tags , on November 30, 2020 by Cade

selena1
April 16, 1971 – March 31, 1995

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known simply as Selena, was a hugely successful American Latin musician and singer. Commonly referred to as “The Queen of Tejano” – the genre of music she would come to dominate and redefine – Selena was the best-selling Latin artist of the 1990’s. From a young age, she performed with her family all around her native South Texas, eventually landing a recording contract with EMI Latin.

Continue reading

Glen Campbell

Posted in Campbell's Cemetery with tags , , , , , on November 23, 2020 by Cade

April 22, 1936 – August 8, 2017

Glen Campbell was not the first “Rhinestone Cowboy,” but he’s arguably the most famous. At least, that’s what you might suspect judging him solely by his biggest hit.

Despite personally resonating with the titular character in the chart-topping 1975 song, Campbell was so much more than a sequined journeyman waiting for his turn in the spotlight.

Continue reading