Sounds’ Dear Departed
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - October 29, 2015 - 10:00am

Our departed loved ones are never far from our thoughts but at this time of year, we think not only of them but all of the souls who have gone ahead of us. Here are some of those that music lost this past year.

Elizabeth Ramsey, that dynamo of a performer, said goodbye in a very uncharacteristically Ramsey way. She died in her sleep last Oct. 8 at the age of 83. This generation may know Elizabeth as singer Jaya’s mother, but some decades ago, she was an entertainer unlike any other.

Elizabeth was discovered in the talent show Student Canteen when she was only 16 years old. Her singing style, a blend of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, easily got her gigs in stage shows at the Clover Theater and the Manila Grand Opera House. She soon developed a screwball style of comedy and eventually went on to regular performances on TV and roles in the movies. She remained active until she suffered a diabetic seizure two months ago while appearing on a TV show.

From late last year: Jimmy Ruffin 75, on Nov. 17. Motown soul singer, known for What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted; Joe Cocker, 70, on Dec. 22. British blue-eyed soul singer of the hits You Are So Beautiful, Up Where We Belong, With A Little Help From My Friends of lung cancer.

Ward Swingle, founder of the famous a cappella group The Swingle Singers last Jan. 19. He was 87.

Rod McKuen, 81, of respiratory arrest last Jan. 29. Best selling poet, Listen To The Warm, Stanyan Street And Other Sorrows, actor and composer of songs like We, Me Natalie and I’ll Catch The Sun.

Lesley Gore, 68, of lung cancer last Feb. 16. Singer who popularized You Don’t Own Me and It’s My Party.

Josefino Cenizal, 95 last Feb. 27. Filipino composer and musical director for films. He composed the popular ballad Hindi Kita Malimot.

Mike Porcaro, 59 of amystrophic lateral sclerosis last March 15. Bassist of the band Toto of the hits Rosanna, Hold The Line, Africa and others. His brothers Steve and Jeff were also members of Toto.

Roel Cortez, 47 of colon cancer last April 1. Composer of Napakasakit Kuya Eddie and the Tagalog Baleleng.

Percy Sledge, 74 of liver cancer last April 14. One of his big hits was When A Man Loves A Woman.

Gary Ignacio, 49 of bone cancer last April 17. Gary was the lead singer of the rock band Alamid. His was the voice behind the big hit Your Love.

Ben E. King, 76 of heart disease last April 30. First, a lead singer for the Drifters in the hits There Goes My Baby, Save The Last Dance For Me, then Stand By Me, Spanish Harlem, I Who Have Nothing as a solo act.

B.B. King, 89, singer and guitarist, most eminent blues musician of the century last May 14. He was 89.

James Last, 86 German band leader whose orchestral dance music pioneered the nonstop medley and who sold over 100 million albums last June 10.

Ornette Coleman, 85 of cardiac arrest last June 11. Jazz artist who played the saxophone, violin and trumpet and who introduced the concept of free jazz.

James Horner, 61, crash of his single engine plane last June 22. Academy Award-winning composer and musical director for motion pictures. He provided the music to films like Apollo 13, Brave Heart and Titanic and co-wrote the theme song My Heart Will Go On.

Roy C. Bennet, 96 on July 2. Songwriter who with Sid Tepper composed The Young Ones, G.I. Blues, Glad All Over, Red Roses For A Blue Lady and other hits.

Michael Masser, 74 of a stroke on July 9. He composed the songs Saving All My Love For You, Do You Know Where You’re Going To? Touch Me In The Morning, Greatest Love Of All, Tonight I Celebrate My Love and others.

Cilla Black, 72 after a fall at her home in Spain. TV host and singer who popularized You’re My World and Anyone Who Had A Heart last Aug. 2. 

Cory Wells, 74, died in his sleep last Oct. 20. He was one of the three lead singers of the band Three Dog Night. His was the voice behind the No. 1 selling Mama Told Me Not To Come.

Heaven, grant all of them eternal rest.

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