Obituaries, Oct. 13, 2022

 Barry Stein, drummer with famed '60s Toronto band Richie Knight and The Mid-Knights, died on Oct. 8th, age 78. A cause of death has not been reported.

Stein joined the already formed The Mid-Knights in 1961, and played on the band's 1963 smash hit single Charlena, reportedly the first song by a Canadian group to reach No. 1 on the then all-powerful CHUM AM hit parade. The song was a cover first recorded by the LA R&B band The Sevilles. The Mid-Knights were signed to Arc Records by Bill Gilliland and the single was produced in-house by Ben Weatherby.

The group was a key component of the '60s Toronto scene and gigged extensively around southern Ontario. In 1965 they opened for the Rolling Stones at Maple Leaf Gardens. Along with Richie Knight, core group members included guitarist George Semkiw, and bassist Doug Chappell who later became an important Canadian record label executive.

Stein remained with the band through the '60s as it morphed into The Mid-Knights Blues Band, and then The Mid-Knights Revue, a soul-charged R&B unit featuring Richard Newell (aka King Biscuit Boy).

After closing out his musical career, Stein started his own accounting firm. Memorial donations may be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.  Sources: Steeles Memorial Chapel, Lori Chappell, FYI, Garage Hangover 

International

Brooks Arthur, the Grammy-winning record producer, music supervisor, and engineer who worked with some of the biggest names in rock, died on Oct. 9, age 86. A cause of death was not disclosed.

As an aspiring singer, Arthur began his music career while still in high school, landing a job in the mail room of Decca Records and taking singing classes with hopes of going pro. After graduation, he worked as a songwriter, writing hits such as At the Edge of Tears for Tony Orlando.

He later moved into engineering, starting at Associated Studios where he worked on hits such as What A Guy by the Raindrops, and My Boyfriend’s Back by the Angels, amongst others. This was followed by work with Phil Ramone at A&R Studios, where he contributed his engineering skills to records such as Brown Eyed Girl for Van Morrison, and Sweet Caroline for Neil Diamond.

In 1976, Arthur won his first Grammy for Janis Ian’s hit At Seventeen, the first of three he would win, with more than 20 nominations over the course of his career.

In the mid-70s, he launched his own Studio, First Century Sound, overseeing recording for Diamond, Morrison, Evie Sands and his own band, Brooks Arthur Ensemble. He later launched 914 Studios where Bruce Springsteen recorded his debut studio album, Greetings from Asbury Park.

Other artists Arthur collaborated with during his long and storied career include Ashford & Simpson, Art Garfunkel, The Grateful Dead, Burt Bacharach, Bernadette Peters, Bette Midler, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Brook Benton,  Deborah Harry, Debbie Boone, Dusty Springfield, Gordon Lightfoot, Jerry Lee Lewis, Liza Minnelli, Miriam Makeba, Bobby Darin, Peggy Lee, and Richie Havens, among many others.

After relocating to Los Angeles, Arthur turned his attention to comedy, producing albums for the likes of Robin Williams, Norm McDonald and Adam Sandler.

Sources: Celebrity Access

Toshi Ichiyanagi, an influential avant-garde composer and pianist and the first husband of Yoko Ono, has died at age 89.

Boing Boing notes that "like John Cage, with whom he studied in New York City in the 1950s, Ichiyanagi employed random chance as a compositional technique and combined traditional Japanese instruments, Western instruments, and electronic sound in his music. Founder of the Tokyo International Music Ensemble, Ichiyanagi also served as the longtime artistic director of the Kanagawa Arts Foundation. 

"He was known for collaborations that defied the boundaries of genres, working with Jasper Johns and Merce Cunningham, as well as innovative Japanese artists like architect Kisho Kurokawa and poet-playwright Shuji Terayama, as well as with Ono, with whom he was married from 1956 to 1962.

Japanese traditional music inspired and emboldened him, he said, because it was not preoccupied with the usual definitions of music as "temporal art," or what he called "divisions," such as relative and absolute, or new and old. Sources: Boing Boing, Wikipedia

Leave a comment