Obituaries, Nov. 10, 2022

Chris Lee, a much-loved Canadian music industry receptionist, died on Nov. 8, of a heart condition, at age 76.

FYI learned of his passing via Olivia Ootes, Vice President of Ops., Agent of The Feldman Agency. Lee was TFA's Receptionist from 2009 to early 2020 (when everyone was sent to work from home due to Covid). He then stayed with the Characters Talent Agency.

Lee previously had a long stint at Warner Music Canada, working as the label's receptionist from 1978 - 2007.

Ootes calls Lee "one of the most positive, kind-hearted & fun people I've ever met. Never once did we get a complaint about Chris, it was always compliments on how thoughtful & kind & fun he made calling in or visiting our office. Anyone that knew Chris would know his favourite saying whenever he was happy about anything: 'Super Sonic Gin & Tonic!'"

Former Warner Music Canada president Steve Kane offered this tribute to FYI: "Chris was an incredible human being! To me, he was as important as any of the ‘industry giants’ I ever met or worked with. Long before I worked at WMC, It was Chris’ voice that set the tone for what Warner Canada should be…welcoming, friendly and ready to find a solution. He was not just the guy who answered the phone …he set the tone."

International

Aaron Carter, a hit US rapper/singer and the younger brother of Backstreet Boys star Nick Carter, died on Nov. 5, age 34. No cause of death has yet been disclosed.

BBC News reported that "Nick Carter has led tributes after the death of his younger brother and fellow star Aaron. In a social media post Nick, 42, said the pair had a complicated relationship" but his love had 'never ever faded" for Aaron, who was 34. Nick's band also dedicated a song to the younger Carter during a concert in London on Sunday evening. His post acknowledged that their brotherhood had not been without its tensions, which culminated in the elder Carter taking out a restraining order against his sibling in 2019. Alluding to Aaron's well-documented struggles - which reportedly included multiple trips to rehab - Nick commented: "Addiction and mental illness are the real villains here".

Aaron Carter, a former child star, sold millions of albums, having gained fame as an opening act for the Backstreet Boys in the late 1990s.

Other stars - including Paris Hilton, Tyler Hilton and Hilary Duff, and bands New Kids on the Block and *NSYNC - have posted their own messages remembering the singer.

Carter opened for the Backstreet Boys tour in 1997 – the same year his gold-selling debut self-titled album was released. He reached triple-platinum status with his sophomore album, 2000′s Aaron’s Party (Come Get It), which produced hit singles including the title song and I Want Candy. His videos received regular airplay on Disney and Nickelodeon.

The singer earned acting credits through his appearance on television shows including Lizzie McGuire. He starred alongside his brother, Nick, and their siblings B.J., Leslie and Angel Carter on the E! unscripted series House of Carters in 2006.

Carter made his Broadway debut in 2001 as JoJo in the musical Seussical. In 2009, he appeared on the ABC competition show Dancing with the Stars, finishing in fifth place with partner Karina Smirnoff. 

In 2017, Carter opened up about his substance abuse on an episode of The Doctors. He was in rehab that same year after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana charges. He checked himself in for treatment on a few occasions in an effort to regain custody of his son Prince.

Carter’s fifth and final studio album, LOVE, was released in 2018. Sources: BBC News, AP

Jeff Cook, Country Music Hall of Fame member, co-founder of Alabama, and a studio and radio station owner, died on Nov. 8, age He was 73. Cook had Parkinson's disease and disclosed his diagnosis in 2017. 

With Alabama, Cook rose to prominence in the late '70s and '80s with a string of hits that include Tennessee River, Dixieland Delight, Song Of The South, Mountain Music, Feels So Right and more. The group amassed more than 41 No. 1 singles and 12 top 10 albums and is credited with selling more than 75 million records worldwide.

With more than 200 awards from a variety of organizations, Alabama earned a slate of trophies that include three consecutive CMA Awards for Entertainer of the Year (1982-1984) and five ACM Awards for Entertainer of the Year (1982-1986). In 1989, Alabama was named Artist of the Decade by the ACM.

In addition to his performance work, Cook founded Cook Sound Studios, Inc. in Fort Payne and established WQRX-AM in Valley Head, AL before selling the station. He was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2019, and Alabama is a 2005 inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Tributes poured in from country stars, including Travis Tritt who called Cook “a great guy and one heckuva bass fisherman,” and Jason Aldean, who tweeted: “ I got a chance to perform with him multiple times over the years and I will never forget it.” Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, added: "Everything he did was rooted in his deep love of music, a love he shared with millions.”

As a guitarist, fiddle player and vocalist, Cook — alongside cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry — landed eight No. 1 songs on the country charts between spring 1980 and summer 1982, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

Cook released a handful of solo projects and toured with his Allstar Goodtime Band. He also released collaborations with Charlie Daniels and “Star Trek” star William Shatner. 

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to The Jeff And Lisa Cook Foundation. Website here. Sources, AP, 2911 Media

Tyrone Downie, a Jamaican keyboardist/pianist who worked with Bob Marley, died on Nov. 5, aged 66.

At the time of his death, he played with the France-based reggae band Jahzz.

"Tyrone will be sadly missed, he was a great musician and very important in the music business. He was supposed to be a part of a showcase we had planned for Tuesday of this week, but we knew he was ill and had not planned for him to come, but he passed last night," Michel Jovanovic, a respected reggae music promoter in France, told the Jamaica Observer.

A Kingston College past student, he joined The Wailers in the mid-1970s, making his recording début with the band on its Rastaman Vibration album, having previously been a member of the Impact All Stars.

He has also played with The Abyssinians, Beenie Man, Black Uhuru, Buju Banton, Peter Tosh, Junior Reid, Tom Tom Club, Ian Dury, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, Alpha Blondy, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Sly & Robbie.

Downie released the solo album Organ-D in 2001. He recently produced two albums, one for Tiken Jah Fakoly, which was released last month, and another for Jahzz, which was released this week with a show in France. For years, he lived in France with his family where he was a member of the touring band of Youssou N'Dour, whose album Remember he produced. Downie stopped touring almost a decade ago. In May of this year, he played with Jahzz, supporting the Skatalites shows in France. Sources: Jamaica ObserverThe Gleaner

Dan McCafferty, founding lead singer for the Scottish hard rock band Nazareth, has died, age 76

In a message on Facebook, Nazareth bassist Pete Agnew announced McCafferty’s death. “Dan died at 12:40 today,” Agnew wrote. “This is the saddest announcement I have ever had to make. Maryann and the family have lost a wonderful loving husband and father, I have lost my best friend and the world has lost one of the greatest singers who ever lived. Too upset to say anything more at this time.” 

McCafferty was born and raised in Dunfermline, Scotland, where he formed Nazareth in 1968 with Agnew, guitarist Manny Charlton, and drummer Darrell Sweet. They took their name from the reference to Nazareth, PA in the Band’s classic The Weight” (“I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin’ about half past dead"). They moved to London in 1970 and began putting out albums at a steady clip, building buzz with each successive release. Their third, 1973’s Razamanaz, yielded a pair of UK top 10 hits, Broken Down Angel and Bad Bad Boy, early examples of a sound that pulled from bluesy ’60s British rock ‘n’ roll but helped usher in the era of arena-rock pomp.

Nazareth kept cranking out albums and scoring hits throughout the mid-’70s, culminating in 1975’s smash Hair Of The Dog. The title track — with its memorable chorus “Now you’re messin’ with… a son of bitch!” — helped break Nazareth in America, where they soon scored an even bigger hit with a cover of Everly Brothers’ Love Hurts, their only top 10 single in the US. McCafferty’s gritty, impassioned, wailing vocal style would prove to be a huge influence on artists including Axl Rose.

Nazareth kept on making records and touring through the decades, carrying on through lineup changes and even the death of members such as founding drummer Darrell Sweet. In 2013, McCafferty retired from the road due to ill health, leaving Agnew as the only original member of the band. Agnew is now the only living founder of the band as well; McCafferty’s death comes just months after the death of original Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton.

Nazareth long had a large and loyal audience in Canada and toured here frequently. Canadian musicians and industry types who worked with the band all reminisced fondly about McCafferty.

On Facebook, John Gogo posted this tribute: "Whenever folks find out that I had the pleasure of opening for Nazareth, they invariably say something like “What?! That’s so cool!,' because that band was a big part of our musical experience as kids in the 1970s.

Not only was Dan a great and unique rock singer, but by all accounts, he was a genuinely nice guy. He sure was when I got to hang out with him. My brother Paul and his Trooper brothers did many shows with Nazareth and they all say the same thing. RIP Dan."

Dave Porter, formerly of A&M, posted: "What a shame. They were the first big-name band I promoted when I started at A&M. Awesome guy, especially Dan. taught me a lot about the bullshit in the industry. He effing loved the Dead Milkmen tape I gave him!"

Sources: Loudersound, Ultimate Classic Rock 

Mimi Parker, vocalist and drummer for US indie rock favourites Low, died on Nov. 5, of ovarian cancer, at age 55.

The Guardian called her "a voice of hope and healing in indie rock. Parker was a little reluctant to form a band with her husband, Alan Sparhawk, but her songwriting and hushed, strong voice saw Low create breathtaking music that was both beautiful and unsettling."

In an Uncut interview earlier this year, Sparhawk noted that "we bonded originally on music. We were the two people in our school who were into weirder music: Mim had Hüsker Dü and REM, and I had Sex Pistols, The Clash and Siouxsie & The Banshees." Parker added that "We knew that music was important. I had a musical family – I would sing, my sister and my mom played guitar and piano and accordion. And Alan’s dad was musically inclined. So in terms of us being in a band, not right away, but the odds were pretty high."

In the early days of their marriage, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker’s dream was simple. “We wanted to do something in life together – be in business together, or work together … Just be together,” Sparhawk told me in 2013. The solution materialised in 1993 when they formed Low, in which Parker sang and drummed until her death on Saturday of ovarian cancer.

Low comprised Sparhawk (guitar and vocals) and Parker (drums and vocals), and operated as a trio from 1993 to 2020, having featured four different bassists. 

The music of Low is characterized by slow tempos and minimalist arrangements. Early descriptions sometimes referred to it as a rock subgenre called "slowcore" often compared to the band Bedhead, who played this style during the early 1990s. However, Low's members ultimately disapproved of the term.

The Guardian writes that "the spectral quality of their early demos charmed legendary indie maverick Kramer, who produced their debut album, 1994’s I Could Live in Hope. A loyal cult following then developed.. After Gap soundtracked its 2000 Christmas ad campaign with the group’s glacial reading of Little Drummer Boy (off the group’s 1999 EP of holiday songs), Low found a modest commercial breakthrough."

Following albums like Things We Lost in the Fire, 2005’s The Great Destroyer and the three albums with producer and Bon Iver collaborator BJ Burton – 2015’s Ones And Sixes, 2018’s Double Negative and 2021’s Hey What – earned critical praise. Wilco's Jeff Tweedy produced 2013's The Invisible Way.

Robert Plant was a major Low fan. After her death, Plant honoured Parker by performing a cover of one of the duo's songs. “We've been drawn to the music of the great duo Low from Duluth, Minnesota, and sadly tonight, we know that unfortunately we've lost one of those two people,” Plant said during a show in Glasgow this week.

Sources: The Guardian, UncutRolling Stone

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