BARRY LEVINE: 2013 lost many great music stars

The Old Rocker: A look back at the year that just ended

Everybody will have special memories of 2013. For the Old Rocker, it is the year that many of the most successful music stars died.

Here is a list in alphabetical of the major stars who left us in 2013 and their accomplishments.

Patty Andrews, the last survivor of the singing Andrews Sisters trio whose hits included “Bei Mir Bist Du Schon” in 1937, “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” in 1938 and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” in 1941. The Andrews Sisters sold more than 75 million records and were considered the most popular female singing group during the first half of the 20th century. She died at age 94 on Jan. 30.

Annette Funicello was a teen star as a perky Mouseketeer on “The Mickey Mouse Club” during the 1950s. She also had several hit records from 1959 to 1960 including “Tall Paul,” “First Name Initial,” “O Dio Mio” and “Pineapple Princess.” She then teamed with teen heart throb Frankie Avalon on a string of 1960s beach movies with names like “Beach Party Bingo.” Funicello died on April 8 at age 72.


George Jones career jumpstarted with his recording of “White Lightning.” (Special photo)

George Jones was a musician, singer and songwriter who achieved international fame for his long list of hit records, including “White Lightning” as well as his distinctive voice. The Texan was frequently referred to as the greatest living country singer. In 1959, Jones released a cover version of “White Lightning” by J.P. Richardson (the Big Bopper), which launched his career as a singer. Married for a brief time to country singer Tammy Wynette, Jones had more than 150 hits as a solo artist and in duets. He died on April 26 at age 81.


Patty Page had a massive No. 1 with “Tennessee Waltz.” (Special photo)

Patti Page enjoyed an outstanding career covering the 1950s and 1960s. Among her greatest hits were “Tennessee Waltz” in 1950, “Mockin’ Bird Hill” in 1951, “The Doggie in the Window” in 1953, “Let Me Go Lover!” in 1954, “Allegheny Moon” in 1956, “Old Cape Cod” in 1957, “Left Right Out of Your Heart” in 1958 and “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte” in 1965. “Tennessee Waltz” scored the rare achievement of reaching No. 1 on the pop, country and R&B charts simultaneously and was officially adopted as one of two official songs by the state of Tennessee. She died at age 85 on Jan. 1, 2013.

Ray Price was among country’s most exacting singers. Known as the “Cherokee Cowboy,” he was also extremely smart at selecting material, recording songs by stars like Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Bill Anderson, Mel Tillis, Harlan Howard and Roger Miller. He had more than 100 hits during his glittering career and Price’s influence is still felt. He died on Dec. 16 at age 87.

Here are some of the other stars who died in 2013.

An R&B singer and producer, Jewel Akens had his only top 40 hit in 1965 when the “The Birds and the Bees” rose to No. 3. He died on March 1 at age 79.

Bobby “Blue” Bland blended Southern blues and soul in his chart songs such as “Turn on Your Love Light” in 1962, “Call on Me” in 1963 and “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do” in 1964. He died on June 23 at age 83.

Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner was the front man for the hit-making funk music band the Ohio Players. The group had No. 1 hits with “Fire” in 1974 and “Love Rollercoaster” in 1975. He died on Jan. 26 at age 69.

Chris Kelly was half of the 1990s rap duo Kris Kross who made one of the 1990s most memorable songs with “Jump,” a No. 1 hit in 1992. The group had three other Top 20 hits – “Warm It Up” in 1992, “Alright” in 1993 and “Tonight’s the Night” in 1995. He died on May 1 at age 34.


Ray Manzarek was a founding member of The Doors. (Special photo)

Ray Manzarek was a founding member of the 1960s rock group The Doors whose versatile keyboards complemented lead singer Jim Morrison. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group had three Top 5 hits – “Light My Fire” in 1967, “Hello, I Love You” in 1968 and “Touch Me” in 1969. He died on May 20 at age 74.

Phil Ramone, a Grammy-winning engineer, arranger and producer whose platinum touch included recordings with Ray Charles, Billy Joel and Paul Simon. The native of South Africa was nominated for 33 Grammys and won 14. He died on March 30 at age 79.

A musician, singer and songwriter, Lou Reed served as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground. His solo career spanned several decades. The Velvet Underground was a commercial failure in the late 1960s, but the group gained a considerable cult following in the years since its demise. After his departure from the group, Reed began a solo career in 1972. He had a hit the following year with “Walk on the Wild Side.” He died on Oct. 27 at age 71.

Magic Slim, who was a younger contemporary of blues greats Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, helped shape the sound of Chicago’s electric blues. He died on Feb. 21 at age 75.

Cleotha Staples was the oldest sibling of the influential gospel group The Staple Singers. She died on Feb. 21 at age 78.

Pianist Van Cliburn, whose triumph at a 1958 Moscow competition helped ease the Cold War and helped him launch a spectacular career that made him a classical musician who enjoyed rock-star status. He died on Feb. 27 at age 78.

Fran Warren’s 1947 recording of “A Sunday Kind of Love” was one of the classic hits of the big band era. The song later was covered by Etta James, Dinah Washington and Lenny Welch. Warren’s career spanned more than 50 years with hits that included the Tony Martin duet “I Said My Pajamas” the Lisa Kirk duet “Dearie” and “It’s Anybody’s Heart.” Her films roles included “Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd.” She died on March 4 at age 87.

Barry Levine is an entertainment writer for The Albany Herald. He can be reached at dot0001@yahoo.com.