Salute To Artists Already Gone in 2018 inc. Tribute To Edwin Hawkins (74) + Dolores O’Riordan (46) [Top 5 & Top 15 Video Version]

Posted by Billyjam, January 18, 2018 05:33pm | Post a Comment
Oakland's Edwin Hawkins (best known for the crossover hit "Oh Happy Day" with the Edwin Hawkins Singers) died this week at age 74, making him one of too many artists  we've already lost in 2018. 

With this Monday’s passing of both Oakland gospel legend Edwin Hawkins (74) and Irish female rock vocal powerhouse / The Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan (46), this new year of 2018  is off to a bad start. Only halfway into January and already a significant number of artist deaths is mounting.  Other talents to have passed on this year include radio artist and writer Joe Frank (79) who also died on Monday, blues, gospel and RnB/soul singer/songwriter Denise LaSalle (78), and  Motörhead guitarist 'Fast' Eddie Clarke (67) who is pictured right with Motörhead circa 1980 L-R along with Lemmy Kilmister (who died December 2015) and Phil 'Philthy Animal' Taylor (who died Nov. 2015). Other artists who have passed on already in 2018 include The Moody Blues founding member Ray Thomas (76),  iconic French pop singer France Gall (70),  actor/singer Jerry Van Dyke (86), Black Sabbath and Judas Priest producer Chris Tsangarides (61), soul singer Betty Willis (76), producer and songwriter Rick Hall (85) of FAME Studios, and Juilliard String Quartet founding member, violinist and composer Robert Mann  (97).

Pancreatic cancer was the reason given for Edwin Hawkins' death who was at his East Bay Pleasanton home when he passed Monday. Hawkins leaves behind a rich musical legacy but the song “Oh Happy Day” is what he will eternally be linked to. That religious song as pop hit is historic for various reasons including by breaking musical barriers with its crossover success and consequently introducing gospel music to a whole new audience.  Taking an old 19th century hymn and rearranging it into something fuller sounding and more soulful, “Oh Happy Day” would become a modern American music classic, and a hit the world over. The song gave birth to the 1992 gospel live performance DVD Oh Happy Day starring Shirley Caesar, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Rev. James Cleveland, Walter Hawkins and The Hawkins Family and The Clark Sisters

"Oh Happy Day" is historic also from the perspective of East Bay music lore; a church song recorded in an actual church in South Berkeley that went on to become a global pop hit! The Ephesian Church of God in Christ, which on Alcatraz near Adeline in Berkeley, is where the song was recorded in 1967. Within two years “Oh Happy Day” would be a huge hit at home and overseas in such countries as England and Ireland where it reached number two on their respective pop charts at the time.

In Ireland this week, where Dolores O'Riordan is a national treasure, The Cranberries' lead singer sudden death topped news headlines; even eclipsing big political news stories on Brexit etc. In her native country the Limerick born vocalist, whose singing sound was distinguished by her Irish lilt and yodeling like inflections, is revered alongside the likes of fellow Irish international rock stars as the late Phil Lynott, Bono, Enya, and Sinéad O’Connor. Like fellow Irish female vocalist O’Connor, whose battle with mental health has been well documented, O’Riordan also suffered from depression and bipolar disorder, in addition to various physical ailments. Last year The Cranberries announced they'd be cutting short their world tour, in support of 2017’s Something Else, citing as the reason O'Riordan's "medical reasons associated with a back problem.”

However at the time of her death on Monday, when she was in London for a recording session later that day with metal band Bad Wolves (for a remake of "Zombie"), O’Riordan reportedly appeared both happy and healthy. Hence her sudden death, listed by police as “unexplained,” came as a shock to all. Not surprisingly in this conspiracy prone age, O'Riordan's unexplained sudden passing gave rise to conspiracies trying to numerically link her mystery death to dark forces, one even suggesting it was an “Illuminati blood sacrifice” hit job. Meanwhile back here on earth and over in London on Tuesday, police revised their first statement by calling O’Riordan’s death “non-suspicious” with absolutely no evidence of foul play.  The case has since been passed over to a coroner.

Whatever cause the coroner determines the fact is that O’Riordan, who was still in her teens when the Cranberries first formed in 1989, had to cope with the pressures of being a young successful rock artist catapulted to fame at an early age which included having a demanding major label constantly looking for that next hit single. Additionally O'Riordan, a divorced mother of three when she died, was a woman in the notoriously male dominated music business.

The Cranberries formed in Limerick in 1989 as an outgrowth of the short-lived band The Cranberry Saw Us who were comprised of brothers Noel Hogan (gtr) and Mike Hogan (bass), Fergal Lawler (drums) and original lead-singer Niall Quinn. Quinn was replaced by Dolores O’Riordan and in 1990 The Cranberries released their first indie single “Dreams” which would be rerecorded and re-released as their 1992 debut major label single and appear on the following year’s debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? The hit album, that also contained the smash single “Linger,” was written entirely by O'Riordan with guitarist Noel Hogan. The song “Dreams” would transcend the group’s album and go on to take on a life of its own. It ended up being featured in a total of twelve different movie soundtracks (4 in 1994 alone), including Nora Ephrons 1998 rom-com You’ve Got Mail starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.

The band’s second album, 1994’s No Need To Argue, spawned the band’s international smash hit “Zombie.” However with all the success the Cranberries enjoyed in their early years came the expected music industry pressures; something that O’Riordan apparently coped well with, up to a point. Following an intense four years of writing and recording three albums, and touring places like Australia (where the Cranberries first album went to #1) the band announced their first hiatus because O’Riordan (also a new mom at the time) needed to heal from "stress-induced diseases." That hiatus lasted up until 1999’s album Bury The Hatchet which featured the single "Animal Instinct" that references O’Riordan’s personal life and was followed up with 2001's Wake Up And Smell The Coffee.

Four years later the band would take another hiatus upon O’Riordan’s request; that 2003 hiatus lasted up until them reuniting in 2009. In the interim O’Riordan had officially launched her solo career with her 2007 debut album Are You Listening? featuring the lead single “Ordinary Day.” In 2009 she released her second solo album No Baggage. In addition to her solo work and with the Cranberries, O’Riordan also did a number of collaborations and one-offs with other artists including Italian star Zucchero with whom she recorded the 2004 single “Pure Love.”

If you need the perfect primer on The Cranberries back catalog I suggest their 20 track compilation Dreams: The Collection that includes all the big hits and much more. The recent vinyl version reissues of both The Cranberries first album Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can't We and their second album No Need To Argue sold out at Amoeba long before news of O’Riordan’s death surfaced this week. But word has it that No Need To Argue was planned to be reissued on limited purple and green vinyl pressings on Feb 16th. And my guess is that, with all this renewed attention on O’Riordan and her band, this year we will be seeing a lot of Cranberries reissues including on the upcoming Record Store Day 2018 in April.

In honor of both Edwin Hawkins and Dolores O’Riordan below are a Top 5 and Top 15 music videos (respectively). The first of the 15 Dolores O'Riordan videos is the very recently published theme she recorded for the December 2017 animation holiday movie Angela's Christmas based on Frank McCourt's children's book inspired by a story his mother, Angela, told him as a child. The lyric video of the touching song acts as the perfect farewell to the singer with a perfect voice who left this earth too soon. But before it and the other O'Riordan featured videos, first are 5 videos featuring the late Edwin Hawkins.

#5 Love Center Choir featuring Edwin Hawkins and Walter Hawkins doing the gospel standard “He's Got The Whole World In His Hands.” The traditional American spiritual, first published in 1927, was a favorite of Hawkins and the Edwin Hawkins Singers and hence found its way onto the song lists of most
of their concerts along with (of course) "Oh Happy Day." This rare version, which is a slide show
video uploaded by Trevor Dawson who apparently has a deep collection of Hawkins' output,
is from the benefit show; Concert for The Hungry at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco

#4 The Edwin Hawkins Singers feat. Walter Hawkins & Tramaine Hawkins “Ain't It Like Him (live)”

#3 Shrewdly Melanie, for her 1970 album Candles In The Rain, invited (fellow Buddah Records act) The Edwin Hawkins Singers to join her on the title track officially known as “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain).” Only hearing this version, it is hard to imagine the song without Edwin Hawkins and company. This live version was from 1970 in the Netherlands for a television concert. The song is also found on the more recent Rhino collection Best of Melanie

#2 Edwin Hawkinslive with The Oakland Symphony Orchestra Gospel at the Symphony in 1981 with the Love Center Choir of Oakland Ca. featuring Daniel Hawkins on organ and  Walter Hawkins at piano, The Hawkins Family, and the Oakland Symphony Orchestra performing “Holy Spirit (Live)”

#1 The Edwin Hawkins Singers “Oh Happy Day (live)” from 1973 from an American television performance on "Black Omnibus" which was a 12 episode series that year on PBS that was hosted by James Earl Jones who introduces the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

#15 Dolores O’Riordan “Angela’s Song (Lyric Version)” (2017) from soundtrack to the holiday
animation film Angela's Christmas

#14 Dolores O’Riordan “Ave Maria (live)” (2008) 

#13 The Cranberries “Promises” from Bury The Hatchet (1999) and also included on the 20 song Dreams: The Collection.

#12 Zucchero & Dolores O’Riordan “Pure Love” (2004) from the Italian artist’s all star album Zu & Co.

#11 The Cranberries “Just My Imagination” from Bury The Hatchet (1999) and also included on the 20 song Dreams: The Collection.

#10 Dolores O’Riordan “When We Were Young” from her 2007 solo album Are You Listening?

#9 The Cranberries “When You're Gone” from To the Faithful Departed (1996) and is also included on the 20 song Dreams: The Collection.

#8 Dolores O’Riordan cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way (Live on Europe2)" (2007)
#7 The Cranberries “Animal Instinct” from Bury The Hatchet (1999) and is also included on the 20 song Dreams: The Collection.

#6 Dolores O’Riordan “Ordinary Day” lead single from 2007 debut solo album "Are You Listening?"

#5 The Cranberries “Salvation” from To the Faithful Departed (1996) and is also included on the 20 song Dreams: The Collection.

#4 The Cranberries “Ode To My Family” from No Need to Argue (1994) and is also included on the 20 song Dreams: The Collection.

#3 The Cranberries “Zombie” from from No Need to Argue (1994) and is also included on the 20 song Dreams: The Collection.

#2 The Cranberries “Linger” from the 1993 album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? and is also included on the 20 song Dreams: The Collection.

#1 The Cranberries “Dreams” their 1992 major label debut single from the 1993 album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? and is also included on the 20 song Dreams: The Collection.

Relevant Tags

2018 Musicians Rip (1), Amoeblog Music In Memoriam (8), Ray Thomas (2), France Gail (2), Motorhead (7), Amoeblog Music In Memoriam (8), Irish Rock (2), Edwin Hawkins (1), The Cranberries (3), Moody Blues (4), Dolores O'riordan (1)