Tonight is Quentin Tarantino Night on American Idol, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the passing of Delfonics founder Randy Cain (left), considering the Delfonics figured so heavily into the most charming scenes of QT’s Jackie Brown. The Delfonics were one of the first Philadelphia soul bands, and the perfect harmonies and dramatic arrangements—courtesy of super-genius instrumentalist Thom Bell—were indicative of the Philadelphia sound to come, if a little lower budget.
Dan Seals, ’70s soft-rock one-hit wonder and ’80s country star, died on Wednesday after a struggle with mantle cell lymphoma. There aren’t too many second acts in popular music, but after one very big song (the No. 2 hit “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight”) and a few other top ten singles as “England Dan” with John Ford Coley, Dan Seals reinvented himself as a country star slowly building an audience, eventually topping the county charts eleven times before seeing his popularity slip away by the early nineties. The late eighties are largely overlooked as far as country music’s timeline goes, and largely for good reason as the popular music of that era would have confused and frightened the originators of the genre, but Seals’ biggest hit “Bop” is one of those songs that occasionally gets stuck in my head for an entire day. Buried among the synths and odd stylistic choices of the era are earnest, well performed vocals of a man who made the most of a second run at music fame. Several songs from both eras of his career are below the cut.
At 5 p.m. yesterday, Pylon guitarist Randall “Randy” Bewley passed away, and my beloved hometown of Athens is a lot poorer for it. Randy contributed to our town in multiple ways, as a member of a legendary band, as an elementary school art teacher, and as a father of two, an all-around great guy by all accounts. To call him a unique talent would be an understatement. I will put this in as delicate manner as possible: Randy Bewley was not a good “traditional” guitar player. He was not the guy you’d call upon to cover a song straight up. He was not a “strum the chords” kind of guy. But make no mistake of it: Randy was an amazing guitar player, one of the handful of true artists out there whose tone and style of playing was immediately recognizable.
Rickey Wright, music critic and all-around genius, died of a stroke in Seattle on Thursday. I didn’t know Rickey personally—I followed his byline and occasionally ran into him online in one way—but if you take just a few minutes to read about him today online, it’s easy to see how his death has affected people in the online music community.