EXPIRED: 01/09/12 – Bridie Gallagher, 87,  was Ireland’s 1st international pop star.

In Belfast she shot to fame in 1956 with a recording of “A Mother’s Love’s A Blessing” and found global adulation with her rendition of “The Boys From County Armagh” and “The Homes of Donegal.”

While her career lasted over 60 years, there were some low moments. In 1976 her 21-year old son was killed in a motorcycle accident. That same year she released her last single, “Just Like Your Daddy.” Still, she kept on performing.

Known as “The Girl from Donegal,” Gallagher holds the record for the largest number of people in attendance in London’s Royal Albert Hall, a record that can never be topped now that it’s an all-seating venue.




EXPIRED: 01/06/12  – Tom Ardolino, 57, was an amateur drummer and fan of the band NRBQ, who after trading tapes with co-founder Terry Adams and establishing a rapport with the singer, found himself called up onstage at a sow when drummer Tom Staley skipped out on an encore. When Staley quit NRBQ in 1974, Ardolino took over.

He stayed in the band until it disbanded in 2004 so Adams could get treatment for throat cancer.

The freedom left Ardolino room to do some solo work and he released “Unknown Brain.” The album consisted mostly of 30 year old basement recordings made before he was in NRBQ. The cover states “WARNING: If out-of-tuneness bothers you, do not listen.”

Earlier this year Adams decided to put NRBQ back together with a new album and tour. Although Ardolino wasnt part of the line-up, he was very supportive of the reunion. He was always a fan after all, even before he was a member.



EXPIRED: 01/03/12  – Bob Weston, 64, got his big break when drummer Mick Fleetwood called him up and asked if he was available to replace Fleetwood Mac’s alcoholic and despised lead  guitarist Danny Kirwan. Weston knew just how big the job was going to be when Kirwan phoned him shortly thereafter and sarcastically said “Good Luck. You’re gonna need it.”

With Weston at the helm, Fleetwood Mac recorded the Penguin album in January 1973, followed by  Mystery to Me released the same year. Things were going great, but then while on tour Mick Fleetwood discovered that Weston had been having an affair with Mick Fleetwood’s wife, Jenny Boyd. Weston was fired and the tour was secretly cancelled. The rest of the band all went their separate ways to get away.

The band’s manager, afraid of losing profits, hastily put together a fake Fleetwood Mac to fulfill the booked tour dates.

Guitarist and lead singer Bob Welch was so disenchanted that he too left the band – making way for  Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to join – creating the line-up so beloved today.

Weston carried on as a solo artist and session musician in London, having played with Long John Baldry and Murray Head. In fact he was due to record with ex-Rolling Stone guitarist Mick Taylor this week. When he didn’t show up to the recording sessions, family went round to his flat and found he had died in his sleep.



EXPIRED: 12/29/11 – Robert Dickey, 72, was half of the singing duo James & Bobby Purify, along with cousin James. Once signed to a record label in 1966, they immediately had a hit with “I’m Your Puppet”, which spent 14 weeks in the U.S. chart and sold an over a million copies.

Although “I’m Your Puppet” was their biggest hit, they had hit the Hot 100 throughout the decade with “Shake a Tail Feather” and “Let Love Come Between Us.”

Dickey quit the music business in 1971 and moved to his hometown of Tallahassee, where he worked as a city maintenance supervisor.

He HATED “I’m Your Puppet.”



EXPIRED: 12/28/11  – Danny DeGennaro, 56, also known as Danny Rio, seemed to have returned to his Bucks County, Pennsylvania, home only to confront a burglar.  He was shot and left for dead.

DeGennaro, who fronted the Philly-based Danny DeGennaro Band, is best known for being a guitarist and singer for Kingfish, a band that included former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir among its early members. Although the two were never in the band at the same time, they certainly shared an audience and gave DeGennaro great networking opportunities he used throughout his career.

That career included performing with Bo Diddley, Billy Squier, Clarence Clemons and some of Philadelphia’s great blues artists including T.J. Tindall and Parliament Funkadelic’s Michael Hampton.

DeGennaro last played with Kingfish in 2010 on their Live and Kicking tour.



EXPIRED: 12/25/11 –  Jim “Motorhead” Sherwood, 69,  played saxophone, tambourine, and created sound effects in Frank Zappa’s band, the Mothers of Invention. He was an integral part of the albums 200 Motels, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Uncle Meat and We’re Only In It For The Money.

Sherwood and Zappa met as children, and the saxophonist played in Zappa’s first band, a R&B unit called The Black-Outs, that they formed in high-school.  He later joined the Mothers of Invention as a roadie, adding some vocal effects to their first album Freak Out before being recruited to be a full-time member.

Later Sherwood and Zappa were roomates in Zappa’s bizarre recording studio, “Studio Z.” Often during live shows, Sherwood would just walk up to the mike and talk about fixing his car, while the band performed free-form psychadelic jazz-rock in the background.

After the Mothers broke up, Sherwood stayed around to contribute to solo Zappa recordings including the last album Zappa completed before his death, Civilization Phaze III.

More recently, Sherwood added to various musical projects alongside his fellow Mothers alumni, including records by The Grandmothers.



EXPIRED: 12/20/11 – Sean Bonniwell, 71, was the godfather of punk. No disrespect to Iggy Pop or the Ramones, but Bonniwell was doing it first.

Bonniwell was 15 when he first heard the song “Only You” by the Platters and knew he needed to be a rock star. After a couple of false starts, he finally formed a solid group, The Ragamuffins, in 1965. The next year they changed their name to The Music Machine and released their debut album, ‘(Turn On) The Music Machine.‘  The album is highly regarded as one of the most played, but least known, garage-punk predecessors.

The Music Machine only had two hits. “The People in Me” peaked at #66. But “Talk Talk” reached #15 on the charts and was considered to be raw, angry and superbly anti-establishment. It was a perfect song for the times. Accompanied by a Farfisa organ, a staccato backbeat and fuzzy guitars, Bonniwell and his band wore all–black clothing, died their moptop hair black and sported a single black glove on their right hand. And they menaced with the lyrics:

Here’s my situation
 / And how it really stands
/ I’m out of circulation
/ I’ve all but washed my hands
/ My social life’s a dud
/ My name is really mud
/ I’m up to here in lies
/ I guess I’m down to size. / Talk Talk!”

Despite the success, by 1967 every band member except Bonniwell were fired. The band was renamed The Bonniwell Music Machine, who released a second album with little success. A 3rd album was recorded in 1969, but never released.

To get out of his record contract, Bonniwell sold the rights to the band’s name and released ‘Close,’ a softer solo album, which fared no better.

By 1970, Bonniwell quit the music business and – despite earning some royalties by Alice Cooper’s 1980 version of “Talk Talk” on his ‘Flush The Fashion‘ LP– kept a low profile until 2000, when he released an autobiography entitled Beyond The Garage. While it too gained little interest, The Larksmen, a young garage band, were intrigued. In 2006 The Larksmen invited Bonniwell to play on their self-titled debut and do a handful of shows around Los Angeles.

It’s sad that someone who influenced so many of the 70’s and 80’s garage bands saw such limited success. It’s sadder still that lung cancer took this guy away before his influence was rightfully acknowledged.