It’s with much sadness today that we report the passing of legendary soul composer, singer and musician Bill Withers. He passed on March 30th from heart complications. His hits included what have become modern popular music standards including “Use Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine” and perhaps his most well-known song, “Lean On Me,” with over 100 cover versions to date. Withers released his final album in the mid 80s, Watching You Watching Me, and abruptly quit the music business soon after, not having recorded or toured since that time. Bill’s life story was released as a video memoir in his Still Bill video.
Daryl Dragon, whose nickname “Captain” was bestowed upon him for the captain’s hats he used to wear onstage, has passed today from renal failure at the age of 76, with his former wife Toni Tennille at his side. Dragon was a classically trained pianist who would play keyboards with the Beach Boys from 1967-1972, and would form a duo with Tennille, recording “The Way I Want to Touch You” and signing with A&M in 1974. They shot out of the gates immediately with the #1 smash “Love Will Keep Us Together,” and had a handful of other hits over the years such as “Muskrat Love,” “Shop Around” and “Do That To Me One More Time.” Daryl was the son of Carmen Dragon, a legendary conductor and composer, and brother of Dennis Dragon, drummer and co-founder of the Surf Punks (who passed from his suicide in September 2017).
Veteran studio bassist Joe Osborn, who played on many hit records in both Los Angeles and Nashville, passed on December 14. Remembrances are here in the forum.
Show coverage from the 2018 Audio eXPO North America in Schaumburg IL has been posted in the forum. Check it out!
With CD sales declining at a steady pace (down 18.5% for 2017), Billboard reports that two major retailers are looking at making changes in marketing of the format. Best Buy is pulling CDs from the shelves by July 1 this year. Target, on the other hand, is pushing for consignment sales–in other words, the Target will still stock the CDs, but will not pay for them until they are scanned at the register (which, of course, the labels don’t like). The CD situation at both stores is quite dismal these days compared to the past but still, they are capable of selling very large quantities of the top selling titles. Target is already pushing to do this with DVDs, giving studios until Feb. 1 to decide if they are on board with the program or not.
In related news, the Warner Music Group extended buyout offers to 130 employees who manage “physical media” at the company, due to declining CD sales.
On the other hand, 2017 vinyl sales were up 9% over 2016. LPs accounted for 14% of all physical album sales, up from 11% in 2016, and accounted for 8.5% of all album sales, up from 6.5% in 2016. (All album sales include vinyl, CD, cassette and downloads.)
Join our discussion here in the forum.
What were our forum members listening to in 2017? What made the biggest impression? Find out in our forum thread! If you have some of your own, you’re welcome to join up and post your own Top 5. And if you have a couple of honorable mentions, include those as well.
Happy New Year from A&M Corner!