DEAR JERRY: Great idea, to let readers ask “whatever happened to” some fine music stars of the past that you never hear any news about.
Though it will be interesting to see which names your readers come up with, I am personally curious about jazz alto saxophone great, Bud Shank. He was very popular in the 1950s and '60s, and made many fine recordings with folks like Bob Cooper, Chet Baker, and Laurindo Almeida.
Clifford Tall, Huntsville, Ala.
DEAR CLIFFORD: Since we had two inquiries about Bud Shank the other from Emily V. Davis, of St. Petersburg, Fla. and since this is as easy as the questions are going to get, let's begin with Mr. Shank.
Making this effortless is that Bud also lives here in my town, Port Townsend, Washington. He even conducts jazz workshops locally.
According to his web site, “Bud juggles a packed schedule of touring, festivals, and teaching combined with select major club performances and time set aside for composing and arranging.
He is in demand as a clinician, and is available in a duo, as leader of his own quartet and sextet, and as a feature soloist with orchestra or big band, or with all star groups. With over 50 years as a professional musician, Bud Shank has more than earned his status as a jazz legend.”
DEAR JERRY: Whatever happened to Mary MacGregor?
Mary David M.D., Lancaster, Pa.
DEAR MARY: Now living on her central California ranch, where she raises horses and writes songs, Mary MacGregor, who had the No. 1 hit, “Torn Between Two Lovers,” in 1976, looks back at her moment in the spotlight:
“Torn Between Two Lovers” ultimately proved to be a strain, not because I was sleeping with someone else, but because I was living with my career instead of with my husband. But those things happen.
“A lot of people are torn between two lovers, or have been, or will be. The single itself must have touched a lot of them, because it sold more than two million copies worldwide.
“Now I'm in a dilemma because I'm too well known to return to being an anonymous singer of [radio and TV] commercials, but I'm not well known enough now to get bookings. I never thought about being a success until “Torn Between Two Lovers.” I was trying to make a career out of doing commercials. Now I can't.
“Success is so fickle. You're only as good as you're next hit.”
You'll find more about Mary on the web right here.
DEAR JERRY: Whatever happened to Bob Lind?
Rockin' Ron, San Diego, Calif.
DEAR RON: As of last report, the Baltimore-born singer who had the Top 5 hit, “Elusive Butterfly,” continues to work the folk-pop concert circuit. Besides his signature song, Lind's repertoire includes many of his own well-crafted compositions.
A brief biography on Bob Lind can be found here.
DEAR JERRY: Whatever happened to Gene Vincent?
Dick Boney, Buckley, Wash.
DEAR DICK: One of rock and roll's charter rebels, Gene Vincent seemed to go from one woeful predicament to another.
He shattered his left leg in a motorcycle accident in 1955, requiring him to wear a metal brace thereafter. While touring the U.K. in 1960, he survived the taxi cab accident suffering only a fractured collarbone that claimed the life of fellow rock star, Eddie Cochran. Of the five in the car, only Cochran died in the accident. (The driver, named George Martin, is not the same Brit who, a few years later, produced the Beatles.)
His failing body and career helped drive Vincent to alcoholism, and, on October 12, 1971, he died from multiple causes (ulcer hemorrhage, seizure, etc.). He was just 36.
More about Gene Vincent can be had here.
We will have more of “Whatever happened to” in the weeks ahead.
IZ ZAT SO? In the summer of 1956, rock and roll dominated the North American charts. The British, however, had just begun to catch the fever.
For July and August of '56, the only rock and roll acts found on the U.K. Top 30 are Elvis Presley, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Bill Haley & the Comets, and Gene Vincent.