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Rock in Peace: Gibby’s In Memoriam Playlist

A tribute to the musical greats who died, died* this year

Jeffrey Denny

“Hey hey, my my, rock and roll will never die,” Neil Young warbled in his trademark countertenor.

My old friend and frequent writing partner John Gibson, consulting with his son Josh, do more than their part to keep the music alive.

The Gibsons (no relation to the legendary guitars) have compiled a playlist of songs written, performed or recorded by both the famous (Doris Day, Eddie Money, Ric Ocasek, Andre Previn, Peter Tork), and the unsung greats (songwriters, session musicians, backup singers), who went to rock and roll heaven in 2019, joining what you know is a hell of a band.

Sometimes we worry about outrageously brilliant friends who are a wee bit, shall we say, obsessive about stuff they love. Other times we take advantage of their “beautiful minds.”

In that vein, maybe you’ll love Gibby’s 2019 Rock in Peace playlist on Spotify — ordered chronologically by when the artist passed away during the year, of course — as I do:

1. “Cover of the Rolling Stone” — Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show (Ray Sawyer) (Dec. 31, 2018)

2. “Love Will Keep Us Together” — Captain and Tennille (Daryl Dragon, aka, “Captain”)

3. “Reflections of My Life” — Marmalade (Dean Ford)

4. “Tumbling Dice” — Rolling Stones (Clydie King, backup singer)

5. “Communist Eyes” — Germs (Lorna Doom)

6. “Son of a Preacher Man” — Dusty Springfield (Reggie Young, session guitarist)

7. “Todii” — Oliver Mtukudzi

8. “Cola Bottle Baby” — Edwin Birdsong

9. “Only the Lonely” — Roy Orbison (Harold Bradley, session guitarist)

10. “M.T.A.” — Kingston Trio (Jacqueline Steiner, writer)

11. “(Theme from) The Monkees” — The Monkees (Peter Tork)

12. “I’m a Believer — The Monkees

13. “Daydream Believer — The Monkees

14. “An Occasional Man” — Ethel Ennis

15. “Can’t You Hear Me Calling” — Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys (Mac Wiseman)

16. “It’s My Life” — Talk Talk (Mark Hollis)

17. “Talk Talk” — Talk Talk

18. “I Remember You” — Andre Previn and His Orchestra (Andre Previn)

19. “Breathe” — The Prodigy (Keith Flint)

20. “Be My Baby” — The Ronettes (Hal Blaine, session drummer)

21. “Misirlou” — Dick Dale and his Del-Tones (Dick Dale)

22. “Shake a Tail Feather” — James & Bobby Purify (Andre Williams, co-writer)

23. “Make It Easy On Yourself” — The Walker Brothers (Scott Walker)

24. “Mirror in the Bathroom” — The English Beat (Roger Charlery, aka, Ranking Roger)

25. “Twist & Crawl” — The English Beat

26. “Tears of a Clown” — The English Beat

27. “At the Hop” — Danny & the Juniors (David White)

28. “Last Time That I Checc’d” — Nipsey Hussle

29. “It Was So Funny (The Song That They Sung)” — Erasers (Susan Springfield)

30. “Que Sera Sera” — Doris Day

31. “Woke Up This Morning” — Alabama 3 (Jake Black)

32. “Sweet Mama, Papa’s Gettin’ Mad” — Leon Redbone

33. “She’s My Gal” — Leon Redbone

34. “Diddy Wa Diddie” — Leon Redbone

35. “You’re Gonna Miss Me” — 13th Floor Elevators (Roky Erickson)

36. “Eugene C.” — Koerner, Ray & Glover (Tony Glover)

37. “Right Place, Wrong Time” — Dr. John

38. “Iko Iko” — Dr. John

39. “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” — Geto Boys (Bushwick Bill)

40. “Ain’t That a Shame” — Fats Domino (Dave Bartholomew, co-writer)

41. “Dino’s Song” — Quicksilver Messenger Service (Gary Duncan)

42. “It’s Been Too Long” — Quicksilver Messenger Service

43. “The Girl from Ipanema” — Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto (Joao Gilberto)

44. “Medley: He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother/You’ve Got a Friend” — Persuasions (Jerry Lawson)

45. “Impi” — Juluka (Johnny Clegg)

46. “Scatterlings of Africa” — Juluka

47. “Third Rate Romance” — Amazing Rhythm Aces (Russell Smith)

48. “Big Chief” — Neville Brothers (Art Neville)

49. “Ain’t No Sunshine” — Neville Brothers

50. “Random Rules” — Silver Jews (David Berman)

51. “Punks In the Beerlight — Silver Jews

52. “Dick in a Box” — Justin Timberlake & Andy Samberg (Katreese Barnes, co-writer)

53. “Watch Closely Now” — Barbra Streisand & Kris Kristofferson (Donnie Fritts, bass)

54. “We Had It All” — Rolling Stones (Donnie Fritts, writer)

55. “Gypsy In My Soul” — Clora Bryant

56. “Telephone” — Lady Gaga & Beyoncé (LaShawn Daniels, co-writer)

57. “I’ll Take You There” — Staple Sisters (Jimmy Johnson, session guitarist)

58. “Funky Broadway” — Wilson Pickett (Jimmy Johnson, session guitarist)

59. “Mountain Top” — Daniel Johnston

60. “High Horse” — Daniel Johnston

61. “Two Tickets to Paradise” — Eddie Money

62. “Baby Hold On” — Eddie Money

63. “Let the Good Times Roll” — The Cars (Ric Ocasek)

64. “Just What I Needed” — The Cars

65. “Bye Bye Love” — The Cars

66. “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down” — New Lost City Ramblers (John Cohen)

67. “Riding On That Train”— New Lost City Ramblers

68. “New White House Blues” — New Lost City Ramblers

69. “Uncle John’s Band” — Grateful Dead (Robert Hunter, co-writer)

70. “Truckin’” — Grateful Dead

71. “Ripple” — Grateful Dead

72. “Kids In America” — The Muffs (Kim Shattuck)

73. “Lucky Guy” — The Muffs

74. “Sunshine of Your Love” — Cream (Ginger Baker)

75. “White Room” — Cream

76. “Crossroads” — Cream

77. “Back In Business” — Beverly Watkins

78. “Dixie Chicken” — Little Feat (Paul Berrere)

79. “Willin’” — Little Feat

80. “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” — Harry Belafonte (Irving Burgie, co-writer)

81. “Lucid Dreams” — Juice WRLD

82. “Joyride” — Roxette (Marie Fredriksson)

83. “Popcorn” — Hot Butter (Gershon Kingsley, writer)

84. “September” — Earth, Wind, and Fire (Allee Willis, writer)

85. “I’ll Be There For You” — The Rembrandts (Allee Willis, writer)

86. “Christmas Time Is Here” — Vince Guaraldi Trio (Lee Mendelson, co-writer)

87. “Hello, Dolly!” — Louis Armstrong (Jerry Herman, writer)

88. “Tore Up” — Sleepy LaBeef

89. “Brave Sir Robin” — “Spamalot” cast (Neil Innes, writer)


If you can’t, don’t or won’t, I’m warning you, “Captain” Daryl Dragon will haunt your dreams.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.

*Rock in Peace, Jim Carroll (1949–2009).

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