In Memoriam|

The Ritz – c1986 – Clockwise John, Rick, Steve & Bryon

Bryon Pritchard on Fb., 9/13/20: This Denver area band “The Ritz” featured Byron Pritchard – guitar, Rick Armstrong – Guitar, John Goodlife – drums, and Steve Schweitzer – bass. Steve was immensely talented and could play and sing about anything and we pulled it off without a lead singer. John was an enormously hard hitting and very precise drummer. Rick was a great guitar player and really new (with Cheryl-Ann Green’s help on sound) how to keep us sounding great.

I played most of the leads and loved the way my Marshall shook the floor! A really fun band and my very last night club group in 1979. (I moved on to a career in the restaurant biz).

Steve and John passed some time ago and my friend Rick passed yesterday. A very sad day for me today as I remember my fellow band mates and realize that I am the only one left. I was especially close to Rick and had known him for some time before putting the original Denver area “Mercedes” band together. The Ritz was kind of a spin off of Mercedes and, after The Ritz, Rick continued on with several versions of the band.

RIP, my great brothers, and know you are remembered fondly by all who knew you and many who did not. ~ Byron

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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…

The deaths that are listed from Wikipedia are those of musicians or those persons who have ties to the music business from all over the world. These are our brothers and sisters. Say a prayer for their souls. They will be missed greatly.

September 2020

16: Stanley Crouch, 74, American music critic, novelist, and poet; Alien Huang, 36, Taiwanese singer, actor (Already Famous, Din Tao: Leader of the Parade) and television presenter (100% Entertainment), head injury.

Stanley Lawrence Crouch (December 14, 1945 – September 16, 2020) was an American poet, music, and cultural critic; syndicated columnist, novelist, and biographer, perhaps best known for his jazz criticism and his 2000 novel Don’t the Moon Look Lonesome?

Crouch befriended Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray, who influenced his thinking in a direction less centered on race. He stated with regard to Murray’s influence, “I saw how important it is to free yourself from ideology. When you look at things solely in terms of race or class, you miss what is really going on.” He made a final, public break with black nationalist ideology in 1979, in an exchange with Amiri Baraka in the Village Voice. He was also emerging as a public critic of recent cultural and artistic trends that he saw as empty, phony, or corrupt. His targets included the fusion and avant-garde movements in jazz (including his own participation in the latter) and works of letters that he saw as hiding their lack of merit behind racial posturing. As a writer for the Voice from 1980 to 1988, he was known for his blunt criticisms of his targets and tendency to excoriate their participants. It was during this period that he became a friend and intellectual mentor to Wynton Marsalis, and an advocate of the neotraditionalist movement that he saw as reviving the core values of jazz. In 1987 he became an artistic consultant for the Jazz at Lincoln Center program, joined by Marsalis, who later became artistic director, in 1991.


15: Caroline Kaart, 88, Scottish-born Dutch opera singer and presenter; Jan Krenz, 94, Polish composer and conductor; Paul Méfano, 83, Iraqi-born French composer and conductor.

14: Al Kasha, 83, American songwriter (“Operation Heartbreak”, “The Morning After”. “We May Never Love Like This Again”), Oscar winner (1973, 1975); Alicia Maguiña, 81, Peruvian singer and composer; Peter Starkie, 72, Australian rock guitarist (Skyhooks, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons), complications from a fall.

Al Kasha:
Kasha started songwriting and producing at a young age and was hired as a producer at Columbia Records aged 22. He worked at the Brill Building in 1959 alongside writers and artists like Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, and Neil Diamond. He worked with many great artists such as Aretha Franklin (“Operation Heartbreak” and “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody”), Neil Diamond, Donna Summer (“I’m A Fire”), Charles Aznavour (“Dance In The Old Fashioned Way”), Bobby Darin (“Irresistible You”), and Jackie Wilson (“I’m Coming on Back To You,” “My Empty Arms,” “Forever And A Day,” “Each Night I Dream Of You,” “Lonely Life,” and “Sing And Tell The Blues So Long”). Kasha is most noted for his years of collaboration with songwriter Joel Hirschhorn. The two wrote and collaborated on many nominated and award-winning songs for many music groups, movies, and musicals. The Peppermint Rainbow’s “Will You Be Staying After Sunday” is just one example of the many songs they wrote for groups during their time.

The songwriting duo won two Oscars for Best Song, “The Morning After” from The Poseidon Adventure in 1973 and “We May Never Love Like This Again” from The Towering Inferno in 1975. They also received two more Academy Award Nominations for their work in the 1977 Walt Disney live action animated classic Pete’s Dragon where they were nominated for Best Song Score and Best Song (“Candle On The Water,” sung by Helen Reddy).


12: Joaquín Carbonell, 73, Spanish singer-songwriter and poet, COVID-19; Edna Wright, 76, American R&B singer (Honey Cone).

11: Sandra Dianne, 26, Malaysian singer and songwriter, traffic collision; Toots Hibbert, 77, Jamaican singer (Toots and the Maytals) and songwriter (“54-46 That’s My Number”, “Pressure Drop”), COVID-19; Annette Jahns, 62, German opera singer and director (Semperoper); Christian Manen, 86, French composer.

10: Roberto Franco, 75, Argentine singer-songwriter and guitarist, complications from COVID-19;

9: Ronald Bell, 68, American saxophonist (Kool & the Gang) and songwriter (“Ladies’ Night”, “Celebration”); Patrick Davin, 58, Belgian orchestra conductor; Yopie Latul, 65, Indonesian singer, COVID-19; Gienek Loska, 45, Belarusian-born Polish singer-songwriter and guitarist, complications from a stroke; Sid McCray, American singer (Bad Brains).

8: Simeon Coxe, 82, American musician (Silver Apples) and news reporter (WKRG-TV); Sir Ronald Harwood, 85, South African-born British screenwriter (The Pianist, The Dresser, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), Oscar winner (2003); Vexi Salmi, 77, Finnish lyricist (“Huilumies”, “Katson sineen taivaan”).



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