December 31, 2012 by Amy Gold
During the week of December 23, 2012, fans mourned the passing of four music icons: R&B-soul singer Fontella Bass, Ray Collins of the Mothers Of Invention, R&B singer Jimmy McCracklin, and Marva Whitney (a.k.a. "Soul Sister Number 1").
Also this week, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones got married, Aretha Franklin announced that she is working on a new album slated for release in early 2013, and B.B. King will be joining Peter Frampton on his 2013 Guitar Circus tour.
December 23, 2012: R&B Singer Jimmy McCracklin Passes Away
R&B singer-songwriter Jimmy McCracklin died on December 20, 2012 at age 91 in in San Pablo, CA. He is famous for "The Walk" which became a Top 10 hit in 1958 on both the Billboard R&B and Pop/Rock charts. McCracklin's long and distinguished career dates back to 1945 when he recorded his first single, "Miss Mattie Left Me." Over the years, he recorded over 20 albums and had a string of hits through the late 1960s that also included "Just Got To Know," "Shame, Shame, Shame," "Think," and "My Answer." A prolific songwriter, McCracklin also penned hits for other bands and artists that included "Tramp" which became a hit for the Otis Redding and Carla Thomas in 1967. He is survived by a daughter, a stepdaughter, four stepsons, and two grandchildren.
December 24, 2012: Marva Whitney, James Brown's 'Soul Sister Number 1,' Passes Away
Funk singer Marva Whitney, dubbed "Soul Sister Number 1" by James Brown, died on December 22, 2012 of complications from pneumonia. Born Marva Ann Manning, she began her musical career as child singing in the Manning Gospel Singers, her family's gospel group. Whitney toured with James Brown in the late 1960s and had a hit in 1969 on both the Billboard R&B and Pop/Rock charts with "It's My Thing (You Can't Tell Me Who To Sock It To)," an answer song to the Isley Brothers "It's Your Thing." Her songs have been sampled over the years by many bands and artists, including DJ Kool, Mac Miller, and Public Enemy.
December 24, 2012: Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood Gets Married
On December 21, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones married theater producer Sally Humphries. The wedding ceremonies took place in London with some 50 guests that included Paul McCartney. Rod Stewart served as the best man.
December 24, 2012: Aretha Franklin To Record New Album
Aretha Franklin has begun working on a new album which she expects will be ready by next February. This new album will be produced by R&B singer-songwriter-producer Kenneth Brian "Babyface" Edmonds.
December 26, 2012: B.B. King To Join Frampton's Guitar Circus Tour
Peter Frampton will be launching his Guitar Circus tour in 2013. He will be joined in August by legendary blues guitarist B.B. King. Other top guest guitarists are also expected to participate in this tour.
December 27, 2012: 'Rescue Me' Singer Fontella Bass Passes Away
Famed R&B-soul singer Fontella Bass died on December 26, 2012 at age 72 at a St. Louis hospice of complications from a heart attack. Bass is famous for her 1965 smash hit, "Rescue Me," which topped the Billboard R&B charts and also became a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Bass had a string of hits on both the Billboard R&B and Pop/Rock charts in the late 1960s that also included "Don't Mess Up A Good Thing" and "Recovery." Bass is survived by four children.
December 27, 2012: Ray Collins, Original Mothers Of Invention Co-Founder, Passes Away
Singer-guitarist Ray Collins died on December 24, 2012 at age 76 after being admitted to the hospital a week earlier for cardiac arrest. Collins was one of the original founders of the Mothers Of Invention, an avant-garde rock group later led by Frank Zappa. The Mothers Of Invention started out as the Soul Giants, an R&B cover band formed in 1964 by Collins. He began his career in the late 1950s singing backup for various doo-wop groups in the Los Angeles area. With Zappa, Collins co-wrote "Memories of El Monte," a retrospective song written in 1963 in tribute to a number of top doo-wop bands and artists from the 1950s.