Obituary: Musician Jim Fuller, 69, of the sixties surf rock group the Safaris, has died. He died on March 3:
Jim Fuller, born on June 27, 1947, is often called “The Godfather of Surf Guitar.” He was an original member of the Surfaris along with Ron Wilson (drums, vocals), Berryhill (rhythm guitar) and Pat Connolly (bass). The band formed in Glendora, Calif., in 1962 as the surf music craze was just emerging and “Wipe Out” was written that winter. A saxophonist, Jim Pash, joined the band after “Wipe Out” was recorded.
Originally released on the small DFS label, it was then picked up by another indie label, Princess Records, before finally finding national distribution with the larger Dot Records. “Wipe Out” was originally intended to be the B-side of the single, with the vocal track “Surfer Joe,” credited to Wilson, as the A-side. But there was simply no way “Wipe Out” was going to be ignored. Cut at Powell Studios in Cucamonga, the record begins with a cracking sound, meant to be a surfboard breaking in half (Berryhill’s dad did the honors). It’s immediately followed by a crazed laugh (that was the band’s manager, Dale Smallin) and a falsetto voice: “ha ha ha ha ha, wipe out,” before Wilson’s trademark drum solo—imitated by countless drummers and, to the chagrin of many high school teachers, students banging it out on their desks—and Fuller’s guitar lead kick in.
"Wipe Out" was used a lot at a roller skating rink where I took my special education kids a decade ago. It probably still is being used.
Another obituary: Robert James Waller, 77, author of The Bridges of Madison County, has died. He died of multiple myeloma, a particularly nasty form of cancer:
The novel came out of the blue. Mr. Waller, on leave from teaching business at the University of Northern Iowa, was shooting pictures with a friend along the Mississippi River in the early 1990s when he decided to make a detour and photograph covered bridges in Madison County, Iowa. He was an enthusiastic guitarist and singer, and years earlier he had written a song about the dreams of a woman named Francesca. An idea stirred.______
Two weeks later he had completed the manuscript of “The Bridges of Madison County.” It told the tale of Francesca, a 45-year-old Italian war bride on an Iowa farm whose life takes an unexpected turn when Robert Kincaid, 52, a free-spirited photographer, stops by one day to ask directions to the Roseman Covered Bridge. She is temporarily alone, her husband and two children away at the state fair.
Yet another obit: Singer Joni Sledge, 60 is reportedly dead. She was found dead at home.
Sledge and her sisters Debbie, Kim and Kathy formed the Sister Sledge in 1971 in Philadelphia, their hometown, but struggled for years before success came.
"The four of us had been in the music business for eight years and we were frustrated. We were saying: 'Well, maybe we should go to college and just become lawyers or something other than music, because it really is tough,'" Joni told The Guardian in an interview last year.
But then they met Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of the hit group Chic, and their breakout soon came. The pair wrote and produced their album "We Are Family," and soon the women had their first major hit with disco jam "The Greatest Dancer," which became a top 10 hit in May 1979. (It would sampled years later for Will Smith's hit "Getting Jiggy Wit It.")