Prolific writer of soul, rock, blues tunes
George Jackson, 68, a songwriter whose credits include "Old Time Rock and Roll" and hundreds of other soul, rock, and rhythm and blues tunes, died Sunday at his Mississippi home, said Thomas Couch Sr., board chairman of Malaco Records. Jackson had been sick with cancer for about a year.
A native of Greenville, Miss., Jackson was writing songs by the time he was in his teens. It was Ike Turner who brought Jackson to New Orleans R&B pioneer Cosimo Matassa's studio, where he recorded his first song in 1963.
Jackson recorded dozens of singles in the 1960s, but made his mark as a writer in the middle of the decade, beginning with Fame Studios. He later was a songwriter for Muscle Shoals Sound Studios and Malaco.
The Osmonds recorded Jackson's "One Bad Apple" in 1970, taking it to No. 1 the next year. Jackson and Thomas Jones III wrote "Old Time Rock and Roll," which Bob Seger recorded in 1978. Seger later claimed some credit for the song made famous when Tom Cruise lip-synched to it in the 1983 film "Risky Business."
Besides Seger, the Osmonds and Ike and Tina Turner, Jackson's songs were also recorded by James Brown, Wilson Pickett and Clarence Carter. In the 1980s, Jackson wrote "Down Home Blues" for Z.Z. Hill, a song which was a keystone for Malaco. The Mississippi label is a storehouse of soul, rhythm and blues and gospel music.
Sir Colin Davis
Principal conductor of London Symphony
Sir Colin Davis, 85, the former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and one of Britain's elder statesmen of classical music, died Sunday after a short illness, the orchestra said.
Davis first conducted the orchestra in 1959 and was the principal conductor from 1995 until 2006, when he became president of the organization.
Associated in particular with the works of Mozart, Sibelius and Berlioz, Davis won three Grammy Awards — two in 2002 for the orchestra's recording of the opera "Les Troyens" by Berlioz, and one for Verdi's "Falstaff" four years later.
Colin Rex Davis was born in the southern England town of Weybridge on Sept. 25, 1927, one of seven children of a bank clerk. His parents were music enthusiasts but did not play instruments. He learned to play clarinet as a child and knew at a young age that he wanted to be a conductor.
He studied at the Royal College of Music before spending his compulsory military service from 1946 to '48 as a clarinetist with the band of the Household Cavalry. Because he did not play piano, he was denied a place in the music college's conducting class, and initially he struggled to find conducting work.
But after filling in to acclaim for Otto Klemperer at the Royal Festival Hall in 1959, his career took off.
Apart from his long association with the London Symphony Orchestra, Davis spent periods as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony and music director of the Royal Opera House, and worked with ensembles around the world, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1967 with soloist Isaac Stern.
In 2007, he told the BBC that music helped stave off thoughts of death.
"Every time you give a concert, time is suspended: You're mastering it; time is not the enemy," he said. "It doesn't put off death, unfortunately, but it gives you a very good time while you're still alive."
-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports