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Obituaries: Dickie Peterson, Brendan Mullen, Stephen Gately

October 13, 2009 11:52 AM ET

  • Blue Cheer bassist-singer Dickie Peterson died yesterday in Germany after developing an infection following surgery to treat prostate and liver cancer, Blabbermouth reports. Peterson, 61 (pictured above) was a founding member of the hard-rock trio whose debut Vincebus Eruptum remains a heavy-metal landmark.

  • Brendan Mullen, a pioneer behind the scenes of the Los Angeles punk scene, passed away from a sudden stroke Monday in L.A., Variety reports. Mullen founded legendary club the Masque in 1977, where the Germs and X performed legendary gigs; he later became a booker at Club Lingerie and co-wrote We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk. His final book was the Jane's Addiction oral history Whores, which was published in 2005.
  • Stephen Gately of Irish boy band Boyzone died unexpectedly while on vacation with his boyfriend in Majorca, ABC News reports. Gately, 33, suffered a buildup of fluid in his lungs that led to respiratory failure.

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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