Rock And Roll Heaven – World Exclusive!

August 20, 2006

In 1971, When I was general professional manager of Warner Brothers music, the late Johnny Stevenson played me a song he just recorded, “Rock and Roll Heaven’. I thought the chorus was a smash, but didn’t care for anything else! I suggested that he collaborate with Alan O’Day (“Undercover Angel”, “Angie Baby”) and turn it into a tribute to Rock Stars who have passed away.

In 1974 the Righteous Brothers recorded it and took it to number one! Since then we’ve lost so many more of our heros that it was time for an update of the lyric. Alan O’Day worked on it for months, then he went to Nashville and made a demo with Ronny Kimball. I e-mailed a copy of the demo to my friend, director and producer, Sebastian Prooth for an opinion. This morning he surprised us with this brilliant video he made!

You can reach Sebastian Prooth at
You can reach Alan O’Day at
Artie Wayne

Of course, it was impossible to mention every Rock Star who has passed away in the song and the video, but I would like to start a list to honor as many as we can on this blog. I would like to begin with my friends Jim Croce and Bobby Darin, who were mentioned in the Righteous Brothers record. Then we have Bill Haley (Comets), Rick James, Marvin Gaye, Carl Perkins, Rick Nelson, Johnny Burnette, Dorsey Burnette, Sam Cooke, John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Keith Moon (The Who), Richie Valens, Luthor Vandross, Eddie Cochran, Wilson Picket, Tammi Tyrell, John Phillips (Mamas and Papas), Mama Cass (Mamas and Papas), Frankie Lyman, Peter Ham (Badfinger), Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Chas Chandler (The Animals), Mike Milward (The Fourmost), Stu Sutcliff, Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones), Keith Relf (The Yardbirds), James Jamerson, Dennis Wilson (Beach Boys), Carl Wilson (Beachboys), Big Mama Thornton, Bert Berns, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Blackwell, Ben Benay, Lowell George, Van McCoy, Floyd Cramer, Ersel Hickey, Bobby Sheen (Bobby Soxx and the Blue Jeans), Mickey Most, Jim Capaldi (Traffic), Gene Vincent, Tony Williams (The Platters), Joe Brown, John Lennon, George HarrisonJohnny Johnson, Ray Peterson, Janet Vogel (Skyliners) Jan Berry (Jan and Dean), Freddy Garrity (Freddie and the Dreamers), Eugene Record (Chi-Lites), Chuck Willis, The Big Bopper, Jimmy Radcliffe, Bill Orr (the Cars), Doris Troy, Joe Tex, Joe Simon, Duane Allman (Allman Brothers), Billy Preston, Joe Strummer (The Clash), Del Shannon, Barry Cowsill The Cowsills), Bill Cowsill (The Cowsills), Joey Ramone (Ramones), Stevie Ray Vaughn, Link Wray, David Blue, Danny Gatton, Zal Yanovsky (Lovin’ Spoonful), Phil Seymour, David Blue, Shel Silverstein, Graham Parsons, Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead), Bobby Fuller, King Curtis, Buddy Knox, Johnny Preston, Eddie Cochran, Kirsty MacColl, Jimmy Bailey, Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees), Richard Tee, Hank Ballard, Tony Romeo, Jessie Belvin, Ed Townsend, Sterling Morrison (Velvet Underground), Jackie Wilson, John Fred (Playboy Band), Hank Ballard, Bobby Hatfield (Righteous Brothers), April Young, Arthur Conley, Dick St. John (Dick And Dee Dee), Timi Yuro, Lou Rawls, Paul Atkinson (Zombies), Johnny Bristol, Francine Barker (Peaches and Herb)Maurice Gibb, Chris Curtis, Shirley Goodman (Shirley and Lee), Johnny Cymbal,The Duchess, Little Eva, Mickey Most, Billy Preston, Irving Green, Morris Levy, Nick Drake, Barry White, Laura Nyro, Frank Zappa, Barbara George, Arthr Lee, Baker Knight, Eddie Kendricks, Tony Jackson (Searchers), Link Wray, Kevin Gilbert, Michael Hutchence (INXS), Milan B. Williams (Commodores), Adam Faith, Johnny Wilder junior (Heatwave), Richard Barrett, Arthur Lee (Love), Syd Barrett (PInk Floyd) , Arthur Conley, Gene Pitney, Freddy Garrity (Freddie And The Dreamers), Shannon Hoon, Ray Peterson, Denny Doherty (Mamas And Papas), Bruce Gary (The Knack), Freddie Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers), Dennis Peyton (Dave Clark 5), Ruth Brown, Ahmet Ertegun, James Brown, Bill Pinkney (Drifters), Harry Nilsson, Dusty Springfield, Florence Ballard (Supremes), Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon), Barbara Acklin, Ron Miller, Donnie Brooks, Paul Griffin, David Ruffin, Freddy Scott, Hank Medress (Tokens), Dan Fogleberg, Ike Turner, Al Gallico, Mike Smith, Wilson Pickett, Bo Diddley, Norman Whitfield, Alan Gordon, Levi Stubbs ( 4 Tops) , Estelle Bennett (Ronettes)…

To view a RARE VIDEO OF BO DIDDLEY IN HIS PRIME!              

Copyright 2008 by Artie Wayne

If you have any names that you would like me to add to the list you can click onto comments (below) or e-mail me at You may submit up to three names to add to the list, which I will post.


49 Responses to “Rock And Roll Heaven – World Exclusive!”

  1. Mick Patrick Says:

    Nice work, guys.
    It’s important we remember.
    The good folk at S’pop do too:

    • I played and toured with Johnny Stevenson for 3 years back in ’84 -’87 and I was shocked when i saw “the late Johnny stevenson” on your website. Is it really true that johnny has since passed on? Please respond if you get this message.

  2. Dan Says:

    Hi there! Got here via a post on

    Joe Strummer

  3. harvey Says:

    Zal Yanovsky, Danny Gatton and Eddie Cochran

  4. Bobby Dees Says:

    A great idea! I have often wondered what became of some of those listed. Now I know. Can you remember where you were and what you were doing the day Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Richie Valens died? I can. Thanks for the memories.

  5. Becky Says:

    OK, I didn’t watch the video before posting the above. I saw John and George, and I was glad you remembered Freddy Mercury. But what about Jerry Garcia?

  6. kicks66 Says:

    Please don’t forget Bobby Fuller – #1 string king of the Southwest. Thanks!

  7. David Zimelis Says:

    While not huge stars, these folks were/are a huge influence on my musical life….
    R.I.P. Nick Drake, Kirsty MacColl, Laura Nyro

  8. Joe Nelson Says:

    Part of the frustration of being a music biz outsider is finding out that someone closer to the inside lived locally – when the past tense is triggered by an obituarty! Two locals (to me) that come to mind are songwriter Tony Romeo and Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground.

    More to come?
    (that didn’t come out right…)

  9. Joe Nelson Says:

    oh – and Frank Zappa 🙂

  10. george tobin Says:

    a very moving video.
    a great concept to keep those wonderful artists top of mind

  11. Brian Ibbott Says:

    Such a touching memorial to these legends. I’d love to see Michael Hutchence of INXS added to the list – one of my personal favorites.

    Not as well known but certainly an amazing talent is Kevin Gilbert, who fronted the band Toy Matinee as well as a solo career. His album, “The Shaming of the True” is one of the most recent concept albums (remember those?), and is worth picking up, even if you’ve never heard his music before.

    Artie, Alan, Ronnie and Sebastien should be commended for their work on this excellent and fitting tribute.

  12. I would just like to thank everyone for the continued support of Alan O’Day’s Rock and Roll Heaven, and my subsequent music video. Their comments of inspriation both on YouTube and here on the blogs are very apreciated.

    I hope it continues as it has already to remind us of the musical heroes that we have lost.

    I am glad I was able to show the stars the way you like to remember them. -Sebastian Prooth

  13. Alan O'Day Says:

    I’m very pleased to see that the combination of the song & the video has gotten such a wide response. I hope this will lead to a new release of this song, maybe even by the excellent vocalist who sang on the demo, Ronnie Kimball!


  14. Patti Dahlstrom Says:

    Wonderful video by Sebastian. Artie, you are doing a great job shining a light on talent living and dead. Thank you.

  15. Ed Salamon Says:

    Congratulations to Alan on a fine update of your classic song. It will never grow old as each generation honors their own heroes. Thanks to Artie for bringing the new recording and video to our attention.

  16. Todd Everett Says:

    This is one of those songs — like “Hillbilly Heaven” and “God Bless the U.S.A. — that shall never go out of date, because there’ll always be a reason to bring it back with new resonance.

    Of course, by the time you bring the list of stars up to now, the song will be 109 verses long!

  17. Ken Schaffer Says:

    I love this video (also another one, “America…” that Sebastian Prooth put up a few weeks ago). Looking fwd to more from hi – and great to see Alan O’Day still cooking… thanks Artie Wayne – my ear has gone tinny (tininitus) – but it’s great to see this stuff.

    Hell, am I getting nostalgic or is it just easy to make me cry..?

  18. Artie, you have some beautiful and moving tributes here; thank you. You remind us of so many who have come and passed too early – some we may have even forgotten about without meaning to – and some who are dying now of “natural causes.” Some of us seem to be coming around to that age physically ourselves, but, as you prove by you enthusiasm, my friend, rock & roll will always keep us young in spirit, even if we’ll have to keep the beat with our rocking chairs!

    Keep up the good work and the good vibes – and the good video!

    Country Paul

  19. Cool video Artie, where do ya come up with these great ideas????. I keep your site in my favorites, and visit it at least once a day!!!. I would like to add Milan B Williams, (Commodores) and Johnnie Wilder Jr, (Heatwave). Thanks Artie, J.D. Nicholas, Commodores.

  20. Laura Pinto Says:

    Artie … how ya doing? Thank you so much for these moving tributes and for the absolutely brilliant video – I can’t say enough good things about it. We are very fortunate that many of rock and roll’s pioneers are still alive and well even though the genre was first born more than 50 years ago; however, it’s important to take the time to remember those who left us, especially the ones who left much too soon. The fantastic “Rock and Roll Heaven” video accomplishes that and so much more. I think you should make these tributes, and the video, a permanent part of your website. Thanks for sharing!


  21. Billy wilder Says:


  22. barry oslander Says:

    Artie this video is very well done and hopefully some major company will pick it up. What a wonderful songs for Taylor Hicks….sounds as if wrtittten for him.
    Warmest and best,
    Barry O

  23. barry oslander Says:

    Has Tony O heard the Heaven song, I think it would help him get back to where he belongs, high on the charts. Tony, this is just what you need, go make a hit again… Dennis Lambert both of you could produce a smash.
    Barry O

  24. […] To see Sebastian Prooths video for “Rock And Roll Heaven” featuring John Lennon click For Sebastian Prooth himself Posted by Artie Wayne Filed in Uncategorized, John Lennon, yoko ono, Artie Wayne, morris levy, ron haffkine, shadow mann, sissy spacek, rainbo, dr.hook, brooks arthur, two virgins, john you went too far this time […]

  25. Artie Wayne Says:

    I just heard that Rock and Roll Heaven is in the running for the Vloggies! The Vloggies are an award ceremony for online videos. The categories this video is up for nomination in are: “Editing in a Video”, “Best Original Music”and “Experimental video”
    You can vote at – Vote for all three and we might just take home and award!

    Good luck to Alan O’Day for his inspiring update of his classic song and to Sebastian Prooth for his brilliant video!

    Artie Wayne

  26. […] Kelly Clarkson is alive and well although she appears in the video, “Rock and Roll Heaven” which is a tribute to dead rock stars. just click onto […]

  27. the true believer Says:

    Mmy my there seems to be a missing comment, how strange. Why are you being so biased about this? Is there no room for any REAL views on this video? Or just the ones you like to keep in that suck up to it? Good to know censorship is going strong on this site.

  28. Tony Pacino Says:

    Great tune … the original recording was done by Sonny Geraci and Climax in 1973 on Marc Gordon’s Rocky Road label. At the time, Johnny Stevenson was with Climax.

  29. Jen Henbest Says:

    Well I don’t have anyone to add but I would like to day that it is fun seeing my old friend Johnny Steveson mentioned in the article. Johnny and I played a lot of music together in the early 80s in Vegas. We had lost touch and I wasn’t aware that he had passed away until about a year ago.

  30. […] Posted by Artie Wayne Filed in inside look at clive davis, clive davis most powerful man in the music business, Uncategorized […]

  31. CHRIS Says:


  32. CHRIS Says:

    Missed A Couple Sorry BUDDY HOLLY And FREDDIE MECURY

  33. clubpenguin1994 Says:

    the best music is at

  34. Chuck Girard Says:

    Donnie Brooks (Mission Bell)

  35. Don Says:

    Freddy Scott
    Dusty Springfield
    Barbara Acklin
    Denny Doherty
    Eddie Kendrix
    Shannon Hoon

  36. al kooper Says:

    paul griffin!!!
    david ruffin
    freddie scott

  37. Rima Says:

    Dusty Springfield
    Florence Ballard

  38. Sandy Miller Says:

    Mary Wells, Danny Williams, Buck Owens

  39. I always feel a jolt when I read about the death of my former singing partner, Dick St. John (Dick and Dee Dee). It’s hard to believe he’s gone, especially because he was so much bigger than life.
    I’ve written a book about singing with Dick (Vinyl Highway), released in Sept. 2007. After going to some Doo Wop Concerts and talking to fans, I’ve decided to bring back the Dick and Dee Dee songs of the Sixties by singing live again. My new partner is an actor/singer from Los Angeles. We’re singing as Dick and Dee Dee, Featuring the original Dee Dee (Sperling) Phelps and Michael Dunn.
    To see vintage videos of the act, click on the video link on the tool bar to the left of the home page at
    Best Wishes,
    Dee Dee Phelps

  40. Jennifer Says:

    I’m very pleased to see that the combination of the song & the video has gotten such a wide response. I hope this will lead to a new release of this song, maybe even by the excellent vocalist who sang on the demo, Ronnie Kimball!

  41. LynneC Says:

    Just found ur post. I knew John in the ’80’s. He was playing lounges in Vegas & riffing with a reformed Spanky & our gang. Ur reference to the “late” Johnny Stevenson tells me why I have never been able to find him can u tell me when & where he passed??? I remember him as a very talented but tortured soul.

  42. Kathy Says:

    Thanks for the memories — now I have to be part of this site! How wonderful this was — I’m sharing with everyone!

  43. autocraft Says:

    The original recording was done by Sonny Geraci and Climax in 1973 on Marc Gordon’s Rocky Road label

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