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Jerry Lawson, who for four decades was the lead singer of the eclectic cult-favorite a cappella group the Persuasions, has died. He was 75. Lawson died Wednesday at a Phoenix hospice after a long illness, longtime friend and sometime Persuasions producer Rip Rense said.

Lawson's smooth baritone led the group of five and later six singers, who were revered as the "The Kings of a Cappella" by their small but devoted fan base. Through 25 albums the Persuasions recorded rock, blues, gospel and pop songs, all with no sound other than their own voices, long after the doo-wop era and long before the "Pitch Perfect" movies, when a cappella was rare. -Andrew Dalton

The Persuasions accompanied Joni on her 1979 tour, doing an opening set, then being brought back to join Joni on "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" and "Shadows and Light".

In October of 1967, Buffy Sainte Marie urged a young talent scout from the Chartoff-Winkler Agency to come listen to Joni perform at the Cafe Au Go Go in New York City. Smitten immediately with her talent, the young man pitched being Joni's manager. "I don't need a manager, I'm doing quite nicely", Joni replied.

But he was a funny man, Joni enjoyed his humor, and before long he was managing Joni's career. And it was just a few months later, in March of 1968, that Elliot Roberts negotiated Joni's first record contract with Reprise Records.

Elliot managed Joni until 1985, and had just recently begun doing so again. A true legend in the music industry, Roberts also landed a record deal for Neil Young, co-managed CSN&Y, conceived the idea of Tom Petty backing Bob Dylan in the 1980s and helped launch the careers of Tracy Chapman and the Cars.

Born Elliot Rabinowitz on February 25th, 1943, Roberts was raised in the Bronx and initially hoped for a basketball career before turning to music. Elliot died this morning at age 76.

Malcolm John Rebennack Jr., known around the world as Dr. John, initially aspired to be a professional songwriter, producer and sideman. He wanted to work behind the scenes, not out front. But after assuming the persona of Dr. John the Night Tripper in the late 1960s, Rebennack was behind the scenes no more.

His idiosyncratic style and sound – the gravelly growl, the sly, deceptively leisurely phrasing, the original hipster patois, the hybrid Big Easy piano – embodied New Orleans and its music. Rebennack, an icon of the city who remained an active creative force until he abruptly disappeared from public view 18 months ago, died Thursday of a heart attack after years of declining health. He was 77. -Keith Spera

Joni and Dr. John appeared on the same stage at the legendary Last Waltz concert in 1976. And, on her 35th birthday Joni attended a Dr. John concert at the Bottom Line in NYC (pictured), in which he sang happy birthday to her from the stage.

play Dr John sings to Joni

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8 Upcoming Tributes and Events

Do you know of a Joni-related event we've not listed here? Email the information to us and we'll post it here. You can also request our official Facebook page to co-host the event, and we'll pick up the info there.

Born in New York to Korean and German parents, Hannah first sang publicly at age 2, began playing piano at age 5 and joined rock bands as a young teen. She worked with teachers from the Juilliard School as a teen; her focus on Classical music led to numerous piano recitals and learning to arrange and compose instrumental music. She has performed internationally since her teenage years when she was both lead singer for the punk band "Kikigurushii" in Kyoto, Japan and concert pianist in the United States.More information here.

FEINSTEIN'S/54 BELOW, Broadway's Supper Club, presents Lauren Fox in The Evolution of Joni Mitchell on Friday, September 13th at 9:30pm. David Yaffe joins Lauren in telling the stories behind songs, including, "Both Sides Now," Big Yellow Taxi," "Woodstock," "Blue," "Free Man in Paris," "Hejira," and "Turbulent Indigo."

Lauren had the honor of singing Joni Mitchell's songs at the book release for David Yaffe's new, definitive biography, Reckless Daughter, while David Read excerpts from his book. That evening was the inspiration for this show about Joni's evolving artistry. Lauren will be joined by longtime friend and collaborator, Peter Calo, on guitar, and Ritt Henn on bass.

Lauren Fox in The Evolution of Joni Mitchell plays Feinstein's/54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on September 13th. There is a $40 cover charge and $25 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at www.54Below.com. Tickets on the day of performance after 4:00 are only available by calling (646) 476-3551. More information here.

The Court and Spark show will take you on a musical journey that will probably mirror your own journey through life, from Ladies of the Canyon, Clouds, For the Roses, Blue and Court and Spark, to the cool, evocative sounds of Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira, Mingus and Turbulent Indigo. More information here.

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