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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, January 20, 2018

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Dan Gurney, champion race car driverEdwin Hawkins, gospel singing starDolores O'Riordan, lead singer of Irish rock band The CranberriesMike Shanahan, former owner of St. Louis Blues hockey team

News and Entertainment

Dolores O'Riordan (46) singer whose powerful voice helped to make the Irish rock band The Cranberries a global success in the ‘90s. Their guitar-based sound had an alternative-rock edge at a time when grunge was storming the music scene. The band's songs—on which O'Riordan was chief lyricist and cosongwriter—had a Celtic-infused tunefulness. The band released five studio albums before splitting up in 2003; they reunited in '09. O’Riordan struggled with both physical and mental health problems. The Cranberries released the acoustic album Something Else in 2017 and had been due to tour Europe and North America, but the tour was cut short because O’Riordan was suffering from back problems. She died suddenly and unexpectedly at a hotel in London, England, where she was recording, on January 15, 2018.

Society and Religion

Edwin Hawkins (74) gospel star best known for the crossover hit “Oh Happy Day” and as a major force for contemporary inspirational music. Hawkins was credited as a founder of modern gospel music; he stood out for enjoying commercial success while still performing music that openly celebrated religious faith. An Oakland, Calif. native and one of eight siblings, Hawkins was a composer, keyboardist, arranger, and choir master. He had been performing with his family and in church groups since childhood and in his 20s helped to form the Northern California State Youth Choir. Their first album, Let Us Go into the House of the Lord, came out in 1968; radio stations in the San Francisco Bay Area began playing one of the album's eight tracks, “Oh Happy Day,” an 18th-century hymn arranged by Hawkins in call-and-response style. “Oh Happy Day,” featuring the vocals of Dorothy Combs Morrison, was released as a single credited to the Edwin Hawkins Singers and became a million-seller in 1969, showing there was a large market for gospel songs and for inspirational music during the turbulent era of the late ‘60s. He died of pancreatic cancer in Pleasanton, California on January 15, 2018.


Dan Gurney (86) first race car driver to win in Formula One, IndyCar, and NASCAR. Gurney began racing in 1955 and won in nearly every racing series he attempted. He drove for Ferrari, BRM, Porsche, and Brabham in Formula One, then formed his own team. He won the Belgian Grand Prix in 1967 in his own car, the first and only time an American won an F1 race in a car of his own design. Gurney teamed with A. J. Foyt that year to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Ford GT40 and was often credited with starting the tradition of spraying champagne from the podium at that race. He retired from driving in 1970 with 51 victories. He died of pneumonia in Newport Beach, California on January 14, 2018.

Mike Shanahan (78) owner of the St. Louis Blues from 1986–91 who oversaw the acquisition of Hall of Famer Brett Hull. After selling his ownership stake, Shanahan stayed on as team chairman until 1994 and the Blues aggressively sought out several National Hockey League stars during his time with the team. Hull came over in a trade with Calgary in 1988, and forward Adam Oates and goalie Curtis Joseph joined the team in ‘89. St. Louis signed defenseman Scott Stevens to a big contract in 1990, then lost him in arbitration in ‘91 as punishment for signing restricted free agent Brendan Shanahan away from New Jersey. Mike Shanahan died in St. Louis, Missouri on January 15, 2018.

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