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GREGORY CORNELL BELLAMY
March 8, 1949 ~ November 3, 2023 (age 74) 74 Years Old
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Blues guitarist extraordinaire Gregory "DC" Bellamy passed away on Friday, November 3, 2023. DC was born Chicago's West Side on March 8, 1949, to Grace Bellamy. He grew up in a household surrounded by musical talent. His half brother, the late Curtis Mayfield, would often hold rehearsals with the Impressions, in DC's family's living room.
At age nine, he got his first guitar as a Christmas gift and began playing by ear, singing and playing along with Elvis Presley’s recordings. Even though he was raised in Chicago, a home for the blues, Bellamy was fascinated with rock ‘n’ roll as he watched firsthand the success of Mayfield's group. Growing up on the West Side, it was hard to ignore the great abundance of blues talent in his own neighborhood, so by the time he was 14 or 15, everyone knew Bellamy was on his way to making a name for himself as a guitarist. Bellamy's mother, impressed by his earliest efforts at writing his own songs, took measures to ensure that he found people to help copyright his songs and put them into commercial format.
When he was 17, he followed the rising popularity of the Impressions, Jerry Butler, Lou Rawls, and other great vocalists. He was introduced to soul singer and pianist Betty Everett, whose career was clearly on the rise. After hearing a short demonstration of his guitar-playing skills, Everett hired Bellamy for her tour, which developed into a ten-year tenure accompanying Everett on her tours around the world. During times back home, Bellamy freelanced, accompanying the likes of Donny Hathaway, Gene Chandler, Brook Benton, The Staple Singers and others. Also back home, Bellamy began working with guitarist and singer Jimmy Reed, and the endless songwriting and guitar-playing possibilities of the art form began to blossom in his mind. His band became the house band at a, Chicago Club, Beale Street, after singer Bobby Rush left a long residency there. Bellamy's various bands worked Beale Street for eight years, and he had a chance to play with everyone in Chicago or passing through Chicago at that time, including Artie "Blues Boy" White, Otis Clay, Cicero Blake, Lefty Dizz, and Z.Z. Hill. During this period, he was continuously writing more of his own songs and working on developing his own distinctive vocal and guitar style.
DC Bellamy has received national recognition for his work including Billboard Magazine, and was also one of the featured performers at all of the Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festivals.
DC leaves to cherish his memory: his wife of 17 years Marcia, 2 children Rogi and Kasandra “Sam,” children he gained through marriage, Marshall, Gabriella, Russell and Marlena, 2 grandchildren Tyshon and Kaylee, 2 brothers Michael (preceded him in death) and Kenneth, 3 sisters Cynthia, Kendrea, Kim, along with a host of nieces, nephews and friends.