1942 - 2007
Steven Millman Rappaport, a renowned musician, composer, author, and civil rights attorney, died peacefully of cardiac arrest while vacationing in Hawaii on July 4, 2007. He was 64 years old.
Born in Philadelphia, PA, to Stanley and Sybil Rappaport, Steven grew up in Villas, NJ. He attended George School in Bucks County, PA, obtained his BA from Brandeis University in 1964, and received graduate degrees from NYU Law School and Harvard University.
While at Brandeis, Rappaport and his cousins John Spirt and Robert Rappaport formed The Ran-Dells. Ã¢â‚¬Å"Martian Hop" was their first and best known single, charting as high as No. 16 on Billboard's Top 100 in 1963 and reaching No.1 in many countries overseas. Its success was attributed in large part to the innovative sounds cooked up by Steven in the recording studio; they caught the ear of the legendary Gerry Goffin, who passed the trio's tape on to producer Don Kirschner.
In the 1970s Steven changed direction and focused as an attorney on civil liberties, working as a public defender in Miami, Florida. His passion for music continued to grow, however, and as music began to merge with technology Steven became interested in electronic music. In 1982 his book, "The Complete Guide to Synthesizers," was adopted by many universities as the definitive text on the subject. In 1990 Steven founded Interactive Records. The company produced several CD-ROMs including The Book of Midi, So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star, which won a gold CINDY award for best Adult Education CD-ROM of 1992, and Radio Active.
In 2002 Steven retired to Eugene, Oregon with his wife and stepson. There he continued to play old rock and roll (often under the stage name Ace Luxo), host the chat/music website Let's Talk Oldies (letstalkoldies.com), make regular visits to his daughter and granddaughter in Portland, debate current events with friends, and live life to the fullest. He will be remembered as a kind, generous, playful, passionate, giving, loving man and will be greatly missed.
A memorial service will take place in Eugene, Oregon on August 4, 2007. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Published in New York Times from Jul. 31 to Aug. 1, 2007.