Category Archives: Obit

Remembering Mac Davis, 1942-2020

Lost in the news this week is the death of Mac Davis Tuesday at 78. A songwriter (“I Believe in Music” who was hitmaker in his own right (“Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me”), he was even a movie star for a time in things like “North Dallas Forty” and “The Sting II.” But his […]

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Remembering Little Richard, 1932-2020

There was no doubting that excitable voice on the phone 25 years ago. He was coming around for a club gig in in New Haven, but it was much more than gig. “Knocking it loose like a goose gone to roost!” shouted the pioneering rock ’n’ roller Little Richard, who died Saturday at 87.  “Knocking […]

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Virus Takes Adam Schlesinger, 52

It’s clear COVID-19 will mow us all down, spiritually if not literally, decimating every aspect of life. The music world is already being cut down from every genre. I just saw Joe Diffie playing some agreeable country at my first visit to the Grand Old Opry in October; he’s dead of it at 61. Jazz […]

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Wisdom from Terrence McNally, 1938-2020

Theater suffered a loss this week when the playwright Terrence McNally died at 81, of complications of our current plague, the coronavirus. It was a sad irony since many of McNally’s plays dealt with the effects of a previous plague, AIDS, in the 1980s. His plays, musicals and screenplays, which included “Frankie and Johnny in […]

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Remembering Kenny Rogers, 1938-2020

I feel kind of bad now that I pressed Kenny Rogers a few years back on whether a tour he was calling “The Gambler’s Last Deal: Final World Tour” would actually be his last. Similar ventures by, say, Kiss, Cher and the Who over the past few years had not resulted in actual farewells. When […]

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Remembering Sleepy LaBeef, 1935-2019

Sleepy LaBeef, the rockabilly figure who played and toured for more than 60 years, died the day after Christmas. He was 84 and had played his last concert in September. One of the last rockabilly artists to be signed by Sun Records, LaBeef had an encyclopedic knowledge of American roots music, professing at one point […]

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Remembering Big Bird’s Caroll Spinney

Sad to hear about the death at 85 of Caroll Spinney, a puppeteer who gave joy to generations of kids who may have never heard his name. But they sure heard of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch too, both of whom Spinney gave life (and voice) to for 40 years. News of his death […]

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Remembering Ric Ocasek, 1944-2019

Sad to hear of the death of Ric Ocasek Sunday at 75. The man most widely known for his elegant electronic pop songs with The Cars may have been equally influential in rock for producing a number of important acts, from Suicide and Bad Brains to Jonathan Richman, Weezer and Guided by Voices. I had […]

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Remembering Daniel Johnston, 1961-2019

Sad to hear of the death of Daniel Johnston, the prolific and singular songwriter, whose mental difficulties seemed to bring honesty and and unfettered heartbreak to his music. That he died at 58 may not be a shock. He looked to his death many times in his odd career, posed genuflecting at a gravestone with […]

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Remembering Hal Blaine, 1929-2019

One of rock’s greatest timekeepers was stilled, as Hal Blaine died in Los Angeles Monday at age 90. A player on more than 350 Top 40 hits and 40 No. 1 records, Blaine was something of a hometown hero in Hartford, where I was working when I interviewed him in 2000, as he was about […]

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