Category Archives: Obit

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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Remembering Peter Tork, 1942-2019

Much of what we know about Peter Tork, who died Thursday at 77, is based on the character he was cast for in 1966 on “The Monkees.” There, he played the dim member, the bassist, with a blissful, childlike look in his eye as the made-for-TV band got into capers each week, even as its [...]

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Aretha Franklin’s ‘Amazing Grace’

Here’s something I wrote in May, 1999, upon the reissue of the 1972 “Amazing Grace” album by Aretha Franklin, who died Thursday at 76.    It should have been the most natural thing on Earth when Aretha Franklin entered the Los Angeles New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in January 1972 at the age of 29 [...]

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Remembering Aretha Franklin, 1942-2018

The decline and hospice of Aretha Franklin over the past days still didn’t prepare for the loss of her death Thursday at 76. For decades the undisputed Queen of Soul, the daughter of a Detroit pastor, helped define soul with a voice that exuded joy, pain and power like no one else. I was lucky [...]

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Remembering Philip Roth, 1933-2018

Sad to hear of the passing of one of America’s greatest writers, Philip Roth, who died Tuesday at 85. He was certainly one of my favorites and it was great honor when I had an opportunity five years ago to ask him a couple of questions. He was doing some promotion, oddly enough, for a [...]

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Remembering Dolores O’Riordan

It was shocking to hear today of the death of Dolores O’Riordan, the memorable vocalist for the Irish band The Cranberries. She was only 46. The last time I had spoken to her, in a 1999 interview amid a summer Cranberries tour, she had talked about how difficult it was in the band — at [...]

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When David Cassidy Met Donald Trump

The last time I talked to David Cassidy, the forever young teen idol who died this week at 67, we chatted a bit about the unlikely guy who would become President. At the time, Donald Trump was the Republican frontrunner in the primaries and known mostly to Cassidy as the guy who fired him on [...]

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Death of a Terrible Rocker

The death of Charlie Manson this week reminds me of the thwarted artist theory that may have triggered his mania in the first place. Just as Hitler may have been a failed painter who got his revenge on Vienna, Manson may have had his murderous minors storm the mansion where Sharon Tate lived because he [...]

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