Category Archives: Obit

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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Steely Dan’s Walter Becker (1950-2017)

One of the charms of Walter Becker, the Steely Dan co founder who died Sunday at 67, is that he looked less like a rock star and more like the rest of us. Professorial in look, he brought a jazz sensibility to pop with the band he formed with Donald Fegan, who Sunday called Becker [...]

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Remembering Jerry Lewis, 1926-2017

Dying Sunday at 91, two weeks before another Labor Day, Jerry Lewis was spared watching another Muscular Dystrophy Telethon without him. Lewis, who helped create the annual event, had been discarded around 2011 after raising $1.5 billion and creating a cultural event that tied old vaudeville to new style fundraising and schmaltz. And while many [...]

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Glen Campbell, 1936-2017

Though we knew it was coming, it was sad to hear of the death of Glen Campbell at 81. His long bout with Alzheimer’s was brilliantly depicted in the sometimes painful 2014 film “I’ll Be Me,” which millions saw through replay on CNN (when that network had the luxury to show documentaries). Campbell began as [...]

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Remembering Adam West, Best Batman

For the number of actors who have donned the cape to become increasingly more dark Dark Knights in recent decades, the most iconic Batman was the one on TV in the 1960s. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the start of my favorite “Batman,” which succeeded in part because of the charm and good [...]

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How Gregg Allman Came to Sing

The death of Gregg Allman at 69 Saturday brings to four the number of original members of the Allman Brothers Band now gone. From the earliest recordings in 1970, his big brother Duane Allman (who died in 1971) might have been the star guitarist of the band, but it was Gregg who handled the craggy [...]

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Remembering Chuck Berry, 1926-2017

Other than Elvis, the number of rock ’n’ roll pioneers that have been still among us all these years is pretty impressive, with Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino still drawing breath. That ended Saturday for the man to whom rock ’n’ roll is closest linked when Chuck Berry,  died at 90. The [...]

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Remembering Leon Russell, 1942-2016

The sad march of death of influential rock ’n’ roll figures continues with the death of Leon Russell on Sunday at 74. Most prominent in the spectacular “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour of Joe Cocker and musical director at George Harrison’s Bangladesh benefit concert, his roots stretch back to pop songs in the 60s, when [...]

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Remembering Candye Kane, 1965-2016

The year took another musician Friday as Candye Kane, the big blues singer died at 50, following a long bout with pancreatic cancer. The singer, who released dozens of albums and racked up a number of Blues Music Award nominations over the years, first announced her cancer in 2008 and was thought to have beaten [...]

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Remembering Prince, 1958-2016

The pillars of popular music continue to fall with shocking crashes this year. In a death-filled year that began with Bowie, now comes word of the death of Prince at only 57. Like Bowie and very few others who came to the fore in the last three decades, Prince was an influential force in music [...]

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