Category Archives: Obit

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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Thinking About Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard died on his 79th birthday Wednesday and his familiar voice isn’t making me feel much better on the stereo, as he sings “Are The Good Times Really Over?” Haggard’s long career netted dozens of country hits and lots of appreciation from fans. It also kept him on the road for years and years [...]

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Remembering Paul Kantner, 1941-2016

My indelible image of Paul Kantner, the bespectacled, bookish co-pilot behind rock’s psychedelic Jefferson Airplane, who died Thursday at 74, was not in the footage from Woodstock or Altamont or even the great playing on the 1968 live album “Bless Its Pointed Little Head.” It was at a restaurant lounge in suburban Avon, Connecticut in [...]

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Remembering David Bowie, 1947-2016

David Bowie has been such a vital figure in the culture for so long, it was impossible for a moment to believe that he had actually died Sunday at 69 of cancer. Only Friday, his 69th birthday, he had released his 27th album, a hailed, complex work that was heralded with its title track a [...]

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Remembering Natalie Cole, 1950-2015

Natalie Cole, who died New Year’s Eve at 65, had a solid R&B career going before she decided to get into the kind of standards popularized by her famous father, Nat “King” Cole. It was an album of such songs that included a made-in-the-studio duet that made her a superstar. “I had been doing `Unforgettable’ [...]

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Remembering B.B. King, 1925-2015

B.B. King, who died Thursday at 89, was the man who made you feel good with the blues, with a distinctive and influential guitar style, powerfully soulful voice and gentle nature, he played hundreds of shows a year well into his old age and spanned the music form from the cotton fields to Memphis (where [...]

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Cry If You Want To: Leslie Gore, 1946-2015

One of the strong female voices in rock ’n’ roll came out of a teenager in Tenafly, N.J., whose very first hit was the anthem “It’s My Party.” “I was a junior in high school,” she told me in an interview in 2000. She died Monday in New York of lung cancer at 68. Her [...]

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Remembering Edward Herrmann

Hearing about the death today of Edward Herrmann at 71, I imagined a slow moving funeral procession, a flag draped coffin on a caisson pulled by a team of horses. But I was thinking of the funeral of FDR, who Herrmann portrayed repeatedly in his career, most recently for Ken Burns’ documentary series “The Roosevelts.” [...]

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