Sunday, March 29
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Tag: obituaries

Remembering Al Davis (1929 – 2011)

Remembering Al Davis (1929 – 2011)

People, Sports
You need to know two things about me to get some context for this post. One, I've been an Oakland Raiders fan for just about 30 years, which means I've seen some sweet highs and a lot of dismal lows. Two, I am not a professional journalist and so I haven't had an Al Davis tribute ready to go for years -- which means these are my unedited, unprepared thoughts about the man in the minutes immediately after I heard about his death at age 82. I'm sure there are other articles and tributes that can properly frame Al Davis's legacy in a way I can't, but it needs to be said -- if you have even a passing interest in the National Football League, take five seconds right now and thank Al Davis. He, along with men like Wellington Mara, Pete Rozelle, and Lamar Hunt, was one of the titans of profess...
Listening booth — RIP Jani Lane of Warrant

Listening booth — RIP Jani Lane of Warrant

Listening Booth, Music
Today brings sad news for hard rock and metal fans around the world, as Jani Lane -- lead singer of Warrant during their most successful period -- was found dead yesterday in a Woodland Hills, California hotel room at age 47. In addition to serving as Warrant's lead vocalist, Lane wrote the band's most popular songs, including "Heaven," "Down Boys," "Sometimes She Cries," "I Saw Red," and "Cherry Pie." I'll admit that I was never a huge Warrant fan back in the day, but Lane was a very good vocalist and seems to have been a genuinely good -- albeit troubled -- person. So let's remember Lane in happier days with a few classic Warrant cuts. "Down Boys" "Cherry Pie" "Uncle Tom's Cabin" Related articles Warrant's Jani Lane dead at 47 (brooklynvegan.com) Hollywood reacts to...
So long, Hightower

So long, Hightower

People
NFL and movie great Charles Aaron "Bubba" Smith, who has died at age 66, is now free to crush quarterbacks and Honda Civics in heaven. Let's take a look at some of his most memorable work, both in the NFL and in his post-football career. Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment Until It Hurts (Bubba's exercise video) Married... with Children (Al Bundy vs. Spare Tire Dixon) Baltimore Colts vs. Oakland Raiders (AFC Championship -- January 3, 1971) Smith (#78) knocked Raiders starting QB Daryle Lamonica out of the game (skip to the hit), and the Colts went on to a 27-17 victory. They advanced to Super Bowl V and beat the Dallas Cowboys, 16-13. Incidentally, it's a proven fact that hits in the NFL are twice as vicious when narrated by John Facenda. Related articles Bubba ...
Remembering the Big Man, Clarence Clemons

Remembering the Big Man, Clarence Clemons

Music, People
As an adult, early childhood memories often seem like a blurry haze, but there are always a few that hang around.  When I was 3 years old I was fascinated with my parents’ turntable.  Any chance I got I would fiddle around with it, either playing their albums or one of my many Sesame Street records.  Music made me feel alive and I know my lifelong passion for it started then. One of the albums that I literally wore out was Born to Run.  I played that over and over again, until my parents were forced to buy me my own turntable, and another unscratched copy for themselves.  I scribbled on the cover over Bruce and Clarence and memorized the lyrics, even though I was far too young to understand them.  Before I even knew why, I fell deeply in love with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Sunday Jazz: Remembering Hank Jones

Sunday Jazz: Remembering Hank Jones

Music, Sunday Jazz
It's been just over a year since jazz piano great Hank Jones died at the ripe old age of 91. As I've opined before on this site, Jones is probably the one musician most responsible for making me love jazz. So it's only appropriate this weekend to remember the Jazz Master, Hank Jones. This is a video about Hank compiled for his memorial service in June of last year. I encourage you to watch it, and then seek out some of his voluminous and always entertaining music. Related articles The Weekly Mixtape: 3/4/11 (Five-star jazz) (popdose.com) The Reading Party: Urbanity (slog.thestranger.com)
Farewell, Corporal Buckles

Farewell, Corporal Buckles

History, People
America's last living link with World War I is gone. Frank Buckles, the oldest remaining U.S. veteran of the Great War, died yesterday at age 110. Buckles was one of only three remaining veterans of WWI throughout the world. Buckles, born in 1901, enlisted with the U.S. Army in August 1917 after being turned down by the Marine Corps and the Navy. He was only 16 years old but, like many of his era, lied about his age in order to serve his country. In fact, after being rejected by recruiters in his native Kansas, Buckles traveled to Oklahoma City and kept at it until the Army agreed to take him. He was one of more than 4.7 million Americans to sail to Europe as part of the American Expeditionary Forces. Buckles joined the First Fort Riley Casual Detachment and shipped out for England i...
Listening booth – “We Have All the Time in the World”

Listening booth – “We Have All the Time in the World”

Listening Booth, Music
Yesterday we lost one of the great composers of the 20th century.  John Barry, best known to me and millions of others as the man behind so many timeless film soundtracks, died at age 77.  Barry won five Oscars for his work, including Dances With Wolves and Midnight Cowboy, but it is his scores for 11 James Bond movies that I love the most. Here's probably my favorite Barry composition, from 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  It's the immortal Louis Armstrong performing "We Have All the Time in the World," the love theme from the sole George Lazenby 007 film. Related articles Bond composer John Barry dies (telegraph.co.uk) John Barry, RIP (brooklynvegan.com)
Listening booth – Eddie Fisher, 1928-2010

Listening booth – Eddie Fisher, 1928-2010

Listening Booth
One of the greatest, albeit lesser remembered, voices of pop was silenced this week when Eddie Fisher died on Wednesday.  He was 82 years old.  In addition to his high-profile marriages to Debbie Reynolds (with whom he had two children, one of them Carrie Fisher), Liz Taylor, and Connie Stevens, Fisher had a ridiculous run of chart success through most of the 1950s. He had seventeen songs in the Top 10 between 1950 and 1956 and 35 in the Top 40.  That seems like a lot to me. Fisher specialized in the top of sweet, symphonic pop music that was soon to be eclipsed by rock and roll.  He had his last Top 10 hit in 1956 and in 1960 was dropped from his label, RCA Victor.  By 1967 he was off the charts for good, but that in no way diminished the huge successes he achieved. So as a small t