Obituary

Glen Campbell dead at 81

Country music icon Glen Campbell has died at the age of 81. His family announced, “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease.” The star’s publicist confirmed that he died Tuesday morning in Nashville. The legend behind hits including “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” recently released his final studio album. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six years ago. He won five Grammys, sold more than 45 million records, had 12 gold albums and 75 chart hits, including No. 1 songs with “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights.” His performance of the title song from “True Grit,” a 1969 release in which he played a Texas Ranger alongside Oscar winner John Wayne, received an Academy Award nomination. He twice won album of the year awards from the Academy of Country Music and was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Seven years later, he received a Grammy for lifetime achievement. He released more than 70 of his own albums, and in the 1990s recorded a series of gospel CDs. A 2011 farewell album, “Ghost On the Canvas,” included contributions from Jacob Dylan, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick and Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins. “Glen’s abilities to play, sing and remember songs began to rapidly decline after his diagnosis in 2011,” the singer’s wife Kim Campbell said in a press release in April. “A feeling of urgency grew to get him into the studio one last time to capture what magic was left. It was now or never.” Campbell revealed he had Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, but he went on to record two albums and play more than 150 concerts. At the time, Kim Campbell said the tour was a way to help her husband combat the brain-ravaging disease and spend time with family members who made up his band and traveled with him. He also starred in a documentary about life with Alzheimer’s, “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.” He won a Grammy for his song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” which plays at the conclusion of the documentary. The song also was nominated for a 2015 Oscar. His wife revealed in March that the singer could no longer play guitar or sing.

We’re very sorry to hear about Glen’s passing.  He was truly a legend and an iconic part of American pop culture.  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.  Thanks for the tunes, Glen.  R.I.P.

Joan Lee, wife of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, dies at age 93

The wife of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee died Thursday at age 93. Lee and his family released a statement saying Joan Lee died peacefully Thursday morning. The couple had been married 69 years. Lee’s longtime publicist Dawn Miller confirmed the statement’s authenticity when contacted by The Associated Press. No additional details were provided, and the statement requested privacy. Stan Lee co-created numerous Marvel Comics superheroes including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported Joan Lee’s death, recounted the couple’s first meeting in a story last year. It said Lee met his future wife while trying to meet another woman for a date in New York. The couple was married in December 1947 and had two daughters, one of whom died days after being born. The 94-year-old Lee has credited his wife with supporting him early in his career, when he was trying to create superheroes that he and others could care about.

Was sorry to hear this the other day..  Joan certainly lived a full and long life.  We send our prayers to Stan and the rest of the Lee family.  R.I.P., Joan.

Adam West, TV’s ‘Batman,’ dies at 88 after battle with leukemia, family says

Actor Adam West, famous for his straight-faced portrayal of the Caped Crusader in the 1960s “Batman” TV series, has died at 88, his family said Saturday on social media. West died Friday night “after a short but brave battle with leukemia,” the family statement on Facebook said. “It’s with great sadness that we are sharing this news,” the family said. “He was a beloved father, husband, grandfather, and great-grandfather. There are no words to describe how much we’ll miss him.” West played the superhero straight for kids and funny for adults. He initially chaffed at being typecast after “Batman” went off the air after three seasons, but in later years admitted he was pleased to have had a role in kicking off a big-budget film franchise by showing the character’s wide appeal. I’m delighted because my character became iconic and has opened a lot of doors in other ways, too,” he told The Associated Press in 2014. “He was bright, witty and fun to work with,” Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman to West’s Batman, said in a statement Saturday. “I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity.” Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington, he moved to Seattle at age 15 with his mother after his parents divorced. He graduated from Whitman College, a private liberal arts school, in Walla Walla. After serving in the Army, he went to Hollywood and changed his name to Adam West, and began appearing on a number of television series, including “Bonanza,” “Perry Mason” and “Bewitched.” In April 2012, West received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Most recently he did the voice of nutty Mayor Adam West in the long-running “Family Guy” series. And in February 2016, West made an appearance on the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory’s” 200th episode, which marked the 50th anniversary of “Batman.” West was married three times, and had six children. He had homes in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, but he and his wife, Marcelle, spent most of their time at their ranch near Sun Valley, Idaho.

So very sad to hear about this earlier today!!  As a kid I grew up watching re-runs of Batman.  For more of this story, click on the text above.  Thanks for the wonderful, fun memories, Adam!  R.I.P.

Gregg Allman dead: Singer, organist for The Allman Brothers Band was 69

Gregg Allman, the legendary frontman of The Allman Brothers, died Saturday, a publicist said. He was 69. Allman died at his home in Savannah, Georgia, publicist Ken Weinstein said. A statement on the singer’s website said he “passed away peacefully.” Allman, who is credited with spawning the Southern rock movement, cancelled some of his 2016 tour dates after announcing in August that he was “under his doctor’s care at the Mayo Clinic” due to “serious health issues.” Later that year, he canceled more dates citing a throat injury. And in March 2017, he canceled performances for the rest of the year. “Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans essential medicine for his soul,” a statement on Allman’s website said. “Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.” The Nashville rocker, known for his long blond hair, was raised in Florida by a single mother after his father was shot to death. He idolized his older brother Duane, eventually joining a series of bands with him before finally creating the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band. The original band featured extended jams, tight guitar harmonies by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, rhythms from a pair of drummers and the smoky blues inflected voice of Gregg Allman. Songs such as “Whipping Post,” ”Ramblin’ Man” and “Midnight Rider,” helped define what came to be known as Southern rock and opened the doors for such stars as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band. In his 2012 memoir, “My Cross to Bear,” Allman described how Duane was a central figure in his life in the years after their father was murdered by a man he met in a bar. The two boys endured a spell in a military school before being swept up in rock music in their teens. Although Gregg was the first to pick up a guitar, it was Duane who excelled at it. So Gregg later switched to the organ. They failed to crack success until they formed The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. Based in Macon, Georgia, the group featured Betts, drummers Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and Butch Trucks and bassist Berry Oakley. They partied to excess while defining a sound that still excites millions. Their self-titled debut album came out in 1969, but it was their seminal live album “At Fillmore East” in 1971 that catapulted the band to stardom. While Duane Allman quickly started to ascend into the pantheon of great guitarists, tragedy struck. He was killed in a motorcycle accident in October 1971, months after recording the Fillmore shows. Another motorcycle accident the following year claimed Oakley’s life. In a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, Gregg Allman said Duane remained on his mind every day. Once in a while, he could even feel his presence. “I can tell when he’s there, man,” Allman said. “I’m not going to get all cosmic on you. But listen, he’s there.” The 1970s brought more highly publicized turmoil: Allman was compelled to testify in a drug case against a former road manager for the band and his marriage to the actress and singer Cher was short-lived even by show business standards. In 1975, Cher and Allman married three days after she divorced her husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono. Their marriage was tumultuous from the start; Cher requested a divorce just nine days after their Las Vegas wedding, although she dismissed the suit a month later. Together they released a widely panned duets album under the name “Allman and Woman.” They had one child together, Elijah Blue, and Cher filed for legal separation in 1977. The Allman Brothers Band likewise split up in the 1980s and then re-formed several times over the years. A changing cast of players has included Derek Trucks, nephew of original drummer Butch Trucks, as well as guitarist Warren Haynes. Starting in 1990, more than 20 years after its founding, the reunited band began releasing new music and found a new audience. In 1995 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Award for best rock instrumental performance for “Jessica” the following year. In 2000, Betts was ousted from the band via fax for alleged substance abuse and poor performance and he hasn’t played with the band since. Butch Trucks died in January 2017. Authorities said he shot himself in front of his wife at their Florida home. In his memoir, Allman said he spent years overindulging in women, drugs and alcohol before getting sober in the mid-1990s. He said that after getting sober, he felt “brand new” at the age of 50. “I never believed in God until this,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press in 1998. “I asked him to bring me out of this or let me die before all the innings have been played. Now I have started taking on some spiritualism.” However, after all the years of unhealthy living he ended up with hepatitis C which severely damaged his liver. He underwent a liver transplant in 2010. After the surgery, he turned to music to help him recover and released his first solo album in 14 years “Low Country Blues” in 2011. “I think it’s because you’re doing something you love,” Allman said in a 2011 interview with The Associated Press. “I think it just creates a diversion from the pain itself. You’ve been swallowed up by something you love, you know, and you’re just totally engulfed.” The band was honored with a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2012.

Was sorry to hear this earlier today..  Thanks for all the tunes, Gregg.  R.I.P.

J. Geils found dead in Massachusetts home at age 71

John Warren Geils Jr., the founder and lead guitarist for the J. Geils Band, was found dead Tuesday in his Massachusetts home. He was 71. Groton Police said in a statement that they were called to Geils’ home at around 4 p.m. local time to do a wellness check. Officers found Geils unresponsive and pronounced him dead at the scene. Police said a preliminary investigation indicated that Geils died of natural causes, but the investigation was ongoing. The J. Geils Band was founded in 1967 in Worcester, Mass., while Geils was studying at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Bandmates included Danny Klein, Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz, Stephen Jo Bladd, Peter Wolf and Seth Justman. The band, whose music bridged the gap between disco and new wave, released 11 studio albums before breaking up in 1985. They reunited off and on over the years. The group had several Top 40 singles in the early 1970s, including a cover song “Lookin’ for a Love” by the family group The Valentinos and “Give It to me.” Their biggest hits included “Must of Got Lost,” which reached No. 12 on Billboard’s Top 100 in 1975 and “Love Stinks,” a rant against unrequited love, the title song on their 1980 album. Their song “Centerfold,” from the album “Freeze Frame” was released in 1981 and eventually charted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in February 1982. It stayed there for six weeks and was featured on MTV. The band was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the fourth time last fall but was not selected. “This is our fourth nomination, and going through that process, with its inherent disappointment, you’re not sure you want to take that ride again,” lead vocalist Peter Wolf told Billboard at the time. “It’s great to be recognized, but it’s a drag to be disappointed. I hope that we make it in. That would be great.”

Indeed..  Was sorry to hear this.  The last few years, J. Geils actually hasn’t been touring with the band with his name.  But, the rest of the band has been touring lately.  So, maybe there were some health issues?   Thanks for all the fun tunes, John.  R.I.P.

Don Rickles, comedy legend, dead at 90

Comedy legend and actor Don Rickles died Thursday morning of kidney failure, Fox News has confirmed. He was 90 years old. “Emmy-award winning iconic comedian Don Rickles passed away at his home Los Angeles this morning (Thursday) as a result of kidney failure,” his rep said in a statement. “Rickles would have turned 91 on May 8.” His funeral will be private. Born in New York City, Rickles served in the U.S. Navy for two years during World War II before he found fame. He got his big break when his insult comedy began getting him some attention from the “Chairman of the Board,” Frank Sinatra. He connected with Sinatra by chiding him during a show and eventually became the go-to comic of the Rat Pack stars. “Make yourself at home Frank. Hit somebody,” Rickles reportedly said during the show. His career took off when he began making appearances on the late-night shows. He was a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “Late Show with David Letterman.” For more than half a century, “Mr. Warmth” headlined casinos and nightclubs from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. N.J. Despite jokes that from other comics might have inspired boycotts, he was one of the most beloved people in show business, idolized by everyone from Joan Rivers and Louis CK to Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman. “I think the reason that (my act) caught on and gave me a wonderful career is that I was never mean-spirited,” he once said. “Not that you had to like it, but you had to be under a rock somewhere not to get it.” Carl Reiner would say he knew he had made it in Hollywood when Rickles made fun of him. James Caan once said that Rickles helped inspire the blustering Sonny Corleone of “The Godfather.”

And that’s just for starters.  What an incredible life!  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.  Thanks for all the laughs, Don.  R.I.P.

Chuck Berry, one of the all-time rock ‘n’ roll greats, dead at 90

Rock ‘n’ roll icon and musical master Chuck Berry died Saturday at his home west of St. Louis, Missouri, authorities confirmed. He was 90. The guitarist and musican defined the art form’s joy and rebellion in such classics as “Johnny B. Goode,” ”Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Roll Over Beethoven” in a career that spanned 7 decades and earned him countless accolades. Emergency personnel summoned to Berry’s residence by his caretaker about 12:40 p.m. found him unresponsive, police in Missouri’s St. Charles County said in a statement. Attempts to revive Berry failed, and he was pronounced dead shortly before 1:30 p.m., police said. A police spokeswoman, Val Joyner, said she had no additional details about the death of Berry, calling him “really a legend.” Berry’s core repertoire was some three dozen songs, his influence incalculable, from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to virtually any group from garage band to arena act that called itself rock ‘n roll. While Elvis Presley gave rock its libidinous, hip-shaking image, Berry was the auteur, setting the template for a new sound and way of life. Well before the rise of Bob Dylan, Berry wedded social commentary to the beat and rush of popular music. “He was singing good lyrics, and intelligent lyrics, in the ’50s when people were singing, “Oh, baby, I love you so,'” John Lennon once observed. Berry, in his late 20s before his first major hit, crafted lyrics that spoke to the teenagers of the day and remained fresh decades later. “Sweet Little Sixteen” captured rock ‘n’ roll fandom, an early and innocent ode to the young girls later known as “groupies.” ”School Day” told of the sing-song trials of the classroom (“American history and practical math; you’re studying hard, hoping to pass…”) and the liberation of rock ‘n’ roll once the day’s final bell rang. “Roll Over Beethoven” was an anthem to rock’s history-making power, while “Rock and Roll Music” was a guidebook for all bands that followed (“It’s got a back beat, you can’t lose it”). “Back in the U.S.A.” was a black man’s straight-faced tribute to his country at a time there was no guarantee Berry would be served at the drive-ins and corner cafes he was celebrating. “Everything I wrote about wasn’t about me, but about the people listening,” he once said. “Johnny B. Goode,” the tale of a guitar-playing country boy whose mother tells him he’ll be a star, was Berry’s signature song, the archetypal narrative for would-be rockers and among the most ecstatic recordings in the music’s history. Berry can hardly contain himself as the words hurry out (“Deep down Louisiana close to New Orleans/Way back up in the woods among the evergreens”) and the downpour of guitar, drums and keyboards amplifies every call of “Go, Johnny Go!” The song was inspired in part by Johnnie Johnson, the boogie-woogie piano master who collaborated on many Berry hits, but the story could have easily been Berry’s, Presley’s or countless others’.

Indeed..  To read the rest of this tribute to former St. Louis native, and musical icon, Chuck Berry, click on the text above.  Thanks for the tunes, Chuck.  R.I.P.