Andy Summers, guitarist for the Police, turns 70 today. That band had something, and it wasn't just Sting.
Andy Summers, guitarist for the Police, turns 70 today. That band had something, and it wasn't just Sting.
So Jesse Walker has gone back to the films of 1972, a time of experimentation (and blaxpoitation and pornography).
Happy birthday, Del Shannon. He suffered from depression and shot himself in 1990, but I think his #1 hit will live on forever.
Guess it's time to look over the predictions I made for 2012. (In a few days I'll put up my predictions for 2013. I invite the other Guys and any readers to join in.)
Happy birthday, Ronald Coase. He turns 102 today.
Just before the year ends, we always tip out hat to tomorrow's birthday girl Patti Smith. She's one of the few artists who successfully married poetry to rock and roll.
Fontella Bass has died. She's best known for not being Aretha Franklin while singing "Rescue Me."
Jesse Walker continues his relentless march back in time, now going over the top ten films and then some of 1982.
Jesse continues with his top ten lists and I'm catching up. This time it's for 1992. (He's actually revising an older list, but this is the first time I get to write about it.)
It's that time of year again. My friend Jesse Walker is making his top ten film list. But not for 2012. Rather, for every year that ends in a 2 for as far back as he dares go. He's actually been doing it for ten years now, but that hasn't stopped him. We start with 2002.
Happy birthday, Abdul "Duke" Fakir. He's the only member of the original Four Tops still alive. But we all know what's going to outlive even him:
Let's say goodbye to Jack Klugman. His best role, as Oscar on the TV show The Odd Couple, showed his comic chops, but he brought power and honesty to every part he played.
Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek was born on Christmas Day. When people hear her name, they think of Carrie or Coal Miner's Daughter, but I can't help but think or her work as "Rainbo," who, in 1968, sang a song of protest after John Lennon appeared naked with Yoko on the cover of their album Two Virgins.
I love Christmas music. Maybe not all year 'round, but a month or two is fine with me. I'll be sort of sad to see it go.
Composer Bernard Herrmann died on December 24th, 1975. He'd just done his score for Taxi Driver and who knew what would have come next.
Happy birthday, Harry Warren. Born Salvatore Antonio Guaragna, he's one of the biggest songwriters of the 20th century. However, because he mostly wrote for movies, and not Broadway, he doesn't have quite the cachet of a Jerome Kern or Cole Porter. But all that wonderful work (above all at Warner Brothers) still holds up.
Christmas is almost upon us. It's a nice time of year, even if you don't personally celebrate the holiday--bright lights, Christmas carols and so on. But it's also a time when a certain segment starts complaining about a "War On Christmas" that sometimes has me longing for December 26th.
Having read Garry Marshall's memoir, I figured it was only fair to check out his sister Penny's, My Mother Was Nuts. It's a bit over 300 pages and told in numerous short chapters.
In yesterday's tribute to Samuel L. Jackson, there was an oversight. I left out the tremendous work he did in Star Wars:
I just received a Christmas letter. I have to wonder if they're going the way of the dodo, with Facebook and so many other ways to spread news about yourself and your family. Maybe it's just as well.
By now everyone knows the end of the world as predicted by the Mayan calendar is a hoax. But just in case:
Happy birthday, Samuel L. Jackson. Not too many celebrities stay cool well into their 60s, but he's managed it.
I was paying my cable bill and noticed, below the amount I owed, they had an empty slot with the words "amount enclosed" just above. So I checked and saw it was on other bills as well. Shouldn't they just assume the amount enclosed is the amount I owe? Otherwise, why would I send it?
Robert Bork has died. He worked in law and politics for decades, but will probably be remembered as the man who was turned down for the Supreme Court.
My old friend Cass Sunstein, in a piece (someone) called "Gun Debate Must Avoid Crazy 2nd Amendment Claims," quotes former head of the Constitutional Bicentennial Commission Warren Burger:
I enjoyed yesterday's sampling of rare Hair, so let's hear a little more. Besides, some sources say Galt MacDermot was born on December 19th.
There will be spoilers.
Happy birthday, Galt MacDermot. A composer, his best-known work by far is Hair, the Broadway blockbuster from which sprang, in the late 60s alone, a #1 ("Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In"), #2 ("Hair"), #3 ("Good Morning Starshine") and #4 ("Easy To Be Hard") hit.
Flicking through the channels, a caught a bit of an old sitcom--The Partridge Family, believe it or not--and the main characters were going through a series of problems. At the end, one of them said "we stick together through thick and thin, and today was definitely thick."
I just read Who Is That Man?: In Search of the Real Bob Dylan by David Denton. It's probably the best thing I've ever read about the artist. It's sort of a biography, but in discussing his life, Denton--a fine journalist who knows the history of rock backwards and forwards--is interested in the different faces Dylan has offered to the public.
I recently put up a video of a great moment from Breaking Bad, and it got me thinking about the show again. Here's a video of great moments from the first four seasons:
Happy birthday, Tony Hicks. He was in the Hollies, where he composed, played guitar and sang.
I was watching a 30-year-old TV special and there was Steven Wright at the beginning of his comedy career. One of his gags had him asking "if you were in a vehicle and you were traveling at the speed of light, and you turned your lights on, would they do anything?"
As always follows an horrific event such as the shootings in Newtown, public figures have got on their hobby horses and denounced whatever it is about our society they say causes such things. I don't like political rhetoric in general, but I think it's even harder to take when used to exploit such tragedies. Still, I suppose, it's a feature of democracy that legislation is easier to pass when there's a sense of urgency. Unfortunately, this can often mean we don't get the requisite deliberation.
The SAG nominees are out, inching us ever closer to the Oscars. (The Golden Globe nominations are also out, but I consider them a joke.)
It's the birthday of Spike Jones. His band the City Slickers were funny, but they were also amazing musicians.
Lately, Warren Buffet and George Soros have been giving America lots of advice about tax policy. Mostly, they want the well-off to pay a lot more, and in all sorts of imaginative ways. Buffet says he fears our democracy becoming a plutocracy.
Happy birthday, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. A guitarist best known as a sideman for Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, he's had a second career as a defense consultant for missile defense systems.
December 12th (12/12), and I'm going to cheat a bit, with "Moonlight In Vermont" and "Moonlight On Vermont":
Happy birthday, Terry Kirkman. He was a founder of and songwriter for the Association, a popular band in the mid to late 60s. They were fairy mellow (even if their first hit was about an illicit substance), and were notable for their imaginative vocal arrangements.
Elliott Carter died last month, just short of his 104th birthday today. One of the more famous American composers, he kept working up till the end, though I prefer his early, tonal work.
Happy birthday, David Gates. He was the lead singer and songwriter of Bread, but before that he wrote some decent stuff for others, especially "Popsicles And Icicles," a big hit for the Murmaids.
It's the birthday of great 20th century composer Olivier Messiaen. He was also very much into birds and transcribed their sounds musically.
Headline from The Washington Post--"Obama's second--term agenda will be shadowed by budget woes."
Happy birthday, Neil Innes. He was a lead singer and songwriter of the Bonzo Dog band as well as the "seventh" Monty Python member and Ron Nasty, leader of the Rutles. He taught us when you combine music and comedy, get the music right first.
Happy birthday, Bobby Osborne. He and Sonny were the Osborne Brothers, a popular bluegrass act in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Bobby played mandolin and sang real high.
Happy birthday, Jim Morrison. He died over forty years ago. I often wonder what he'd be like if he were still around? Probably some dinosaur we wish had retired over thirty years ago (and please stop publishing those small collections of half-baked poetry). We'll never know, but there are some things we do know:
David Mamet's latest, The Anarchist, just opened on Broadway. It's a 75-minute, two-woman piece, starring Patti LuPone and Debra Winger. The plot involves a former Weather Undergound type, who's served decades behind bars, pleading with an official for a pardon. Apparently the discussion gets into if she's truly repentant, and what that might mean. The reviews have not been great--most call it talky and undramatic--and it'll be closing soon.
As George H. W. Bush said on September 7, 1988, "Today is Pearl Harbor Day." He also wondered (somewhat bitterly, it seemed to me) how many Americans remembered.
The Writer's Guild Award TV nominations have been announced. They're pretty good, if conventional.
Happy birthday, Peter Buck. He's always been my favorite member of REM.
Dave Brubeck has died a day short of his 92nd birthday. He was known as a jazz artist, but, with his unique sound, always seemed separate from the rest of that crowd. Whatever he was, it was great.
On a Lexus (the car that most commonly has vanity plates, far as I can tell): CM YANKS. Yanks I get, but CM? Is it commies versus Yanks? Or is he yanking something measured in centimeters?
After listening to rock and roll all my life, I've come to the conclusion that its greatest singer is Little Richard. Happy 80th, Richard.
Read in the comments to an article (Sorry I forget where) discussing the recently disclosed pending blessed event in England, specifically involving Princess Kate's rumored carrying of twins and whether, in the case boy-girl twins the doctor could manipulate things to insure that one gender or another would wear the crown, something to the effect of
I don't care as long as they are healthy but don't name them Apple and Cinnamon.Well if you are going to make demands on royalty, I suppose it is wise to make ones that are easily accommodated.
Is it already National Cookie Day? It comes up on us so fast you hardly have time to back your batch of snickerdoodles.
The Roches don't give out their ages or their phone numbers, but the trio was formed, as they admit, on December 4th.
TCM recently played the rarely-seen Bob Hope/Katharine Hepburn (yes, that's right) comedy The Iron Petticoat (1956). It was a flop then and has since been held back by Bob Hope, who owned the rights.
Happy birthday, Nino Rota, one of the top film composers of our time.
I recently went to a sub-run cinema and saw Trouble With The Curve. (What did I think of it? If you'll wait about a month, you can find out when I do my 2012 Film Wrap-Up.)