Rest in peace, Johnny Mandel: “Suicide is Painless” (1970)

Award-winning composer Johnny Mandel passed away on Monday at the age of 94. A classically-trained musician, Mandel was responsible for a wide variety of movie soundtrack music. His first notable work was 1958's I Want to Live!, which earned him three Grammy nominations. Mandel was no stranger to the Grammys; he was nominated for a … Continue reading Rest in peace, Johnny Mandel: “Suicide is Painless” (1970)

Rest in peace, Vera Lynn: “We’ll Meet Again” (1939)

  "Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?" That line, in Pink Floyd's "Vera," was my introduction to the existence of Vera Lynn. At the age of 11, with a fresh copy of The Wall in hand, I didn't necessarily understand all of the references (or all of the material, for that matter) contained in it. … Continue reading Rest in peace, Vera Lynn: “We’ll Meet Again” (1939)

On a mission from God: Solomon Burke, “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” (1964)

Forty years ago today - June 16, 1980 - The Blues Brothers made its film premiere. It was the first R-rated film I ever saw. In an age just in line with the advent of home video recorders and the infiltration of cable TV, it just wasn't as easy to see an "under 17 not … Continue reading On a mission from God: Solomon Burke, “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” (1964)

Rest in peace, Little Richard: “Long Tall Sally” (1956)

Richard Penniman passed away today at the age of 87. Like anything about Little Richard, that sentence doesn't tell the whole story. Little Richard began his recording career in 1951 with RCA Victor. His early sides for them, including "Taxi Blues," didn't go anywhere on the charts. But in 1956 the world changed. Richard, recording … Continue reading Rest in peace, Little Richard: “Long Tall Sally” (1956)

Rest in peace, Adam Schlesinger: The Wonders, “That Thing You Do!” (1996)

Word circulated late this afternoon that Adam Schlesinger, co-founder of the group Fountains of Wayne and composer of the music for TV's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, passed away at the age of 52. The cause of death was complications from the COVID-19 virus. Schlesinger was nominated for Oscars and Tonys, and won Emmys and Grammys. The Grammy … Continue reading Rest in peace, Adam Schlesinger: The Wonders, “That Thing You Do!” (1996)

Rest in peace, Phil Phillips: “Sea of Love” (1959)

  R&B singer John Philip Baptiste passed away Saturday at the age of 94. You know him as Phil Phillips, who - from a pop standpoint - had one hit: 1959's "Sea of Love," recorded with The Twilights as the backing group. Originally released on the Khoury record label, it was later picked up by … Continue reading Rest in peace, Phil Phillips: “Sea of Love” (1959)

Rest in peace, Eric Weissberg: “Dueling Banjos” (1973)

Eric Weissberg, who had a huge hit in 1973 with the instrumental hit "Dueling Banjos," passed away Sunday at a senior care facility near Detroit after a long battle with dementia. He was 80. Weissberg was fascinated by the banjo after seeing Pete Seeger play it as a part of his folk act in the … Continue reading Rest in peace, Eric Weissberg: “Dueling Banjos” (1973)

Rest in peace, Kenny Rogers: “Love Will Turn You Around” (1982)

(Above: Recognize any of those kids?) This morning we got the news that Kenny Rogers passed away at the age of 81. I've already seen a lot written about Rogers' expansive career in both Pop and Country music. (I already covered one of favorite songs of his, "Ruby (Don't Take Your Love To Town)," when … Continue reading Rest in peace, Kenny Rogers: “Love Will Turn You Around” (1982)

Fast away the old year passes: The Zombies, “This Will Be Our Year” (1969)

Years ago I remember listening to John Landecker's morning show at WJMK/Chicago, and he made a comment about how he'd like his next job to be the guy who picks out old music to use in movies and television shows. The right song at the right time can evoke a pretty powerful feeling. Not only … Continue reading Fast away the old year passes: The Zombies, “This Will Be Our Year” (1969)