Archive for the ‘Obituaries’ Category

In the wake of Amy Winehouse’s death, many people (intending wit, I suppose) have said that she should have gone to rehab. They miss the point of the song, and miss it in a characteristically American way. In the United States, we see problems as fixable. But many problems cannot be fixed, they can only be borne. And sometimes they become unbearable.

A toast in gratitude and sadness to the memory of Amy Winehouse.

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Norman Whitfield, the leading songwriter and producer of Motown’s psychedelic years, died Tuesday of complications from diabetes.

He was the producer for The Temptations from 1966 to 1973. “Ball of Confusion”? That was his. “I Wish It Would Rain”? Him, too. “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”? “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”? Do you need to ask at this point?

His production of the Marvelettes’ “Too Many Fish in the Sea” is a little-known masterpiece that you should download from iTunes right now.

Plus, he did “Car Wash”. Which I like. But that’s certainly not mandatory.

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Don LaFontaine, the man of a thousand trailers, died yesterday.

His voice is familiar to us all, but he also got a little screen time in a recent GEICO commercial.

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Jerry Reed, 1937-2008

Jerry Reed, best known for his role as Snowman in “Smokey and the Bandit,” died yesterday.

“Smokey and the Bandit” is a great and timeless comedy. It’s still hilarious after 30 years, in large part because of Reed’s good ol’ boy character.

The theme song from that movie, Reed’s “East Bound and Down”, is available on iTunes, and I highly recommend it.

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