Monday, May 29, 2017

RIP RAMBLIN' MAN (GREGG ALLMAN)




Gregg Allman, the singer, musician and songwriter who played an essential role in the invention of Southern rock, died Saturday afternoon, May 27, at the age of 69.

Allman struggled with chronic liver issues over the past several years.


Although Allman claimed the term was redundant, the singer-keyboardist helped create the first great "Southern-rock" group as co-founder of the legendary Allman Brothers Band alongside his older brother, famed guitarist Duane Allman. 

The Allmans fused country blues with San Francisco-style extended improvisation, with their sound creating a template for countless subsequent jam bands. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

LIVE AND LET DIE (RIP ROGER MOORE)



Roger Moore, the dapper British actor who brought tongue-in-cheek humor to the James Bond persona in seven films, eclipsing his television career, which had included starring roles in at least five series, died on Tuesday in Switzerland. He was 89.

Mr. Moore had the longest run in the Bond role, beginning in 1973 with “Live and Let Die” and winding up in 1985 with “A View to a Kill.”

When he became 007, the author Ian Fleming’s sexy secret agent with a license to kill, Mr. Moore was already well known to American audiences, having replaced the departing James Garner in the fourth season of “Maverick.”

From 1962 to 1969, Mr. Moore was Simon Templar, the title character of “The Saint,” a wildly popular British series about an adventurous, smooth-talking thief. It did so well in syndication in America that NBC adopted it for its prime-time schedule from 1967 to 1969.


After surrendering the Bond role to Timothy Dalton, Mr. Moore appeared in a half-dozen largely unexceptional movies, made a few television appearances and did voice work in animated films. 

Mostly, however, he turned his attention elsewhere, becoming a Unicef good-will ambassador in 1991. 

He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1999 and was knighted in 2003.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

RIP CHRIS CORNELL



Chris Cornell, the dynamic singer whose band Soundgarden was one of the architects of grunge music, died on Wednesday night in Detroit after the band had earlier performed there. He was 52.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office said the death was a suicide by hanging. It said a full autopsy had not yet been completed.

Soundgarden played at the Fox Theater in Detroit on Wednesday night, and it had been scheduled to perform in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday at the Rock on the Range festival.

Mr. Cornell helped form Soundgarden in Seattle, and Sub Pop, then a fledgling record label, released the group’s first single, “Hunted Down,” in 1987, as well as two subsequent EPs. The group’s debut album, “Ultramega OK,” came a year later.

The album “Badmotorfinger,” released in 1991, benefited from a swell of attention that was beginning to surround the Seattle scene, where Soundgarden, along with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, were playing a high-octane, high-angst brand of rock ’n’ roll.

Soundgarden’s musical journeys tended toward the knotty and dark, plunging into off-kilter meters and punctuated by Mr. Cornell’s voice, which could quickly shift from a soulful howl to a gritty growl.

Three of Soundgarden’s studio albums have been certified platinum, including “Superunknown,” from 1994, which featured “Black Hole Sun,” “Fell on Black Days,” “Spoonman” and “My Wave.”

Mr. Cornell acknowledged in interviews that he had struggled with drug use throughout his life. In a 1994 Rolling Stone article, he described himself as a “daily drug user at 13” who had quit by the time he turned 14.


After Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, a breakup that would last for more than a decade, Mr. Cornell returned to heavy drug use, telling The Guardian in 2009 that he was a “pioneer” in the abuse of the opiate OxyContin and that he had gone to rehab.