Monday, April 23, 2012

This past week in music

I arrived back here in the States on Tuesday. I have a column I want to write about Homeland Security, but I’m entirely too pissed off to write it right now. Maybe I will write it, but I’m going to have to cool down, so it may be a month or two. Suffice it to say that I was not impressed with the service of the United States Customs and Homeland Security officers that I had the misfortune to run across. On to other topics. They say that tragedy comes in threes, especially with death. So it has been this past week. First, Dick Clark, the world’s oldest teenager, passed away at the age of 82. If there has been any negative feelings towards his passing, I haven’t read about them. It certainly appears that Dick Clark was not only well-respected in the music business, but well-liked. I had tremendous respect for Dick Clark on a personal level. He always treated other people with respect and bore himself with class and dignity. I read in a newspaper story that he once had three business ventures on all three television networks at the same time. That’s impressive. He also testified before Congress during the payola scandal of 1960, but his name was cleared of any wrongdoing. He did, however, have to divest himself of his involvement in the ventures he was involved in at the time. He estimated that doing so cost him eight million dollars. Arkansas’ own Levon Helms passed away, as well. He was 71. Levon was playing drums for Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks when he was offered a job playing in the backup band for Bob Dylan. The band later took off on their own, becoming The Band and becoming not only famous, but influential You can hear Levon’s distinctive voice on such hits as “The Weight”, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, and “Up on Cripple Creek”. A young Martin Scorcese filmed The Band’s farewell concert and made it into a documentary. Levon had been treated for throat cancer a little over ten years ago, and had successfully beaten it back. However, the cancer returned, apparently attacking his spine, but Levon kept working, hosting his radio show “The Midnight Ramble” up until earlier this year. Finally, Greg Ham passed away at the age of 58. Name doesn’t sound familiar? Ham was a member of the Australian rock band Men At Work. He played the saxophone solo on their most famous song, “Who Can It Be Now?” Okay, I realize that Greg wasn’t exactly a household name, nor that he was particularly influential in the American music scene. But if you remember listening to the radio in the 80’s, then you almost certainly heard Men At Work. I always enjoyed their music, and can still listen to it nowadays. Please bookmark!

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