Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The greats who passed away this decade

As the minutes on the decade grow short, I'd like to take a moment of silence for some of the many entertainment greats who passed away these past 10 years. Through music, film and beyond, the following all helped shape the world we now live in.

*listed in loose chronological order of death

Big Pun / thanks for "I'm not a playa, I just crush a lot"

Jim Varney / Hey Vern, thanks for Ernest

Charles Schulz / thanks for Peanuts, Charlie Brown

Sir Alec Guiness / thanks for being our only hope, Obi Wan Kenobi

Walter Matthau / Thanks for The Odd Couple, and you played a perfect Mr. Wilson in Dennis the Menace, btw.

Robert Ludlum / thanks for Jason Bourne

Joey Ramone / thanks for being a punk rock icon

Perry Como / thanks for an awesomely classic Christmas album

John Lee Hooker / thanks for "Boom, Boom, Boom" and those talking-style blues

Chet Atkins / thanks for real country music

Aaliyah / thanks for "If Your Girl Only Knew"

George Harrison / thanks for "Here Comes The Sun" - not to mention everything else you did with The Beatles.

Layne Staley / thanks for "Man In A Box"

Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes / thanks for "Waterfalls"

Dee Dee Ramone / same sentiments as Johnny Ramone, thanks for being a Ramone

Johanthan Harris / thanks for being the dastardly Dr. Smith on Lost In Space

Joe Strummer / You were, and still are, one of my greatest inspirations as a person. Thanks for The Clash, The Mescaleros, and your hunger for life. "The future is unwritten"

Nina Simone / thanks for "My Baby Just Cares For Me"

June Carter Cash / thanks for being Johnny's greatest love and inspiration

Johnny Cash / thanks for walking the line

Barry White / thanks for that sultry voice

Bob Hope / thanks for making our military laugh in times of war

Sam Phillips / thanks for discovering Elvis, Johnny, and helping raise rock & roll from it's infancy

Gregory Hines / thanks for your tap dancing and acting

Charles Bronson / thanks for Death Wish

Warren Zevon / thanks for "Werewolves of London"

John Ritter / thanks for Three's Company

Robert Palmer / thanks for "Addicted To Love," wouldn't have been the 80's without it.

Elliott Smith / thanks for "Figure 8"

Rod Roddy / Come on down, we'd like to thank you for your announcing on The Price Is Right!

ODB / thanks for "Baby I Got Your Money," not to mention your work with the Wu.

John Peel / thanks for your uncanny love and ear for good music, and sharing it with us on the Beeb

Christopher Reeve / thanks for being Superman, both in movies - and in real life

Rodney Dangerfield / thanks for the shtick, and let me tell ya, you got our respect

Johnny Ramone / Three Ramones too many to pass away in a decade, thanks for punk rock

Ernie Ball / thanks for "slinky" guitar strings

Rick James / thanks for "Super-Freak" and not to mention, the most memorably caricatured character on the Chapelle Show

Marlon Brando / thanks for Don Vito Corleone

Ray Charles / thanks for "What'd I Say"

John Entwistle / thanks for being part of the rhythm powerhouse that fueled The Who, alongside the late great Keith Moon on the skins

Will Eisner / Thanks for The Spirit

Ronald Reagan / Thanks for being president, and inspiring a great deal of great rock music (REM, Sprinsteen, etc) in the 80s while at it.

Johnny Carson / thanks for creating a late-night tradition, The Tonight Show, that will never be quite the same without you

Pope John Paul II / God bless, and thanks for being our Pope!

Luther Vandross / thanks for "A House Is Not A Home"

James Doohan / thanks for beaming us up, Scotty

Rosa Parks / thanks for not giving up your seat

Pat Morita / thanks for teaching Danny-son how to wax on, wax off, and kick some butt!

Richard Pryor / thanks for the outrageous comedy, you certainly helped change the face of your trade

Peter Jennings / thanks for World News Tonight, you were one of the greats

Lou Rawls / thanks for "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine"

Wilson Pickett / thanks for "Mustang Sally"

Hunter S. Thompson / With "Fear and Loathing" you got to the heart of what so many journalists are schooled to write about, but don't - the truth. Thanks for that wild, manic beast of drug-addled ink, blood and paper you helped foster. Gonzo journalism.

Coretta Scott King / thanks for your husband and everything you did after he passed. Wish you could have been in Washington DC last January to watch history unfold.

Paul Gleason / thanks for giving up your Saturdays to hang out with Bender in the Breakfast Club, I think I'd have done the same. "Next time I come in here, I'm cracking skulls."

Don Knotts / thanks for Barney Fife

Billy Preston / thanks for that killer solo on "Get Back," fifth Beatle

Syd Barrett / Thanks for your work early on with Pink Floyd - expanded the possibilities of music. Wish you were still here, Madcap.

Steve Irwin / Blimey, thanks for being the only person with enough balls to stick his head into a croc's mouth and make a tv series out of it.

Ahmet Ertegun / The history of rock & roll would hardly be the same without the stamp you put on it. Zeppelin, The Stones, the rest is history. Thanks.

James Brown / thanks for being one of the most intense and passionate men in show business. Live music, soul, funk and even punk wouldn't be the same without the benchmark you set.

Gerald Ford / thanks for stepping in for Nixon

Anna Nicole Smith / thanks for that bizarre reality TV show, and sure the Playboy spreads too

Max Roach / thanks for your fiery genius on the drums. You have the rest of the world beat.

Luciano Pavarotti / thanks for your unforgettable tenor

Ike Turner / thanks for "Rocket 88" and raising rock from infancy - you're one of the founding fathers for sure.

Kurt Vonnegut / thanks for Slaughterhouse Five

Lee Hazelwood / thanks for your cowboy psychedelia, not to mention "These Boots Are Made For Walkin"

Merv Griffin / thanks for Wheel of Fortune & Jeopardy

Robert Goulet / thanks for being the Chevy Chase of suave. Seemed there wasn't anything you couldn't do.

Evel Knievel / thanks for being certifiably nuts in the most awesome way - you set a world record with 37 broken bones to prove it. Also thanks for one of greatest quotes ever: "I beat the hell out of death."

Heath Ledger / I should thank you for your remarkably iconic turn as The Joker, but gotta be straight - you were pure gold in 10 Things I Hate About You. Thanks for that.

Charlton Heston / thanks for discovering that "SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE" and that we're already ON the Planet of the Apes.

George Carlin / thanks for your foul, unwavering honesty, and saying the things we didn't have the marbles to say - like the seven words you can't say on television. Easily one of the most brilliant minds of the past century - and he used it for good, not just by making people laugh, but also making them think.

Isaac Hayes / thanks for the hot buttered soul, Chef

Paul Newman / thanks for the salad dressing

Bo Diddley / they call you the Originator for good reason. You built your own guitar, and helped build rock n' roll in the process.

Bernie Mac / thanks for brightening up every movie you popped up in, Friday, Ocean's Eleven, Transformers, and even (God help me) Charlies Angel's: Full Throttle

Jerry Wexler / you were there with Ahmet as music history happened. Thanks for everyone from Bob Dylan to Dusty Springfield. Makes me wonder what happened to the music industry after guys like you?

Michael Crichton / thanks for Jurassic Park

John Updike / thanks for your brilliantly imaginative writing and poetry, AND for giving Berks County something intelligent to brag about

Dom Deluise / thanks for all the classic roles in Mel Brooks and Burt Reynolds movies

David Carradine / thanks for being the most deadly samurai with a lisp in Kill Bill

Farrah Fawcett / thanks for being Charlie's best Angel, Jill Munroe

Michael Jackson / thanks for the moonwalk, "Man In The Mirror" and the most 'thrilling' music video ever

Walter Cronkite / thanks for breaking the news to our old folks when news broke, your voice and your words are how they all remember JFK's assassination, Vietnam, WW2, Watergate, the landing of the Moon, etc.

John Hughes / thanks for making movies like The Breakfast club that showed kids do actually have brains, and even more heart

Les Paul / thanks for the sick guitar!

Patrick Swayze / thanks for keeping baby out of the corner, Roadhouse, and Point Break! (and of course, that SNL Chippendales skit with Chris Farley)

Ed McMachon / If The Tonight Show was the night sky, always full of (Hollywood) stars, you were the moon, baby - always around Johnny, always there to support him. Thanks.

Brittany Murphy / Liked ya in 8-Mile, but gotta thank you for your part in Clueless even more - that's a truly definitive movie of the times of the 90s.



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