Singer Dobie Gray died yesterday 12/6. He was 71. No one is exactly sure what his given name was but he was given the nickname Dobie by Sonny Bono. Gray scored two big hits with “In With The In Crowd” (1965) and “Drift Away” (1973). He spent several years on Broadway with the Los Angeles cast of “Hair.” This is Dobie Gray singing one of my all time favorite songs, “Drift Away.”
“Hair” is one of my favorite movie musicals. I really wish I’d had the opportunity to see him performing in it. I bet he was fantastic.RIP Mr. Gray.
Actor Harry Morgan died today 12/7 after a bout with pneumonia. He was 96. Harry Morgan starred in dozens of movies in his long career including “High Noon” and “The Ox-Bow Incident.” He also starred in several TV shows including “Dragnet” and “M*A*S*H.” I’ve seen him in several roles but I’ll remember him best as Col. Sherman T. Potter from M*A*S*H. Here’s a clip from an interview he did. He’s talking about working with Elvis in the 1966 film “Frankie and Johnny.”
Thank you for all the years of entertainment. RIP Mr. Morgan.
Comedian Alan Sues died of an apparent heart attack last Thursday, December 1. He was 85. Sues got his start in stand-up but he was best known for his recurring roles on “Rowan And Martin’s Laugh In.” He had a long career in theater when Laugh In went off the air. Here’s Alan as Uncle Al the kiddie’s pal.
RIP Mr Sues.
P is for composer Rachel Portman. Rachel has written scores for television and stage but she is best known for her work in film. She is the first woman to win the Richard Kirk Award for composers who have made a significant contribution to film or television. She is also the first woman to win an Oscar in the category of “Best Original Film Score” for her work on “The Cider House Rules.” (1999) Here’s the lovely theme from “The Cider House Rules” with pretty but unrelated pictures of nature.
I had a passage planned about how today’s video is a doggie paradise (trees plus critters to chase), but I just got a call from my mom. One of my aunts passed away suddenly and unexpectedly today. I think I will just listen to this beautiful piece of music and remember her. RIP Aunt Dee.
Actor Karl Slover passed away yesterday (11/15) from cardiopulmonary arrest. He was 93. Karl had roles in a few features and short films during his career but he was best known for his role as 4 different munchkins in the movie “Wizard Of Oz” (1939). Here’s the Munchkin sequence from the movie. You can see Karl as the lead trumpeter in the Munchkin band, the male “sleepy head” Munchkin in the nest of eggs, one of the Munchkin soldiers, and finally one of the Munchkins who leads Dorothy down the yellow brick road.
I can remember watching this movie as a child and sitting on my mother’s lap when the scary Wicked Witch parts came on. I fully plan to continue that tradition with my own daughter. I just hope my Mom’s lap is big enough for the two of us!
RIP Mr. Slover.
Rapper Dwight “Heavy D” Myers died suddenly yesterday, November 8. He was 44. In the 80s, Heavy D and the Boyz was the first group signed by the hip hop label Uptown Records. By the 90s, Mr. Myers was president of that label. In recent years he had also begun acting. His final role was in the upcoming movie “Tower Heist.” I chose the video of his final performance, a medley of his hits shown on October’s BET Hip Hop Awards. I will also post the video for one of his first hits “Mr. Big Stuff” because I suspect the BET video will be taken down.
On the day before his passing Heavy D Tweeted to his fans “Be inspired.” Thank you Dwight, I think I will. RIP Heavy D.
Former Heavyweight Champion Joe Frazier passed away from liver cancer on Nov. 7. He was the first fighter to ever defeat Ali and, from what I read, he was a generous guy. I do not follow sports so Frazier may seem like an unlikely subject for a music blog. But I decided to honor his memory here for one reason. In 1976, this otherwise talented man inexplicably recorded this:
It may not be his finest moment but it did give me a smile today. RIP Mr. Frazier.