Tuesday Tribute: Tom Petty

Thomas Earl Petty: 20 October 1950 – 2 October 2017

Wow…I’m a bit stunned after hearing this news. Tom Petty passed away today, after suffering cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu late last night. He was rushed to hospital and put on life support, but he couldn’t be revived. He was 66 years of age. From BBC News:

US musician Tom Petty has died in California aged 66, says a statement issued on behalf of his family. Petty was found unconscious, not breathing and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu home early on Monday. He was taken to hospital, but could not be revived and died later that evening.

Petty was best known as the lead singer of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers rock band, producing such hits as American Girl, Breakdown, Free Fallin’, Learning to Fly and Refugee.

“He died peacefully at 20:40 Pacific time (03:40 GMT Tuesday) surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends,” said his long-time manager Tony Dimitriades. Petty was also a co-founder of the Traveling Wilburys group in the late 1980s, touring with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison.

“It’s shocking, crushing news,” said Dylan, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I thought the world of Tom. He was great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”

Petty also found solo success in 1989 with his album Full Moon Fever, which featured one of his most popular songs Free Fallin’, co-written with Jeff Lynne.

In 2002, Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Tom Petty was one of many musicians who I enjoyed listening to, in spite of some of his personal issues and beliefs. I even saw him live in concert when I was living in Portland, Oregon. He performed at the Rose Garden arena, and Jackson Browne was the opening act. It was an awesome show, and will remember it fondly.

In tribute to this legendary, musical genius, I offer up ten of my favourite songs that he did throughout his career – from the Heartbreakers to the Traveling Wilburys. Sit back, close your eyes, and drift away to the tunes…

Midweek Tribute: Joi “SJ” Harris

I was saddened to hear of the untimely and tragic accident which claimed the life of this courageous, determined, trailblazing woman. Joi “SJ” Harris, the first African-American stuntwoman, died on the set of Deadpool 2 in Vancouver, B.C. on Monday, 14 August. From CBC News:

The American stunt rider who died in Vancouver on Monday while shooting an action sequence for the film Deadpool 2 has been identified as SJ Harris, a 40-year-old from New York City.

Harris died in a motorcycle accident after she crashed through a window in Shaw Tower near Jack Poole Plaza…Deadpool 2 was Harris’s first gig as a stuntwoman. Her manager, Porsche Taylor, described her as a “trailblazer” in motorcycle road racing.

“Once she got on the track, she fell in love with it. And she was surprised that there weren’t very many women who were racing and no women of colour, or no African-American women, in particular,” Taylor said in an interview Tuesday with As It Happens.

“She was excited to be able to break some new ground.”

Harris began riding in 2009 and received her race licence in May 2013. She started competing in 2014, racing in the American Sportbike Racing Association Championship Cup Series.

“SJ was super competitive on the track,” Taylor recalled. “She would race with men as well as women — and often give as good as she got.”
In a 2015 profile published in Black Girls Ride Magazine, Harris was described as the first African-American woman to become a professional road racer.

“I am everything people never saw in this sport,” Harris told the magazine in an interview.

Muscle cars and motorcycles have always been a love of mine, and I know full well what Ms. Harris is talking about when it comes to the “good-ole-boys” atmosphere which is prevalent at any motorcycle or classic car event that I attend. With the events of Charlottesville still fresh in the mind, I recall how many confederate flags and other racist decals and emblems decorated various vehicles or articles of clothing, or people who had those emblems tattooed on every inch of exposed skin.

I’m certain that Ms. Harris was well aware of those who pushed back against her desire to succeed, and fought that much harder to prove them wrong. According to an article in the Huffington Post, Harris described herself on her website as the “first licensed African-American woman in U.S. history to actively compete in (American Motorcyclist Association) sanctioned, motorcycle road racing events.”

Kevin Elliott, president of the American Sportbike Racing Association, said Harris began racing with the association’s beginner-level Champion Cup Series in 2014 and this year moved up to a “feeder” series that is meant to prepare riders for racing at an expert level.
He said her other activities prevented her from competing enough to be automatically given expert status, but if she had requested it based on her 2016 and 2017 finishes, it would have been granted.

For the first two years she was racing on a bike that was too big, but when she switched to a bike that was more suited to her size, her talent showed itself to be “very promising,” he said.

“She was just a good, solid competitor. She rode well,” he said.

Ride on, sister…ride on. You were certainly an inspiration.

Tribute Post: Bakari Jaward Henderson

Again. I have to write another one of these tribute posts, yet again. This one is to honour 22-year-old Bakari Henderson, who had his promising young life tragically and brutally cut short on the streets of Zakynthos, Greece. He was in a sports bar on Thursday night / Friday morning, celebrating his recent graduation from the University of Arizona and preparing to launch his own clothing line, when he was attacked and beaten by six white men of Eastern European descent. From the Washington Post:

Authorities are continuing to investigate the death of an American tourist who they say was brutally beaten outside a bar in Greece.

Bakari Henderson, 22, was with friends at a bar in Laganas, a tourist village on the island of Zakynthos, when the fight occurred early Friday morning. It began when another customer approached Henderson, and the confrontation quickly escalated to a fistfight outside, where more people beat Henderson, according to state news agency ANA-MPA. It is not known whether his friends were involved in the altercation.

It remains unclear what prompted the fight. At least eight people have been arrested and charged in connection with Henderson’s death, authorities said. Tiara Henderson, Bakari Henderson’s cousin, said in a Facebook post Friday that his death was the result of a “senseless crime” and “horrendous actions by the perpetrators.”

Surveillance videos from nearby shops showed the suspects beating Henderson even after he was unconscious, ANA-MPA reported. The recent University of Arizona graduate later died at a hospital.

I can only speculate as to why he was attacked, but I’m more than certain that it had to do with the colour of his skin. Europeans, especially those from the Slavic areas, are notoriously and irrationally hateful towards anyone with skin darker than a manila envelope; seeing a Black man with his arm around a white woman no doubt sent the inbred, racist sacks of filth into paroxysms of rage.

I hurt for his family and friends. For a parent to lose a child, that is a pain that I can’t begin to fathom. Losing your child in such a horrible manner? Even more frightful, sickening, and anguish-inducing. Waving good-bye to your kid at the airport, wishing him a safe trip and to return home soon from a fun-filled holiday – instead, having to contact a foreign office to request the return of his lifeless body. All because a pack of inbred animals felt justified in provoking a violent confrontation and ending the life of another human being. Ending the life of a bright, talented, dedicated young man who had so much to offer the community and the world. It isn’t lost on me that Drumpf the nazi is completely silent about this murder, but had all sorts of things to say about the mysterious coma and death of the young criminal who was imprisoned in Korea. He and his base don’t really give two tin shits about the killing of a young man who had committed no crime.

So sickening. So senseless. So wrong.

#BlackLivesMatter

Tribute Post: Bianca Roberson

I wish that I didn’t have to do these types of posts. It saddens me greatly to see this useless hatred, which explodes in violence and takes innocent lives. Another promising future snuffed out at the hands of a hate-filled, inbred, racist piece of filth. For what? Some imagined slight from a young girl in a car?

I’m speaking, of course, about the senseless, brutal murder of 18-year-old Bianca Roberson, who was shot and killed in an incident of “road rage” on (date). From the BBC:

A 28-year-old man has turned himself in to police investigating a suspected road rage attack on a teenager shot dead in Pennsylvania last week. David Andrew Desper surrendered to authorities on Sunday, accompanied by a lawyer, and was charged with first-degree murder.

Bianca Roberson, 18, sustained a fatal gunshot to the head in the attack.

The suspect is also charged with third-degree murder, possessing an instrument of crime and and reckless endangering. Gunfire rang out last Wednesday during evening rush hour as Mr Desper’s red Chevrolet truck attempted to merge on to a lane in Chester County at the same time as Ms Roberson’s car, say officials.

Yes, the white-trash cretin finally turned himself in for the deed, but not out of any sense of responsibility or morality. He only did it so that he can get a lighter sentence by appearing contrite – and he’ll only get a slap on the wrist for this reprehensible deed, if he gets any punishment at all.

My heart hurt too much to post about this immediately. I’m tired of seeing these incidents. I’m tired of mourning the senseless loss of another young life who had hopes, dreams, and goals. Losing another who would have done so much good for her family and community. Murdered by a racist fuck who only saw the colour of her skin…and promptly saw red.

#BlackLivesMatter

#SayHerName

Memorial Day…2017

It’s Memorial Day here in the States. The day set aside to pause and remember those brave men and women who gave their lives in service to this country. A lot of people get it confused with Veterans’ Day, which goes to show how shabby the U. S. education system is, among other things…but that’s another topic for another time.

Today, I pause to remember my uncle Kermit, who died in the Vietnam War well before I was born. For the longest time I didn’t even know his name. I plan on going to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D. C. to take a rubbing of his name – but, if the “traveling memorial wall” comes through the Pacific Northwest again before that time, I will take one from that to frame until I’m able to visit the real thing.

To Kermit, and to all who made the ultimate sacrifice, thank you. There aren’t enough words to express the gratitude I feel, so I’ll say it with a few pictures and a poignant song.

Tribute: J. Geils

John Warren Geils Jr.: 20 February 1946 – 11 April 2017

Wow – I happened to hear this announced on one of the radio stations that I was listening to when I was out and about earlier today. From CNN:

John Warren Geils Jr., the guitarist and founder of the eponymous J. Geils Band, has died, police in Groton, Massachusetts, said.

Police came to Geils’ home for a well-being check, police Chief Donald Palma said. The 71-year-old was found unresponsive and was declared dead at the scene…The J. Geils Band was one of the most popular American touring bands of the 1970s. It did not achieve commercial fame until the 1980s, when they released radio mainstays such as “Centerfold,” “Love Stinks” and “Freeze-Frame.”

Born in New York in 1946 and raised in New Jersey, Geils’ first love was cars — a passion he inherited from his father along with his ear for jazz, he told Autoweek in 2012. He met band mates Danny Klein and “Magic Dick” Salwitz at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he was studying mechanical engineering. They formed the J. Geils Band in 1967 with lead singer Peter Wolf and drummer Stephen Jo Bladd.

“That was the end of engineering school for all three of us,” he told the magazine.

The group released a string of albums in the 1970s but would not achieve commercial success until the 1980s, starting with the release of “Love Stinks,” its first platinum-selling record, according to Rolling Stone. Their 12th album, “Freeze-Frame,” featured its popular title track as well as chart-topper “Centerfold,” which spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982.”

The J. Geils band was one of my favourites to listen to in high school and afterwards, and I had a number of their albums. You could hear the songs “Centerfold” or “Freeze-Frame” played nearly every day on the radio, and MTV was more than generous with playing those hits, as well as the awesome song “Love Stinks.” From Rolling Stone:

Formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1967, the J. Geils Band became fast local favorites and released their self-titled debut in 1970. They broke through on the Billboard 200 in 1973 with their record Bloodshot, and over the course of the next decade honed a sound that blended blues rock, R&B, soul and pop. During the Seventies, the J. Geils Band would release eight studio albums and two live records while touring relentlessly – but they wouldn’t hit their commercial peak until the beginning of the next decade.

In 1980, the J. Geils Band released Love Stinks, their first platinum-selling record, while the following year they notched a Number One with their 12th album Freeze-Frame. That album featured the group’s only chart-topping hit, “Centerfold,” while its title track also reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

However, the band began to fall apart in the aftermath of its success. Wolf did not appear on the J. Geils Band’s final album, 1984’s You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd. The J. Geils Band officially split in 1985, but began to play the occasional reunion show in 1999. In 2012, however, Geils officially quit the group and sued his bandmates for conspiring to go on tour without him and unlawfully using the band’s trademarked name.

Outside of the J. Geils Band, Geils remained busy as a musician. In the mid-Nineties, he released two albums with his band Bluestime and during the 2000s, he returned to his jazz roots with three solo records.”

I often played their lesser-known songs on the radio when I was a DJ, and would get compliments on the song and band trivia that I’d toss in here and there. “No Anchovies, Please” was one that I memorized and would recite to friends at slumber parties – only on request, of course! Many fond memories always come to mind whenever I hear a song from the J. Geils Band, and always listen to them with a smile. I chose five rarely-heard ones to close out this tribute to a musical genius. Rest easy, Mr. Geils – you won’t be forgotten.

Ah, Chuck…

Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry: 18 October 1926 – 18 March 2017

Damn…I was doing some gaming and listening to the 70s station on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and heard of the passing of one of the REAL kings of Rock & Roll, the notable, legendary, musical genius known as Chuck Berry. He passed away today at the age of 90; it isn’t lost on me that he was born on the 18th of October, and left this world on the 18th of March.

He was due to release an album later this year, according to his official website. What a man! What a musician! What a legend! Sheer genius, and that is never a term I toss about lightly. Some people overuse words such as “passion,” “genius,” or “eclectic,” but they really don’t know the true meaning of those words. Not trying to insult those folks; I just feel that they grabbed onto a “clickbait” word in order to drive traffic to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress sites.

My son just sent me a text about Chuck’s death. That’s one way I know that I have imparted some true knowledge and genuine love of music to at least one Millennial! Most people in his age group say, “Chuck Berry? Should I know who that is?” – but they will mention Justin Beiber, Lady GooGooGaGa, or Nikki Minaj in the same breath, as if those scumwads were worthy of the status of Chuck Berry, David Bowie, B.B. King, Prince, or Jimi Hendrix.

If you know the “Duck-Walk,” then you know Chuck Berry. He made that move famous, just as Michael Jackson was the master of the “Moon-walk.” Chuck’s music was often played on the radio, and “My Ding-A-Ling” was the first one that I recall hearing. He had so many epic, timeless, awesome songs! I don’t think that I can say anything that would truly give due credit to this truly talented man, so I give you my favourite seven hits of his for your enjoyment.

10 Tribute Songs: David Bowie

David Bowie (b. David Robert Jones): 8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

Today marks the birth anniversary of the late, great David Bowie, who was taken far too soon on 10 January 2016. He was one of few celebrities that I respected, admired, and hoped to meet in person, just once. His music was epic, and I never tired of hearing his songs being played – whether they were new songs or familiar, favourite tunes.

In a little tribute to him, I decided to post 10 excellent Bowie songs that I always enjoy whenever they come on the radio. The station “Deep Tracks,” on Sirius XM, is also going to do a “head-trip” special dedicated to him. I’m looking forward to hearing some songs that I may not have heard before, as that station is known for playing some of the more obscure hits that never got over-played on standard radio stations.

Enjoy…and have a pleasant Sunday.

Godspeed, John Glenn…Tribute Post

John Herschel Glenn Jr.: 18 July 1921 – 8 December 2016

Ah, John…I knew that your time was drawing near. You’ve gone places that I’ve only dreamed of; you have walked where I hope to tread, someday. You were the first American to orbit the earth, and your near-death experience at that time was still talked about with awe when I was in grade school. From the official NASA website:

On February 20, 1962, NASA launched one of the most important flights in American history. The mission? Send a man to orbit Earth, observe his reactions and return him home safely. The pilot of this historic flight, John Glenn, became a national hero and a symbol of American ambition. In 1958, John Glenn participated in a series of tests designed to select the first group of astronauts for the newly formed NASA Manned Space Program. Each astronaut candidate, from an original pool of 508, had to meet seven criteria.

They had to be test pilot school graduates in excellent physical shape, less than 40 years old, shorter than 5 feet 11 inches, qualified jet pilots, and they had to have at least 1,500 hours flying time and bachelors’ degrees in engineering. Glenn met all the requirements. He also had a reputation as one of the best test pilots in the country. In July 1957, he had set a transcontinental speed record by flying from Los Angeles to New York in 3 hours and 23 minutes. It was the first transcontinental flight to average supersonic speed…After three years of training, John Glenn rocketed into space aboard the Mercury capsule Friendship 7. He became the third American in space and the first to orbit Earth. The historical flight was no easy feat. At the end of his first orbit, a yaw attitude jet clogged, forcing Glenn to abandon the automatic control system and use the manual electrical fly-by-wire system. In 4 hours and 56 minutes, John Glenn circled the globe three times, reaching speeds of more than 17,000 miles per hour. The successful mission concluded with a splashdown and recovery in the Atlantic Ocean, 800 miles southeast of Bermuda.”

You inspired so many, myself included, to shatter bonds and reach for impossible dreams. From the official John & Annie Glenn Museum website:

John H. Glenn, Jr., was born in Cambridge, Ohio, on July 18, 1921, the son of John Herschel and Clara Sproat Glenn. At age two, young John moved with his parents to New Concord, where his father opened a plumbing business. After relocating to New Concord, the Glenns built a home that doubled as a rooming house for students from nearby Muskingum College.

Glenn would write many years later of his childhood, “A boy could not have had a more idyllic early childhood than I did.” Surrounded by older students, encouraged by a father who liked to travel, and tutored by a devoted mother, John developed an early interest in science, a fascination with flying, and a sense of patriotism that would define his adult life.

He graduated from New Concord High School and attended Muskingum College. Shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Glenn enlisted in the Naval Aviation Cadet Program and became a Marine pilot. He flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific during World War II. When the Korean conflict began, Glenn asked for combat duty and flew 63 missions. For his total of 149 missions during the two wars, he received many decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross six times.

After the Korean conflict, Glenn attended test pilot school and then joined the Naval Air Test Center’s staff of expert flyers. He served as a test pilot for Naval and Marine aircraft, including the FJ3, the F7U Cutlass, and the F8U Crusader. One of Glenn’s most notable accomplishments during this period was the 1957 speed record he set flying from Los Angeles to New York in three hours and 23 minutes. “Project Bullet” secured Glenn’s reputation as one of the country’s top test pilots and provided a stepping stone for his participation in the emerging space exploration program.

Glenn’s experience and skill made him a logical candidate for the astronaut corps being formed during 1958. He entered the space program as a participant in the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics’ “G” force tests. When NASA put out a call for pilots to participate in its suborbital and orbital program, Glenn volunteered without hesitation. In 1959, NASA selected him as one of the first seven astronauts in the U.S. space program. On February 20, 1962, atop an Atlas rocket, he rode into space and piloted the Friendship 7 spacecraft around the globe three times, becoming the first American to orbit the earth.

Glenn’s ride into space, a great technical accomplishment, held even greater significance for the country. Having lagged behind the Soviet Union in the “Space Race,” Americans saw the event as a political as well as scientific milestone. Across the country, they welcomed Glenn as a hero who had conquered the bounds of earth and given new wings to America’s spirit.”

I’ve been almost obsessed with space since I was a child, and every article about outer space that I’ve ever read has always included this amazing man. It isn’t lost on me that people who looked like me were excluded from the “Space Race,” but that never stopped me from being fascinated with what lies beyond the stratosphere. John Glenn has always been synonymous with outer space for my entire life, and his passing does not end it for me – he will always be the original “Rocket Man.” That song is the first of three that I play, here, to send him to the stars. Enjoy.

Happy Birthday, Jim…

James Douglas “Jim” Morrison: 8 December 1943 – 3 July 1971

Today marks the birth anniversary of the late, great, former frontman for the rock band The Doors – Jim Morrison, the self-described “Lizard King.” He was a singer, songwriter, poet, and a fiery Sagittarius. He was incredibly talented, but plagued by alcoholism and drug addiction. Those addictions most certainly contributed to his untimely death at the age of 27 in Paris, France. He is interred at at Père Lachaise Cemetery in eastern Paris. From Wikipedia:

James Douglas Morrison was born in Melbourne, Florida, the son of Clara Virginia (née Clarke) and Rear Admiral George Stephen Morrison, USN,[11] who commanded US naval forces during the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which provided the pretext for the US invasion of South Vietnam in 1965. Morrison had a sister, Anne Robin, who was born in 1947 in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and a brother, Andrew Lee Morrison, who was born in 1948 in Los Altos, California.

His ancestors were Scottish, Irish, and English.[12][13] In 1947, Morrison, then four years old, allegedly witnessed a car accident in the desert, in which a family of Native Americans were injured and possibly killed. He referred to this incident in the Doors’ song “Peace Frog” on the 1970 album Morrison Hotel, as well as in the spoken word performances “Dawn’s Highway” and “Ghost Song” on the posthumous 1978 album An American Prayer. Morrison believed this incident to be the most formative event of his life,[14] and made repeated references to it in the imagery in his songs, poems, and interviews.

His family does not recall this incident happening in the way he told it. According to the Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, Morrison’s family did drive past a car accident on an Indian reservation when he was a child, and he was very upset by it. The book The Doors, written by the remaining members of the Doors, explains how different Morrison’s account of the incident was from that of his father. This book quotes his father as saying, “We went by several Indians. It did make an impression on him [the young James]. He always thought about that crying Indian.” This is contrasted sharply with Morrison’s tale of “Indians scattered all over the highway, bleeding to death.” In the same book, his sister is quoted as saying, “He enjoyed telling that story and exaggerating it. He said he saw a dead Indian by the side of the road, and I don’t even know if that’s true.”[15]

Raised a military brat, Morrison’s family moved often. He spent part of his childhood in San Diego. He completed third grade at a Fairfax County Elementary School Fairfax County, Virginia. His father was stationed at NAS Kingsville in 1952, he attended Charles H. Flato Elementary School in Kingsville, Texas. He continued at St. John’s Methodist School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and then Longfellow School Sixth Grade Graduation Program from San Diego, California.[16] In 1957, Morrison attended Alameda High School in Alameda, California.[17] He graduated from George Washington High School, now George Washington Middle School, in Alexandria, Virginia in June 1961.[16] Cass Elliot also attended high school there, that same year.[18] Morrison read widely and voraciously—being particularly inspired by the writings of philosophers and poets. He was influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche, whose views on aesthetics, morality, and the Apollonian and Dionysian duality would appear in his conversation, poetry and songs. He read Plutarch’s “Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans”. He read the works of the French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, whose style would later influence the form of Morrison’s short prose poems. He was also influenced by William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Baudelaire, Molière, Franz Kafka, Honoré de Balzac and Jean Cocteau, along with most of the French existentialist philosophers.[15][19][20] His senior-year English teacher said, “Jim read as much and probably more than any student in class, but everything he read was so offbeat I had another teacher (who was going to the Library of Congress) check to see if the books Jim was reporting on actually existed. I suspected he was making them up, as they were English books on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century demonology. I’d never heard of them, but they existed, and I’m convinced from the paper he wrote that he read them, and the Library of Congress would’ve been the only source.”[21] Morrison went to live with his paternal grandparents in Clearwater, Florida, where he attended classes at St. Petersburg College (then known as a junior college). In 1962, he transferred to Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, where he appeared in a school recruitment film.[22] While attending FSU, Morrison was arrested for a prank following a home football game.”

I was introduced to the music of The Doors in junior high school, when I first began doing volunteer work at the local radio station. The first song that I played on the air was “Light My Fire,” which finally gained me some favour amongst my classmates from then on. It was nice to be liked for my eclectic musical tastes for once in my life – but my tastes will always make others uncomfortable! I’m beyond caring about things like that, these days. I like what I like; always have, and always will. I chose these three Doors songs as my little tribute to Mr. Mojo Risin’ – enjoy them or don’t; I know that I do!

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