This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.
The basic obituary passes along the bones, and little more: so-and-so was born here, died there, is survived by X, Y, and Z. In the hands of a master it’s a short-story form. But sometimes less is more. This appeared in today’s paper, an obit for harmonica player Jerry Adler:
A harmonica virtuoso whose pure, open sound can be heard on the soundtracks to “Shane,’’ “High Noon,’’ “Mary Poppins,’’ and other films, but who labored in the shadow of his more famous harmonica playing older brother, Larry, died March 13.
But who labored in the shadow of his more famous harmonica-playing older brother. If Hollywood still made old-style musicals, this would have been a natural. Brother Larry was a classical harmonica player; Jerry was the guy with the pop career. His brother got his start performing Beethoven’s Minuet in G in a 1927 talent show; Jerry played the same piece five years later in the same contents, and won it as well.
If the description for the video below is correct, they shared the stage once, and that was to play “Rhapsody in Blue.” On the harmonicas. And here it is:
As you may have heard, Doug Fieger, singer / songwriter for the Knack, died. This is news for a few reasons: he wrote a popular song, a thrash-anthemic foot-stomper that bridged hard rock and the new post-punk pop aesthetic. (Hey, I sound like a critic! It's easy. Just remember to hyphenate musical styles no one can quite define or identify.) Keep in mind that the song came out in 1979. Thirty-one years ago.
So this is like someone in 1979 writing about a one-hit wonder group who had a big hit in 1948.
It's a good song, though, at least the first 100 times you hear it. If you worked in a bar at the time, you'd get those 100 times out of the way in a few days. After that you learned to grit your teeth every time it came on, because
A) you were sick of it, and
B) many of the people who enjoyed it were doing so for the wrong reason. They thought it was punk. It was not. Hence they should not think it was, but they did because they were stupid frat boys with Izod shirts. (Ah, to be 20 again, and care about such things.)
Did the group - or its managers - try to piggyback on the downtown / punk / Patti Smith / new wave movement that had arisen to combat disco, and give gawky people who couldn't dance a movement of their own? You be the judge:
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