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Monday, December 31, 2007

The final curtain

I was watching Wednesday's JEOPARDY! on Saturday - no surprise there - and there was a $1600 question about Women of Distinction: "In November 1988 she was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head a modern Islamic nation. " It was, of course, Benazir Bhutto. On Thursday, she was dead. Yes, I know they tape the game show, but I still found it a bit spooky.

A couple musicians died this month, and I hadn't noted it yet.

Ike Turner: recorded perhaps the first rock song, Rocket 88. Enhanced his wife's career and the song Proud Mary. Beat his wife. Great musician, not so great human being.

Oscar Peterson: When I think of my father's record collection, I usually think of the folkies like Harry Belafonte, Pete Seeger and Odetta. But now that I ponder it, there were a few Oscar Peterson albums as well. But I did not really appreciate him until I was considerably older. Wonderfully lyrical pianist. I never knew he was Canadian.

Dan Fogelberg: seems like someone gave me an LP of his once upon a time. Actually bought the greatest hits album for my wife a couple years ago because she had a roommate in college who played Fogelberg incessantly. I could only recognize two of his songs, Another Auld Lang Syne, because it shows up every holiday season, and Longer, which appears on some compilation album. Conversely, my wife can sing along with over half of the tunes. I was on Barnes & Nobles' online site this week, and along with the big current hits and Christmas music, high on the list was that same greatest hits album I had bought for my wife.

But it's the fact that he died of prostate cancer - at 56! - which, of course, is what killed my father. I'm thus compelled to ask my male readers of a certain age (certainly by 50, or earlier with a family history) to get checked regularly.


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