Friday, April 26, 2013

A Triple Farewell

Three legendary artists have passed away in recent weeks. American actress and singer Annette Funicello passed away on April 8th, 2013 at the age of 70, due to complications from her multiple sclerosis. She began her career as a child performer at the age of 12 and rose to prominence as one of the most popular "Mouseketeers" on the original Mickey Mouse Club. She later established herself as a film actress, popularizing the successful "Beach Party" genre with co-star Frankie Avalon during the mid-1960s. From a typical, teenage movie, here's sweet Annette singing the title theme to 1965's "The Monkey's Uncle," backed by...wait for it...The Beach Boys? Yep. It's actually kind of cute.    

Farewell, dear Annette.
On April 22nd, American singer-songwriter guitarist Richie Havens died of a heart attack at the age of 72. He is best known for his intense and rhythmic guitar style (often in open tunings), soulful covers of pop and folk songs, and his opening performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. During this infamous performance, Havens held the crowd for nearly three hours (in part because he was told to perform a lengthy set because many artists were delayed in reaching the festival location), and he was called back for several encores. Having run out of tunes, he improvised a song based on the old spiritual, "Motherless Child," that became "Freedom" (as seen in his video clip from the festival). Only a true musician can bring this much passion to an improvised song.
Farewell, Mr. Havens.
And today, April 26th, we lost American country music singer George Jones who passed away at 81 years old. Beginning his career in 1954, he is remembered for his long list of hit records, his distinctive voice and phrasing, and his marriage to country singer Tammy Wynette. The flat-topped singer (also known for his hard-living lifestyle) placed multiple singles on the country charts each year during the '60s, including ballads like "Walk Through This World with Me." Released in January 1967, this single was his 57th release on the country chart and his fourth #1 hit.

Farewell, Mr. Jones.