This was the year that “was” because most of the celebs who kicked the bucket were either ones I grew-up watching on (old black and white) television, or who I met during the past twenty years.
Ok, lets name them in no special order: Chuck Brown (“the Soul Searchers” and composer of “Bustin’ Loose!”), Sherman Hemsley, Whitney Houston, “Heavy” D (who actually passed late in 2011 but makes this list anyway because it was so close to the “holidays” one year ago), Don Cornelius, [the Bee Gee’s] Robin Gibb; Donna Summer (shocker), Bob Welch, Mike Wallace [CBS TV], Donald “Duck” Dunn, (NFL footballer) Junior Seau [suicide by gun], Dick Clark, Jimmy Ellis (The Trammps lead singer), Davy Jones [The Monkees], Gary Carter (former Met and Montreal Expo baseball catcher), Etta James, Richard Dawson, Andy Williams (ok, he was “up there” in age), Phyllis Diller (what an incredibly wacky laugh she had, lol); Larry (“Major Anthony Nelson”/”J.R. Ewing”) Hagman [I was a HUGE fan of his], Marvin Hamlish, Chad Everett [Medical Center] and so many more stars of my comeuppance on TV, movies and in music that left us behind here in the physical world in 2012.
I still cannot believe I live in a world without an alive Donna Summer! That one blindsided me – didn’t it you? As did Dwight “Heavy” D’s demise. At one point early in the year, it was like stars close to me were dropping by the day…or week! I felt like a fighter on the ropes getting pummeled by a right, then a left, then another right-hand punch!! “Wow…”
I met “Heavy D” (Dwight Arrington Myers) while an Attendance Teacher at Mt. Vernon (NY) High School, where he, and other budding Hip-Hop stars like Pete Rock and Al B. Sure also attended in the early 1990s. I happened to have his “yo, you better show-up for a few more classes so that you can walk the [graduation day] stage” letter. It was part of my job to hand-deliver these letters to the homes of pupils in danger of “not graduating” for lack of a class or two and I got to ring the Myers doorbell that early June morning. Going on about my life and business of getting back into radio, the next thing I knew, I was getting his 12-inch vinyls on the MCA label in my DJ record pool promo packages!
I analyzed the death of (which did not surprise me) and reminisced about the time I met and dance with Whitney Houston in a blog in this space last spring, shortly after it tragically happened. You can revisit it here: <a href=”https://achilliad.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/the-night-i-danced-with-somebody-who/” target=”_blank”> Nope, the real surprise singer death for me was that of my ole college roommate’s schoolboy crush, Donna Summer! As I have stated many times (like in an above paragraph here), I still cannot believe I live in a world without an alive and singing Donna Summer! There was no hint of illness leaked to the “TMC”‘s of the media, just she was suddenly DEAD! I remember flying back to Nashville from NYC on a Southwest flight in the spring of 2002 when I found myself engrossed in a conversation with her drummer on many of her greatest hits! I can’t recall his name, but I can see him plain-as-day; a white cat who was the first to tell me that Ms. Summer had a home in Nashville of all places and to my surprise at the time! “MacArthur Park”, indeed. Here is the cover of “Once Upon A Time”, one of my absolute faves of her double-pocket albums on the Casablanca label:
I also wrote about another, even sadder stunner of a death; that of Don Cornelius, former host and creator of the “Black American Bandstand” as we used to call it in our college dorm of the early 1970s, “Soul Train” https://achilliad.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/i-might-have-to-pull-a-don-cornelieus-on-you/ from the perspective of self-deliverance by Black American men at the time. Looking back and for this year in musical deaths review, the only eerie thing about the soft-spoken Mr. Cornelius’ death to me personally is that he was in love with and had an apparent failed relationship with a woman from Ukraine…”Shut up!” lol She wasn’t worth killing himself over and the man did suffer from brain cancer which must be a bitch! Check the look on his face, lol!—>
Which segue-ways oddly into; and finally, the “hits” just keep on coming” as the Top 40 radio DJs used to say, right til the end of 2012. This one hits me personally, as the news arrived from my beloved Russian/Ukrainian bride-to-be, that her Daddy passed away a few days ago here in December. I am not only sorry for her and her surviving Mum, but that I never got to meet this man who was so great as to instill in Nina a fantastic appreciation for American Blues music! He is already greatly missed – although we are relieved that he is out of his physical misery and pain.
Here is a GREAT blog that lists famous 2013 deaths: http://www.ranker.com/list/celebrity-deaths-2012-famous-deaths-list/famous-celebrity-deaths-list?page=7&format=BLOG
Overall, 2012 feels like an unsuccessful year to me as I am still not under the same roof with my sweet darling dear. At least I am geographically closer to her and it must be the very uncomfortable step I suffered to take to get where I need to be ultimately – with Nina – I had to leave Tennessee. However, until we reside in the same zip code, no year will be a “good” year so it absolutely must happen in 2013; however, I digress…
So, which celebrity death hit you closest to your heart in 2012?