Category Archives: death

RIP Barry Beckett (1943 – 2009)

RIP Barry Beckett (1943 – 2009)

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHsDa9_HSlA]

Barry Beckett (February 4, 1943 – June 10, 2009) born in Birmingham, Alabama was a keyboardist who worked as a session musician with several notable artists on their studio albums. He was also a record producer.

He was involved in the “Muscle Shoals Sound”, being a member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, and in 1969, one of the founders of the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.

Lynyrd Skynyrd famously mentions the Muscle Shoals sound in “Sweet Home Alabama[1]:

“Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers;
And they’ve been known to pick a song or two.
Lord they get me off so much.
They pick me up when I’m feeling blue
Now how about you?”

RIP Hugh Hopper (1945 – 2009)

RIP Hugh Hopper (1945 – 2009)

Volume Two by Soft Machine

Yesterday, Hugh Hopper, British progressive rock and jazz fusion bassist and composer (Soft Machine) died at age 64. He was a prominent member of the Canterbury scene, as a member of Soft Machine and various other related bands. The Soft Machine was a pioneering English psychedelic band from Canterbury, named after the book The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs.

Hopper’s role with Soft Machine was initially as the group’s road manager, but he already composed for their first album The Soft Machine and played bass on one of its tracks. In 1969 he was recruited to be the group’s bassist for their second album, Volume Two and, with Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt, he took part in a recording session for The Madcap Laughs of Syd Barrett. Hopper continued with the Softs, playing bass and contributing numerous compositions, until 1973. During his tenure the group evolved from a psychedelic pop group to an instrumental jazz-rock fusion band. In 1972, shortly before leaving Soft Machine, he recorded the first record under his own name, 1984 (named after George Orwell‘s novel). This was a decidedly non-commercial record featuring lengthy solo pieces using tape loops as well as shorter pieces with a group.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJtUwVRFjjM&]

In one of the myriad connections in (un)popular music, New York based No Wave music group Material led by Bill Laswell covered Hopper’s “Memories” on their One Down album. The song was written by Hopper just prior to his joining Soft Machine, but most well known from Daevid Allen‘s Banana Moon album which featured a lead vocal from Robert Wyatt.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3CZPNT9GSs]

The vocal here is performed by Whitney Houston in one of her first ever featured lead performances.

“Memories” is World Music Classic #329.

RIP David Carradine (1936 – 2009)

RIP David Carradine (1936 – 2009)

via www.andyland1point5.com “RIP David Carradine (1936 - 2009)”.

David Carradine (December 8, 1936 – June 3, 2009) was an American actor best known for his work in the 1970s television series Kung Fu and more recently in the movies Kill Bill.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGhu5Zl5ry8&]

A typical scene from one of my fave “small” American films: Death Race 2000

During the heyday of the B-movie, he starred in Paul Bartel‘s hilarious Death Race 2000 and Cannonball.

One of his more interesting roles was in Boxcar Bertha (Scorcese) together with then real-life partner Barbara Hershey.

Other of his appearances worth checking are Mean Streets (Scorcese) and Q (Larry Cohen) in the eighties.

Carradine once commented on Roger “never lost a dime” Corman‘s career that “It’s almost as though you can’t have a career in this business without having passed through Roger Corman’s hands for at least a moment.”

Death Race 2000 is World Cinema Classic #105.

Dancing with death

via users.telenet.be Dansen met de Dood

Dansen met de Dood

A friend lent me her copy of the book above, an excellent compendium of visuals of the perennial favourite dance of death theme. Dansen met de Dood is a Dutch language book on the iconography of dance of death by Johan De Soete, Harry Van Royen and Dirk Vanclooster. Dance of Death, also variously called Danse Macabre (French), Danza Macabra (Italian) or Totentanz (German), is a late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter one’s station in life, the dance of death unites all. La Danse Macabre consists of the personified death leading a row of dancing figures from all walks of life to the grave—typically with an emperor, king, pope, monk, youngster, beautiful girl, all skeletal. They were produced to remind people of how fragile their lives were and how vain the glories of earthly life were. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest artistic examples are in a cemetery (Cimetière des Innocents) in Paris from 1424.

The book was based on a 2008 exhibition in the Flemish city of Koksijde. It featured manuscripts of the Great Seminary in Bruges and the Catharijne convent in Utrecht, objects and graphic work by Wim Delvoye, Pierre Alechinsky, Paul Delvaux, Frans Masereel, James Ensor, Käthe Kollwitz, Félicien Rops and Hans Holbein.

The images below were new to me.

via www.scherenschnitt.org Walter Draesner Ein Totentanz, nach Scherenschnitten von Walter Draesner mit Geleitwort von Max von Boehn. Berlin: B. Behrs. Max von Boehn - 1922

Walter Draesner Ein Totentanz, nach Scherenschnitten von Walter Draesner mit Geleitwort von Max von Boehn(1922). With a preface by Max von Boehn

RIP Christopher Gray (1942 – 2009)

RIP Christopher Gray (1942 – 2009)

Leaving the 20th Century: The Incomplete Work of the Situationist International (1974) – Christopher Gray [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Christopher Gray is a British writer and activist, editor of Leaving the 20th Century: The Incomplete Work of the Situationist International (1974). He was a member of the British SI and of King Mob.

Leaving the 20th Century: The Incomplete Work of the Situationist International (1974) is an anthology of Situationist texts edited by British activist Christopher Gray. The original edition was designed by Jamie Reid.

RIP Zé Rodrix (1947 – 2009)

RIP Zé Rodrix (1947 – 2009)

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OITefBHuEkk&]

Elis Regina‘s recording of Zé Rodrix‘s  rock ruralCasa no Campo

Zé Rodrix (born José Rodrigues Trindade in Rio de Janeiro , 25 November, 1947- São Paulo, 22 May 2009) was a Brazilian musician, known as member of Sá, Rodrix & Guarabyra and the group Som Imaginário which accompanied Milton Nascimento and Gal Costa.

In 1971, Elis Regina‘s recording of his rock ruralCasa no Campo” (with Tavito) became a national hit.

See Brazilian music, Brazilian rock

RIP Lucy Gordon (1980 – 2009)

RIP Lucy Gordon (1980 – 2009)

via upload.wikimedia.org RIP Lucy Gordon (actress) I’m skipping Arthur Conan Doyle @150,  Arthur Cravan @120 and Carl Craig &@40 to announce the sad death of British actress Lucy Gordon, a couple of days before her 29th birthday. Sad because she chose to end her life violently. She was set to play Jane Birkin in Joann Sfar’s Serge Gainsbourg : vie héroïque, scheduled for release in 2010.

May 2007 photo of Lucy Gordon by David Shankbone[1][2]

I’m skipping Arthur Conan Doyle @150, Arthur Cravan @120 and Carl Craig &@40 to report the sad death of British actress Lucy Gordon, a couple of days before her 29th birthday. Sad because she chose to end her life violently. She just finished shooting Jane Birkin in Joann Sfar‘s Serge Gainsbourg : vie héroïque, scheduled for release in 2010.

RIP James Kirkup (1918 – 2009)

RIP James Kirkup

James Kirkup, FRSL (23 April 1918 – 10 May 2009) was a prolific English poet, translator and travel writer, best-known for his controversial poem The Love that Dares to Speak its Name, which describes a sexual fantasy of a homosexual soldier for the dead Christ.

The Dead Christ (1582) by Annibale Carracci

The Dead Christ (1582) by Annibale Carracci

The Love that Dares to Speak its Name is  written from the viewpoint of a Roman centurion who is graphically described having sex with Jesus after his crucifixion, and also claims that Jesus had had sex with numerous disciples, guards, and even Pontius Pilate. Its title The Love that Dares to Speak its Name was taken from a line in the poem “Two Loves” by Lord Alfred Douglas.

Lamentation over the Dead Christ (c. 1480) by Andrea Mantegna

Lamentation over the Dead Christ (c. 1480) by Andrea Mantegna

Dead Christ

In Western art, the death of Christ and its depiction is usually known by the term lamentation of Christ and it is a very common subject in Christian art from the High Middle Ages to the Baroque. After Jesus was crucified, his body was removed from the cross and his friends and family mourned over his body. This event has been depicted by many different artists.

RIP Viola Wills (1939 – 2009)

RIP Viola Wills   (1939 – 2009)

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdiHJjq84oI&]

If You Could Read My Mind”  (1980)Viola Wills (December 30, 1939—May 6, 2009) was an American pop singer, best known for her rendition of “If You Could Read My Mind” (1980).

If You Could Read My Mind” is a song by Gordon Lightfoot.  Lightfoot has cited his divorce for inspiring the lyrics.

The version by Miss Wills came out when I was fifteen. Little did I know the song was by Lightfoot and its theme was divorce*, although my parents were going through a particularly nasty end of marriage. I just loved the song.

*Divorce or dissolution of marriage is the ending of a marriage before the death of either spouse. Powerful cinematic divorce allegories include The Brood (1979) and Possession (1981).

Ruggero Deodato @70

Ruggero Deodato @70

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHfAc3CJStQ&]

Ruggero Deodato (born May 7 1939 in Potenza) is a controversial Italian film director, actor and screen writer, best known for his infamous 1980 film cannibal film Cannibal Holocaust.

Ruggero Deodato belongs to the same mantle that holds Joe D’Amato, Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Tinto Brass, Ruggero Deodato, Lucio Fulci, Riccardo Freda, Gualtiero Jacopetti, Sergio Leone, Antonio Margheriti and Bruno Mattei.

These were filmmakers of the pre-internet dark ages, the terra incognita of the 20th century, who exploited the ignorance of the general audience regarding prurient matters such as sex, drugs and rock and roll.

In 1979 Deodato started work on Mondo-style Cannibal Holocaust. Deodato caused massive controversy in Italy and the United Kingdom following the release of Cannibal Holocaust, which was accused to be a genuine snuff film. Deodato was forced to reveal the secrets behind the film’s impalement[1] scene and to parade the lead actors before an Italian court in order to prove that they were still alive. More importantly, Deodato was harshly criticized for the use of real animal torture in his films. Deodato’s film license was then revoked and he would not get it back until three years later

Younger viewers may have spotted Ruggero as a client in the film Hostel: Part II.

See also Italian exploitation, Italian horror film, Italian film, cannibal films