Monday, August 6, 2007

RIP Lee Hazelwood, Tom Snyder...

Via one of the weird music mailing lists I subscribe to, I've just learned the sad but inevitable news that the great Lee Hazelwood has passed. He had been seriously ill for the past few years.

An excellent pop/country writer, singer and producer, it'd be hard to pigeonhole the Hazelwood sound. Lush, haunting arrangements and a booming voice from a small guy. Hazelwood will probably best be remembered for penning Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'." He was one heck of a songwriter, and was in the literally dying breed of professional American songwriters who, in the Woody Guthrie tradition, wrote songs to inspire good people stuck in bad situations, personal or sometimes social. Listen to the excellent album Nancy and Lee when you get the chance. They just don't write 'em like that anymore. Again, literally.

Check out this lyric to "No Train to Stockholm." Check out this arrangement of the original "Some Velvet Morning." You can keep your Dr. Dre, I'm sticking with my old Hazelwood records...

America also lost Tom Snyder in the past week. I think there was something very human and kind in his interview style. They'd never let a joke-cracking, chain-smoking affable conversationalist who actually conversed with his talk show guests on the air these days. Sigh... At least we can enjoy clips such as his great KISS interview (Part 1, Part 2) ... until someone sues YouTube and it disappears. Be sure to see these great clips of the man at work: Hitchcock, Rotten, Manson, Elton John, Lennon, Ali, a young U2, Cheech and Chong... who now do we have that would handle that range well?

Bergman and Antonioni are also gone now; Europe loses two pioneers. The cultural giants die off and leave the rats to pick at the crumbs.

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