Over the course of my time writing for Pop Geeks, I’ve interviewed many talents who have ended up becoming friends of mine. I’ve saved their numbers to my contacts, and I always reach out a few times a year to say hello to them. It always hurts to lose one of them and, sadly, I now bid farewell to one of those friends, the Love Goddess, better known to all of us pigs as Judy Tenuta.
I was saddened to hear of the death of Eddie Van Halen on October 6th, 2020. Van Halen’s passing shook me because his work was a big influence on what my pop-cultural tastes would become. To honor Eddie’s memory, I would now like to talk about some of my favorite pieces of music involving his talents. Whether as a songwriter or a musician, Eddie Van Halen’s work will live on.
On January 29th, 2019, James Ingram, one of my favorite singers, passed away from brain cancer. I’m a little late in paying tribute to him, but I wanted to do so because his work, as with so many musicians who were active in the 1980s, helped get me through some of the darkest times of my life.
As we enter the final weeks of 2018, I find myself reflecting on the milestones I hit in 2018 with Pop Geeks. I reached my 100th article for the site with my Pleasant Gehman interview, which was also the 100th unique interview I’ve done. I also made a dream come true this year by interviewing Sherri Stoner, my biggest influence as a writer. Coming up soon will be interviews with Loretta Swit and Aki Aleong. As I hit these milestones, though, I thought of the talents I never had the chance to interview. There’s so many, but these 10 Talents I Never Got The Chance To Interview really stood out for me.
Every year, I take a day off from my paying job to watch the Academy Awards. As an inveterate film buff, I love watching the show every year, even if I haven’t seen most of the nominees. It’s always entertaining to see stars of the past and present unite to celebrate film, a medium we all love. There are always some disappointments every year, though. For some, it’s over who won and lost. For me, it comes with the In Memoriam, and this year saw a surprise omission that literally made me drop my jaw. That omission from the In Memoriam was Dorothy Malone, who actually won Best Supporting Actress for the 1956 Douglas Sirk drama Written On The Wind.
On Monday, October 2nd, 2017, it was officially announced that singer Tom Petty has passed away. When his passing was officially announced, I felt the same way I did about Prince’s passing. Tom Petty was another artist that got me through some of the roughest times of my life. There was something fascinating about his music that inspired my 80s fandom ever higher. I would like to recall several of his songs, and their impact on my life and writing.
It was announced on December 27th, 2016 that Carrie Fisher had passed away. Whether they loved her work in the Star Wars movies or her talents as a writer, many have mourned and will continue to mourn her passing. Many have celebrated her memory, including our very own Peter Paltridge, who penned a lovely tribute.
I woke up this morning to some rather disheartening news. It was announced that Rod Temperton, a British songwriter, had passed away after a short battle with cancer. Who was Rod Temperton, I can hear some of you asking? To simply dub him a songwriter isn’t enough. He’s a man who made you dance ecstatically, even if you didn’t know his name. He’s a man who wrote music you might’ve been conceived to in the 1970s, even if others did the vocals. He’s one of the best examples of blue-eyed soul, and this is my tribute to this legendary talent.
Thursday, April 21st, was a day that shocked music lovers around the world. On that day, Prince, the Grammy-and-Oscar-winning singer and composer, was found dead at his Paisley Park estate. Tributes immediately started pouring in from all over the globe, and Facebook became loaded with memories of his music, his concerts and interactions with him. I worked this past weekend at my retail job, but all throughout the weekend, I thought about Prince’s passing. I was humming his songs while ringing up customers and cleaning around the register, and I remarked on his passing to several of the customers, all of whom had memories of his music as well.
It’s been a little over two weeks since the 88th Academy Awards bought the film season of 2015 to a close. Although we’re now well into the 2016 film season, I didn’t want to move past the most recent Oscars without mention of a disturbing thing I noticed on the show this year. Long time readers of mine will recall that, about a year or two ago, I did an article called “Out Of The In Memoriam”, where I mentioned 10 former Oscar winners who were not included in the Oscars’ In Memoriam segment when they passed. Their passings were spread throughout multiple ceremonies, but this year, there were a whopping seven Oscar winners who died within the year, and who were excluded from the ceremony despite winning Oscars. I would like to give them a final salute before I think ahead to the 2017 Oscars.
On February 4th, 2016, I saw the news posted on Tom Ruegger’s Facebook page. The news was that Joe Alaskey, who worked so memorably with Mr. Ruegger and crew on Tiny Toon Adventures, had died at the age of 63. I told my brother, who also liked Tiny Toon Adventures, about his passing, and my brother wondered if it was cancer that claimed him. I said I hope not, but I was to be distressed when I read that, indeed, it was cancer that claimed Alaskey’s life. I was angered, and I was saddened, and I’ll explain why in this memorial piece.
On Monday, June 22nd, the world of film music suffered a devastating loss when James Horner, winner of two Oscars for his musical contributions to Titanic, died in a plane crash. Mr. Horner’s death sent shockwaves through the film community. He scored three movies awaiting release and was on-board to do the scores for the Avatar sequels. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Horner’s work for years now, and so I would like to take a look back at some of the scores he wrote that either had an impact on me or I just enjoyed for what they were…Wonderful music.