Space age love song

Just scanning videos this morning, and saw this and thought, “God, those guys are old.”

Because I remember the time I saw them in concert, and they looked like this:

But that was the ’80s.

Then I realized, I was older then than they were. Which means I’m older now than they are.

God, I’m old.

But at least I have my hair.

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Gomer Pyle died

I don’t know why this came as a surprise:

Jim Nabors, a singer and comic actor who played the bumbling but good-natured hayseed Gomer Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show” before starring as an unlikely Marine recruit in “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1960s, died Nov. 30 at his home in Hono­lulu. He was 87.

His death was confirmed to the Associated Press by his husband, Stan Cadwallader. The cause was not disclosed, but Mr. Nabors had a liver transplant in 1994 and heart surgery in 2012.

Mr. Nabors had never acted before Griffith saw him perform at a nightclub, where he portrayed a bumpkin whose high-pitched drawl changed to an operatic baritone when he broke into song.

Yes, he was old. That means I’m old since it didn’t cross my mind that he was old.

This was the essence of Gomer:

Tom Petty, that music dude up in Gainesville, dies at 66

I moved to Central Florida in 1976, and this guy up in Gainesville, about 45 minutes north, just released a record that the local DJs were playing constantly, and I thought, “Maybe I should drive up there and see him perform.”

But I didn’t.

Over the years, he kept releasing hit records that continually played on the radio and that I bought. I’d move around the country, and he’d tour the cities I was living in, and I thought, “Maybe I should go there and see him perform.”

But I didn’t.

He announced last year that he was doing a final tour. It was going to come through the city I live in, and I thought, “Maybe I should go and see him perform.”

But I didn’t.

This is the song I heard in 1976:

And this is the guy (From Rolling Stone):

Tom Petty, the dynamic and iconoclastic frontman who led the band the Heartbreakers, died Monday. He was 66. Petty’s death was confirmed by Tony Dimitriades, longtime manager of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, on behalf of the family.

“On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty. He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu in the early hours of this morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived. He died peacefully at 8:40 p.m. PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends,” Dimitriades wrote.

On Sunday, Petty was found unconscious, not breathing and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu home, according to TMZ, where he was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support. EMTs were able to find a pulse when they found him, but TMZ reported that the hospital found no brain activity when he arrived. A decision was made to pull life support.

“It’s shocking, crushing news,” Petty’s friend and Traveling Wilburys bandmate Bob Dylan tells Rolling Stone in a statement. “I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”

If there’s a performer you want to see, do it now.

Walter Becker died. You probably don’t know him, but you know Steely Dan.

There are a ton of musicians who’ve played with Steely Dan (Michael McDonald, Skunk Baxter), but the two who made it Steely Dan were Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. Becker played guitar, sometimes sang, but not often, and wrote the songs and produced the albums with Fagen.

I don’t mean this to sound like an insult, but Steely Dan was the original smooth jazz band. Its sound was distinctive, in that hipster cool, Southern Califonia via New Jersey and Queens vibe. I spent many hours mellowing out to “Aja,” “Can’t Buy a Thrill,” “Pretzel Logic,” “Countdown to Ecstasy,” “Katy Lied” and “Gaucho” back in the ’70s and ’80s. I’ve heard the albums from the 2000s were good, but I’m content with the classics.

Here’s a live performance in Charlotte:

Becker’s the older, bearded guy in glasses on guitar. Fagen had some nice things to say about him:

Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967. We started writing nutty little tunes on an upright piano in a small sitting room in the lobby of Ward Manor, a mouldering old mansion on the Hudson River that the college used as a dorm.

We liked a lot of the same things: jazz (from the twenties through the mid-sixties), W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, science fiction, Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Berger, and Robert Altman films come to mind. Also soul music and Chicago blues.

Walter had a very rough childhood – I’ll spare you the details. Luckily, he was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter. He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny. Like a lot of kids from fractured families, he had the knack of creative mimicry, reading people’s hidden psychology and transforming what he saw into bubbly, incisive art. He used to write letters (never meant to be sent) in my wife Libby’s singular voice that made the three of us collapse with laughter.

His habits got the best of him by the end of the seventies, and we lost touch for a while. In the eighties, when I was putting together the NY Rock and Soul Review with Libby, we hooked up again, revived the Steely Dan concept and developed another terrific band.

I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band.

But the thing about Steely Dan is the sound. And the Nerdwriter explains what that’s all about:

Walter Becker died yesterday at age 67.