Reposted after it mysteriously disappeared yesterday afternoon
On Thursday afternoon I was getting ready to write an obituary for Robert Quine, guitar hero who apparently killed himself last weekend, when I heard on KEXP that Ray Charles had passed away. Both will be missed. Ray Charles was starting to be in danger of being a living Mt Rushmore, so much a part of America through his constant TV appearances and patriotic performances (even well into his 70s) that people like me thought of him as a monument rather than a living musician. Hopefully this will be an occasion, past the mourning, to evaluate and appreciate his truly astounding artistry as well as his life.
Most of what I see on Google News is the AP release (which is identifiable for listing one of his best known songs as “What’dI Say” (note the lack of space—proving that even the best papers don’t copyedit wire feed)). Here’s the BBC obituary.
Regarding Robert Quine: as much as Ray Charles was a towering monument on the landscape, I think Quine was more influential for me personally through his boostership of the Velvet Underground and his truly seminal work with Lou Reed on The Blue Mask and with Tom Waits on Rain Dogs.