Monday, March 24, 2008

GONE TOO SOON

Not to be obsessed with death, but a recent post on COOLBIRTH had a link to a list I didn’t check out but had to do with artists who died too young, and though I doubt it was alphabetical, it inspired me last night on being woken up several times by various noises, including my little boy’s gerbil, McFly (though I hate to see anything caged or confined, I gave in on this one) trying to drag his tiny wooden house around and banging it on the glass walls of his cage.

I removed the wooden house and in trying to get back to sleep I came up with my own alphabetical “died too soon” list, with the demarcation of “before 30” that makes for most “died too young” legends since they occur before the aging process seems to have begun. But I couldn’t fill in all the letters and just kept thinking of more names for letters I already had, including Selena for “S” but thought to look up her last name this morning, and scored a “Q.”

Finally I gave up on the missing letters on the first list, and tried a second one of those who passed away in their thirties, because those also seem memorably way “too soon.” I couldn’t come up with some letters on that one too and kept thinking of multiple names for letters already counted with my usual compulsiveness.

Some of them I knew about the age they died because I’d written about them at some point in my life (like a screenplay I was hired to write during my Hollywood years for “The Otis Redding Story” etc.), and some because I actually knew the artists themselves, and the rest because I read about them enough to somehow remember they died too soon.

But I stalled on the letters I couldn’t come up with and so, in keeping with my favorite number and list ordering device besides the alphabet—three—I decided to do a third list of artists who died in their forties, still too soon. Though as I’ve said before, anything under a hundred seems too young to me these days. (This morning I also checked to see if I had the ages correct on ones I wasn’t sure of, but had most of them correct and corrected the ones that needed it.)

Maybe you can fill in the blanks.

1. GONE BEFORE THIRTY:

ACE, JOHNNY, and DUANE ALLMAN
BEIDERBECKE, BIX, CLIFFORD BROWN and JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
COBAIN, KURT
DEAN, JAMES, RALPH DICKEY, and CANDY DARLING
E?
FARINA, RICHARD
GAUDIER-BRZESKA, HENRI
HOLLY, BUDDY, JIMI HENDRIX and JEAN HARLOW
I?
JOHNSON, ROBERT, BRIAN JONES and JANIS JOPLIN
KEATS, JOHN
LAFARO, SCOTT, FRANKIE LYMAN, D. A. LEVY, and HEATH LEDGER
MORRISON, JIM
NOVALIS
O?
PARSON, GRAM and RIVER PHOENIX
QUINTANILLA-PEREZ, SELENA
REDDING, OTIS
SHELLEY, PERCY BYSSHE, EGON SCHIELE, STUART SUTCLIFFE, and TUPAC SHAKUR
T?
U?
VALENS, RITCHIE and SID VICIOUS
WILLIAMS, HANK
X?
Y?
Z?

2. GONE IN THEIR THIRTIES:

APPOLLINAIRE, GUILLAUME
BYRON, LORD and JOHN BELUSHI
CRANE, HART, PATSY CLINE, SAM COOKE, and JACKIE CURTIS
DOLPHY, ERIC and BOBBY DARIN
E?
FASSBINDER, RAINER WERNER and CHRIS FARLEY
GOGH, VINCENT VAN, GEORGE GERSHWIN, JOHN GARFIELD and CHE GUEVARA (his diaries are “art”)
HILL, JOE, LORRAINE HANSBERRY, EVA HESSE and KEITH HARING
I?
J?
KING, MARTIN LUTHER JR.
LORCA, FREDERICO GARCIA, CAROLE LOMBARD, and BRUCE LEE
MOZART, WOLFGANG AMADEUS, VLADMIR MAYAKOVSKY, MARILYN MONROE, KEITH MOON, SAL MINEO, and BOB MARLEY
NEMIROVSKY, IRENE
O’CONNOR, FLANNERY and PHIL OCHS
PARKER, CHARLIE and SYLVIA PLATH
Q?
RIMBAUD, ARTHUR. and JIMMIE RODGERS
SYNGE, JOHN MILLINGTON
THOMAS, DYLAN, JOHN KENNEDY TOOLE and JOHNNY THUNDERS
U?
VALENTINO, RUDOLPH and GENE VINCENT
WALLER, FATS, BRANDON DE WILDE, DINAH WASHINGTON and DENNIS WILSON
X, MALCOLM
Y?
Z?

3. GONE IN THEIR FORTIES:

ARBUS, DIANE
BEHAN, BRENDAN, LENNY BRUCE, TED BERRIGAN, DAVID BLUE and JOAN BARIBEAULT
CLIFT, MONTGOMERY, NAT KING COLE, JOHN COLTRANE, NEAL CASSADY, and ED COX
DANDRIDGE, DOROTHY, BRAD DAVIS, and TIM DLUGOS
E?
FITZGERALD, F. SCOTT
GORKY, ARSHILE and MARVIN GAYE
HART, LORENZ, JUDY HOLLIDAY, and BILLIE HOLIDAY
I?
JOPLIN, SCOTT, ELMORE JAMES, and PAUL JABARA
KAHLO, FRIDA, JOHN F. KENNEDY, ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JACK KEROUAC and IRENE KRAL
LENNON, JOHN and LEE LALLY
MILLER, GLEN, FREDDIE MERCURY and COOKIE MEULLER
NELSON, RICKY
O’HARA, FRANK
POE, EDGAR ALLEN, JACKSON POLLACK, and ELVIS PRESELY
Q?
RADNER, GILDA and HOWARD ROLLINS
SMITH, BESSIE, ANNE SEXTON, and RAY SHARKEY
THOREAU, HENRY DAVID and ART TATUM
U?
VERMEER and CESAR VALLEJO
WILDE, OSCAR, JACKIE WILSON, LEW WELCH and NATALIE WOOD
X?
YOUNG, LESTER
Z ?

13 comments:

JIm said...

Courage in the face of death threats

Pope Benedict XVI baptised a Muslim at Easter service on Sunday. He is a well known Italian journalist of Egyptian heritage. He took as his baptismal name Christian. It is good to see a churchman and a parishioner stand up to evil, even at the risk of their life.

-K- said...

Just a few days until Frank O'Hara's birthday (his real birthday).

Tom said...

How about Billie Holiday (43), Booker Little (23), Kenny Dorham (48), Chatterton(17), Georg Trakl (27), Stephen Foster (37), George Mallory (37)(had to throw in the mountain climber), Wilfred Owen (25), Woody Shaw (44), Lee Morgan (33), Fats Navarro (26), Schubert (31), Schumann (46), Kiekegaard (42), Hot Lips Page (46), Freddy Keppard (43), John Bonham (32), Rupert Brooke (27), Dick Twardzik (24), Bill Chase (39), Don Ellis (44). A little heavy on the brass but, sorry, I am a trumpet player.

Tom King

Lally said...

Tom, I have Billie Holiday listed and I had Lee Morgan down for dying in his twenties and maybe went to move him and accidentally erased it, but I couldn't think of a "T" who died in their 20s for anything, and I love Georg Trakl, so thanks for coming up with that one. I also kept trhying to remember Wilfred Owen and couldn't. But that's a great list you added. Thanks.

Tom said...

I forgot Freddie Webster (31) pretty much unknown but a big influence on Miles Davis's sound, and it's interesting to me that Fats Navarro influenced and came right before Clifford Brown, and Booker Little came right after Clifford and was influenced strongly by him, and they all died at about the same age in their twenties.

Tom King

Tom said...

Others: Brad Renfro (25), Samuel Greenberg (23), and of David Schubert (20s?), Anne Frank (15), Georg Buchner (23), Robert Fergusson the Scottish poet loved by Burns (24), Aubrey Beardsley (25), Nick Drake (26), Gram Parsons (26), Tim Buckley (28) and his son Jeff Buckley (32) and I've got to add Steve Prefontaine (24).

Lally said...

Yeah I meant to add Renfro, who I mentioned in a previous post being left off the Oscars list of deaths etc. And Gram Parsons I did list, only left off the final s. Can't believe I forgot Tim Buckley and Jeff buckley and Nick Drake. I thought of Anne Frank too, can't remember why I then forgot to list her. Hey man, you're as compulsive as I am! Great additions. We'll have a giant master list and should make a web page for them and add photos. Wouldn't that be a nice tribute.

Tom said...

I guess we forgot Jesus (33), too! And in this season.

tcurtins said...

michael lally: been trying to locate an old friend, Joan Baribeault. Is she the Joan Baribeault listed in your blog, gone too soon. I sure as hell hope not.

Please let me know ASAP. thanks.

beth

Lally said...

Joan worked in the movie business, came from Masschusettes I think, or Connecticut, started out as a jazz singer in Boston, lived in New York a few times. Don't know what else to tell you, or how to reach you Beth, or even who you are. Hope that helps.

beth said...

Michael Lally, hope you liked the photos of Joan Baribeault I e-mailed you a few days ago. I've been thinking about my friend Joan and am downhearted that she's gone. I would like to ask you again, if you have info that would help me track down her family, especially her son, I'd appreciate it much. Thanks.

beth said...

ML, P.S. Have you included Phil Ochs in your list of "Gone too Soon"? Didn't see him. Also William Saroyan. Just wondering, especially since Saroyan was the original fount of obits and lists of those who have joined "the great majority."

Elizabeth said...

Michael Lally, I'm still trying to locate Joan Baribeault's son and/or other family members and friends. Since we spoke on the phone and agreed we both knew the same Joan and you filled me in on what happened to her (she died 8 months after giving birth to a son), I've beenn continuing my research and was able to contact other people who were friends of Joan's. Would you be kind enough to let me know how I could contact Joan's son? Thanks so much. (You did mention the "great guy" she had met and had her son with, so if you could give me his name, that would be a help.) Thanks.

P.S. Saw you did include Phil Ochs in your list of gone too soon.