Singer, songwriter and guitarist Carl Perkins died yesterday at the age of 65. He died of complications from a series of strokes. Perkins is the pioneer of a style of music called Rockabilly, which is described as "a country man's song with a black man's rhythm." He's the man who wrote "Blue Suede Shoes," the hit song sung by Elvis Presley which became the first Sun label record to sell over a million copies.
Singer Mel Torme died Saturday at age 73 of complications from a stroke. We'll hear an interview Terry Gross did with Mel in 1988. For more than 50 years, Torme was one of most accomplished and versatile pop and jazz singers. Known for years as "The Velvet Fog," Born Melvin Howard Torme to Russian-Jewish immigrants in Chicago on Sept. 13, 1925, Torme first made his reputation in the Big Band era as a songwriter, arranger, drummer and singer. He later sang in MGM musicals.
James Farmer, one of the architects of the Civil Rights movement, died Friday at the age of 79. He was the last surviving major Civil Rights leader of his generation. Farmer co-founded CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality, which was one of the first Civil Right's groups to apply Ghandi's principles of non-violent resistance. Terry spoke with James Farmer in 1985.
We remember basketball great Wilt Chamberlain who died yesterday at the age of 63 from an apparent heart attack. In 1991 he was interviewed on Fresh Air at the publication of his memoir, "A View From Above." (REBROADCAST from 11/1/91)
We remember British actor Sir Alec Guinness who died Saturday at the age of 86. He’s known to older audiences for his roles in films like “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” and to younger audiences as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. (REBROADCAST from 2/27/1986)
She died last month at the age of 39. As a child, Grealy spent five years being treated for cancer, which left her face disfigured. She had over 30 reconstructive procedures and years of living with a distorted self-image. She wrote Autobiography of a Face in 1994, her memoir about coming to terms with looking less than perfect in a society that values female beauty. No cause of death was announced, but friends indicated she was despondent of late. Her last book was As Seen on TV, published in 2000.
Musical legend Johnny Cash died today at the age of 71. We remember him with a rebroadcast of a 1997 interview with the singer and musician. Cash began recording albums and performing in the 1950s. Representing Cash's varied musical styles, he was inducted into the Songwriters, Country Music, and Rock and Roll halls of fame. Cash recorded over 1,500 songs in his career. Some of the most famous were "I Walk the Line," "Ring of Fire" and "A Boy Named Sue." Cash died of complications from diabetes.