Ike Turner, the soul-music star and rock 'n' roll pioneer, died this week. He was 76, and had reportedly suffered from emphysema. Turner shaped the sound of early rock 'n' roll, co-writing and playing piano on the 1951 song "Rocket 88." (He was the "Jackie Brenston" of Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats.) Then, in 1958, he discovered a singer named Anna Mae Bullock; before long, she and his band both had new names, and the Ike and Tina Turner Revue became one of the hottest acts of the '60s and early '70s.
Macabre cartoonist and illustrator Edward Gorey died on Saturday at the age of 75 of a heart attack. His illustrations are the opening credits of the PBS show "Mystery." He wrote over 100 books including “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” an alphabet book which began “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs.” One of his other books “The Doubtful Guest” was a classic, about a creature who shows up uninvited at a dreary mansion and becomes a member of the family. Toward the end of his life, GOREY lived in a 200 year old house in Cape Cod, with his five or six cats. (REBROADCAST from 4/2/92)
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.
Guitarist Al Casey died Sunday of colon cancer at age 89, days short of his 90th birthday on Sept. 15. Casey's distinctive style helped to define the sound of Fats Waller's band in the 1930s and 1940s. Casey also played with Louis Armstrong, Teddy Wilson and Billie Holliday. (This interview originally aired May 19, 2004.)
Film critic Stephen Schiff says that Cassavetes, who died this month at the age of 59, was just starting to live up to the promise of his jagged talent. The director's films were often indulgent and overwrought, but never without power.
We remember singer June Carter Cash, who died Thursday at the age of 73. She was a Grammy-award winning singer, a songwriter, musician, actress and author. She was married to the legendary Johnny Cash, and she came from the Carter Family, the country music pioneers. June Carter Cash died of complications from heart surgery. (Original airdate: June 18, 1987.)
A pioneering musician, and the mother of jazz singer Catherine Russell, Carline Ray died July 18. In the 1940s, Ray found a home in the all-female band The International Sweethearts of Rhythm as a guitarist and vocalist. In 2012, Fresh Air spoke with Russell about her mother.
Richard Gilman, who died Saturday at age 83, was a writer and professor at the Yale School of Drama. Ben Brantley of The New York Times writes, "Mr. Gilman was one of a breed of philosopher-critics... who came to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s. They located in modern drama the elements of abstraction, alienation and absurdity that had long been at the core of discussions of other forms of art and literature." In this archive interview from 1987, Gilman recounts his conversion from Judaism to Catholicism and then to atheism.