By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The tendency, as calendars start moving past their expiration dates, is to wrap up the year in music with an interminable parade of year's best lists—beginning, oh, around September. That, then, is followed by speculation, prediction and a whole slew of wild guesses about what the upcoming year in music holds in store.
But, while this time of year indeed provides ample time to rehash the past and conjure the future of singles, albums, concerts and other newsworthy moments from our favorite (and least favorite) musicians, it's also an apt time to reflect on some musicians' ultimate career move: death. The moment a rocker drops the "living" part of his or her "living legend" status provides such a career jolt that Billboard ought to consider adding a Posthumous chart.
Before we get into this year's predictions of who will bite the dust over the next 12 months, though, let's take a moment to remember some of the most noteworthy deaths of 2010—none of which, incredibly, were predicted by last year's Dead Pool ("Which Musicians Will Kick The Bucket In '10?" January 7, 2010). Among those receiving their final ovation were Teena Marie, Captain Beefheart, reggae singer Gregory Isaacs, Ari Up of The Slits, soul singer Solomon Burke, bandleader Buddy Morrow, 1950s singer (and Carrie Fisher's dad) Eddie Fisher, Michael Been of The Call (and father of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's Robert Been), Richie Hayward of Little Feat, Neil Young collaborator Ben Keith, songwriter Hank Cochran, jazz critic/cartoonist/NX35 keynote speaker Harvey Pekar, Kinks bassist Pete Quaife, Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist Garry Shider, country singer Jimmy Dean, Marvin Isley, Slipknot's Paul Gray, jazz pianist Hank Jones, EMI exec Bob Mercer, Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, Gang Starr's Guru, Type O Negative's Peter Steele, jazz guitarist Herb Ellis, Big Star's Alex Chilton and Andy Hummel, Mark Linkous, The Knack singer Doug Fieger, Dale Hawkins, John Dankworth, R&B legend Teddy Pendergrass and indie-rock madman Jay Reatard.
Assuming they're still breathing as of press time, picks from previous lists like Amy Winehouse, Chuck Berry, B.B. King and Jerry Lewis remain strong candidates. Along with them, we now nominate eight more musicians who may not get to sing "Auld Lang Syne" at Dick Clark's next Rockin' New Year's Eve—assuming Clark, a Death Pool pick last year, is still there himself.
Wagering is allowed, but please, no interference in the game. The last thing we want is an accessory to murder charge on our record.
Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul reportedly has pancreatic cancer, a notoriously deadly form of the Big C with a survival rate percentage in the single digits. Yet, if anyone has the force of personality to beat the disease, it would be Aretha, the woman whose charisma and incredible voice made "Respect" so much of a calling card that few seem to remember that it was written and originally recorded by the equally legendary Otis Redding. Odds: 2/1
Justin Townes Earle. That he's the son of one recovering addict (Steve Earle) and is named for a man who essentially drank himself to death (Townes Van Zandt) should have been warning enough. But the cautionary tales his dad must have shared still haven't kept the second-generation singer-songwriter from messing with drugs and alcohol—to the point that he was forced to miss a few gigs and go to rehab following a booze-fueled Indianapolis dressing-room-trashing and donnybrook last year. Odds: 40/1
Bret Michaels. A diabetic, the Poison frontman and reality-show seeker of true love last year endured an emergency appendectomy, a brain hemorrhage, a stroke and finally learned that he has a hole in his heart that will require surgical treatment this month. As if someone with a heart condition needs the stress, he also proposed to his two-time baby momma after being blamed in the media for busting up the marriage of American tweenhood's model of parenthood: Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus. Odds: 10/1
Ronnie Wood. Since about 1966, just about every celebrity dead pool ever written has included Keith Richards, as mortality oddsmakers apparently remain ignorant of the fact that the Human Riff has a drug tolerance so high that he is impervious to the toxicity of nose candy, junk, booze and every other substance man has ever used to get high. It would take an intergalactic drug containing some element previously unknown to man to do Richards in. On the other hand, his latter-day Rolling Stones bandmate, legendary Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood, still seems susceptible to intoxication. Odds: 12/1
Little Richard. The flamboyant performer and one of rock music's most important architects has long ping-ponged between the sacred, clean-living world of gospel music and the temptations of homosexuality and drug use. While that tension makes his performances all the more compelling, the stress level it must create for a 78-year-old recovering from recent hip surgery can't be healthy. Odds: 13/1
Leif Garrett. In October, the former child star and pop singer was sentenced to rehab after pleading no contest to heroin possession. It's the latest in a string of drug-related legal problems for Garrett dating back to 1979, when he destroyed a car—and a buddy's ability to walk—while fucked up on booze and Quaaludes. Considering that his name sounds like "Leaf" and he lives in a city where symptoms as vague as sleeplessness are good for a prescription for the finest marijuana in the world, you'd think he could stick to the natural stuff. But, then again, since he's a 49-year-old who's been dabbling with narcotics since the days of 'ludes, a change of course looks unlikely. Odds: 33/1
Steve Albini. No, the legendary musician, recording engineer and music critic isn't ailing. Nor does he seem to lead an unusually dangerous lifestyle—assuming, that is, that his poker buddies aren't the type to blow a fuse and draw a weapon following a bad turn of the cards. Albini was, however, the keynote speaker at NX35 in 2010, following in the footsteps of 2009 speaker Harvey Pekar, who died the following year. We're not saying the role is cursed—but if it is, Albini may join some of his friends who are already this fucked. Odds: 35/1
Leslie West. According to Ozzy Osbourne's autobiography I Am Ozzy (which, by the way, gives plenty of reasons why Osbourne was a smart pick in last year's Death Pool, and makes for a fine holdover choice this year), West was the one who introduced Ozzy to the Bolivian Marching Powder. Diabetes has forced him to trim down considerably from his once 300-pound-plus girth, and supposedly he's been drug-free for years. But stories of his wheels-off life make it hard to believe he could ever totally leave behind the wildman lifestyle. Odds: 45/1
Oh my god. How awful. I heard this was bad, but had no idea how bad... >>Assuming they're still breathing as of press time<
I guess they thought this was funny. See, it's not. But welcome to lowest common denominator humor. Seriously, these tools at the Observer who green lit are about as funny as an old Pauly Shore movie or a Larry the Cable Guy monologue. Poorly written shock for shock's sake drivel. We can only pray for the death of the Observer (whose circulation is way down, btw). Really not funny, guys... I mean, I guess you thought it would be, right? Right?
This is a disgrace to musicians, journalists, and human life in general. Does this 'paper' not have anything better to report or write about? Does this 'paper' also have nobody better to pay than Jesse Hughey? Seriously, look around in the world today at all the madness taking place, or look in your own country, then write about that and try and make a change. Or better yet, write about some of the good things happening around the world and write about that, try and cheer somebody up. Focus on the positive instead of the negative for a change.
Has it really come down to people in North America, more specifically the US, have nothing better to fill time with and be entertained that they need to have death pools to get them through the year. How about some other things which may help you parasites of the world make it to January 2012. How about 925 million people in the world are undernourished, while in the US there are 73 million obese people. How about in the US there are 15 million children living in poverty, with almost half of them living in extreme poverty. Use your position as a writer to make a voice heard on things that matter instead of useless garbage fit for the national enquirer. We'll all die one day, that's the safest death pool to wager on. However some kids won't make it to see your age, or even learn to read your shoddy articles.
Jesse Hughey A-HOLE WRITER OF 2011 wearing your reality TV loving brain on your sleeve and flowing to the keyboard don’t justify your writing as an art to provoke conversation either. This is a world filled with much more news worthy material to cover. You are bully with nothing to print.
What a piece of s#*t this Jesse Hughey guy is! No class at all! I hope your parents are proud of you you C level half ass tabloid wanna be. Good luck getting a job for the Star or enquirer. Oh, wait, those writers actually have imagination in coming up with stories. Never mind. Just go three blocks to the left and take a sharp turn STRAIGHT DOWN!!!!!
Oh, you even put odds down. Are you taking bets? Real cute. You do have the power. Unless your boss uses theirs. Remove this, appologize, and write something real, Bitch!
let's all congratulate jesse hughey on being this week's "dick of the week"!
with the events of the last week or so, that has got to be the most inappropriate headline the observer has ever printed. go fuck yourself, jesse.
This just makes me sick! How can you list people and predict if they will die this year. It's morbid! You're sick !
Always the obvious picks - I predict all those Observer picks will live to see NYE '12
Here are my picks - read 'em 'n' grieve:
1.) Lily Allen - outrageous, outspoken, travels a lot, a Brit, covered Mr Blue Sky - either a plane crash or a gunshot wounds2.) Sir James Paul McCartney - will die in the arms of a fertile woman who will give birth to another claimant to the McCartney fortune3.) Dionne Warwick - heart attack4.) Bob Dylan - head injury sustained from getting hit by a car while bicycling in Denton5.) Susan Boyle - suicide6.) Steve Cropper - natural causes, died happy7.) Kanye West - death by misadventure during sex play8.) Queen Latifah - injuries from car accident9.) Ace Kefford - founder and former bassist of Move - lymphoma10.) Whitney Houston - renal kidney failure/brain cancer11.) Sir George Martin - natural causes12.) Phil Spector - infection from injuries sustained from botched suicide attempt13.) Jack Osborne - murdered14.) Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) - heart attack after pneumonia15.) Keith Urban - helicopter crash16.) Robert Cray - head injury sustained falling down in bathroom/shower stall17.) Courtney Love - found dead in hotel room, ruled death by misadventure18.) Britney Spears - shot by a crazed fan19.) Justin Timberlake - also shot by a crazed fan20.) Yoko Ono - dies peacefully of natural causes
To post this within days of a local musicians death (which the Observer covered extensively) is pretty tasteless. Please take it down.