Surf’s Up: Rest In Peace, Don Wilson

 

Don Wilson, the last surviving founder and guitarist of pioneering surf-rock group The Ventures, has died at 88, his representative confirmed to USA TODAY.

“Don was an inspiration and mentor. He was a unique talent that inspired countless musicians like us,” read a statement posted to the band’s social media pages and confirmed by representative Sandra Abrahamian Spalding. “We lost a good friend, fellow musician, world class performer, and beloved bandmate. Don Wilson has left the stage. We will miss him always.”

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Chapter 14’s contest saw The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy bring the golden laurels for best dialogue in a novel home to Judge Mental,[1] and he asks: What novel is most ripe for being made into a movie?  (Not already made previously.) There is a restless hectic atmosphere in the library tonight. Suits of armour […]

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In Chapter 13’s contest, The Hobbit brought home the golden laurels and extra-hearty fruitcake for LC,[1] winning her the chance to ask: What novel has the best dialogue?  Well, the new year’s settling in as if it means to make a go of it, someone’s been dusting some of the better-used secret passages, oiling the […]

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In Los Angeles, everyone’s in show business. Everyone.

Remembering Ronnie Spector

 

Singer Veronica Greenfield, better known by her stage name Ronnie Spector, has died. I won’t pretend to be an expert on her life or career, but I can tell you this: Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica has not been bested by any pop music since. I don’t think it can be. Songs like “Be My Baby” and “Walking in the Rain” are a perfection of the form, though it would be wrong to talk about the music of The Ronettes only in terms of pop. It’s some of the greatest American music, period.

The Ronettes, as well as most of the notable girl groups of the ’60s, owe much of their success to producer Phil Spector who Ronnie married in 1968. All the producing genius in the world would’ve meant zilch had Phil not been working with singers of such immense talent as Ronnie, her sister Estelle, and their cousin Nedra Talley. As lead singer, Ronnie is the star of those records. Her voice was as powerful as it was beautiful, the envy of angels. She would shine no matter who was in the studio with her. Phil was lucky to have her. Unfortunately, though unsurprisingly in light of his later conviction for murder, Phil was an abusive scumbag. They divorced in 1974. She kept the surname for business purposes.

Her post-Ronettes career didn’t bring the same financial success, but artistically she was as vibrant as ever. Of particular note to me was She Talks to Rainbows released in 1999. The EP was produced by Joey Ramone. Girl groups were a major influence on the Ramones whose divisive End of the Century was produced by Phil Spector and featured a cover of The Ronettes “Baby, I Love You” (read the Wikipedia article for more anecdotes about Phil’s overbearing, horrific behavior). She Talks to Rainbows sees Ronnie return the favor, covering two Ramones tracks, as well as tracks by Johnny Thunders and The Beach Boys. In the coming days, you’re going to see a lot of people posting “Be My Baby”, but for me, Ronnie’s crowning jewel is this eponymous song, a cover that turns a forgettable song into a masterpiece:

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Veronica Yvette Bennett was born on August 10, 1943 in Spanish Harlem, NYC of African-American-Irish parentage. As memorialized below by another Ricochetti, Ronnie Spector passed away today after a career spanning over 60 years that led to her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Along with her sister and a cousin, Ronnie formed […]

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There’s only one phrase a scriptwriter dreads more than “we love it, but we have some notes”: “we love it and have no notes.”

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Chapter 13’s contest saw a close-run race with Ulysses galloping home with the golden laurels and hearty fruitcake for I. M. Fine,[1] winning her the chance to ask: What is the best book with the worst movie adaptation? (In other words, what really good book was made into a really bad film?) Just when you think it’s all over […]

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The Best Video Games of 2021

 

My history with gaming is one of ebbs and flows. Some years pass when I touch nary a joystick. 2021 was not one of those years. Since I gamed more than I have in a long time, enjoy a type of post I’ve not deigned to make before: the year-end list.

First up, an honorable mention.

Returnal

Member Post

 

The Lord of the Rings delivered the golden laurels for St. Augustine in chapter 11’s contest,[1] winning him the chance to ask: What is the best work of fiction that no one really needs to read? The library’s quiet this week. The elves[2] seem to have vacated the premises (apart from a few hanging about […]

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