Grim Reaper has a thing for August 16

Three famous singers, two terrific actors, an award-winning writer, a baseball legend and a revolutionary Canadian politician all died on August 16.

THE MOST FAMOUS OF ALL OF COURSE

ONE AND ONLY

No words are required for Elvis, who died in Memphis in 1977 at the age of 42. Worldwide headlines speak for themselves.

August 16


LEST WE FORGET

QUEEN OF SOUL

Soul singer Aretha Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at a Baptist Church in Detroit and went on to become the Queen of Soul. She died in Detroit in 2018 at the age of 76.


BLUES SINGER

Blues guitarist Robert Johnson is considered to be the founding member of the ‘Forever 27 Club’ — famous musicians who died at the age of 27. They include Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones and the Grateful Dead’s Ron “Pigpen” McKernan. Johnson died in Greenwood, Miss. in 1938 under mysterious circumstances. There are several theories how he died, including murder. That story here.


DIED AUGUST 16

Old-time Hollywood actor Bela Lugosi, was famous for his role as the vampire Count Dracula. Born in Budapest he was in several Hungarian films before immigrating to America in 1921. His horror movies also include ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ and ‘White Zombie.’ He died in L.A. in 1956 at the age of 73.


SWASHBUCKLING ACTOR

Swashbuckling British actor Stewart Granger starred in adventure flicks including the ‘Prisoner of Zenda’ and ‘King Solomon’s Mines.’ He died in Santa Monica, California, in 1993 at the age of 80.


YANKEES SLUGGER

New York Yankees slugger George Herman “Babe” Ruth hit 60 home runs in 1927. His larger-than-life persona and movie-star-like wild and crazy antics off the field made him a legendary figure. He died in New York City in 1948 at the age of 53.


GONE WITH THE WIND

‘Gone with the Wind’ author Margaret Mitchell won a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her Civil war epic. The 1939 movie was the biggest money earner of that time and remained so for 25 years. Mrs. Mitchell died after being struck by a speeding car in Atlanta in 1949 at the age of 48.


CANADIAN PM

John Diefenbaker was the 13th Prime Minister of Canada, from June 1957 to April 1963. He led the conservative Tories to their first electoral victory in 27 years. Under his leadership the Canadian Bill of Rights was enacted and the First Nations and Inuit peoples received the right to vote. He died in Ottawa in 1979 at the age of 83.


FINAL TRIBUTE GOES TO


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The King, The Queen and a vagabond bluesman

THREE MUSIC LEGENDS died on this day, August 16 — in 1938 and 1977 and 2018 — a king, a queen and an itinerant blues guitarist.

Official records show that Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, died 43 years ago at the age of 42 but for millions of people in the world, Elvis will never die.

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Aretha Franklin, who began her career as a child singing gospel at a Baptist Church in Detroit and went on to become the Queen of Soul, died two years ago at 76.

QUEEN OF SOUL

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THE BLUES ACCORDING TO ROBERT JOHNSON

We all know about Elvis and Aretha, but less is known about the founding member of the ‘Forever 27 Club,’ blues guitarist Robert Johnson, who died 82 years ago.

ITINERANT BLUESMAN

Robert Johnson is considered a master of the Delta blues style. He wasn’t around for long but his music had a great influence on many musicians of later years, including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Brian Jones and Keith Richard.

HIS DEATH IS STILL A MYSTERY

There are several theories how he died, including murder. According to his friend and fellow musician, Dave “Honeyboy” Edwards, Johnson was poisoned by his lover’s jealous boyfriend.

Johnson was playing at a country dance party near Greenwood, Mississippi, when he met his fate.

“There was this jealous man at the dance who had a good looking woman, and he didn’t want to lose her. And Robert was about to take her away,” Edwards related.

THAT LAST SWIG WAS A KILLER

The jealous man put a poison-laced pint of corn whiskey on the chair next to Johnson as he played, according to Edwards. Johnson took a swig and started feeling sick. Edwards took him to a friend’s house. Johnson died three days later.

“Robert loved whiskey and women,” Edwards said, “but some women you got to leave alone, you know what I mean?”

Johnson’s death makes him the founding member of the ‘Forever 27 Club’ — famous musicians who died at 27.

INCLUDING ROBERT JOHNSON

BOB DYLAN SINGS HIS PRAISE

Robert Johnson’s influence on generations of musicians has been huge.

Eric Clapton called him “the most important blues musician who ever lived.”

Bob Dylan wrote: “If I hadn’t heard the Robert Johnson record when I did, there probably would have been hundreds of lines of mine that I wouldn’t have felt free enough or upraised enough to write.”

Said The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, “You want to know how good the blues can get? Well, this is it.”

Crossroad

AND THAT’S THE NAME OF THAT TUNE

That’s the story of Robert Johnson. But the last tribute on this page is for the King.

Thank you very much.


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Janis will live forever

I’m always self-conscious about do I look fat, if my legs are short, if I’m weird shaped, but when I go on stage, man, it never occurs to me. I think I look beautiful.”

Janis will live forever

According to official records, Janis Joplin died 49 years ago today, but don’t believe it. Janis is alive and will live forever.

Officially, however, Janis died on October 4, 1970 — just 16 days after Jimi Hendrix — of an accidental drug overdose at the age of 27.

There would be other rock legends to die at that age, including The Rolling Stones co-founder Brian Jones, guitarist Jimi Hendrix, The Doors frontman Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. Blues musician Robert Johnson who died in 1938, was the earliest musician to be included in the ‘27 Club.’

27 club


Janis will live forever

“To be true to myself, to be the person that was on the inside of me, and not play games. That’s what I’m trying to do mostly in the whole world, is not bullshit myself and not bullshit anybody else.” — Janis Joplin.


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