News in Review: The Ventures, The Seeds, Michael Jackson

First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2009, Volume 16, #7

Written by John Metzger

Thu July 16, 2009, 06:30 AM CDT

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Ventures Guitarist Bob Bogle Surfs Out to Sea

The Ventures - Play Their Greatest Hits

On June 14, Ventures guitarist Bob Bogle passed away at the age of 75. Four years ago, Bogle had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He never responded fully to treatment, and as a result, he was forced to retire permanently from the band he had founded back in 1958. Beginning with its 1960 single Walk, Don’t Run, The Ventures unleashed a seemingly endless string of instrumental hits, which quickly became the blueprint for the surf-rock sound. Through songs like Pipeline, Hawaii Five-O, and Telstar, Bogle’s imaginative, whammy bar-heavy technique inspired a whole new generation of musicians. In 2008, The Ventures was recognized for its enduring influence when it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Sky Saxon’s Sunlight Goes Dark

The Seeds - Pushin' Too Hard

On June 25, Sky "Sunlight" Saxon unexpectedly passed away at the age of 71. Three days earlier, Saxon had been admitted to an Austin, Texas hospital for treatment for an infection. It was there that he died of heart failure. Saxon remains best-known as the founder, bass player, and frontman for The Seeds. The group was formed in 1965, and its garage-rock anthems — most notably Pushin’ Too Hard and Can’t Seem to Make You Mine — helped to fuel the punk scene that emerged in the 1970s. At the time of his death, Saxon was preparing to embark upon his most prominent tour in years. This August, he was planning to join Electric Prunes and Johnny Echols’ rendition of Love as part of the California ’66 Revue. Moby Grape’s Jerry Miller will assume his slot on the tour.

Pop Icon Michael Jackson Moonwalks into Oblivion

Michael Jackson - Thriller

Rumors that Michael Jackson’s health was failing had been swirling for weeks prior to his death on June 25. In fact, his upcoming concerts in London were designed, at least in part, to prove that he was still alive and kicking. Oddly enough, the stress of staging the events may have pushed him over the edge.

Jackson was two months shy of his 51st birthday when he was rushed to the hospital on June 25. He had been found unconscious at his home by Dr. Conrad Murray, his personal physician. Unable to revive the singer, Dr. Murray called paramedics for assistance. It was determined that Jackson was in cardiac arrest, and shortly after arriving at a medical center in Los Angeles, he was pronounced dead. An initial autopsy yielded inconclusive results regarding the specific cause of Jackson’s death. A more detailed report is expected next week.

As it has been with every facet of his life for decades, the days after Jackson’s unfortunate demise were dominated by a media-stirred feeding frenzy. Stories quickly circulated stating that Jackson either had faked his own death to escape from his troubles or had been murdered. LAPD detectives impounded Dr. Murray’s automobile, further stirring speculation about how Jackson had died.

By July 1, Jackson’s will, which had been drafted in 2002, surfaced and was read in a Los Angeles court. The document granted guardianship of Jackson’s children to his mother and placed his entire estate into the Michael Jackson Family Trust.

In the wake of Jackson’s death, hundreds, if not thousands, of public and private memorial services have been held in his honor. Even U2 managed to pay its respects. During the opening night of its latest tour, the band not only dedicated Angel of Harlem to the pop icon, but it also slipped covers of Jackson’s Man in the Mirror and Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough into its set.

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