Another year has passed and it always makes me think of the people we have lost. I think 2012 had more recognizable names than any year I can remember. From major heavyweights like Dick Clark to American heroes like Neil Armstrong. Music icons like Etta James and Marvin Hamlisch, as well as television icons like Larry Hagman, Mike Wallace and Andy Griffith. Although this is only a portion of the well known people to have died in 2012, I would like to take a minute to mention just a few more who’s passings meant a little more to me, personally.
Whitney Houston: What can I say here. This woman was the single greatest female solo artist of my generation. Her voice was magical. Whether it was up tempo dance music or slow love songs, you just had to listen. She was that good. She appealed to men and women of all ages and races. Just like Michael Jackson, her later years were filled with drama. Drug use, arrests, rehab and reality tv were all on the menu. Just like Michael Jackson, we looked past all of it, and just like Michael Jackson, we weren’t completely shocked when we heard the news. For me, I was in my car. I sat there thinking how bummed I was. Then, like every other radio station, they played a Whitney song and I shed a few tears. She was amazing. No doubt about it. She will be missed.
Tony Scott: This may seem like an odd choice but to any guy who is a fan of ‘guy’ movies, this dude was king. Top Gun, Days of Thunder, True Romance, Enemy of the State and Man on Fire, just to name a few. He made cool movies that every guy wanted to see. Next time you go on IMdB, look at all the movies he directed and see if there’s any that you have NOT seen. We may never know the real reason he chose to take his life, but it really is too bad. At least his movies will live on. They certainly will in my house.
Junior Seau: Beast. A pure beast. Definitely one of the 10 greatest linebackers to ever play the game. More likely top 5. Even before he came to New England I was a huge fan of his game. He just always seemed to know where to go to get the man with the ball, in the quickest time possible. A true leader, and by all reports, a terrific human being. Well loved by everyone who knew him. Due to his immense fame and popularity, his death kicked open a door that was only barely cracked, and 20 years from now it may be cited as the jumping off point for true improvements to safety in the NFL. Let’s hope so.
Steve Sabol: Make no mistake about it people, this guy is single handedly responsible for the success of the NFL. Steve Sabol was the Steven Spielberg of sports filming. He did something with NFL football games that was previously unthinkable….approach every game like a dramatic film. Now it’s common place in every game we watch. He had a vision, and he made that vision a reality. NFL Films is iconic and its narrator, John Facenda, provided us with such well known sayings as “The frozen tundra of Lambau Field.” He put cameras everywhere, and mics on whoever he could. He turned an NFL game into an Oscar worthy film. A pure genius and visionary. He may be gone, but his legacy will never die.
Adam Yauch: This one I still can’t believe. Not because he died unexpectedly, but because he was one of the guys I grew up with. Not literally, of course, but it almost feels that way. The Beastie Boys were one of the most influential groups in hip hop history, and probably in music as a whole. Run DMC and Aerosmith may have brought ‘the game’ to white kids, but the Beastie Boys brought white kids TO ‘the game’. Long before 3rd Base, Vanilla Ice, Y.B.T. and Eminem, the Beastie Boys were smashing down the walls of a black dominated genre. At the helm of the group was Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch. My favorite. Not sure why. Maybe because he and I share the same birthday, August 5th. Maybe because he just looked like the most normal one in the group. However, the most likely reason was that he’s the one responsible for the line ‘like a lemon to a lime, a lime to a lemon, I sip the def ale with all the fly women.’ Awesome. He went on to accomplish so much more than just success in music, but for me it will always be about the Beastie Boys days and MCAAAAAAAAY.