So this is the windout. We are closing up the big box of 2017 for real, and I cannot say that I will miss it. Any year that sees the departure of Tom Petty from this material plane should not be classified among those "good years." It did have the silver lining of bringing his music back to me and the rest of the world in a retrospective lump that can be doled out in liberal scoops over the decades to come.
Of course, Chuck Berry made all of that music possible decades before, and his death meant that Elvis would have to make room on the throne for the true king of rock and roll. Happily, heaven is a place where Chuck's ego would have plenty of room to stretch out and make itself at home. The fact that he had to cancel concerts, at age ninety, because of his death speaks to his legendary status.
And now episodes of Mary Tyler Moore's show can now be reviewed and savored in that time capsule way that her passing allowed. She made some of the funniest shows on television way back when, with a smile that makes things suddenly seem worthwhile. Proof that the nice folks don't always have to finish last.
Glen Campbell had to go away this year too. If all he every did was sing "Gentle On My Mind," that would have been enough. But he was also part of the Wrecking Crew, instrumental in creating the sound of an era. And he was Texas Ranger La Boeuf in True Grit. Toss a little "Rhinestone Cowboy" on top of that and you've got an epoch.
I know that time will eventually soften my image of Jerry Lewis, but when he died this year, I could only think of the slicked back hair and the lozenges. His comic genius was always underscored by his mean streak, and when the pages of history get filled up, I hope that it's the crew cut Jerry we get to remember.
And Jonathan Demme and Sam Shepard and Fats Domino and Adam West and David Cassidy and John Heard and Harry Dean Stanton and the list that has an end but only seems endless. Gone, but not forgotten. The year that was 2017 will be remembered for all kinds of reasons, but these folks are the treasures of a lifetime, and more.