Chuck Berry, c. 1973

R.I.P. Chuck Berry, 1926-2017


The very first concert WC saw in Chicago was Chuck Berry at a small venue – the name of which WC has long since forgotten – on the west side of the Loop, in what was then called the Blues District. Berry was touring in support of his latest album, 1972’s The London Chuck Berry Sessions,…

John Glenn receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom fromPresident Obama

R.I.P. John Glenn, 1921-2016: The Right Stuff


When WC read of John Glenn’s death, he immediately flashed back to 4th Grade, when WC’s teacher had the whole class write letters to Glenn congratulating him on his successful orbital flight in 1962.1  Unusually for the time, Mrs. Klaich made a real effort to ground our grade school class in current events. We all wrote…

R.I.P. Leonard Cohen, 1935-2016


In the late 1960s, Judy Collins, for whatever reason, came to Fairbanks, Alaska and did a performance at Patty Gym at the University of Alaska, the largest venue in Fairbanks at the time. The first song was her hit cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne.” After singing it, accompanying herself on the piano, she said, “I love Leonard…

Tom Hayden (Photo John Berman/CNN)

R.I.P. Tom Hayden, 1939-2016


On December 4, 1969, WC was sent by the University of Oregon student newspaper, the Emerald, to photograph a meeting of student radicals in a UO classroom. It was the day after Black Panther Fred Hampton was murdered in Chicago by Chicago police.1 The first words out of the first speaker’s mouth were, “Last night in…