Memorial Roster • Gone But Not Forgotten

Movers, Shakers & Dreamers We Lost in 2022

Posted In: Culture, , Biography,   From Issue 939   By: Robert E Martin

15th December, 2022     0

Death is the great leveler that evens out the playing field. Death takes no bribes, pays all debts, and keeps no calendar.   Sadly, as we close out another year taking a ride around the Zodiac, we at The REVIEW find it incumbent to take inventory and honor the many significant souls who passed over to what I like to call the ‘unseen world’.

Each of these individuals were special in their own way and sadly irreplaceable, although their legacies and contributions will resonate strongly even though their mortal coils have ceased to exist.

Some of them were personal friends; other majors influences.  May each of them live eternally in our collective memory and fortify us with the light, wisdom, and talent they brought to this often dark and unruly world.

Art Dore

With the passing of Art Dore at the age of 86, the Great Lakes Bay Region lost one of its most pivotal, commanding, colorful, entrepreneurial forces and a true visionary.  After being laid off from Dow Chemical  months before his first child was due to be born, he picked up a crowbar and sledgehammer, bidding  his first demolition job at $1.00, and built it into a nationally renowned demolition company.

As equally passionate about the art of boxing as he was creating and building businesses, Art went on to develop an amateur boxing tournament known as Toughman that evolved into a national franchise, which was documented in the 1983 Hollywood film Tough Enough starring Dennis Quaid.

Embracing values of grit, hard work, determination, and the power of courage coupled with creativity to transform the landscape of our lives, Art was endlessly engaged with building new businesses as well as fostering existing ones by investing the fruit of his successes back into the Bay City Community. He would fight like the champ he was to procure the next building or business he wanted, and then would usually entrust it to one of his children, saying, "Here, I found a little extra for you to do!" Art had several famous sayings, and one was "you don't even get your second wind til round four.

In addition to his acquisition of the Bay City Country Club, Art transformed the landscape of Midland Street with his development of such nightspots as Cruisers, Beasty’s, and The Back Dore Saloon, followed by his block-long renovation of the unique  Lumber Barons Brewery & The Stables Martini & Cigar Bar, to name but a few. He also developed many successful festivals such as the annual Labadie Pig Gig.

On a more personal note, Art was the first major player in Bay City to support my own endeavors with The REVIEW by committing to a one-year contract for full page display ads in each issue at a very critical point in our evolution; and later when I was looking for a new venue to stage our annual Music Awards Ceremony, he graciously offered up the ballroom at Lumber Barons, which thanks to his collaborative commitment became our home for 10 years. For this I will be eternally grateful.

I also remember when I interviewed Art once for an in-depth feature profile. I asked how he found the time to juggle so many divergent businesses and interests, and he simply replied: “Bob, when we are born we only use 10% of the neurons in the cells of our brain, so within that context, if you can’t manage to be successful with what resources you are given than you have a problem.”

Many people mistakenly assume that being a successful businessman is all about money; but Art  understood it’s about embracing moments and opportunities that create an enduring legacy.

Earl ‘the Pearl’ Caviness

We lost a consummate saxophone player, basketball coach, and uplifting presence with the untimely passing of Errol ‘Earl the Pearl’ Caviness in October of this year.  An early member of the popular R&B group Soul Xpress, Earl always carried an infectious smile that matched the passionate fluidity of his horn playing.  He also was the recipient of numerous REVIEW Music Awards.

Eric Johnson

Back in July Midland-based guitarist Eric Johnson passed away unexpectedly at the age of 62. A gifted guitarist and singer-songwriter, Eric recorded many original songs in his home studio and performed mainly as a solo artist, but also enjoyed a long stint performing with the popular Big Band 23 North.

He was a Psalmist who loved writing and performing and also spent many years on the worship team at church, never failing to shine the light of Jesus everywhere he went.

Jim Davies

In March of this year we lost Jim Davies at the age of 70. A legendary vocalist and musical ring-leader who harbored a lifelong passion for the magic of music, Jim led and fronted many rock bands in his life, but was most well-known for his work with the locally renowned rock band Mirage, which included such formidable members as Jeff Poirier, Donny Brown, and Joey Ortega. The band was a huge force on the club scene back in the ‘80s and ‘90s and won numerous accolades at our annual REVIEW Music Awards.

Leeds Bird

The world of community theatre experienced a formidable emptiness upon the stage with the passing of Leeds Bird this year at the age of 86. A driving force who helped shape the legacy at Bay City Players, Leeds first volunteered his services to the theatre when he was 18 years old. Leeds spent over 60 years active in most every aspect of production at Bay City Players.  He was also on the Board of Directors of Studio 23/The Arts Center for  28 years. Additionally, he served on the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Board and the Board of Bay Arts Council.

Leeds taught for 25 years at Garber High School, Essexville. He loved teaching and even after retirement found he could not let an opportunity pass to elaborate. As he would say, "I can't help it. I'm a teacher. Ask me a question and you get a lecture." After retirement from teaching, Leeds also spent over ten years performing as Mark Twain in the Midwest and New England.

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis - the piano-pounding, foot-stomping singer/songwriter who pre-dated Jimi Hendrix by literally setting his piano on fire passed away this year at age 87.  He electrified early rock ‘n’ roll with hits like “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” before marital scandal derailed his career.

Along with Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and others, Lewis was one of the leading founders of rock ‘n roll  and a master showman – nicknamed “The Killer” – whose raw, uninhibited performances drove young girls into spasmodic fits.

His most enduring legacy may have been his unhinged piano-playing style, which influenced Elton John and many other musicians. During concerts Lewis banged the keys with his fists and elbows, kicked over his piano stool, climbed atop his instrument and always enjoyed a  cigar and a drink backstage. He also wrote the book on how to behave like a  bad-boy rock’ n roller.

Christine McVie

On the last day of November we lost a legendary songbird and pioneering woman-of-rock with the passing of keyboardist, vocalist, and songwriter Christine Perfect, who left this earthbound world to go sing with the angels.  After forming her own band Chicken Shack in the 1960s, she married Fleetwood Mac bass player John McVie and joined the band after founding member Peter Green left the group. In many ways she was the core that gave the band its substance, writing or co-writing eight of the 16 songs to be found on their 'Greatest Hits' album.

Meatloaf

The bombastic and operatic singer who was known professionally as Meatloaf passed away this year at the age of 74.  From the start of his early career, which found him based in the Saginaw area performing at YMCA dances with the band Popcorn Blizzard, up through his breakout best-selling album Bat Out of Hell, he sold more than 100 million records worldwide, with the first of his Bat Out of Hell album trilogy staying on the charts for over nine years.

Pre-dating this success was his stint on the West End of London’s Theatre District with a key role in the stage production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which was a role he reprised for the film version in 1975. Later he went on to act in other films such as Fight Club.

Loretta Lynn

Vocalist Loretta Lynn whose ascent from a small Kentucky coal-mining community to national country music stardom literally became the stuff of Hollywood, passed away at the age of 90 leaving a remarkable legacy.  Her life story was memorably retold in Michael Apted’s 1980 feature Coal Miner’s Daughterbased on Lynn’s 1976 memoir.  Beyond the dramatic particulars of her life, Lynn, who recorded 16 No. 1 country singles, was among the music’s groundbreaking female singing stars, becoming one of the music’s brightest luminaries in an era when men dominated country music.

 She wrote much of her hit material, and it was sharply-penned stuff, written from the point of view of a woman (usually a married one) who would take no guff from her man. And she did not shrink from controversial subject matter. In 1975, as the national debate over women’s liberation continued to roil, Lynn incited comment with her song “The Pill.” The song, which reached No. 5 on the country chart, was, in Lynn’s words, “about how the man keeps the woman barefoot and pregnant over the years.” It was one of the best examples of the no-nonsense spunk of her songwriting.

Lynn continued to chart records through the ‘80s, but her recording career slowed and then stopped. She reentered the scene at the age of 70 in 2004 through the agency of an unlikely fan and collaborator, Jack White, of the popular Detroit garage-punk act The White Stripes. Lynn and White collaborated on the Interscope album Van Lear Rose, which was designed to reignite her career. The album went on to become the biggest of her career.

Taylor Hawkins

The world of Modern Rock suffered a huge blow this year with the passing of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, with whom he recorded eight studio albums between 1999 and 2021. Before joining the Foos he was the touring drummer for Sass Jordan and for Alanis Morissette. He also formed his own side project, Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders, in which he played drums and sang, releasing three studio albums between 2006 and 2919.  He was inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.

Olivia Newton John

Olivia Newton-John, the Australian singer whose breathy voice and wholesome beauty made her one of the biggest pop stars of the ’70s and charmed generations of viewers in the blockbuster movie “Grease,” passed from cancer this year at the age of 73.  Thanks to a string of country and soft-rock hits, Newton-John was already a popular singer by the late 1970s, but her co-starring role opposite John Travolta in 1978’s “Grease,” arguably the most popular movie musical of all time, lifted her to a new level of stardom. She went on to star in other films, such as Xanadu with the late Andy Gibb and Gene Kelly.

Ronnie Spector

This early Rock ‘n Roll pioneer co-founded and fronted the girl group The Ronettes and in many ways was the original "bad girl of rock and roll".  Ronnie formed the singing group with her older sister, Estelle Bennett, and their cousin, Nedra Talley in the late 1950s. They were signed to Phil Spector's Philles label in 1963 and he produced the majority of their recording output. The Ronettes had a string of hits in the 1960s, including "Be My Baby" (1963), "Baby, I Love You" (1963), "(The Best Part of) Breakin' Up" (1964), "Do I Love You?" (1964), and "Walking in the Rain" (1964). Ronnie married Phil in 1968. Following the couple's divorce in 1974, Ronnie reformed the Ronettes and began performing again.

Naomi Judd

Truly one of the saddest losses of the year, singer and actress Naomi Judd along with her daughter Wynonna formed the popular Country duo known as The Judds back in 1980, which became very successful, winning five Grammy Awards and nine Country Music Association awards. The Judds ceased performing in 1991 after Naomi was diagnosed with hepatitis; while Wynonna continued to perform as a solo artist, she occasionally reunited with her mother for tours as The Judds. Naomi struggled with mental health issues throughout her life. She died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on April 30, 2022, the day before she and Wynonna were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Mikhail Gorbachev

A significantly important Soviet politician who served as the 8th and final leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 to the country's dissolution in 1991, Gorbachev  served as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990 and the only President of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991. Ideologically, Gorbachev initially adhered to Marxism–Leninism but moved towards social democracy by the early 1990s.

Although committed to preserving the Soviet state and its Marxist-Leninist ideals, Gorbachev believed significant reform to be necessary for survival. He withdrew troops from the Soviet–Afghan War and embarked on summits with United States president Ronald Reagan to limit nuclear weapons and end the Cold War. Domestically, his policy of glasnost ("openness") allowed for enhanced freedom of speech and press, while his perestroika ("restructuring") sought to decentralize economic decision-making to improve its efficiency. His democratization measures and formation of the elected Congress of People's Deputies undermined the one-party state. Gorbachev declined to intervene militarily when various Eastern Bloc countries abandoned Marxist–Leninist governance in 1989–1992.

….and last but not least

Because of space limitations, we cannot go into greater detail, but this year we also lost Queen Elizabeth II, actresses Sally Kellerman and Anne Heche, actors James Caan, Ray Liotta, William Hurt, and Sidney Poitier, and director Peter Bogdonovich.

 

 

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