Bard Revisited

Readers everywhere, myself included, laughed, cried and just plain enjoyed Al Martinez’s wonderfully written and insightful blogs. Al’s wife, Joanne, now shares memories of the more than 65 years she and “The Bard of L.A.” spent together. Sometimes an ordinary moment transforms into a pivotal one. So it was when my husband, Al Martinez, met an imaginary field of daffodils. More than seven decades before he passed away in January, Al and his fellow fourth-graders were supposed to give speeches. Al …

B.B. King: Master of the Blues Guitar

For boomer blues and rock fans, B.B. King was the guitar god of all guitar gods. The Mississippi-born bluesman, who passed away at age 89 on May 14 in Las Vegas, was a seminal influence upon rock greats such as Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Jimi Hendrix. >> Famous People We’ve Lost in 2015 With the Gibson ax that he called Lucille, King infused country blues with urban intensity, playing a ringing, wailing vibrato that, as a New York Times …

Ben E. King: He Sang ‘Stand by Me’

R&B singer Ben E. King, who passed away April 30 at age 76 in Hackensack, N.J., had a smooth, unaffected baritone and soulful delivery that earned him a string of top 10 singles between the late 1950s and early 1960s, both as a member of the Drifters and as a solo artist. But it was one song, “Stand by Me,” that ensured musical immortality for the North Carolina native. After becoming a hit in 1961, the song enjoyed a second …

Percy Sledge: He Sang ‘When A Man Loves a Woman’

Back in 1966, a soul singer named Percy Sledge scored a No. 1 hit with his first single, “When a Man Loves a Woman” — a plaintive ballad about obsessive, all-consuming passion and the heartbreak it inevitably inflicts. The Alabama native, who died April 14 at age 74 in Baton Rouge, La., managed to put himself in the soundtrack of countless ’60s boomer romances. Here are some facts about a hit that still resonates and the man who created it. …

Michael Graves: Designer for Buildings and Bathtub Grab Bars

As a postmodernist architect, Michael Graves designed more than 350 buildings around the world, achieving renown for reinterpreting classical elements such as colonnades and loggias. But Graves, who passed away March 12 at age 80 in Princeton, N.J., became more famous than other giants of architecture because ordinary people could buy things he designed at Target. Graves moonlighted as a prolific industrial designer, creating everything from furniture to tea kettles to wheelchairs and adaptive devices for the disabled. Here are …

Rev. Theodore Hesburgh: Legendary Notre Dame President

When asked at his 1952 inauguration as president of Notre Dame to pose with a pigskin, as if he were a successor to Knute Rockne, the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh said, “I’m not the football coach. I’m the president.” Indeed, during his 35-year career at the school, Hesburgh, who passed away Feb. 26 at age 97 on the campus in South Bend, Ind., became far more influential than any gridiron hero. He turned Notre Dame into an academic powerhouse, became a confidant …