If any of the 45 deceased performers on the download are unfamiliar to you, just Google 'em, if their death knell didn't ring a bell. There's no space here to give each artist a real tribute. The list is mostly loaded with fairly famous names, but there are salutes to songwriters, too, including Ron Miller and Hy Zaret. If you have an inquiring Google-mind, you'll find some site where you'll see that 92 year-old Ray Evans was the lyricist on not just "Que Sera Sera" but the oft-heard "Mr Ed" theme and the almost never-heard "Bonanza" theme, and many more.
The most obscure singer among the 45 performers you'll hear if you download both parts of the 2007 death roll, is Walker Edmiston. He was an accomplished actor and a specialist in voiceovers and cartoon voices, but he made very few novelty records. He was the lead on a Gunsmoke parody called 'Mr. Grillon" (attributed to the Archibald Players when first released, then the George Garabedian Players on re-release) and a weird cold-war obscurity, "I Dreamt I Saw Khrushchev (in a Pink Cadillac)," which is part of the very expensive Bear Family "Atomic Platters" boxed set. Here, he turns up as Dracula in a bloody cut from one of the lesser known Spike Jones albums.
I'll leave you to your research, and use this remaining space to salute some of the non-musical celebrities of 2007 who were particularly important (to me). Kurt Vonnegut (who did record a few calypsos) and Norman Mailer (available on spoken word albums) were, of course, two of the 20th Century's great literary names, and I treasure the unique autographed items I have from them, and their kindness. Jocular Tom Snyder swooped the planet, and as flawed as he was, he left a legacy that is a lot more impressive than what's followed in his time-slot in the past decade. I will most certainly miss the gentle Tom Poston, who was a warm and funny guy off-screen as well as on.
While meeting celebrities is a thrill, and spending time with them informally is even a greater privilege, not all of these encounters are vivid or memorable. But I do remember in great detail, two very different people who gave the world laughter, and who passed on in very different ways. The master, Marcel Marceau, lived to a solid old age, so all those stupid "moment of silence" jokes weren't that hard to take. Today, a "mime" is a deserved subject of derision,because few of them follow the tradition or have a tenth of the skill of the master. I saw M-M perform many times, and he was an artist. As for Richard Jeni, perhaps his demise will serve as a warning to the family or friends of someone battling depression, someone lost in the maze of prescription medications that often do more harm than good. Richard was one of the masters of stand-up, greatly under-appreciated in his lifetime, but anyone who spent any time with him can attest to a personality both magnetic and unforgettable.
The heavenly songs and stars on the second download:
A HUNDRED DOLLAR FUNERAL (Porter Wagoner)
CACKLIN' SAX (Boots Randolph)
BLUE ETUDE (Written and Performed by Oscar Peterson)
COLD COLD CHEATIN' HEART (Joey Bishop)
COME ON FEEL THE NOIZE (Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot)
IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG (Luther Ingram)
GIRL ON THE BILLBOARD (Del Reeves)
LES HISTOIRES D' AMOUR (Fred Chichin of Les Rita Mitsoukos)
THE MEAN TIME (Michael Brecker)
SAME OLD LANG SYNE (Dan Fogelberg)
THE IRISH ROVER (Tommy Makem)
THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKIN' (Lee Hazlewood)
THE WILD SIDE OF LIFE (Hank Thompson)
DON'T CRY AGAIN (U-Nee)
I DONT HURT ANYMORE (Janis Martin)
HE'S MINE (Zola Taylor of The Platters)
GOODNIGHT SWEETHEART (Pookie Hudson of the Spaniels)
I SAW HER AGAIN LAST NIGHT (Co-written by Denny Doherty)
SUNSET SEE MY SADNESS (Hank Medress of The Tokens)
THE CIVIL DEFENSE SIGN (Mark Spoelstra)
IT'S OH SO QUIET (BLOW A FUSE) (Betty Hutton)
QUE SERA SERA (Sly Stone, for lyricist Ray Evans)
I HEAR DEAD PEOPLE, PART TWO (Update Nov 2011, the link won't stay dead! Re-upped after the original Rapidshare one expired)