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2017 Look Back at the Legends Lost

2017 Look Back at the Legends Lost


by G. Brown

The world of entertainment saw so many legendary careers and rising stars sadly leave us in 2017.  TRN takes a look back at some of the singers, athletes and athletes who are no longer with us in body, but will always live on though their legacy of song, dance and joy.

Pete Moore  He was one of the original members  of the 60’s soul group The Miracles.  Most remember Smokey Robinson as the front man for the hit making quarter, but there could have been no Miracles without members like Moore.  The group’s string of hits included  “Going to a Go-Go”,  “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”, “Mickey’s Monkey” and “Ooo Baby Baby”.    Moored died in Las Vegas on Nov. 19, his 79th birthday. His wife, Tina, said the cause was complications of diabetes.

Terry Glenn    His tragic death left fans  and fellow NFL members in disbelief.  The 43 year was was killed November 20 when the vehicle he was driving crashed into a concrete barrier.  Glenn was  thrown from the car and pronounced dead forty minutes later.  The former Ohio State football star played 12 seasons in the NFL teams including the Patriots and the Cowboys.  Team mates remember him as a “gifted receiver”  who propelled his Patriots  to an AFC Championship and Super Bowl appearance.

 Della Reese    After years playing a heavenly being on the long-running popular show “Touched by an Angel”, on November 19, the actress left this world for her own divine appointment with angels at the age of 86. The award-winning actress and singer began performing at the tender age of 12 and signed on with RCA Records scoring her first hit “Don’t You Know”.  She soon branched into acting and late in life signed on for one of the most  memorable roles of her career playing the sassy and lovable “Tess” on the hit TV series “Touched by an Angel”. Reese died at her California home surrounded by love in her final moments as family including her children gathered  at her side.


Earle Hyman  To most fans,  he’s the wise and loving father/grandfather on “The Cosby Show”. Hyman died at the Lillian Booth Actors home in New Jersey in November.  The acting bug bit him after he saw a live production of the play “Ghosts” which lead him to Broadway roles like “Run, Little Chillun” , “A Raisin in the Sun”, “Macbeth” and Julius Caesar”.  His signature role was as Russell Huxtable on “The Cosby Show”.  Hyman earned an Emmy nom for the part.  Upon his death Cosby said, “Earle Hyman brought love, dignity and integrity to Grandpa Huxtable. Thank you, Earle, you will live forever.”

Robert Knight  The Tennessee native got his first taste of fame as one of the voices harmonizing in a quintet along with childhood friends. Signed to the Dot Records label, they struck gold with their 1961 song “Free Me”, but fame was fleeting and subsequent records flopped.  Knight headed off to college were he studied chemistry and joined a local trio to keep singing.  He signed a contract with Rising Sons label and released his first solo record, “Everlasting Love” climbing to #14 on R&B charts and #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Knight’s other hits include “Blessed Are the Lonely” and”Love on a Mountain Top”.  Even with his successful singing career, Knight never forget his education and shared it with future generations at Vanderbilt University as a chemistry teacher. Knight died after a short illness at the age of 72.

 Fats Domino  The New Orleans native died in his home state of Louisiana of natural causes in October of this year.    Domino had 35 songs to hit the Top 40 on Bilboard and eleven songs to hit the top ten. Domino’s versatile background in Jazz, Rock n’ Roll and R&B made him one of the most sought after entertainers of his time.  By 1955, Domino was earning as much as $10k a week with a sound that reached across racial divides.  His “Ain’t That a Shame” crossed over into the pop genre and his sound became mainstream.  Other hits like “I’m Walkin’, “Valley of Tears” and “Walking to New Orleans” kept Domino on the top of music charts and lead to his being the second highest record seller in the 50’s behind Elvis Presley. Domino’s biggest hit”Blueberry Hill” reached No. 2 on Billboard and stayed there for almost three months.
Dick Gregory In the early years, his only bookings were at Black-owned clubs performing for segregated audiences.  One night on stage at Chicago’s Roberts Show Bar , Gregory found himself before a largely White audience where he didn’t shy away from his cutting edge humor.  Gregory shared,  “Last time I was down South I walked into this restaurant and this white waitress came up to me and said, “We don’t serve colored people here.” I said, “That’s all right. I don’t eat colored people. Bring me a whole fried chicken.”  While audiences saw him plying his trade at night on stages and nightclubs, in the light of day you were likely to see him marching arm-in-arm with Dr. Martin Luther in the fight against racial injustice which often ended with him serving time behind bars or on prolonged hunger strikes. Gregory died of heart failure in August at the age of 84.
Chuck Berry  The man known as a rock n’ roll legend took his final bow in March dying at his St. Charles Missouri home at the age of 90 years old while he was already working on his next record. His records “Maybellene”, “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Johnny B. Goode” topped the charts in the late 50s as rock n’ roll changing the way America listened to music and redefining genre. In the early 70’s, Berry released “My Ding-a-Ling”–a novelty song whose naughty lyrics were just innocent enough to give Berry another #1 hit.  He was inducted into Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in ’86 and performed at the White House at the request of then President Jimmy Carter.