Does This Qualify As Backing Down?

I don’t know if this is weird or not, but even though Tom Petty is one of my favourite recording artists of all time and is at least partially responsible for the creation of literally dozens of songs that I will love forever, I have no idea what my favourite Tom Petty song is. Since the news broke last night I’ve been trying to figure it out, but I just can’t. Although when I really stop and think about it, not knowing might be the highest compliment I could possibly pay Tom Petty the musician.

I feel like sentences similar to this perhaps get thrown around a little too much, but Tom Petty really does strike me as somebody who wrote a song for everyone. Whether you were looking for a loud song, a quiet song, a fast song, a slow song, a driving song, a song that feels like it’s speaking to you alone, a song everybody can relate to, a love song, an angry song, a song to sing along to or a song about some sort of new beginning, odds are you could find one with his name on it. Odds are also that you could find many of those qualities in a single song, because so many of them are just that well crafted. It’s not easy to write a simple song that millions of people are going to want to listen to for decades, but somehow Tom Petty managed to do it over and over and over again, I dare say more than almost anyone.

Ok, back to me for a second.

I still don’t have the foggiest clue what my favourite Tom Petty song is, but I knew immediately which one I’d choose if I could only share one here.

When this came out, I was doing some very small time radio. And while I’m extremely proud of that fact because it means that I achieved one of my life’s longest dreams, it was also pretty clear that for a lot of reasons it was never going to be the career my imagination had drawn it up to be. I think that somewhere inside me I’d known that for a while, but then Tom Petty and his damn song walked up and punched me right in the emotions.

No, nothing super dramatic happened after that. I didn’t march in and quit the next day. But when it was time to go, that 3 and a half minutes helped me make some sense out of how I felt about it. To this day listening to it still makes me a little sad, but that’s what good songs and great songwriters do. They make you feel something. They help you sort things out. They help get you through. I hope Tom Petty knew how many people he did that for.

So Long, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. You Were The Best

As a tiny, wrestling watching kid, Bobby Heenan was a hard guy for me to wrap my head around. On one hand he was this terrible man who kept getting other terrible men to attack all my heroes, but as somebody who was also drawn to comedy and broadcasting from a very early age, I couldn’t take my eyes off of him because he was an absolutely hilarious guy who could talk like nobody’s business. It didn’t help that one of the terrible men he managed was Big John Studd, who I got to meet when I was seven years old and who to this day is still way up there at the top of the list of the nicest famous people I’ve ever met, even though he wasn’t supposed to be because wrestling was real.

But all of that said, any bit of internal conflict that may have existed in my brain didn’t matter, because Bobby Heenan was special. He was so fantastic at his job that it was easy to laugh at all of his jokes but still hate him at the same time. His lines about the Big Boss Man’s mother often had me rolling, for instance, but I still kind of hoped Boss Man would slap the piss out of him one day.

Everybody has their favourite Bobby moment. Yours might even be in that tribute video up there. As for me, there are two that come to mind immediately.

First, there’s the Barbershop window.

Yes, this was mainly about the Rockers splitting up and was a pretty heavy angle by WWF standards, but I’ll never forget Bobby’s commentary. “Jannetty tried to dive through the window to escape!” is one of my favourite lines ever. But even as ridiculous as it was, it somehow fit perfectly. It takes talent to pull something like that off, and nobody could do that sort of thing quite like The Brain.

And then there’s the 1992 Royal Rumble match. If you have the Network, go back and listen to Bobby. The way he lives and dies with everything Ric Flair does is incredible, and it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that it required almost as much energy as actually being in the ring.

Whatever your best memory is I hope you treasure it, because I doubt we’ll ever see anyone else like Bobby Heenan. People say it all the time, but he really was one of a kind. I don’t know if heaven is a real place, but if it is, any minute now I expect to hear Gorilla Monsoon yelling “Will you stop!” from all the way there.

Rest well, Brain.

So Long, Bob Robertson

I grew up on a steady diet of Air Farce and Double Exposure, often taping the weekly episodes off the radio so I could listen to them over and over again. So news that Bob Robertson, who without a word of exaggeration may be the best impersonator I’ve ever heard, died last week, bummed me out quite a bit.

Some of my favourites were his Don Cherry,

Rex Murphy,

Jean Chretien,

and even his ridiculously over the top Preston Manning, but really he was so good at so many that it’s hard to pick.

There’s nothing at all wrong with the Irrelevant Show or Laugh Out Loud, but I really miss the days when CBC Radio was full of the kind of weird political satire that Bob Robertson and Linda Cullen cranked out faithfully for so many years.

So Long, George Michael

Since that bathroom thing, I haven’t thought much about or really kept up with the goings on in the life of George Michael. I knew he was still out there doing stuff (not all of it positive), but to me he was just one of those guys who did some songs that I loved the hell out of when I was little. But that said, I was still pretty shocked and a touch sad when the news came in on Christmas Day that he had died, feelings that weren’t helped when I got to the part about him only being 53. Even though I was well aware that the same thing happens probably hundreds of times or more each year to people all over the world, it still felt a little weird tucking into a great big Christmas dinner with family after hearing about someone important’s untimely demise.

Singer George Michael has died at his home at the age of 53.
The star, who launched his career with Wham! in the 1980s and had huge success as a solo performer, “passed away peacefully” on Christmas Day in Goring, Oxfordshire, his publicist said.
His manager, Michael Lippman, said he had died of heart failure.
Former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend”.
Writing on Twitter and referring to Michael by his family nickname of “Yog”, he added: “Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx”
On Instagram, Sir Elton John posted a photograph of himself with Michael, writing: “I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend – the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans.”

Thanks, George.

I’m A Little Choked Up

Did you know that the Heimlich maneuver has only been around since 1974? I sure didn’t. I thought it was much older than that. But that’s just one of the things I came to know while reading news of Dr. Henry Heimlich’s death. I also discovered that while it’s helped countless people save countless lives, Dr. Heimlich himself never had to use it on someone until a few months before he died, at least according to he and his family.

Last Monday the retired chest surgeon encountered a female resident at his retirement home in Cincinnati who was choking at the dinner table.
Without hesitation, Heimlich spun her around in her chair so he could get behind her and administered several upward thrusts with a fist below the chest until the piece of meat she was choking on popped out of her throat and she could breathe again.

“It was very gratifying,” Heimlich told the Guardian on Friday by telephone from Cincinnati.
“That moment was very important to me. I knew about all the lives my manoeuvre has saved over the years and I have demonstrated it so many times but here, for the first time, was someone sitting right next to me who was about to die.”

Are You Tired Of 2016 Taking People From K-Tel? Wait…There’s More!

Man, it’s been a rough few months for K-Tel. First Phil Kives in April, and now Bob Washington, A.K.A. the voice on all those commercials, has passed away at 82 after a battle with cancer.

Beyond K-Tel and that he worked in radio for years, I unfortunately don’t know a whole lot about his career. So instead of trying to write a bunch of stuff that may or may not be accurate, I’ll give you this interview he did with Larry Fedoruk after the death of Phil Kives where he talks not only about what it was like to work with Phil, but about some of the other things he’s done.

Who’s Going To Represent Kicking Horse Pass Now?

I don’t know why, but the other day I started thinking about Dave Broadfoot. Was he still around? He’s got to be getting up there. When was the last time I really saw him do anything? I always liked him on Air Farce and those TV specials back in the day. I should see if I can find any of those member for Kicking Horse Pass bits. Those were funny.

Turns out he was still around, at least until yesterday. He was 90.

Comedian and former Royal Canadian Air Farce actor Dave Broadfoot has died at age 90, his family confirmed to CBC News.
Broadfoot was best known for his time on the long-running comedy show on CBC. Starting in 1973, he appeared on radio and television versions for 15 years in the classic lineup of the show, alongside cast members Roger Abbott, Don Ferguson, Luba Goy and John Morgan.

Among Broadfoot’s best-known characters were the Honourable Member for Kicking Horse Pass, Sgt. Renfrew of the RCMP and Big Bobby Clobber, a hockey player who had received too many pucks to the head.
Broadfoot was a fixture on CBC shows long before his tenure on Air Farce, on television with the Big Revue and the Wayne and Shuster Show beginning in the 1950s, and on radio the following decade with Funny You Should Say That.

Tonight The Body Let Me Down

Chances are you already know that Merle Haggard died back in April. What you might not know (I didn’t) was that the day he died (April 6th) was his 79th birthday.

I imagine when you get to that point you may not think about it all that much, but sitting here pondering it now, it would be strange to die on your birthday and I’m not sure how I’d feel about it. I’m not big on the God thing, but I’ve often said that somewhere, somebody is sitting behind a giant control panel full of knobs and buttons, quietly directing us.

Not sure why I felt the need to write that, but I suppose there’s more of a point to it than there is to me telling you how great Merle Haggard is. If you’ve spent any time listening to him and enjoy country music even a little bit, you’re already aware. I have nothing personal or profound to say about him. To me, he’s simply someone who lived a hell of a life and got really good at making really good music about it and the way it made him see the world. And as a fan, that’s the most important thing, isn’t it?

Everyone has a favourite Merle song. Mama Tried, The Fightin’ Side of Me, Okie from Muskogee…but while those are all great, this is mine.

The music is just so easy to get lost in and let’s be honest, most of us have had a feeling like this at least once. Merle Haggard – April 6, 1937 to April 6, 2016

My Merle passed away this morning peacefully surrounded by his loved ones after a long hard battle with his health.
Today April 6, 2016, which was his 79th birthday. He left to go to a much better place.
He was the best singer, songwriter and performer I’ve ever seen.  Not only did he write the songs he sang, he was the music.
I will miss him forever.
Theresa Haggard

D-Composition X

Man, everybody’s dying this year. There are so many that deserve mentioning that I haven’t gotten around to yet because I don’t want to have to change the name of the place to And now to that list we can add Chris Warren, who was either 48 or 49 depending on which report you read when he passed away over the weekend.


If you’ve watched wrestling for any length of time, you know that song. The voice singing it is Chris Warren, who you also might remember from the…um…different version of America the Beautiful he performed at Wrestlemania 14.

Sorry for the quality here, it’s the best I could find. Also, the sound is muffled.

Nowadays when that DX music hits it means that a couple of old guys are about to come out and be terribly unfunny, but for a time in the late 90s it meant that you’d better not go anywhere because something nutty that you’d never expect to see on a wrestling show might be about to happen and you weren’t going to want to miss it. Chris Warren might not have had the best voice in the world, but it’s hard to imagine DX’s presentation being quite as unique without it. He was the perfect sound at the perfect time. Hopefully WWE will give him some sort of tribute to recognize his small but meaningful contribution to one of the biggest money periods in its history.