I know, I know. It sounds like a '70s action show starring a trucker and his sassy pet orangutang. But Jerry and JB are the two icons of that decade who've just passed on.
My memories of President Gerald Ford are fairly thin. He's the first president I really remember, dating from a 1976 mock election in my kindergarten, in which I cast my very first ballot for Ford. Why, I can't remember. I seem to remember thinking he looked more like my father. Maybe it was the golf clothes. Whatever it was, I chalk up the folly of voting for the Republican candidate as a youthful indiscretion. I was four. Cut me some slack.
I don't really remember James Brown from that decade, as his best work was just behind him, and it would take "Living in America" in Rocky IV to bring him back to the public eye. I quickly became a fan then, plunking down a lot of my hard-earned rock dolar on the 4-CD Star Time collection -- my first and still my best box-set purchase -- and then following up with everything I could get my hands on. It's fitting that JB passed away on Christmas, since he used to issue a great Christmas single every season, ranging from nice soul classics like "Merry Christmas, Baby" to militant original tunes like "Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto."
Both men were survivors, with Jerry shrugging off not one, but two assassination attempts in a single month and the crappy impersonations of Chevy Chase, and JB overcoming the Disco Era and several sad run-ins with the law and his ladies. Rest in peace, boys. Lord knows you've earned it.
Please feel free to drop your own memories and memorials to Jerry and/or JB in the comments.
Also, as we all know, celebrities die in threes, and more often than not, they're related. So let's start the ghoulish speculation -- who's going to round out this '70s triumverate? My money's on slick Hollywood producer Robert Evans. Will the kid stay in the picture? Stay tuned!