The absolute masters of a given form left on earth.
– The stand-up comedian’s stand-up comedian. There simply no one funnier alive. THE BUTTON-DOWN MIND OF BOB NEWHART was the number one album 1960, out-selling Elvis and THE SOUND OF MUSIC, he established a simple magical feat. He was the hilarious straight-man to an unseen partner. Talking on the telephone, he created half a conversation (with Abe Lincoln’s press agent or the security guard at the Empire State Building the day a certain gorilla came to call) that was achingly and simply hysterical. Unlike may other comedians, Bob’s magic isn’t based on youth so his routines are as funny now as they have ever been. See him. Listen to him. You owe it to yourself.
– The guitar god. In 1969, at the age of 18, he was the lead guitarist for legendary British folk rock bank Fairpoint Convention. Over the past forty+ years, Thompson has proven himself the most gifted songwriter of his generation. He has written some of finest rock and folk songs. Songs like “1952 Vincent Black Lighting,” “Beeswing,” “Shoot Out the Lights,” “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight,” “Meet on the Ledge,” “Farewell, Farewell,” “Al Bowly’s in Heaven,” “I Misunderstood,” to name just a few. Haven’t heard of them? Shame on you. Go. Listen. Now.
– The voice of baseball. He’s been calling Dodger games since before they moved to Los Angeles. Longer than Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne. It sometimes seems like he is the last classy, elegant voice in the world. He quote Kipling while calling a ball game and he does it all with such easy grace, it feels like all is right with the world, at least as long as the Dodgers are playing. May it never end.
– The master of movie make-up. From his days as an apprentice to the legendary Dick Smith, through his remarkable transformation scene from AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, and including the amazingly realistic gorilla suits from GORILLAS IN THE MIST (ape suits so amazingly life-like they could not be told from real gorillas in the same scene) Baker has shown what a marvel real nuts-and-bolts make-up can be, without the help of any CGI. He’s still creating marvels, like Angelina Jolie’s cheek bones in MALEFICENT. Long may he reign!
– Master of Bluegrass. One of the creators of the form. In 1946 he joined the Clinch Mountain Boys and went on to greater heights recording with his brother Carter as The Stanley Brothers. When Carter died in 1966, Ralph decided to go it alone. He’s been going it alone ever since. If you ever want to hear what God probably sounds like, listen to his recording of “Oh, Death” on the O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU soundtrack? Transcendent.
– the maestro of Italian film music. One of the last true masters of the movie score. A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS. ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. THE MISSION. CINEMA PARADISO. From the howls of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS to the mournful harmonica of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, to the plaintive violin and pan flute of THE MISSION to the deep wisdom of CINEMA PARADISO, for over half a century Morricone has filled our movie theaters with the most joyous sound. Half of Quentin Tarantino’s films are filled with his tunes. “For Elena” is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever.