Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.
What the hell is going on? In our Aug. 15 issue, I wrote about David Berman, one of my favorite songwriters, who died earlier that week. It seems like my grief has continued unabated since then—one death after another: Daniel Johnston, the ultimate musical outsider artist, and then Ric Ocasek, the primary singer and songwriter of the band the Cars, whose self-titled 1978 debut is arguably the most perfect pop album ever.
And the big one around here: RN&R news editor Dennis Myers, who died late last month. And if it seems like I can’t stop writing about him, well, we can’t stop thinking about him. His absence is a bleeding wound in the newsroom.
I apologize if it seems like this column—which should just be a fun sounding board for commenting on each issue or casually mentioning events that the RN&R is involved with—has turned into a weekly obituary column. (At least last week I mentioned that the RN&R Best of Northern Nevada party is coming up on Oct. 17. If you won something in the contest this year, and you haven’t received an invite to the shindig, please reach out to our office manager, Lisa Ryan, at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
But today, Tuesday, Sept. 24—while we were finishing the paper—I found out about another heartbreaking death: Robert Hunter, one of the best lyricists ever, known primarily for his work with the Grateful Dead. He could write better hippie shit than anybody.
I’ll just leave you with the first verse of “Ripple”:
“If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near as it were your own?
It’s a hand-me-down. The thoughts are broken,
Perhaps they’re better left unsung
I don’t know, don’t really care—
Let there be songs to fill the air.”