Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jo Stafford R.I.P.


The great singer Jo Stafford died at age ninety at her L.A. home yesterday. In my journalistic tenure at the L.A. Herald-Examiner, the L.A. Reader, the S.F. Examiner, Rolling Stone, etc. I interviewed a lot of biggies (no names puh-leese), but the only two who ever totally knocked me out were husband-and-wife (bandleader) Paul Weston and Jo Stafford!

I spent an afternoon at their Century City (L.A.) condo. The result of my conversation with them appeared in the L.A. Reader back in 19-ought-whatever. Most of that article was eventually recycled into another interview I conducted with Stafford some years later in 1999, after the death of Weston, for the on-line mag Songbirds.

From everything I could determine from the relative distance of my journalist-fan perch, Stafford must've led something approaching a near-perfect existence. A great artistic career from which she walked away in the late sixties at an optimum time (while the getting was still good), a long happy marriage, two loving and accomplished offspring, good health, and an enduring fan base that reminded her on an ongoing basis of just how much she meant to them.

In a less barbarous clime, flags would be flown at half-staff.