May 22, 2011

The writer of "the #1 song of the 70s" — "You Light Up My Life" — has killed himself.



"Joseph Brooks... 73... was found near a helium tank with a tube attached into a dry cleaning bag and a towel wrapped around his head and neck... Brooks had been charged two years ago in connection with the rapes of 11 women...."

73 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

Helium? That's an odd substance to use.

Peter

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"Brooks was near a helium tank with a tube attached into a dry cleaning bag and a towel wrapped around his head and neck, police said."

Very sad. Dry cleaning bags are dangerous. Federal regulation is likely just around the coroner.

When combined with tubing, towels and a tank of helium, its all fun and games until someone stops breathing.

Phil 3:14 said...

I fear the comments that will ensue

Lucius said...

When I was little, my older female cousin, a kind of sister by default, would sing this to me over and over. In my mind it was like this extraordinary fairy tale, and I can still summon the odd tendrils of imagery it inspired in my sleepy head.

That must sound odd to anyone who experienced the song first as an adult.

dbp said...

Any inert gas will work, but helium gives you a high squeaky voice and who wants to die like that?

Coketown said...

Another song I've heard the chorus of a million times but never the entire song. It's lovely.

edutcher said...

There was a time people joked that it had become the National Anthem.

It says a lot about the 70s that this was the #1 song.

Maximum Twine said...

I always did like Alvin and the Chipmunks version of this song.

Crimso said...

"It says a lot about the 70s that this was the #1 song."

And none of it good.

nevadabob said...

Let's hope Strauss-Kahn takes the hint and saves us the fucking trouble.

(My prediction stills stands: Given freedom by the corrupt judge, Srauss-Kahn will flee to France rather than face trial for his crimes. He'll retire bunking with his kiddie-rapist pal Roman Polanski drinking champagne and eating caviar with all the other Socialist rapists who sully France.)

nevadabob said...

Let's hope Strauss-Kahn takes the hint and saves us the fucking trouble.

(My prediction stills stands: Given freedom by the corrupt judge, Srauss-Kahn will flee to France rather than face trial for his crimes. He'll retire bunking with his kiddie-rapist pal Roman Polanski drinking champagne and eating caviar with all the other Socialist rapists who sully France.)

A. Shmendrik said...

Helium? Uplifiting!

"Brooks, 73, was discovered by a friend who was supposed to have lunch with the songwriter at his residence, according to police."

So, no lunch then, eh?

In the long run, somone had to pay for that song.

MarkG said...

I've heard nitrogen works really well, but helium is probably easier to come by.

Big Mike said...

Brooks had been charged two years ago in connection with the rapes of 11 women....

Could someone check with Whoopi Goldberg and make sure those were really rape-rapes?

The Crack Emcee said...

If you've been following this story, as I have, this comes as no surprise.

The guy was a fucking weasel.

Titus said...

Was he in his 70's when he was raping these women?


Gross.

Titus said...

Not that a 30 year old raping a woman isn't gross also.

But amazing that some 70 something still has it in him.

Indigo Red said...

An elderly woman in CA sells a suicide kit for $60. She recommends helium gas because it available at party supply stores at low cost with a security deposit for the tank.

The song sucked and the writer was apparently a scumbag.

PatCA said...

I wonder who the woman is who married him and fathered that child.

No, maybe it's better I don't know.

No Name said...

So the song finally got to him too, eh?

rhhardin said...

It's a girls' song. The playlists are different for boys and girls.

Boys' reaction: Why is this #1? Who is buying this crap?

keentaroh said...

How can someone accused of raping 11 women be allowed to have access to that much helium?

I'm curious what his last words were, but they probably sounded so silly, it's not worth remembering.

ricpic said...

Schmaltz. Pure schmaltz.

Jason (the commenter) said...

has killed himself

I thought in Althouse speak it was "committed self murder". Just wondering what the rules are.

EDH said...

found near a helium tank with a tube attached into a dry cleaning bag...

Made me think of an earlier song from that period.

Up, up and away in my beautiful
My beautiful balloon
The world's a nicer place in my beautiful balloon
It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon

Bob_R said...

Well I'm glad he was a scumbag because he wrote a song that drove me crazy during the 70's (there were days of when an AM car radio was my only source of driving music) so I really feel like making fun of the circumstances of his suicide. I think I'll start with a vision of him saying "Rosebud" in a Donald Duck voice.

mesquito said...

Karma never forgets. You write maudlin crap like "You Light Up My Life," eventually you're going to pay for it.

Ricardo said...

Had he been going to a female therapist, or a male therapist?

Michael K said...

I liked the song but he sounds like a pretty weird dude. That goes with the 60s and 70s. Some of us were studying hard and missed it, thank God. In 1966, when I was a medical school senior, there were about 25 guys in the sophomore class using LSD. The Dean was worried sick.

Jason (the commenter) said...

ricpic: Schmaltz. Pure schmaltz.

Elvis used it, and it didn't hurt his sound.

I like the song. I don't consider it great, more of a B-side, but I could imagine buying an album with that on it.

paul a'barge said...

What? A 71 year old man raped 11 women?

Come on. That's pushing the limits of biological capacity, no?

What didn't the women just beat him with his cane?

Jason (the commenter) said...

There's a generation of people who have never really heard 70's music before; it was considered "uncool" for so long. Don't be surprised if when we do hear it, we don't share your disdain. It's fresh for us.

Crimso said...

"Helium? That's an odd substance to use."

Not really. First discovered in the sun (hence the name), and what lights up our lives more than that?

"I've heard nitrogen works really well, but helium is probably easier to come by."

Nitrogen is much easier to come by (the atmosphere is 78% by vol), it's just got impurities that render it unsuitable for asphyxiation.

WestVirginiaRebel said...

The late 70s were an odd time for music in general. Vietnam was over, there was nothing to protest against, the aging hippies running the industry had already gone corporate, punk was taking off in England, you had disco over here, and this was the biggest song of 1977.

Crimso said...

"It's fresh for us."

Then be sure to catch Barry Manilow and The Captain and Tennille while you're at it.

Greg Hlatky said...

She recommends helium gas because it available at party supply stores at low cost with a security deposit for the tank.

Bummer. Not only is he dead but he lost his deposit. Maybe he was upset that Judgement Day didn't happen yesterday.

Separately, his son Christopher Brooks had been charged in the death of his former girlfriend, a swimsuit designer. He faced 25 years in prison.

Quite a family.

KitaIkki said...

What a waste of a limited, finite resource.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Crimso: Then be sure to catch Barry Manilow and The Captain and Tennille while you're at it.

They had good songs, just not good albums. Love Will Keep Us Together and Mandy, for instance.

MamaM said...

He was awaiting trial on 82 counts of sexual abuse.

Gives a whole new meaning to
It can't be wrong
When it feels so right
'Cause You
You light up my life

No Name said...

Even the jungle wanted him dead, and that's who he really took his orders from anyway.

No Name said...

>Don't be surprised if when we do hear it, we don't share your disdain. It's fresh for us.


Yeah, I just know you're gonna love Maria Muldaur's "Midnight At The Oasis"

Crimso said...

"They had good songs, just not good albums."

I was teasing. While not my favorites, each (especially Manilow) were certainly enormously popular in the 70's. Captain and Tennille had their own variety show. I know. I watched it. But the 70's were album-oriented for at least some radio stations. The good old days of WLRS and WZZX playing entire albums every night at midnight...

And The Cars have a new release. I don't know if I'll like it without Benjamin Orr.

MadisonMan said...

I was a Junior or Senior in HIgh School when this song came out. You can imagine how it was ridiculed.

Treacle sells!

Ann Althouse said...

"I thought in Althouse speak it was "committed self murder". Just wondering what the rules are."

I don't think I've ever used the phrase "committed self murder." That's awkward. Everyone knows I consider suicide to be murder. I don't have a special rule about what phrase to use, but ""committed self murder" is awkward. As a matter of good usage, I'd recommend "murdered himself" over ""committed self murder." But "killed" is an expressive word, and when you read what he did with helium and so forth -- and a suicide note, if you go to the link -- you can see it's no accident. It's intentional. It's murder. You can call it "suicide." That means intentionally killing yourself. Which he did. Which is murder.

Is that clear enough?

Apparently, he wanted to escape punishment for the crimes, and he's betting heavily on there being no judgment after death.

AJ Lynch said...

Isn't this guy's son suspected of killing his own wife?

Jason (the commenter) said...

Ann Althouse: Is that clear enough?

I was just wonder because in the David Foster Wallace thread, you said:

I prefer to say "self-murder" rather than "suicide" because it's more in English and I want to be clear.

And when that gay man killed himself you said he "murdered himself".

But lately you seem to have shied away from that terminology. I know how important being clear is to you and thought if you honestly belived "self-murder" was the clearest terminology you would have stuck with it.

traditionalguy said...

Baby Boomers seem to be bitterly complaining that they don't get whatever they want because they say so anymore. Brooks sure taught us that he for one is not willing to be punished for casual sex.

Ralph L said...

Boys' reaction: Why is this #1? Who is buying this crap?
See also Mariah Carey's no#1 hits.

Jason, C & T sang "Muskrat Love" at the White House for the Queen of England during her Bicentennial visit.

madAsHell said...

every woman that walks past me...lights up my life.

Now that we find a rapist.....I'm feeling a little creepy.

William said...

How about self-execution? I know capital punishment for rape is extreme, but some feel strongly about this issue. At any rate, nothing in his life so became him as his leaving of it.

J said...

Bozo-erotic asphyxiation seems most appropriate. Helium for crying out loud.

I fear this will be everyone's fate one day, when electric vehicles take over and there's just no good option for poisoning oneself in the garage.

Polish Immigrant said...

#1? No wonder Carter lost.

Penny said...

"I know how important being clear is to you and thought if you honestly belived "self-murder" was the clearest terminology you would have stuck with it."

Althouse made that point.

YESTERDAY!

Get with it, Jason. Althouse is moving on to ... "Other stuff!"

ha ha

That should suit us. At least until we get tired of exclamation points followed by periods.

reader_iam said...

There's a generation of people who have never really heard 70's music before; it was considered "uncool" for so long. Don't be surprised if when we do hear it, we don't share your disdain. It's fresh for us.

Well, OK, Jason, fair enough point--but let just me say this: When I first heard "You Light Up My Life" as rendered by Debby Boone when I was in high school, it was fresh for me, too!!!! Still, I disdained it then, even before I heard it over, and over, and over and over and over again.

This, despite my being both a female and an actual girl, chronologically, then (I'm looking at YOU, @rhhardin, with regard to this part of my comment).

Just sayin', young and old dudes, alike.

reader_iam said...

I did own that song, briefly, back then: A friend gave it me as a gift at school. Another one borrowed it. The day after the latter returned it to my locker, my locker got broken into, and it was stolen (I'm not claiming a connection--in fact, I'm certain there was none; just recounting what happened).

All that said, amusingly enough, I do have that song on our music server. I used to collect music for various (often quirky) reasons and for a while would even store some of them in categories via playlists. This song resides in the same category as Leo Sayer's "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing," which reminds me of exactly the two reasons why that category exists, why the songs in it reside there, and why "You Light Up My Life" is there. All of which brings a smile to my face and makes me very happy.

Thanks, Jason.

Penny said...

Maybe the morel of the story is this, reader.

Doesn't matter how you categorize, long as you're ORGANized.

Penny said...

Ha ha

Just said that, reader, cause I met the hurdy gurdy man.

Not twice, but THRICE!

Gotta believe his monkey just wants to be FREE!

Same old song, same old dance.

But what the heck do I know?

reader_iam said...

Hey, Penny, how're you doing? Thanks for bringing up Donovan. Are you looking forward to the summer, too?

Ralph L said...

Reader, I'm confused. You disdained the song then, but you owned a copy then and now? Masochist much?

My favorite song I love to hate from that era is "I Honestly Love You", by Olivia Nudeon John.

Rick56 said...

The seventies were fuckin great we ended the Vietnam war our boys could come home after Carter pardoned them!! disco sucked the big one and so did Debby Boone but Led Zepplin did not,so why are all you Barnieized cunts whineing about a decade you know nothing about or were even alive to appreciate the real freedom an American could enjoy in this country of ours before the Republicunts fucked it up

reader_iam said...

One vid version of a Donovan ditty.

(I'm thinking you might get kick out of this one, Penny.)

reader_iam said...

...all you Barnieized cunts...

I must say, Rick56, that so far as insult-frameology goes, this was an entirely new one to me. Yo. Thank you for that! Also, it made me laugh, and therefore I love it.

I must also say, Rick56, for the record, that Weirdly Purple Barney debuted when I was in my 30s. By that point, I'm pretty sure both I and my you-know-what were pretty immune to such influences.

LOL.

Penny said...

Perfect, reader! As you nearly always are for me, at least.

Anyway, so here's my thought for you tonight. In return, of course.

"The job of the artist is to ALWAYS deepen the mystery."

If you don't know who said it, then you have to look it up.

In the meantime, I'll be right over here >>>>>>>>>>>> eating breakfast. ;)

MarkW said...

The best selling pop-music (bought by 13-year-olds) is pretty much ALWAYS dreck in any decade, but a lot of amazing music came out of the 70s. Some of the Rolling Stones greatest stuff was in the 70s: Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street -- even Some Girls (Beast of Burden could be my all-time favorite Stones tune). A lot of people we think of as 60's artists were really mostly 70s artists (Crosby, Stills, and Nash, for example, didn't get together until 1969).

And then in the mid 70s you had the Ramones kicking off the Punk era. The Clash's first three albums (including 'London Calling') were all released in the 1970s. For more mainstream tastes, The Eagles 'Hotel California' was released in 1976 and Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumors' in 1977. If you like things really loud, the 70's were your era -- except for a couple albums, all of of Led Zeppelin's their work was released in the 1970s. Same goes for all of Aerosmith's best stuff. Or if your taste runs to glam, how about 'Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' or 'Killer Queen'?

Yes, the 70s also featured Barry Manilow, Debbie Gibson, and Disco, but there's no good reason not to forget them as quickly and thoroughly as possible and remember all the great stuff.

Free said...

patti smith sings the song with Brooks on piano. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Agl4IvNnQPo
Brooks appears at the 4:00 mark.

Lyle said...

I had forgotten about this song.

Chris said...

"It says a lot about the 70s that this was the #1 song."

Cynicism, tribal hostility and despairing pessimism were still cutting edge and hadn't become the universal mindset yet.

R.L. Hunter said...

How can anyone talk about 70's music without mentioning,

Freddie Fender
Mac Davis
Tony Orlando and Dawn
Anne Murray
Buck Owens
andBonnie Tyler

sonicfrog said...

I always though who ever wrote this must have been an air-head... But a helium head?

"You Light Up My Life" was a very haunting song.... In a horrible torturous way! Had to learn to play it in junior high and high school band. We always got scolded for the collective groan emitted when the director called on us to perform it. The original song was bad enough... But just try to listen to it played by 60 young musicians who have absolutely NO DESIRE to play it well! Insidiously bad!!!!!

sonicfrog said...

"Exit Bag"... Sounds like a colostomy or enima bag.

Oh My... Here is a YouTube video explaining how to use an "Exit Bag". Now, we all have to agree that suicide is no laughing matter, and let it be known that I am a supporter of euthanasia…. But try not to laugh when watching this video on the use of the “Exit Bag”! The choice of music just floored me! Oh, and don’t worry, the video does not come to the most obvious conclusion!

http://youtu.be/okn04uhNPRA

Shawn Levasseur said...

Yes, there was a lot of dreck in the 70's, musically, and a lot of good stuff too. But the bad stuff was especially emabrassing.

That goes for the entire culture in the 70's. Fashion, politics, television.

I sum it up simply as the 70's being the decade where no one, but NO ONE got out of with their dignity in tact.

Fort said...

Sure sure, laught at the 1970's all you want.

But remember, many of the leading members of the 1970's culture grew up with examples such as this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPh12Q7cpeE

Greg said...

You Light Up My Life came out before my time, and after listening to it, it just doesn't sound familiar to me at all. I guess it's not a song oldies stations really want to keep playing.

MarkW,

Debbie Gibson is 1980s. And not even early 80s. Out of the Blue came out in 1986. (I will neither confirm nor deny that I checked my record collection to get that year.)