20 Men I Admire Meme

I was recently tagged by Keith over at The Dino Lounge to participate in his 20 Men I Admire Meme. Here's what he says:

This is called the 20 Men I Admire Meme. The title pretty much says it all. Make sure you post these rules when you participate in this meme. Here are the rules:

A. Link back to the blog that tagged you.
B. Link back to the originator of this meme, which is The Dino Lounge.
C. Create your own list of 20 men that you admire and post them on your blog.
D. Tag 5 other people to participate in this meme.
E. If you like, please let The Dino Lounge know that you've participated in this meme so he can check out your posting and comment on it.

Well, before choosing my 20, I had to define my selection pool a bit and limit my choices to those in the entertainment industry and popular around the 1960s and 70s. Otherwise, I'd be all over the place choosing everyone from Tarrantino to Charlemagne. No, I had to limit my choices to fit the venue of retrospace - and they're based on my admiration of their talent and contributions (not their personal life).

I have to say that, for some reason, I actually decided to give this one a lot of thought. I was also amazed at what a strange eclectic mix of names I generated - not necessarily obscure, but just an odd variety. So, here they are in no particular order. The first four get special treatment.

1. Barry Gibb
To say I thought he was the coolest dude on the planet during the seventies wouldn't even come close. I could take or leave Maurice or Robin (Andy was like a younger Barry clone), but Barry epitomized cool for me for a number of years, and I guess I still feel a strong nostalgic respect for the eldest Gibb.

Junior High idol worship aside, Barry is, by my estimate, one of the most talented pop songwriters of all time... those laughing right now obviously fell for the hype in the early eighties that disco sucked and the brothers Gibb were losers - I say otherwise. Songs like "More Than a Woman", "Jive Talkin'", "Night Fever", "Stayin' Alive" and "You Should Be Dancing" are phenominal recordings, not to mention the numerous hits he provided for other musicians such as "Guilty" (Barbara Streisand), "Love Is (Thicker Than Water)" (Andy Gibb), and "Grease" (Frankie Valli). Add all this up, plus an exceptional pre-disco career (even venturing into Beatle-esque psychedelia), and you've got a discography most artists would kill for.

2. Dean Martin
Maestro of cool, chick magnet, smooth operator... those that don't admire Dino are just jealous of his mojo. I'm Italian, so I tell myself that we're in some way related (sadly, Dino's mojo didn't quite make to my branch of the family tree).

3. John Ritter
A physical comedy genius, and totally likeable. Ritter could play the slapstick game, but he was no one dimensional cartoon; much more like a Dick Van Dyke or Lucille Ball who dipped into the physical comedy only on occasion - a lot more comedic skills were in the arsenal. Sure, Ritter never really contributed much great stuff beyond Three's Company, but that's okay; Jack Tripper still has me laughing.

4. Paul McCartney
The most talented songwriter of the twentieth century. Capable of creating everything from the psychedelic ("Penny Lane") to the horrific ("Helter Skelter") to the beautiful ("Yesterday") to the very penultimate of pop music possibilities (Side 2 of Abbey Road ). Hell, I even like "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?". End of story.

5. Stanley Kubrick
6. Stephen King
7. Peter Sellers
8. Jack Nicholson
9. Stan Lee
10. Frank Sinatra
11. Jimmy Page
12. Rien Poortvliet
13. Stevie Wonder
14. Mario Bava
15. John Denver
16. John Kennedy Toole
17. Waylon Jennings
18. Frank Frazetta
19. George Lucas
20. Syd Barrett

I came close to putting names like Bert Jansch and Ennio Morricone to wow you with my depth and variety. But, in the end, I tried to include just those I honestly felt had a talent I admired, and who contributed a great deal to the arts. I think the following five people I tag will also have their own interesting and unique choices, and I'm anxious to see their list.

Darius Whiteplume at Adventures in Nerdiness
Becca at No Smoking in the Skull Cave
Samurai Frog at Electronic Cerebrectomy
Bill at The Uranium Cafe
Chris at Exquisitely Bored in Nacogdoches

Feel no pressure to take part if you don't feel like it. Most of my tags never do.... yet I shall carry on tagging nevertheless.


  1. Hey Gil. Thanks for participating. I appreciate it. I loved your list. Those were some great choices. I really liked them a lot. I'm a fan of all those men. It was really cool to read your choices. Cheers!

  2. Certainly an interesting list. John Kennedy Toole only wrote one book, right? Although it was one of the funniest books I've ever read. Waylon Jennings is a great pick. Dino and Sinatra are good ones too. A couple of names I don't recognize and a few I wouldn't choose, but a good variety.

  3. I think Toole did only write one published book. There was another one floating around, I thought, but was not of any great quality (he was a kid when he wrote it, IIRC). Hard to compete with Dunces. That is a great book. If you read it, read the introduction. It is very interesting how his mother got it published after Toole's suicide.

    Oh, and my list is here.

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  5. Keith- Glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing it.

    Robert- Toole may have other writings - but I really wasn't thinking of quantity when I listed him (Dean Koontz has written hundreds of pieces of crap, for example). Oddly enough, almost all of my favorite writers are pre-1960 in their heyday (Steinbeck, Orwell, Poe, Lovecraft, Tolkein, etc.), so it was a tad difficult to think of a few more contemporary ones. I suppose I could have put Asimov, Salinger, Burgess, Bradbury or Vonnegut... but it was late when I wrote this and my brain was struggling to even come up with these few.

    Sad story about Toole, that he never got to see the critical acclaim he deserved. Both Belushi and Will Ferrell have been set to star in the film version, but thankfully it has never materialised.

    Darius - When I get off work I plan to check out your list, I'm sure it'll be interesting.

  6. Dude, I'm not worthy! But I appreciate it. I didn't want to be biased by anyone else's list, but my eyes scanned over yours, and we share a couple, so don't be surprised. I will try to be original with mine, nonetheless.

  7. Chris - Great. I'll have to check it out; I've enjoyd EBiN basically since I started this blogging thing, so I'll be particularly interested.

    Personally, I'm always willing to jump on a meme when tagged.

  8. Wow John Ritter! What an awesome choice! I've been rewatching Three's Company and I have really come to appreciate all that physical comedy stuff he did. It's almost like a ballet, especially when they bring Janet into it. They must have done alot of practicing!

    Thanks for tagging me this is a really cool meme!

  9. I will be doing m list shortly and a couple on yours will appear on my mine as well. Jimmy Page and Syd Barrett in particular.

    I had to Goggle Rien Poortvliet but regonized his illustration style right away in the images. I do not know John Kennedy Toole but see a commenter is familiar with him and i will Goggle him as well.

    20 names is a lot and I miss your comments on some people like Barrett or Frazetta or Stan Lee.

    Thanks for the tag and like I told Keith I like the memes (though I may grumble) but usually do not know who to tag, so I will do the work and then see who is left standing or select random blogs from Blog Catalog... like a sniper.

  10. Becca- Yeah, I read that you and Samurai Frog were enjoying Three's Company on Electronic Cerebrectomy. I just wish Ritter had been able to translate his brand of comedy to other projects. He did Blake Edwards' Skin Deep, but there was just a few scees highlighting his talent. His follow up sitcoms (Hearts Afire, I think one was called) and movies (Slingblade, Problem Child)just didn't have the flair that we all loved.

    Bill- Yeah, I know Poortvliet is an odd choice, but I have for some reason loved his stuff since Gnomes came out when I was a kid - and today I own all his books, most of them are out of print. His depiction of nature, the rustic life and everyday life in previous centuries is nothing less than brilliant.

    And I too don't really like tagging people. I'm not into the social networking thing- I just post nostalgic crap then go to bed... like right now.