Two tragic losses today: the deaths of the great comedian Don Rickles and the music lyricist and producer Paul O’Neill.
Rickles was one of the funniest performers of our time. His insult routine never came off as mean-spirited. On the contrary, he appeared to be satirizing prejudice and the petty cruelties people routinely inflict upon one another.
O’Neill produced numerous concept albums by the underrated U.S. metal group Savatage, and he was best known for his work in leading the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, whose tours have become a Christmas tradition. O’Neill developed the concepts for the albums and stage shows and wrote the lyrics. Both bands deployed a combination of musical power and grandeur in the service of Christian values and ideas. O’Neill was a giant of rock music.