Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

April 20, 2003

Earl King,

69, a prolific songwriter and guitarist responsible for some of the most enduring and idiosyncratic compositions in the history of R&B, died Thursday of diabetes-related complications.

Over his 50-year career, Mr. King wrote and recorded hundreds of songs. His best-known compositions include the Mardi Gras standards "Big Chief" and "Street Parade"; the rollicking "Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)"; and "Trick Bag," the quintessential New Orleans R&B story-song.

In his prime, he was an explosive performer, tearing sinewy solos from his Stratocaster guitar and wearing his hair in an elaborate, upraised coif.

Mr. King's songwriting was informed by syncopated New Orleans beats and his interest in a broad range of subjects, from medieval history to the vagaries of the human heart and his own so-called "love syndromes."

Born Earl Silas Johnson IV, he cut his first singles in the early 1950s, taking on the stage name Earl King at the suggestion of a record promoter.

Theodore Weiss,

86, a poet with a bent for narrative verse who was also an influential critic and teacher of English literature and creative writing at Princeton University, died Tuesday at his home in Princeton, N.J.

With his wife, Renee Karol Weiss, Mr. Weiss edited Quarterly Review of Literature for nearly 60 years. Besides publishing work by major poets, including William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, E.E. Cummings and Ezra Pound, the quarterly is credited with reviving interest in poets who were out of literary fashion.

At first a poet in residence at Princeton, Mr. Weiss was a faculty member for more than 20 years. He wrote more than 12 books of poems, as well as literary criticism, including The Breath of Clowns and Kings (Atheneum, 1971), a study of Shakespeare's early comedies and histories, and The Man From Porlock: Engagements, 1944-1981 (Princeton University Press, 1982), a collection of essays.

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