Thursday, January 04, 2018

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Remembering Ruby

Jack Ruby with unidentified employee circa 1962
Jack Ruby died 51 years and one day ago today.

No, I didn't have to Google this morbid little piece of historical trivia. I've known this date for 51 years.

Ruby, the Dallas strip joint owner who killed JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, died the same day as my grandfather. I remember reading it in the paper the day after and thinking my grandfather would have been interested in the article.

It had been my grandfather who had introduced me to Jack Ruby. I was walking downstairs in our house on Nov. 4, 1963 when I hear Pappa start bellowing from the den. "They shot the son of a bitch! They shot the son of a bitch!"

Sure enough, he'd just witnessed the first live televised murder on national TV. I only got to see the first replay of the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Even before Ruby died he already was firmly planted in the center of a thousand conspiracy theories. His passing just ensured his status as a permanent resident of those shadow lands. And even for those of us who are skeptical of the world of magic bullets and grassy knolls, Ruby, with his strippers, his Mafia ties and his questionable links to law enforcement still lurks as an immortal symbol of America's dark underbelly.

Naturally he's been immortalized in song. Here are some of those.

As I mentioned above, I don't buy into all the conspiracy stuff that Minnesota songwriter Paul Metsa sings about here. But there's no denying that this is one powerful tune.



Similarly, I also like this one by British singer Glyn Shipman. I always dug Ruby's hat too.



I'm not sure whether Roland Alphonso's 1964 ska song was really about the Jack Ruby. But it would have sounded great on the Carousel Club's jukebox.



Here's a rockin' little 1990 tune called "Meet Jack Ruby" by a band called Shiva Burlesque (which included Grant Lee Buffalo's Grant Lee Phillips on guitar.)



But my favorite Jack Ruby song though has always been Camper Van Beethoven's song from Key Lime Pie. Let's do business, boys!






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