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Farewell: Tim Hagans Remembers Bob Belden

"He was the cat that set everything into motion"

Bob Belden

Bob had total confidence in his unusual ideas. There weren’t a lot of jazz musicians doing pop music the way Bob wanted to do it when he pitched [recording an album of jazz interpretations of] the music of Sting. It wasn’t copping out and doing covers; it was new versions in a new way. I learned so much from him about everything because of that attitude-arranging, producing, planning projects, thinking about what I’d like to do and then figuring out how to do it.

There was an extreme irreverence in his whole outlook on life and that really helped him with everything he did. A lot of that irreverence was corny jokes and making fun of things that perhaps weren’t politically correct and catching people off-guard. But not in a weird way, just in a let’s have fun and anything goes way. On soundchecks he used to play TV theme songs like Gilligan’s Island and The Andy Griffith Show and McHale’s Navy. So [when he was in the hospital] I played all of his favorite TV show themes, just in case he could hear because you never know if people in that condition can hear or at least feel the cosmic sound vibrations.

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