The show must go on, and our Fall Music Preview did (#730, Sept. 26), even in the shadow of two notable and mournful passings. ''Everyone loved Johnny Cash and John Ritter and respects will continue to be paid,'' notes Laura Lieff of Boulder, Colo. ''In the meantime, I can't wait for new stuff from the phenomenal artists that graced this week's cover.'' Still, some were struck with a sour note. ''Are you really that superficial to put Dave Matthews, Pink, and OutKast on the cover?'' asks Houston's Robert Flory. ''The ramblings of these guys to the exclusion of what should have been a memorial issue to Johnny Cash and John Ritter is, to me, what's wrong with entertainment today.'' Others felt most amazed by an inadvertent omission. ''How sad I was to see that you neglected to add that John Ritter was the voice of Clifford the Big Red Dog,'' says Tiffany Sayers of Williamsville, N.Y. ''The diverseness of his roles will be greatly missed.'' Let the memories of Cash and Ritter live on.
I am appalled and saddened that John Ritter barely gets a passing remark on the cover, and Johnny Cash is relegated to the corner. These two men have contributed more to entertainment than Pink, Dave Matthews, or OutKast could ever hope to. John Ritter was most certainly this era's Chaplin. Johnny Cash was an icon to whom country, rockabilly, and rock & roll music owe a great debt of gratitude. They deserved much more. ANDY DE VORE firstname.lastname@example.org Lincoln, Neb.
Pink, Outkast, and Dave Matthews instead of Johnny Cash on the cover? For shame! Mr. Cash had more talent in the wrinkles of his beautiful, haggard face than those four would blended up in a music smoothie. LYZZ FORSYTH email@example.com Austin
Long, Rewinding Road
I'm a 46-year-old high school teacher who often uses Johnny's tunes to teach the concept of ballads, and I hadn't even caught my breath from June's passing when the Man in Black himself slipped away last week (''Johnny Cash, 1932-2003''). I find myself playing ''The Far Side Banks of Jordan'' repeatedly and seeing June ''rise up with a shout and come running through the shallow water reaching for [Johnny's] hand.'' E. WAYNE INGLE JWSOUTH@aol.com Chattanooga, Tenn.
Your creation of different playlists was excellent (''The Joy of Sets'')! As John Cusack's character notes in High Fidelity, the making of a mixtape (or CD) is a fine art. But in the ''Ear-Piercing Songs,'' why not replace Whitney Houston and Kelly Clarkson with ''Laid'' by James and ''Fake Plastic Trees'' by Radiohead. Mariah's already on the list -- one screechy singer is enough! BRIAN SPARKS firstname.lastname@example.org Sagamore Hills, Ohio
Where's ''Stairway To Heaven'' in the ''Non-Jethro Tull Songs With Flute''? DEAN JAMESON email@example.com New Braunfels, Tex.
What about the classic ''You've Got to Hide Your Love Away'' by the Beatles for the ''Non-Jethro Tull Songs With Flute'' list? How can a set of playlists be great without the Beatles? MELISSA PLATT firstname.lastname@example.org West Jordan, Utah