Don Van Vliet AKA Captain Beefheart passed yesterday at the age of 69. A truly original artist in every sense of the word. Vliet worked off/on with Zappa through the years and with his own Magic Band. Never one to be fenced in or labeled, his unmistakable tortured vocals can be heard in the songs below. His career shifted to paintings, sculpting and drawings that would prove to be highly sought after works. His last many years had been spent in seclusion after many reports came forward claiming him to be afflicted with multiple sclerosis.
Rest well, Captain.
Here’s “Her Eyes Are Blue Million Miles”:
“Tropical Hot Dog Night”:
Legendary San Franciscan concert promoter Bill Graham died on this date in 1991 after his helicopter crashed following a Huey Lewis concert. A charismatic and controversial personality, Graham helped define the San Francisco music scene in the late 60′s, opened the Fillmore, East and West, was a permanent fixture at every Dead New Years show, organized The Band’s “Last Waltz” and even co-starred as “Lucky” Luciano in Warren Beatty’s Bugsy. RIP Uncle Bobo.
Dying young with the actual events shrouded in mystery, Jaco was certainly heard loud and clear in the music industry, leaving no question to his talent. Here’s some music from his Word Of Mouth band (’82).
Inventor of the Moog synthesizer and theramin, Robert Moog (rhymes with vogue) died of brain cancer on this date in 2005. The first rock album to feature the Moog was The Doors’ Strange Days, the recording of which began 42 years ago today as well. Click here to read Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee discuss Bob Moog and working with the theramin and synthesizer. Here’s the recently released Moog guitar.
Blues Traveler’s original bassist died 10 years ago yesterday in New Orleans of an overdose. Check out this Blues Traveler show from Red Rocks ’98.
Intro, Star-Spangled Banner-> Sweet Talking Hippie, Love & Greed, Her & Me, Happy Birthday, Dropping Some NYC, Mountains Win Again, The Path, Crystal Flame, Shotgun Shell Fake-Out, All In the Groove, Great Big World, Traveler Suite, Yours, Love of My Life, Stand, Psycho Joe, Chan’s Groove*#->Gotta Get Mean#, Shotgun Shell, Crash Burn, Band Introductions, Escaping
LeRoi Moore of the Dave Matthews Band passed on this date last year. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since his passing, yet his legacy lives on through his music. Since Moore’s passing, the band has paid tribute to its co-founder with a Live Trax installment of his final show and an entire album dedicated to his memory, Big Whiskey and The GrooGrux King.
Here’s Proudest Monkey from 12/29/95:
Les Paul and Mary Ford performing “How High The Moon”, which Phish played tonight and dedicated to Les Paul.
Sadly, Les Paul, the pioneer of the electric solid body guitar passed today at the age of 94. His many recording innovations, including overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects, and multi-track recording, are still implemented today.
Les Paul, whose innovations with the electric guitar and studio technology made him one of the most important figures in recorded music, has died, according to a statement from his publicists. Paul was 94. (more…)
Sadly, movie director and screenwriter John Hughes died yesterday of a heart attack in NYC. Being a child of the 80′s, his movies had an undeniable impact on my childhood and are still great to check out anytime you catch them on TV. A partial list of movies he directed? Vacation, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Uncle Buck, Weird Science, etc., etc.
35 years ago today, “Mama Cass” or Ellen Naomi Cohen or Cass Elliott (of the Mamas and Papas) died of a heart attack in her sleep. Police noted a half eaten sandwich by her bedside and surmised that she may have choked on the sandwich. This was incorrect, but an entire generation of fans and media still seem to think this was her cause of death. Cass was staying in a flat in a flat in London that was owned by Harry Nilsson, which would sadly be the site of another rock star death four years later. Who would die in the same room? Who you wonder, who(m) you ask. Well, it was none other than Who drummer, Keith Moon.
Here are the Mamas and the Papas from Monterey in ’67:
Performed 7/7/09 at Michael Jackson’s memorial service.
Perhaps the most influential and important individual figure in jazz passed on this date in 1971. The gravelly voiced trumpeter summed up his sunny disposition with the following quote,
“I think I had a beautiful life. I didn’t wish for anything that I couldn’t get and I got pretty near everything I wanted because I worked for it.”
Here he is performing the classic, “When The Saints Go Marching In”:
Slide guitar extraordinnaire Lowell George, passed on this date in 1979. After a brief stint with Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention, George founded Little Feat (named for his small, fat feet), whom he triumphantly lead throughout the 70′s. George also tried his hand at producing, most famously taking the helm for the Dead’s Shakedown Street. Here’s a ripping “Dixie Chicken” from 1977:
Click here to check out Little Feat at Ultrasonic Studios from ’74.
Michael Jackson’s 1984 Pepsi commercial. Do you guys remember how huge this was? I thought Alfonso was the luckiest kid around and I tried my damnedest to moonwalk. I actually got pretty good.
Legendary composer, conducter, producer and trumpeteer Quincy Jones has issed a statement regarding the sudden death of Michael Jackson. Jones worked with Jackson on The Wiz, Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad.
“I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news. For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words.
Divinity brought our souls together on The Wiz and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the 80′s.
To this day, the music we created together on “Off The Wall,” “Thriller” and “Bad” is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all…talent, grace, professionalism and dedication.
He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever.”
Founding member along with Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hillel Slovak died on this date in 1988 of a heroin overdose. He was only 26. Here’s the band with Slovak in ’85 with “Get Up and Jump”:
“Kill Bill” star David Carradine was found dead in a Bangkok hotel room Wednesday, his manager told FOX News Thursday.
Chuck Binder said Carradine, 73, was staying in Bangkok while shooting a movie. The film crew became aware of his absence when they went to dine out at a restaurant yesterday. When a producer went to his room, he discovered that the actor had died.
A statement on behalf of his family has yet to be released, but Binder called the death “shocking and sad.”
While Binder gave no indication of the cause of death, several internet reports
Carradine was best known for his role in the television series “Kung Fu.”
Former Wilco multi-instrumentalist, Jay Bennett has passed. Bennett apparently sucumbed to complications stemming from a recent hip replacement surgery. In May 2009, Bennett sued Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy for breach of contract stemming from his work for Wilco. The suit came less than two weeks after Bennett publicly revealed that he needed hip replacement surgery which he could not afford due to lack of health insurance. Chicago Sun Times
Francis Albert Sinatra left our world on this date in 1998. The kid who grew up in Hoboken, NJ and would go on to conquer the entertainment world, hobnob with decades of presidents, mobsters, musicians and movie stars. He was married 4 times, a “Rat Pack”er, a member of the Friars Club, won three Academy Awards and has inspired generations of singers and musicians. His distinct swagger and brand of cool has been missed ever since. Rest in peace, Francis. Here he is singing one of his “saloon songs”, “One For My Baby” from 1959:
Marley died on this date in 1981 in Miami, FL of cancer. His final words were, “Money can’t buy life”, and were spoke to his son, Ziggy. Click here to check out more on Marley, including some stellar BMW shows. Here’s one of his most overplayed, but most powerful songs, “Redemption Song” from Germany ’80.
Sadly, one of baseball’s most colorful characters and personalities of the 1970′s, pitcher Mark Fidrych, passed today at his home in Northborough, MA. Fidrych was a primarily remembered for his rookie season superstardom as a Detroit Tiger in 1976, winning “Rookie Of The Year” honors and becoming known for his antics on and off the field. His career was cut short and plagued with injuries. “Fiddy” was only 54 years old.
Buddy Rich died on this date 1987. Here’s a MSD post on him from 11/27:
“Here’s the legendary Buddy Rich displaying his prowess on the skins. Buddy had been vaudevilian “wonder boy” drummer as a child and graduated to playing in some of the most celebrated big bands and swing bands in both pre and post WWII. He played behind Sinatra during his Dorsey days and the two had many a heated argument. Rich was almost as well known for his temper as his drumming. The Rich tapes are known in certain circles as a testament to his mercurial mood swings. A band member in Rich’s band snuck a tape recorder on to the tour bus and recorded several of his tirades. They’re good for a laugh and make you appreciate the fact that you don’t have an employer that treats you the way Rich treated those in his employ. You can hear them here. Jerry Seinfeld enjoyed working lines from the tapes into episodes of his television show.”
Charlie “Bird” Parker died on this date in 1955 of pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer, no doubt brought on by years of alcohol and heroin abuse. His influence is still felt today, as his innovative approach to the sax was a blueprint for up and coming jazz musicians. Here he is with Dizzy Gillespie at NBC Studios in 1952.
Early rocker, Bill Haley died on this date in 1981 at the age of 55 of heart failure. He scored big with The Coments with “Rock Around The Clock in 1956. Here’s the band in ’56 with their signature song: