On this day, September 27th in 1979, Scottish guitarist Jimmy McCulloch (sometimes spelled McCullough) died from a heroin overdose in his flat in Maida Vale, London. He was 26 years old.
McCulloch, perhaps best known as the lead guitarist for Paul McCartney’s Wings (1974 to 1977) had also been a member of Stone The Crows and Thunderclap Newman. When “Something in the Air” by Thunderclap Newman went to No.1 in 1969, it made McCulloch the youngest guitarist to ever play on a UK No.1 single, as he was was just sixteen years old at the time.
In a tragic case of artistic irony, the Wings‘ hit, “Medicine Jar,” sung by Jimmy, was the first song recorded by the group to feature another band member on all lead vocals. “Medicine Jar” is an anti-drug song with music written by McCulloch. Colin Allen, who was a drummer in the band Stone The Crows (with McCulloch), wrote the lyrics. RIP.
On This Date, September 7th in 1978: Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, died in London of an overdose of Hemenephirin, a drug he was taking to cure his alcoholism. He was 32. I still remember that day like it just happened; what a fucking tragedy. In an oddly related story, on this same date in 1985, drummer Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr) and his wife Sarah welcomed their first child, daughter Tatia Jayne. Starkey has played drums for The Who since 1994, and actually received his first professional drum kit from Moon, who is also his Godfather. That kit later sold at Sotheby’s auction house for £12,000.
Actor Heath Ledger has passed away, January 22nd, 2008, of an apparent overdose of prescription drugs. Man, 28 is just way too young to go, especially for someone who was as cute and talented as Heath Ledger. What a shame. RIP, Heath.