Prog Rock Keyboard Legend and all-around Musical Genius, Keith Emerson, passed away last night, March 10th, 2016, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. My Obit for Keith up is now at Ink19 Dot Com.
Ultimate Classic Rock reports that Chris Squire, legendary Bass player for the progressive rock band Yes has died (June 28th) after a battle with Leukemia. He was 67 years old. This kills me, as Squire was one of my rock heroes and my favorite bass player ever, followed by John Entwistle and Dennis Dunaway of Alice Cooper. Not only was Squire a phenomenally innovative bass player, but he was also one of the first bassists to release a solo album (1975’s Fish Out of Water) on which the bass is played as a lead instrument with no other guitars appearing on the record.
All you have to do is listen to the lead track on that album, “Hold Out Your Hand” — a song that I would put up against the best of Yes’s entire catalog — to have your mind completely blown. Chris Squire was a true Rock God. Both his contributions, as well as the loss of his talent, to the world of Rock music, is immeasurable.
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.
Original Ramones Drummer and the last surviving member of the band’s original line up, Tommy Ramone (Real Name: Thomas Erdelyi) passed away on Friday, July 11th, 2014 after a battle with cancer. He was 62 years old. Tommy played drums on the first three Ramones albums and later became a successful producer. The Guardian‘s Music Blog has a lovely first person remembrance of Tommy and The Ramones at This Link. Rest In Peace.
Together Again: Joey, Tommy, Dee Dee and Johnny (Image Source)
DEVO: Alan Myers is on the Far Right ( Image Source)
Alan Myers, drummer for the pioneering new wave rock band DEVO from 1976 to 1986, passed away on June 24th, 2013 after a long bout with Brain Cancer. He was 58 years old. Myers’ uniquely metronomic drumming style can be heard on now legendary DEVO albums such as Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, Duty Now for the Future and Freedom of Choice, the title track of which is one of my favorite DEVO songs. RIP Alan.
It is indeeed a sad time in the Metal Community today as it has been announced that Slayer founding member and Guitairst, Jeff Hanneman, passed away on May 2nd, 2013 at just 49 years of age. Cause of death is reported as liver failure, though Hanneman had suffered with the extremely rare but serious condition Necrotizing Fasciitis (popularly known as flesh eating bacteria) since contracting it possibly through a spider bite in 2011. What a horrible way to go. RIP, Jeff and just remember, God Listens to Slayer.