Merle Ronald Haggard (April 6, 1937 – April 6, 2016) He looked a bit like Burt Reynolds in his youth and a lot like Charles Bukowski in his old age. He did everything a country star of the 60’s was meant to do. He drank, he smoked and fought. He spent some time in San Quentin where he got in trouble for running a liquor and gambling operation. Had 6 or 7 kids and 5 wives. Along with Buck Owens (he married his former wife), Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield Sound (characterized by the twangy Fender Telecaster and a rough edge not heard on the more polished Nashville recordings of the same era).
In 2006, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Haggard was also honored as a BMI Icon at the 54th annual BMI Pop Awards in 2006. During his songwriting career up to that time, Haggard had earned 48 BMI Country Awards, nine BMI Pop Awards, a BMI R&B Award, and 16 BMI “Million-Air” awards, all from a catalog of songs that added up to over 25 million performances.
Nicholas Drain “Nick” Lowe (born 24 March 1949) Nick Lowe was a tad older than the rest of the guys in the class of ’77. He’d already gained some fame w/ British pub rockers Brinsley Schwartz and by 1976 was the in-house producer for new punk label STIFF – whose motto was “If it ain’t Stiff it ain’t worth a fuck”. Nick would release the first Stiff single “So it Goes” b/w “Heart of the City”. Lowe would go on to produce his friends Elvis Costello and Graham Parker and the Rumor, among others and have hits of his own, scoring a Top 40 Hit w/ “Cruel to be Kind” in the US and a Top 10 UK hit w/ “I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass”. He also wrote the single “What’s so Funny ’bout Peace Love and Understanding” for his friend Elvis Costello. *Side Note: In 1979 he became Johnny Cash’s son-in-law by marring his step-daughter, Carlene Carter. The marriage would ended in 1990 but they all stayed on good terms. Johnny would even go on to record a few of Nick’s songs on his American Music series LP’s. Nick continues to tour and record regularly, most recently with Los StraitJackets.
A somewhat depressing post, granted. Looking up the work of King Curtis I found out that he had been murdered while trying to bust up a drug deal on his apartment steps. It made me wonder who else (beside the big 3 of Lennon, Shakur and BIGGY) had been killed. Turns out there are a few, gratefully not as many as I initially thought, but a bunch). Seems that the majority are black men that have been killed with guns. I guess times haven’t changed much.
Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr.; April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984) Shot to death in his home by his father Marvin Gay Sr.
Peter Tosh, (born Winston Hubert McIntosh; 19 October 1944 – 11 September 1987) Original member of The Wailers (along w/ Bob Marley). Had huge crossover hit w/ “Walk and Don’t Look Back” w/ Mick Jagger. Shot to death in a home invasion in Jamaica
Jimmy Hughes Bell aka Orion (February 26, 1945 – December 12, 1998) American singer whose voice was almost indistinguishable from Elvis Presley’s, a fact which he and his record company played upon, making some believe that some of his recordings were by Elvis, or even that Elvis had not died in 1977. Shot to death in his Alabama pawn shop.
Hasil Adkins (April 29, 1937 – April 26, 2005) One man band, favorite of The Cramps and all Psychobilly punks everywhere. Developed a cult following and would tour bars for years on the back of the slimmest bit of fame. Norton Records released a bunch of Hasil (pronounced Hassel) Adkins LPs and championed him. On April 15, 2005, Adkins was deliberately run over in his front yard by a teenager on an ATV. Ten days later, on April 26, Adkins was found dead in his home.
Selena Quinatilla-Perez (April 16, 1971 – March 31, 1995) American born Tejano singer. Selena was shot in the back by her fan club president after accusations of embezzlement.
Curtis Ousley – aka King Curtis (February 7, 1934 – August 13, 1971) Jazz and Soul saxophone virtuoso who would go on to play w/ Aretha Franklin, The Coasters and in the band The Kingpins that opened for The Beatles at Shea Stadium. Curtis was was stabbed in the heart during an argument with a pair of drug dealers he discovered on the steps outside his NY apartment.
Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians. Legend has it that he sold his soul to the devil to gain his skills and fame. According to one theory, Johnson was murdered by the jealous husband of a woman. In an account by fellow blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson , Johnson had been flirting with a married woman at a dance, where she gave him a bottle of whiskey poisoned by her husband.
? – Robert Gaston “Bobby” Fuller (October 22, 1942 – July 18, 1966) Texas rock and roller best known his cover of “I Fought the Law”, recorded with his mid-1960s group, The Bobby Fuller Four. Within months of “I Fought the Law” becoming a top 10 hit, Fuller was found dead in an automobile with a can of gasoline in the front seat of asphyxiation. Originally listed as a suicide. Apparently Bobby showed some facial bruising and a broken hand. Though still officially a suicide it’s speculated that the woman Bobby was involved w/ was a Mafia girlfriend and was murdered by an angry mobster. And jesus, “A can of gasoline”?
Darrell “Dimebag” Lance Abbott (August 20, 1966 – December 8, 2004) Guitarist w/ Pantera and Damageplan. Abbott was shot and killed by a gunman while on stage during a performance at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio.
Samuel “Sam” Cook (January 22, 1931 – December 11, 1964), Influential as both a singer and composer, he is commonly known as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocals and importance within popular music. On December 11, 1964, at the age of 33, Cooke was shot and killed by Bertha Franklin, the manager of the Hacienda Motel in LA.
Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996) Fatally Shot in a drive-by in Las Vegas.
Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997) The Notorious B.I.G. Victim of a drive-by in LA.
John Winston Ono Lennon, (born John Winston Lennon; 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) Shot by Mark David Chapman outside The Dakota in NYC.
? – Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones (28 February 1942 – 3 July 1969) Rolling Stones guitarist found drowned in his own swimming pool (formally the estate of Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne). Originally thought to be “Death by Misadventure”. In 1993 it was reported that Jones was murdered by Frank Thorogood, who was doing some construction work on the property. He was the last person to see Jones alive. Thorogood allegedly confessed the murder to the Rolling Stones’ driver, Tom Keylock.
? – Johnny Thunders (July 15, 1952 – April 23, 1991), born John Anthony Genzale, Jr. Lead guitarist of The New York Dolls and later The Heartbreakers. Johnny was such a hardcore heroin junkie that it was just a matter of time before he showed up OD’d in some NY alley. Instead it was a tatty hotel room in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Thinking it was a typical OD the police failed to notice that Johnny’s room had been ransacked, all his stuff stolen and Johnny cold and twisted like a pretzel dead under a table. Officials reopened the case but it still stands as Death by Overdose (though apparently there wasn’t enough heroin in his body to kill him)
Mia Katherine Zapata (August 25, 1965 – July 7, 1993) Singer for up and coming Seattle band, The Gits. beaten and strangled on her way home. The murder wasn’t solved until 2003 when Jesus Mezquia was convicted and sentenced to 36 years.
Jason William Mizell – Jam Master Jay – (January 21, 1965 – October 30, 2002) DJ for Run DMC. Shot and killed in his studio in Queens NY. Still remains unsolved.
Osbourne Ruddock, – King Tubby (28 January 1941 – 6 February 1989) King of the Jamaican Dub movement. King Tubby was shot and killed outside his home in Duhaney Park, Kingston, upon returning from a session at his Waterhouse studio
Pictured here are various Motorcycle Club jackets and patches. Everything on each jacket represents something to it’s owner and club; his standing, club politics, philosophy, chapter, etc. I have no idea if these MC’s still exist or anything about their history. All I know for sure is you better not wear one of these patches if you’re not part of the club (We learned this from 6 seasons of Sons of Anarchy). Apologies to all the MC’s unrepresented here.
Sly Stone (born Sylvester Stewart, March 15, 1943) He was young, handsome, and hugely talented, had a killer afro and a huge drug problem, but Jesus Christ, what the hell happened to Sly. It’s hard to imagine just how popular and influential Sly and the Family Stone were in the late sixties. It’s also hard to imagine how groundbreaking it was to be a multiracial funk band at that time. Sly along with Parliment-Funkadelic led the charge in late sixties early seventies funk explosion. S & the FS hits would include Dance to the Music, Stand, Hot Fun in the Summertime and Everyday People (to name only a few). more below
Then came the drugs (cocaine & PCP) and the concert no-shows. Live bookings had steadily dropped since 1970, because promoters were afraid that Stone or one of the band members might miss the gig, refuse to play, or pass out on stage from drug use. At many of these gigs, concert goers rioted if the band failed to show up, or if Stone walked out before finishing his set.
The 80’s saw Sly release 4 LPs under his name and the Family Stone moniker but w/ no original members and to limited success. A collaboration w/ George Clinton of Parliment failed to bring any hits. And then he vanished – sort of. It wasn’t until the Grammy appearance in 2006 that anyone really saw what became of Sly Stone. Sporting an enormous blonde mohawk, thick sunglasses, a “Sly” beltbuckle and a silver lamé suit, he joined in on “I Want To Take You Higher.” Hunched over the keyboards, he wore a cast on his right hand (the result of a recent motorcycle mishap), and a hunched back caused him to look down through most of the performance. His voice, though strong, was barely audible over the production. Stone walked to the front of the stage toward the end of the performance, sang a verse and then with a wave to the audience, sauntered offstage before the song was over. And that’s pretty much, that. Sly has sense sued is former manager receiving $5 million but continues to live out of his van in the Crenshaw neighborhood of LA. He appears occasionally but can’t really seem to make it through more than a song or two.