Category Archives: Music
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
Clarence Henry Reid aka Blow Fly (February 14, 1939 – January 17, 2016) Before he became Blow Fly he was simply Clarence Henry Reid born in Vienna Georgia on Valentines Day, 1939. During the 1960s and 1970s Reid wrote for and produced artists including Betty Wright, Sam & Dave, Bobby Byrd and KC and the Sunshine Band. During this period he was also a recording artist, cutting many of his own songs, including semi-hit “Nobody But You Babe”.
Reid would write sexually explicit lyrics to popular songs for his friends and to perform at parties (much like a dirty Weird Al). In 1971 he was persuaded – for better or worse – to record an LP of these beauties. Titled “The Weird World of Blow Fly”. He conceived a character of a low rent superhero to protect his identity and lucrative song writing career.
Having heard a couple of Blow Fly LPs let me tell you they are shit. Such titles as “If Eating You Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right”, “The First Time Ever You Sucked My Dick”, and “Ain’t No Head Like My Woman’s Head” tells you right away what your in for.
Reid would tour as Blow Fly sporadically for years. A 2010 documentary by Jonathan Furmanski would increase his popularity a bit but by that time he was in his 70’s and in poor health. Clarence Henry Reid passed away on Jan 17 from liver cancer.
Korla Pandit – born 1921, was BIG in the 50’s. he recorded over 2 dozen LP (all on the Hammond or Pipe organ), had his own TV show – Korla Pandit’s Adventures In Music, appeared on various TV shows, films, radio and concerts. He was the king of the new medium called TV and pioneered the style of music that would become known as Exotica. In his later years as Exotica became popular again Korla would tour small theaters and concert halls with an occasional Pizza and Pipes gig for good measure. In 1994 director Tim Burton dug Korla out of retirement to play himself in his biopic of sensationally shitty director, Ed Wood in the film of the same name. Korla would pass away from a heart attack 4 years later at the age of 77.
But, who was the mysteriously mystic Korla Pandit? An ancient Indian musician (he claimed on occasion to be 2000 years old)? A gifted keyboard player w/ an exotic name and appearance? Well, it turns out that Korla Pandit was actually born John Roland Redd in an African-American family from St Louis Missouri. In the 1940’s he played for a few years under the name Juan Rolando to some success. In 1944, he reinvented his image, eventually replacing “Juan Rolando” with “Korla Pandit” and fabricating a romantic history for him as a baby born in New Delhi, India to a Brahmin priest and a French opera singer. A good story goes a long way.
If I hear Madonna’s version of Santa Baby one more time I’ll lose my mind (Eartha Kitt’s is the one). What the records below sound like I have no clue – but you can bet Afroman’s A Colt 45 Christmas goes pretty hard and the John Travolta, Olivia Newton John LP … well who can say? His hair alone is worth the price of this one. As for Swedish pop star Gunther, wikipedia claims; “Günther announced on his website that he is currently working on a new album with the working title Dirty Man Swedish Sex Beast. In 2011, the first single, “Pussycat”, became available on Günther’s web site.”