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End of the Road for Randy Rhoads

End of the Road for Randy Rhoads

Aged just 25, Randy Rhoads, guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, died in an aircraft accident in 1982.

The teaming up of Ozzy with Randy Rhoads was a marriage made in heaven. Rhoads’ virtuosity as a guitarist was the perfect compliment to Osbourne’s extraordinary voice and songwriting talents. The first album they made together – Blizzard of Oz – is without doubt a heavy metal masterpiece.

The accident happened in 1982 when the aircraft Rhoads was a passenger in crashed. It was not a scheduled or even a chartered flight – it was instead a spur of the moment “for fun” flight with the aircraft piloted by someone who’s licence had long since expired.

To say it affected Ozzy badly would be a severe understatement. He was devastated.

 

 

Marc Bolan Death Aged 29

Marc Bolan Death Aged 29

Tragic Marc Bolan Death Crash

Marc Bolan, born in September 1947, was killed in a car crash in London on 16th September 1977 just a few days before his 30th birthday.

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Glam rock icon, guitarist and poet Marc Bolan died on 27th September 1977. He had been a passenger in a car driven by his girlfriend Gloria Jones, (Marc couldn’t drive, despite owning several cars), when it hit a tree. At least, that’s what most people were led to believe but the tree that was supposed to have caused the Marc Bolan death tragedy was not in fact to blame.

However, following the release in 2012 of Lesley Anne Jone’s Biography of Marc Bolan, entitled “Ride a White Swan: The Lives and Death of Marc Bolan” we learn that, whilst Marc certainly died that night, in his Mini as reported, the tragedy that is Mark Bolan death was not directly as a result of hitting a tree.

For all those years, since the accident occurred in 1977 up until the publication of Jones’ book in 2012, it was widely believed that Marc Bolan was killed when his car hit a sycamore tree. It is now revealed however that Marc was actually killed when his Mini collided with a steel-reinforced fence post. Whereas before we had all believed he had been crushed to death in the mini, the book reveals that, in fact, he had suffered a terrible head injury caused by one of the bolts used on the fence.<br />

All of this detail becomes even more poignant after the somewhat belated interviews given by an eye-witness to the crash, a singer called Vicky Aram. Vicky had, apparently, been invited to accompany Marc and his entourage back from a party they had all been attending, in order to discuss various musical projects. As she had her own car, she followed them, thereby avoiding a direct involvement and possibly much worse, in the fatal crash.

Aram was at the scene seconds after the impact and is reported to have seen everything that happened. As a result, we now know the full story.

The crash was, of course, a tragic accident, made even more tragic by the fact that Marc Bolan was, at the time of his death, only 29 and at the peak of his career. Admired by many, idolised by many more, Bolan had, I’m sure, much more to offer.

By the time of his death he had already transformed his persona from that of a poet for whom music was played mainly as an accompaniment to the words, to a full-blown rock star with a catalogue of successful hits and a glam-rock image that many others emulated.

As we now approach the start of the fortieth year since his death, the memory of Marc Bolan as a talented icon who no doubt still had much to offer, I’d like to raise a glass to Fee Warner, the founder of the T Rex Action Group, who purchased the land on which the “fatal” sycamore tree stands in order to prevent it from being felled and still, with help form other volunteers, preserve it to this day.

Marc Bolan Death Site Memorial Bust

Marc Bolan death memorial

Marc Bolan & T Rex information: http://www.marc-bolan.net/

Jimmy McCulloch – Died Age 26 in 1979.

Jimmy McCulloch – Died Age 26 in 1979.

Founder Member of Thunderclap Newman; Scottish Musician Jimmy McCulloch Died Aged 26 in London

Jimmy McCulloch was a prolific and hugely talented musician who, in his short lifetime, managed to play alongside such industry giants as Pete Townsend, Paul McCartney, John Mayall Peter Frampton and he appeared in several bands including Thunderclap Newman, Wings, Small Faces and Stone the Crows.

Jimmy McCulloch died from a drugs overdose on 27th September 1979, in London. He was aged 26

Something of a child prodigy, McCulloch was playing live in front of audiences before he turned a teenager. His first band as “One In A Million” who are noted for having released one of the most collectible singles ever, entitled “Double Sight” / “Fredereek Hernando” – a psychedelic masterpiece 45rpm single that now fetches high prices when examples come up for sale.

If every famous artist has a “big break” however, McCulloch’s was when he was recruited by Pete Townsend to be a part of his project to build a band around his former chauffeur John “speedy” Keen and piano player Andy Newman after whom the resultant band, Thunderclap Newman, was named.

 

 

Dimebag Darrell Shot dead On Stage 2004

Dimebag Darrell Shot dead On Stage 2004

Darrell Lance Abbott was a guitarist with Pantera, a groove metal band he formed in 1981 with his brother Vinnie Paul. In addition to his work with Pantera, Abbott also played with his brother in another band, Damageplan and it was during a Damageplan concert that he met his death at the hands of gunman Nathan Gale.
The gig was underway at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus Ohio when Gale fired shots from his Beretta handgun killing Dimebag and three others. Gale was subsequently shot and killed by a police officer attending the scene.
There is confusion as to Gale’s motive for the murder of Dimebag with one theory being that he believed Dimebag to have stolen some of his songs. This theory has largely been discredited however and it seems that Gale was a paranoid schizophrenic who believed that the band could read his mind and steal his thoughts.

Jack Bruce

Jack Bruce

Jack Bruce – Much More Than Just A Bass Player.

On paper, the combination of Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in a trio which also featured the prodigiously talented Eric Clapton, was never going to work – but it did, big style!

Cream became the biggest selling band in the world for a short time, featuring the virtuosity of all three members but Jack Bruce not only provided one half of the rhythm section that helped to define what was to become heavy rock but he also had a surprisingly good voice and, to many people’s surprise, wrote many of the bands songs – often in conjunction with Cream’s unofficial “fourth member” Pete Brown.

Jack Bruce – official website: http://www.jackbruce.com/

 

 

Keith Moon

Keith Moon

Born and raised in post war London, Keith Moon came from humble beginnings and carved out a career that defined the way in which rock stars were expected to live – even if most of them actually didn’t.

Keith Moon, The Who’s celebrated drummer, was born in Wembley on 23 August 1946, and is widely acclaimed as the greatest drummer in the history of rock. Brashly confident, he played quite differently to his peers, turning his massive kit into a lead instrument, and his up-front technique was crucial in establishing The Who’s passionate style. His playing ushered in an era wherein the drums became far more than simply a means of keeping the beat, and much of his recorded legacy from 1965-73 has a timeless quality that has never been repeated, let alone bettered. In this respect Keith Moon was to the drums what Jimi Hendrix was to the guitar – a complete original – and as such he was probably the most influential drummer the rock world has ever seen.

There was nothing in Keith’s humble background to suggest the extraordinary turn of events his life would take. He became a surf music fan as a schoolboy, took early lessons on drums as a teenager and played with three local bands in his native Wembley in north west London, the Escorts, Mark Twain & The Strangers, and The Beachcombers, before joining The Who in the spring of 1964 after an impromptu audition at the Oldfield pub in Greenford. Shortly after Keith’s recruitment, the Who became managed by Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp whose energy and ambition focused the group and set them on the road to stardom.

Moon announced his arrival in spectacular fashion on The Who’s first real single ‘I Can’t Explain’ (1965) on which his rifle-shot snare pre-empted Roger Daltrey’s leap into the chorus. Mostly, though, his foil was Pete Townshend with whom he developed an uncanny musical relationship, the product of which became one of the Who’s great trademarks: the chiming, bell-like, open-stringed power chord, cross cut against pounding drums and bass and allowed to feedback on itself and drone into a wall of electronic discord.

Moon’s drumming is outstanding throughout the group’s début album My Generation and on several Sixties singles, most notably ‘Happy Jack’ (1966) and ‘I Can See For Miles’ (1967), but it is on the double album Tommy (1969) that his talents are best utilised. On Townshend’s celebrated rock opera he becomes an orchestra within himself, driving the band along with an intelligence and sureness of touch that defies analysis. On Who’s Next (1971) Moon is reined in somewhat but his playing on the bridge on ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ and throughout both ‘Bargain’ and ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ ranks with anything he ever did.

The Who’s greatest strength, though, was in concert and by the end of the Sixties they were justifiably billing themselves as ‘‘the most exciting rock band in the world’’. To this Moon contributed an almost superhuman energy, his hands and feet battering his kit into submission night after night, the relentless power of The Who in full flight spiralling out from his arms and legs.

Moon’s kit was the biggest in rock, at one stage boasting at least 10 tom-toms, twin bass drums, twin timpani, snare, half-a-dozen cymbals and a gong. With this vast array of percussion at his command, he adopted a peculiar style wherein he pointed his sticks downwards and, as John Enwtistle once remarked: “He didn’t play from left to right or right to left, he’d play forwards. I’ve never seen anyone play like that before or since.” Keith was also a virtuoso showman, twiddling his drumsticks between his fingers and flamboyantly tossing them into the air and, occasionally, catching them when they fell. He developed an on-stage image as a wise-cracker and often ad-libbed comical asides between numbers, and like Pete he took an almost manic delight in wrecking his equipment at the close of a concert, especially in the group’s early days.

At the same time Keith was rock’s wildest character in the Sixties and Seventies, an unapologetic freewheeling hedonist whose lifestyle became synonymous with the mad, carefree image of the rock star at large. He courted the press and became notorious as ‘Moon The Loon’, the incorrigible clown who respected no authority whatsoever and never knew the meaning of the word embarrassment. As The Who became massively popular worldwide, so Keith Moon became a celebrity, not just as a drummer, but as the mad jester to rock’s high court whose exploits included cross-dressing, elaborate practical jokes and a much-publicised episode when he and his great friend Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Band visited a London beerkeller dressed in Nazi SS uniforms. Keith’s Chertsey home, Tara House, became the venue for many memorable parties, not least the 1971 launch of Who’s Next.

When The Who slowed down and Pete Townshend sought creative outlets elsewhere Keith moved to California and took cameo roles in several movies, most notably in That’ll Be The Day (1973) and its sequel Stardust (1974), as the drummer in a fictitious rock band led by David Essex. He also completed a solo album, Two Sides Of The Moon (1975) before moving back to the UK in 1977 to play on Who Are You, his last recorded work with The Who.

Keith died in London on 7 September 1978, from an accidental overdose of the prescription drug Heminevrin, prescribed to combat alcoholism.

In 2016 Keith’s life was celebrated in the book There Is No Substitute, A Tribute To Keith Moon, in which fellow drummers, musical allies, friends and fans assessed Keith’s impact on rock and its lasting legacy. The book, with an introduction by Pete Townshend, was authorised by his Estate.