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The Who Cincinatti Concert Deaths. Dec 3rd 1979

The Who Cincinatti Concert Deaths. Dec 3rd 1979

The Who Cincinatti Concert Deaths

It is not widely known but, in some respects, rock concerts used to be very dangerous places to be as The Who Cincinatti concert deaths clearly show. Since the 1970s there are over 130 incidents of fans being killed, usually accidentally, at such events. In many cases these deaths could be attributed to failings of the venue management to control the crowd adequately and safely.

On the 3rd of December 1979, one of the worst such tragedies took place. The event was a concert by British supergroup, The Who, and the venue was the Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum, since renamed as the Firstar Center, in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. The event was a sell out and was at the peak of the band’s popularity. The size of the crowd has been estimated at around 18,000.

As is often the case at concerts, fans were admitted to the venue early and began to make their way to the front in order to get the best view possible. The seating arrangements were, in fact, a combination of standing and unreserved seats so it really was “first come first served”. When this is the case many fans arrive at venues hours before the start so as to get a good seat or standing position.

The Who Cincinatti concert deaths and numerous serious injuries occurred as a massive crowd tried to get through what was an inadequate number of doors. Those who were caught up in a surge of fans trying to gain entrance were crushed and, sadly, eleven of them did not survive. It is believed that the surge was caused when the band did a late sound check. Hearing this, the fans waiting outside mistakenly thought that the concert had begun and started to move forward so as not to miss any of the performance.

Who Cincinnati Concert Tragedy – 11 Deaths and many injured

A total of 11 fans were killed that night, 7 males and 4 females. All of those who perished were aged between 15 and 27.

Almost three dozen lawsuits were filed following the December 1979 tragedy. By 1984, all of them had been settled, according to the Enquirer. No criminal charges were ever filed regarding the 11 deaths.

As a result of this, the Cincinnati authorities banned the practice of “festival” seating, i.e. unreserved seating sold on a “first come first served” basis, for many years after the tragedy.

Safety standards at indoor concerts have improved considerably over the years following this tragedy but one only has to look at other tragedies such as the Hillsborough Football Stadium disaster which took place on 15th April 1989 at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, This event, however, was a football match and not a music concert. 96 fans were crushed to death and over 700 others were injured making it the UK’s worst stadium disaster.

The Cincinatti venue itself was no stranger to crowd control issues. A few years prior to the Who’s concert there was a similar occurance when 2,000 fans rushed the doors at an Elton John concert that took place on Aug. 3, 1976. There had also been crowd control-related incidents during previous dates featuring Yes and Led Zeppelin. The Cincinnati Enquirer in 1976 quoted local fire captain, James Gamm, who expressed concern about the festival seating policy, saying that he was afriad that bodies could “pile up in a major catastrophe.”

Find out more: How a Cincinnati Concert by the Who Became a Tragedy

The Who performed that night, unaware of the tragedy until after their set had finished but were said to have been devastated by the news.

Boston’s Brad Delp Suicide In 2007 Was “Death By Barbecue.”

Boston’s Brad Delp Suicide In 2007 Was “Death By Barbecue.”

Troubled Musician’s Suicide, Boston’s Brad Delp Dies From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In 2007 Aged 55.

Brad Delp was a founder member of the hugely successful American band Boston who released their eponymous first album, “Boston,” in 1976.
Even people who have never heard that album, and I guess there will be a few of those despite the fact that over 19 million copies of it were sold, will probably have heard the song that made Boston a household name not just in the USA but all over the world, “More Than A Feeling”.
Along with his bandmates, multi-instrumentalist, engineer and producer Tom Scholz who founded the band, guitarist Barry Goudreau and the band’s original drummer Jim Masdea, Brad recorded several songs that were initially rejected by the record companies to which they were submitted.
Eventually a deal was struck with Epic Records and Masdeau left, apparently at the insistence of Epic, to be replaced by Sib Hashian.
With the lineup now stabilised, at least for a while, the band finished work on what became the fastest selling debut album in USA history, “Boston”, which finally hit the shelves in August 1976. Three further platinum, (1 million plus sales) albums followed, the first being “Don’t Look Back” in 1978 and then after a long gap, “Third Stage” in 1986. Their fans had to wait another 8 years before “Walk On” which came out in 1994 and also, albeit only just, turned platinum.
Brad Delp’s characteristic vocal style and wide vocal range complemented Tom Scholz’s instrumental and writing styles perfectly and the results were, by any standard, truly impressive. The band continued to enjoy critical and commercial success for many years although not quite at the heady levels that they experienced with their phenomenal debut work. A version of Boston, with Tom Scholz now the only original member, persists to this day and is still touring.
Brad had signalled his desire to do other things during the gestation period for “Walk On and had indicated to Tom in 1990 that he might not be fully available anymore. He did contribute to “Walk On” however, (in fact he co-wrote that particular song after which the album was named) but was eventually replaced as vocalist by Fran Cosmo.
Since then, Brad did in fact work with Scholtz on a number of occasions and toured with Boston several times.
He also had a number of different project on the go including RTZ with Barry Goudreau and Beatlejuice, a tribute to the Beatles who Brad had always cited as one of his most significant influences.
On March 9th 2007 Brad Delp was found dead on the floor of his bathroom at his home in New Hampshire. He had died as a result of Carbon monoxide poisoning which had been caused by fumes from two lit barbecues that had been placed in the room and after which the room had been sealed to prevent the fumes from escaping.
Brad had left four suicide notes privately addressed to family members and had pinned a further note to his shirt for public consumption. The note read simply “Mr. Brad Delp. “J’ai une ame solitaire”. I am a lonely soul.”

Brad Delp Boston Founder Member – Well Liked Both On And Off The Stage.

You will find it extremely difficult to find anyone who spoke ill of Brad Delp. He was widely described as a nice thoughtful and generous person. The true reason for his suicide has never been established or, if it has, it has never been made public. It seems that he didn’t want those details to become public knowledge and we have to respect that and the wishes of his family and close friends.
He has left us a great deal of significance to remember him by, I never knew him personally of course but, like the millions of other Boston fans all over the world, my enduring memory of him will be those wonderful songs on which he performed and sang. The world would have been less wonderful without Boston and without Brad, Boston would never have been the same.

Bradley Edward Delp was born on June 12, 1951 and died on March 9, 2007.

Useful links:

Boston.com – in-depth article

Spider Not Guilty Of Slayer Guitarist Jeff Hanneman’s Death

Spider Not Guilty Of Slayer Guitarist Jeff Hanneman’s Death

Slayer Guitarist Died From Liver Failure, Not As A Result Of The Spider Bite Which Caused Necrotizing Fasciitis

The guitarist Jeff Hanneman was a founder member of thrash metal band Slayer. He formed the band in 1981 with fellow guitarist Kerry King. Regarded as being one of the leading acts in the Thrash genre which came to the fore in the 1980’s and continues to be popular today, Slayer often courted controversy with the choice of subject matter for their lyrics.

Despite all of that, Slayer were hugely successful both live and on record. Estimates vary as to their album sales but it is fairly certain that a figure somewhere in the region of 30 million worldwide would not be far from the mark.

Jeff Hanneman – A Technically Brilliant Guitarist Who Helped Slayer Become An International Success

Jeff Hanneman was undoubtedly a pivotal member of the band and contributed to their musical output both musically and lyrically. He was an accomplished guitarist and was capable of delivering the high speed technically polished picking that was essential to the fast-paced material produced by the band and others in the genre.

In 2011 Jeff was reported to have contracted the flesh-eating disease “necrotizing fasciitis” as a result of a spider bite. It was said that this incident took place in 2010 whilst he was in a friend’s hot tub. Following this, Jeff was forced to take time away from touring whilst the condition was being treated. He underwent a series of operations to remove dead tissue from his arm and was in a medically-induced coma for a few days.

There followed a period of convalescence during which the seriousness of the disease became more apparent with reports that Jeff almost had to learn to walk again.

When his untimely death was first announced in early May 2013 it was widely reported that he had died as a result of the spider bite induced necrotizing fasciitis but in fact this later proved not to be the case. The coroner’s report into Jeff’s death confirmed that it was in fact alcohol-related cirrhosis, (liver failure) that was the actual cause of death.

It appears that Jeff, along with his friends, family and bandmates had been largely unaware of this condition or at least of the advanced stage it was in.

Jeffrey John Hanneman, born January 31st 1964, died on May 2, 2013 aged 49, in his native California.

John Peel Signs Off in Peru – Thousands Lament the Death of a DJ

John Peel Signs Off in Peru – Thousands Lament the Death of a DJ

John Peel Signs Off in Peru – Thousands Lament the Death of a DJ

John Peel Record collection
Image by Jake – Thanks to flickr

John Peel was, without doubt, one of Britain’s most loved broadcasters at the time of his death.
John was working in, of all places, Peru when he had a heart attack in the historic Inca city of Cuzco.

The date was the 25th of October 2004.

So what was it about John that made his death such a historically sad event? – you don’t have to look far for the answer to that. His path to what we would now call “celebrity” status was fairly typical at the time – although I’m pretty sure that John would never have regarded himself as a celebrity as such.

John Peel – A Journey From Pirate Radio Ships To The BBC

John Peel was a famous and very talented man who helped hundreds of artists and bands to find acceptance and, yes, fame, as he carved out an enviable career – first with so-called “pirate” radio, (he worked for Radio London, albeit for a few short months), and later with the BBC.

What made John different is that he was willing to push the boundaries and give a “leg up” to bands that would otherwise simply fallen by the wayside. He is famous for many things but one of them is the fact that he played both sides of Mike Oldfield’s debut album, the ground-breaking “Tubular Bells” in full, on his BBC radio show.

Mike Oldfield himself acknowledges that this exposure played a major part in making the album the multi-million seller that it became. By a process of extrapolation you could therefore put forward an argument that John Peel gave a head start to Richard Branson and the Virgin empire – Richard himself acknowledges that Tubular Bells was the catalyst that helped launch Virgin Records into the big time.

John Peel was the man that brought us bands we would never otherwise have heard. Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, for example, owe their UK popularity, limited as it was, to John Peel being the only UK DJ, as far as I know, who ever played tracks from their albums on the BBC – most notably “Troutmast Replica” which was always going to be a hard sell in 1960’s Britain.

I always believed in what John was doing – providing a platform for upcoming artists to perform to a large audience. He made music from all types of artist accessible to all. I’m sure he had his favourites and that occasionally there were artists on his playlist that he might not have liked that much but that never seemed to affect his even-handedness. If you had talent and were passionate about what you did, he would give you a chance. That’s why I, and thousands of others, loved him.

So it came as a very pleasant surprise when, during a visit to a friend in Suffolk, she suggested that we visit the The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, which is located in the Suffolk town of Stowmarket, close to where John and his family lived.

Much more than just a dusty old memorial, this vibrant centre still does a large part of the work that John did when he was alive – it provides a platform for “lesser known” artists to perform and gain that vital experience of playing live in front of a real audience.

It was around midday in the middle of the week when we turned up and, although the place was technically closed we were invited in by one of the volunteers that runs the place and given the tour, made welcome and invited to look around and stay as long as we wanted.

Upstairs there is a bar with a full size photograph of Johns legendary record collection forming the front of the bar. It looked so realistic that I actually tried to look at one of the album sleeves by pulling it from the “rack”. Of course, I couldn’t – it was just an image.

Apparently the actual collection is still located at John’s former home, still in the process of being cataloged. As the collection is reputed to consist of more than 26,000 albums, that could take some time.

All in all I just wanted to say that my visit to the centre somehow rekindled my enthusiasm for what john did and achieved. The music business has changed so much that it would be difficult to replicate what John did all those years ago. The exposure given to an artist i still important but it has as much to do with their “presence” on social media and music websites as it does on the action of DJ’s.

John was a true man of the people and a man of his time and it is in that way that I shall remember him.

http://www.offshoreradio.co.uk/peel.htm

 

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