OCT 28, 2013 - The musical world is in shock and in mourning, as we woke up to the sad news that one of music's biggest pioneers, Lou Reed, has died. He stayed strong till the last moments, even doing Tai Chi about an hour before he passed. I blogged about him last May when Lou underwent a liver transplant, and he was working hard on his rehab program saying on his website he is "bigger and stronger" than ever. Unfortunately though, he passed away at his home in Southampton, New York over the weekend, and numerous tributes to Lou Reed via Twitter poured out from musicians. Lou had a huge impact on the musical scene and the world.
My first contact with a Lou Reed was indirect. It was 1973, and I was about 10, and the rock band Brownsville Station had a song on their "Yeah" album I thought was one of the coolest rock guitar rhythms ever; that song was Sweet Jane. (Here is the Brownsville Station version I grew up on) Later when I was in my teens, my sister put on a Velvet Underground album that had the man who wrote that song in it, and I was floored. Pure musical genius, very original and creative; the music I heard coming out from those speakers inspired me and many other musicians to pick up the guitar and start a rock band. There is the famous quote from Brian Eno of where he comments on the first Velvet Underground only selling 30,000 copies to which Eno replied, "I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band". Count me in that crowd.
Probably the most hard hit musician was his band mate in Velvet Underground, John Cale. In a statement on his Facebook page Cale says, "The news I feared most, pales in comparison to the lump in my throat and the hollow in my stomach. Two kids have a chance meeting and 47 years later we fight and love the same way - losing either one is incomprehensible. No replacement value, no digital or virtual fill...broken now, for all time. Unlike so many with similar stories - we have the best of our fury laid out on vinyl, for the world to catch a glimpse. The laughs we shared just a few weeks ago, will forever remind me of all that was good between us." Watch a video below of Lou with Velvet Underground live playing one of the badass rock rhythm guitar riffs ever, Sweet Jane, and read more about the creative musical genius that had a huge impact on the rock scene on his Wikipedia page here and I recommend this NY Times article about Lou's career and passing here. JTMP joins in the mourning of Reed's passing, and also join the celebration of the musical genius he brought to the world. We will miss you Lou! (Photo credit: Marcelo Costa/CC)
MAY 20, 2013 - Two musicians lost their battle with cancer yesterday. One was the keyboardist Ray Manzerek from the iconic band The Doors, who lost his battle with a long fight with bile duct cancer. Manzerek was part of the 60s music social revolution, but spent his last years as a simple farmer with his family. The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger said in a statement, "I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today. I'm just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him." The family asks that in lieu of flowers that people help out the great cancer-fighting organization, "Stand Up To Cancer". (photo credit: KingTrivia/CC)
Also, on a very sad note, Zach Sobeich, a Minnesota musician who battled osteosarcama and whose video and song "Clouds" went viral, lost his battle with cancer and also passed at home surrounded by family and his girlfriend. His song "Clouds" was all about facing his mortality, and he had said, "I want everyone to know you don't have to find out you're dying to start living." His family said in a statement, “It is with heavy heart that we announce the passing of our son Zachary David Sobiech. Our family has been blessed not only by his amazing presence in our lives, but also by the love and support of our family and friends and by so many people in the community. In particular we'd like to thank those people who listened with their hearts and helped Zach bring his message and his music to the world.” Zach had worked closely with Children's Cancer Research Fund, and a group of celebrities had lip-synced his song in an effort to help raise funds for his struggle earlier this month. Zach's video of his song "Clouds" has received over 3 million views, and you can watch it below. JTMP calls for more funding for cancer research, and Medicare For All, so people don't have to fight bill collectors and health insurance companies while they fight cancer.
MAY 21, 2012 - One of the world's best known and in my opinion one of the best singers and songwriters in the world, Robin Gibb, passed away yesterday at the age of 62 from cancer. He was of course known as the 3rd voice in the Bee Gees, a musical group that spanned decades and had hits on the charts not heard of since The Beatles. (photo credit: RobinReigns/Wiki)
Robin was born on the Isle of Man, then moved with his family to Manchester, England, then settled in Brisbane, Australia. He was a rival to his brother Barry, as both of them wanted to sing lead vocals in the band, and at one time he left the group, but later returned. They went on to record 21 studio albums, and had 60 songs on the charts, with 9 of them reaching number 1.
He and his brothers went on to pen such classics as, "Massachusetts", "I Just Got get a Message to You", and "To Love Somebody". They also wrote many songs for other artists such as Dionne Warwick, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, and more. They were known as the chameleon band, and would change with each decade to try and stay relevant, and played a huge role in the 1970s when disco came out when they recorded the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, and later paid a price for it; they were unfairly labeled as giving birth to the disco sound. "The movie that should be burned", the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band movie with Frampton, didn't help. But they did continue to tour for years and were successful, until brother Maurice died in 2003.
Robin is survived by his wife Dwina, and his children Melissa, Spencer and R.J., his brother Barry, his sister Lesley and his mother, Barbara. Watch the Brothers Gibb harmonizing like only brothers can do below, with Robin taking the lead on "Massachusetts".
MAY 4, 2012 - Adam Yauch, from Beastie Boys fame, has lost his battle with cancer and has passed away at the young age of 47. Adam was born in Brooklyn, New York and taught himself to play bass guitar, and formed the Beastie Boys at age 17. He used his music for activism, supporting the Free Tibet movement and was a practicing Buddhist. He and his band the Beastie Boys, along with the Milarepa Fund, formed the Tibetan Freedom Concerts that ran from 1996 to 2001. He is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter, Tenzin. Watch Adam and the Beastie Boys perform at one of the Tibetan Freedom concerts below. (photo credit: Beastie Boys/MCA on Wiki)