Otis Redding defined “SOUL” , with the MG’s (Memphis group) he recorded some of the best 60’s soul music ever. He also was a solid performer. He appeared at 1967’s “summer of love” Monterey Pop Festival and won over a predominantly white audience with his blazing performance. Shortly thereafter he was killed in a plane crash on December 10th, 1967 at the age of 26. His biggest single ever , “Sittin on the Dock of the Bay” was released after his death.
Noel Redding was born December 25th , 1945 in the English Channel port city of Folkstone. An acommplished guitarist/bass player he was recruited along with Mitch Mitchell on drums by Chas Chandler , formerly of “The Animals” to back Jimi Hendrix in 1966 when Jimi hit England. Hendrix was impressed with his ability to play chords on the bass guitar. Together as “The Jimi Hendrix Experience” they took England by storm. The Experiences’ debut at the Monteray Pop Festival in 1967 is one of the most historic performances in rock, climaxed by Hendrix setting his guitar on fire. Sporting granny glasses and a bigger ‘fro then Jimi they recorded three groundbreaking classic albums together: “Are You Experienced”, “Axis: Bold as Love” and “Electric Ladyland”. Tensions within the band began to mount and after playing a concert in Denver in mid 1969 Noel quit the band, citing a limited role within the group and dissapointment over Hendrix’s antics. Jimi recruited army-buddy Billy Cox to fill the void but Jimi seemed to flounder and his music afterwards lacked the bite of his first three efforts. Noel formed “Fat Mattress” and recorded two lackluster albums. He then retreated to Ireland and settled in “Clonakilty”. He remained active in the local music scene but would never taste success again. On May 12th, 2003 , he was found dead in his home at the age of 57.
Joey Ramone was a “punk rock” pioneer and the substance of which the phrase was coined. Born Jeff Hyman in Queens New York he took up the drums at an early age. By 1973 he was playing drums in a band called “Sniper”. It wasn’t too long after that when he and neighborhood chums formed “The Ramones” , taken after Paul McCartney’s early stage name of “Ramon”. The boys, fed up with 70’s rock decided to create there own distinctive style of music that would later come to be known as “punk rock”. The “Ramones” sound punctuated by wailing three chord guitar thrash, driving bass lines and Joey’s vocals struck a chord with the burgeoning youth underground of the New York area. When management came along they quickly moved Joey out front to lead vocals and replaced him on drums with Thomas Erdelyi who became “Tommy Ramone”. With their black leather jackets, white t-shirts, shades, faded-out jeans and Joey’s bean-pole frame barking out the vocals hunched over a microphone the “Ramones” were a force to be reckoned with. They took up residence and the famed CBGB’s and by 1975 were whipping the crowds into a frenzy. Hated by radio with little or no airplay the Ramones never “cashed-in” on their punk rock fame. 1977’s “Rocket to Russia” and the single “I want to be sedated” was the highlight of their recording career. They appeared in the movie “Rock-n-roll high school” and released a song of the same name. By 1980 “new wave” had taken over as the new sound and the punk scene dried-up, but the “Ramones” never sold-out and tried to forge ahead. Internal tensions between group members finally killed the band.Joey was a frequent guest on the “king of all media” Howard Stern’s show were band members during heated arguments would take shots at each other, claiming Joey had two sets of teeth and was one half of a siamese twin. But Joey was the creative force of the “Ramones” and his simplistic lyrical genius left an indelible stamp on rock and roll history. Diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 1993, Joey finally succumbed to his illness and passed away on Easter Sunday, 2001 at the age of 49
Carl Radle was a distinguished bass player who hailed from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and worked with some of rock’s finest. In 1969 as a member of “Delaney & Bonnie” he was introduced to Eric Clapton who played lead for them on the “Delaney and Bonnie On Tour” album. After the tour, Radle and the rest of the “Delaney and Bonnie” band hooked-up with Leon Russell who recruited them for Joe Cocker’s “Mad Dogs and Englishman” tour. The resulting double album live-set and accompanying motion picture is a rock classic and perhaps the pinnacle of Joe Cocker’s career (Which reportedly left Cocker broke and in ill-health). After the MD&E tour most of the entourage backed Clapton on his solo album, which featured the Clapton classics’ “After Midnight” and “Let It Rain”. After Clapton’s solo effort he plucked Radle, Jim Gordon and Bobby Whitlock out of the ensemble and formed “Derek and the Dominoes”. Released in November of 1970 “Layla and other Assorted Love Songs” eventually became hailed as a rock classic. The “Layla” recording sessions are rock legend. Duane Allman was invited to sit in and the sessions escalated into three-day long marathon jam sessions fueled by “huge bags of dope”. Tom Dowd, the producer of all this could barely keep up. Forced into a break by the call of nature, he was on the toilet when Clapton and Allman broke into “Key To the Highway” and Tom had to scream on the top of his lungs to get the tape machine started (which accounts for the fade-in beginning). Somewhere amidst all of this, Carl and the rest of the gang backed George Harrison on the Phil Spector produced classic “All Things Must Pass”, Dave Mason’s “Alone Together” and “Leon Russell and the Shelter People”. In 1971 Carl played bass for George Harrison’s “The Concert for Bangladesh”, a Tour-de-force of rock legends including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton,Leon Russell,Ringo Starr,Billy Preston and a host of others. After Clapton’s “Rainbow” comeback concert in 1973, he recruited Radle again for the “461 Ocean Boulevard” sessions. Carl would remain with Clapton for the next six years. After 1979’s “Backless” tour Clapton fired the whole band. Carl would never be the same. He literally drank and drugged himself to death. On May 30th of 1980 he passed away from kidney failure in Tulsa Oklahoma at the age of 38
Jeff Porcaro was a popular session drummer and member of the group “Toto” whose hits included “Hold The Line”,”Rosanna” and “Africa”. His death is among the most freaky in the graveyard. He died at the age of 38 on August 5th, 1992 while mowing the lawn. Procaro died from acute cocaine toxicity,
“Elvis Aaron Presley” was born January 8th,1935 in Tupelo Mississippi. He had a twin brother named “Jessie” who was still-born at birth. The “King” would sometimes talk to him in pensive moments. The “King” made rock-n-roll a household word. The “King” was discovered by Sam Phillips of “Sun Recording Studios” in Memphis. While songs like “That’s All right Mama” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky” from the “Sun Sessions” put him on the map it was his onstage persona coupled with his wild gyrations that made fans swoon at his feet. The “Kings” music was a hybrid of black blues and country music that would later be coined as “rockabilly”. The “King” was managed by Colonel “Tom Parker”, a former circus sideshow barker with an eye for a quick buck. Legend has it that he told the “King”…”Son , right now you got a million dollars worth of talent, sign with me and you’ll have a million dollars”. “The Colonel” managed the “King” till the day he died , finely crafting his career which aside from overseeing record contracts included movies, merchandising and concert appearances. In 1956 Sam Phillips sold Elvis’s contract to RCA for $50,000. The hits kept coming but lacked the rawness and energy of the earlier Sun Sessions. Within a year Elvis was rock’s first Superstar Mega-teen Idol. In 1958 Elvis was drafted into the Army and served two years. When he got out he immersed himself into B-movie roles and the accompanying music was generally poor but he still was a top draw. As the sixties waned on America turned to the Beatles and the Stones, and “The King”‘s movies saw increasingly smaller audiences. “The King” went back to his roots and concentrated on the music. In December of 1968 The “Elvis Christmas Special” aired which revitalized his career. He followed this with the release of “In The Ghetto” which reached #3 in 1969, “Suspicious Minds” #1, 1970 (His last number 1) and “Burning Love” in 1972. He took over Las Vegas and filmed two documentaries “Elvis On Tour” and “Elvis: Now”. The “King” kept up a frantic touring schedule and gave everything he had to his fans,and eventually his life. On the morning of August 16th 1977, the “King” was found dead on the bathroom floor at “Graceland” by his girlfriend “Ginger Alden”. After years of alleged prescription drug abuse the King was gone at the age of 42. His doctor was subsequently tried for manslaughter but was later acquitted. There are those today who believe the “King” is alive and well and living at Graceland.
Cozy Powell was a British rock drummer who made the rounds and played in a number of successful bands including Rainbow and Whitesnake. His motto was to live life to it’s fullest, and live life he did until he had a head-on collision with the “Grim Reaper Of Rock” who sent him to his grave on April 5th, 1998 at the age of 50.
Papa” John Phillips
Known for his trademark Russian Kossack fur hat, John Phillips was a talented musician and songwriter and played an important role in the development and maturation of Rock-n-Roll. He started out as a folk guitar player/singer for the Journeyman. When the folk scene dried-up after Dylan went electric he went shopping for a new act. With Michelle Phillips (his wife) , Denny Doherty & Cass Elliot they formed the “Mama’s and the Papa’s”. The group spent most of 1965 honing their act and consuming a gallon bottle of LSD-25 on the island of St. Croix. With no money, no record deal and future in question “Papa” John and Michelle found themselves wandering the streets of New York. The New York cold must of revived some LSD deadened brain cells cause he wrote the song that would set the course of his career : “California Dreamin” . Lou Adler smelled “solid gold” when they auditioned for ABC/Dunhill back in Los Angeles. Their debut album “If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears” was released in 1966 and spawned two major hits : “California Dreamin” and “Monday Monday”. It was downhill from there. As with most multi-gendered rock groups everyone got screwed figuratively and literally. Drug use, alcohol consumption, money issues, cheating and busted-up relationships taxi’ed the bands limits and they broke-up in 1968. A couple of their other well known tunes were “I Saw Her Again Last Night” and “Creeque Alley”. However “Papa” John’s contributions to rock music went well beyond the “Mama’s and Pappa’s”. In 1967 he organized one of the most historic events in the history of rock and roll, The Monterey Pop Festival. Held during the infamous “Summer Of Love” , a flower-power stoned-out LSD induced crowd grooved to the likes of Janis Joplin, Canned Heat, Otis Redding, The Who, Simon & Garfunkel and the other big acts of the era. Oh yes, and one other guy that Paul McCartney suggested, “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”. It was the experience’s American debut and Jimi pulled-out all the stops. Rock forelore has it that he ate a handful of acid just before he took the stage. Introduced by Brian Jones of the Stones, Hendrix blasted into a version of “Killing Floor” and took off like a fireball. No one had ever heard or seen anything like him before. He played with his teeth, behind his back, thru his legs, one arm, the microphone stand with deafening volume and sustained feedback. He ripped thru a couple of originals and some blues standards with unprecedented guitar techniques. While playing his version of “Wild Thing” in what was to be his grand finale of the show he lit his guitar on fire and then smashed it up and left the whole audience completely stunned and freaked-out. Acid rock was born that night and rock and roll and the world would never be the same. Lucky someone was straight enough to capture the entire event on 35mm film. It was the highlight of Otis Redding’s career. A couple of months later Otis was killed in a plane crash leaving behind “Monterey” as his legacy. Phillips also wrote “San Francisco (be sure to wear some flowers in your hair)” for Scott McKenzie, “Me and My Uncle” covered by the Grateful Dead and his last number one hit “Kokomo” for The Beach Boys in the 1980’s. (As well as the Beach Boys first number one since “Good Vibrations” in 1966). By the late 70’s “Papa” John had bottomed out and had become a full blown Heroin addict. A 1980 drug arrest landed him in rehab and he cleaned-up. Like all good rock-stars in their twilight years he received a new liver in 1992. After that he was involved in a variety of projects with mixed results. He died of heart failure on March 18th, 2001 at the age of 65
Kristen Pfaff was a bass player with the Minneapolis group “Janitor Joe” when she was spotted at a L.A. night club by Courtney Love and guitarist Eric Erlandson who quickly recruited her for their band “Hole”. She soon was enticed into using heroin with the rest of her musical peers. After awhile Kristen became disenchanted with the drug-crazed Seattle music scene and entered a re-hab to clean herself up. Still reeling from the loss of Kurt Cobain, after the completion of “Live Through This” she announced she was leaving the group. She contacted her old bandmates and made plans to rejoin her old group “Janitor Joe”. On June 14th she began packing to leave Seattle and “Hole” for good. She was said to have remained clean which makes her death another rock mystery as she was found dead in her bathtub due to a heroin overdose on June 16th, 1994 on the day of her scheduled departure. She was 24 years old.
Lonesome Dave Peverett
Lonesome Dave Peverett got his first claim to fame as a member of the moderately successful English boogie band “Savoy Brown” playing guitar alongside founding member Kim Simmonds. In late 1969 Kim Simmonds axed the entire band. “Lonesome Dave”, Tone Stevens and Roger Earle went on to form “Foghat” along with Rod “The Bottle” Price with Peverett handling the lead vocals. There first few albums sold moderately. The album cover of there second album featured a picture of a “rock” and a “roll”, henceforce titled “Rock and Roll”. In 1974 “Energized” was released and sold well but failed to establish the band as a national act. “Rock and Roll Outlaws” released in late 1974 with newly acquired producer “Nick Jameson” didn’t fare better then “Energized” The Band bounced back in 1975 with there breakthrough album “Fool For The City”. “Fool For T1he City”, and “Slowride” were FM top 40 radio hits. In 1976 “Night Shift” was released. In 1977 the band released the hard-charging power punching “Foghat Live” which peaked at #33 on the charts and would be the height of the bands popularity. After 1978’s “Stone Blue and 79’s “Boogie Motel” there popularity waned. By the 1980’s their audience had tired of the boogie format and had moved on to pop-synth hair bands. They released a couple of more albums and in 1985 after 16 years on the road they called it quits. They regrouped a few times in the 90’s and did the rock 70’s act nostalgia circuit. He died from kidney cancer February 7th, 2000 at the age of 56.