Phil Ochs was a folk music pioneer and along with Bob Dylan wrote some compelling anti-war songs which helped fuel the whole antiwar , anti-establishment movement of the sixties. Legend has it that once Phil showed up at Bob Dylan’s doorstep, broke, desolate and hungry for food. Bob turned him away , still mad at him for some remarks Phil made concerning some of Dylan’s tunes. On April 7th, 1976 he committed suicide by hanging himself. He was 35 years old.
Berry Oakley was the bass player for the Allman Brothers. In a freakish occurrence Berry Oakley was killed in the exact manner as Duane , only a year later. He was killed while riding a motorcycle , in the same intersection , on November 10th, 1972 . This left Gregg an emotional wreck and eventually a burnt-out shell. This was evident during his liaison with Cher where she would find him passed-out in a bowl of spaghetti. Berry Oakley was 24 years old
Laura Nyro was a singer-songwriter whose songs became big hits when covered by other artists. Some of her most popular songs included “Eli’s Coming”, “Stoned Soul Picnic”, “Wedding Bell Blues”,”And When I Die” and “Stoney End”. Most of her songs were written in the late sixties and she remained relatively inactive for the remainder of her career. She died April 8th, 1997 from cancer at the age of 49.
The lead singer and guitarist of the punk-pop group “Sublime” was found dead from a heroin overdose in a San Francisco hotel room May 25th, 1996. He was 28 years old. As fate would have it, “Sublime” released after Bradley’s death was a huge success.
Early Sunday morning on March 9th, 1997 Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down on the streets of Los Angeles at the age of 24. His gangster style demise sparked the whole notion of an East-coast West-coast gangster rap war. Soon after his death Howard Stern conducted a “rap summit” with representatives from both sides. The general consensus was that these were isolated incidents and not retaliation for Tupac Shakur and did not support the theory of an East-coast West-coast gangsta-rap war.
Known simply as “Nilsson”, Harry Nilsson was a singer-songwriter of the late sixties and early seventies. He released two albums for RCA which generated little interest until “Everybody’s Talkin” was used for the movie soundtrack of “Midnight Cowboy”. Around the same period, “Three Dog Night” covered his song “One” and it became a big hit. In 1971 he released “Nilsson Schmilsson” and his version of Badfinger’s “Without You” became his first and only #1 hit. In 1972 Nilsson released “Son of Schmilsson” which yeilded “Spaceman” as a ho-hum follow-up. He hung around John Lennon after Yoko gave him the boot and the two became the notorious drunks of the L.A. Strip. Rock legend has it that one time they both entered the L.A. Troubador drunk and wearing Tampons taped on their heads. When the staff attempted to throw them out, Lennon turned to one of the waitresses and said “Do you know who I am” ? The waitress replied, “Yeah, your some asshole with a Kotex on his head”. Nilsson spent the remainder of his career in various music and film endeavors with mixed results. He was diagnosed with diabetes in the early 90’s and began battling with RCA over a Nilsson CD compilation entitled “Goldmine” which he had hoped would provide for his wife and six children. On January 15th of 1994, two days after finishing a song for the “Goldmine” compilation he suffered a second massive heart attack which proved fatal. He was 52 years old.
Nico (Christa Paffgen) was lead singer for “The Velvet Underground” which also featured Lou Reed. They hung around Andy Warhol who also did the banana peel cover for their debut album. She “split” the band shortly thereafter. Her other claim to fame was that she blew Jim Morrison in an elevator. Both her and her daughter were hooked on heroin. She crashed her bicycle and died from a cerebral hemorrhage on July 18th of 1988 at the age of 44.
Ricky Nelson was the good-looking all-American kid on Ozzy & Harriet and had a handful of major hits in the late fifties and early sixties such as “Hello Mary Lou”, “It’s Late”, “Poor Little Fool”, and “Travelin’ Man”. In 1972 he hit the top twenty with “Garden Party”. On December 31st, 1985 while on tour his plane Rick Nelson’s plane went down due to a fire started in a faulty heating unit. The rumors of a fire caused by freebasing coke were entirely incorrect, yet still persist. The fire began in the rear of the plane, the fumes quickly spread thruout the plane causing the crash. Ricky Nelson was 45 years old.
Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) was a blues legend who helped define the electric guitar as the instrument of choice during the 50’s. His songs “Nineteen Years Old”,”Mannish Boy”, “Rollin’ and Tumblin'” and “Catfish Blues” are blues classics. He influenced many a rock musician including Jimi Hendrix, Canned Heat, Johnny Winter and the Stones. In the 70’s Johnny Winter brought him back by recording two records with him. Mick Jagger also featured him on a couple of sets. He died of a heart attack on April 30th, 1983 at the age of 68.
Keith Moon got his job by bashing the shit out of the current (soon to be ex) Who’s drummers drum kit. Among rock drummers Moon is considered by many as one of the best. He especially stood out for his “across the board” drum rolls and powerful delivery. He lived the life of the rock drummer exhibiting obsessive-compulsive behavior and outlandish antics. Fleeing from a barroom brawl he got behind the wheel of his Rolls Royce and accidently ran over and killed his own personal driver. He later would drive the Rolls into a swimming pool. During the Who’s instrument destruction period Moon blew up his drum kit on The Smother’s Brothers Show. He had a special diamond ring made that would slash thru drapes and upholstery. Band members referred to him as “Moon The Loon”. The Moon provided flawless drumming for The Who’s recordings. During the 70’s Moon’s drumming began to fall off attributed to his alcoholism and burn the candle at both ends lifestyle. Talks were in the works of sacking the Moon (sack the Moon ??????????) after the “Who Are You” album. The album cover was a DEATH ROCK premonition. Moon was placed on a chair which read “not to be taken away”. Unfortunately he was. He died September 7th, 1978 at the age of 32 from a mixture of booze and hemvarine, an anti-depressant drug.