Brian Connolly was lead singer for the British rock group “Sweet” who enjoyed moderate success during the mid to late seventies. Their first hit was the FM bubble-gumish “Little Willie” released in 1973, followed by “Ballroom Blitz” in 1975. “Fox on the run” also hit in 1976. They overhauled their sound and came out with the #8 world-wide smash “Love is Like Oxygen” in 1978. This was their musical peak and the group eventually fell from popularity. Brian was known to hang out with Keith Moon and the two did quite alot of partying together. After years of over indulgence in the “rock-n-roll lifestyle”. The liver gave out and after a series of heart attacks he passed away at the age of 52.
Harry Chapin was a folk-rock balladeer best known for his song “Taxi”. He enjoyed moderate success during the seventies. On July 16th of 1981 while on his way to a benefit concert in New York City on the Long Island expressway when he was involved in a traffic accident that proved fatal. He was driving a VW Beetle and rear-ended a tractor trailor and fried to death. Harry Chapin was 38 years old.
Known as the man in black Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland Arkansas February 26th , 1932.The son of a Southern Baptist sharecropper he began performing as early as age 12. In 1955 he began recording for Sam Phillips “Sun” records. Known as “Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two” (guitarist Luther Perkins and bassist Marshall Grant) his first single was “Cry Cry Cry” which reached #14. The follow-up was “Folsom Prison Blues” which reached number #5. The following year he released his most enduring song that would establish him as a superstar. The million selling copy “I Walk The Line”. He left Sun records in 1958 because Sam Phillips wouldn’t let him record a gospel album. He signed with Columbia records where he would remain until the label dropped him in 1986. The sixties began his “wild-man” period where he ran rampant hopped-up on booze and uppers. He then met June Carter of the famous Carter Family who got him off the drugs(hhmmm….bummer) , although there would be relapses. She also wrote “Ring Of Fire” which became another big hit for Cash. I had the original 45rpm on red vinyl but I smashed it up when I turned 15 and got my first Alice Cooper album.The two were married in 1968 and released a series of duets together : “Jackson”,”If I Were a Carpenter” and Dylan’s “ It Ain’t Me Babe”. The highlight of his career was his two live albums, 1968’s “At Folsom Prison” and 1969’s “Johnny Cash: At San Quentin” which was Cash’s best selling album staying number one on the charts for 4 weeks and contained the hit single “A Boy Named Sue” (#2). In June of 1969 ABC launched “The Johnny Cash Show” which lasted 2 years. At this point’s Cash’s popularity began to wane although he was still revered by country and rock alike. In 1985 Cash resurfaced with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings as “The Highwaymen”. They recorded 4 albums together. In 1996 Tom Petty produced his “Unchained “ album. By now health problems began to plague Cash though he continued to record. His last album is considered a masterpiece “American III: Solitary Man”. In May of 2003 his wife of 35 years “June Carter Cash” cashed it in. Some say this zapped his will to live. On September 12th , 2003 Johnny Cash died in Nashville at the age of 71 due to complications from Diabetes. Johnny Cash remains a legend, a country and rock pioneer and a symbol of the undying American spirit. “The Man in Black” was buried in a black coffin.
Eric Carr answered an ad in the “New York Times” and wound up in the group “Kiss”. The group was known for it’s outrageous stage act complete with Gene Simmon’s blood dripping foot-long tongue.The group was never seen in public without it’s trademark make-up. They chalked-up some FM airplay with tunes like “Strutter” and their signature tune “I Want To Rock-n-Roll All Night (and party everyday)”.In 1976 they released the classic two-album set “Kiss Alive”. The group made somewhat of a comeback with the M-TV generation X’ers sans make-up. Eric Carr died of cancer on September 24th,1991 at the age of 41.
Glen Buxton played lead guitar in Alice Cooper’s band. He co-wrote a number of their popular tunes. “Alice Cooper” broke new ground as one of the first shock-rock groups. Their first two albums , “Easy Action” and “Pretties For You” generated little interest. On the album cover for “Easy Action” they were all dressed in skirts. Although mild by today’s standards the name “Alice” (real name Vincent Furnier) caused quite a “stir”. In 1971 they released their breakthough album “Love It To Death” which included the hit single “I’m Eighteen”. The album boasted a wild looking cover with Alice sticking his thumb out thru the zipper like a penis. (Later releases had the thumb airbrushed out) Late that year they released perhaps their greatest album “Killer”. This album spawned the hit “Be My Lover”. It also had a tune entitled “Dead Babies”. The album ended with a mock hanging , but in concert for the “Killer” tour , Alice would actually walk up the gallows and get hanged. It was a sight to behold. The master of shock rock was at his finest. In 1972 they released “School’s Out”. The theme of course , centered around school and it’s trials and tribulations with a “West Side Story” rip-off of the “Sharks and The Jets” gang fight. The original album cover folded out to a school desk and came complete with a pair of panties around the record made of handi-wipe material. 1973 the group released “Billion Dollar Babies” which yielded “Elected” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. Although he claimed not to do drugs , Alice was pounding down the Budweiser in record porportions. By 1974’s “Muscle of Love” it was clear that something was wrong. The album came in a plain cardboard box ! No snakes, no wild mascara around the eyes, no babies, no nothing. The record failed to yield a single also !!!! This was the end of the original band. Alice’s later releases lacked the biting guitar the original band created. It also marked the beginning of the end for Alice who would end up in a sanitarium. Glen evenually turned away from music and spent his last years as a farmer in Mason City , Iowa. Glen Buxton died of pneumonia on October 19th, 1997 at the age of 49.
Paul Butterfield was a white harmonica player from the south side of Chicago. Paul Butterfield was considered the premier harmonica player of his time. In 1965 “The Paul Butterfield Blues Band” was released and remains a classic to this day. Caught up in sixties flower-power, subsequent releases strayed from the blues format and lacked the power and intensity of their debut album. The band also appeared at Woodstock, and their song “Love March” is featured on the soundtrack album. His death on May 4th, 1987 at the age of 44 was contributed to alcohol and drug abuse.
Cliff Burton was the bass player for Metallica. He fell victim to a “turn of an unfriendly card”. On September 27th, 1987 while traveling thru Europe on their tour bus, their tour manager decided to stop the constant bickering over the sleeping arrangements by drawing cards. Cliff Burton drew high card , the Queen of Spades, and chose the “Master Suite”. That very same day the bus slid off an icy road onto its side. While trying to climb out the window, the bus toppled over and crushed him to death.
Tim Buckley/Jeff Scott Buckley
father and son . Tim Buckley was a folk-rock singer of the sixties and seventies known for his haunting melodies. On June 29th of 1975 while partying at a friends house he snorted what he believed to be cocaine but was actually heroin and overdosed. He was 28 years old. His son Jeff Scott Buckley followed in his father’s footsteps, however, a little too closely. Jeff’s music ranged from folk to rock to funk and critics compared his voice to that of Van Morrison. In 1994 he released the album “Grace” which yeilded the alternative hit “Last Goodbye” which reached #19 on the Billboard charts. On May 29th of 1997, Jeff was in Memphis to record a new album when he disappeared while swimming in the Mississippi River. His body was found floating in the “Old Miss” six days later, dead at 30.
Roy Buchannan was one of rock’s great guitarists. He started out as a session player for various fifties groups and co-wrote “Suzie-Q” with Dale Hawkins. In the seventies he fronted a blues band and remained successful in the blues circuit. He was known for the shrilling, squealing, ear pericing high notes he ws able to produce from his Fender Telecaster. (Roy played a Fender Telecaster throughout his career). At one point he was asked to join “The Rolling Stones” but declined. He was arrested August 13th after a family fight at his home , in Reston, Virginia. The following day at 10 p.m.he hung himself in a police cell on his own shirt. He left behind a number of records which testify that he was a word class guitarist, capable of tones and techniques that other guitarists only dream of. he died at the age of 48.
Erik Braunn was a musical prodigy. In 1967 at the age of 17 he replaced Danny Weis as lead guitarist for the Los Angeles group “Iron Butterfly”. In 1968 “Iron Butterfly” broke new ground with the 17 minute side long song Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida. Erik is credited with creating the signature guitar riff. Another important feature of this song was the advent of the extended drum solo. Throughout the late sixties and and early seventies almost every rock band worth it’s salt would perform a song with an extended drum solo. Some of the best being Ginger Baker of Cream banging away on the 18 minute “Toad”, Pete Rivera bashing away on a 24 minute version of “Get Ready” and of course, the greatest pounder of them all. John Bonham on Led Zeppelin’s live version of “Moby Dick”. And let us not forget any of the famous Canned Heat Boogies.Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida sold 4 million copies and stayed on the charts for 140 weeks. Rock folklore has it that the song was actually “In The Garden of Eden” but when Doug Ingle was initially rehearsing the song he was so drunk no one could understand the lyrics. The best they could make out was “Inna-Gada-Da-vida”, so that was what was written on the demo. The album is often considered the first to go platinum. In 1969 Braunn quit citing “the pressures of stardom”. By 1970 “Iron Butterfly” was on the decline. Doug Ingle was looking like more of a junkie then a genius and new guitarist “Mike Pinera” formerly of “Blues Image” was brought in to revamp the band. They released “Metamorphosis” which was actually a decent album. This album was the first to feature the of use of “The Magic Bag” (or voice box).The voice box is best exemplified in the songs “Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh and “Show me the way”, “Do you feel like we do” on “Frampton Comes Alive”. However the coffin on the back cover seemed to depict the future of the band, Dead. Little was heard of Erik after his departure from “Iron Butterfly”. In the mid seventies he participated in a brief reunion of the group. He died of heart failure on July 25th, 2003 at the age of 52.