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Chris Acland: Age 30
Lush
(b. 7 September 1966, d. October 96)
Tragically, Chris committed suicide at his parents home in Cumbria in October 1996.  "The haunting Lower Eastside Tourist  is even, more or less, about the October '96 suicide of Lush drummer Chris Acland: 'People come and people go/Drop in the ocean, drop in the flow,' Mark Eitzel sings as a sad farewell." ~From Power Trio Peter Buck goes West with Eitzel...

 

 

Graham Bond: Age 36
Graham Bond Organization
AKA: Graham John Clifton Bon
(Born: Oct 28, 1937 in Romford, Essex, England, Died: May 8, 1974 in London
Bond never recaptured the heights of his work with the Organization. In the late '60s, he moved to the U.S., recording albums with musicians including Harvey Brooks, Harvey Mandel, and Hal Blaine. Moving back to Britain, he worked with Ginger Baker's Airforce, the Jack Bruce Band, and Cream lyricist Pete Brown, as well as forming the band Holy Magick, who recorded a couple albums. Bond's demise was more tragic than most: he developed serious drug and alcohol problems and an obsession with the occult, and it has even been posthumously speculated (in the British Bond biography Mighty Shadow) that he sexually abused his stepdaughter. He committed suicide by throwing himself into the path of a London Underground train in 1974. -- Richie Unterberger, All-Music Guide

 

 

 

Adrian Borland: Age 41
(b.1957, d. 26 April 1999, London)
On April 26th. 1999 Adrian Borland died. [He] committed suicide by throwing himself in front of a train in London on early Monday morning. He was right in the middle of the recording session for his new solo album. Adrian Borland leaves a great work, which is documented on more than twenty albums . He was present as a singer, guitar player and - especially - as a songwriter since the late 70`s, when he formed his first band THE OUTSIDERS, his contribution to the "New Wave" whilst at the same time creating electronic music with the band SECOND LAYER. International recognition as front man with legendary eighties band THE SOUND was followed by a crazy affair with HONOLULU MOUNTAIN DAFFODILS, under the pseudonym Joachim Pimento, belting out a wired STOOGES-like sound together with a few friends from his Wimbledon local. ~In memoriam Adrian Borland

 

 

 

Tommy Boyce:  Age 55
(Born: September 29,1939 in Charlottesville, VA,
Died:  Nov 23, 1994  Nashville, TN)
Boyce recorded for RCA Records and had one self-written charting single, "I'll Remember Carol" b/w "Too Late For Tears" peak at #80 Pop on Billboard's charts in fall 1962.He began writing with Bobby Hart, with their first success being "Come A Little Bit Closer," a 1964 #3 Pop smash for Jay and the Americans.Signed as staff songwriters for Screen Gems Music, the music publishing arm of Columbia Pictures' TV production arm, Screen Gems, they began to write songs for the soundtrack of the studios' hit TV show The Monkees airing in primetime on NBC-TV; "Theme From The Monkees," "Last Train To Clarksville," gold, #1 Pop, fall 1966, "(I'm Not Your)Steppin' Stone"-the charting B-side of "I'm A Believer"...Boyce & Hart toured with The Monkees in the 70s and recorded with some of the group's members on albums as Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart. Boyce wrote and produced for Iggy Pop, UK band Darts, Del Shannon and Meat Loaf.  Boyce, who appeared on TV talk shows sharing his travails with depression, succumbed to the illness, committing suicide at his Nashville residence in 1994.  ~ Ed Hogan, All Music Guide

 

 

 

Herman Brood:  Age 55
(b:  5 November 1946 in Zwolle, Netherlands; d: 11 July 2001, Amsterdam)
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Herman Brood, a well known artist and a top musician on the Dutch rock scene for 30 years, jumped to his death from the roof of an Amsterdam hotel on Wednesday, police said. He was 55. Brood, who spoke about the difficulty of ending his daily drug habit, had been complaining of poor health and depression, and had told a close friend he didn't want to fade away. Brood entered art school at 17 and joined musical groups beginning in the 1960s. He became a sensation with his 1978 hit single "Saturday Night," which he wrote as leader of the band Wild Romance. Over 25 years he recorded nearly 20 albums, on his own or with a variety of groups, and also acted in Dutch movies. He briefly withdrew from recording in the early 1990s to focus on painting and poetry. But in one year, 1994, he released a book, a new CD and a film. As his success grew, Brood became known as much for his drug-based wild life style as for his art. He quit drugs last summer after his doctor warned him his life was at risk, but the television reported his mental and physical health quickly deteriorated.

 

 

 

Roy Buchanan: Age 48
(b.23 September 1939, Ozark, Alabama, USA, d. August 1988).
The son of a preacher, Buchanan discovered gospel music through the influence of traveling revivalists. LOADING ZONE was an accomplished album and contained two of his finest (and longest) outings; the pulsating Green Onions featured shared solos with the song's co-composer Steve Cropper and the extraordinary Ramon's Blues (again with Cropper).   His trademark was a battered Fender Telecaster guitar.  Buchanan was never comfortable with the role of virtuoso. A shy, reticent individual, he made several unsuccessful suicide attempts before hanging himself in a police cell in 1988, following his arrest on a drunk-driving charge.

 

 

"Reading on your web site the rundown of the suicide (most think) of Roy Buchanan, it should be noted that he... was not arrested on drunk driving (he never learned to drive!) but public intoxication.  And there was only one known prior suicide attempt, not several as your entry states. You might also mention the recording that really shows him at his best was "Live Stock" a 1974 live recording, (that was actually recorded in 2 locations). "  ~ Regards,  Bob B.

 

 

Leon Chappelear: Age 53
aka Leon Chappel
(b. Horace Leon Chappelear, 1 Aug. 1909; d. 22 Oct. 1962)
Chappelear was a gifted songwriter and guitarist who admired Jimmie Rodgers. The Lone Star Cowboys became Chappelear's group after the Sheltons broke away. Chappelear turned it into a popular early western swing band. On September 13, 1935 (a Friday the 13th), Chappelear was involved in an auto accident that affected his brain, temperament, and behavior. Tragically, his injuries caused him to be unable to sing as well as he once did and his career suffered greatly. He got involved in many strange and questionable activities that landed him in jail at one point for gambling. He moved to the west coast in the early 50s and recorded a series of sides for Capitol as "Leon Chappel." see:Automatic Mama.  Chappelear committed suicide in 1962, despondent over a career gone sour. He shot himself in the face with a shotgun.  Leon Chappelear was only 53 years old. ~ Cary Ginell 

 

 

 

Kurt Cobain: Age 27
Nirvana
(b. Kurt Donald Cobain, 20 February 1967, Hoquiam, Seattle, d. 5 April 1994, Seattle). His descent into self-destruction accelerated in 1994 as he went into a coma during dates in Italy (it was later confirmed that this had all the markings of a failed suicide attempt), before returning to Seattle to shoot himself on April 5, 1994.        Link to: 
 The Suicide Note  /  Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain   by Charles R. Cross

 

 

 

 

Darby Crash:  Age 22
Germs
Died: December 7, 1980
Los Angeles punk band the Germs was formed in April 1977 and quickly became one of the most popular and influential in that area of music. The group disbanded in early 1980 but reformed later that year.   A week after their first reunion concert, however, singer Crash died of an intentional heroin overdose.
See: Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and the Germs

 

 

Sonny Criss: Age 50
(Born in Memphis, Tenn., on Oct. 23, 1927, Died on Nov. 19, 1977, LA, CA) 
A talented bop altoist, Sonny Criss was influenced by Charlie Parker but had his own heavier sound. He spent most of his life in the Los Angeles area starting in 1942. In 1946 he worked in Howard McGhee's band with Charlie Parker and Teddy Edwards and can be heard on several jam sessions on Savoy in 1947. Criss spent periods playing with Johnny Otis, Gerald Wilson, and Billy Eckstine (1950-51) and was with Stan Kenton in 1955. He also worked with Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars and Buddy Rich's quartet (1958) in addition to leading his own groups, recording three albums for Imperial in 1956. Criss lived in Europe during 1962-65, recorded some excellent sets for Prestige during 1966-69 and in the 1970s headed sessions for Fresh Sound, Xanadu, Muse and a couple of commercial efforts for Impulse. After European tours in 1973 and 1974, Sonny Criss' career seemed on an upswing. But due to the pain of cancer, he chose to commit suicide in 1977. -- Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
Criss died on Nov. 19...of a self-inflicted gunshot as he was preparing for his initial tour of Japan. ~ Will Smith

 

 

 

 

 

Ian Curtis: Age 23
Joy Division
(b.15 July 1956, Macclesfield, Cheshire, England, d. 18 May 1980).
On 18 May 1980, the eve of Joy Division's proposed visit to America, Ian Curtis was found hanged. The verdict was suicide. A note was allegedly found bearing the words: ‘At this moment I wish I were dead. I just can't cope anymore’.    To read more Link to: Touching From A Distance. Ian Curtis And Joy Division

 

 

 

Nick Drake: Age 26
(b. 19 June 1948, Burma, d. 25 November 1974).
Born into an upper middle-class background, Drake was raised in Tanworth-in-Arden, near Birmingham. FIVE LEAVES LEFT was a mature, melodic collection which invoked the mood of Van Morrison's ASTRAL WEEKS or Tim Buckley's HAPPY SAD.  By contrast BRYTER LAYTER was altogether more worldly, and featured support from emphatic, rather than intuitive, musicians.  Indisputably Drake's most commercial album, the singer was reportedly stunned when it failed to reap due reward. On 25 November 1974, Nick Drake was found dead in his bedroom. Although the coroner's verdict was suicide, relatives and acquaintances feel that his overdose of a prescribed drug was accidental. Interest in this ill-fated performer has increased over the years and his catalogue contains some of the era's most accomplished music. Drake is now seen as a hugely influential artist.  

 

 

 

Jim Ellison: Age 31
Material Issue
(born:1964, died:
June 20, 1996)
Long before the Smashing Pumpkins became Chicago's most famous export, Material Issue was doing its part to put the Windy City on the musical map. Signed to Mercury Records in 1990, vocalist-guitarist-songwriter Jim Ellison, bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko seemed destined for rock stardom.
~By Jae-Ha Kim   Sadly, Ellison committed suicide on June 20, 1996, suffocating himself in his garage with carbon monoxide fumes from his moped. — Steve Huey

 

 

 

Tom Evans: Age 36
BadFinger
Joey Molland and Tom Evans reformed the group, changing the subsidiary members frequently over the next few years. Commercial success proved elusive and in November 1983, history repeated itself in the most bizarre scenario possible when Tom Evans committed suicide [by hanging] at his Surrey home. Like Pete Ham he had been suffering from depression and financial worries. The Badfinger story is uniquely tragic and among its greater ironies is the now morbid chorus of the song with which Pete Ham and Tom Evans are best associated: ‘I can't live, I can't live anymore’ (Without You).

 

 

 

 

 

Andre Dede Fortin: Age 38
Les Colocs
(Born: 1962; died: 11 May 2000)
Quebec singer Dede Fortin's death ruled a suicide
MONTREAL - A Montreal coroner has confirmed that Quebec singer Andre Dede Fortin died from a self-inflicted wound. Fortin, 38, was found in his Montreal home Wednesday with stab wounds to his chest. Fortin, known as Dede to his friends and fans, was a songwriter and the lead singer of the group Les Colocs. He was expected at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. Friends worried after he didn't show up and went to his apartment to look for him. Finding the door locked and no answer from inside, they went in through an open window and discovered Fortin's body. Les Colocs won the Felix, Quebec's equivalent to the Juno awards, for rock album of the year in 1998. Fortin's writing helped the group earn its reputation as one of the most original voices in Quebecois song through the 1990s. The singer-songwriter was born in St-Thomas Didyme, Que. He grew up in a family of 11 children. Late Wednesday, the official Internet site of Les Colocs carried a black page with a picture of Fortin and the message: "Dede has decided to leave, May 10, 2000."
--Les Annees 1992-1995 (Enhanced)~Amazon

 

 

Danny Gatton: Age 49
(Born: Sep 4 , 1945 in Washington, D.C., Died: Oct 20, 1994 in Newburg, MD)
Danny Gatton is Washington D.C.'s musical legend, described in the Washington Post Magazine as"The Greatest Guitarist You've Never Heard."  Danny is well-known to the likes of Chet Atkins, Les Paul, and Buddy Emmons. He was once on the cover of Guitar Player magazine as part of a feature called "Unknown Greats." ~by Brian  Alpert    Danny died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  There have been many rumors, "theories", etc as to why Danny took his own life.  I can speak very loudly for the Gatton family in saying that these are all rumors and/or theories.  The truth is simply that no-one, not even Danny's immediate family, knows why he did what he did.  ~Steve G.

 

 

Pete Ham: Age 27
Badfinger
(b. 27 April 1947, d. 23 April 1975; vocals).
Worse was to follow the next year when Pete Ham took his own life [by hanging], after a long period of personal and professional worries.

 

 

 

Donny Hathaway: Age 33
(b. 1 October 1945, Chicago, Illinois, USA, d. 13 January 1979).
Originally schooled in the gospel tradition, this versatile artist majored in musical theory before performing in a cocktail jazz trio. Hathaway was then employed as a producer with Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label while a duet with June Conquest, I Thank You Baby, became his first hit, in 1969. The following year he was signed by Atlantic for whom he recorded several imaginative singles, including The Ghetto (1970) and Love Love Love (1973). His crafted compositions were recorded by such acts as Aretha Franklin and Jerry Butler, but Hathaway is best remembered for his cool duets with Roberta Flack. Their complementary voices were honed to perfection on Where Is The Love (1972) and The Closer I Get To You (1978), both of which reached the US Top 5. Why this gifted musician should take his own life remains unexplained, but on 13 January 1979, Hathaway threw himself from the 15th floor of New York's Essex House hotel. 
 

Libby Holman:
(Born...  Died: Jun 18, 1971)
Cause of death: Suicide (carbon monoxide poisoning).  "I always have to break a song over my back. I just can't sing a song; it has to be part of my marrow and bones and everything," Libby Holman explained in a 1966 interview. A musical and sexual revolutionary, Libby Holman succeeded at two different musical careers spanning the prohibition era of the 1920s, the second World War, and the advent of the political and social ferment of the 1960s. Strong, daring, "dark" and impetuous, this feisty Jewish woman led a rich public life touching a dizzying array of people, from Montgomery Clift, to Alice B. Toklas, to close friends Jane and Paul Bowles. From a deep sense of personal commitment to racial justice, she later made contributions to the civil rights movement as both an artist and a wealthy benefactor, helping to finance Martin Luther King Jr.'s visit to India to meet Mahatma Gandhi.  Known as the "Statue of Libby," she carried one of the smokiest torches of American music-hall society in the twenties and thirties and was the inventor of the strapless evening dress. Murder, millionaires, death and suicide were morbid recurrent themes in Libby Holman's life, reaching tabloid proportions. Scandal, however, was not only the operative mode of Holman's personal life; she also produced scandal on the stage, combining race, sound, and sexuality to create an aural form of "passing" which, I will argue, sought to destabilize culturally fixated notions of black and white. ~
Jeanne Scheper
--- In July 1932, Zachary Smith Reynolds, the younger son of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds Sr., was killed by a gunshot to the head. His wife, Broadway torch singer Libby Holman, and his close friend Ab Walker were charged with murder, though they said he committed suicide. The charges were later dropped at the request of the family, reportedly to prevent unpleasant details of Smith Reynolds' life from becoming public. 

 

Douglas Hopkins: Age 32
Gin Blossoms
b. 1961    d.  5 Dec 1993, Tempe, AZ
After struggling for years against depression and alcoholism, chief songwriter Hopkins' behaviour had became so unstable that it was necessary to eject him from the band.   His departure came in April 1992, soon after recording sessions for the album were completed. A bitter wrangle ensued, with the band reportedly forcing him to sign over half his publishing royalties in return for a one-off payment of $15,000 owed to him.  As Hey Jealousy and Found Out About You, two excellent songs he had written for the Gin Blossoms, became major hits, his personal problems increased. On December 3, 1993 he left a detox unit in Phoenix, Arizona, and shot himself.  He had been replaced in the band by Scott Johnson, but of more concern was how the Gin Blossoms would replace him as a songwriter. Although both Wilson and Valenzuela had written songs on the group's debut album, critics were in no doubt as to who the author of the more compelling tracks was.

 

Michael Hutchence: Age 37
INXS
(b.  22 January 1960, Australia, d. November 20?, 1997, Sydney, Australia).
Hutchence hanged himself in Ritz-Carlton Hotel room with his leather belt.   The body was discovered around noon by a hotel employee.  INXS had been rehearsing for their 20th anniversary tour.  All those close to the singer report that he had been in high spirits in the days prior to his suicide, although he had been linked with a notorious reputation of cocaine and opium use.  He was also planning to marry his girlfriend, Paula Yates, the mother of his 18 month old daughter, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.  To read more Link to: Michael Hutchence Memorial Site or  The Final Days of Michael Hutchence

 

Phyllis Hyman: Age 45
Singer
(b: July 6, 1941 in Philadelphia, PA, d: June 30, 1995 in New York, NY)
Phyllis Hyman began her career as a silky-voiced, jazz-influenced singer, and gradually moved into slick, heavily produced Urban Contemporary ballads and light dance numbers.  Norman Connors made her his featured vocalist in the mid-'70s, and she was highlighted on a cover of The Stylistics' "Betcha By Golly Wow," which appeared on Connors' You Are My Starship LP.  Hyman also sang with Pharaoh Sanders and the Fatback Band while cutting two singles as a lead artist. Hyman got her lone Top 10 hit in 1981 with "Can't We Fall In Love Again," but her albums did consistently well through the '80s. She also sang on fusion and light jazz dates by Joe Sample, Ronnie Foster, and Grover Washington, Jr., a more conventional jazz session for  McCoy Tyner, and a pop date with The Four Tops. Tragically, Hyman took her own life on June 30, 1995; Forever with You was issued posthumously. -- Ron Wynn, All-Music Guide ...Phyllis was diagnosed as being "bi-polar", a medical term for someone who suffers from the disease of manic-depression. As she got older, her dis-ease became more and more difficult for her to manage.  She elected not to use pharmaceutical medication. She elected to self medicate. Her self medication distorted her disease more and more, until she felt helpless about ever being able to recover from it.~
PH WWW.Pages

J.J. Johnson: Age 77
Born: Jan. 22, 1924.
Died: February 3, 2001
James Louis "J.J." Johnson, an Indianapolis native who gained worldwide fame as one of the greatest trombonists and arrangers in jazz history, died February 3, 2001. He was 77. Considered as much a revelation on slide trombone as Charlie Parker was on the saxophone, Johnson also was a top arranger and composer and was a perennial winner of Down Beat magazine reader's poll as best trombonist...According to a report from the Marion County Sheriff's Department, Johnson, who had been ill in recent months, committed suicide at his Northside home on Sunday morning. ~Kevin O'Neal at (317) 327-7928 or via e-mail at kevin.oneal@starnews.com

 

Johannes Kerkorrel: Age 42
Born: Ralph John Rabie: 1960. Died 12 November 2002
Cape Town - South African music icon Johannes Kerkorrel is dead. He hanged himself.  Provincial police spokesperson William Reid confirmed that "Ralph John Rabie, aged 42, was found hanging from a tree in the Kleinmond area, about 3km outside Kleinmond at around 12:40 on Tuesday".  According to friends close to the Rabie family (who wished not to be named) this was exactly the way a former lover of the music icon took his life some years ago.
Cape Town - "I hope you can forgive me, Mom, I really do not have the strength to carry on. I pray that the Lord will forgive me and that you will be able to understand and accept as time goes by."  This was the last wish of Ralph Rabie, better known as Johannes Kerkorrel, expressed in a letter written to his mother before he committed suicide in a forested area, 5km outside Kleimond, on Tuesday.   He told her there was no other way.   Rabie wrote the letter on Saturday, three days before his death. He also left letters for his partner and the police.  To his partner Demetrios Demetriou he wrote: "I do not have any other option. I am in such a deep state of depression that I see no future for myself."  In a letter to the police, Kerkorrel admitted that he could no longer pay his bills and that he had no work for the next two months.  ~Jacob Rooi

 

Philip Taylor Kramer:  Age 42
Iron Butterfly
Born: 1952, Died: February 12, 1995
Kramer, born in 1952,  joined the second coming of Iron Butterfly in 1974. He played on its album Sun and Steel.  The bassist disappeared without a trace in 1995.  Four years later hikers in LA found his remains in a car at the bottom of a 200 foot ravine.  Kramer was also  working on guidance systems for the MX missile for the US government.  Prior to his discovery, many theories abounded regarding his sudden and unexplained disappearance.

 

James Lawrence, Age 26
Hope of the States
Died 15 January, 2004
Musician found hanged at studio
The guitarist of rock band Hope of the States has been found hanging at a recording studio.
Police were called to the Real World Studios - owned by singer Peter Gabriel - at Box, near Bath, at 0430 GMT on Thursday after the body of James Lawrence, 26, was discovered.  The six-piece band, from Chichester, had been recording their debut album.  Wiltshire Police say the death is not being treated as suspicious.  Hope of the States reached number 26 in the singles chart with Enemies Friends in October 2003, earning them an appearance on the BBC's Top of the Pops programme.  A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: "I can confirm that we were called to the Real World studios in Box shortly after 4am today where the body of James Lawrence was found by other members of the band hanging from the rafters.  "He was taken down and efforts made to revive him but to no avail."  He confirmed Mr Lawrence's body was found in one of the studios.  The six-piece had recently signed a deal with Sony and were putting the finishing touches to their debut album, which they had recorded in Russia and Ireland, at Real World.  They were due to play at the Astoria in London next month as part of the NME Awards series of gigs.  Real World is one of the music industry's most popular studios, with Kylie Minogue and Stereophonics among recent visitors.  A spokesman for the complex said Mr Lawrence's family were too upset to comment.  ~Story from BBC NEWS: 
HOPE OF THE STATES are in the studio for the first time since the death of guitarist JIMMI LAWRENCE.  The band had almost completed work on their debut album when they found the body of Lawrence hanged in Real World studios near Bath last month.  A spokesperson for the group confirmed to NME.COM the band are back working on the record, but said no more details were available at present. Hope Of The States were due to release their anticipated debut album in late spring after months spent recording in Russia and then Ireland. The finishing touches were being put on the album at Real World when the guitarist died of an apparent suicide.  The Chichester six-piece, who signed to Sony imprint Seeker following an intense bidding war, have been working with Sigur Ros producer Ken Thomas. ~
http://www.nme.com/news/107408.htm  
"We have lost our friend in a tragic and heartbreaking way. His sense of humour, sensitivity, talent, intelligence and above all genuinely caring nature will be sadly missed. Our last days with Jimmi were the happiest we have ever shared together. He was immensely proud and happy with his work on the record and could not wait for others to hear it. We are devastated that he will never hear it with us, never play guitar, have a drink, a laugh or a conversation with us again. We are all forever grateful for the many messages of support and condolences we have received not just from friends and family but from people who had fleetingly met Jimmi or heard him play. The depth of feeling shown by you all means so much, not only to the band and his friends, but also to Jimmi's family. ~ http://www.nme.com/news/107264.htm

 

Jon Lee: Age 33
Feeder
Died: January 7, 2002
Miami - Jon Lee, the drummer for the Welsh rock band Feeder, which had a hit in England last year with the single "Buck Rogers," killed himself in his home, officials said. He was 33.  Lee, who was from Newport, Wales, hanged himself in his Miami home on Monday, said Veronica Lamar of the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner's Office.  Fellow band members Grant Nicholas and Taka Hirose gave a short statement on the band's official Web site: "We will miss you more than melody - friends always." Feeder formed in 1992, but the trio of Lee on drums, Nicholas on vocals and guitar, and Japanese-born Hirose on bass came together in London in 1995.  The group's biggest hit single was the 2001 single "Buck Rogers," which reached No. 5 on the British charts. Feeder released its first full- length album, "Polythene," in England in 1997; it was released in the United States in early 1998.  The second album was followed by "Yesterday Went Too Soon" in 1999. The band released its third album, "Echo Park," last year, which debuted at No. 5 in Britain and sold more than 100,000 copies.  Lee was married to a Brazilian model, Tatiana Englehart, and had a son, Cameron.

 

Oupa Mafokate "Makhendlas": Age 27
(Died: 7 November 1998)
South African musician dies ~November 2, 1998, http://news.bbc.co.uk
Music fans in South Africa are mourning the death of a young musician, Oupa Mafokate, who apparently shot himself in the head.  Mafokate -- known as Makhendlas -- was a rising star of kwaito -- a rap-derived music seen as a symbol of black empowerment. His manager said he may have been upset about an incident at a concert on Saturday when he wounded a backstage intruder."  
/////  Makhendlas - township slang for “fun lover” - is reported to have committed suicide in the aftermath of a fatal brawl. The young star was billed as the top attraction at Saturday night’s concert in Tonga, Nelspruit. But before he could perform, he got involved in a deadly fracas with a nuisance fan who had reportedly been harassing him and his musical crew before their Mpumalanga show. At some point Makhendlas’s emotions replaced his brains and he whipped out his gun and pumped three bullets into the troublesome man. ~http://www.mg.co.za/mg/art/music/9811/981105-makhendlas.html   

 

Richard Manuel: Age 42
The Band
(b. 3 April 1943, Stratford, Canada, d. 7 March 1986; piano/drums/vocals).
A  tour ended in tragedy when, on 7 March 1986, Richard Manuel hanged himself in a motel room. His death inspired Fallen Angel on Robertson's outstanding ‘comeback’ album, but despite the presence of Hudson and Danko elsewhere on the record, the guitarist refused to join his colleagues when they regrouped again in 1991. Their first studio album in 17 years was released in 1993.
NEW = An as yet unsubstantiated rumor claims that "
Manuel apparently had been threatening suicide for quite some time. Robertson's exit from The Band left them all down, Manuel was depressed the worst. He was also living with a woman for some time. His 'suicide attempts' were viewed by all as cries for help, nothing more. This went on for a long period of time. He would threaten to hang himself, only to be stopped right before he did so by his loving girlfriend. Unbeknownst to him, his live-in girlfriend was having an affair. As the story goes, the final time he threatened suicide, she simply didn't stop him, but rather watched him do it, then left (I have no idea whether she was seen leaving). When she returned, it was as though she discovered the body. There was suspicion but no charges were ever filed."

Susannah McCorkle: Age 55
(b: 1 January 1946 Berkeley, CA ;d: 19 May 2001, New York)
Susannah McCorkle, the sultry voiced pop-jazz singer who brought a rare literary refinement to popular standards, was found dead outside her apartment at 41 West 86th Street early yesterday morning. She was 55.  She had apparently jumped to her death, the police said. She had left a suicide note, but the police would not reveal its contents. In her apartment, the singer had left a will, along with detailed instructions about disposition of her estate.  With a smoky, often kittenish pop- jazz voice and phrasing that lingered stealthily behind the beat, Ms. McCorkle was a direct stylistic descendant of Billie Holiday, who was her primary influence. A student of lyrics and a prolific writer herself, she liked to find new ways of interpreting familiar standards. Her pensive, slowed-up rendition of "There's No Business Like Show Business," for instance, found an underlying sadness in Irving Berlin's razzle-dazzle anthem. She also had special and continuing love for Brazilian pop, to which she devoted an album, "Sabia" (Concord Jazz), whose lyrics included her own translations from Portuguese. Many of her later albums included at least one standard composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim. ~By STEPHEN HOLDEN..More..

 

Steve MacDonald: Age 31
Gorguts
Drummer Commits Suicide - Oct. 21, 2002
Steve MacDonald, drummer for the long-running Canadian death metal act GORGUTS, reportedly hanged himself a couple of days ago after battling depression for the last few years. An official statement from the rest of the group is expected by the end of the week.  

 

Joe Meek: Age 35
(b. 1929, d. 3 Feb 1967)
No one made weirder space recordings or more heartfelt death discs than Joe Meek, so it's no surprise that his own demise was dramatic and more than a little spaced out.  On February 3, 1967--eight years to the day that Meek's idol Buddy Holly perished in an airplane crash--a crazed Joe took his shotgun and opened fire on his landlady.  After sending her lifeless body spiraling down a flight of stairs (without last month's rent), he turned the weapon around and, blasting his own face off, he became the only rock 'n' roll suicide ever to take a hostage.  Prior to his untidy demise, Meek was a hotly contested suspect in another grisly murder, this one involving a dismembered youth found in several suitcases left strewn about the British countryside. ~From Earth Reinherits Joe Meek by Serene Dominic

 

Phil Ochs: Age 35
(b. 19 December 1940, El Paso, Texas, d. 7 April 1976).
A superior singer/songwriter, particularly adept at the topical song, He was attacked during a tour of Africa and an attempted strangulation permanently impaired his singing voice. Beset by a chronic songwriting block, Phil sought solace in alcohol and although a rally/concert in aid of Chile, AN EVENING WITH SALVADOR ALLENDE, succeeded through his considerable entreaties, he later succumbed to schizophrenia. Phil Ochs’ was found hanged at his sister's home on 7 April 1976.   To read more Link to:  Phil Ochs: A Bio-Bibliography                    Phil as Elvis at Carnegie Hall

 

Brian O'Hara: Age 58
Fourmost
(b. Liverpool, Mar. 12, 1942, d. June 27,1999)
Brian O'Hara, former singer and guitarist with the Fourmost, a 1960s Liverpool group that shared a manager with the Beatles and  had hits with songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, was found  hanging at his home...He was 58.  Liverpool police found O'Hara in the Wavertree area of the northern English  port city.   The group had half a dozen hit singles from 1963-65, including  ``Hello Little Girl'' and ``I'm In Love'' by Lennon and McCartney. 

 

Jason Raize, Age 28
Broadway singer
Died February 3, 2004
Jason Raize in Broadway's 'Lion King' Dies
 February 10, 2004, 3:18 PM EST
NEW YORK -- Jason Raize, who played the older Simba in the original
Broadway company of "The Lion King," has died at 28. Raize died Feb. 3 in Yass, Australia, southwest of Sydney, according to Chris Boneau, a spokesman for the Disney musical. The cause was suicide, Boneau said. Raize was chosen for the role of Simba, who changes from a callow young lion to the aware adult played by Raize, after a series of grueling auditions for "Lion King" director Julie Taymor and choreographer Garth Fagan. The musical, based on Disney's successful animated film, opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre in November 1997 and is still running in New York and around the world. Raize played the part for nearly three years. The competition for the role of Simba was fierce because the musical required "triple-threat work -- singing, dancing and acting -- that you don't get to such an extent in other shows," Raize recalled in a 1997 interview with The Associated Press. "It was more the sense of who can take the challenge and not be daunted by the task." Asked to compare the stage and film versions, Raize said he took a look at the film "to see the gaps that Julie has filled in. She has done a terrific job of creating a richer, even more rewarding work." In 2003, Raize was the voice of an Ice Age boy in the Disney animated movie "Brother Bear." Raize, from Oneonta, N.Y., worked there while in high school at the Orpheus Theater, a semiprofessional troupe. Raize performed in a variety of shows including a "Jesus Christ Superstar" tour with Ted Neeley and later a "King and I" tour starring Hayley Mills. Raize is survived by his father and stepmother, Robert and Monet Rothenberg, of Oneonta, N.Y.; and his mother, Sarah MacArthur of Wrentham, Mass. ~Copyright (c) 2004, The Associated Press

 

Danny Rapp: Age 41
Danny & The Juniors
(b. 10 May 1941, d. 4 April 1983).
Formed in 1955 as the Juvenairs, their song Do The Bop came to the attention of Dick Clark who suggested it be changed to At The Hop.  In 1976 a re-issue of their classic At The Hop returned them to the UK Top 40. After a few quiet years, leader Rapp was found dead in Arizona in 1983—he had apparently committed suicide by gunshot.

 

Frank Rosolino:Age 52
(BORN: August 20, 1926, Detroit, MI; DIED: November 26, 1978, LA, CA)
The horrible way that Frank Rosolino's life ended (despondent over his wife's suicide, he killed himself after shooting his two young sons) has largely overshadowed his earlier musical accomplishments. One of the top trombonists of the 1950s, Rosolino's fluid and often-humorous style put him near the top of his field for awhile.  He was a guitarist when he was ten but switched to trombone as a teenager. After serving in the military, Rosolino played with the big bands of Bob Chester, Glen Gray, Gene Krupa (1948-49), Tony Pastor, Herbie Fields and Georgie Auld. However all of those experiences were just preludes to his high profile association with Stan Kenton (1952-54) which gave him fame. Rosolino recorded frequently in Los Angeles as a member of the Lighthouse All-Stars (1954-60), a freelancer and as a studio musician. His song "Blue Daniel" became a jazz standard and Rosolino was a popular attraction as a brilliant trombonist and a comical singer. He was with Supersax for a period in the 1970s. Rosolino's shocking ending was a surprise to even his closest associates. ~ Scott Yanow, All-Music Guide

 

Del Shannon: Age 55
(born: Charles Westover, 30 Dec. 1934, Coopersville, Michigan;  died: 8 Feb. 1990, LA, CA).
From the plethora of clean, American, post doo-wop male vocalists to find enormous success in the early '60s, only a small handful retained musical credibility. Shannon was undoubtedly from this pedigree... Ultimately however, he was branded to rock ‘n’ roll revival tours which finally took their toll on 8 February 1990, when a severely depressed Shannon pointed a .22 calibre rifle to his head and pulled the trigger, ending the misery echoed in his catalogue of hits.
A Fuller Up: First Hand Account:

I was working the desk at the Medical Examiner's when Deputy Roger Hom from the Sheriff's Info Bureau called to verify that we had received a "call" on one "Charles Weedon Westover".  I immediately recognized the name and said, "you mean Del Shannon" to which he replied "that's why we are checking, a patrol unit is already on the scene". About the time I hung up the phone, Investigator Gary Kellerman walked by and handed me a standard call sheet and indicated he would call later with directions as it was in far north L.A. County.  When Gary did call, he asked me if I knew who it was (why everyone asks me is anyone's guess).  I said I did and headed out.  When I arrived at the scene some 30-45 min later and entered the house, Mr. Shannon was found, deceased for some time, in a wooden rocking chair.  He was minus his hairpiece. Yep, that wavy hair that used to hang down in front was a rug. Both eyes were black and blue from the trauma that close contact gun shot wounds will cause and he was slumped slightly sideways, wearing only a bathrobe.  He had been dead for several hours.  I observed several ceremonial record awards and a lot of obviously expensive musical instruments.  Gary and I removed Shannon from the chair, laid him on a sheet of plastic and wrapped him further for transport to the Coroners Office. Along with him was the .22 rifle that had been used.  I had vehicle 603 0r 892 as they were the few that had AM/FM radios.  After awhile the local station played a few of his songs and the hair on my neck was straight up and stayed there a long time.  I brought Shannon in, weighed, measured and fingerprinted him for processing subsequent to his post mortem exam later in the morning.  I looked at him the next day, after he had be "done" and observed that the bullet had left several scars inside the skull as it will when it bounced around the inside of his head. His remains were claimed almost 2 weeks later; and he was cremated by The Neptune Society on Burbank Blvd. I understand his cremains were buried in a business partner’s back yard, location unknown. 
~
 Bob Kline # 233760
Los Angeles Coroner-Medical Examiners Office
Investigations/Processing/Transportation 1987-1990.
 

Elliott Smith: Age 34
(Steven Paul (Elliott) Smith. B: August 6, 1969, Omaha, Nebraska - Died: October 21, 2003)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Elliott Smith, a singer-songwriter whose dark, introspective songs won him critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination, has apparently committed suicide, his publicist and coroner's officials said Wednesday. He was 34.   Smith's body was found by his live-in girlfriend Tuesday, Los Angeles County Coroner Records Supervisor Marsha Grigsby told AP Radio.   He sustained a single stab wound to the chest that appeared to be self-inflicted, she said.   His New York-based publicist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also confirmed his death.   Smith released five solo albums that received widespread acclaim from rock critics and garnered modest commercial success. ``Miss Misery,'' recorded for Gus Van Sant's ``Good Will Hunting,'' was nominated for an Oscar in 1998.   Smith's songs often were compared with those of Alex Chilton, Nick Drake and the Beatles, his favorite band.   Lyrically, they addressed dark subject matter such as drug and alcohol addiction, troubled relationships and loneliness -- though Smith tried to distance himself from the label of confessional songwriter.   ``I don't feel like my songs are particularly fragile or revealing,'' he said in a 1998 interview in the Los Angeles Times. ``It's not like a diary, and they're not intended to be any sort of superintimate confessional singer-songwriterish thing.''    However, Smith had recently spoken in interviews about his struggles with alcoholism. ``When I lived in New York I was really a bad alcoholic for a few years,'' he told Under the Radar magazine in an interview published in June 2003.    In an effort to quit drinking, Smith said he had undergone treatment which administers an intravenous solution meant to clear the bloodstream of toxins.   Smith was born Steven Paul Smith in Nebraska; his mother was a singer and his father was a psychiatrist. He spent most of his childhood with his mother in the suburbs of Dallas and then moved to Portland, Ore., while in high school to live with his father.    He studied piano and guitar as a youth and began composing songs when he was 13. He began calling himself Elliott in middle school, he later explained to a reporter, because Steve sounded too ``jockish.''   A graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., he later joined a Portland punk band called Heatmiser. On the side, he recorded several solo albums -- "Roman Candle'' (1994), "Elliott Smith'' (1995) and ``Either/Or'' (1997), all on independent labels -- that won him a devoted underground following.   In 1997, he moved to New York, where Van Sant approached him with an offer to use several of his songs on the soundtrack to "Good Will Hunting.'' The movie was a hit, bringing Smith's music to a mainstream audience.   Smith subsequently signed with DreamWorks Records and recorded two albums; "XO'' (1998) and "Figure 8'' (2000) continued his critical winning streak, and took him to the middle reaches of Billboard's Top 200 albums chart.   "I don't really have any goals as a songwriter,'' he once said, "other than to show what it's like to be a person -- just like everybody else who's ever played music does.''   ~Associated Press writer Justin Glanville in New York contributed to this report.
Tests on Musician Elliott Smith's Death Inconclusive
Tests on Musician's Death Inconclusive ~ By Associated Press
December 30, 2003, 11:30 PM EST

LOS ANGELES -- Tests to determine whether an Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter was murdered or committed suicide were inconclusive, a coroner's spokesman said Tuesday. Elliott Smith, 34, died in a hospital on Oct. 21 after his live-in girlfriend found him in their apartment with a stab wound to the chest. Initial reports indicated the reclusive Smith had stabbed himself, said coroner's spokesman David Campbell. But an investigation into his death and an examination of his body were unable to determine if the wound was self-inflicted or if Smith was the victim of an attack. "The coroner's examination determined either scenario was possible," Campbell said. The Los Angeles Police Department continues to investigate Smith's death, said Officer Jason Lee, a police spokesman. Smith, who earned a 1998 Academy Award nomination for his song "Miss Misery" from the film "Good Will Hunting," performed it at that year's awards show. The song lost to "My Heart Will Go On" from the film "Titanic." Campbell said tests showed no illegal drugs in Smith's body at the time of his death. Friends said Smith had become reclusive in recent years, and the singer-songwriter himself said he never sought fame and had at one time struggled with alcoholism. Smith was a favorite of rock music critics who admired his often dark, seemingly confessional songs, but he enjoyed only modest commercial success.

Gary Stewart: Age 58
(Born: May 28, 1945, Letcher County, Kentucky; Died: December 16, 2003,  Fort Pierce, Florida)

One of country music's greatest honky-tonk singers was found dead Tuesday in Florida. Gary Stewart's death was an apparent suicide, according to authorities. He was 58 years old.  Stewart was found in his home in Fort Pierce, Florida. Police are investigating the cause of death, although an initial police report said it appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said his wife of 43 years died last month.  Throughout the 1970s, Stewart was a country hitmaker, both as a songwriter and as an artist with a compelling vibrato voice and a high-energy live show. He was born May 28, 1945, in Letcher County, Kentucky. After his coal miner father was maimed in a mining accident, the family moved to Fort Pierce, which became Stewart's base for life. As a teenager he played both rock and country in bars and was discovered and encouraged by Mel Tillis. Stewart headed for Nashville, where he recorded for the Cory and Kapp labels and wrote songs for the likes of Jim Ed Brown. After a return to Florida, where he honed his fusion of honky-tonk and Southern rock, he went back to Nashville and recorded a cover version of "Ramblin' Man," the song by his idols the Allman Brothers. It charted only to #63 but his follow-up, the rowdy "Drinkin' Thing," became a top-10 hit, and he was on his way.  Stewart's peak came with his acclaimed 1975 RCA album, Out of Hand, which climbed to #6 on the Billboard country albums chart. That album also yielded the #1 hit "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)."  His work continued to be acclaimed throughout the '70s, particularly the 1976 album Steppin' Out and 1977's Your Place or Mine. Cactus and a Rose (1980) also featured Southern rockers Bonnie Bramlett, Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts. But Stewart never established a firm audience — he was often labeled as too country for rock audiences and too rock for the country listeners.  He also lived his private life on a grand honky-tonk scale, and his heavy drugging and drinking were no secret. For a time, he and songwriter Dean Dillon teamed up to record and perform as rowdy good old boys, but those records did not match his earlier work, either in quality or in sales.  Stewart faded away in Florida, quit recording, went back to playing the bars, and little more was heard from him. Then he popped up clean and sober in late 1988 on the California label HighTone. He had a new album, Brand New, that was released on HighTone in early 1989. Three singles from the album charted briefly, but those were to be his last appearances on the charts. He released two more HighTone albums, Battleground in 1990 and I'm a Texan in 1993.  Stewart had canceled his last scheduled concert date — November 29 at Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth — after his wife died. ~ This report is provided by MTV News
 

Mel Street: Age 45
(b. King Malachi Street, 21 October 1933, near Grundy, West Virginia, d. 12 October 1978).
Street began performing on local radio in the '50s and then he moved to Niagara Falls and New York, making his living on building sites. He later wrote and recorded the song, The High Line Man, about working on radio station masts. He returned to West Virginia,  played clubs and honky tonks, and he recorded his song, Borrowed Angel, for a small label in 1970. Two years later it was reissued and became a US country hit. Street became an alcoholic and, beset by personal problems, he shot himself on his 45th birthday in Hendersonville, Tennessee. His US single at the time was Just Hangin' On. George Jones sang Amazing Grace at his funeral.

Screaming Lord Sutch: Age 58
(b. David Edward Sutch 10 Nov 1940, d. 16 June 1999, UK)
Hanged himself.   Born... West Hampstead, England.  - Was the leader of The Savages (They did, "Till The Following Night" and "She's Fallen In Love With A Monster Man") - Worked with Keith Moon, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Charlie Watts & Nicky Hopkins - Holds the record for running for public office in the UK (Lost all 40 elections) - Founder of The Monster Raving Loony Party.  

Jason Thirsk: Age 28
Pennywise
(b. Jason  Matthew Thirsk,  25 Dec. 1967; died 29 July 1996)
Jason  Matthew Thirsk, the former bassist and co-founder of the California punk band Pennywise died 7/29/96 of a gunshot wound/suicide.  Here's something his brother wrote about the great bassist: Jason...was born on Christmas Day 1967.  He lived in Hermosa Beach his entire life...In his 8th grade year some of his older friends had him listen to some punk and Oi! records including bands like BLACK FLAG, BAD BRAINS, THE DAMNED, COCKNEY REJECTS ...  He started his first band with three of his friends a few months later. They called themselves the JUVENILE DELINQUENTS, or JD's. They were straight ahead three-chord sloppy punk rock with such songs as "Fuck You Teacher" and "Turtle Back Graw." After the JD's, Jason formed the SYNDICATE and then went on to form the really popular local band P.M.A...[who] played mostly punk covers, but Jason soon grew tired of playing other peoples songs. So he quit and in 1988 he teamed up with his friend Fletcher to start a band who was later to be named PENNYWISE. From the start of PENNYWISE Jason wanted to make it a positive band with positive, uplifting lyrics and more melodic music...From 1988 to 1996 Jason...used his music and writing as a form of therapy to help him get over his own problems and addictions...Through 1995 and 1996, his addictions were getting the best of him and eventually they took his life... --Justin Thirsk

Nick Traina: Age 19
Link 80, Knowledge
Died 1997
He was the subject of his mother Danielle Steel's book, His Bright Light.  "When Nick Traina died, he was 19 years old, just starting up a new band, and dealing with the ills of manic depression. Best known for his membership in Link 80, Traina had just formed a new band called Knowledge and had recorded a promising new demo. Signed to Asian Man Records at the time, the president of the label was to receive the tapes after Traina's death."~ http://members.tripod.com/kmon666/index-7.html           "Now, the bad news = Nick Traina, the insane vocalist on this CD, sadly succumbed to a heroin addiction, and died of suicide. He was manic depressive, and the lyrics show much of it, especially on “Slap”, with 'When I was a child, my castle was my home, now I walk down empty streets, memories and me alone, it's easier to burn a bridge than to cross it, to slip, give in, give up, move on, and try to forget. More has been said in silence than could ever be spoken in words, secret's shared, and promises kept, and feelings that will never be cured.' "~ http://www.punknews.org/reviews.php?op=albumreview&id=2966

     

Larry Troutman, 54
Zapp
Born: Nov 29, 1951 in Hamilton, OH 
Died: Apr 25, 1999 in Dayton, OH 

Zapp's Roger and Larry Troutman Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide

Brothers Roger and Larry Troutman, founding members of seminal '80s funk outfit Zapp, were found dead Sunday (April 25) morning near their Dayton, Ohio recording studio in an apparent murder-suicide. 
             
Roger Troutman, 47, was found just outside the studio with several gunshots to his torso, according to the Associated Press. He died while in surgery at the Good Samaritan Hospital and Health Center. 
                                   
Roger's brother Larry was found dead in a car a few blocks away with a single gunshot wound to the head. Investigators believe the wound was self-inflicted, but won't know for a few days whether a handgun found in the vehicle was the same as that responsible for Roger's death.  
                     
Roger and Larry Troutman founded Zapp in 1975, along with their brothers Lester and Terry Troutman. The group became an important part of the funk scene in the early '80s with such hit records as "More Bounce to the Ounce," "Dance Floor," and "Doo Wa Ditty." 
                                               
Roger, lead singer and guitarist for the group, frequently used a vocoder voice- distortion box for his lead vocals. The group's future-funk vibe provided the transition between the sloppy grooves of Parliament in the late '70s and the early electro foundations of hip-hop in the early '80s. Later in the decade, Roger went solo and earned a crossover hit with the record "I Want To Be Your Man." He later rejoined the family group under the moniker Zapp & Roger. 
            
After depleting a finite reserve of James Brown and George Clinton samples, hip-hop artists also took a liking to Zapp. Most recently, Roger Troutman was used by 2Pac and Dr. Dre for their 1996 award-winning collaboration "California Love." ~Jazzbo

 

E. William Tucker: Age 38
Ministry, Pigface,
(Died: May 14, 1999)
Longtime Ministry sideman and prolific industrial guitarist E. William Tucker killed himself at his apartment in Chicago this past Friday (May 14). He was 38. Initial reports indicate that he had taken pills and afterwards slit his own throat. His body was discovered by his roommate, along with a 10-page suicide note... ~
AllStar

 

Carlos Vega: Age 41
James Taylor
d. April 7, 1998
Besides his drum work with Taylor over the past decade -- which included the studio releases "Never Die Young," "New Moon Shine," and "Hourglass," plus Taylor's "(Live)" album -- Vega had recorded and/or performed with Freddy Hubbard, Boz Scaggs, Lee Ritenour, Vince Gill, Reba McIntire, Olivia Newton-John (including the "Grease" soundtrack), Larry Carlton, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, and Randy Newman, according to sources. Vega was also a member of keyboardist David Garfield's fusion band Karizma...Vega, 41, died at home of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound on the eve of a scheduled April 8 appearance with Taylor on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," according to a published report.

 

Chuck Wagon, Age 24
The Dickies
Died 1981 - He shot himself.  He was a multi-instrumentalist.
The Dickies formed after the initial punk explosion of 1977. The band comprised vocalist Leonard Graves Phillips, guitarist Stan Lee, bassist Billy Club, keyboardist Chuck Wagon, and drummer Karlos Kaballero — all of the names were assumed, of course. Two years later, the group released their debut album, The Incredible Shrinking Dickies, on A&M Records. Throughout their career, the Dickies only deviated slightly from the fast and catchy punk of their debut; their earlier records leaned toward the Californian hardcore punk that was popular at the time

 

Paul Williams: Age 34
The Temptations
(b. 1939, Birmingham, Alabama, USA, d. 17 August 1973).
Paul Williams left the group in 1971, to be replaced by another former Distant member, Richard Street; Paul Williams shot himself in 1973, after years of depression and drug abuse.

 

Rozz Williams: 34
Christian Death
Shadow Project
(b.1963, CA, d. 1 April 1998, CA)
CHRISTIAN DEATH's former singer Rozz Williams has committed suicide at the age of 34. Williams who was seemingly enjoying a successful solo career hanged  himself in his West Hollywood appartment.  His body was discovered by his room mate Ryan Gaumer. Bruce Duff of Williams' label, Triple X Records, said that the singer hadn't seemed depressed in recent days. "I saw  him a week ago, I was hanging out in a club with him and he was partying and everything was fine. Most people I know were caught off guard: he didn't leave a note, I don't think there was any real warning, and you can only  speculate as to why."

 

Wendy O. Williams: Age 48
Plasmatics
(b.  1949, d. April 7, 1998, CT, USA)
Formed in 1979 in New York City, the Plasmatics were a theatrical hardcore band which incorporated such violent acts as blowing up Cadillacs and chain sawing guitars in half into its performances. Assembled by and masterminded by former pornography entrepreneur Rod Swenson, the original personnel of the group included vocalist Wendy O. Williams, a former star of sex shows, who wore see-through lingerie, but for the most part, appeared topless with strategically-placed masking tape. After releasing two EPs on the independent Vice Squad label in 1979, the Plasmatics signed with Stiff Records in the USA and the UK, releasing NEW HOPE FOR THE WRETCHED in 1980.  Williams  recorded solo albums following the Plasmatics’ mid-80s break-up. Wendy shot herself in the woods by her home.

 

Kevin Wilkinson: Age 41
(Died. 17 July 1999)
Squeeze / Waterboys
The former Squeeze and Waterboys drummer, Kevin Wilkinson, has tragically been found hanged at his home in Wiltshire. The 41 year old musician was found at his home in Baydon, near Swindon, by his wife, Marilyn Fitzgerald, early on Sunday morning just three weeks before he was due to fly to America to play on an eight date 'comeback' tour with '80's pop star, Howard Jones.  Wilkinson was also due to appear at London's Embassy Rooms on the 25th August with Jones, on their return from the States.  ~ www.bigmouth.co.uk

 

Alan Wilson: Age 27
Canned Heat 
(b. 4 July 1943, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; vocals/harmonica/guitar).
Wilson was an extraordinary harmonica player, with a fat tone and great vibrato. His work on guitar, especially in open tunings (he  played on Son House's rediscovery recordings of the mid-'60s, incidentally) gave  the band a depth and texture that most other rhythm players could only aspire to.  The band members were rocked by the suicide of  Wilson, whose body was found in Hite's backyard on 3 September 1970.   Hite carried on with various reconstituted versions of the band until his death just before a show in 1981, from a heart seizure. ~AMG

 

Faron Young: Age 64
(Born: Feb 25, 1932 in Shreveport, LA; Died: Dec 10, 1996)
Originally known as the "Hillbilly Heartthrob" and the "Singing Sheriff," Faron Young had one of the longest-running and most popular careers in country music history. Emerging in the early '50s, Young was one of the most popular honky tonkers to appear in the wake of Hank Williams' death, partially because he was able to smooth out some of the grittiest elements his music. At first, he balanced honky tonk with pop vocal phrasing and flourishes. This combination of grit and polish resulted in a streak of Top 10 hits — including "If You Ain't Lovin'," "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young," "Sweet Dreams" "Alone With You" and "Country Girl" — that ran throughout the '50s. During the '60s, Young gave himself over to country-pop, and while the hits weren't quite as big, they didn't stop coming until the early '80s. Through that time, he was a staple at the Grand Ole Opry and various television shows, including Nashville Now, and he also founded the major country music magazine, Music City News. Most importantly, he continued to seek out new songwriters — including Don Gibson, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson — thereby cultivating a new generation of talent. Faron Young was born and raised outside of Shreveport, Louisiana. While he was growing up on his father's dairy farm, he was given a guitar, and by the time he entered high school, he had begun singing in a country band. Following high school, he briefly attended college, before he left school to join the Louisiana Hayride as a regular performer. While on the Hayride, he met Webb Pierce and in a short time, the pair were touring throughout the south, singing as a duo in various nightclubs and honky tonks. In 1951, he recorded "Have I Waited Too Long" "Tattle Tale Tears" for the independent label Gotham. After hearing the singles, Capitol Records decided to buy Young's contract away from Gotham in 1952. That same year, he was invited to perform regularly on the Grand Ole Opry. Just as his career was taking off, Young was drafted into the Army to serve in the Korean War. Assigned to the Special Service division, he sang for the troops in Asia and appeared on recruitment shows; while on leave, he recorded his debut Capitol, "Goin' Steady." Upon its early 1953 release, it climbed to number two on the country charts and it was followed in the summer by "I Can't Wait (For the Sun to Go Down)," which hit number five. Young was discharged from the Army in November of 1954, releasing "If You Ain't Lovin," his biggest hit to date, shortly after he returned. The single was quickly followed in the spring of 1955 by "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young," which became his first number one hit, and the number two single, "All Right..."  During the '90s, Young was stricken with a debilitating emphysema. Depressed by his poor health, he shot himself on December 9, 1996 and passed away the next day. Though he was under-appreciated toward the end of his career, Faron Young was a ground-breaking vocalist during the '50s, and he remains one of the finest honky tonkers of his time. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

 

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