Terry Kath, 1/31/46 – 1/23/78. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Terry was the guitarist for Chicago and also played banjo, accordion and drums. He was known for creating Chicago’s guitar sound. Terry was cleaning an automatic handgun not realizing there was a round chambered. He playfully waved it around his head erratically and the gun accidentally went off killing him instantly. Terry was 31.

Tragic ending for a multi-talented musician and vocalist. Here's a quote from my friend, Darrin, who has a great respect for Terry and his musical career, "Known for his blistering guitar solos and his remarkable ability to play rhythm and lead guitar simultaneously, Terry was held in very high esteem by many of his peers including the great, Jimi Hendrix." As a gun owner myself, I can tell you that the first rule of handling any gun is to treat it as if its loaded even when you "know" its not. I wish Terry would have followed that rule.

Chicago - Wishing You Were Here
via FoxyTunes

Sandy Denny, (Alexandra Elene Maclean Denny) 1/6/47 - 4/21/78. Born in London, England Sandy was considered "the pre-eminent British folk rock singer". She began her career as a teen in the mid 1960s and was a member of Fairport Convention. She is also known for a duet with Robert Plant on Led Zeppelin IV. She died after falling down a flight of stairs which resulted in a traumatic mid-brain hemorrhage. Sandy was 31.

Sandy is one of the artists I am unfamiliar with so have no personal thoughts to share. In reading about her I've learned that her legacy lives on and today people are still doing covers of some of her songs. She's the only person to ever appear as a guest on a Zeppelin album, you can hear her beautiful voice in the song "The Battle of Evermore". There was some controversy over her death, was the fall caused by drug use or by a brain tumor? Either way, she left us way too soon.

via FoxyTunes

Keith Moon, 8/23/46 - 9/7/78. Born in London England, Keith was the drummer for The Who. Considered one of the best drummers of all time he was also known for his wild and destructive lifestyle. Keith died of an accidental overdose on Hemenephirin. He was 32.

Wild. Crazy. Destructive. Daring. Reckless. Uncontrollable. There are lots of words that can describe the antics of Keith Moon. I recently saw the famous Hyatt Hotel and envisioned him tossing a TV set out the window and blowing up a toilet with a Cherry Bomb. His restless and wild nature also showed up on stage. I saw The Who in the late 70's and witnessed firsthand his blistering powerhouse drumming. I love watching old footage of him pounding away on his drum kit with every ounce of strength and energy. Its so very sad that his overdose was on a drug prescribed to help him overcome his addiction to alcohol. Like a typical addict, he took more than he needed probably thinking it would work "better" or "faster". Instead, it killed him. It was not a shocking death like some considering his lifestyle and personality. But it was a great loss to a great band. I don't think The Who was ever the same without Keith. He was far from a typical drummer in the "background" of a band. He was the centerpiece. Pete Townsend often called him "the conductor" of the band. I heard someone in an interview describe the uniqueness of his drumming by saying that Keith played "up" and Pete played "down". You can check it out here in this video along with several drum solos.

The Who - My Generation (Mono)
via FoxyTunes


Cherokee said...

no one could drum as fast as Keith Moon. At one time they did a study on his drumming time and found that it was impossible to do what he did. yet, this talented musician did. He was so young to have passed away. Whenever I listened to the music of the Who I always pay close attention to that drumming style. He was definitely unique and will always be missed.

Cherokee Bille

Anonymous said...

Loved The Who and was so sad when Keith Moon died. John Entwhistle died a few years ago...But they still tour using replacements. I'm not sure but I heard that they replaced Moon with the son of Richard Starky...

Anonymous said...

Moon the Loon... RIP.
He is probably what I love most about The Who. Their drumming. You would think such chaotic drumming would screw a song up, but no... it was his drumming that made them what they were-- legends.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Anon, thanks for coming by and leaving some comments. I agree about The Who - legends for sure. They were never the same after Keith died.

Perplexio said...

On Terry's final album with Chicago they finally recorded Mississippi Delta City Blues which they'd been performing live since their days on the club circuit back in the late 60s. It starts with the lyrics:

"I've got a smile that I put on/ when I'm not at home, when I'm not alone/But it's so hard to fake that smile/When my insides are cryin' and my heart's torn in half"

Incidentally that album also features the song Take Me Back to Chicago written by Danny Seraphine for his late friend Freddie Page who had been the drummer for Illinois Speed Press. But the timing was such that it seemed like the song was for Terry Kath-- "Take me back to Chicago and lay my soul to rest/Where my life was free and easy/Remember me at my best."

The album also includes the Seraphine penned Little One which he wrote for one of his daughters but it was sung by Terry who left behind a wife and daughter of his own-- so the song seemed as much for Michelle Kath as it did for Danny's daughter. "Oh Little one, it's so nice to have you near me/To feel once again the love you bring here/Oh my little one, I am sorry for the pain you felt/Say the word and Daddy will make it disappear"

Any one of those songs alone would have made the song selection on Chicago XI seem eerie in light of Terry's untimely passing... All three of them on the same album make it heart-wrenchingly poignant and more than a little bit spooky.