Allen Collins (Larkin Allen Collins Jr.) 7/19/52 - 1/23/90. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Allen was one of the founding members and guitarists of Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, and co-wrote many of the band's songs with late frontman Ronnie Van Zant, including Free Bird. In 1986 wrecked his car while under the influence. The accident killed his girlfriend and left Allen paralyzed from the waist down. He died from chronic pneumonia, a complication of the paralysis. Allen was 37.

Another loss for a great band. Its hard to read the story of his life, he suffered many losses. He was in the plane when it crashes and crushed several vertebrae but recovered. Then his wife died of hemorrhaging during a miscarriage. This began his abuse of alcohol and drugs which led to the above mentioned accident. He was never able to play guitar on stage again but when Lynryd Skynyrd reunited "as part of his plea bargain for the 1986 accident, Collins addressed fans at every Skynyrd concert with an explanation of why he could not perform, citing the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as drugs and alcohol. Because of Collins' accident, the band donated a sizable amount of concert proceeds from the 1987-88 tour to the Miami Project, which is involved in treatment of paralysis.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
via FoxyTunes

Del Shannon
, (Charles Weedon Westover), 12/30/34 – 2/8/90. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan Del was a singer/songwriter best known for his huge hit “Runaway” in 1961. He committed suicide by shooting himself. Del was 55.

Definitely one of the most covered songs ever, "Runaway" seemed to be his magnus opus. Del's career had a lot of ups and downs over the years. He collaborated with many other musicians and was considered as a replacement for Roy Orbison in the Traveling Wilburys after Roy's death. A longtime sufferer of depression, Del was using the anti-depressant Prozac when he took his own life. This added to the ongoing controversy of whether or not certain drugs increased suicidal feelings in some patients. (sidenote: I am an advocate for anti-depressants because I believe in most cases, such as my own, they can prevent suicide. But medications affect everyone differently that's why it is critically important to be under a doctor's care and supervision).

Del Shannon - Runaway
via FoxyTunes

Andy Wood
, (Andrew Patrick Wood), 1/8/66 – 319/90. Born on Bainbridge Island, Washington, Andy was lead singer for Mother Love Bone and Malfunkshun. He was known for his exuberant onstage personality. He died as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage following a heroin overdose. He was 24.

One more for the list of very young men who became involved in the killer drug, heroin. I hate that shit, I really do. From what I've read of Andy he was quite a character and enjoyed going into the audience during live shows with his wireless bass. I can imagine that the ladies loved this - he's beautiful. Sadly he died before his second band, Mother Love Bone released their first record. I want to scream "WHY!?" about the drug related deaths that continue to fill this page, but instead I will ask "How?". How can we put an end to it? How can we convince people not to try it "just once". I know for a fact that's all it takes to become owned by this powerful and deadly drug. RIP Andy, you were special.

Mother Love Bone - Stardog Champion
via FoxyTunes

Stevie Ray Vaughan, (Stephen Ray Vaughan), 10/3/54 – 8/27/90. Born in Dallas, Texas, Stevie Ray is the most influential rhythm and blues rock guitarist of all time. Known for his passion, talent and unique sound, he is often found in the top ten of a list of “greatest guitarists”. Stevie Ray died in a helicopter crash. He was 35.

You know, its hard for me to believe that Stevie Ray is no longer here. I listen to his music so often and it feels like he should still be here, I know that sounds odd but its true. I love to share the story of the time I had the honor of meeting him. It was at a very small venue in Huntington Beach, California called "The Golden Bear". Sitting in the audience literally feet away from Stevie I was mesmerized. I could see the sweat soaking his clothes as my eyes were transfixed on those hands....that guitar. Afterward my friend and I introduced ourselves (thank you, Nuel, for insisting we meet him, I had no idea then how much it would mean to me today). Stevie was soft spoken, kind, very humble, and appreciative of our praise for his music. It was like he didn't even know how great he was. Unbelievable. Losing Stevie Ray was such a great loss to the world of guitar music. Fortunately his influence lives on and his music is still played often on any radio station worthy of being on the air. I had the privilege of meeting an extremely talented young singer/songwriter/guitarist this summer named Davy Knowles. When I met him, I told Davy he reminded me a lot of Stevie Ray. I hope he realized that was a huge heartfelt compliment of the highest acclaim - and I meant it!

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble - Pride and Joy
via FoxyTunes

Tom Fogerty
, 11/9/41 - 9/6/90. Born in Berkely, California, Tom was the a singer/songwriter for Creedence Clearwater Revival. When his brother John took over the majority of lead vocals and song writing Tom left the band and the brothers remained estranged. He died of AIDS related respiratory failure/tuberculosis. Tom was 48.

Tom's life ended when a blood transfusion gave him the AIDS virus which in turn left him susceptible to many other illnesses. Most people are familiar with the discord between John and Tom Fogerty. Its not right to take sides since I wasn't there but it seems to me that both had "issues" and its hard to imagine brothers ending a relationship over music/business. I don't know what else to say.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River
via FoxyTunes


Starrlight said...


Andy is in the group shot at least.

Daniel said...

Very handy that you wrote this blog.Thank You !

Bill P said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Starrlight said...

More trivia. The Alice In Chains song was written for Andy.

Tonal Memories said...

SRV died about an hour down the road here in WI. I was supposed to go to that concert. That was one of the first times I cried at the loss of a rock star. Very sad since he had gotten cleaned up and was playing out of his mind. It was a sad day indeed.

Guitarman5150 said...

I remember the day Stevie died very well. I was at home listening to the radio and heard the news. It was like a bolt of lighting shot right through me! I was in SHOCK!

I right then went and put Live Alive on! Eric Clapton was there and said it was one of the worst things he had ever had to deal with. I'm sure it was.