Bradley James Nowell, 2/22/68 - 5/25/96. Born in Long Beach, California Bradley was the lead singer and guitarist for Sublime. He had musical talent from a young age and was known to be able to play a song on guitar after hearing it only once. Shortly before their first album on their own record label came out, Bradley died of a heroin overdose. He was 28.
As I was sitting here thinking of what to say about Brad my Last FM station starts playing "Seeds" by Sublime. Eerie. His is another story of a young man that got caught in the vicious grasp of heroin and never made it out. He didn't live to see the success of that last album which was ironically first going to be titled "Killin' It" but was changed to "Sublime" after his death.
Sublime - What I Got (reprise)
Ella Fitzgerald, 4/25/17 - 6/15/96. Born in Newport News, Virginia Ella was known as one of the most influential jazz vocalists of all time. Her voice spanned three octaves and she had the ability to improvise and do "scat singing". Her career spanned 57 years. Ella died of natural causes in her home. She was 79.
Ella's voice is legendary. She inspired so many vocalists that followed in her footsteps. I am glad that she lived a long life and died peacefully. Here is a video clip of the "First Lady of Song" doing some of her famous scat singing, I dare you to watch it without smiling.
Ella Fitzgerald - Cry Me A River
Jonathan Melvoin, 12/6/61 – 7/11/96. Born in Los Angeles, California Jonathan was the keyboardist for Prince, The Dickies and The Smashing Pumpkins. He had been fired from Smashing Pumpkins for drug use and died from an overdose of heroin while with their drummer, who was then let go from the band as well. Jonathan was 34.
Damn it to hell, another one! It pains me to write about another heroin overdose. Each time I see those words I feel a sense of loss, fear and anger. I can imagine that Jonathan was a special guy because his death inspired at least three songs to be written including Sarah McLachlan's hit single "Angel" (lyrics here), the Wendy & Lisa song "Jonathan" and Prince's "The Love We Make". When I hear of a band kicking out a member due to their drug use, I understand. One thing to understand about addicts is that if often takes "hitting bottom" before they will choose to get help. Many parents have to kick their children out onto the street in hopes that they will clean up vs. die. I guess for Jonathan it wasn't enough, or it was too late. Its horribly tragic.
Eva Cassidy, 2/2/63 – 11/2/96. Born near Bowie, Maryland Eva started singing at the age of eleven. She was known for her exceptional voice and sadly due mostly to logistical issues (record companies going out of business, etc.) her career did not take off until after her death. She died of melanoma. Eva was 33.
A friend of Eva's wrote to me to be sure I included her here, I am grateful for that. I was really touched reading a bit about her. Its a shame that she gained the most recognition after her death when a compilation of her recordings was released. Melnoma is a serious and frightening form of cancer. Here is something I read about her last performance that brought a tear to my eye, "In her final public performance in September 1996, at the Bayou, she closed the set with "What a Wonderful World" in front of an audience of friends, fans and family." She died only two months later.
Eva Cassidy - Ain't Doin Too Bad