Maurice Gibb, 12/22/49 – 1/12/03. Born in Douglas, England, Maurice was a member of the singing trio, The Bee Gees along with his twin brother Robin and older brother Barry. He played the bass and piano. Maurice died of complications resulting from a twisted intestine. He was 53.
I remember watching a show with Barry and Robin after they lost their brother, it was difficult to see them so choked up and grieving. Maurice's death was unexpected, which always seems to be much harder for those left behind.
Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
June Carter Cash (Valerie June Carter Cash) 6/23/29 - 5/15/03. June was a singer, songwriter, actress and author. She was married to Johnny Cash for 35 years (he died 4 months after her). June died after complications from a heart valve replacement surgery. She was 73.
June was a beautiful woman with an intersting life. She was a multi-talented musician, she played She played the guitar, banjo, harmonica, and autoharp. Her relationship with Johnny was long and tumultuous at times but I think it was one of those deep, intense loves and its interesting that he died so soon after she did.
Warren William Zevon, 1/24/47 – 9/7/03. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Warren was a singer/songwriter known for his rather dark brand of folk songs. The list of peers that he worked with over the years includes some of the biggest names in rock music including Bruce Springsteen, David Gilmore, Linda Ronstadt and Jerry Garcia. He died of Mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Warren was 56.
Warren had a few big hits. He had a unique style and was a good storyteller. He overcame a serious drinking problem, a major accomplished, but then unfortunately he was diagnosed with cancer. I love his voice, his speaking and singing voice. You can hear an example of both here along with one of his quirky songs.
Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London
Johnny Cash, (born J. R. Cash; 2/26/32 - 9/12/03. Born in Kingsland, Arkansas, Johnny was one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century. He was known for his deep voice, his story-telling songs and interesting personal life, including time spent in prison. He often performed for prisoners and was loved by many. Johnny died of complications of diabetes four months after the death of his beloved wife, June. He was 71.
I hesitate to say much about Johnny because its seems overwhelming to try to put into words all that Johnny was to music and to our era. He was the "man in black" but hung out with all the presidents in the White House. He spent time in prison as both an inmate and an entertainer. He overcame addiction and heart disease. His music doesn't seem to fit a genre, it was rockabilly-punk-country-rock-alternative-blues. He collaborated with way too many bands to name here. He also had an acting career and wrote a novel. One of my friends left a comment that says a lot: " Johnny Cash was punk rock before there was such a thing as punk rock".
Johnny Cash - Ring Of Fire
Robert Palmer, (Alan Palmer) 1/19/49 – 9/26/03. Born in Bately, England, Robert was a singer/songwriter and guitarist. He led the group “The Power Station”. He was best known for his hit song “Addicted to Love” and his soulful vocals. Robert died of a heart attack. He was 54.
I was sitting in front of my computer when I got one of those "breaking news" emails saying that Robert had died, it was hard news to take in. I had all Robert's music and love his voice. He was one classy guy that also had a sense of fun about him. Most of us remember those provocative videos with all the beautiful (but emotionless) women, they were a huge hit on MTV. He died suddenly and is missed.
Robert Palmer - Addicted To Love
Elliott Smith, (Steven Paul Smith) 8/6/69 – 10/21/03. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Elliot is remembered for being a talented singer/songwriter who played multiple instruments. His song “Miss Misery” was nominated for an Academy Award, it was written for the movie “Good Will Hunting”. Elliott suffered from depression, drug addiction and alcoholism and died in an apparent suicide (2 stab wounds to chest). He was 34.
Ellitot's story is very sad. Apparently he thought about killing himself for years, even tried once by jumping off a cliff, and openly talked about his plans to end his own life. I think its a case where depression came before drug addiction and the drugs were used as an attempt to kill the pain of depression. Such a talented man, successful, handsome. But depression, or addiction for that matter, attacks all sorts of people it doens't play favorites or choose only the "down and out". Here is a quote form the head of his record label, Christopher Cooper, "I talked him out of thinking that he wanted to kill himself numerous times when he was in Portland. I kept telling him that he was a brilliant man, and that life was worth living, and that people loved him."