As always, because death don’t have no mercy in this land, the grim reaper took a fearsome toll on the world of music in 1997, one of the 40 years of XRT. It didn’t matter if you played classic rock or classical, pop or blues or even if you worked in the front office, there was no place to hide. But they live on, in our memories, on the radio and in the clouds (heaven and cyberspace versions). A partial list of 1997 past-a-aways:
The man behind the King. Your manager should be the complete opposite. Died of a stroke on January 21. He was 87.
A hit writing machine, usually for someone else. Her versions were definitive. Died of ovarian cancer at 49, just like her mother.
A brilliant but brief career which ended in the Wolf River, a backwater of the mighty Mississippi, on May 29. He was 30 years old.
Ronnie Lane, one time Small Face and then Face. Also made the brilliant Rough Mix album with Pete Townshend. Died of MS complications on June 4. he was 51.
Died in an ultralight plane crash, doing what he loved. Was also a good movie servant of God. He was 53.
Glen Buxton wrote songs and played a mean guitar behind Alice Cooper. He died of pneumonia on October 19 at 49.
One of the most talented players on the Chicago blues scene. Was enjoying well-deserved success when he died of cancer on August 12. He was 57.
A charismatic and powerful front man who wore leather better than anyone since Jim Morrison. Died at his own hand on November 22. Michael Hutchence was 37.
Randy California was the guitarist and founding member of Spirit. He ended as a hero when he drowned saving his son on January 2. He was 45.