December 8, 1980 & December 8, 2004. John Lennon and Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott respectively were shot. If there is a running theme in music besides “Sex, Drugs & Rock and Roll” it’s the consistent muting of some of it’s brightest stars before their time and I thought today’s Top 5 could acknowledge that.

So, today’s Top 5 is “Artists Who Died Too Soon”.

Here are mine:

Robert Johnson: The lack of reliable documentation about Robert’s life has allowed plenty of rumor and conjecture up to and including the story the he sold his soul to the devil. However, what is known is that Robert Johnson recorded exactly 29 songs and in doing so, essentially defined a genre. On August 16, 1938, Robert died at the age of 27 from symptoms consistent with strychnine poisoning.

Robert Johnson – Cross Road Blues

Jim Croce: Jim released 3 albums while he was alive. His 4th album, I Got A Name, was released shortly after his airplane crashed in Louisiana on September 20, 1973. While Jim’s best known for hits like “Operator”, “Time In A Bottle” and “I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song” I think his more interesting works were his character songs.

Jim Croce – You Don’t Mess Around With Jim

Hank Williams: Died on January 1, 1953 at the age of 29 and still worshiped at the altars of country music some 50+ years later. Originally, I wasn’t gonna include anyone who died from a drug overdose on my list but it kept feeling incomplete without Hank on it so I broke my one rule. I guess Hank was worth that though. Interesting factoid: The last single released while Hank was alive was the prophetic, “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive”.

Hank Williams – I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive

Tupac Shakur: It’s easy to just blow 2Pac off as “a gangsta rapper”. It’s easy for people who aren’t fans of hiphop to just blow rap off all together. Both are shortsighted and shallow. If ever the phrase, “muting of some of it’s brightest stars before their time” applied to an artist, it’s Tupac (though he has released more albums dead than he ever did alive).

Tupac – So Many Tears

Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines & Cassie Gaines: Were they the best southern rock band? Probably not. Do they define it the southern rock sound? No doubt about it and they might have gone on to be the most important band to ever emerge from the south. But an airplane took that chance away in 1977.

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Tuesday’s Gone


Have you heard the news? It was announced last week that an English company is now offering the service of pressing your ashes into a vinyl record after (obviously) you die. This is basically the sloppiest wet dream in the history of music geek soiled undergarments, and it bears the obvious question; You’re dead and they’re making a record from your withered corpse….what 5 songs are gonna make up your Side A?

There are quite a few directions one could go with this…I originally started down the sentimental route but quickly realized that I’d prefer my corpse rock once my consciousness left it….

The Black Keys – Stack Shot Billy: IMO, the best Black Keys song ever and I’ve often said only a dead person can listen to it an not start a head bob. As a dead guy, I still wanna preach the gospel of the Stack Shot.

The Drive-By Truckers – Never Gonna Change: Probably not the “best” DBT song ever but easily one of the Top 5 and the one I can listen to the most times in a row.

Scott H. Biram – Spoonful: One of my favorite blue songs being sang by one of my favorite artists. Better put a smiley face on that record.

Tim Barry – A Thing Of The Past: So I can continue to preach the Tao of letting you and not what you do for a living define you long after I’ve been defined, expired and recycled.

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Tuesday’s Gone: Couldn’t help it. Love the song. Subject matter is spot on and damnit…..I can be sentimental too.


As promised, this week’s Top 5 is for bands you would have loved to have seen but now the opportunity has been taken from you or wasn’t even an option by the time you were born. I don’t think much more really needs to be said about it, so let’s all get to listing!

Lynyrd Skynyrd: I know a tribute band currently tours under this name and by all accounts they put on one hell of a show, but man, what I wouldn’t give to have seen the original lineup in some hot, sweaty Jacksonville divebar back in the day.

Lynyrd Skynyrd – The Ballad of Curtis Lowe

N.W.A.: Scariest hiphop band to ever bust into the mainstream. Truth be told, back in the day I would have been afraid to have gone to one of their shows, but given the chance today, I’d be there with a cup of sippin’ whiskey and a faux-gangsta lean.

N.W.A. – Straight Out Of Compton

Jimi Hendrix: Jimi didn’t invent feedback, nor was he the first to successfully harness it, but nobody did it better. Fuck Jim and Janet. The true god of the hippie generation was Jimi.

Jimi Hendrix – Little Wing

Sex Pistols: I know, it’s cliche, Sid wasn’t even an important part of the band. It’s true, but he played an important part of my, albeit naive, childhood, and I’d love to have seen that live. I guess this could also have simply been called “Punk”. I would have loved to have seen the punk scene in the ‘70’s.

Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant

Robert Johnson: IMO he’s the father of damned near everything in music that makes my dick hard. I listed him last ‘cause he is the beginning and the end of this subject for me. If Doc Brown showed up in my driveway with that sweet, sweet DeLorean and said I could travel back to see one show in the past, it would be to the 1930’s for a chance to see Mr. Johnson play his guitar.

Robert Johnson – Terraplane Blues
Robert Johnson – Come On In My Kitchen