Which Dead Rock Star is most lamented?

There are a lot to choose from. Here’s a few:

John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Duster Bennet, Brian Jones, Syd Barrett, Paul Kossof, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Kurt Cobain, Ian Curtis, Lou Reed, Elvis Presley, Bo Diddley, Jackson C Frank, Otis Redding, Nick Drake, George Harrison, Rory Gallagher, Fela Kuti, Jack Bruce, Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Sandy Denny, Eric Clapton (I know he’s not dead but he might as well be), Brian Epstein, Rory Gallagher, John Bonham, Syd Barrett, Johnny Winter, Junior Kimbrough, and RL Burnside.

Let me see!

John Lennon produced two brilliant solo albums, some great singles and then became mediocre. He was a great political activist. But there was no sign of any of that coming to life at the time when he was shot. The worst thing is that it deprived us of the Beatles reforming. I’m sure they would have done. They were always better together than apart. Paul has done nothing, Ringo likewise and George had a short purple patch.

The Doors were brilliant. They remained so up until they split. Jim was the perfect Rock Star. He had the looks, attitude, voice and lyrics but he was raddled by booze. They might have reformed but could Jim ever have got back the splendour of a few years before?

Jimi Hendrix was a genius. I love everything he did, all his jamming, messing about and noodling. I’ve hundreds of hours of Jimi and I never tire. I think he would have gone on to even greater things. Horizons were opening up. What he was doing at the time was spectacular. There has never been a guitarist, showman or songwriter like him. I love his voice too. What a loss!

Janis had a great voice and a belting personality to go with it but I think that was it. She performed a few brilliant songs and gave a hell of a performance but was already hollowed out by booze, arrogance and drugs.

Duster Bennett was a hell of a nice guy. He produced some great stuff for Blue Horizon and worked brilliantly with Pete Green’s Fleetwood Mac. It’s a shame he went to sleep at the wheel. Who knows what might have been?

Brian Jones was the leader of the Rolling Stones before he was usurped by Mick and Keith. When he was ousted from the Stones he had succumbed to the Rock Star arrogance, too many drugs, sycophants and hangers on. He was the first to start getting involved with ethnic music and was one hell of a musician. Maybe there was a way back? Maybe not?

Syd Barrett is a legend. Sometimes someone comes along who does something completely out of left-field. Syd was one of those. He was probably the most creative, imaginative person in the Rock field. His mind worked differently. He heard different sounds, and those sounds were great and helped create a whole new psychedelic genre. But by the end the acid had exacerbated his mental illness and he was a ghost of what he once was.

Buddy Holly was another of those rare geniuses. He wrote some of the most brilliant Rock songs in his brief three years of Rock life. Right up to the end it was all incredible. He was planning to get back with the Crickets. I would love to have seen him interacting with the Beatles. I think they would have fed off each other. He was the one who might have really got into the sixties vibe. His imagination would have run riot. I’d love to have heard what came out of that.

Nirvana were another revolutionary band and Kurt Cobain was the mind behind them. The Foo Fighters have never lived up to the creativity of Kurt. But was he burnt out? Could he have got something going again. He seemed a bit bereft.

The Velvet Underground were really different and experimental. In many ways it was the coming together of a lot of extremely different people and musical ideas. John Cale, Nico, Mo and Lou all brought different things. John Cale was that weird experimental discordant music. Lou brought the Garage Punk thing. He went on to create some great things but I wonder.

Elvis Presley changed the world. That 1956 combo was red hot. It revolutionised Rock ‘n’ Roll. The sixties Elvis was a film making Pop star and parody of himself. By the time he died he was a million miles away from the Hillbilly Cat he’d once been. We’d seen the best. It was over in 1958.

Eddie Cochran was the other Rock ‘n’ Roller who might have gone on to join in with the sixties Rock Scene. He was a musician and innovator. He had great musical ideas. I’d have loved to hear where they might have gone.

Bo Diddley lived to a good age and always produced great shows even if his music was stuck in a bit of a slot – it was a great slot. I think he’d probably done all he could and amazing as he was it was probably enough.

Ian Curtis was the lead singer with Joy Division and as I never got into them I don’t miss him much.

Jackson C Frank was a really nice gentle soul who did not deserve all the monstrosities that happened to him. His one album was a brilliant and inspirational. He deserved all the recognition going. If only he’d lived long enough to produce more of the same calibre. His later work was not as good. I don’t think it was going to come.

Michael Smith was just as good as Bob Marley. He was killed by a mob at a political rally. His album ‘Mi cy-aan believe it’ is probably the best reggae album ever. Imagine what he might have become?

Nick Drake was another of those mentally disturbed singer-songwriters of great genius who died much too early. Perhaps the dope exacerbated the decline? Perhaps it requires a touch of madness to attain real genius? There should have been a lot more. He was exceptional.

George Harrison was another Beatle who had a purple patch as a solo artist but never achieved the heights he had with the Beatles.

Fela Kuti was another musical genius and rebellious political inspiration. The guy had nerves of steel and the whole of his life was an inspiration. The music was also brilliant. But was there any more to come?

Jack Bruce was not only a great bass player, irritator of Ginger Baker, great vocalist and songwriter. He was an essential part of Cream who were one of the best bands ever.  But he’d lived a long life and had done all that he had to give.

Keith Moon was probably the best Rock drummer ever though I’m sure Ginger Baker would argue with that. It is not often that a drummer steals the show  was the consummate showman as well as being a technically brilliant musician.

Sandy Denny – what an incredible voice and delightful person. She should have been enormous.

John Bonham – an incredible drummer. Created that Led Zeppelin sound!

Otis Redding was the ultimate Soul singer. At the time in the sixties there was a bit of a gap between the Underground Psychedelic stuff and Soul. Otis was making that crossover when he died. Soul died with him. If he’d lived it might have been different.

Robert Johnson died in 1937. He laid all the stuff down that everybody else built on. He was due to play in New York in front of a white audience and Big Bill Broonzy took his place. Big Bill was OK but imagine what might have happened if Robert had taken off?

Elmore James was the greatest slide guitarist ever. He died before the sixties Blues boom took off and never played to a white audience. I loved him. I can’t imagine how good it would have been to see him.

Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker and Howlin’ Wolf were all Chess Blues giants who were essential to everything that happened in Rock. But I guess they had their lives and had done it all. I’d sure like to see them playing live now though. There’s nothing like it.

RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough were the extraordinary North Country Blues innovators who gave rise to the North Mississippi Allstars and Black Keys. I’d have loved to see them play.

Rory Gallagher was a genius guitarist right up to the end even though he was destroyed by alcohol. He was superb.

Eric Clapton is not dead but he might as well be. Everything after Cream was cabaret. God is dead.

Johnny Winter was a brilliant guitarist though when I saw him live he was tedious. What he did though was to revive the careers of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. What he did for the old Blues guys was amazing. A bit more of that wouldn’t have gone amiss.

I suppose at the end I would have to go for Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Buddy Holly and Keith Moon. I’m not sure if you’d agree?