8 March

Pick a Day

8 MARCH

In Music History

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2016 Beatles producer George Martin dies at age 90. Paul McCartney says in a statement: "From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I've ever had the pleasure to know."

2014 Jerry Corbitt of The Youngbloods dies of lung cancer at age 71.

2011 Alice in Chains bass player Mike Starr dies of a prescription drug overdose at age 44. Starr was the last person to see the group's lead singer, Layne Staley, before he died in 2002.

2011 St. Clair Lee (of The Hues Corporation) dies at age 66.

2010 After an array of court hearings and postponements (some so he can get dental work), Lil Wayne finally begins serving a one-year sentence on firearms charges stemming from a 2007 incident when police found a gun on his tour bus. He serves eight months at Rikers Island.

2009 Blues singer/guitarist Willie King dies of a heart attack less than two weeks before his 66th birthday.

2009 Country singer/songwriter Hank Locklin dies at age 91.

2003 British pop star Adam Faith dies at age 62 of a heart attack following heart surgery.

2003 It's like American Idol, but country: The singing competition show Nashville Star debuts on the USA network. It lasts six seasons; Miranda Lambert comes in third on Season 1.

1997 Raymond Edwards of The Silhouettes ("Get A Job") dies at age 72.

1996 Sting releases his fifth solo album, Mercury Falling.

1995 Ingo Schwichtenberg (drummer for Helloween), suffering from drug addiction and schizophrenia, commits suicide by jumping in front of a train.

1993 Beavis and Butt-Head, a show about two animated idiots who watch MTV, debuts on MTV.

1993 Jazz singer Billy Eckstein, whose rendition of "I Apologize" was awarded the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999, dies at age 78, a few months after suffering a heart attack.

1990 Rolling Stone calls Jefferson Airplane's disastrous new comeback album Most Unwanted Comeback of the Year.

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Pigpen Of The Grateful Dead Dies

1973

Grateful Dead keyboard player Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, a founding member of the band, dies at age 27.


A lifetime of alcoholism combined with hepatitis he contracted during the band's 1972 European tour severely damaged Pigpen's health. By the time he plays his last concert (June 17, 1972), he can only get through the first set. As he got worse, he hid the severity of his decline and eventually broke off all contact with the band, saying that he didn't want them to see him die. Days before his death, Pigpen called photographer Bob Seidemann to go for a drive. As they cruised together, Pigpen asked Seidemann to stop the car and take his picture, which is the last known photo of Pigpen. The musician is found dead a couple days later, having passed of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage in his home in Corte Madera, California. He's become yet another member of the "27 Club." The band is devastated. In a speech at Pigpen's funeral, Garcia says that the death marks "the end of the original Grateful Dead." Some of Pigpen's memorable writing contributions to the band include "Operator," "Easy Wind," and "Mister Charlie." His stage presence, however, is widely considered his greatest gift to the band. "It's hard to explain Pigpen's magic to Deadheads who never saw him perform, who never saw him work a crowd," Dead biographer Blair Jackson explains. "Tapes don't capture his essence, because a lot of it was the way he moved and the way the band grooved behind him... he had an incredibly powerful presence." Garcia, who says Pigpen could have been "a Van Morrison" if he had more ambition and discipline, gives an even more flattering appraisal of his fallen friend. "Pigpen was the only guy in the band who had any talent when we were starting out. He was genuinely talented. He also had no discipline, but he had reams of talent... He also had great stage presence. The ironic thing was that he hated it — it really meant nothing to him; it wasn't what he liked." The song "He's Gone," which was first featured on the Europe '72 live album, becomes the band's "anthem" or "eulogy" for Pigpen. His kind personality and wild stage exploits live on forever in Grateful Dead lore.

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