R.I.P.: Notable Passings Of 2010
Editor's Pick: Dio, man.
Neph Basedow: 2010 commenced on a sad note with the passing of Memphis garage rocker Jay Reatard (aka Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr.). I'd seen him play a tiny show at Chicago's Empty Bottle in 2008 and still consider it one of the best shows I've ever seen. It was definitive punk rock - fast, loud, jam-packed, sweaty, drunken.
Lindsey wrote two-minute lo-fi masterpieces that resurrected the original gritty, fun essence of pop-punk. But what I liked best about him was his allegiance to the rock and roll cause - it wasn't a façade for him; he lived it, breathed it, and took it with to the grave. Figuratively and literally: It's reported that his trademark Gibson Flying V guitar was buried with him.
At just 29 years old, Jay Reatard's passing dealt a heavy blow to 2010 and the music community in general.
Marc Brubaker: On October 10, we lost another of the great voices of soul with the passing of Mr. Solomon Burke. "Big Soul" left us unexpectedly, dying at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, just two days before a scheduled performance. Known best for his song "Cry to Me" and the original "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" which The Rolling Stones co-opted almost immediately, Burke never broke big like his fellow soul men Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. Digging into his catalog is highly recommended - Burke lived far longer than both of those crooners, and there are gems aplenty, such as "I'm Hanging Up My Heart For You" and "If You Need Me."
Craig Hlavaty: Jay Reatard. He was massively prolific, for better or worse, which I can get behind. Some things were better than others, but it was all him, which was what sold me on his catalog. He seemed to be like a faucet of riffs. I talked to him for the Rocks Off blog just weeks before he passed away in early January, and still had his cellphone number in my phone when he died.
We talked about where his music was headed and his recording process. He was a sweet dude, even though he could have been a jerk in a cramped van in the middle of Florida talking to a writer from Houston.