30 Years Later: 9 Songs For John Belushi
Thirty years ago today, we lost John Belushi, one of the most brilliant comedic actors of his time. He was a member of some of the best seasons of Saturday Night Live in the mid to late '70s, and starred in the classic comedy Animal House. He was one of the Blues Brothers with fellow SNL-cast member Dan Akroyd, meaning that he was responsible for one of only three good films ever based on SNL skits (the other two being both Wayne's World films).
He was also a man who lived excessively. He was known for his incredible energy (often finishing rehearsals by passing out in exhaustion), his love of practical jokes, his fondness for lively music, and the unfortunate substance abuse that eventually killed him. His memory remains a testament to both the power of genius, and the dangers of a rock-star lifestyle.
Here's to you, John.
Das Racist, "You Can Sell Anything": We can't prove it, but we're pretty sure Das Racist is the only rapper who has managed to work the word "cuneiform" into a song. Belushi would've gotten a kick out of Das Racist's dry, sometime surreal delivery, and hopefully would've warned him against the habits that would get him "found like a brown John Belushi."
Grateful Dead, "West L.A. Fadeaway": Written the same year as Belushi's death, "West L.A. Fadeway" doesn't mention Belushi by name, but is obviously inspired by his death in the Chateau Marmont. Belushi joined the Dead on stage at least once, singing backup during an encore at a 1980 New Jersey gig.
Meat Loaf. "All Revved Up and No Place to Go.": Belushi and Meat were good friends and occasionally worked together, such as when Meat understudied for Belushi in National Lampoon's Lemmings. The both were larger than life figures who never did anything half-way. Belushi helped get Meat's career as a musician going when he managed to get him booked on SNL playing "All Revved Up and No Place to Go." Be sure to check out Meat's autobiography for some really great Belushi stories, including a geography-based cocaine competition.