Man, it’s been a bad few days for rock and roll. Let’s go through the recent list…
Just yesterday, Steve Mackey, bassist of Pulp, died at the age of 56. Formed by vocalist Jarvis Cocker in 1978, Mackey joined Pulp for their third album, 1992’s Separations which contained the single “My Legendary Girlfriend.” Macey also worked as a songwriter/producer with ‘newer’ bands like Arcade Fire and Florence and the Machine.
In the “unsung heroes” category, monster multi-instrumentalist (what “Acoustic Guitar” magazine called a “maxi-instrumentalist”) David Lindley died last week. Working his craft since the sixties, Lindley played fiddle, guitar, and pedal steel (and more) for artists like Joe Walsh, Dolly Parton, Toto, and Bob Dylan. He might be best known for his slide work backing Jackson Browne, and that is Lindley you hear singing falsetto on “Stay” during the live Jackson Browne version of “The Load Out.”
Known for wearing wildly colored polyester shirts against clashing colored pants, Lindley earned the nickname “Prince of Polyester.”
Gary Rossington, an original member guitarist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, died this past Sunday at seventy-one. Battling health issues for years, it is Rossington you hear playing the famous opening slide on “Freebird,” as well as contributing to the unique guitar punch of his seminal rock band, as well as one of its songwriters.
I remember seeing Skynyrd, the first and only time I did, in fact, when they opened for Kid Rock at NJ’s PNC Art’s Center (which was once, and wonderfully so, the Garden State Arts Center). Knowing and agreeing with the constant criticism of the band carrying on as they did with fewer original members (and in fairness, many of these members were in the band until they died), watching Rossington manage the opening slide of “Freebird” was certainly one of those highlight musical moments for me.
Rossington’s co-founded the Rossington Collins Band with Allen Collins, another original Skynyrd guitarist in 1980, post the tragic Skynyrd plain crash in 1977. The band released two albums (enjoying hits “Don’t Misunderstand Me”) disbanding in 1982, he then formed The Rossington Band with his Dale Krantz-Rossington, releasing two albums. And in 2016 released Take It On Faith, credited to him and Dale.
More coming, I’m sure, given the ages all these great musicians are coming to. But man, are we the lesser with them going, going, gone.