March sure turned out to be a crappy month for rock stars, especially for English rock stars. This month, in addition to a wonderful actress, we lost members from Ten Years After, Yes, Iron Maiden, and the Spinners, together with a session musician that knew and played with everyone who was anyone. And check out how relatively young they all were when they died. Sheesh.
82. Bonnie Franklin, 69, January 6, 1944 - March 1, 2013:
Actress; American actress; pancreatic cancer
Bonnie Franklin played Ann Romano, the hot mother of the hot Barbara Cooper (Valerie Bertinelli) and the hot Julie Cooper (Mackenzie Phillips), who was always trying to avoid the lecherous advances of their apartment building superintendent, Dwayne Schneider (Pat Harrington, Jr.), in that wonderful television series that was a must to watch, "One Day At A Time", which ran from 1975 to 1984. We learned a lot about sex and drugs and rock and roll from this show. Yes we did.
83. Alvin Lee, 68, December 19, 1944 - March 6, 2013:
Musician; English rock guitarist & singer; complications from surgery
Best known as the guitarist and vocalist for Ten Years After and that amazing song "I'd Love To Change The World". I never get tired of listening to this song. All you need to know is that the dude played at Woodstock. Yeah. Tell me, where is sanity?
84. Peter Banks, 65, July 15, 1947 - March 7, 2013:
Musician; English rock guitarist; heart failure
Peter's claim to fame was as the original guitarist for Yes. He's one of the Founding Fathers of Progressive Rock. After leaving Yes, he played with Blodwyn Pig for a bit, just before the group disbanded. He then went on to form Flash.
85. Clive Burr, 56, March 8, 1957 - March 12, 2013:
Musician; English heavy metal drummer; multiple sclerosis
Clive played on the first three albums of Iron Maiden, including the jaw-dropping commercial breakthrough "Number Of The Beast". Damn, I played that album until the needle broke, the little head-banger that I was. The best way to send Clive into the next world is to crank some of his best work: "The Number Of The Beast" and "Run To The Hills". Thanks, Clive. You will be missed ... for it is a human number ...
86. Robert "Bobby" Smith, 76, April 10, 1936 - March 16, 2013:
Musician; American rhythm and blues singer; pneumonia
Another great musician gone. This time, we have the singer from the Spinners. I fell in love with his voice from that quintessential 1970s song "They Just Can't Stop It (Games People Play)". Again, the best way to give tribute to the man is to just kick back and listen to all of his wonderful music. Bobby made it cool for white kids from the suburbs to dig Motown, watch "Soul Train", and grow their hair out into "white afros" (and I have the photos to prove it). "And you can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey!" Bobby, I wish you love, peace, and soul.
87. Hugh McCracken, 70, March 31, 1942 - March 28, 2013:
Musician; American rock guitarist; leukemia
Hugh was probably the least well-known in this group among non-musicians. However, among the leading lights of rock in the late 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s he was one of the most sought-after session musicians around. This dude played with EVERYBODY, from The Left Banke, way back in 1967, to Steely Dan's comeback, in 2003. If you've been listening to rock, you've heard McCracken at some point. I thought some of his best acoustic work was on Billy Joel's "The Stranger", from 1977. So, put on a song from that album and remember the man. Here's one of my favorites. Raise a bottle to Hugh.