The King, The Queen and a vagabond bluesman

THREE MUSIC LEGENDS died on this day, August 16 — in 1938 and 1977 and 2018 — a king, a queen and an itinerant blues guitarist.

Official records show that Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, died 43 years ago at the age of 42 but for millions of people in the world, Elvis will never die.


Aretha Franklin, who began her career as a child singing gospel at a Baptist Church in Detroit and went on to become the Queen of Soul, died two years ago at 76.




We all know about Elvis and Aretha, but less is known about the founding member of the ‘Forever 27 Club,’ blues guitarist Robert Johnson, who died 82 years ago.


Robert Johnson is considered a master of the Delta blues style. He wasn’t around for long but his music had a great influence on many musicians of later years, including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Brian Jones and Keith Richard.


There are several theories how he died, including murder. According to his friend and fellow musician, Dave “Honeyboy” Edwards, Johnson was poisoned by his lover’s jealous boyfriend.

Johnson was playing at a country dance party near Greenwood, Mississippi, when he met his fate.

“There was this jealous man at the dance who had a good looking woman, and he didn’t want to lose her. And Robert was about to take her away,” Edwards related.


The jealous man put a poison-laced pint of corn whiskey on the chair next to Johnson as he played, according to Edwards. Johnson took a swig and started feeling sick. Edwards took him to a friend’s house. Johnson died three days later.

“Robert loved whiskey and women,” Edwards said, “but some women you got to leave alone, you know what I mean?”

Johnson’s death makes him the founding member of the ‘Forever 27 Club’ — famous musicians who died at 27.



Robert Johnson’s influence on generations of musicians has been huge.

Eric Clapton called him “the most important blues musician who ever lived.”

Bob Dylan wrote: “If I hadn’t heard the Robert Johnson record when I did, there probably would have been hundreds of lines of mine that I wouldn’t have felt free enough or upraised enough to write.”

Said The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, “You want to know how good the blues can get? Well, this is it.”



That’s the story of Robert Johnson. But the last tribute on this page is for the King.

Thank you very much.

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Shotgun to the head

Generation X guru and Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain died from the blast of a 20-gauge shotgun on April 5, 1994. He was 27.

Kurt Cobain suicide at 27
His body wasn’t discovered until April 8th. He had barricaded himself in the greenhouse above the garage of his Seattle home by propping a stool against the door.
Kurt Cobain suicide at 27
Kurt Cobain’s garage


Inside the greenhouse, Kurt apparently took some drugs from a cigar box that contained his stash and wrote a rambling, emotional note in red ink. He placed his wallet on the floor, open to his Washington driver’s license, which friends believe was to help the police identify him.

Kurt Cobain suicide at 27

Some claim the rock superstar was murdered — and there is ballistic evidence that could support that. The weapon was a Remington 20-gauge shotgun with an ejector on the RIGHT side of the gun. But photos of the death scene show that the bullet shell ended up to the LEFT of Kurt’s body.
If he had shot himself, murder theorists say it would be impossible for the shell to exit the gun and end up on the other side of the room. Besides which, he had three times the lethal dosage of heroin in his system which would have killed him anyway.


But the consensus is suicide. And I think it was to spare his baby daughter Frances from growing up with a bipolar drug-addicted father who was going insane.


My circled emphasis shows that he killed himself because: “I can’t stand the thought of Frances becoming the miserable, self-destructive, death rocker that I’ve become.” And that “her life will be so much happier without me.”


But the murder theory sticks — and the suspect is Courtney Love, his wife and mother of his daughter. Their relationship had been tempestuous and violent. But what was her motive?

A month before his death, Kurt reportedly told his Los Angeles lawyer, Rosemary Carroll, that he wanted Courtney out of his will because he was planning to file for divorce.

He also said he planned to quit Nirvana and the music business because he couldn’t handle the fame, and it infuriated Courtney that he would walk away from his $10-million career.

Money, fame and drug, murder theorists claim, gave Courtney the motive to kill her husband.

Nirvana — Smells Like Teen Spirit


To Boddah

Speaking from the tongue of an experienced simpleton who obviously would rather be an emasculated, infantile complain-ee. This note should be pretty easy to understand.

All the warnings from the punk rock 101 courses over the years, since my first introduction to the, shall we say, ethics involved with independence and the embracement of your community has proven to be very true. I haven’t felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music along with reading and writing for too many years now. I feel guilty beyond words about these things.

For example, when we’re back stage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins, it doesn’t affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd which is something I totally admire and envy. The fact is, I can’t fool you, any one of you. It simply isn’t fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of would be to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I’m having 100% fun. Sometimes I feel as if I should have a punch-in time clock before I walk out on stage. I’ve tried everything within my power to appreciate it (and I do, God, believe me, I do, but it’s not enough). I appreciate the fact that I and we have affected and entertained a lot of people. It must be one of those narcissists who only appreciate things when they’re gone. I’m too sensitive. I need to be slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasms I once had as a child.

On our last 3 tours, I’ve had a much better appreciation for all the people I’ve known personally, and as fans of our music, but I still can’t get over the frustration, the guilt and empathy I have for everyone. There’s good in all of us and I think I simply love people too much, so much that it makes me feel too fucking sad. The sad little, sensitive, unappreciative, Pisces, Jesus man. Why don’t you just enjoy it? I don’t know!

I have a goddess of a wife who sweats ambition and empathy and a daughter who reminds me too much of what I used to be, full of love and joy, kissing every person she meets because everyone is good and will do her no harm. And that terrifies me to the point to where I can barely function. I can’t stand the thought of Frances becoming the miserable, self-destructive, death rocker that I’ve become.

I have it good, very good, and I’m grateful, but since the age of seven, I’ve become hateful towards all humans in general. Only because it seems so easy for people to get along that have empathy. Only because I love and feel sorry for people too much I guess.

Thank you all from the pit of my burning, nauseous stomach for your letters and concern during the past years. I’m too much of an erratic, moody baby! I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.

Peace, love, empathy.
Kurt Cobain

Frances and Courtney, I’ll be at your alter.
Please keep going Courtney, for Frances.
For her life, which will be so much happier without me.




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