The past few months the music world has lost a lot of spectacular performers, especially throughout the different genres of rock. From David Bowie and Glenn Frey, to Scott Weiland and Lemmy Kilmister, each and every singer left an impact that cannot be replicated nor replaced. With the most recent passing of Prince on April 21, it has left all music fans saddened and stunned with yet another loss of an all-time great. For real music fans, nothing beats the original lineup. From the energy and passion, to the classic songs and the memories they might hold, that is what fans resonate with the most. Some groups such as AC/DC and Alice in Chains have retained success after the loss of their lead singers; however, long term success in the music industry isn’t easy to come by, and some of the greatest bands to ever perform have parted ways due to the death of a band mate. Everybody is familiar with the legendary bands like Led Zeppelin and Nirvana that disbanded after the deaths of John Bonham and Kurt Cobain, but there are countless other groups that had something different to offer in terms of music, but whose time was sadly cut short.
Blind Melon first gained popularity during a time when those who were infatuated by music would find their inspiration by habitually watching MTV. Their biggest hit, “No Rain” and the music video of the chubby girl in the bee costume are what fans remember most. Although, ever since lead singer Shannon Hoon’s accidental overdose in 1995, the bee costume is the last thing fans are left with. “No Rain,” is a relatable and curious introspective that is no longer played in the constant rotation it once was, but can still be heard on radio stations today. The artistry and creativity Hoon brought to Blind Melon has always been a spectacle. The band possessed a very soothing feel, but was tossed in with the rest of the alternative bands given the time they hit the scene. The passing of Hoon prevented Blind Melon from having the impact bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden had. Hoon’s place among the great singers of the early 90s has unfortunately been overshadowed by all of the “what if’s.” Given the short amount of time the original lineup was together, their ability to produce long lasting, influential songs was quite impressive. The band wrote songs with an almost somber yet whimsical tone that hasn’t been done the same ever since. The way Hoon reflected his personal stories into his music spoke to all fans and their own struggles and self-reflection. His music was an epitome of that era and the hope listeners had for more great music to come. In 2006 the band reformed with new singer Travis Warren and released their first album “For My Friends” in 2008, but the revival was short lived. After all these years it’s apparent Blind Melon lost its sight without the presence of Shannon Hoon.
The Germs completely rattled the West Coast punk rock scene when they first formed in 1977. One of the most influential bands to come out of Los Angeles at that time, the band’s stage performance and antics were even more thrashing and intense than other bands at that time. Their concerts were filled with chaos as lead singer Darby Crash would frequently come out on stage incredibly high, oftentimes arguing with the audience, breaking bottles and rolling around in the glass. Crash’s behavior was somewhat a foreshadowing of his future. In 1980 he and his then girlfriend formed a suicide pact and injected themselves with an incredibly lethal dose of heroin. His girlfriend survived but Crash wasn’t so fortunate. Their only album, “(GI)” came out in 1979, just a year prior to Crash’s death. The Germs had all the prowess to take after Iggy Pop, the Ramones and the Sex Pistols; however, much like Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, Darby Crash wanted to live and die young as a cultural icon of the punk rock world. The death of Crash was also completely overshadowed. Just one day after Crash committed suicide, John Lennon was killed and music fans found another icon whose life they wanted to cherish a little bit more. The band’s influence was still felt by many LA bands that came after them, including Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1983 and Jane’s Addiction in 1985. Additionally, Germs Guitarist Pat Smear went on to achieve success as a touring member of Nirvana and eventually as the lead guitar player for Foo Fighters. In 2005, actor Shane West got the lead role in a movie about Crash’s life, and after doing a rehearsal with the original members, West became the new singer of the band after 25 years of inactivity. Together they performed at two Warped Tours and re-recorded some of their original songs; however, West left the band in 2009 and no new music has been made. As the group has never been able to reclaim any permanent success since the death of Crash, it appears as though Darby Crash’s desire to embrace the live fast attitude has fit his plan to become a rock junkie immortal.
The Beastie Boys have left their mark as one of the longest tenured and most influential hip-hop groups of all time. If you were a fan of hip-hop or you were a fan of rock, the Beastie Boys could incorporate both. The 30 plus year career for the trio from New York was filled with countless classic anthems. Songs like “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” “Sabotage,” “Intergalactic” and “So What’Cha Want” each possessed musical influences that could be enjoyed by all people no matter what racial or cultural class you belonged in. The group not only crossed boundaries with a mix of rock and hip-hop, but they crossed boundaries with their fashion and all around artistry. As three Jewish “white-boys” from New York City, no other groups were taking the musical risks they were. They were able to evolve from an anomaly of musicians who loved being wild, to incredibly talented artists who challenged musical tendencies and whose complete body of work was not just a hip-hop album, but a mashup of social and cultural issues they weren’t afraid to address. After Adam “MCA” Yauch lost his three year battle with cancer in 2012, the group decided they would no longer perform as the Beastie Boys out of respect for Yauch. During their time, Beastie Boys frequently discussed the issue of race in the music industry. It was groups like the Beastie Boys that allowed for a greater acceptance of artists exploring cultures and sounds that weren’t unique to their personal lives. The music they made brought people together in an era where that was appreciated the most. No matter what race you are it was okay to like hip-hop, which is a feeling that has now been passed down to our current music culture. Fans will remember the Beastie Boys not only as one of the pioneers of old school hip-hop, but as the heart that made the music beat so loud.