Some very sad news for you today – Adam Yauch, one third of hugely influential hip-hop pioneers the Beastie Boys, has died at the age of 47. He was diagnosed with cancer back in 2009 and had been battling the disease ever since.
There’s an old maxim that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture” – not something that we agree with entirely here at BAMM.tv, but something that occasionally feels quite appropriate nonetheless. The Beastie Boys are one of the all-time great party bands, yet also fused their hedonistic antics with genuine musical skill, a fun and frenzied sense of experimentation and a way of crafting a killer tune that left most of their contemporaries in the dust.
In short, we’re saying: it’s Friday, kids. The best way to celebrate the music of Adam Yauch is to raise a glass (or several) – and then dance. Here’s a selection to start you off:
We’ve been losing far too many musical icons in recent months. First came the untimely death of Monkees pop maestro Davy Jones, then – only last week – we bid farewell to all-American country legend Earl Scruggs. Now we’re sad to say goodbye to another pivotal music figurehead: Jim Marshall, the creator of the Marshall amp, and the self-made ‘father of loud’. If you’ve ever had the neighbors complain because your jamming session is shaking their floor like a tectonic plate, chances are it was because of old Jim’s technology.
Marshall Amps released the following statement:
“It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved founder and leader for the past 50 years, Jim Marshall. While mourning the Guv’nor though, we also salute a legendary man who led a full and truly remarkable life.
“Jim’s ascent into the history books as ‘the Father of Loud’ and the man responsible for ‘the Sound of Rock’ is a true rags-to-riches tale. Cruelly robbed of his youth by tubercular bones, Jim rose to become one of the four forefathers responsible for creating the tools that allowed rock guitar as we know and love it today to be born. The groundbreaking quartet also includes the late, great trio of Leo Fender, Les Paul and Seth Lover – together with Jim, they truly are the cornerstones of all things rock.
“In addition to the creation of the amps chosen by countless guitar heroes and game-changing bands, Jim was also an incredibly humble and generous man who, over the past several decades, has quietly donated many millions of pounds to worthy causes.
“While the entire Marshall Amplification family mourns Jim’s passing and will miss him tremendously, we all feel richer for having known him and are happy in the knowledge that he is now in a much better place which has just got a whole lot louder!
“Rest in Peace & thank you Jim. Your memory; the music and joy your amps have brought to countless millions for the past five decades; and that world-famous, omnipresent script logo that proudly bears your name will always live on.”
What’s the definition of a lasting musical impact? Sure, number one albums and sold-out world tours are all very well and good, but let’s be honest here … no-one is going to be praising One Direction for their game-changing approach to genre and structure anytime soon (and if you do hear someone doing that, it’s probably best to refer them to a psychiatric ward).
Nope – a true mark of legendary status is when a genre or sound is named after you. Think about it: if you’re the go-to reference to describe a particular method of music-making, then your legacy is set in stone. Forget download sales – you’re in the dictionary, son!
Which brings us to the ‘Scruggs picking style’ – a method of three-fingered banjo playing that was invented and pioneered by bluegrass idol Earl Scruggs. Scruggs sadly passed away yesterday at the age of 88, and to say that American music has lost a father figure would be an understatement. If you’ve listened to virtually anything within the country genre over the past five decades, you’ve heard the influence of Scruggs coming through. It’s all too easy to remember him mainly as the guy behind the Beverley Hillbillies theme … but to do so would be dismissing one of the all-time greats.
Fellow banjo player Steve Martin had this to say:
“When the singer came to the end of a phrase, he filled the theatre with sparkling runs of notes that became a signature for all bluegrass music since,” he said.
“A grand part of American music owes a debt to Earl Scruggs. Few players have changed the way we hear an instrument the way Earl has, putting him in a category with Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Chet Atkins, and Jimi Hendrix.”