After years of suffering from multiple sclerosis Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, passed away on December 17th 2010 at the age of 69.
I suppose, or I rather do hope, it is completely unnecessary to explain his enormous influence on modern music. Beefheart was one of the most innovative and most creative artists of our times. Being brought up in America of the 1950s Beefheart was not only familiar with blues, blues rock and rock and roll, but also – in the 1960s – was strongly influenced by what was going on in music at the time. The mixture resulted in an amazing complexity of genres and, today, even though Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band are considered one of the pioneers of psychedelic rock, it is obvious and undeniable that their music was as much progressive as it was traditional. It influenced and still influences generations of rock musicians of various kinds, from blues rock to protopunk, from experimental rock to punk and alternative rock. It is not a coincidence Beefheart became known to larger audiences due to his strong artistic relationship with Frank Zappa.
And even though I hate grand and sentimental statements, yes, I have to admit – the world will be much more sad without him. Rest in peace, dear Captain. And, yep, thank you for all these amazing hours of listening to your great recordings, of which the ones from the late 1960s are my favorite.
For more information on Beefheart, click here – quite a nice blog, obviously by a fervent Beefheart fan :-]
Unusually for me, I am including three (sic!) youtube videos below – some of my favorite Beefheart tracks that I was actually raised on. Of course, it is not my intention to summarize so many years of his amazing work in three videos only. But they may give a hint on what his music was like to those of you, who never had any experience with it whatsoever.