Don Van Vliet, Captain Beefheart, died yesterday.
I went to see Captain Beefheart when I was 15. He was playing a very small room somewhere at MIT and we all sat on the floor while he blew our minds.
Astonishing, amazing, driving, challenging, exciting music like I’d not heard up to that point. Beefheart was a musical genius, but as has been said of Wagner “His music is better than it sounds” — that is, his music is not always easily approachable. But brilliant it is and his astonishing five octave range was just the most noticeable of his myriad talents; a musical genius that ran deep and consistent and that was extremely influential on many other musicians.
I highly recommend the Wikipedia biography and, more important, his music.