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March 30th, 2012 By Mike Breen | Music | Posted In: Music History

This Date in Music History: March 30

Artists gone too soon and the 30 greatest punching bags in Pop music

bass-wolf-nashvilleBilly (Bass Wolf) of Guitar Wolf, performing at the Exit/In in Nashville. (Photo: Kaldari)

On this day in 2005, two young musicians died well before their time.

After reportedly battling a bipolar disorder and drug addiction, SoCal Punk drummer Derrick Plourde — who had played with bands like The Ataris, Lagwagon (the band that gave him his start), The Mad Caddies and others — killed himself with a gun. He was 33.

Lagwagon's seventh studio album, Resolve, released later in 2005, was inspired by and dedicated to Plourde. The album became Lagwagon's first to break the Billboard 200, notching a peak position of 172. Here's the single (used on a Tony Hawk video game soundtrack … as Plourde would have wanted?), "Heartbreaking Music."



Also today in 2005, Hideaki Sekiguchi of the Japanese Garage Punk trio Guitar Wolf (known simply as Billy or Bass Wolf) had a fatal heart attack in Tokyo, just after completing a successful tour of America. Sekiguchi was 38 and left behind a wife and two kids. Guitar Wolf — which has put out albums on indie labels like Matador and Narnack in the States — carried on with a new bassist and has released three albums since Sekiguchi's death.

Here's Guitar Wolf's "UFO Romantics" from the band's album of the same name (Sekiguchi's last with the group):


Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a March 30 birthday include legendary Blues singer/harmonica player Sonny Boy Williamson (1914); drummer/poet/songwriter with The Moody Blues, Graeme Edge (1941); drummer for The Surfaris and Love, Ken Forssi (1943); revered Rock/Blues guitarist Eric Clapton (1945); singer/songwriter ("Fast Car") Tracy Chapman (1964); schmaltzy Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion (1968); singer/songwriter Norah Jones (1979) and onetime Rap star MC Hammer (1962).

While Hammer (born Stanley Burrell) did much to popularize Hip Hop, becoming one of its first superstars, he remains one of Pop music's greatest punching bags.

Some might say it was his money issues; many had a hard time feeling sympathy as they saw or read about some of the gaudy "luxury items" Hammer had to give up. But, mostly, Hammer was a victim of his music (and videos) just not standing the test of time even slightly.

Spin magazine recently ran its list of The 30 Biggest Punching Bags in History and somehow, despite his running partner Vanilla Ice coming in at No. 6, Hammer was nowhere to be found (nor was, miraculously, fellow birthday celebrator Celine Dion). Click here to read Spin's rundown, here to read it without having to click to the next page 400 times or just look below for the straight-up list. I say take Duran Duran or Lawrence Welk (?!) off and put Hammer in. Justice for Hammer!

1 Milli Vanilli
2 Limp Bizkit
3 Kenny G
4 Creed
5 Insane Clown Posse
6 Vanilla Ice
7 Emerson, Lake & Palmer
8 Matchbox 20
9 Pat Boone
10 Yoko Ono
11 Nickelback
12 Michael Bolton
13 Journey
14 Billy Ray Cyrus
15 Puff Daddy
16 Winger
17 Barry Manilow
18 KC and the Sunshine Band
19 Lawrence Welk
20 The Osmonds
21 Duran Duran
22 Christopher Cross
23 Smash Mouth
24 Black Eyed Peas
25 Lana Del Rey
26 Candlebox
27 John Mayer
28 New Kids on the Block
29 Phil Collins
30 The Monkees

And here's the "full version" of one of Hammer's greatest hits (he had to drag down James Brown with him?). Happy 50th, Stanley! No gasface for you this year, you loveable ol' pants wrangler.


 
 
03.31.2012 at 04:21 Reply

This may be a few years before your time Mike since I think I may be 4 or 5 years older than you. But the great punching bag when I and my cohorts started really listening to radio back in around the 7th grade was the BeeGees.  Every guy was against them majorly.  Probably 1.)because BeeGee fever was in full effect and they were everywhere (including younger brother Andy).  Q102 played them endlessly and I distinctly remember Saturday's around noon when I'd get home from delivering the Cincinnati Post and turn on the Top 40 countdown, they were number 1 for so, so many weeks.  (Man, how I'd root against them.) and 2.) being from southeastern Indiana and most of the kids being the offspring of men who really had to physically work hard every day, their soft, elegant music was sort of an affront to the area's sensibilities (I'm sure that applied to Cincy and the Midwest in general, as well).  .....But I mention this because I was just walking down the street and some store was blasting 'Night Fever' and since I hadn't heard it in such a long time, I was literally nearly in heaven for a few moments.  What a truly awesome song.  I actually think it and their other major songs from SNF soundtrack probably rank alongside the best of the Stones, Beatles, etc. as truly timeless jams.  ....So I would personally like to use this opportunity to apologize to the BeeGees for dissing them back in the 7th grade.  I was wr,wr, wr, wr wrong. You guys put out some really epic jams there for a while.  Well done.

 

 
 
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