Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hope I Die Before I Get Old

I must confess I had forgotten about this very sad story until I chanced across this first song the other day.

From 1967, please enjoy 14-year-old(!) guitarist Jimmy McCulloch, doing time as as a member of One in a Million, with perhaps the most amazing obscure pop-psych Brit single of the Summer of Love ever, the sublimely early Who-ish "Double Sight".

Let me repeat: McCulloch -- that's him, center front in the group photo -- was 14 years old when that was recorded.

And then, from 1970 -- when he was a grizzled 17 year old -- here he is with the song that guaranteed him a degree of genuine pop immortality.

The utterly transplendent "Something in the Air."

Produced by Pete Townshend, just to add to the various levels of irony.

Thunderclap Newman - Something In The Air .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

After Thunderclap Newman? A very impressive list of credits that includes work with John Mayall, Harry Nillson, Stone the Crows and eventually a stint as a member of Paul McCartney's Wings (he occasionally played bass on stage when Macca switched to piano or guitar).

And then this (via Wiki):

"McCulloch died of heart failure caused by a heroin overdose on 27 September 1979 in his flat in Maida Vale, North West London. He was 26."

Jeebus, what a fucking waste.


The Phantom Creep said...

In that first photo, he looks like the littlest Osmond brother.

Sal Nunziato said...

Jeez. In just a few words and 7 minutes of music, you managed to break my heart. And I KNEW all this.

TMink said...

I had forgotten about McCulloch, and I had never heard the music before! Thanks, and yeah, drug overdoses and addictions suck ass.


Shriner said...

Dead on your feet, you won't get far
If you keep on sticking your hand in the medicine jar.


Wino junko can't say no,
Wino junko, eyes aglow.
Pill freak, spring a leak, you can't say no,
Till you go down again.

At the time, it wasn't clear who these lyrics were aimed at (even though he sang Medicine Jar), but it was pretty telling, I thought.

steve simels said...

What I don't understand -- and an even better example is Keith Richards, obviously -- is how somebody can be that creative and that prolific when they're totally fucked up?

I mean this guy was a junkie for years obviously, but he also had a work ethic the rest of us can only marvel at and envy.

allen vella said...

Always loved Jimmy, TN is up there with my all time faves, just for a few songs..and his solo on the live "maybe i'm amazed" is sweet. Didn't know about OIAM, thank you for this one....truly a terrible loss.

Anonymous said...

Double-Vision sounds more like the Jam then the Who in my humble opinion.


mister muleboy said...

Great post, and a deserved tribute.

And reminder to Just Say No!

Or at least be mindful of Jimmy's warning that "you won't get far" -- clearly not a paean to use.

One brief query/correction: I attended Wings Over America and Wings Over the World shows, and I watched the videos/movies pretty closely, but I don't remember Jimmy ever switching to bass -- that "chore" was relegated to Denny Laine (so that Jimmy could solo). I don't call out anyone, as I'm not a completist, but -- did Jimmy really find himself with only four strings whilst Denny had six?

steve simels said...

Hmm...I may have goofed about the bass stuff. I probably saw it on his wiki entry -- that's a reminder that they're not always 100 percent accurate.

In any case, I regret the error.

Jerry Lee said...

Yo Steve, I can outwork any junkie out there, young Keith included. There must be an awful lot of junkie downtime in between the creative spurts and performances, these guys aren't punching the office time clock every day, you know? I think people like this have their lucid moments when their creative talents take over, then it's time for the next fix and nap time. If I were a rich rock star junkie, I'd pay the best doctors I could find to keep me alive, not all of them have this option when the royalty checks get smaller.

TMink said...

And also, addictions tend to not stop creative output till they have run their course. It is the relationships that deteriorate first.


mister muleboy said...

Although he's not featured as a soloist, I've been pimping this video of "Rock Show" for those who enjoy a taste o' Wings: