We’re very saddened to hear that Don has passed away.
He has succumbed to complications with the multiple sclerosis that he’s been suffering with for many years.
Our thoughts go out to Jan.
The world has lost a unique individual.
Update: 11am 19/12/2010
I have been too upset to write much as yet so have just been watching all the wonderful tributes coming into our blog here and elsewhere across the web. I do hope Don, and Jan, were aware of the great love and respect in which they are held.
Don’s music has been my companion since 1967. Safe As Milk changed my view on music and become the yardstick by which everything else was measured. Strictly Personal was a mind-blowing delight (despite what Don said about it!) … and then, of course, came Trout Mask Replica. I have written elsewhere about how you need to listen in a different way to ‘get it’ … but once you’ve done that music isn’t the same any more.
Like many others I’ve been working my way through my collection of Beefheart albums. Some of those amazing lyrics now taking on an added poignancy or loaded significance. Many of those lyrics have already been quoted in amongst the comments added to this blog so I’ll not repeat them here.
Strangely, the one track which did for me, affected me in a way it has never done before, was the instrumental Big Black Baby Shoes. I didn’t understand at first why this should choke me up more than any of the other more lyrically relevant songs.
I finally realised it was obvious … Don wasn’t there but we still had his astonishing music.
Even after 40 years Don’s music still surprises me, inspires me and makes me smile through its sheer audacity and exuberance. I’m certain it will continue to do so for me, and for future generations who have ears and gotta listen.
Thank you, Don