Saturday, December 18, 2010

RIP: Captain Beefheart

Musician and artist Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, died yesterday from complications with multiple sclerosis.  Vliet was only 69.

Though oft recognized as an American genius and found on all-time greatest album lists the world round, Vliet was generally considered something of an idiosyncratic mystery.  His music, on albums such as Trout Mask Replica (sidenote: I have always hated that cover art) and Lick my Decals Off, Baby featured challenging, blues-influenced rock and roll music.

Captain Beefheart divided listeners, likely earning more head scratches than critical accolades.  I have to admit, while his music never threw me, its sound was never something I went for. Yet, he was a renegade and a visionary, not to mention an influence to numerous artists.  Tom Waits, Devo, and Kurt Cobain all counted him as one of the greats, and his passing comes too soon.

[via NPR]

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