Abe Vigoda was 94. He played over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series "Barney Miller" and the doomed Mafia soldier in "The Godfather."
Glenn Frey was 67. He was a founding member of the Eagles,singing lead on hits such as "Take It Easy", "Peaceful Easy Feeling", "Tequila Sunrise", "Already Gone", "Lyin' Eyes", "New Kid in Town", and "Heartache Tonight".
He had a successful solo career as well, recording the hits "The One You Love", "Smuggler's Blues", "Sexy Girl", "The Heat Is On", "You Belong to the City", "True Love", "Soul Searchin'", and "Livin' Right".
"Iron" Mike Sharpe was 64. He wrestled in the World Wrestling Federation from 1984 until his retirement in 1995, billed as "Canada's Greatest Athlete".
Alan Rickman was 69. He's the actor best known as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films.
David Bowie was 69. He was the legendary musician who excelled at glam rock, art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica during his eclectic 40-plus-year career. He had a string of hits, from "Space Oddity" and "Rebel Rebel" to "Young Americans" and "Fame". Then, there's his beloved collaborations, "Under Pressure" with Queen and "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" with Bing Crosby.
In a bizarre coincidence, Emm Gryner visited on Saturday and we spoke at length about her singing and playing keyboards in David Bowie's band. She also worked with Chris Hadfield on his cover of "Space Oddity". Hear that episode here.
Pat Harrington, Jr. was 86. He was the actor best known for his role as building superintendent "Schneider" on the sitcom One Day at a Time.
Natalie Cole was 65. She followed her father Nat King Cole into the music business with hits like “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” and “Unforgettable.”
Wayne Rogers was 82. His Trapper John character on M*A*S*H was my very favourite in that excellent series.
Lemmy Kilmister was 70. He was the lead singer and bassist for Motörhead, best known for the albums Ace of Spades, Orgasmatron, and Rock N’ Roll.
About 11 years ago, Lemmy recorded a song with Dave Grohl's Probot. It was called "Shake the Blood" and it was awesome.
Scott Weiland was 48. He was the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, two bands I've seen live and thoroughly enjoy.
In 1993, I was heavily into Pearl Jam, then I heard "Plush" on the radio. My gut reaction was that it was a Pearl Jam cover band, but after hearing it a few more times, I found myself singing it aloud at the top of my lungs. "Plush" led me to buying Core, an album i just loved.
By 1994, I was spending most Monday nights at The Phoenix for Strange Paradise. That's where I first heard "Vasoline" from their follow-up, Purple. Purple was far more polished than Core, which meant more epic radio singles. "Interstate Love Song" and "Big Empty" are two songs you're going to hear a lot this weekend, but they're pretty damn great.
In 2000, I caught the Stone Temple Pilots and Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Molson Amp. I was quick on the draw and scored sweet seats, just behind Blue Jays pitcher David Wells. STP were fantastic that night.
I caught Velvet Revolver at that same amphitheatre in 2007 and Scott was still on. It was a triple threat: STP hits, Velvet Revolver hits and Guns N' Roses hits. In 2008, I saw Stone Temple Pilots for the last time at Edgefest in Downsview Park. STP was scheduled to go on before Linkin Park and there was no doubt Scott wasn't happy about it. When he still hadn't taken the stage an hour after his scheduled time, I actually checked my phone to ensure he hadn't passed away.
And that was the deal with Scott. We knew he wasn't long for this world. He was an addict who struggled with heroin abuse, and when I saw Scott Weiland I thought of Layne Staley, who died of a heroin overdose in 2002 at the young age of 36. Here's an entry I wrote about the trouble with Scott Weiland in 2004.
I've always been a big fan of STP. I saw them a few years back and Weiland was electric on stage. I was sorry to hear the band broke up this year and I included their farewell single in my top five of 2003. Unfortunately, the man is seriously addicted to smack and I'm afraid he's not long for this world so long as he keeps falling off the wagon. I've believed this to be the case for a while, even picking him in the Dead Pool my brothers and I drafted back in 2000.
So many musicians I dig have died as a result of a heroin overdose. Brad Nowell, lead singer of Sublime, died of a heroine overdose in '96. Their self-titled third and final release remains one of my favourite discs of all time. Andrew Wood, lead singer of Seattle's Mother Love Bone, died of a heroin overdose just prior to the release of their major label debut in '90. Members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hole and Sex Pistols have all succumbed to a heroin overdose. Layne Staley, lead singer for another of my favourite bands of all-time, Alice in Chains, died two years ago of a heroin overdose. Lest we forget Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana. His death certificate may claim he died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound, but there is no doubt as to the role heroin played in his untimely demise. This was the hardest pill to swallow.
Here's hoping Scott Weiland doesn't join the others in this tragic club. I fear it's already too late. It's just a matter of time before he succeeds.
We don't yet know what killed Scott, he's claimed he's clean now, but I'm betting decades of self abuse played a role. Trippin' on a hole in a paper heart.
Update: Police found cocaine on his tour bus.
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