Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's and Texas Music

We usually stay in on New Year's Eve. It's a lot drunker and more expensive out there than it is on a regular night (we went out last night for Dale Watson's Austin farewell show, so more on that later).

There are some tragic passings in the music world that happened on either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day (same day, really, if you're still up).

Eric Hilliard Nelson, AKA Ricky Nelson, died in a DeKalb, Texas plane crash on New Year's Eve, 1985. He was on his way to a gig. I sure loved Ricky Nelson, he had a voice that I can listen to all day. I saw him play live that same year for my birthday.

In 1953 on January 1st, the great Hank Williams was found dead in his limo. The weather was too bad to fly, so he got a driver. He was also on his way to the next gig. In a coincidence, his widow (Billie Jean) later married Johnny Horton, who was killed in a car crash returning from a gig in Austin. It has been said that both musicians played their last gig at the Skyline in Austin, but I don't know if that's verified on the part of Hank. I still love listening to Johnny Horton too.

In 1997 on New Year's Day, Townes Van Zandt was found dead. There is a documentary out now about him, which I blogged on before, but still haven't seen it. We are waiting to see it on DVD.

Eddie Shaver, son of Billy Joe Shaver and guitarist in his band, died on January 1st, 2000 in Waco, Texas. He was supposed to have played a New Year's gig the night before at Poodie's. Listen to this audio Fresh Air interview with Billy Joe. He talks about it a little. You can't not love Billy Joe Shaver after listening to it.

In other, less tragic news for this weekend in history, these gleaned from my History Channel link on the sidebar:

12/31/1969: Jimi Hendrix's new band debuts, the Band of Gypsies.

12/31/1947: Roy Rogers married Dale Evans.

1/1/1962: Beatles audition for London record company Decca on the same day as Brian Poole & the Tremeloes. Decca signs the Tremeloes but not the Beatles.

1/1/1863: Lincoln signs Emancipation Proclamation

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