September is only half over, yet we’ve already had to say goodbye to 3 influential music stars. Cult-favorite Daniel Johnston, rocker Eddie Money, and Cars frontman Ric Ocasek have all passed away within a week of each other.
Although he’s not necessarily a household name, Daniel Johnston was a legend in some circles. The folk singer struggled with severe mental illness his entire life, and his music reflected his troubles. He recorded most of his music at home and handed out cassette tapes all across Austin, Texas.
His music appealed a number of other artists–especially Kurt Cobain, who wore a Daniel Johnston T-shirt at the 1992 VMAs. His lo-fi recordings, self-taught songwriting, and earnest, off-key performance style was a huge influence on the indie and emo scenes that would follow.
Johnston passed away on September 11 at the age of 58.
Eddie Money–born Edward Mahoney–had a string of hit singles, but he’s best known for “Take Me Home Tonight,” a song that you can’t help singing along to whenever you hear it. It’s the kind of song that gets an equally big reaction at New York ballgames, high school dances, or cruises for seniors.
In addition to “Take Me Home Tonight,” Money also gave us “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Baby Hold On.” His music is pure 1980s decadence, all cheesy synthesizers, crooning saxophones, and soaring choruses.
The soft rock star looked–and danced–like an accountant throughout his entire career. The terrible, jerky dancing was partially due to a barbiturate overdose in 1980 that left him with a permanent limp.
He got sober in 2003, but the long-time smoker revealed he had developed esophageal cancer in August of this year. He passed away on September 13 at age 70.
As the main songwriter, vocalist, and rhythm guitarist of The Cars, Ric Ocasek was one of the main stars of the New Wave. Their punchy blend of punk rock and 80s synthesizers was just what we needed and shook up the music scene. They were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame last year.
Ocasek’s estranged wife, supermodel Paulina Porizkova, was reportedly the one who found his body at his New York apartment. Ocasek and Porizkova met when she starred in the music video for “Drive.” They were married for 28 years and had 2 children together.
Although they announced their separation in 2018, they remained close friends and never actually filed for divorce. Ocasek was 75 years old.