Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Today of course is the 50th anniversary of the day that is called "The Day The Music Died". Or less famously, the day that Waylon Jennings didn't die. Sadly, in rock and roll, "Live Fast, Die Young" is a cliche grounded in reality.

I've never been to the site of that plane crash, but in 2004, I photographed the graves of a few Michigan natives for inclusion in a book of rock and roll gravesites. I visited the graves of Fred "Sonic" Smith and Rob Tyner from the MC5, Florence Ballard of the Supremes, David Ruffin and Paul Williams of the Temptations among others. All of the graves I visited were surprisingly modest and well cared for. Jackie Wilson's grave is not Jim Morrison's grave and that is as it should be.

Fred "Sonic" Smith's marker is a stone from a mountain in Scotland where he and his wife Patti Smith used to hike.

The Temptations' Paul Williams' gravesite. He died in 1973. I took this photo in November of 2004, more than 30 years after his suicide, and his grave had fresh lipstick prints.


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