Death Race

Death Race 2016: Here are the Musicians Who Died in September- Please Pray!

Now cognizant of the dwindling rock star pool that is 2016, you've no doubt you've clicked on a story like this a couple of times every day on FaceBook:

"BREAKING: Rock Music Legend Found Dead — Please Pray"

I only just noticed that the source of this click bait turns out to be Republicans. Much the same way right-wing wackos like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage have tried to co-opt classic rock for their hate-filled talk radio screeds, now you have sites like and trying to attract boomers in a sympathetic mood for dead rock stars who might maybe stick around for some lame duck hate on Obama and an up-to-the-minute calls for the head of Crooked Hillary. And the "please pray" might be a nod to the Christian conservatives who don't know where to turn this election season.

In July, the late great Scotty Moore was chosen to be the sacrificial lamb for these sites. In August, it was Matt Roberts of 3 Doors Down. And in September it is... (drum roll please... Matt Roberts of 3 Doors Down again!

That's right, the Republicans could find no one to shed a tear over this month so they turned poor, dead Matt Roberts into a late summer rerun. Admittedly for this brief 30 days hath September month, the death roll has been considerably low on star power - I mean, not one Rock and Roll Hall of Famer! If this was the Labor Day Telethon, it'd be Hour 14 where instead of Frank and Dean, we're getting Norm Crosby and Florence Henderson.

But we have and should shed tears over the loss of pioneering legends in zydeco, bluebeat, ska, country, folk, and southern hip-hop. 

Stanley Dural, Jr., a.k.a. Buckwheat Zydeco, 68, American accordionist and bandleader, lung cancer
Stanley Dural, Jr. has been the public face of zydeco for the past 30-odd years; hell, his name alone decrees it so. Just imagine if  Frankie Yankovic named himself Buckwheat Polka! Dural played with everyone from Paul Simon to U2 to Willie Nelson to the Boston Pops and entertained at both President Clinton's inaugurations (he probably would've played a third Clinton gala had he lived). Buckwheat Zydeco (the band) was the first zydeco act signed to a major label (Island) and the only zydeco act that played a small part on the big screen in cinematic epics ranging from Fletch Lives to the Dylan-inspired I'm Not There

Jean Shepard, 82, American honky-tonk singer-songwriter, Parkinson's disease

Along with Kitty Wells, Shepard was one of country's music's earliest honky-tonk angels. She had the forlorn voice, the high altitude hair, songs that gave people a good excuse to cry ("A Dear John Letter," "Slippin' Away") and the real-life tragedy to back it up like only a real queen of country can. This essential track, "A Tear Dropped By," was recorded in 1963, five months after she lost her husband Hawkshaw Hawkins in the same plane crash that killed Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas. 

Shawty Lo, 40, American hip-hop musician (D4L), traffic collision.

A founding member of the Southern hip-hop act D4L, Carlos Walker went solo in 2008 with the single "Dey Know," which Beyonce paid tribute to during her set on the Formation Tour in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 26, five days after his death.

John D. Loudermilk, 82, American singer and songwriter, bone cancer

Loudermilk specialized in writing songs that sounded like they were written at a far earlier time.  His "Tobacco Road," a 1964 hit for The Nashville Teens, could've been a Lead Belly song and "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" sounded like a 1930s standard when The Casinos made it an anachronistic smash in the winter of 1967. His biggest hit was "Indian Reservation," which saw several permutations before it became a number one for The Raiders in 1971. His earliest successes came writing Eddie Cochran's first chart record "Sitting in the Balcony" and The Everly Brothers' eeriest death disk "Ebony Eyes." This song was banned by the BBC for its morbid lyrics about a plane crash, so naturally, it vaulted to number one in the UK. That it comes scarcely a year after the Everlys lost their pal Buddy Holly in a similarly fatal crash makes Don's spoken word passage about turbulence even more compelling. And yet he once likened releasing it as a single was like finding a large bundle of cash on the beach — although they knew it was wrong, they took the money and ran with it.

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Serene Dominic
Contact: Serene Dominic