I must have seen The Roches perform at least three dozen times during the 80's. I'm a sucker for harmony, and few voices blended so perfectly together as Maggie, Terre and Suzzy Roche. There was that special sibling thing, just like Brian, Carl and Dennis or Phil and Don, and like the Wilsons and the Everlys, it wasn't just about singing thirds and fifths. The Roches arrangements boggled the mind.
On stage, The Roches were more than singing sisters. It seemed almost impossible to take your eyes and ears off of them for any period of time. If you sipped your drink, or simply turned your head for a few seconds to gawk at your fellow concertgoers, you could miss a highlight in the form of a snide but loving remark from sister to sister, or banter that was so brilliant and hilarious, you would have been just as happy not hearing any music at all.
Maggie Roche lost her cancer battle over the weekend. She was 65. This one hit pretty hard. Their Christmas shows became tradition, and because The Roches never hit superstar status, you were never too far away from them. Another huge loss in my music world.
If that wasn't enough, Peter "Overend" Watts, bassist for Mott The Hoople, lost his battle with fucking cancer at the age of 69. The rhythm section of one of the most important bands of my youth, gone within a year of each other. (Mott drummer, Dale "Buffin" Griffin died almost a year ago to the day, after a long battle with Alzheimer's.)
Mott The Hoople came into my life at the same time as David Bowie and T.Rex. This was a seismic shift in my listening habits after being schooled on all things Beatles for years. "One Of The Boys" from the classic "All the Young Dudes" album might as well as have been death metal to my young ears, and I can remember a feeling of liberation, while blasting that loud, chaotic finish to "Violence" from the "Mott" record. What the hell did I just discover? Rest in peace, Pete.