Music by Turner: Year was bittersweet with loss of many musicians

Pat DiNizio, the lead singer of The Smithereens, died Dec. 12. FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Well … another year is almost in the books, and just like last year, we lost far too many great musicians.

 

Some were rock pioneers that included Fats Domino and Chuck Berry. An innovative pianist and singer along with the grandfather of rock and roll guitar will never “Roll over Beethoven” on “Blueberry Hill” ever again.

Even losing Gregg Allman, whose demise was not unexpected, hurt many folks deeply as it truly marked the end of a very special era. The Allman Brothers are no more.

Like many of you, I feel that Tom Petty’s passing was the most surprising. He had just completed a major tour just a few days before we lost his sweet “Southern Accent” forever.

ONLY A MEMORY DEPT. Another one of the most revered musicians by many local rockers who died Dec. 12 was Pat DiNizio.

Pat, who was 62, was the lead singer and writer for the New Jersey-based retro rockers the Smithereens. His major influences were The Beatles, The Who, and even The Beach Boys!

The Smithereens played in Augusta numerous times, mostly at the much-missed Washington Road watering hole called the Post Office. Gee, I sure do miss that place!

The foursome made many friends during their visits to Augusta. Sure, they did their fair share of partying as many of us did. Yes, there are some stories that I’ve heard from former Post Office co-owner Kevin Tierney and longtime musician and promoter Joe Stevenson that best not be detailed in a family newspaper.

BLOOD AND ROSES DEPT. The Smithereens were mainstays of local radio, especially WRXR-FM who played most of their singles and several album cuts.

These guitar-driven songs included Behind the Wall of Sleep, Blues Before and After and their biggest hit A Girl Like You.

Yes, Pat DiNizio wrote and sang every one of ‘em! Catchy chord sequences with great melodies never go out of style.

DiNizio and the rest of the band were wise to hang out at their local gigs as they never lost their “bar band” attitude. They were just regular guys who were raised on classic ’60s and ’70s rock and loved being musicians, chasing and living the dream that so many find elusive.

Rest in peace, Pat. Like you, your power chords and great songs will live on forever. “Beauty and Sadness,” indeed.

 

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