He took Buddy Holly’s place (more or less) on the day the music died. He gave Bob Dylan one of his first jobs. He put nearly forty hits on the charts and took plenty of the dubious, often nonsensical, heat for “killing” rock and roll in the supposed wasteland years between Elvis going in the army and the Beatles arriving on our shores.
He took $500 he earned playing local shows to get his band from Fargo, North Dakota to Minneapolis and into a recording studio. I’ve made that drive. It’s longer than you think.
After that, he never looked back.
Today, during this awful year that refuses to die, he passed away, having outlived his wife of forty-two years by fourteen months.
His job in the rock and roll narrative was the same as his job in the rock and roll reality: To be the sane one.
It’s not the sort of job anyone ever gets credit for here–except maybe from all the others who have those same sort of jobs and know they get paid less in part because they don’t have to put up with quite as much nonsense.
Bet they know better in the next world.
Some Nobel Prize winners even know better in this one…