Captain Beefheart, born Don Van Vliet, died today at the age of 69 from complications related to Multiple Sclerosis in California.
Together with the Magic Band, Captain Beefheart’s experimental mix of traditional blues, folk, rock and roll, psychedelic, and avant garde composition would earn himself a place among the legends of the late 60’s psychedelic scene and a cult following. Though his albums were beloved by critics, particularly the cultural milestone Trout Mask Replica, he achieved little charting success. His last album Ice Cream for Crow was released in 1982, before he retired from music to focus on his paintings.
He is survived by his wife, Jan.
After the jump, some of the good Captain’s best.
On “Where the Action Is!,” the television debut of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band performing “Diddy Wah Diddy.”
From their debut album, Safe as Milk, “Electricity.”
From The Spotlight Kid, “Too Much Time.”
Here’s Captain Beefheart performing the lone vocal throughout Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats on “Willie the Pimp.”
From his last album, and an attempt at a music video, “Ice Cream for Crow.”
Finally, my personal favorite track on Trout Mask Replica, “Moonlight in Vermont.”
Rest in Peace, Captain.