There’s a lot of dying going on, but this afternoon I read a story in yesterday’s NY Times about a singer songwriter I’d not heard of. Brett Smiley had the aim back in the day to be a similarly big star in the glam rock world as David Bowie, and coincidentally died two days before Bowie, at age 60.
Josh Max became friendly with Smiley in Central Park in the 80s. They played guitars together, critiqued each others songs, but it wasn’t until Max looked Smiley up on the internet after his death that he learned the whole story, which involves Andrew Loog Oldham, a scrapped 1974 album that wasn’t released until 30 years later, oh, and the drugs. But Max does a convincing job introducing Smiley as a genuine nice guy whose story is certainly sad but maybe not exactly tragic.
Loog Oldham recorded that original album, but after the release of the first single (Space Age b/w Va-va-va Voom), he pulled the record. It wasn’t put out until 2004. The reason?
Max writes: “I just refused to let them release the album,” Mr. Oldham said. “I knew it would be a disaster, and we’d already had one — the 45 r.p.m. release of ‘Space Ace,’ ” a song from the record.
You be the judge.