Groundbreakers innovate and originate. They’re the artists by whom we measure music’s before-and-after evolution. There was reggae before Lee “Scratch” Perry and reggae music after Lee “Scratch” Perry, acid-rock before and after Pink Floyd, guitar playing before and after Jimi Hendrix. They’re among the groundbreakers who build new roads for all who come after to travel.

A Family Affair

In countless ways, a band or vocal group is like a family. Sometimes these artistic fraternities involve actual family members, and then the process of making music becomes really personal. Such relationships can underpin levels of intimacy and communication that elevate the songs. They can also lead to the kind of squabbles that tear bands apart. Either way, family bands provide a fascinating window into the ups and downs of musical collaboration.

Gone Too Soon

It’s fascinating to watch great artists evolve over long and prolific careers. But what of the artists who die young? When the greats don’t live long enough to see their 50th birthday, let alone their 40th or 30th, we all feel the loss. Whether it’s John Lennon, John Coltrane, Jeff Buckley or countless other talents who died prematurely, it’s not just their families and friends who mourn the loss, but the world.