We’re reaching peak rock star death era – many of the musicians active during rock music’s formative years are reaching their seventies. This week we lost Walter Becker of Steely Dan, who was an integral part of one of the 1970s’ best and most consistent bands, and he was rightly mourned. But Holger Czukay of Can also passed away this week, and he deserves a moment in the spotlight as a driving force behind a unique and influential band.
Czukay was born in 1938, and studied under Stockhausen, before taking up with rock music, after hearing The Beatles’ ‘I Am The Walrus’. He was part of a formidable rhythm section in Can with drummer Jaki Liebezeit, who also passed away this year. But as well as his bass lines, Czukay was the group’s editor, honing the group’s jams into coherent songs.
I already covered Can’s ‘Halleluwah’ a few weeks ago, but Czukay also had a respectable solo career after leaving Can. His 1979 album Movies is included in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and the most accessible track is ‘Cool In The Pool’, a showcase for Czukay’s infectious bass and goofy humour.