Photo by Alisa Beth Cherry Locks of love: The late great Ian MacLagan photographed with the author this past September
Today, lovers of rock and roll all across the globe are engulfed in grief at the loss of two legends. Bobby Keys, the man whose brilliant sax solo ignited the classic "Brown Sugar" and so many other iconic anthems, passed away from cirrhosis on Tuesday. Then, as if fate were insistent on inflicting a one-two punch, the news of the death of Ian McLagan, an essential member of the Small Faces and the Faces came on Wednesday.
It's devastating, their sudden departures, the loss to the world of music, the spirited personalities that illuminated so many lives through their talents. It's devastating, depressing, and too much to take in. Great music is immortal. Alas, its champions are not.
Both men shared similar resumes. Each played with the Rolling Stones, Keys for more than 40 years, McLagan on occasion. Both contributed to the golden age of '60s and '70s rock, when purity and substance reigned in rock. Neither was really known as a front man, but both were rock stars regardless, whether due to indiscriminate indulgence, perfect posturing, an edgy attitude or simply their solid support. It's safe to say that these two were the real deal. Even when they approached their seventies -- Keys was 70, McLagan 69 -- their gray hair, wrinkles and a well worn visages couldn't mask their thriving spirits.