Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: Famous musicians who may be friends and neighbors...
The state of Florida, and South Florida in general, has always proved a popular nesting place for musicians, even if it doesn't come close to cities like Nashville, L.A., and Austin, in terms of famous musical havens.
Nevertheless, a look at the list of artists and performers who have called our little corner of the Earth home suggests the stars have made a sizable investment in local real estate. The roll call of past and present local homeowners -- Cher, Ricky Martin, Lenny Kravitz, Luther Campbell, the Iglesiases and the Estefans, and, yes, KC and the Sunshine Band -- offers a diverse array of big names in the biz. Granted, not every artist appeals to every taste, but I suspect there's not a single South Florida realtor that gives a flip about hits or hipness when they tally those big commissions.
One can go even further back, to the heyday of the late '60s and early '70s, if you really want to study local star power. Eric Clapton, the Marley clan, David Crosby, the Eagles and Joni Mitchell all spent time in South Florida, whether recording at the legendary Criteria Studios or living the bohemian life in Coconut Grove. Just to our north of us, Stephen Stills, Jim Morrison, Don Felder, and Tom Petty sowed the seeds of their sounds before bringing it to the non-Floridians of the world.
Many of those aforementioned artists have long since left, vanished like patchouli, patched bell-bottoms, and the black light posters that once adorned so many college dorm room walls. And South Florida's reputation as a real estate magnet for more cutting edge artists -- save the legions of hip-hop provocateurs (shout out to Mister 305) that call South Florida home -- has long since passed its prime. Honestly, the last time I had a real rock star residing in my neighborhood was well over a decade ago, when I made the acquaintance of one Roy Young. Roy, who?, you ask. A veteran British piano player, Roy claimed that he played with the Beatles early on during their residency in Hamburg, Germany, and that their manager, Brian Epstein, subsequently asked him to join the group. Whether or not that was actually true has never been confirmed, but it did make for an interesting conversation over breakfast at Denny's.
Still, for all the stargazers among us, there are still some notables that continue to reside here and elsewhere throughout our state. Here are a few famous faces you might actually spot while gazing at the produce at your local Publix. All neatly arranged by category:
17. Swiss guitarist whose name translates in English as "Opening Act": Ingwie Malmstein
16. Seventies Southern rockers with an inexplicable love of Jacksonville: Various members of the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Molly Hatchet (Jacksonville)
15. Once teenaged heartthrob who ought not drive drunk: David Cassidy (Fort Lauderdale)
14. A musician whose career took flight with a bunch Byrds: Roger McGuinn (Orlando)
13. A musician whose career took flight with a Jefferson Airplane: Marty Balin (Tampa)
12. Famous singer with a single name who's not Madonna: Beyonce (Miami Beach)
11. Dion's his first name: Dion DiMucci (Boca Raton)
10. Dion's her last name: Celine Dion (Jupiter)
9. Pat Who?: Pat Travers (Orlando)
8. Quick! Name two members of 'N Sync: Joey Fatone, JC Chasez (Winter Park)
7. A cheap date? A cheapskate? How about a Cheap Trick?: Robin Zander (Clearwater)
6. Once a bit of a wacko, now a respected artist: Iggy Pop (Miami Beach)
5. Once a respected artist, now a bit of a wacko: Sean "P Diddy" Combs (Miami Beach)
4. Rooster-haired singer, now attempting a return to his rock 'n' roll roots: Rod Stewart (Palm Beach)
3. Dynamic drummer, never abandoned his rock 'n' roll roots, part one: Nicko McBrain, Iron Maiden (Boca Raton)
2. Dynamic drummer, never abandoned his rock 'n' roll roots, part two: Don Brewer, Grand Funk Railroad (Boca Raton)
1. AC? DC?: Brian Johnson (Sarasota) and Cliff Williams (Fort Myers)