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Remembering the Final Performance of the Lee Harvey Oswald Trio

Posted in Americana, Goddammed White People with tags , , , , , on November 24, 2013 by TheCanadian
Final Performance of the Lee Harvey Oswald Trio November 24, 1963 11:21AM CST

Final Performance
of the Lee Harvey Oswald Trio
November 24, 1963 11:21AM CST

As many of you are aware, today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the final performance of the Lee Harvey Oswald Trio. We’ve been coming up on this day for several days now, and the internet and television have both been full of reports, reflections, and adaptations of their story.

It’s important to remember, however, that while the accomplishments of Oswald and his band were many, their short time in the spotlight is what makes it possible to remember them so fondly, as being such a talented and gifted group. Perhaps, if not for the untimely death of their front man, we would have seen a band that lived long enough to have discussed the marital transgressions of the Oswald Trio and their drug addiction. We may have seen them fade away into irrelevance.

Like Billy Joel.

Those of us who love Billy Joel and admire the man for his gifts and his talents, those of us who would speak on his many accomplishments and contributions to music are thinking of Cold Spring Harbor, Piano Man, or maybe even Glass Houses. We’re far less likely to be talking about Storm Front or River of Dreams. We think of a young Billy Joel, clad in leather jacket and black jeans, not bald old drooling Billy Joel doing duets with other washed-up hasbeens like Phil Collins.

No, by virtue of their frontman’s tragic demise, we are able to focus instead on the meteoric rise to fame of Oswald, of his contributions to the world of his time, and his lasting effect on the USAmerican psyche. One might speculate that he would have become an irrelevance (like Billy Joel), or worse that he could have become a comic caricature of his former self, like Prince. Instead, we are left with a smaller body of work by which we judge him, and because his death came all too soon and in such a public and spectacular fashion, we will never examine closely enough his accomplishments to criticise them even when he may have fallen short.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to break out my turntable and some old vinyl memories of better days…