King Crimson's "In the Court of the Crimson King" was one of the albums whose music flowed from the dorm windows at LSU in the early 1970s.
The sound waves of different albums crashed over us as we walked through the Pentagon Barracks courtyard. Once the redoubt of the Ole War Skule's ROTC students, the old dorms had turned into a hipster enclave.
Rolling Stone's Hunter S. Thompson, P.J. O'Rourke, Ben Fong Torres, Lester Bangs and Timothy Crouse also fired our imaginations. Through the years, I kept reading O'Rourke as he turned from his hippie days to cool libertarian Republican.
Once again, I found myself in boomer mourning for my lost youth after hearing about the deaths of Ian McDonald, the major creative force behind "In the Court of the Crimson King," and O'Rourke.
McDonald, who left the band King Crimson soon after the success of "In the Court of the Crimson King" and co-founded the popular rock group Foreigner, died Feb. 9 at age 75 in New York City of an undisclosed cause. O'Rourke, 74, died Tuesday at his home in Sharon, N.H., the latest cancer victim of my generation.
McDonald played several instruments and composed much of the music for "21st Century Schizoid Man," the most epochal song on the album.
But to me, McDonald's most memorable performance on the album was his flute and piano solos on the ethereal "I Talk to the Wind." Along with the classically accomplished music, the song's lyrics achieve true poetry.
O'Rourke's work in Harvard Lampoon and other magazines and his books were must reading, although I found him less and less funny over the years. He turned into my generation's Mort Sahl.
Each week brings the loss of a musician, writer or actor whose work touched my life. The Boomer generation brought an amazing array of talent to pop culture, for good and ill. O'Rourke and McDonald weren't major figures to me, but they gave me many joyous moments.