Tommy Keene, dead at 59 (read tributes from Guided by Voices, Ted Leo & more)
It’s very sad to learn that power pop / college radio great Tommy Keene has died away at age 59. A brief message on his website said Keene “passed unexpectedly and peacefully in his sleep.”
For some folks, Keene’s style was the sound of the ’80s: bright, jangly guitar pop with hooks out the wazoo. While he never quite got the attention that Matthew Sweet, The Plimsouls, The dB’s or even Let’s Active received, Tommy consistently made terrific records over the last 25 years, including ones for Geffen and Matador. (“Places That Are Gone” is a stone-cold ’80s classic.) He also made a record with Robert Pollard, played on Goo Goo Dolls’ 1998 single, “Broadway,” toured as part of Velvet Crush, and more. You can listen to some of his music, and read tributes from fellow artists (include Guided by Voices, Matthew Sweet, Ted Leo and more), below.
Rest in peace, Tommy. Your music lives on.
Shocked and saddened to report my dear friend Tommy Keene has passed away. We loved you Tommy! He was a true classic, and a wonderful friend. Long may the music and the man be remembered. His songs are playing in my heart now… pic.twitter.com/fy2u9yNWxu
— Matthew Sweet (@iammatthewsweet) November 24, 2017
— Guided By Voices (@_GuidedByVoices) November 24, 2017
I am absolutely devastated to hear that Tommy Keene has left us. The last time we shared a stage was 7 or 8 years ago at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco with @sallycrewe. We missed each other by a day this past September. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/dkssgZKH6s
— Ted Leo (@tedleo) November 24, 2017
I am devastated to hear that Tommy Keene has died. He was the best singer of our generation, in my opinion. And one of the good guys of rock. Rest in peace, pal. (This picture is from my Wild Honey show in March.) pic.twitter.com/gh0rXeDswN
— Peter Holsapple (@PeterHolsapple) November 24, 2017
Tommy Keene will always be one of the greatest pop/rock songwriters of all time. He was also one of the best melodic guitar soloists on the planet. It was an honor to have known and played with him. https://t.co/zeZsySAm3f
— Jon Wurster (@jonwurster) November 24, 2017
love and condolences to the family, friends and musical comrades of the one and only Tommy Keene. We were deeply privileged to know him and work with him. https://t.co/tELysfrMwf
— Matador Records (@matadorrecords) November 24, 2017
God, no. Hearing that Tommy Keene has died.
— Joe Pernice (@JPernicious) November 24, 2017
— Jason Narducy (@SplitSingleband) November 24, 2017
— Richard Barone (@RichardBarone) November 24, 2017