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Jim Carroll Catholic BoyIt was announced this past Sunday that author/musician Jim Carroll had died at the age of 60 from a heart attack.  He is probably best known for the critically acclaimed memoir of his youth, The Basketball Diaries, which was later made into a film featuring Leonardo DeCaprio in a portrayal of a young Carroll.

Carroll’s life as a youth was memorable.  He was a star on the basketball courts of New York, earning national attention.  He was also recognized as a budding talent as a writer and poet.  This guy had a lot going for him.  But at the same time he was well on the road to a heroin addiction and a stint as a street hustler, prostituting himself to feed his habit.  That’s a lifetime of highs and lows by the time he hit his twenties.

I first became aware of him in 1980 or 81 when his Catholic Boy album came out.  It was real NY stuff, out of the same vein that produced Lou Reed and Patti Smith.  I liked the album a lot.  It was one of those albums that you sometimes stumble across that you know will never find a huge audience but somehow speaks to you in a very personal way.  I was never surprised that he never achieved the same type of popularity musically after that first album came out.  Just on eof those rare moments of expression.

I was just thinking about him last week as I had been listening to his best known song,  People Who Died, a song that has an infective driving sound and vivid imagery. I guess he could’ve added a verse for himself.  Here it is.  RIP Jim Carroll…

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