Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Tara Browne, He Lived on the Outskirts of Town

Back in the early days of Swinging London, in 1965 and 1966, there lived a young gentleman with the decidedly unmasculine name of Tara Browne. He was an heir to the Guinness brewing fortune and about as happenin' as a bloke could be in those days, a friend to both Beatles and Stones, a giver of legendary parties and a taker of legendary drugs. On December 17, 1966, driving down a busy London street while in the throes of a trip -- idiot -- Tara ran a red light and was killed instantly. His model girlfriend, riding alongside him, was unhurt, but proceeded to rectify that by hooking up with doomed, abusive Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones. Tara Browne was 21.

John Lennon wrote about Browne's car accident in a sort of roundabout way in "A Day in the Life": "He blew his mind out in a car/He didn't notice that the light had changed." But none of that is what really interests me about Tara Browne. There's nothing unusual about a wealthy young feller going out cattin' around with a young model -- except Tara left behind a wife and two small children, and I mean left behind in that they survived him, although he had also obviously left them behind by the time he was 21 years old.

Married, havin' babies, runnin' off, all before he could vote. Does that sound like one of the grooviest dudes in London to you? It's like he was from West Virginia or something.

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