I’ll never forget coming home from work one evening in 2002, to find Rick excited about a new song project.
We were in the planning stages for his new CD, “Etchings In Stone,” and he wanted someone to collaborate with him in writing the title track. He’d reached out to several of his songwriter friends, but so far no one had been inspired. That was until that day.
He told me to go to the phone in the bedroom and he placed a call, then yelled for me to pick up.
I did and found our good friend, John Beam, on the other end.
“John’s written the song I need to put on the album,” Rick said.
Then he proceeded to ask John to play and sing it. Tears ran down my cheeks while I listened and I had chill bumps all over. The song was the profound emotion-filled song that we’d been searching for.
So, with a little work and tweaking, we had the title track, “Etchings In Stone.”
I’d love it, if you’d listen! “There once lived a man, who did etchings in stone. He told others’ stories, but could not tell his own…”
It was with great sadness that I learned of John Beam’s passing three days ago. He was only 61 and his story intertwined with our lives from way back in the sixties.
Rick and his band, The Rhythm Rebels, played the historic London Dance Hall near Junction, Texas, on a regular basis throughout the fifties and sixties. John Beam was just a little boy, and his family came to every dance Rick played. Even at that young age, John had the passion and desire to play music. He would stand in front of the stage, play air guitar and mouth every word to the songs that Rick sang.
In my book, “Flowers and Stone,” I wrote a scene where Luke Stone (aka Rick) was playing at the London Dance hall one New Year’s Eve. During the course of the evening, he got the John up on stage, strapped his guitar around the boy’s neck and lowered the microphone. John sang and played for the first time in public.
After that, he never stopped. Once Rick returned home from prison, John quickly came back into our lives and never left. At Rick’s funeral, John sat with our family. Why? Because he was family.
He and his wife and children lived in Mason, Texas. He was the first to raise his hand whenever anyone needed help and the last to back down when someone needed defending. He had a passion for classic cars, Harleys and country music. He loved his family fiercely and was loyal to his friends. He will be missed.
So, this post is a tribute of sorts to John Beam, the man and the music. You can find several of John’s songs on Reverbnation. But I am sharing one of the most personal songs he ever wrote, “Three Old Cans of Beer,” about the Vietnam Wall. John was a veteran.
I don’t know how to properly say goodbye or to give this man the credit he deserves other than to write about it. I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting John Beam.
Life is short, folks. Friends are a precious gift. Don’t waste any of your gifts!