|Was||Singer Songwriter Musician Composer Guitarist|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||26 September 1967, Lafayette, USA|
|Death||21 October 1995, New Orleans, USA (aged 28 years)|
Richard Shannon Hoon (September 26, 1967 – October 21, 1995) was an American singer-songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer of the band Blind Melon from 1990 until his death in 1995.
Hoon was born in Lafayette, Indiana and raised in nearby Dayton, Indiana with his half-sister, Anna, and half-brother, Tim. He reportedly began using his middle name, Shannon, to avoid confusion with his father, who was also named Richard. In high school, he played football, wrestled, and was a pole vaulter. Shannon's musical influences included the Grateful Dead, The Beatles, John Lennon, and Bob Dylan. After graduating from McCutcheon High School in 1985, Hoon joined a local glam metal band named Styff Kytten, which also featured guitarist Michael Kelsey. He took on the role of frontman and lead singer of the band. It was around this time that he wrote his first song and called it "Change." He was also a member of the Lafayette band Mank Rage, along with David Lank and Darren Mickler, during this time.
In 1985, Hoon, 18, left Indiana for Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, he met musicians Brad Smith and Rogers Stevens at a party. Smith and Stevens saw Hoon perform his song "Change" acoustically and invited Hoon to play with them. Christopher Thorn and Glen Graham were then brought into the fold, and by 1990 the five musicians decided to form Blind Melon. The band was possibly named for a term Smith's father used to describe the neighborhood stoners; or for Blind Melon Chitlin, a character from a Cheech & Chong album. In 1990, the new bandmates produced a four-song demo tape and subsequently signed a $500,000 recording contract with Capitol Records.
In Los Angeles, Hoon befriended his sister Anna's high school friend, Axl Rose. Rose invited Hoon to join him in the studio, where his band Guns N' Roses were recording their albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II (both released in 1991). Hoon sang backing vocals on several of the tracks, including "The Garden" and "Don't Cry." Rose also invited Hoon to appear in the video for "Don't Cry."
In 1992, Blind Melon released their self-titled debut album produced by Pearl Jam producer Rick Parashar. Blind Melon began touring to promote the album, supporting and opening for acts like Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses, and Soundgarden over the course of 1992–1993. In the summer of 1993, the video for the album track "No Rain" was released as a single. The video for "No Rain" focused on a theme of the "normal" crowd versus the lonely outcast. It featured a young girl, played by Heather DeLoach, in a bee costume, tap dancing to unappreciative audiences, who finally finds an entire crowd of people similarly dressed who welcome her. The video is often referred to as the 'Bee Girl'. Blind Melon went multi-platinum.
Hoon and Blind Melon spent the next two years touring. In 1993, Hoon was arrested for indecent exposure after he disrobed onstage and urinated on a fan at a show in Vancouver.
In 1994, Blind Melon appeared at Woodstock '94 where Hoon, allegedly high on LSD, went onstage wearing his girlfriend's white dress.
After taking a hiatus from touring, Blind Melon returned to the studio to record the album Soup in New Orleans. Soup was released in 1995.
Personal life and death
On July 11, 1995, Hoon and his girlfriend, Lisa Crouse, had a daughter named Nico Blue. Before the birth of his daughter, Hoon entered rehab again. In August, Blind Melon planned to tour to support their album Soup, so Hoon allowed a drug counselor to accompany him on the road. The counselor, unable to keep Hoon from relapsing, was dismissed days before Hoon's death.
After a disappointing performance in Houston on October 20, Hoon launched himself into an all-night drug binge. The next day, Saturday, October 21, 1995, Blind Melon was scheduled to play a show in New Orleans at Tipitina's. The band's sound engineer, Lyle Eaves, went to the tour bus to awaken Hoon for a sound check, but Hoon was unresponsive. An ambulance arrived, and Hoon was pronounced dead at the scene, at the age of 28. His death was attributed to a cocaine overdose.
Hoon was buried at Dayton Cemetery in Dayton, Indiana. His grave is inscribed with a line from Blind Melon's song "Change", the first song he wrote:
I know we can't all stay here forever So I want to write my words on the face of today and they'll paint it
Legacy and aftermath
On November 12, 1996, Blind Melon released their final album featuring Hoon, Nico, as a tribute to him with all proceeds going to his daughter and to programs helping musicians deal with drug problems. The band also released a video called "Letters from a Porcupine" that was nominated for Best Long Form Music Video at the Grammy Awards on February 25, 1997.
Blind Melon remained active for the next four years following Hoon's death. The remaining members had planned to continue the band in memory of him and auditions to fill the vacant singer position were held. However, they never managed to find a permanent replacement for Hoon, and Blind Melon officially disbanded in 1999. After years of refusing to perform together out of respect for Hoon, the surviving members reformed Blind Melon in 2006, with Travis Warren taking his place.
On September 17, 2008, the book A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon by Greg Prato was published.
On September 15, 2018, photos of Hoon's final performance with Blind Melon at the Numbers club in Houston on October 20, 1995, the day before he died, were released for the first time by fan Zak Joshua Rose, who took the pictures and claimed that he hung out with the band members except Hoon (who had disappeared) after the show.
A documentary about Hoon entitled All I Can Say premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and is set to release in 2020.