Maggie Roche, the Park Ridge native who, with her sisters Suzzy and Terre, formed the brilliantly inventive folk-pop trio The Roches, has died of cancer, at the age of 65.
Maggie — who had a distinctive, deep voice, and once characterized herself as “the quiet, intense one” in the group — first formed a duo with Terre. They performed in New York City clubs and appeared on Paul Simon’s 1973 album, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon.
Maggie wrote or co-wrote all the material on the duo’s 1975 album, Seductive Reasoning. With the addition of Suzzy and the release of the trio’s first album, The Roches, in 1979, the group broke through to a mass audience, with national tours, television appearances and so on. Maggie was still the dominant songwriter, and wrote some of that album’s strongest songs, including “The Married Men” and “Hammond Song.”
“When we were kids we all shared the same bedroom for a while,” Maggie Roche once said, “and we used to just play and make things up and sing and write stories, and it seems like what we do now is simply an extension of that. There’s still that element of those three kids in that room making up stuff.”
Maggie also sometimes worked with Suzzy, as a duo; they released albums together in 2002 and 2004.
Suzzy posted on Facebook today:
Friends, my dear, beautiful sister Maggie passed away today after a long struggle with cancer. She was a private person, too sensitive and shy for this world, but brimming with life, love, and talent. I want to let you know how grateful she was to everyone who listened and understood her through her music and her songs. After decades of singing, writing, traveling and performing together, we spent the last month and a half helping each other through her final journey, now I have to let her go. I’m heartbroken. I adored her. She was smart, wickedly funny, and authentic ~ not a false bone in her body ~ a brilliant songwriter, with a distinct unique perspective, all heart and soul. It’ll be hard for me to carry on without her.
Here are some videos to help remember the unique genius of Maggie Roche. And click here for a followup post with some more thoughts about her.
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of $20, or any other amount, to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.