Ed Cassidy is known best for being the drummer for '60s LA area band Spirit. And he was something of an exception... uh, he was in his 40s when Spirit formed. Cassidy was born in Chicago, in 1923, then drifted to California in the early '50s, and by the mid '60s he was a completely bald, middle-aged adult who played a double kick drum kit, with a bunch'a young long hairs. Prior to being a rock drummer he'd been a jazzbo playing with plenty of big names, but in the early '60s he was the drummer for the blues-based group the Rising Sons, which also included with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder. After the Rising Sons split he formed a group, the Red Roosters, with his step-sons, and it was this group that soon evolved into the mighty Spirit.

Spirit were a sike group which also trod all over jazz. Like... kinda not really, erm...MAYBE on paper you could argue they were "proto-prog," 'cause jazz is an integral element, but they weren't full of "fantasy," or strictly playing be-bop. Spirit's musical reach actually means their catalog is solid and FULL of variety. Their music is pyschedelic, expansive and they were for sure stringing together (sorta) concepts, but not really making concept albums... as their first LP, Spirit will attest... here, listen to the entire thing...

Their first four LPs, Spirit, The Family That Plays Together, Clear, and Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus are rock canon. Eventually the original group fragmented over direction, but in some shape Spirit continued with Cassidy's drumming a constant. He was still active playing in the last decade with Merrell Fankhauser. My math says Cassidy was 89 at the time of death, damn, boss... way to keep on.