Sunday, January 1, 2017
Good Riddance To 2016!
Good riddance to 2016 we all say. Oh it seemed like the worst year ever for deaths of people we know and love but it probably wasnt. Oh it WAS the worst year ever as it put the world's shining light on the hill firmly in Russian hands for 2017 and beyond but still, shit is still shit. 2016 was shit.
Muhammad Ali died. The Greatest passed away after years of being silent after the years of telling it like it really is. That death was tough. NOt unexpected but still tough. Childhood heroes dying bring your own mortality to mind. That aint fun.
Carrie Fisher and her mom going away within a day. Gene Wilder. Arnold Palmer. Florence Henderson.Gary Shandling. John Glenn. Christ stop!
But it's musicians who affect me most. They bring joy to me. They say what I want to say but lack the talent to express. And many of them left us alone. Yeah 2016 sucked.
George Michael died on Christmas. A cruel joke. George Michael was one of those guys who came along in the 80's who us rock n rollers didnt accept as anything more than a pretty boy. A force only to young girls swooning over that beard and those teeth. Of course he was gay as we told every young woman fan we could. That's what those of us facially challenged say about anybody prettier than us. But by all accounts George Michael was a kind and generous man with demons. And as much as I hate to admit it, this may have been the best pop song of the 1990's. We are not better off with him gone.
Prince Rogers Nelson
I dont get it still. Prince was not a musician I appreciated. He was obviously a genius and a true gift to the world but I never got it. Biut when they found him dead on that elevator at age 57, wow. That was shocking. How could that happen? His greedy handlers took most of his music away so they could continue to suck money out of his corpse, but Prince may have written the best pop song of the 1980's.
Anybody who saw that documentary History of the Eagles could conclude nothing else except that Glenn Frey was a total prick. Between he and Don Henley the Eagles must have been a total pain in the ass to deal with. I hate the fucking Eagles man. I really do. But that does not mean I wish death on a man who brought joy to clueless music fans willing to fork over hundreds to see a 1970's band that meant so much to them. They just suck. Though Already Gone was pretty cool blasting out of my dorm room.
David Bowie left us. For chrissakes man, this guy was the shit. With that androgynous glam rock of the early 1970's getting more and more forceful, Bowie was the man. I mean come on man. Who doesnt love this? Hey man. Good god, even after he got sick of the whole Ziggy Stardust he reinvented himself into a suave sophisticated no gimmicks rock star. I never got a chance to see Bowie live. But seeing this could have made my year.
I was late to the party on Leonard Cohen. That haunting baritone voice. Yeah he wrote Hallelujah which was covered by everyone. It was and is a beautiful song. Leonard Cohen wrote it. But his most haunting and meaningful song means even more to me now. Everybody Knows. Yeah Leonard, we know.
Earth Wind and Fire. What else do you need to say? I saw them for the first time this last November with Chicago. Maurice was gone by then. So though Phillip Bailey is still great, it lacked something. It lacked Maurice White.
Mad Dogs and Englishmen at the age of 12 or so introduced me to Leon Russell. Though it was a Joe Cocker show, I loved Leon Russell. Then came the Concert for Bangladesh. Wow. Leon's rockin gospel revival show was unbelievable to a white suburban kid in the 70's when he brought it to Lincoln. It almost made me want to go back to church. As long as Leon Russell was there.
The Airplane was Slick and Kantner. It never flew so high as when those two were in charge. Sorry, Marty Balin fans. When Grace Slick would let that powerhouse voice loose and Kantners hippie guitar would shoot forward, it was never better. I miss Paul Kantner a lot. He never sold out and he never compromised.
Others gone include the legend himself, Merle Haggard. Merle never ever said anything other than what he was thinking at the time.
Rick Parfitt died. He was the guitarist in Status Quo. Who you say? Maybe this will jar your memory.
Pete Burns died. Who? Dead or Alive? No? He spun around a lot? Oh come on!
Sir George Martin
The man who made the Beatles the gold standard they are. Sir George kept them in line. He roped them in when they needed it and he let them go when he thought they should be let go. Martin was the brain behind the unstoppable machine. Akll that weird shit, the great stuff, was a combination effort. Sir George Martin a mere technician? I'll let John take it from here.
2017 is going to suck too. People die. Baby boomer musicians are old and decrepit. Trust me I know. We can only enjoy what they did and are still doing. Grim Reaper, stay the fuck away from Willie and Paul and Ringo and Chuck and Keith and Roger and Pete and any person who still plays jazz. Please.