We are only midway through the four seasons and 2016 has proven to be the Grim Reaper of years. It has been marching over our hearts with a scythe in its hand week after week and I am fed up – just a few nights ago we received the unsettling news of Muhammad Ali’s passing. Muhammad was a significant leader in American racial and religion progression, atop of his impressive ranking in the ring, and Reaper ’16 showed no misery in the taking. Although Muhammad can never die with his immortal influence on society, I would like to query the universe. Why? Why does death HAVE to be a part of life? Why is it happening at such a rapid pass? I am not alone when I say: “GIVE US A BREAK!”
On June 7, 1958 we lost the androgynous genius that is Prince Rogers Nelson. One of the rawest talents and greatest (if not the top) guitar players of all time. He produced, performed and wrote tunes that sparked movements of acceptance and unity, all in question of conformity. The way he changed his stage name to a Love Symbol – a hybrid of female and male sex titles – proved his undying passion for all people and avant-garde production. It was not important what gender he identified with or that he released music too fast to make ample money; what was important was his emphasis in societal change through his creative outputs. He was a socialist through his art and we all know what his stance would be in North Carolina as well as who he would support in the Presidential election, if he were still with us. As many I am sure agree, he was taken far too soon. Rest In Purple, Prince.
Enjoy my favorite single to his production “Purple Rain,” a must see!
1947 – 2016
On January 10th, two days after his birthday, David Bowie said his final goodbye to our planet. David Bowie had been in the business for over 54 years putting 26 studio albums in his name, plenty of film works and of course a plethora of Grammys and Brit Awards. His influence was almost psychedelic with his ever changing personas and his joy of color and recreation. I idolized Ziggy Stardust and the strength David pushed to make him his separate Starman. However, a man built through cosmic dust and intergalactic artistry somehow knew his time was upon him. He released his final album, Black Star, on January 8th with a music video that expressed his obscure mortality. As fans, we sometimes like to think our icons can live forever, but when they are admitting it to themselves it is time we accept reality for them. We miss you, Bowie!
As ironic as this tune is, Ziggy kills it.
Not eights days after the death of a great musician we lost another to time. Glenn Frey, a founding member of the Eagles, shook the rock world when he kicked the bucket on January 18th. If it weren’t for Glenn we wouldn’t have the ever classic “Take It Easy” or “Already Gone” blasting through our stations. I, for one, am not only personally grateful for Glenn’s contribution music but to film by inspiring Cameron Crowe to create “Almost Famous,” a film that depicts the ’70s rock era. If Glenn was anything like the character Russell Hammond, we surely lost one of the good ones. Read the article Cameron Crowe wrote on the band in 1975 for the Rolling Stones. It is transcendent, as was Glenn.
Rock in Paradise, Glenn!
This year has sadly proven that funk gods are not immortal. Maurice White, the lead singer of Earth Wind & Fire, boogied his way to the afterlife on February 4th. A man of impressive measures (Rock ‘n Roll and Vocal Group Halls of Fame inductee and 7-time Grammy winner) single handedly was the epitome of a genre. Hit after hit after hit was a day in the life of Maurice White, proving his superior DNA. The man knew his way around production and how to get people grooving. It is physically impossible to stay seated to any Earth Wind & Fire song at any given time. Thank you for the continued and not yet happened disco times, Mr. White! Your work will surely live on in our happy feet.
Of the same age as Maurice White, Paul Kantner turned his guitar in for wings. As the co-founder of Jefferson Airplane,Paul was a leader in the counterculture era. He pushed against pro-militants and played his guitar for freedom of psychedelic expression. Whilst listening to Jefferson Airplane songs “Today” “White Rabbit” and so forth I go into these trances of weightlessness and empowerment, an almost reverb of what I am sure Paul felt producing them. He was such a revolutionary musician in changing times, he rightfully earned his induction into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and he place in the sky.
Here he is jamming at Woodstock. What a life well lived!
As sad as we are here on planet earth, we know the afterlife is something to look forward to now. Music is never dead, not even after it dies.