Friday, October 09, 2009

...and I'm sad things turned out like they did.
He never listened to a Compact Disc.
He never talked over a Cell-phone.
He never heard of 9/11.
He never used an I-pod or an MP3.
He never went online.
He never sent someone an e-mail.
...and yet, he seems to be everywhere these days...
I was reading an old "Time" Magazine the other night and I saw a picture of him. I wanted to reach into the photo and pull him out of it and bring him here, to the present day. Only, I couldn't. In the photo, he was seen autographing a record album on that night long ago. And five or six hours after the photo was taken, he was No Longer Among Us. It's not fair. And after all these years, I still feel a great sense of loss in spite of the fact that I Never Met Him. He was a musician, and hearing the music emanating from his restless character is still refreshing and so great to hear. And then I remember that night, long ago. It's not fair that I have to associate such a great tragedy with his music, which means a lot to me. If you think of one, you're led to think of the other. It's not fair.
Lately the musical group he was in has been front-and-center, thrust into our collective psyches once again. You can hear it everywhere; you can read about it in the trade magazines and newspapers, and it's Online as well. A great man, such as he was, should be remembered fondly, and certainly he is. But the memories of him are forever associated with What Happened To Him. Music is Life, and his is most definitely the Music of a restless, creative, living Human Being. Certainly his music had its ups and downs, but us Human Beings have our own individual ups and downs, and we accepted what he did, even when he wasn't at his best. He had left his group, and in the following ten years, he recorded some great music as well as some uninspired music, and even some irritating music. But regardless of how well he did, and considering he hadn't recorded anything during his last five years, it was still reassuring to know He Was Out There. Finally he re-emerged with a new album two weeks before his death. He'd just come back, and all of a sudden he was taken from us. In a way, that made everything even harder to cope with.
I have difficulty accepting the fact that he's gone. It didn't matter to me if he was with the group or not, for all the members of that group had carried on with solo careers, making a lot of Good to Great music that became a part of my life. If perhaps his solo material varies widely in quality, most folks will admit the group he was with could almost do No Wrong. I once watched a full-length movie of him, producing records, playing guitar, conducting recording sessions, interacting with his fellow musicians and, in general, living life. It was so interesting to see so many facets of his character on display; perhaps all of us got to know him just a little bit better. And as the movie ended, and I walked out of the theater late one night, and walked across the parking lot to my car, I remember thinking, "what a great movie, I'm glad I saw it", and then, the cold dark realization hit me: "But he's still dead, isn't he?"
I played one of his group's most well-known albums last night, and although I've heard so much music since that album came out, the fact is that album, and that group, and the virtual excellence of almost all of their music through the years was, is, and will probably always be a big part of what I'm about. The album I listened to last night was "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", and perhaps I'm Heavily Biased, but that record just gets better and better with age. It is some of the Wildest, Most Bombastic Music Ever Recorded. Many groups over the years have performed admirably, creating music which makes my pulse race; I loved all the rock bands who came out in my heyday. But "Sgt. Pepper" hits me harder than the dreaded anvil hits Wile E. Coyote in a "Road Runner" cartoon. That's how much of an impact it's always had on me.
I was angry for a long, long time after his death. I felt that something had been taken away from me. Those of My Generation suffered a great loss. We were Stunned. It was a "President Kennedy" moment All Over Again. You could remember exactly where you were and what you were doing. Over the years, my anger has subsided a bit, especially since one of his bandmates died several years ago. And as the years go by, he and his group recede into the far reaches of my memory, similar to Jack Dawson slipping, sinking into the icy waters of the North Atlantic in the "Titanic" movie. Today, hearing the records he was on still continues to bring up a whole boatload of mixed emotions. At the same time, I'm so fortunate to have heard such great music in my lifetime, and hopefully the Coming Generations will also see and hear Just How Good He Was, and Just How Good His Band Was.
You had so much to give us all
You had so much to say
And it's a shame you're gone for good
I've never really understood
Why you were taken...away...
John Lennon, October 9, 1940-December 8, 1980


Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

Do you realise what a great writer you are?

I LOVE this post...


5:13 AM  
Blogger some guy who blogs said...

Sometimes, Mlle. Marmee, I do manage to find something in this life that I'm passionate about. I'd been thinking about what I was gonna post for almost a week. This post wrote itself. I wanted it to build gradually from the beginning. And the little verse at the bottom is the last verse of a song I wrote in 1980. I really thank you for your positive comment. I'm quite humbled, in fact.


4:16 AM  

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