Sunday, May 20, 2012

...contemporary musicians are starting to drop like flies, and it's sad...

Yeah, I know there are all kinds of tragedies in life, but for me it's different when a musician who's meant something to me passes away. I hear one of their songs and for three or four minutes, I'm entertained and I reminisce about what I was doing when that song came out. I've always liked my music on Vinyl. Unlike mp3's or computer files, you can pick up a record, hold it in your hand and then put it on the record player and it's magic, how the music goes from turntable to speaker. I've just always felt that way about records. I also feel that way about the artists who made them and it's sad when they pass away. And they're not that much older than me. Shiverrr....

DONNA SUMMER, in my mind, was The Disco Queen. "Hot Stuff", one of her big hits, was a great song, the way the rhythm pumps out as she puts her vocal touches over it. Now, wait, a minute, I can feel your disdain. "Disco, you say???" And yes, I thot disco music choked off a lot of rock and rollers, who hid in the bunkers until the Disco Era had passed. But I remember liking Disco before that label got attached. It all began with an instrumental called "TSOP" ("The Sound of Philadelphia", by MFSB (Mother, Father, Sister and Brother). But the record was and is still great. And I felt that way about "Love's Theme" by the Love Unlimited Orchestra. They were fun songs to hear. "Pick Up The Pieces" by the Average White Band was another case of "Disco before Disco". Back to Donna Summer, she was infamous for her sighs and moans on "Love To Love You Baby", but she really hit her stride with "Bad Girls", "Hot Stuff" and even took a disco version of "MacArthur Park" all the way to #1. Then she duetted with Barbra Streisand on "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)", and that was a big hit too. I didn't hate disco. Why should I? It kept me entertained for a while. After the Disco Train left the station, Donna resurrected her career with "The Wanderer" and especially on "She Works Hard For The Money", a tune of hers I really like. She had staying power. But Cancer got her. So sad.

ROBIN GIBB, formerly one of the Bee Gees, passed away today due to Cancer. He'd been in and out of hospitals the last few years, and he grew weak and gaunt, and mercifully exited This Life. He was a great singer, though. He absolutely shone on older Bee Gees songs like "I've Just Gotta Get A Message To You", "I Started A Joke" and many others. The Bee Gees were another case of "Disco before Disco"; "Jive Talkin'" and "Nights On Broadway" were both burnin' up the charts before anyone had danced under big Mirror Balls in Leisure Suits. But it was due to Disco that the Brothers Gibb couldn't buy a hit from the end of disco until 20 years later when "Still Waters Run Deep" began getting airplay. They'd recorded quite a few albums during that time, but people would reject them outright just because they'd sung Disco Songs in their past. But the Bee Gees go way back; in the early '60s, they scored hits in Australia and even hosted a TV show. In the mid-'60s, they migrated from Australia to England, and scored Really Big with "Massachusetts", "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart", "Run To Me", "New York Mining Disaster 1941" as well as "Message" and "Joke" mentioned above. His is a voice that will be missed.

Of course, Whitney Houston passed away; I most definitely not was a fan or hers, although she had talent. People are still talking about Amy Winehouse, and these two ladies had a rather strange parallel; their controversial husbands led them both way, way astray. In every case here, they're all "Gone Too Soon". Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are still with us, though. Neil Young is still around, and I always look forward to his albums. But I guess one day, It All Stops and That's It. As I type this, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith is goofing around in a Burger King commercial. He looks as if he's had several facelifts. Aretha Franklin is coming back from medical problems she's had. I'm grateful for musicians of my era who are still around.

You know, when I first began going online in 1998, I never thought I'd be writing about musicians dying off, but all of a sudden, those who entertained the Baby-Boom generation are increasingly falling by the wayside. Call it 'age', I guess. And maybe for my next post, I'll be able to think of a happier subject. One can only have so much pathos in a blog, after all. I'll just hope another one of "my" musicians doesn't die off between now and then.


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