Today marks the 20th anniversary of the death of 90’s pop star Selena, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on not only her tragic death, but the other great musicians we’ve lost.
Now, obviously I can’t take all day to mention ALL of them, that would be both time-consuming and depressing. I just want to point out a few, and have us remember them for the impact that they left on the music industry.
First, The King. Elvis Presley. The very definition of a superstar. A man who has a fandom so devout, it borders on cult status. All across the United States, you can easily find all sorts of Elvis memorabilia, from lunch boxes to t-shirts, wallets to socks, it’s everywhere. There is even a mention of his mega stardom in the video game “Fallout: New Vegas.” Whether you’re a fan of “The King of Rock & Roll” or not, there is no denying the impact he had on not only the music world, but our society as a whole.
Next I want to talk about a death that still bums me out to this day: Jeff Buckley. He died back in ’97 before he even hit the age of thirty, but his music inspired so many, that to this day he is revered for his contributions. Buckley impacted so many lives, from Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell to Alternative artist Joan as Policewoman (Joan Wasser), that it’s difficult to believe he’s gone. But, then again, people who die never really leave us. They live on in our hearts and minds. I only wish I had had the opportunity to see him live in concert, but I was only eight years old when he passed. R.I.P Jeff Buckley. Dream Brother. Mystery White Boy.
I think the musician death that really took everyone by surprise was that of Queen front man Freddie Mercury. Literally after the day he finally came out of the closet publicly, Mercury died of AIDS. This caught everyone off guard, and saddened the whole industry. I have yet to meet a single person who doesn’t like Queen. Even an aspiring rapper I’ve talked to said that “We Will Rock You” is his jam. Watching any footage of Freddie live just proves what an amazing performer he really was, and we remember him as the eccentric, yet private artist that he was.
The better half of The Beatles left us way too soon. John Lennon’s shocking murder, and George Harrison’s sudden passing left a world-wide wake. Regardless if you’re a fan of the “Fab Four” or not, there’s no denying what John Lennon and George Harrison contributed to making pop & rock music what it is today. One of my favorite sings has always been “Here Comes the Sun,” and Lennon’s solo work has had a profound impact on many artists. While we still have Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr among us, the industry just isn’t the same without Lennon and Harrison with us.
Last, but by no means least, we have Frank Sinatra. “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” “The Chairman of the Board.” Frankie is, has, and always will be, the greatest crooner we’ve ever seen. How many countless “Great American Soundtrack” or “Classic Love Songs” albums are there that feature a plethora of Sinatra’s hits? Too many to count! Frankie will always be remember as one of the greatest American performers of all time. It’s difficult to believe that someone of his caliber had a hard time getting a label to sign him in his later years. But, that’s just the ignorance that record labels and corporate big-wigs for you.
While this post has had a particularly somber tone, I don’t mean to bum out my awesome readers. So, I will leave you with this line written by Wayne Coyne on the Flaming Lips’ uplifting tune “Do You Realize??” : “And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you realize that life goes fast, it’s hard to make the good things last, you realize the sun doesn’t go down, it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning ’round.”