Monday 25th April
We seem to be in the middle of some sort of epidemic, in fact a whirlwind of Celebrity Deaths, many of them Musicians. But maybe it has always been so, from Buddy Holly to Prince; there has been no shortage of casualties over the years. I was too young to even notice Buddy Holly or Gene Vincent. I had my own personal dramas to contend with when I barely noticed in quick succession the demises of Janis, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. Even Elvis, found dead on his toilet, hardly hit me – I had never been an Elvis fan. It was really the death of John Lennon in 1979 which affected me, the senselessness of the thing, the immortality of The Beatles shattered just like John’s blood-streaked glasses as they hit the pavement outside the Dakota building.
Uncut magazine always has a few pages of Obituaries of Rock Stars but most of them were from a time before mine. Another big shock was Freddie Mercury, the extravagant showman of that brilliant band Queen, a sad victim of Aids. Then there was dear George Harrison, my favourite Beatle dying of Cancer, as so many have. The next big shock was the really sad and pathetic end of Michael Jackson, though I was never a big fan no-one can deny his talent. Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison died a few years ago, old men both but sorely missed too. But this year has been particularly poignant, and now the giants are really tumbling – not so often from drug overdoses or plane crashes but now Cancer and other diseases of old age are humbling our heroes. David Bowie was a real shock, though there had been rumours of ill-health for a while, it was hard to believe such a genius was gone. And now Prince has gone too, and again not my favourite by any means but I did love Purple Rain, and he was an undisputed talent also. And now even such stars as Percy Sledge or B. B. King pass away and they hardly rate a mention.
The only consolation is that we still have their music – that will never die. Rock on.