Friday, April 22, 2016

"Like a Bird without a Song"

Okay, I’ll say it.

Knock it the fuck off 2016.

Seriously. This, taking all the artists in the same year thing is just cruel. I get it that people are born every day, that someone else will eventually grace us with the pleasure of their artistic contributions. I also fully understand that I didn’t know a single one of the magical beings who have left this earth since this calendar year began.

But it doesn’t matter. I knew many of them inside and out. Because they all gave pieces of their souls for the entire world to share. The characters they played, songs they wrote, all become the fragments of the part of the life we in the public get to experience.

So yesterday, 2016, when you just couldn’t resist robbing us all of another entertainer, I will admit that I absolutely lost it.

Prince actually brought me to tears.

Yes, I sat in my house, listening to Purple Rain, and I cried.

It might sound weird because, like I said, I didn’t know the man. Thing is, I don’t think I’m really crying for him. Which, again, might sound really weird since the guy just died.

What I’m mourning for more than anything is the loss of what we’ll never get to hear him produce in the future.

And, that sadness? Is something that can never go away.

I can listen to all 39 of his albums back to front, the songs he helped with for The Bangles, Sinead O’Connor, or Stevie Nicks, but it isn’t enough. The world was essentially robbed of future brilliance and that’s just wrong.

A friend of mine shared something yesterday and I’d like to share the text here because it essentially says what I’ve been bumbling over for 300+ words now:

For people who don't understand why others mourn the death of artists, you need to understand that these people have been a shoulder to cry on. Our rock. They've been family, friends, leaders, teachers & role models. Many have taught us what we need to know and what to do when times get rough.They've helped us move on.They've pushed us out of bed.They've helped us live when nobody else had time to.Artists have inspired us in endless ways and have been with us through stages in our lives. We've made memories with them.So when they die, a part of us dies.

And that’s really what it all comes down to. It doesn’t matter to that person, they’re gone. It’s everyone left who have to grapple with that. Loss and mourning aren’t rational.

When something or someone leaves a lasting imprint on your heart, mind, soul, but then leaves the world far too soon, we long to find other people to surround us so we can share in the broken pieces and somehow try to put something whole back together.

I never had the pleasure of seeing Prince live. When he first hit big in the ‘80s I was a bit too young for a show like that. Hell, as I spent the day listening to Purple Rain yesterday I realized just how much I probably shouldn’t have been listening to that album on my 11th birthday.

At age 43 I still blush at a few of his lyrics.

Okay, many of his lyrics.

But I digress.

When I was old enough to take myself to a show, I was mostly broke. And then I just sort of moved on into different music. Never away, because I always liked everything the man put out there, just on to something different.

But I still have this:

You’ll notice in the upper right hand corner is a puffy Santa sticker, indicating when I got the album back in 1984. Also, you’ll notice Apollonia’s face is missing. Yeah, I was an 11 year old girl, that’s the kind of shit we did when we were jealous of the beautiful woman on the album cover.

Sorry, Apollonia.

When I went to my iTunes yesterday and pulled up the soundtrack to listen straight through the entire thing (when I should have been writing), I pulled the vinyl out of the dusty recesses of my closet and smiled as I held it.

Our little family of three was still living in the apartment in east Arlington when the album and movie came out. My sister and I shared a bedroom, slept in bunk beds surrounded by the clutter of two tween girls, and shared a record player.

In the constant rotation? INXS, Jack Wagner, Toni Basil, The Police, The Stray Cats, Huey Lewis and the News, Duran Duran, Culture Club, The Grease soundtrack, Madonna, and Prince and the Revolution.

According to my record collection, 1984 was the year I discovered popular music.

In those days music was heavy on the synthesizer. Prince’s Purple Rain is very likely responsible for the first shredding of electric guitar I’d ever heard. Few could do it like he did.

And in honor of that guitar genius and eerily poignant songwriter, Rogers Nelson, I share this as my sign off, thanks, and Kiss to the Purple One.

Thank you for reminding us all back in 1984 that life is short and to strive to be the most excellent version of ourselves that we can be.

Every. Day.


Let’s Go Crazy
By Prince and the Revolution

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life

Electric word life
It means forever and that's a mighty long time
But I'm here to tell you
There's something else
The after world

A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night

So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything'll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby

'Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the after world
In this life
You're on your own

And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy, punch a higher floor

If you don't like the world you're living in
Take a look around you
At least you got friends

You see I called my old lady
For a friendly word
She picked up the phone
Dropped it on the floor
(Ah, ah) is all I heard

Are we gonna let the elevator
Bring us down
Oh, no let's go!

Let's go crazy
Let's get nuts
Let's look for the purple banana
'Til they put us in the truck, let's go!

We're all excited
But we don't know why
Maybe it's 'cause
We're all gonna die

And when we do (When we do)
What's it all for (What's it all for)
You better live now
Before the grim reaper come knocking on your door

Tell me, are we gonna let the elevator bring us down
Oh, no let's go!

Let's go crazy
Let's get nuts
Look for the purple banana
'Til they put us in the truck, let's go!

C'mon baby
Let's get nuts

Let's go crazy

Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down
Oh, no let's go!
Go crazy

I said let's go crazy (Go crazy)
Let's go, let's go
Let's go

Dr. Everything'll be alright
Will make everything go wrong
Pills and thrills and daffodils will kill
Hang tough children

He's coming
He's coming

Take me away!

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.


Launna said...

Although Prince wasn't an artist I followed, I totally understand how people loved him and what he stood for... he touched many people with his music and ideas... from everything I see and am hearing, he was pretty amazing xox

River said...

Your early music favourites are the same as my daughter's, except the Wagner fellow. We've never heard of him.
T was a fan of Prince, but I don't remember if she had any Prince albums, most of what I heard thumping from her stereo was Madonna and Billy Idol.
Prince was a very talented performer, that's for sure.