I have recently re-discovered a song from the seventies.
This song is by a dude named Don McLean,
and the song is named American Pie.
“…Something touched me deep inside,
The day the music died
So bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey in Rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die…”
This emotionally-charged blog is being written post-viewing of the film I recently reviewed named “The Boat That Rocked“, where rock and roll, as we knew it in the sixties, came to an abrupt end. When the music died.
It seems many of the most incredible talents die a premature death.
Anything from plane crashes such as Buddy Holly who was a great loss to music.
Along with two fellow stars as passengers, Ritchie Valens (who had boarded the plane as a result of winning a coin toss) and Jile Perry Richardson/The Big Popper in 1959. This crash inspired the writing of the song American Pie.
“…Everyday seems a little longer
Every way love’s a little stronger
Come what may
Do you ever long for, true love from me
Everyday it’s a-gettin’ closer
Goin’ faster than a roller coaster…”
“I don’t like that surfin’ shit. Rock and roll’s been going down hill ever since Buddy Holly died”- American Graffiti
There were also drug-related deaths, such as Jimi Hendrix in 1970. I think, due to his outstanding guitar skills, his unbelievable singing voice was not recognised quite as much as it should have been.
“…A broom is drearily sweeping
Up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life…
‘Cause the life that lived is,
And the wind screams Mary…”
(“The Wind Cries Mary”)
“You see the thing that makes sense in this crazy world is Rock and Roll.” – The Boat That Rocked (deleted scene)
A heart attack got The King, Elvis Presley in 1977 who had the looks, style, talent and personality. I have three photos of him on my wall, even though I wasn’t alive when he was. That’s how influential he was.
“…Please don’t ask me what’s on my mind
I’m a little mixed up,
But I’m feelin’ fine.
When I’m near that girl that I love best
My heart beats so it scares me to death…”
(“All Shook Up”)
Wolfman Jack passed away in the arms of his wife, Lou, due to a heart attack in 1995. He was a legendary pop music radio host in the sixties and has appeared in films such as American Graffiti.
Somehow the Rock and Roll stars of our world don’t seem to last.
Sometimes the music dies because it’s simply not created any more. With the most heart-breaking tragedy occurring in 1970, when The Beatles split up.
“…Life is very short
and there’s no time,
For fussing and fighting my friend,
I have always thought that it’s a crime,
So I will ask you once again
Try to see it my way…”
(“Try To See It My Way”)
By 1980, John Lennon is shot and in 2001 cancer takes George Harrison.
In 1981, the legendary Bob Marley also died of cancer. With his final words being “money can’t buy life”
“…Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’: “This is my message to you
Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right…”
(“Three Little Birds”)
Despite not really being a fan, I can’t deny the incredible influence Michael Jackson has had on other musicians and, of course, his unmeasurable talent as a performer and musician. He died under suspicious circumstances in 2009. This death is a memorable one for me due to its recent occurrence (I was in maths class, and this shocking news put an end to that lesson… Which was the light in the darkness I guess).
“…It’s close to midnight
Something evil’s lurkin’ in the dark
Under the moonlight
You see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream
But terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze
As horror looks you right between the eyes
‘Cause this is thriller…”
Of course, this is just a pinch from the endless realm of musical talent that we know of today. Amy Winehouse (2010) and just yesterday, Whitney Houston are a couple of others that have checked-out much too soon. However, they have still influenced our popular culture and, more importantly, inspired future musicians.
We’ve had many sad days when “the music died”. American Pie is a song that represents the importance of our favourite music and artists. This song is for every time a star has fallen.
Give peace a chance, and keep listening to good music! Especially by the musicians I have mentioned – to keep them alive. They represent the better parts of music because they are talented – unlike many of the ridiculous acts the money-grabbing producers are finding today. Just because we have computers that can sing for these “posers”, doesn’t mean that’s what we should be doing. We need to inspire people today more than ever.
The death that has affected my iPod playlists the most, it’s the death of The Beatles. And with that, I will leave you with John Lennon‘s solo tune, Imagine. Which is about how it could be.
“All you need is love”. And when you feel bad, “take a sad song and make it better”.