Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rock And Roll Heaven

I was just thinking about how pretty much all of my favorite musicians are dead. John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, John Entwistle, Janis Joplin, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, George Harrison, Freddie Mercury. I guess that's the reason why I haven't bought any new music in a few years.

I do like some newer artists, but not enough to go out and buy their albums (I know, they don't make albums anymore, but that's the term I've always used and will continue to until I've joined the artists listed above.)

Thinkin It Over by John Entwistle
I'm on the ledge outside my window, the ground is 10 stories below.
As I look down the crowd looks up, wondering whether I'll jump or not.
What ya gonna do, disappoint all those people?
Or make a splash in the headlines next day?
What ya gonna do, waste your time with those policemen,
Or let your audience have their own way.

I love, love, loved John Entwistle who was better known as the bass player for The Who than as a solo artist. While Pete Townsend was smashing guitars and Roger Daltrey was swinging his microphone and Keith Moon was smashing on his drums John Enwistle just stood there, playing his bass guitar. His nickname was Thunderfingers and his bass playing just stunned me. His Smash Your Head Against The Wall album was the first I ever heard of him. It was 1971 and I can still remember hearing it at my cousin's house. I had no idea at that time who he was, but I remembered the album cover and when I saw the album cover a few years later, I bought it and now I have two as I have almost worn out the first one. Most people don't really know his solo music, which is quite dark and very clever in the lyrics. I was lucky enough to see him live at The Living Room, but it was a bit of a disappointment because they played mostly Who songs (I wanted to hear his solo songs!) They were way too loud for the small space they were playing in, but I got to be about 6 feet away from him, so all in all it was pretty great. Sadly, he died of a drug overdose in 2002.

I Wonder by John Entwistle
I wonder what would happen if my dog could talk, would he look me in the eye and say take me for a walk?
I wonder if my fish could fly, would he leap from his tank and hit the cat in the eye?
Imagine living in a place where the sea was red, And your legs were in the position now occupied by your head.
Imagine living in a place where black was white and white was black, even the night.

Anyway, all these dead musicians remind me of a Stephen King short story titled "You Know They Have A Hell Of A Band" was a town a couple found by mistake while driving. The husband didn't want to stop and ask for directions (big mistake.) It was a very picturesque place and this couple soon came to realize that something just wasn't right. All of the dead musicians lived there and had jobs in this town. In the restaurant Janis Joplin was a waitress while Ricky Nelson was the short order cook. Elvis was the mayor and he, Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix kept the couple from leaving. The dead musicians held a concert every night in the town square that you were required to attend and the concert lasted forever as rock and roll never dies.

So I'd like to think that there really is an afterlife where these favorites of mine are having a great jam session. Freddie Mercury continuing on as the great showman he was, Janis just being Janis, Jimi Hendrix with his fingers flying over the frets and John and George playing together again.

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