The headlines lit up again today as it was announced that Eagle Glenn Frey had died today. I’ve had this subject on my mind since the announcement on December 31st that singer Natalie Cole had passed away, and last week, when David Bowie died, I saw the following Tweet which summed up how I felt.
And that’s just a partial list from the past three weeks.
I’ve had the song, “Let’s Dance,” and “China Girl,” by David Bowie in my head for days. Now, “We Belong to the City,” and “The Heat is On,” are crowding them for space. Nevermind the music from the Harry Potter soundtrack from when Harry sees the real Snape in the Pensieve rolling around in there, too.
I’ve seen people sniping and rolling their figurative eyes all over Facebook and Twitter at how other express their very real grief over the loss of a celebrity. The grief is real, it’s just not the same as when someone you love or knew well dies. It’s the grief of being old enough to watch your childhood slowly die one celebrity at a time with an increasing regularity.
My entire life has a soundtrack, and Glenn Frey and David Bowie were a big part of it – especially in high school. Natalie Cole has been a favorite of mine for decades. Add in iconic movies – the visual history, and books – my literary history, and when actors, authors and others who have left an imprint on my life start to leave this world, and it has an effect.
Songs can take me back to a time, all I have to do is close my eyes. Music has been a strong rudder in my life. It’s no surprise that a tear or tears will come to my eyes, when a voice or sound from my childhood/younger years is silenced.
I imagine as I grow older, more of my cultural influencers will be silenced with an ever increasing regularity. It comes with the territory, I suppose. I will mourn their influence in my own way, as will generations who have been touched by their extraordinary lives.