After a longtime friend derided There Stands the Glass as a “death blog” a few years ago, I made the conscious decision to stop acknowledging the passing of every prominent musician. The furious spate of recent bad news compels me to return to the gloomy format to lament several recent fatalities.
The no wave/new wave musician Cristina is among the peripheral artists who were once the momentary focus of my attention. Shamefully, I’d completely forgotten about her.
I like to think I already know everything, so I was flabbergasted to have never made the connection between Manu Dibango’s global 1972 hit “Soul Makossa” and Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Starting Something” until I read one of Dibango’s obituaries. Other than hearing “Soul Makossa” on the radio as a child, the only music of Dibango’s I’d spent time with is Electric Africa
, his mind-boggling 1985 album for Celluloid Records.
Joe Diffie’s biggest hits sounded like holdovers from the ‘80s. While he was never as good as John Anderson or Randy Travis, Diffie made markedly better music than the majority of his hit-making peers in the ‘90s.
Wendy Carlos and Genesis P-Orridge introduced me to the concept of gender fluidity, but unlike Carlos’ work, the music GP-O made with Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle never grabbed me.
I was so floored by seeing Roy Acuff in person to appreciate much else at the time, but my first trip to the Grand Ole Opry in the late ‘80s turned out to be a big moment in my concert-going career. In addition to taking in sets by the likes of Little Jimmy Dickens and Skeeter Davis, it was the only time I witnessed Jan Howard perform.
I’m so grateful for the African music scare of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Attending shows
by groups like Aurlus Mabele’s Loketo in American clubs changed my life.
I’d be lying if I pretended to have been captivated by Ellis Marsalis’ concerts and albums, but what a legacy he left!
Embarrassing confession: I first sat down to intentionally focus on the composer’s “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima” last year. The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s new release Penderecki: Horn and Violin Concertos
was in my queue when Penderecki passed.
You’d think I would have detested Kenny Rogers and everything he represented. What a cornball!
Yet my heart never allowed my head to have its way. Even though my dad died more than 20 years ago, I can still hear him bellowing “Lucille” like a drunken sailor. And Rogers charmed me each of the several times I saw him perform.
In many ways, Roney’s discombobulated career exemplifies the plight of jazz during the past 40 years.
Hours after learning of Schlesinger’s death, the loud renditions of Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom” on repeat in my memory banks kept me up half the night.
Eric Taylor isn’t the only musician who pledged to kill me, but the singer-songwriter’s oath was one of the most believable of the several murderous threats I’ve received. Here’s the story.
My relationship with the music of Bill Withers is tainted by overexposure. Excruciating renditions of “Lean On Me” by countless children’s choirs and innumerable hack jobs of Withers hits including “Use Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine” tortured me in churches, jazz clubs, blues joints and hotel lounges.
(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)