In show business, it’s been sadly noted that tragedy comes in threes. True enough, in the past couple of months, musical leave-takings started with the demise of Whitney Houston, followed by the death, after a struggle with cancer, of disco diva Donna Summer.
Whitney’s death was bad enough, since she epitomized that rare combination of exceptional musical talent and beauty—with the added “bonus” of her being Afro-American. Not many of her historically disadvantaged race have risen to durable stellar status as she had, so her unexpected demise was a real shocker.
It became an even more cautionary tale when the sadness of her life was revealed in post-mortem reports. Surely she deserved better than being used and misused by some of the people who were supposedly close to her!
It’s a good thing that, before she died, Houston completed work on a new film, which also stars the now much slimmer “American Idol” winner, Jordin Sparks. Let’s hope that Whitney’s posthumous production, “Sparkle,” will live up to its name and help restore some of the brilliance that was eroded from her stellar ethos in her last few years.
Music fans barely had time to take a deep, consoling breath before they were hit hard by news of the death of another iconic diva, Donna Summer.
Her unique voice, signature repertoire, exuberant performing style and versatility made her a vivid presence in our lives for a time, so her abrupt departure was similarly shocking.
Unlike Whitney, however, Donna left no new recording or performance for us to remember her by, so we’ll have to settle for revivals of her past hits.
After Donna died, the entertainment world’s “tragedy comes in threes” tradition or superstition sent chills through the music circles. Who would be the third singing celebrity to sing his or her swan song, to complete this particular cycle? And, when would the third shoe drop?
Alas, the answer to that chilling question came with stunning swiftness: Robin Gibb of the Gibbs brothers who perforce had to say good-bye, yet another victim of cancer.
The Bee Gees’ most “vulnerable” soloist, Robin sang of hurt and loss. In fans’ recollection, he “started the joke that had the whole world crying.”
His demise at age 62 made older music lovers recall a relatively uncomplicated time when love was relatively pure, and the living was easy.
Perhaps not as iconic as Whitney and Donna because he was a member of a group, Robin was still able to project his own, more sensitive persona, when compared to his sleeker smoother siblings.
Music fans hope and pray that the tragic cycle of multiple departures has been completed—for the year!
They’ve made this particular season an annus horribilis that we trust has run out of iconic talents to target and terminate.
Final lesson learned: Let’s agree to patronize and celebrate our most favored and beloved stars while they’re still around!