Just last week, we lost Chris Kelly of the Rap duo, Kris Kross, to a suspected drug overdose. And just a couple of days later, it was guitarist Jeff Hanneman of the Metal band, Slayer, who died of liver failure. The sad news keeps on coming and I find it alarming that so many artists have died already. Just the sheer number of musicians who have joined the list is growing by the year. Have you guys checked the obituaries lately of dead musicians ? See for yourselves.
Thoughts about the late Amy Winehouse
Don’t forget also Amy Winehouse who died at the tender age of 27. A few years before she passed away, renowned music critics and insiders were giving their predictions that she might die before she reaches the age of 30 if she did not put a permanent stop to her alcohol and substance abuse. Amy Winehouse was following an all too familiar pattern that doesn’t have a happy ending. Many thought that these music figures were premature in their statements and might have been exaggerating the health status of Amy Winehouse. But it turned out they were correct. After all, these music figures had seen one too many artists die young and get cut off at the prime of their careers. They were not wishing her ill but rather they were trying to prevent another artist from dying. Anytime you live a self-destructive lifestyle, you end up not only hurting yourself but also those who genuinely care for you.
When news broke out of her death, reporters were scrambling to interview anyone who had known Amy Winehouse–friends, fellow artists, and family members. One interview stood out for me. That was with the father of Amy Winehouse done by a news anchor of CNN. He was so devastated by the loss of his beloved daughter and was speaking about her as though she were still around as he recalled fond memories and the first time he heard one of her songs in the radio. These are significant moments that only a father can relate to. A lot of music aficionados shed a tear that night and included Amy Winehouse in their prayers. Most artists don’t even reach their peak at 27. Who knows what would have happened if she didn’t go too early ?
Thoughts about the late Michael Jackson
When a music legend dies, it leaves such a tremendous impact that can be felt for weeks. Things don’t feel the same during that time and it always feels like something is missing in the music landscape. I know I felt that way when Michael Jackson died. I can still remember where I was when I found out the tragic news. For a moment, you are in a state of disbelief and you try your best to convince yourself it might be not real. But then the reality of the situation will hit you like a ton of bricks and that is when you just have to accept the fact.
Even as they are no longer with us in physical form, you know somehow their presence will continue to be felt when you listen to their music. That is one way to celebrate their lives and the music they shared with us. I can share a perfect example of this based on my own observation. Years ago, I remember being in a record store doing my regular rounds during the week that Michael Jackson died, and they were playing his songs like “Beat It” and “Thriller.” It was a sight to see so many kids, mostly pre-teens, who were lining up with excitement to buy Michael Jackson’s older albums and his compilation albums. I had never before seen that happen. It brought a smile to my face to see these kids appreciate his music, to think that most of them weren’t even born yet when his albums came out. Situations like this has really brought the music of Michael Jackson full circle and crossed generations. That is greatness right there exemplified! A legacy that has continued on to this very day. That is exactly how the memory of these artists will survive and continue on for the next generation. It is with those kids who are now discovering the music of such icon. The music will always live!
Looking back at my “The Magalona Legacy” article
Which reminds me, a few years ago I wrote a piece called “The Magalona Legacy”—an article about how the death of Francis M had affected me. On a side note, I am glad that particular work of mine hasn’t been chopped up and portions of it plagiarized like some of my older pieces. I guess even the shameless and sometimes faceless plagiarists have the deceny to not rip off pieces about those who have passed away? Who knows? Well, it just speaks of how they were affected by the passing of Francis M. It brought out some good in them to not do wrong!
To quote the late “Master Rapper,” Francis Magalona:
“I am lucky to have been a recording artist and one day when I leave this world, just like the names I mentioned, my voice will be heard. Always. At a touch of a button or switch, I am ‘alive’ again.”