So Long, 2016...
Whenever writing, even a simple column like this, one is happy for any continued inspiration or fodder that might come while crafting. Well, this one time, I would have been happy for a little less inspiration. While preparing for this note to you, in which I crafting an epitaph to 2016, I learned of George Michael’s passing. It hit like a ton of bricks in a year where we’d already lost so many heroes. Any year that takes David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Prince and George Martin, to name but a few, is no friend to me and a year I just assume part company with ASAP.
There may, of course, be some inevitability to losing our inspirations. As we grow older so do they but losing someone like George Michael at only 53 years of age hurts, a LOT! We do have the music that will remain for the ages and in the long term that does heal the wounds but when the news arrives it knocks the wind out of me every time.
We’re a unique breed though, aren’t we. We like our music just that little bit extra, we pour over the dialog from our favorite films with a borderline obsessiveness, we re-read sections of important books more than once. So, when you hear that we’ve lost Prince it feels like a friend has passed, and passed much too soon. This is not just a man that had some videos on Mtv a couple of decades ago, this is a man that reinvented rock n’ roll…more than once!
With this said, we did have some great music in 2016. We had new tracks from Thee Oh Sees, Radiohead, A Tribe Called Quest, American Football and the beautiful farewell gift David Bowie left us in the magnificent “Blackstar”. There was also the Vivien Goldman and Kleenex/LiLiPUT compilation reissues that were both put together with great love and care and helped keep some very important music in the world. That aside though, 2016 is poised to be remembered as the year we lost some of greatest, in we fact we specially lost “The Greatest Of All Tiiiiiiiimmmeee”.
I will continue to lament these losses personally but I’ll cease doing so here on the page. Instead I’d rather take a moment to thank them. From the very bottom of my heart I thank George Martin for reinventing what could be done in a recording studio and being the catalyst for helping The Beatles get the sounds out of their heads and onto tape where WE can all enjoy them for the next thousand generations. Thanks to George Michael for inspiring us to dance, even those of us (your writer included) who have nothing even resembling rhythm. Reflection on the losses of Prince and David Bowie can fill volumes and they simply can’t be given proper send off in just these few lines. We know how far-reaching these losses are and all we can possibly do at this point is break out our copies of Diamond Dogs or Parade and thank the stars we had them at all!
There are simply too many to list everyone individually, but we all have our favorites, so let’s keep their music spinning because I’m not sure how much better 2017 is going to get and we’re going to need all of the Bowie we lay out hands on to remind us that it can be wonderful. Happy New Year!
“Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld…”