Tuesday, January 4, 2011
No Obituaries Needed
By now everybody has heard that Teena Marie is dead. Of course I was saddened that she should die so young with so much left to contribute to the music world and I should say something about how she had an affect over my adolescence but to be honest I was never really a fan of hers. Yes she did "Behind the Groove" which would blow your mind and make you go without underwear so you could shake money maker on the dance floor, but it wasn’t the singing that I liked. It was the bass and the beat and the arrangements that moved me. It was more Rick James than Lady T, more Funk than R&B. But that was still no excuse for me to wait until she died just to say,”Hey.”
Today Gerry Rafferty also died. I sort of wish that I had bought his music and supported his efforts and said that he meant something to me, but I had never heard of him or his group The Stealers. They played "Stuck in the Middle with You," as the background music for one of the sickest and best movie scenes ever shot until today and for that I will always be grateful. If you have the time take click on this link and you’ll see what I mean and maybe we'll say so long and farewell together.
A few months ago I was in a friend’s car and he was playing a copy of Lionel Richie’s latest album. I laughed telling him that Ritchie was so yesterday and out of date and he told me that Lionel Ritchie may not have been as relevant as he used to be but he still was a phenomenal talent that should be recognized and respected. He was right of course.
I remember when the singer was at the top of his game when he was in The Commodores and after. He was king of the world and dancing on the ceiling and proving to everyone. He was doing R&B and Country, writing songs not just for himself but Kenny Rogers and other artists and was breaking all sorts of records and winning all sorts of awards…Well he would have been except for that small detail of Michael Jackson and his “Thriller” album kicking everyone to the curb and leaving nothing but dust and crumbs behind.
But Lionel Ritchie still wrote and still performed and still produced, and even though I may have been a little too young and inexperienced to realize what he was writing about at the time I do now. And even though I will probably still not buy his new music or pay to see him perform, I recognize him as a significant part of my life and salute him before the obits are needed by just saying, ”Hey,” and, "Good job."