Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Feeling morose?

I suppose. Max and I watched a VH1 special on Freddie Mercury this evening and I was saddened.

I grew up in the 70s and am a rocker at heart. 70s rock and roll is comfort music for me. It's the only music I can listen to that I know so well I don't have to concentrate to love it. When I am working, I can't have music playing in the background. For a musician that may seem weird, but I tend to 'listen' intently to music and that's the one place I have difficulty multi-tasking.

Excellent praise and worship music is the worst! I get all wrapped up in the music and find myself worshipping - even if I'm supposed to be working on something else. So, I just have to turn it off to get some work done. I love jazz, but again, I start listening to the rhythms and the musical lines and I'm gone. The only other music I can have going in the background is classical. The reason I can listen to that is that I grew up with that as a child. My parents didn't listen to popular music at home. Our library consisted of large amounts of Beethoven, Bach, Mahler, Haydn, Wagner ... it actually ran the entire gamut.

Back to rock and roll. I finally started listening to the stuff in junior high because my friends were playing it all the time. I would sneak a radio into my bedroom at night and play it under my pillow. I was thankful that my dad couldn't understand the words on the radio - it made it esier to listen. But, my parents didn't like it so late at night I stayed up listening to KIOA out of Des Moines. If the wind was right, I could pick up WGN out of Chicago. Don't forget this was 1971 and FM radio did not have a huge market yet. It was coming ... but, not yet.

Since I was the oldest kid in our family, I was the one that had to experiment with music. My friends would bring their records to school and I listened and listened ... Heart, Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Cream, CCR, YES, Styx, Toto and Queen. I fell in love with the big rock bands ... thick harmonies, grand music. I couldn't believe how fortunate we were to be living in a time when this music was being created!

Christian music was the pits. Recording quality was awful and the musicians were just discovering that it was ok to sing lyrics about God to rhythms found in rock concerts. Larry Norman was cool. There was a lot of growth that had to happen to Christian music and it really had barely started.

So, I poured myself into rock and roll. I love some of the bubble gum pop from that era, but it didn't stir my soul the way that rock did. And I just refuse to apologize for loving that stuff! It's amazing!

In the special, Freddie Mercury was asked if he would be in heaven. He said "No." He planned on being in hell - all of the interesting people would probably be there. He lived quite a hedonistic life and died of AIDS. That amazing talent ... lost at the age of 45. Had he contracted HIV several years later, there were drugs that would have altered his prognosis. But, his death greatly raised awareness of the disease. That amazing voice ... gone. He never had formal musical training, but composed intricate rhythms and gorgeous harmonies. He had nearly a 4 octave voice. Oh my ...

I told Max this evening that I missed him. He knew what I meant. Max is a complete Beatles freak and though John Lennon isn't his favorite Beatle, knowing that there will never be a chance for more of that creativity to occur is a sad thing.

Freddie Mercury would have been 61 this year. Who knows what could have been. He knew he was dying and made sure that he recorded some beautiful stuff before he did die. He announced the day before his death that he was dying of AIDS, though everyone seemed to know it. The last song he recorded as a music video ... "These Are The Days of Our Lives" has always been one of my favorites.

Those were the days of our lives,
The bad things in life were so few
Those days are all gone now,
But one thing's still true
When I look and I find ... I still love you.

Every year I have further and further to look back. People have died in my life and my memories of them remain. Tonight, I remember a musician that impacted my life through the music I listened to. And I miss him.

1 comment:

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