It was listening to Stephen Colbert reminisce about Ric Ocasek and just how much the late musician and the music of the Cars had on his teenage life. How much Ocasek and his music lived with him through his college years and the sheer joy of being able to work with his hero. It was beyond Colbert being another fan boy. He personally knew Ric Ocasek, and so his recent passing hit home, heart and head. It certainly got into this head.
No matter what Irene Cara might have sung, none of us are going to live forever. That’s how life is. Like Billy Preston sang, That’s The Way God Planned It. And like the passing of Ric Okasek, we’re going to be losing more and more musical heroes. Some we might have had the good fortune to meet and “hang” together, others we got to know through their music- and often more about ourselves, too. And what a trip it’s been for which we will be eternally grateful.
Most who took us on this musical journey of discovery are now in their seventies- the Stones, the remaining Beatles and Led Zeppelin, Dylan, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Joni Mitchell, Elton…
Some are still out there and others are having biopics produced about them. Some of these biopics being quickly churned out can be quite telling. Or foreboding…
These seventysomethings never checked into The 27 Club. Instead, they kept doing what they did and still do best- go out there and perform and produce music for themselves. Theirs have always been introspective songs, which resonated with us for one reason or another.
All of the songs might not be great, but they mattered enough for us fans to listen to and decide where on our own playlists they figured.
The key thing is this: These are musicians who created the soundtrack to many of our lives, whether when in college, when dating, when exchanging vows, when breaking up, when making up, taking off, and saying farewell to friends and family. Their music is still very much living with us.
Maybe it’s a baby boomer ‘thing’. I’m sure it is. Though others might wish to “partake”, like sharing that first joint, it’s always going to be a private party. You have had to have been there. If not, despite all the well-intentioned “sharing”, it’s been heard before and, always at the right time.
Trying to get that feeling again is impossible. It’s forced. It’s like love. Once it’s gone, it’s no longer there.
For some musicians, getting up onstage is part of feeling alive. For most, more often than not, it’s just one last gasp at milking that cash cow. It’s why so many reunion tours and trying to conjure up the spirit of Woodstock in 2019 have never worked out. Nostalgia is nice, but only in small doses.
So when these Rock and music icons many of us grew up with decide to check out, like the music of all the other greats before them- Sinatra, Jobim, Miles, Chet Baker, Bird, Hendrix, Marvin Gaye etc- their musical legacy lives on.
Our job is not only about sharing their music with the next generation of young musicians trying to be heard. It’s also about making fans of music- every genre of music because music has no barriers- and INTERESTING them in who did what and why and introducing them to all the hook lines that grabbed us by the ears and made us look at these artists BEYOND the music in order to understand the stories BEHIND the songs.
This is what’s missing in most of the music churned out today. It’s not coming from storytellers. It’s coming from a very different space and time and a world where life’s priorities have been lost in the thud of clutter and shuffle.
To introduce everything we have learned along the way, especially the great back stories, is the least we can do to keep the music alive and to Thank all those who will never pass this way again.
#Music #RicOcasek #StephenColbert