Saturday, December 31, 2016

“Gotta Have Faith”

In 2016, we were all sad to see so many iconic figures leave this world…reminding us all that as young as we feel, we all share the same human affliction of mortality.

And as the last days of 2016 have come to a close, we’ve all kind of held our breath…after having heard, almost daily, of more losses.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s kind of silly to take a celebrity death so seriously.  But I’m not sure that’s what’s really even happening.  For me, I think it has more to do with what they represent.  When you hear of 50 something and 60 something people “passing away” suddenly, it gives you pause.  You start to think about your own mortality, and feel sad to see so much of what made up your own history and coming of age moments…well, leave us behind.  It’s way more exciting to be reading about a come back tour as a headline…and we won’t see one now for the Eagles or David Bowie.

It doesn’t get any more epic for me than Star Wars to freeze a moment from my childhood.  And thinking about one of the first modern day damsels in distress turned heroine in disguise…well yeah, it makes me sad to know the person, who played the character has died.  Carrie Fisher was a champion for many things in real life, well beyond her reign as Princess Leia.

I can still remember my Sony “boom box,” sitting on top of the white split rail fencing that encircled my grandparents’ yard on the farm…where I would indulge in my own fantasy world of “Footloose,” only I was bopping to “When Doves Cry” or “Jesse’s Girl” (afraid to say that out loud…Rick’s still with us, right?).  And David Bowie, on MTV, looking strange and exotic…unique, intriguing and terrifying all at once…with that unmistakable and incredibly sultry voice…with songs like “Let’s Dance,” and “Under Pressure” (awesome mix with Queen; Freddie Mercury, another gone too soon)  And my personal favorite, “Space Oddity”…only I had to look that up because I always thought it was called “Major Tom…”  And then the real life hero, John Glenn, who made history well beyond our own lifetimes, with the claim to fame as having been the first American to orbit Earth…and then went back in space at 77!  That’s freaking amazing.  Godspeed to you, Mr. Glenn.

“I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do”

They say nothing makes us remember like a familiar song.  Somehow, losing these familiar melodies in our lives brings a little tinge of melancholy to our own glory days (Bruce…still with us, right?). 

Eagles lead singer, Glen Frey, another loss in 2016…transcends decades of fans and too many hit songs to pick just one (though Hotel California is the first that comes to mind).  And funniest memory would be the reunion tour for this band, dubbing their album “Hell Freezes Over” (1994), because that’s when they collectively said what would have to happen for them to reunite…but staying relevant has a way of changing our minds, right?

And Gene Wilder…what an awesome talent.  From Young Frankenstein to Willy Wonka (the real Willy Wonka…sorry Depp man, but I wasn’t a fan of the remake)…amazing actor, who knew how to make people laugh out loud (long before LOL shorthand we use in texting).        

Behind the scenes was no less tragic, as we said goodbye to Gary Marshall, who was responsible for the best Tuesday night line up ever…Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Three’s Company (1978).  Marshall was the creator of both Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley.  And the spinoff from Happy Days, Mork and Mindy, was a great show on Thursday nights (we are still mourning the great loss of Robin Williams in 2014).

So, how do we make sense of it all?  I think we just gotta have “Faith” … (RIP George Michael).

Thanks to all the bigger than life people, who we never met, but whom left a lasting impression in our rear view mirror. 

Interesting personal observation:  Country music has secured top ranking in my Itunes playlist (though I also have a 1980s playlist that has most of what I grew up on). 


  1. Uh, Prince? I thought 2016 got off to a bad start with George Clayton Johnson dying on Christmas day 2015. He co-wrote Logan's Run and several Twilight Zone episodes such as Kick the Can and A Game of Pool. Then Abe Vigoda got forgotten in the mourning for Bowie. He was almost immortal at 94. I just watched him again in The Godfather yesterday. Keith Emerson AND Greg Lake. Ali?! Ralph Stanley, that I saw live in Cincy in 2012. Leon Russell. Mose Allison. It was a bad year. Or maybe, now that we're older, every year is going to seem like this.

    1. I think with the age bracket....every year is going to feel like a loss when anyone we used to track as "our age" passes...famous or not.