As the last throws of 2016 comes to an end,it seems appropriate to dwell a little on this past year.As the media have an ability almost amounting to genius for these topics,I realise that I can add little to the events in the world over this year.However,as my posts are comments about music,and life in general,I do feel that I want to write some words on this on New Year’s Eve ,2016.
Having lived in the time of the emergence of Ziggy Stardust,in the heady days of prog Rock with Emerson Lake and Palmer,and feeling the affects as a musician and human being of the death of George Michael,I do have my own thoughts to express.You see,as a teenager who was obsessed with sound and beat,wether in the form of classical music,or any of the genres of my day,these folk became my friends through their music.As we track back to David Bowie and his various incarnations,he was always an artist to me.Granted,The laughing Gonome never really floated my boat,but his sheer output across decades ,and the calibre of musicians who graced his albums would surely have cemented his place in the rock and roll hall of fame.
Writing these paragraphs literally could pour out of me today like a chocolate factory in Bournville,and now I come unto Greg Lake of Emerson lake and Palmer fame.Greg lake,to me,at least,was one of the most underrated of the progressive rock movement,With his boyish good looks,talent beyond his years,he influenced so many, sold millions of albums.Having taught children for many years,I came to realise the affect that Greg Lake had onthe listening when once I asked a group of pupils who wrote the piece Fanfare for the common man,only to be told in a ringing unison chorus:”Emerson,Lake and Palmer”.You see,with their release of Aaron Copland’s masterpiece with its title,Fanfare for the common man,they had put this type of music on the map for a whole generation,and they deserve so much credit.I remember the excitement with my friends at the release of their seminal album:”Brain salad surgery”,and my frantic efforts at playing the keyboard parts on the organ at that time.Personally,were th the passing of Greg Lake,I feel that the area of Oakdale in Poole where he grew up should honour their most famous son with a monument ,or renaming a school after him.
Now,the last great icon ,and I am not using that name lightly:George Michael.When I first heard him with Wham,I along with many others who might feel that we have a more sophisticated view of music,thought that their band wasn’t going to be important,When they split as a band,I was totally and utterly wrong about the sheer talent of George.It was a pupil of mine in Cornwall at the time who bought “Listen without prejudice”.She was listening to the album when I called to give her a certificate for passing a piano exam.Although the volume was low,I just got entranced by the sheer quality of the songs,the voice itself spoke to me .Anna,although not a brilliant pianist,had a real ear for a voice and I had to admit to her that I had completely misjudged George.Now,as many others are finding out about what sort of man George was,I have a lump in my throat,because George Michael would go on to write and perform iconic music that transcended him to the point that us lesser mortals can,and should ,admire.His vocal tone,his vibrato,his relationship with any band that he played wouldshine through.Over the years,I have heard most of the important “unplugged concerts”,however,I can honestly say that the George Michael sets stand out as the most expressive,the most profound,and atmoheric to me.When George wrote “Jesu to a child” this song just touches so many of us in ways that others just don’t.When Geoe donated the proceeds to Childline,he didn’t do this with a massive fanfare,he did it because he cared,and he wanted to act for vulnerable children.Recently,the founder of child line,Esther Rantzen,has puplically stated that George wanted his kind act to be kept secret,and that is the measure of the man.George,along with other great artists of the modern era,was generous and had insight into acting when people really needed it.
So,2016 has been a year that we have said goodbye to so many artists who have graced our stages,our TVs,our lives.Yes,I could have included many others,but these are the ones that have touched me.Personally,I think that we will c it use to hear about these ones in years to come,affected by their music,and just be glad that their humanity touched so many of us.
I would like to thank everyone who read my posts,and all those who are patient with my rather unique take on spelling and grammar too.
I would like to wish you all a very happy forthcoming new year too.