Whitney Houston. Davy Jones. Nearly three years ago, Michael Jackson.
What is it about these stars of yesteryear leaving us too soon? Whitney was only 48. Davy, 66, and Micheal was just shy of his 50th birthday.
I’m not saying that this is totally true, but that line from the song “If I Die Young” from the country sensation The Band Perry does have some meaning: “Funny when you’re dead how people start listening.”
It was reported just days after her death that Whitney’s music was some of the most downloaded. Sales on Michael’s music have soared since his death in June 2010. And I’m sure a resurgence in The Monkees’ popularity will occur — perhaps this time to a whole new generation like my daughter’s. Think of the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Their music lives on as well.
I’ve mentioned before that Amber’s intrigued by the King of Pop’s music thanks to a tap-dance routine to Jackson’s “Beat It” in this year’s dance recital and her receiving “The Michael Jackson Experience” for her Wii at Christmastime. She hasn’t really caught on to Whitney’s music yet except to hear it on the radio in the car, and she mentioned the pop princess bears resemblance to today’s star Rihanna. She has no idea who The Monkees are, but I’m sure she will in due time. Perhaps I could compare them to the likes of Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush.
Amber and I talk a lot about music, including the stars of the 1980s who were big in my upbringing. I listened to the radio often and much, along with records and cassette tapes (I didn’t get a CD player until my high school graduation!). You could probably ask me anything about the 1980s as far as pop culture is concerned and I could answer it!
Last weekend she found a few of the albums I accumulated over the years. One of them is Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which was an 11th birthday present from my parents — and a coveted one at that! I also have the Philadelphia-based band The Hooters’ “Nervous Night, the “Footloose” soundtrack (the 1980s version, thank you) and the Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits from the late 1970s.
“Can I see the record?” Amber asked, holding the cardboard jacket.
I pulled the sleeve out that held the record, revealing the black piece of vinyl that hasn’t seen the light of day since who knows when. I showed her how you would play it by placing it on a turntable and then putting the needle on the edge of the record to start the first song. I pointed out the darker circles on the record that meant a new song would start. I turned the record over to show her that the music would continue on “the flipside.”
“Wow!” she said.
“It’s quite different than the CDs and downloaded stuff you use today, right?” I asked her.
“Uh-huh,” Amber said.
It’s amazing how the things that we children of the ’80s and ’90s took for granted and saw as the end-all have taken steps back in time and are more than likely seen as relics to today’s kids. That leaves me wondering what marvels of technology will top today’s hi-tech gadgets when it comes to listening to music.
Maybe next time I go to my parents’ for a visit I’ll have to drag out the 8-track tapes that my parents once used on their elaborate stereo resembled a desk and featured a turntable, AM/FM radio and 8-track player.