Thursday, November 5, 2009

Only The Good Die Young

If I’ve learned anything from watching Six Feet Under, it’s that death happens all the time. As we go about our day we don’t often think about how easily it can all end, but somehow when a celebrity passes away we’re surprised. They’re just people right? But there are some people that you just can’t forget. Is it their deaths make them legendary? Maybe it’s their DNA? Or were they simply destined to become icons? There are countless musicians who have left us, not because of self destructive behavior, but rather due to circumstance. Three that come to mind are Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline and Marc Bolan. All extraordinary musicians, and unique characters so why is it that they all died so young, and under such tragic circumstances?

Buddy Holly was just 22 years old when he died in the infamous plane crash that also claimed the lives of musicians Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. The event was later referred to as “The Day the Music Died” in the classic Don McClean song “American Pie”. Holly wasn’t afraid of flying, quite the opposite - he wanted to get his pilot’s license. Life really does play mean tricks on you.

Then there’s the incomparable Patsy Cline, who died at 30. By the time of her death, Cline had already survived two car crashes in her lifetime, one of which was near fatal. It seems as though Cline had a feeling her time was almost up as she reportedly told Jordanaire back up singer Ray Walker as she exited the Grand Ole Opry just a week before her death: "Honey, I've had two bad ones (accidents). The third one will either be a charm or it'll kill me."

Glam rock king Marc Bolan, lead singer of T. Rex, died just two weeks before his 30th birthday. Bolan never learned to drive because he was scared of getting into an accident, so as irony would have it he died in one. As a huge fan of T. Rex I always found it extremely eerie that so many of their songs either involve cars, or at least mention them. I guess sometimes your greatest fears become realities.

Even though their careers were short lived, it's safe to say that each of them has made a lasting impression on the fabric of popular music. From the roots of rock 'n roll, to classic country, and 50s inspired cosmic glam, their ghosts live on in song.

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