Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Good night, Mrs. Calabash.

Well, Happy (sort of) New Year.

The old year went out with a bang, with the deaths of legends Lemmy Kilmister and Natalie Cole, and the new year came in with a roar, taking away David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Glenn Frey. Now, I didn't personally know any of these people, but I was well aware of who they were, and Bowie and Frey in particular were a large part of the soundtrack of my youth. People who were Out There In the World as long as I could remember were suddenly Not There anymore. And even though I didn't know them, I feel that loss.

When I was about 8-9 years old, I had a babysitter named Christy, who was about 15. She turned on 1510 WLAC every Saturday night so we could listen to Wolfman Jack. Those of you who grew up in Nashville in the 70s will remember when WLAC was the AM radio powerhouse of the day, playing a delightful and eclectic mix of rock, pop, and soul, all jammed up in there together. You might hear Marshall Tucker followed by Kiss followed by Earth, Wind, & Fire. And you liked it. You loved it. It was glorious.

That was where I first heard David Bowie, the Eagles, and Bruce Springsteen, among others. (I will tell on myself here and admit that I was practically grown before I realized the Boss had written that Manfred Mann hit with the unintelligible lyrics. I definitely think the original is superior, but I digress.) But all that stuff in the mid to late 70s? That was ROLLER SKATING MUSIC, man. When you're 10-11 years old, all you care about is, does it have a good beat and you can skate to it?

I knew all the words to "Hotel California" and "New Kid in Town," as well as "Lyin' Eyes," and while all the grownup subject matter was lost on me at the time, I sang along every time they came on the radio. I did not have a particularly warm & fuzzy childhood, so music was a balm to my soul. And once I started taking piano lessons, you might have found me playing "Desperado" on that Kimball upright (which now lives at my house).

Fast forward a few years, and you might have seen Mister and me sitting in someone's back yard singing "Take It Easy" at a summer picnic. I want to say "Tequila Sunrise" probably worked its way in a time or two as well.

Yeah, I'm a little sentimental about the Eagles. Sue me. Those were some good songs I associate with good times. Forty years later, those songs have a completely different meaning for me, but I still love them just the same, and I don't reckon that's going to change anytime soon.

My all-time favorite Bowie song? "Changes," hands down. Again, still meaningful to me after so many years, because even at age 48, I still don't know what I was waiting for . . . my time was running wild, a million dead-end streets . . .

So, a toast to Lemmy, Natalie, David, Alan, and Glen, for bringing a little magic to this blue marble, albeit much too briefly, Until next time ---- turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes.

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