Sometimes you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.
I was born in 1977. Probably one of the coolest years to be born… I think anyway. The seventies were an iconic decade, people had the freedom to express themselves and be who they wanted so much more than ever before… And then there was so much about to happen in the Eighties. These two decades were my formative years, there was so much going on… in fashion, in film, in music. So many great artists, designers and musicians emerged in this period. So it was only natural that I would grow up with a great appreciation of them, good fashion sense and pretty fine taste in music.
Skip forward (erm… some years) to this year 2016 and we’ve lost two musical legends David Bowie and Prince in the space of a few months. All over the news and social media, its been amazing to see the thousands of messages and tributes from people of all ages and from all over the world, expressing their reactions in so many different ways. Some mourning as though they had truly lost a loved one, others choosing to celebrate their amazing lives instead.
I have to say I didn’t think I was a huge fan or follower of either Bowie or Prince. Don’t get me wrong I thought they were amazing artists, super-talented but I just didn’t think I was close to or connected to their music.
I was wrong.
It wasn’t, sadly, until after David Bowie passed away back in January that I decided to just spend some time listening to his music… and I ended up listening to him for a week! As I went through album after album I recognised so many songs as though they were moments from my childhood. ‘Rebel, Rebel’ and ‘Golden Years’ were always there from as young as I can remember… ‘Modern Love’ was one of the first songs I recorded ‘off the radio’ to make my ultimate mixtape. A few years later I would appreciate it on another level, through its references to the relationship of love and religion.
My mum enjoyed listening to ‘Space Oddity’, it always makes me think of her, a young indian woman bringing up 3 children in a country that was so new to her, absorbing new culture and music. She still tells me often that the first two programs she enjoyed watching on english TV were Fawlty Towers and Top of the Pops (TOTP).
This is where Prince comes in… Watching TOTP with mum… ‘When Doves Cry’ fascinated me as a child I wasn’t mature enough to understand its full meaning, hence me asking my mum a lot of uncomfortable questions about grown ups when really she just wanted to sit and watch music videos… it was darker and deeper than a regular pop song – a theme which has stuck with my musical tastes until now.
So that’s how we met… but then they were always there dotted through my childhood, I could write a completely separate blog post just about the film ‘Labyrinth’ and happily still watch it now…. Prince and the New Power Generation’s ‘Gett Off’ very aptly landed bang in the middle of my teens… when many of my friends were already bragging about knowing everything there was to know about sex (at 15)… I was a bit of late bloomer in this department so this song was a bit of an eye-opener for me, closely followed by the slightly tamer ‘Cream’… I don’t think I need to go into detail.
I could give so many more examples of moments they popped up in my life. This is what makes them great to me and I’m sure to so many others, we grew up with them. They were brave, they were who they wanted to be and didn’t give a damn what anyone else thought. So much to admire. Their talents and lives crossed over the decades with us….
Maybe I am actually a huge fan without even realising. That’s the legacy they left behind for me. So I’m going to listen to them and celebrate their music, their lives and my own… just so I know what I got, before it’s gone.
If there is a musician or artist you feel the same or you’ve written about, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment or send me a link to it below.