The unwanted aspect of the senior years of life is illness and inevitable death. We are always saddened by the loss of those we grew to love, respect and emulate in our youth whose names evoke memories of a carefree time when the future was no further than the next event. It was George Martin’s turn this week to pass on. He was 90, his hearing was failing but he died leaving a legacy of greatness and music that will last forever.
Often illness comes before death. Another aged rocker, Keith Emerson, 71, keyboardist and founder of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, took his own life recently after he was reported to have been diagnosed with a condition where he was unable to use his hands to play the keyboards as he did. Another rocker, Brian Johnson, 68, lead singer of AC/DC forced the cancellation of the groups upcoming American tour due to a progressive ailment. His doctors warned that continuing to tour would damage his hearing to the point of deafness. Those loud, hard driving concerts that my generation have come to know and expect have returned to bite the artists and probably some of the concert goers in the ass (or ears).
I am always optimistic of the future even though there isn’t as much of it as there use to be. I am sorry that Emerson thought his life was useless without playing keyboard. I was listening to the classic rock DJ Ken Dashow of Q104.3 who described Keith as very learned in classical music and jazz. I am more upset over his giving up when he could have done more to pass along his knowledge to enrich more aspiring musicians or music aficionados.
It must have been hard for AC/DC to give up the tour. The money lost had to be enormous but I’m glad they made the decision to stop in the name of health. Life doesn’t have to end tragically if you have a choice.
I’m just glad that all those who died recently (Bowie, Frey, etc, etc.) did not loose their life in a drug overdose like Joplin, Morrison and Hendrix. To not live enough to be as great as you can be is the ultimate crime. There is comfort in still hearing Clapton, Townsend, Richards and other great ones of my generation. I hope I will always be able to hear, see and enjoy them.