Saturday, 31 December 2016

These are the dead

It sure seems to have been a bumper year for daisies being pushed up by those who have mattered to us, musically.  Here are a few, and no, not all because I'm not that kind of obsessive.

1) Bowie
  • The year began with Blackstar and the end of Bowie.
  • Suddenly, the buskers of London, who for as long as I had been here had played House of the Rising Sun, began playing Starman. Not as well as Bowie but what the hey!.
  • We had a gig early in January and we'd already planned tributes to Lemmy, namely Silver Machine and 1916 so there was no room for a Bowie tribute song so what did we do?
  • Instead I inserted Future Legend into Abyss and we played a chorus of Jean Genie in the middle of our version of Sympathy for the Devil.
  • I never got Bowie when he first came out.  I saw Space Oddity on Top of the Pops as a child and liked the SF theme because that was my specialist subject at age nine but I never understood Bowie after that until Heroes came out and I saw the blessed Nico doing it.
  • Around the same time, I saw Christiane F and understood Christiane's obsession with him as he stood above the adoring Berlin crowds and sang Station to Station.
  • So then I looked at Bowie's back catalogue and discovered such brilliant gems as Running Gun Blues, Panic in Detroit, John I'm Only Dancing and Rebel Rebel.
  • And I'd forgotten how good Mick Ronson was!
2) Prince
  • Prince too, what is the world coming to?
  • Not much of his work is available out there on the Internet.
  • I love 1999, and When Doves Cry and Sign O the Times
  • But here's Purple Rain!
  • Of course, another artist associated with Prince, namely Vanity also died this year.
3) Viola Beach
  •  But this was the year that we were reminded that you don't need to be a celebrity for your death to be heard worldwide.  When Viola Beach plunged into a Swedish Canal and died along with their manager in February, their songs Boys That Sing and Swings and Waterslides went straight into the charts.
  • In August their debut (and only) album "Viola Beach" reached number 1 in the Album Charts.
 4) Vi Subversa
  • Vi Subversa aka Frances Sokolov died in February aged 80.
  • Not only was she a punk icon in her own right in Poison Girls, but she was also the mother of Pete Fender and Gem Stone of Fatal Microbes and later Rubella Ballet.  
5) Leonard Cohen 

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