It was early morning 59 years ago today when a small airplane crashed in a lonely, snow covered farmers field near Clear Lake, Iowa. Its story is rich in lore, consequence and unnerving circumstance.
A future country music legend, then just a bass player, gave up his seat to one of those who perished. Another band member would lose a coin toss for his seat. Both would be shaken by those events for the rest of their lives.
Today, travelers on the road to somewhere else, stop at the cornfield to pay homage to the first stars of a new genre of music, and to the memory of the youthful dreams of an entire generation. Nothing much has changed there except for a stainless steel memorial placed in tribute. It marks the spot, where Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson and Richie Valens were killed, on the day the music died.
Next Saturday June 17th would be my father’s birthday. I don’t remember him. I was two years old when he died, but I think of him often, a lot more so as I’ve grown older. It seems he’s never far from my thoughts. Over the years I heard a lot about him. Of course he was loved by his family and he exemplified love as a devoted son, brother and uncle. People said he was kind-hearted with a great sense of humor.
Described as tall, good-looking, broad-shouldered and physically strong he was also blessed with musical talent. It was said he was a gifted singer, a talented guitar player, and a songwriter.
My dad, like his nine other siblings who lived into adulthood, had a rough life growing up. Coming from a broken home, they struggled through the years of the depression. At a very young age they often had to fend for themselves… just to eat. And on occasion some found themselves at odds with the law.
In talking about those days and their tough, undisciplined childhood an uncle described one of his brothers as “one rough character, eleven years old and packing a thirty-eight revolver.” That young boy, through his own determination, overcame those beginnings, and even before the war, was well on the road to turning his life around. He would go on to honorably serve his country as a combat soldier. He was one of the most respected, admired, and finest men I’ve ever known. (more…)
It was the early days of World War I in the Second Battle near the town of Ypres. A 22-year old Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed, from the explosion of a German artillery shell. He died 102 years ago tomorrow, May 2, 1915.
Ypres a small, ancient Belgian town saw some of the most intense and sustained battles during the war. Helmer was serving in the same Canadian artillery unit as his friend, doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae.
The son of Scottish immigrants, for McCrea, medicine, the Army and poetry were family traditions.
It’s break time. Time for a respite from all the opinion, perspective, the politics, questions and issues of life. Time, just to relax… to reflect. What better way to do that, than through music? Let’s call it “Music Monday!”
Music has always been a big part of my life and in so many ways. Anyone who knows me well… knows that.
I grew up on the rock music of the 60’s and 70’s but, as I’ve “matured” I’ve grown to have an eclectic taste in music. I enjoy most everything ranging from Sinatra to The Doobie Brothers to Diana Krall to Delbert McClinton, Acoustic Alchemy, Tim McGraw, Enya, and everything in-between. (I know… “Delbert Who?”) The list is a mile long and what I choose to listen to, probably just like you, depends on my mood at the time. Rock, Country, Jazz, Blues etc. etc. Bring it on! Thank God for iTunes and iPods. I mean really… who needs music radio?
Someone said, music is an expression of the human condition… the reflection of a soul. It is Art! For me, much like film, music can bring us relief and escape from the struggles of the world, even if just for a few moments. Music is my muse and I love it. I can’t imagine my world without it.
I’ve never seen the stage play but I loved the movie “Annie”. I’m not much “into” musicals, but a few stand out. A few I could watch again and again. In Annie I especially enjoyed Carol Burnett’s portrayal of Agatha Hannigan, the drunk, cruel, caretaker at Annie’s orphanage who all the girls feared. I love Carole Burnett.
Annie’s story is based on the popular comic strip character Little Orphan Annie from a bygone era and articulates an optimistic view of life through the theme just hang on, until tomorrow. Times weren’t easy in those days for Annie.
Anyway, how can any of us forget Annie’s rendition of that classic song Tomorrow? To my way of thinking, despite the setting and the uncertain future Annie faced, the song evokes the spirit of optimism. Sing the first few lines along with me … (more…)