Another talent lost to us, Whitney Houston has died at the age of 48.
Whitney Houston’s voice and presence will not be soon forgotten. While I hadn’t originally considered her one of my musical influences, I now remember spending many hours singing along with Whitney’s debut album when it came out (on vinyl – yes, I’m dating myself ;-)) Night after night, after my parents had gone to bed, I’d belt her songs into a hairbrush in the family room. Whitney’s voice then had power, range, and emotion, and learning from her records was one way I learned to sing before I began formal voice lessons. And her music was the soundtrack of many life experiences, so she was like a big sister, always there.
Here’s a video of “The Greatest Love of All” performed by Whitney Houston, the song that introduced many of us to that voice.
Today I’m featuring a vintage guest blog post by my dear friend Andrew Hand. Enjoy!
Remembering John Lennon
by Andrew Hand
Today is the anniversary of the tragic and untimely death of John Lennon. It was thirty-one years ago that Lennon was killed by Mark David Chapman outside the Dakota. I often visit Strawberry Fields in Central Park, across from the Dakota, where the Imagine circle lies and where so many come to pay tribute to John.
I’m struck by how many people visit in tourist droves. This was part of their sight-seeing rounds and as I reflect on John’s impact I thought of this…
John Lennon had a profound impact on the history of the world. He first was a member of the most popular band in the world, which got him seen and into the conscious of so many, but he then took all that attention and used it to spread a message of peace and love and a message that still impacts so many people. He stood up and put his heart and soul out to the world through his music and became a catalyst for people who felt the same way he did, who wanted to see a better world.
As John said, “Some might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Lennon knew there were many, who felt the same way he did and he made them feel he was speaking directly to them. What better human interaction can one have than speaking with other human beings? That is what we all seek in life, quality human interactions. Feeling that there is another being on this planet that feels the same way we do. That is community, tribes, and friendship.
So as I reflect back on my morning and all those people that John has touched and continues to touch, I think to my own music/life and how I can apply the idea of “I’m not the only one” into my conversation with others. How can I be of service, of kinship to my fellow beings on this wonderful journey of life and strike a common thread in their lives?
I am so thankful to have found music (at the late age of 24) and the road it has taken me down has been nothing short of amazing. My musical heroes speak to me even now despite their passing. John Lennon is the biggest of those heroes that I have and so today I pay tribute to the man who has asked so many profound questions and offered such wonderful answers. He spoke from his heart and has touched mine.
Thanks John, your spirit lives on.
Peace to the World (A Tribute to John Lennon) by Andrew Hand
Andrew Hand writes with a passion for lyrical truth, connecting to the listener drives him forward. His musical journey started at a later stage in life, at the age of 24. This late start supercharged a voracious appetite to delve deeper into lyrics and composition through studying theory and writing. Andrew’s style is best described as: John Lennon’s mind, Jim Morrison’s voice and David Bowie’s theatrics.
All images courtesy of Andrew Hand.
It’s been more than a week since Amy Winehouse died, and I still don’t have the words to fully express what I feel about it.
When I first heard Amy’s “Back to Black” CD, I devoured its brilliant darkness, and played it constantly. But when news of her addiction became well-known (and fodder for the tabloids), I was no longer able to enjoy singing along to “Rehab”. In fact, listening to that CD in its entirety was something I found difficult to do in the past two years or so. I can sing every note, every word on that gorgeous CD, but it became painful to sing along. I have my own demons to deal with, and listening to Amy lay out her own, for the world to see, was just too much.
Whenever Amy’s songs would come up in my iPod shuffle, I would fast forward to the next song, hoping it would be something more upbeat, like Esperanza Spalding’s “I Know You Know”. I felt that by singing along to Amy’s “Rehab”, “Tears Dry On Their Own”, “Me and Mr. Jones”, et al, I was somehow adding to the collective energy of other folks singing along, and adding to her pain.
I’m not interested in discussing whether or not her death was expected, nor if anyone could have prevented it, or why people were upset that her death eclipsed the tragedy in Norway. I will only say that she was a real person, human, complex, and brilliant, and her talents will be missed.
Because I do want to honor her memory, I will share one of my favorite Amy Winehouse songs here,
“Tears Dry On Their Own”:
Today’s obituary for Michael Jackson is one that I definitely hadn’t expected to have to write yet, and most definitely, one that I am loathe to even begin. But fortunately, I’m a blogger, not a journalist, so I can create my Michael Jackson tribute however I see fit.
Besides, there are not enough words to express what the world is feeling right now.
Instead, I’ll just feature one of my favorite songs sung by Michael Jackson: “Who’s Loving You”, which was recorded by The Jackson 5 when Michael was still a young pup. Whenever I hear this song, I am blown away by Michael’s musical gifts. No matter what name you could ever throw at me, to this day, I’ve never heard this kind of singing talent in anyone so young.
The world is in shock and mourning today because of Michael Jackson’s legacy as an entertainer. His music and performances have the power to move us, and touch us deeply. He was truly “The King of Pop”.
My sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the Jackson Family.