The Day The Music Died (Well A Wonderful Funky Chunk Of It)

onstage during The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

Yes, it’s another Prince tribute. I’m still trying to grasp the news of Prince’s death. It amazes me how people (because I know I’m not the only one) can feel so much grief for a person they “didn’t know.” And, like so many people from Minneapolis I had my Prince sighting. When the movie “Purple Rain” came out I went to see it with a friend at the Skyway Theater. When it was over we stood up and saw Prince sitting about two rows behind us — apparently he liked to go to see how people reacted to the movie.

But that’s the cool thing about Prince and other people I mourned for when they passed that were not part of my life in the way that we hung out together or talked on the phone or emailed pictures of cute dogs and cats — they were part of my life in a totally different way.

Prince’s music played in the background of my life. Sometimes a little louder than other times but when I hear certain songs it takes me back to a specific place. And it reminds me of something I may have forgotten until that moment when I hear that song. And it’s not just the music of Prince — there are so many songs that take me to wonderful places and times.

Mod-Podge-formulaThe song “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) takes me to the summer of 1972 right after I graduated. It was tops on the charts and on the radio all the time. I was in the basement of my house working on my decoupage using gallons of Modge Podge. I had great plans to make a living as a decoupage artist — making plaques that said pithy things like “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” or “Smile God loves you.” Of course I had a back-up plan — I would be a macrame artist making hanging planters.

namathThe song “A Horse With No Name” invokes the memory of my friend Leslie Samuelson Larsen. We were in my car when the song came on the radio and she started singing away — then I noticed she was singing “I’ve been to the desert on a horse with Joe Namath.” To this day I can’t hear that song without thinking of Leslie (who passed away in 2005 from ovarian cancer) and Joe Namath.

“You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” was the first song I ever slow danced to (thank you Bob Bayers); the entire album “Can’t Slow Down” by Lionel Ritchie reminds me of the best time of my life — when I was in college; “I Can See Clearly Now” reminds me of ironing the ritchieruffles on tuxedo shirts (it was the 70s) at Pennhurst Cleaners; and “Let’s Go Crazy” reminds me of dancing with my friends at a party.

That’s what music can do — great music and not so great music that is popular — it takes you to another place and time.

Thanks Prince for all the great sounds and memories.