2016 hasn’t been the best year for musicians or entertainers. David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Alan Rickman, and Abe Vigoda are just a few of the highlights of the bloody swath the Grim Reaper has carved through this year. But, no one affected me more than the founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White. Although his music came from a different generation than mine, it still resonated with me and hurt me deeply that he’s no longer with us. This allowed me the opportunity to look inward and look at music as a whole and how it’s affected me throughout my life.
I’ve always had an affinity for music; be it the music I heard as a child to the music of today, it’s always been something that I look forward to and am fairly eclectic with. As I’ve mentioned before, my musical tastes are wide and various, and I can appreciate genres that most of my contemporaries would turn their noses up at. I’ve always treated music as the soundtrack of a life, and the music you listen to as a child becomes the music you appreciate as you grow older.
I can remember going to cookouts at my grandmom’s house and listening to artists like Earth, Wind, & Fire, Kool & the Gang, The Temptations, BB King, and Michael Jackson. Many a piece of BBQ was eaten to “Down Home Blues,” and my cousins and I would play in the yard while our parents played cards, drank beer, smoked cigarettes, and generally cut a fool. Looking back on it, there’s something comforting about celebrating family with the music of the times, and it hurts when the artists of that generation are no longer with us.
This is going all over the place, and that’s fine, because I ramble. But, I’ll always get a little misty when I hear “September,” and that’s thanks in no small part to the great Maurice White. Just like I’ll always get emotional at watching Alan Rickman and Abe Vigoda perfect their craft, and listening to The Eagles and David Bowie. They may be gone, but their memories will reside with us forever.
Take us out, Mr. White. This isn’t a funeral, though; this is a party.