I remember seeing a meme or two or ten on Facebook after one or more of these deaths about how can people mourn so deeply for someone they never knew… Maybe it is because music is so emotional and personal we feel like we do know our artists on some level. Musicians feed our emotions – music makes us happy, sad, mad, passionate. It helps us heal. It can be cathartic. It is the ultimate language of human experience; musicians communicate their loves, fears, hopes, dreams, despair through their art. They tell us about their breakups, falling in love, deaths of parents or children, the ills of the world and how to change those ills, and all that is good in the world. And when we listen, sometimes we relate to those experiences; they’ve put into words and keys and chords, the very emotions we are feeling. The deeper they bare their souls, the deeper they touch ours. And in some ways, we get to know the musician through their stories.
And that is just through the music. Thanks to the media and the internet, the listener can follow the musician’s non-musical adventures. If they are like-minded to us, we might connect deeper. Like I said in an earlier post, most of my Rock Gods have some form of social consciousness. They use their voice to better the world. This is important to me because of my own social consciousness and efforts to do good in and for this world. I share that value with my Rock Gods and am often inspired by them. This connects me further than their music alone.
You do not have to know the Rock God to know the Rock God.
And so, when a musician dies, we mourn. We mourn the connection, the emotion, the inspiration they gave us. We mourn the loss of any future music from them. They impacted this world and we miss them.
So, this is my page to honor my Fallen Rock Gods, those musicians that touched my soul and are now gone, in the best way I know how, my own art.
Prince (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)
I mean, it’s Prince… This man’s talents were endless. The number of instruments he could play. Lyrical genius, fashion icon, His Purple Highness. And the guitar playing… just brilliant.
The picture above doesn’t show the purple clearly, but I used purple and white conte pencils on black paper (2017). I also need to figure out how to take proper photos of my drawings… that white on the left is light reflection… 😦
John Lennon (October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980)
Ah, John Lennon…. My mind is still blown every time I hear Imagine. I can’t really remember when the first time I heard it was, but I have a very vivid memory of him singing it at the piano in the white room in his house in the documentary. I love that room, high ceilings, floor to roof windows with breezy chiffon curtains and everything white, including the piano and, if I am not mistaken, the clothes John and Yoko wore. Nothing in the room but the piano… The epitome of peacefulness, and this song…
Conte crayon, 2016
David Bowie (January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016)
The Starman. This one still breaks my heart. I miss David Bowie. He was magnificent. I loved him in the Labyrinth. That ballroom scene… magical. I can’t seem to write sentences longer than five words on this one. He touched my soul in depths I didn’t even realise until I grieved his passing.
Staedler Mars 3000 Graphic and Tombow markers, 2016
Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)
Michael was my first musical obsession (well maybe the Mini-Pops were first, but not to the fangirl level). He was the first socially conscious artist I knew about. We Are The World introduced me to the famine in Africa and the power of music and charity. He did a lot of stuff for the environment and human rights as well. On June 25, 2009 I woke out of a deep sleep in South Africa to the radio saying he had died. My friend and I watched the funeral on TV and bawled our eyes out.
I drew this picture in my high school art class, 1990. I think it is conte crayon, my favorite medium for portraits even back then.
Gord Downie (February 6, 1964 – October 17, 2017)
Ah Gord. Lead singer of the Tragically Hip. I’ve written before about Canada’s love for this band. Gord was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, underwent treatment, then did one last cross-Canada tour for the fans and the music. The nation mourned when Gord passed away this October.
If you want to bawl your eyes out, watch the documentary of the tour, Long Time Running.
Freddie Mercury (September 5, 1946 – November 24, 1991)
What can I say about Freddie?! Lead singer of Queen. Performer extraordinaire. A musical culture icon. I mean Bohemian Rhapsody changed the musical landscape. Even before the car scene in Wayne’s World.
I absolutely adore Adam Lambert with Queen these days, but I miss Freddie.
Watercolours, a Study in Orange, 2017
George Michael (25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016)
Oh George. I can remember singing the Wham Rap in my early teens, and that video with
the leather jacket and the jukebox (Faith)! and the other video with the leather jacket and jukebox (Freedom)! And Fastlove. (My (Rock) God I love that song and video so much! Possibly my favorite of his…) And Careless Whisper… And A Different Corner… And Last Christmas… And… There are just so many songs by this man that had such an impact on me… That smooth, creamy voice, the jazzy pop, rock sounds; Wham! was the epitome of the 80s, George Michael was the 90s.
Stabilo CarbOthello chalk-pastel pencil, 2018