Someone will tell you the Beatles were overrated. Someone will commit suicide. You will be disappointed, horrified, irritated, aggrieved. And yet you will forge on, swimming against the cold, pitiless tide of culture and clinging to what you first loved in the music and musicians you love. And then you’ll know which ones really mattered all along.
A few minutes ago, I read that Kim Fowley had passed and, once again, my stomach lurched. This has been a very common reaction of mine since I began hearing music from my generation turned into Muzak, relegated to "classics" video programming and Classic Radio, and encountering young people who had no idea how important George Clinton is to the music of their time is or how the woman (Annie Lennox) who co-wrote and sang "Into the West" at the end of The Return of the King broke crucial ground not only musically, but in the areas of gender identification.
As it has been throughout time, all things must pass. And, as I grow older with my generation (the bipolar, apocalyptic, activist Gen X), it is always in the back of my mind that our icons and idols grow older with us. But most of them are 10 to 20 years older, which means that, logically, we'll have to suffer their deaths just as much as we celebrated their contributions to what made us us. So, every time I see a headline that even hints of "rock music legend dead", I get sick to my stomach.
For decades, I have made it no secret that I am going to be a hot mess if Jeff Lynne goes before I do. I told my supervisors at work that I would have to take bereavement leave from work, because I would be no good to anyone, for who knew how long. Over time, others were added to this list of One. And, since I became even more dedicated to my music, as it became my sole refuge from a grief that just refuses to let go, my dread of some promised inevitability clenches at my heart. On 30 December 2014, Jeff Lynne turned 67. Just thinking of him, or anyone else on my list, passing before I do feels like an evisceration.
To be honest, I don't think I'll be able to cope with it.