Weekly Sound Special #2: Why We React When Musicians Die

Let me start by saying that 2016 has been a terrible year to be a musician. From David Bowie to the recent passing of Prince, and everyone in between, it has been truly heartbreaking. In fact while writing this I learned that bassist Lonnie Mack died, who played bass on one of my favorite Doors albums, so it doesn’t seem to be letting up at all.

So why do we care about these people we’ve never met and probably never would have? Well usually, it isn’t the person itself we only mourn for. Yes, a beautiful talented person passed away and for that the world is a darker place, and I won’t be the last to say that. Do not take that for crass or uncaring, because the passing of icons saddens me.

Yet, I can’t say that without saying that it is the loss or sting of death on our memories and the songs that cause us to react. You can’t hear Purple Rain now without feeling a bit emotional now, or listen to Heroes and not think of how suddenly Bowie was taken from us.

As we grow up we hear these songs, or see videos of them at a recent performance, it doesn’t occur to you that one day they’ll pass. We sing at karaoke with friends, or blare it in the car on bad days. These works of art become part of our lives, little moments where we were understood artists. That’s why we cry. That’s why it comes as a shock every time.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to brace myself for whenever the death of Stan Lee is because I will cry forever when that happens.


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