The Poetry of…Music

“You are the music while the music lasts.” –T.S. Eliot

Music has always played a big part in my life. It always will. Nothing can bring back a distant memory so vividly in your mind like that favorite song from a special moment in time.

As a young child, my parents listened to an eclectic mix of music…everything from Willie Nelson to Tom Jones, Patsy Cline and Neil Diamond. Once and a while there was Elvis or The Beatles, but mostly along the lines of Glen Campbell or Waylon Jennings. They would play their records as my sisters and I were going to sleep. We were always exposed to some kind of melody. Those moments are solid and will always be an extension of who I am. They took us to the odd concert once in a while and on my 16th birthday during a trip to Las Vegas, we went to see Liberace. Yes, there i was at 16 in a Vegas nightclub watching Liberace perform. A lifetime ago but those memories don’t fade.

My husband was exposed to Jazz from a very early age. His father would listen to it constantly and it has influenced his life in so many ways. He, in turn, has introduced me (and our daughter) to more Jazz than I ever had knowledge of before. It’s constantly our backdrop sound on Sunday mornings and sometimes when driving late at night. It’s soothing, inspiring and a refreshing break from other types of music we have as our soundtrack at home.

More than anything, what we both want is for our daughter to appreciate music. She doesn’t have to like everything we expose her to and conversely, she has music that she loves and her friends listen to that we don’t necessarily care for. But that’s typical and we allow her to entertain herself with what she chooses just as our parents did when we were young. But there are times, when listening to some classic radio station in the car that she can pick out an artist by their sound. I’ve always loved that about her. But it’s perplexing to me when some 20-something doesn’t have any idea about iconic artists from the past. (Did they really just ask who Fleetwood Mac is?!) Exposure is crucial…and learning about music in general because (hopefully) it’s encouraged in the home.

On Friday, we took our daughter to see Patti Smith in concert at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. It was hard to imagine what her reaction would be to this 69 year old phenom because although my husband and I have read her books/poetry and listened to her music for years, it hadn’t been on a rotation in our home on a frequent basis. On this special night, Patti was performing her ground breaking debut album “Horses”. After her first song ended (side one’s opener “Gloria”) she turned, looked at me and gave an appreciative smile. My heart boomed. She loved it. (Thank God!)

On this day, as I write this post, it’s in the wake of learning that David Bowie passed away last night. How could this be?? He’s only 69! He’s invincible. He has to live forever!

One time, many lifetimes ago, I produced a music video in Toronto for the Thin White Duke. He took my breath away the moment he walked into our production offices. I shook his hand and lead him to meet my Director and calmly spoke with him while he got comfortable. As I left the room and closed the door, my heart was racing. David Bowie! I just met David Bowie! That was something I’ll never forget. I’ll never forget that feeling he left us all with at the time and the man that he was: extremely polite, encouraging and enthusiastic about all that we did to bring that crazy, last minute video together. I still have a prop in my dining room from that shoot, 3000 miles away and 18 years later. It’s my “Bowie Dog” (aka a painted, taxidermy dog mold.) May his influence live on. For all those who are tweeting “Who is David Bowie?” i hope they will dig around and realize that he was a Father for the freaks, the weirdos, the lovers and aliens. Hopefully, they may realize that there is so much more out there worth exploring. Thank you Mr. Bowie, and may you Rest In Peace.

“Nothing will keep us together
We can beat them for ever and ever
We can be heroes, just for one day.”

1 Comment

  • Mike says:

    Hey Kelly, thanks for the great inspirational post here. Sorry I’ve been sort of absent lately. Lots going on.

    But I’d like to say in regards to your post today; music is powerful. Indeed, I’m a lover of classical music. Yes, that means that 95% of the time, I’m listening pieces by Vivaldi, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, all of the greats of those times. I have been doing this since I was an early teen. And ever since then, it is usually the first thing I reach for when I want to listen to something that I love.

    But as much as I love classical music, even I need a break and enjoy the easy listening type of music known as ‘smooth jazz’. I love hearing it on the radio and my mom has it constantly playing. For much of it, listening brings back good memories that I had as a kid in one of our old homes and I remember hearing a certain kind of song on the radio, and I’d associate that song with whatever I was feeling at the time. And even now as an adult, when I hear the same songs, those memories come back to me like a flood.

    Music is powerful. And whatever type of music that you enjoy, or brings you happiness, that is the music that will always be a part of you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *