All my heroes are dying and that makes me sad.
Ian Fraser Kilmister, better known to fans as “Lemmy,” died of cancer at age 70 on Dec. 28. Kilmister was the bassist for the British spacerock band Hawkwind, before leaving to found his own heavy metal powerhouse, Motorhead. His career lasted four decades and inspired some of my favorite artists and musicians. There would have been no Metallica, or even any British heavy metal bands for that matter, if it weren’t for Motorhead.
And just as I was getting used to the thought of putting on “The Ace of Spades” without breaking down into a sobbing ball of snot, tears and profanity, the news broke early Monday morning that another British near-septuagenarian musician was claimed by cancer.
David Robert Jones, better known by his stage name “David Bowie,” died Sunday, just two days after his 69th birthday. From 1962 to 2016, Bowie tried his luck at everything. He was a singer, a songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist, a painter, an actor . . . the man did everything.
Bowie collaborated with Iggy Pop on the song “Lust for Life,” which was featured on the soundtrack for the 1996 film “Trainspotting,” and will forever be burned into my brain after being featured in Carnival cruise commercials from the late 90s, early 2000s.
Even if you weren’t familiar with Bowie’s music, you’ve probably heard a song he had a hand in producing.
Other top hits by Bowie were “Under Pressure,” which he collaborated on with Queen’s Freddy Mercury, and the super catchy “Let’s Dance.” For years, these songs will remain staples on every single “retro-rock” radio station and cheesy 80s playlist. And of course the iconic “Space Oddity,” with it’s opening line; “Ground control to Major Tom...”
So I think more than mourning the loss of rock stars themselves, I fear more that the idea of a rock star is becoming a thing of the past. As the individuals themselves fade away, I worry that their music will fade to background noise.