Tuesday, February 3, 2009
"The Day the Music Died"
February 3, 1959 – The day the music died; you all know the story, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Jiles Perry “The Big Bopper” Richardson all board a small, four-passenger plane called the “Beechcraft Bonanza” after a show at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa and crash in Albert Juhl’s cornfield shortly after, killing all three musicians including the 21 year old pilot, Roger Peterson. Today 50 years have passed – and the rock n’ roll youth have moved on; Empires of groove have risen and fallen, Billboard thrones have been usurped and misappropriated and the borders of good taste have been redrawn. The children of today don’t care about Buddy Holly. Hell, they don’t even know who he is or what an artistic tragedy that plane crash really was. To impart a modicum of clarity for the readers who may fall under that category, “the day the music died” is comparable to Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent and the Jonas Brothers all dying together in a horrible ‘bath-house’ explosion; photographs of their charred remains would circle the globe in a matter of hours, one crisp hand on a $5 bill and the other frozen in a macabre “reach-around” motion. Teenagers the world over would be thrust into a perpetual state of gnashing and mourning, Rolling Stone magazine would produce three limited edition memorial covers with their respective mugs bathed in a holy light and a widely publicized funeral would be aired on all 23 MTV channels during which Elton John would perform a ghastly re-imagining of “American Pie”. I know; I almost tear up just thinking about it.
But seriously, we are a nation of classless twits; Buddy Holly is dead. Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper aren’t doing much better. Today, I mourn not their souls or the loss of their music but the value of their collective memories. The youth who still admire their genius and sing their praises 50 years post-mortem are generally composed of eccentric oddities like myself and my friends. The “common youngster”, the ones who control the free market and conceive the next generation, have no inkling of these great men – concepts such as ‘history’ and ‘artistic context’ are considered abstract terms, useless antiques who have no place in a culture that breeds such artistic milestones like ‘The Pussycat Dolls’ and ‘American Idol’. Today, mediocrity is King; but what of tomorrow? Can this tide of ineptitude and rancorous stupidity be bred, bled or beaten out of humanity’s body? The simple answer is yes. Groovy elites such as ourselves with an ear for history must take our rightful positions in society as Musical and Artistic Fascists! We must discriminately slaughter the weak of mind and the poor of taste and make room for the erection of a sovereign altar of Grooviness; a Psychedelic Obelisk that will neuter the unhip majority and mute the foul vocal chords of Billboard’s most contemptible villains. Their pleas for mercy will sound like gentle and profound melodies and we will all tap our feet to the rhythm of their misery. Tomorrow belongs to us, tomorrow will be the day the music is reborn.