When we talk about music in 2016, there will probably be more musicians who’s careers ended, then the ones who just started getting our attention. Sadly, this calendar year was just like this; multiple music geniuses left us for, let’s hope, some better place. The deaths of George Michael, Prince and David Bowie made us all go into tears, especially because of how unexpected they passed away. Before we were ready to let go of them, George, Prince and David were gone, although they should still be alive.
People who think that Michael’s professional career was not on the same level as David Bowie’s and Prince’s because his popularity was not that long, they are making a big mistake. Michael’s latter years were a little bit quieter, but nevertheless, this British native musician was able to deliver the most “catchiest” songs in his era with his unique and naturally soar voice. He was not shy of the genre that he got to the perfection with his gift that he was well aware of.
Michael once said in a 1988 Rollin Stone cover story:” If you listen to a Supremes record or a Beatles record, which were made in the days when pop was accepted as an art of sorts, how can you not realize that the elation of a good pop record is an art form? Somewhere along the way, pop lost all its respect. And I think I kind of stubbornly stick up for all of that."
Beside his voice, Michael had other hidden talents that few people knew about. He was also a great studio musician and a producer. There was an extremely small number of collaborators on Michael’s 1987 Faith album, that was completely produced by him. Both Bowie and Prince shared Michael’s ability to evolve and that is exactly what made them all-timers. That is the same reason why these three brilliant musicians have a connection. All of them could stick to their early successes and try to replicate themselves, but they demanded more.
The movie Purple Rain and soundtrack that came out in 2001, were fueled by ambition because of Prince’s success of his singles two years before that. When “Space Oddity” hit the charts in 1969, Bowie invented a new type of performative rock that has almost a five-decade run. Both of them had some bold statements about sex, love and social defiance in their music but also in life. That made a “job” of a rock star not just to sing four-minute singles. Prince became a grand funk wizard and teacher to female rock artists.
Our imagination is captured by pop artists and they have critical and commercial success. But for how long does that last? Usually, it is just for only one song or album. Maybe, if they get lucky, it can last for a couple of years before the interest wanes, but that’s it. This year took George Michael, Prince and David Bowie. Although all of them forged wildly different paths, they will not be forgotten in hundred years from now, and who knows, maybe even more. Another common thing about these three is that thousands of musicians have tried to duplicate them, but only maybe a few have been able to do that. We can all learn a valuable lesson from them, and that is to never settle down for what already was.