Not only do we have to cope with the passing of our loved ones of an older generation as we age, we also have to deal with the death of all those icons and heroes of our teenage years who influenced us. Rock stars of the 1960’s and 1970’s are sadly becoming fewer, as their excesses and/or disease whisk them off to play their gigs on the celestial stage instead. With the recent sad demise of David Bowie and Lemmy, the rock world has lost two more great musicians and performers.
I can remember the excitement as a teenager of queuing up with an older cousin outside London’s Hammersmith Odeon in 1973 to see David Bowie perform what would be his last gig as Ziggy Stardust. At the time we thought the world was ours for the taking, that anybody not into rock was not worth bothering with, and that David, aka Ziggy, would never die.
I never did see David play live again, but have lost track of the number of times I have seen Lemmy and Motorhead play at one music festival or another. I am 58, and these and other music greats of my teenage years are already 10 – 15 years older than I am. We often see their old concerts on TV, and I still find it hard to reconcile the young bucks I remember of the 1970’s strutting their stuff to the reality of the oh-goodness-look-at-them-now photos we often see in the newspapers, but of course we are all mortal, and as yet nobody has found a cure for ageing.
In July 2014 my husband Sam returned from a business trip and recognised Robert Plant at Lyon airport, and decided not to let the opportunity pass by to speak to him and let him know how much he still loves Led Zeppelin’s songs. Robert, courteous although obviously tired from travelling and touring, noticed Sam’s Physical Graffiti t-shirt as Sam came towards him, and my husband was able to have a brief conversation with the front man of what in our opinion will always be the greatest rock band in the world. Somebody travelling with Robert kindly took a photo on Sam’s mobile phone, and Sam was buzzing for days afterwards!
To all the rock icons of my teenage years who are still with us, long may you live. Keep writing great songs, and carry on rocking just as long as you can. To those who are no longer with us, rest in peace, and be satisfied that you made your mark on the world and influenced my generation more than you’ll ever know. In my humble opinion, the young bands of today can only walk in your shadow.