I had been spending this entire Friday evening trying to select some of the best songs from Prince to play on my radio show later this morning. I confess: it has been very hard for me to do, especially for a show that’s just shy of being three hours long. I’m not worried about what Prince songs I’ll select for my playlist. You see, since my show Saturday At The Oldies W/The RobFather (SAO) has been LIVE on the air for the past eight years, I’ve always played music according to how I’m feeling on the day of the show. When I go on the air several hours from now it will be no different. Still, as I listen to various songs from Prince in the [limited] “Prince Music” category of my music library, I can’t help but have this continuing feeling of disbelief that Prince is gone. He’s GONE! When I woke yesterday morning Prince’s passing was the first thing on my mind.
I’ll never forget how I felt when James Brown died ten years ago. He was a lifelong favorite of mine since my childhood. (By the way, the 10th anniversary of the Godfather of Soul’s transition will be this December 25. Mark your calendar.) I haven’t forgotten the feeling of loss when Minnie [Riperton], Marvin [Gaye], Tupac [Shakur], Reverend James [Cleveland], Barry [White], Lou [Rawls], Luther [Vandross], Michael [Jackson], Teddy [Pendergrass], Teena [Marie], Walter [Hawkins], Bobby [Womack], Andraé [Crouch], Natalie [Cole], David [Bowie], Glenn [Frey] and Maurice [White], to name several of my favorites music artists who left us in their prime; at least in my 55 year-old mind any age younger than 80 is still prime. Sorry not sorry but I wasn’t that great a fan of [the late] Whitney [Houston]. Many people have and/or want to put her on the same level as Michael and Prince in terms of music greatness. Well, I mean no shade to the late Ms. Houston – who indeed has a place of iconic greatness in the music world but I can’t agree with that elevated appointment of glorified status. You see, I’m saving that spot for when the still-reigning Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin transitions. And after Aretha transitions or perhaps before, Whitney’s status on the level of icon worship must still come after that of still-living music legends like Diana [Ross], Dionne [Warwick], Cher, Patti [LaBelle], Nancy [Wilson] and Elton [John] and several other music icons whose names escape me at the moment. Again, these are my personal assessment statuses; you’re free to observe your own.
I’m often reminded of my own mortality whenever my favorite music artists leave this existence. I’m not ashamed to admit that in recent years, it scares me a little but not for long. You see, as a non-religious man and atheist I’m kool with the inevitability of death but like anyone, I do not look forward to it. I want – and intend to live as long as I’m able.
I tell you; sometimes I play with the sick idea that guys like Michael and Prince were playing some kind of sick joke on us when each passed away respectively, but of course, I know better. I was a seventeen year-old young adult when Elvis [Presley] died and twenty years old when John [Lennon] was murdered but I recall each of those events of some forty years ago as though they had happened last week. I recall how many people reacted when Elvis and John transitioned. Some of them were feeling as I am now – bad – and having fantasies of denial which stems from one who received shocking news of the respective passing of their favorite and much-loved music (or television or film) legend. I remember well how the world mourned the deaths of Elvis and Lennon. At the time I had no idea that years after their deaths, I too would be struck by such feelings of loss, particularly for someone I had admired, whose music I loved but who I’d never met. I recall a number of neighbors, classmates and parents of friends who said that Elvis and John had intentionally dropped out of their respective limelight for a while because they simply got tired of dealing with their fame and need to take a long break. If that had been true of them I wonder if we would forgive them when they returned to the scene. Would we forgive Michael and Prince if they came back to us?
I did indeed finish drawing the tentative music playlist for today’s radio show. I had originally planned a tribute in honor of what would have been Luther Vandross’ 65th birthday. Sorry, Luther but many of my listeners will expect me to play Prince’s music today. They know that playing a song from Prince, Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF) and sometimes War is a mandatory weekly thing on my show and has been since Saturday At The Oldies W/The RobFather (SAO) premiered eight years ago. Since Prince had so much great music and my show is so short, I’ll to play at least two or three songs on each SAO show in the weeks to come. I’ll make it up to Luther in a future SAO show.
I’ll be wearing my purple golf shirt in honor of Prince when I go on the air today. It’s the least I can do in Prince’s honor. I think he will be pleased.
– RobFather X
© RobFather X! Productions