Losing a musician is like losing a friend. I know this because after losing Whitney Houston, I instantly remembered the home videos of me on my fourth birthday, shamelessly belting out the lyrics to “I Will Always Love You” in a hunter green jumper. After Amy Winehouse passed, I became strangely attached to her posthumous “Hidden Treasures” album, longing for her beehive hair and regretting any jab I might have made at her sailor tattoos. Now that Davy Jones has passed away, my mother decided to enlighten me on her membership as a 9-year-old to The Monkees’ fan club. That’s just it: Musicians make us crazy and unabashed for the songs and lyrics we love, at any age and any time.
To me, Davy Jones is just the cheeky singer of “Daydream Believer,” crooning about a homecoming queen that, I’m almost positive now, my mother probably dreamed about becoming. But his death, and the unfortunate deaths of these other great musicians (Winehouse scarily fell victim to the “27 Club,” joining greats such as Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, who all died at the age of 27), got me thinking. Who are the artists of our time and our generation that we would not only memorialize, but deem as classical in regards to the culture of music? I can already hear people saying Adele’s name in their heads, which is very reasonable, to say the least.
People’s opinions will vary, but my list includes the following: Eddie Vedder, because he forayed into the ‘90s grunge scene with powerful electric guitar songs, yet can nowadays jam out on a ukulele with Cat Power; Lady Gaga, because she can wear a science experiment on her head, sing live and save the world all at once; Gwen Stefani, because she gives feminism platinum hair, red lipstick and songs that incorporate reggae, ska and electronica, just to name a few; and Dave Matthews Band, because it revolutionized the meaning of going to a rock concert. Thom Yorke of Radiohead goes without saying.
Regardless of who makes it into your personal musical canon, we can’t disregard the fact that death is sometimes the only way we remember musicians, and that just isn’t acceptable. If you didn’t know who Davy Jones was, it was probably because The Monkees hadn’t been in the media for some time. Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse, despite their powerhouse voices, were becoming less important due to their alcohol and drug abuse. Yet, their death reconstituted the beauty of their music. If you truly love music, then don’t forget about the songs and artists that make your heart skip a beat. So, dig up that Cranberries CD and go to town.