It has certainly been a tragedy for disco fans around the world losing two music icons in one week. Crowned "The Queen of Disco," Donna Summer, and Robin Gibb, the man who in his own rights equally merits the title of "King of Disco," have sadly passed away both succumbing to cancer at the (young) age of 63 and 62, respectively.
But if both music legends undeniably carry a music dossier that beyond rivals -- in both volume and quality -- some of today's top selling recording acts, the real tragedy to me is how quickly both the public and the media had quickly dismissed them with the dreaded passing of time, and had already long ago buried them (in our minds, at least) in the ungratefully disloyal graveyard of ancient super-stardom.
To many they were just "has-beens" -- that is until their deaths revived their prestigious status.
And that's just it! Why do we always wait for artists to die to elevate them to their deserved level of "legends" when they had long earned the title while still alive?
It is quite ironic to me how not so long ago we had all -- all too quickly -- discounted them as mere disco acts. Have we all suddenly been magically cured from our short-term memory disorder, or perhaps are we just a bunch of hypocrites?
Take the recent passing of Whitney Houston for instance. What I find disturbing is how until her tragic death most of us -- the public and the press -- were spending more time gossiping on her heartbreaking career demise famously connected to her all the more well-publicized devastating drug addiction and related outrageous antics instead of focusing on her invaluable artistic accomplishments. Evidently, the minute she no longer was with us, we all rushed to remember her contribution with a deluge of praises and accolades saluting the spectacular music phenomenon that she never ceased to be.
Personally, I believe that we have absolutely no respect and loyalty, nor do we leave any space anymore for real artists blessed with real and genuine talent.
Perhaps it is due to the fact that nowadays the way we consume music has drastically changed -- and not for the better -- putting the focus on weapons of mass and fast consumption. We're all guilty of moving on to the next best thing -- or else artists today don't so much focus on career longevity and musicianship as much as they focus on instant fame gratification. It's no longer about doing something of substance but more about becoming someone right here, right now.
Ironically, so-called "have-been" acts in the likes of our recently deceased Donna Summer and Robin Gibb have actually made an immeasurable difference in music and indelibly, positively impacted our lives. But I guess until death do us part with these icons, it's much more interesting and clearly life enhancing to invest our time and energy in keeping up with the Kardashians, join in on the not-so-not unscripted drama of The Real Housewives of (fill in the blank)," or even cogitate over what next useless karaoke version of a talent show Simon Cowell will produce for our entertainment.
So yesterday? Let's not forget that Donna Summer was the first artist to see three double albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard album charts. She not only scored 14 No. 1 hits but she also received five Grammys. As for Robin Gibb, he along with brothers Barry and Maurice better known as The Bee Gees became the biggest selling acts of all time. Not only did The Bee Gees secured 15 top 10 records in America, garnered six consecutive No. 1 singles, and snatched a total of six Grammy Awards, but they were also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
Call them "Jurassic" all you want, but the reality of it all is that they never really completely went out of style. Personally, I think it is the system, meaning the music industry, that is rather antiquated -- but that's a totally different story for perhaps another blog. Clearly their music has never been too old-fashioned not to be revisited, borrowed and at times even blatantly copied by the new crop of artists.
Summer's repertoire was both sampled and covered by such contemporaries as Beyonce, Timbaland, Britney Spears and Ne-Yo -- even Jennifer Lopez's current hit "Dance Again" bears a close melody resemblance to Summer's classic hit "Love to Love You baby". Similarly, some of The Bee Gees' music gems were sampled by the likes of DMX, Wyclef Jean and Snoop Dogg to name a few.
While the unforgettable voices of two formidably talented artists have been abruptly silenced, luckily their massive contribution to music will (duly) forever live on through their mutually impressive body of work. A music legacy with a slew of memorable genre-defying hits that have not just helped define the sound of the much criticized Disco era but also provided the soundtrack to, indeed, an entire generation, but as well generations to come.
They're "Staying Alive" forever "On The Radio"... we just need to remember not to be so DISCO'nnected -- especially when they're still among us!
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