3 Years Later, Remembering Dad's Love of Music
Updated: Apr 17, 2018
This week marks 3 years since we lost dad. Not a day goes by where our family does not miss and remember him. His spirit and teaching still influences us and many whom he worked with. We are grateful to those who have reached out with random memories or thoughts since we lost him. It has been wonderful to hear about a flash of a memory about dad teaching someone, or dropping one of his humorous ‘Thacker’ lines.
Monday night I was watching the Grammy’s and enjoying the many performances honoring those great musicians we lost this past year. I couldn’t help but think about dad and how much music meant to him. He and my mother instilled their love for oldies, jazz, blues, and rock and roll into my sister and me.
Monday night, the great Stevie Wonder said, “Time and time again, we find solace in the healing power of music.” I could not agree more. Though often times a song might bring up tears or anger, it helps one to process those emotions; work through those emotions.
The Grammy’s were filled with performances my father would have absolutely loved. Lady Gaga’s Bowie tribute, Adelle (who he loved), Stevie Wonder and Pentatonix, Kendrick Lamar, the amazing Alabama Shakes, and of course the Eagles tribute. All those said, I think it is fair to say, he would have been most taken with the performance of Chris Stapleton, Gary Clark Jr., and Bonnie Raitt, singing “The Thrill Is Gone” to honor the great blues legend B.B. King. By the time that song was done, I had tears streaming down my face. Maybe it was a combination of the lyrics, the artists and tune which moved me to the core. Dad would have loved every moment of that performance.
In case you didn’t know, my dad loved jazz and blues most of all. For as long as I can remember, the walls of his office were filled with basketball team photos (Go Lions!) and CDC caricatures (you CDC people know what I am talking about); but the one that stood out was his framed copy of A Great Day in Harlem or Harlem 1958. For those not familiar, this is a 1958 black-and-white group portrait of 57 notable jazz musicians photographed in front of a brownstone in Harlem, New York City.
Ella Fitzgerald, BB King, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Etta James, Nina Simone, and Sarah Vaughan were names Gabbi and I knew well. My dad’s passion for music was extraordinary. He could talk for hours about the artists above, but also talk Elvis, CCR, Beatles, The Band, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, The Door, Hendrix, and not to mention every 1 hit wonder from the 50’s and 60’s which no one else could remember. He mind was filled with so much music knowledge it was astounding some times. Jerry Lewis’ birthday…he knew it; what year was ‘Hey Jude’ released…1968. Every time we tried to trip him up about music he had an answer. It was quite impressive. (As an aside, 1968 was a pretty awesome year for music. I Heard It Through The Grapevine; Mrs. Robinson; and Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, to name a few.) Dad knew it all and I am grateful that my sister and I have a similar love of music. I even remember when Gabbi asked for a record player when she was in middle school so she could play all of dad’s records.
Music touches us each and every day. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are. Music brings out emotions and passion in people like nothing else. My dad felt a passion for so much. From music, to sports and of course his career in public health. I remember him each day when I turn on the radio and it brings a smile to my face. I cannot wait to one day embarrass my kids by singing some golden oldies in the car…maybe I’ll even bite my lip to honor dad and his groovy dance moved.
In closing, I guess I just want to say that I hope you all have passion for something as deeply as Dad did. May whatever brings you joy also bring a song to your heart. (Ok a little cheesy with that line…but it works.)
Thank you to our friends and loved ones for all the support these past 3 years. My family wishes you the best in 2016. I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about dad’s love for music.