Wednesday, March 7, 2012

LOST SOUL. TEEN IDOL. BIRD FEED.

A lost soul.
A teen idol.
A man who feeds the birds.
Three people who gave us those four letter words, the gift of song.

Word has reached us over the past month of the death of three notable figures in the field of music.

Last month, Whitney Houston was found dead in a hotel room in California. Although a stirring singer who got her start with gospel and soul music, her repertoire was wide-ranging, and her performance of The Star Spangled Banner is considered one of the best of all time. She was also an outstanding actress, and I remember her best from her title role in The Preacher's Wife. But she was also something of a lost soul - having a troubled marriage and problems later in her life with drugs.

A couple of weeks ago, Davy Jones died due to a heart attack in Florida. Most known for his membership in The Monkees, he got his start in music in a West End production of the musical Oliver!, and continued in his role of the Artful Dodger when the show came to Broadway. It was in this role that he first performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, in an appearance that was overshadowed by The Beetles performance on that evening's performance. I learned of his passing when nearly every female in my Google+ stream posted something about their teen idol, and by the constant playing of "Daydream Believer" on the radio.

Less well known, Robert Sherman passed away earlier this week in London, England. With his brother, Richard, their music graced many Disney movies and attractions, as well as a number of other works. John Lassiter of Pixar once said, "You cannot forget a Sherman brothers song for your life," and a short list of their music will certainly prove that. Their work "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins was Walt Disney's favorite song, and he would often request it before going home for the night, but "Supercalafragilisticexpialidocious" and "Spoon Full of Sugar" from the same show are equally widely known. They created film scores for Disney movies such as The Jungle Book and The Aristocats, as well as non-Disney movies such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Snoopy, Come Home. They are best known, however, for a song that first premiered at the 1964 World's Fair and has been present in Disney parks ever since - "It's a Small World."

Three music notables you're never going to forget.