Sound of Silence

My Sunday mornings are always reserved for music. And whatever song/genre I’m into, I let my surround-sound speakers freely create a new world within my room.

For today, I just randomly played tunes, letting the morning pass while a certain mood builds up in me.

Then it dawned on me… my random selections had a theme. They featured artists who have moved on… creepy it may seem, but I think they deserve a tribute via my “Sunday Playlist” entry.

1. Chris Whitley 1960-2005

I dunno why, but I have a thing for guitarists who should have made it big, but only remained as cult figures up until their last days.

Texas-blues bred, infused with John Coltrane-inspired jazz. He’s the king of the wife beater and killer guns. Worked with the likes of Dave Matthews, Dave Pirner, DJ Logic and Bruce Hornsby throughout his career.

Continued to tour until his death (due to lung cancer).

I write in a way that’s more subconscious, just trying to articulate some mystery that’s not obvious.

2. Jimi Hendrix 1942-1970

The man who owned the guitar by using its ear crushing feedback as a musical technique.

The first Woodstock Festival became what it is because of him and his soulful rendition of “Star-Spangled Banner“. Inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, named by Rolling Stone Magazine as the greatest guitarist of all time.

Death still unexplained up to this day.

If I seem free, it’s because I’m always running.

3. Elliot Smith 1969-2003

elliott_smith_from_a_basement_on_the_hill_coverWhispery, hypnotic voice… that was Elliot’s trademark. He worked on layers, harmonies and other vocal techniques that were evident in his songs. It is not unusual that one would feel miserable upon hearing his creations, but it was just how this genius works.

Most of his songs were reflections of his trouble-filled life.

Died of stab wounds, supposedly self-inflicted.

I’m so sorry—love, Elliott. God forgive me.

4. Shannon Hoon 1967-1995

Frontman of Blind Melon.

His voice has always been haunting. His high notes would make the hair on my back rise. But this was his signature – which was evident in Guns N’ Roses‘ “Use Your Illusion” CDs.

A young soul that never got to return from a trip downwards, he died due to drug overdose.

Keep on dreaming boy, cause when you stop dreaming it’s time to die.

5. Michael Hutchence 1960-1997

Without him, there’s no INXS… even if he only joined the band 4 years after it was formed.

His voice made their tunes sensual and enigmatic, giving us the chance to interpret them the way the band wanted us to. Even if his bandmates moved on after his death, they will never gain back what they had when Michael was alive.

Suicide was the cause of death, yet this is still seen as a mystery.

I know who I am and what I do.

6. George Harrison 1943-2001

My favorite Beatle.

Known to be the quiet member of the band, this dark horse stayed by the sidelines to give the spotlight to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. However, the songs he had written for some Beatles albums were brilliant, so people became aware of his magnificence.

His solo career flourished, achieving the recognition that he long deserved.

Cancer took this very talented man away from us.

When you’ve seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there.

7. Jim Morrison 1943-1971

An artist, full throttle, this singer, songwriter, poet, author and filmmaker was best known for his baritone vocals and theatrical stage presence. He is one of the rock legends, whose songs can still be heard by this generation via their mp3 players.

The rest of The Doors have long been gone (and forgotten), yet his legacy lives on.

His self-destructive life was eventually cut short by heroin overdose.

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.

8. And then there’s Jeff 1966-1997

I’ve been raving about this man in my past posts but there is still a lot to talk about — especially since I haven’t really discussed his death.

He was 30 when his lifeless body was found at the foot of Beale Street, or the place where “Blues was born”, days after he was last seen swimming at Wolf River Harbor in Memphis, singing the chorus of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”.

…I still get choked up, you know?

So for now, I will just let other people’s words say what I wanted to say.

Jeff Buckley was a pure drop in an ocean of noise.

– Bono (U2)

I wanted to send him off and say a few things about how much his music moved me and other people.

– Duncan Sheik

I’ve been mourning the fact that it would have been great to sing a duet.

– Rufus Wainwright

To meet Jeffrey was just like being given a set of paints. … I had all this color in my life again.

– Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins – she gave the most honest quote, in my opinion)

Jeff was one of those people, who inspired you to expand your way of thinking, about yourself and music.

– Chris Cornell

I just wish I had seen him more.

– Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)

I’m here because I adore his spirit, and I adore him and the place from which he creates.

– Alanis Morisette

Never have I seen such infinite musical potential in anyone. It’s just gone. It’s chilling how much it hurts.

– Ben Harper

It hurts so much to lose an artist who was capable of so much before he’d had a chance to do his best work.

– Joan Osborne

Our suffering is peeling off and revealing a brand new skin, a new power. Love heals all wounds and not just time alone.

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