The U.K. Telegraph is concerned. Past couple of weeks have been like mass murder in the rock pantheon.
With David Bowie’s final curtain-call, we are witnessing the end of an era, as the original stars of the explosive rock culture that convulsed the world in the second half of the 20th century are slowly extinguished. We are entering the Twilight of the Rock Gods.
Deaths of the famous compel us all to contemplate the meaning of our own lives and times, and the deaths of rock stars carry a very particular sting. Its most iconic figures – those great, symbolic archetypes of an age whose art, lifestyle and spirit was substantially defined by the egotistic and energetic values of youth – have turned into old men.
Whatever your reaction to Bowie’s death (the most elegantly stage-managed exit in pop history), we can be sure of one thing: that there is more of this to come. And for a while, at least. I don’t want to tempt fate – indeed, I try not to even think about it – but when Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards eventually shuffle off this mortal coil, we may have to mark the entire rock and roll era over. Who knows what forces of collective shock and sadness that will unleash.
I mean, let’s see. Casualties in the past couple weeks. Motörhead lead. Mott the Hoople (two). Founder of the Eagles. And, of course, David Bowie.
Point of clarification. The era of rock and roll is already done. Long gone. The kids of today prefer obscenely talentless androgynes of both sexes and rap’s various obscene derivatives while they insist nobody anywhere offend them.
By the same token, the era of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Elvis Presley is over, along with the era of the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, and the Spinners.
And the era of Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Doris Day.
And the era of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Louis Armstrong, and Benny Goodman, and Miles Davis and Bill Evans and a whole golden seam of jazz.
And the era of showtunes.
And the era of ragtime.
And the era of high Italian opera.
They all die. But the gods of music never die. Their music lives on.
Only millennials think that things before their birth never existed and things that die during their brief attention spans are gone for good.
Something about being dead before you ever live.
There is not and has never been a “safe space.” Only men who summon the bravery to fight and express themselves. And the ones who just consent to hide from lives they don’t dare to try. I feel sorry for them, not for the rock gods. They left their own monuments. The 27s weren’t victims. They just got mowed down by the machine guns that await everyone who goes over the top into the teeth of it all.