Don't You Forget about Me.
It's been a weird month for notable deaths, and I wanted to take just a moment to comment on a couple of them.
First John Hughes. I grew up in the 80s, came of age as they say, and the films that Hughes made did make an impact on me, then and again later on when I started to unpack their messages. I had to have seen all of them, if not in theaters then on video (everyone remember the old days of video?). At the time they were sold as being 'Real' and 'Honest' about teens and their issues. I have to applaud Hughes for dealing with issues that weren't addressed in other teen films of the time-- class being the biggest one-- but at the same time I can't help but shake my head at the underling message of conformity that was in many of those films. To me the best of the teen films (and I am not counting Ferris Buller which is a fantasy even if it contains many truths) has to be Some kind of Wonderful, which is really Pretty in Pink with the correct ending. The rest of his films are marred with things like Annie Potts finding happiness when she sells out in Pretty in Pink and the underling message of The Breakfast Club seeming to be that as long as the nerds do all the work they will be allowed to live with out getting picked on. No matter my issues with those films they are iconic and did mean something to me and my generation. As a writer I always wanted to know where those stories would end, and it's too bad that Hughes never was able to come back and tell that tale.
Second Billy Lee Riley, almost the last of the Sun Rockabilly crew. He was there, he was part of it, and even if he did not get the fame and fortune of Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash or the last man standing Jerry Lee Lewis he was part of that scene and that era. His band, sometimes known as the Little Green Men, were basically the house band at Sun and Riley was a first rate singer and ax man. I have always had a fondness for his classic Flyin' Saucer Rock'n'roll, which might just have been part of the blue print for Horror Punk and Psychobilly down the road. If nothing else he was pumping out the kind of energy that weaves it's way through the history of real Rock and Roll, from Rockabilly to Garage Rock to Proto Punk, Hard Rock, Punk Rock, Heavy Metal, Power Pop and on into the world of Grunge and Hi Energy Rock and Roll--- all of which have now seemingly come under the umbrella heading of -- Garage Punk!
Lastly Willie Deville. 70s NYC punk icon who brought that punk energy to R&B (the real stuff not the warmed over disco the mouse has been selling as of late) and roots rock. Like many of his peers from the CBGBs days he never really got the mainstream attention he deserved, but the underground and of course the Europeans remembered him. It's only been in the last couple of years that his music, mostly the Mink Deville 70s era stuff, has been part of my collection, and while I am still discovering his work his passing just reminds me that we are watching his generation of musicians start to leave us (those who lasted out the 80s) and wonder who will be the next to go.
thoughts, comments, remembrances?