As the world knows, the incredible artist known as Prince died on April 21. Like everyone else, I was a fan. It was a very sad day when this news was released.
During the past weekend’s performances of Boy From Oz in San Francisco, there was a sadness that came over me as the cast stood in the wings waiting for the final number of the show “I Go To Rio.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the show, BFO is essentially the life of Peter Allen. Mostly known for writing the songs “The Best That You Can Do” (AKA Theme Song from the movie, Arthur, which starred Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli) and “I Honestly Love You” sung by Olivia Newton John. He is also known for being the first husband of Liza Minelli, who has had the tragic luck of picking gay men to marry.
The show covers not only his meeting of Liza, but first, her mother, the amazing Judy Garland. It progresses through his parting ways with Liza and falling in love with Greg Connell, who, like Allen died from AIDS.
But back to the show…
The song just before the finale is “Once Before I Go” in which Peter sings a beautiful good bye to the audience. The song was actually written for Allen’s friend, Ann Margaret, when her husband had passed away, but I am sure that once Greg died the song became even more personal. As our Peter, played by the incredible Dan Seda, was performing the hell out of this song, it made me think of some of the other musicians that have passed away. Not only that they had passed, but that they had a chance to in a sense “finish” their work. I know that isn’t the right word for it, but they did get the opportunity to say goodbye in a way.
- David Bowie released one final album, Blackstar. This work feels very much like a goodbye, in my opinion. Sure, there are some upbeat tunes on this record, like “Tis A Pity She Was A Whore,” but that one has me wondering if he was talking about a person or cancer or even life. There is a John Ford story of the same name that is of incestuous siblings that ends in one’s death. It may be that he is singing about it. Personally, I think it is just a coincidence.
- Freddie Mercury recorded one last song called “Mother Love.” It was released on the Made in Heaven album after his passing. In it, he sings bits about what may be himself: “My body’s aching, but I can’t sleep/My dreams are all the company I keep/ Got such a feeling as the sun goes down/I’m coming home to my sweet/Mother love.” Even in his final video, (These Are The Days of Our Lives) it is easy to see that he wasn’t well.
- Howard Ashman, of Disney fame and the Little Shop Of Horrors musical, was able to give the world incredible songs for not only a beauty called Belle but a scrappy diamond in the rough named Aladdin. Both films were released posthumously and the world accepted these bright and shining gifts from the talented lyricist.
But what about the people that left us unexpectedly?
What would they have created if they knew their lives would be taking that big final curtain call soon? People like Micheal Jackson, who was in the midst of planning his comeback concert. I love MJ, but would it have worked? Did he have some new tricks up his sleeve? Or how about Aaliyah and Notorious B.I.G? What would be the last thing they want the fans or family to know?
I seriously would love to know…
What would the Artist known as Prince have done