The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #10839   Message #77365
Posted By: LEJ
10-May-99 - 09:59 PM
Thread Name: Do the young (artists) die good?
Subject: RE: Do the young (artists) die good?
Shamb, interesting topic. I suspect that I am that lone Jim Morrison follower you mentioned, although "follower" is probably a little strong.

Artists like Morrison as well as Buddy Holly, Phil Ochs, Sandy Denny, Jimi Hendrix and others often become icons after their deaths, and I think the reasons are three-fold. Usually, these artists were innovators who had a powerful impact on music during their brief lives. Their deaths beg the unanswerable question as to whether, after their early contributions, they would have continued in that vein. It is the mystery of their lost potential. The second factor exists for those of us who were their contemporaries. To us, they represent a period in history, and more particularly in our personal histories, when we were filled with unlimited uncontrolled energy - their images become snapshots from our past. The third factor is the inability of these people to ever undergo the slow and inevitable change that age brings to the rest of us mortals; in our minds, they become some sort of ageless demi-gods, transfixed in youth and innocence. We can smile at their immaturity and folly, but for all our gathered wisdom and maturity, we would not have those things bestowed upon them.

And we look back at them- some of them we look upon through the hard lens of the contravening years, just as we look back and shake our heads at the bad poetry and lost loves of our own youth, and we find them wanting. And others seem to dwell in a Paradise Lost, where music, poetry and love were more intense and immediate, and where their folly is also our folly.