WE’VE lost some big ones in recent times.
David Bowie, Prince, Lemmy Kilmister, and Glenn Frey – all of them dead in 2016.
The outpouring of grief and recognition for the recently departed, in particular Bowie and Prince, has been heavy. A good mate of mine, who I met thanks to our mutual passion for U2, is a massive Prince fan.
He lives in another city, but through Facebook it’s plain to see Prince’s death has hit him hard. It’s been awful watching him grieve.
The pain is undoubtedly accentuated by speculation on the cause of death.
As private as Prince was, there’s been talk he had AIDS, that he perhaps suffered a drug overdose, that he had a terrible affair with dangerous painkillers. The purple one isn’t here to defend himself, so it’s open slather. None of it has been proven.
Bowie, remarkably, was able to keep the fact that he had cancer out of the public eye. Perhaps it is a measure of the man that the few who knew about his illness didn’t sell him out.
But negative aspects of his life still surfaced after he left this earth.
I don’t know what it’s like to lose a musician I’m passionate about, and we are lucky that all four members of U2 are still well and truly alive.
But what will it be like when the inevitable happens? I can’t believe I’m even contemplating the thought that Bono, The Edge, Larry or Adam will one day no longer being around.
Which controversies will raise their ugly heads when the band members no longer exist?
Tax evasion in The Netherlands? The Edge’s property development in Malibu? Adam Clayton being busted for possession of cannabis? Bono meeting world leaders? (Has Larry ever courted controversy?).
It’s all pretty much small fry in the flashy pan of simmering rock star controversies. U2, as big as the band is, hardly raises a blip on the scandal radar. No sex romps, drug addled rampages, punch ons, run-ins with the law, regrettable tweets, or lashing out at other groups.
Will controversy rule the airwaves when they’re gone? Or will the music claim victory?
Will broadcasters talk about their constant struggle, and epic success, to push the boundaries of live performance and staging, creating a path for other groups and performers follow?
Only time will tell.
On a disgustingly insensitive note, does a vault exist full of unreleased material that will keep us satiated for years to come after U2 release their final album?
Imagine countless concert DVDs and sonic gems stored in an underground climate-controlled room the size of a small nation filled to the ceiling with discs and video footage. I’m sure The Edge has it all there in alphabetical order.
How sad to even contemplate the passing of our fab four. But when it happens, we can at least be comforted by the thought that they existed, that fate brought them together, and we fell in love with their art.