In its day, the best-selling music album anywhere and everywhere was Thriller by Michael Jackson.
It has now slipped to second place. The honour in records is that the achievement may be surpassed. Records exist to be broken.
The title track of that album is a gem. I’m no pop music cognoscenti, I’m a jazz man myself. Nonetheless, without qualification or hesitation, Thriller is one of the finest items of music ever.
The song came with a video. The video was directed by John Landis.
John Landis is the waystation on my route to the movie, The Blues Brothers. The John Landis movie, The Blues Brothers was my first exposure to the talents of Aretha Franklin. In the film, Aretha played the part of the café owner. Her performance opened with: “You better think about what you’re doing. You better think about the consequences of your actions.”.
As with the way of Hollywood, a sequel of the film was made few years later. Blues Brothers 2000 , was, in charity, pants.
But, where there’s muck there’s brass.
One of the few bright spots of Blues Brothers 2000 was Aretha Franklin’s performance of one her best-known songs – Respect. There are few people who don’t know the line: ‘♫ R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me. ♫’
The obsequies came from everywhere.
Many who knew her, and more who didn’t, said nice things about her.
Like you, I was brought up not to speak ill of the dead.
Her funeral was a grand affair.
Dr Hillary Clinton was there.
Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder sang.
George Bush and Barak Obama sent letters to be read.
Her funeral was a very grand affair. There was a procession of 100 pink Cadillac cars, I guess that’s how they roll over there.
Aretha Franklin died.
Like you, I was brought up not to speak ill of the dead. In my recent conversation with Melinda Fargo, I found myself saying something like: ‘grief is the undying expression of love’.
Our successes may be material, intellectual or personal. Our achievements might be modest as to barely merit comment on the one hand or be of so grand a scale as to warrant former a former US president at our funeral.
Achievements be they humble or venerable are not of one person.
Achievements are of a team of which you are the spearhead.
Your support crew put something in you.
Your support team is your family.
You owe them.
Rachel Maddow was right, there is a duty to everything you own.
Just as grief is the unending expression of love.
Intestacy is the unending declaration of disrespect.
Intestacy is the most eloquent statement of one’s intention to trifle with one’s nearest and dearest from beyond the grave.
I’m a jazz man myself. A giant of the genre, Miles Davis said: “It’s not the notes you play, it’s the notes you don’t play.”.
In indulgence, I’ll paraphrase Miles – it’s not the things you do, but the things you don’t do, the acts of omission.
Intestacy is the ultimate act of omission.
The lady didn’t think about what she was doing.
She didn’t think about the consequences of her action.
It turns out, we found out what R-E-S-P-E-C-T meant to her.
Aretha Franklin died.
Aretha Franklin died without a will.
Aretha Franklin died intestate.
♫R-E-S-P-E-C-T Find Out What it Meant to Her