A person’s taste in music is very much like their fingerprint, no two are the same.
So when me and Dale (Check out her femme finale here) decided to carve out a musical Rushmore, we knew such an undertaking would be met with plenty of Yeah, but what about? . . . But rather than deter, it made us that much more determined to deliver up our vision of what Rushmore would look like if it was set to music. The truth is, I would have had an easier time with just about any other Rushmore related exercise- from sports to art to superheroes.
Music is different, and so I had myriad decisions to make if I was going to whittle down to four. I took faces off and I put faces on and then I did it all over again. Until the finished product was left with Jackson, Bowie and Prince. Of those choices, the only slam dunk was the last choice. Until today, that is. Because this final installment had his face on it from the first conversation about a musical Rushmore.
It was late May of 1980 when me and a bunch of friends screamed our lungs out to a song that would pin itself to the rafters at Nassau Coliseum for years to come. The New York Islanders had just defeated the Flyers to clinch the Stanley Cup, ushering in a dynasty. It would be half a decade before a kid from Edmonton would begin re-writing history. But the song, it still brings me back to that time.
I had this idea that I was Romeo until a girl named Alisson showed me that love is never that easy to figure out. And damn if Main Ingredient hadn’t warned me that everybody plays the fool sometimes, even if I’d never planned on listening to that sage advice until it was too late. So thank God for Freddie, playing wingman as I ventured back in to that most dubious of romantic entanglements. The rebound.
Me and Shereen drove to Moon Lake with a couple of friends. A case of beer, a boombox and the idea that I was moving to Florida to be with her. Until I wasn’t. And it was just another song that played itself across the moon that night, or so I thought. But to this day, that song unspools itself into a photograph that collapses in a waterfall across my brain every time I hear it.
I’m possessed by love, but isn’t everybody?- Freddie Mercury
I was living with that girl who wore the raspberry beret. Her Venus was liberal and artistic and my Mars was not. My younger days felt as if they had happened inside another universe as I found myself far from the madding crowd of screamers and boomboxes playing “Thriller” and Queens logic.
November of ’91 was an unforgiving one for headlines. First came Magic Johnson’s announcement that he had HIV, and then a few weeks later with the news that Freddie Mercury had died. The first had proven damn near impossible to process while Freddie, well . . he’d always lived his life as if rocking chairs were a waste of time.
I made dinner for me and my girl on that last weekend of November, and we broke open a bottle of wine and had at it. We debated politics and then settled on music.
“Greatest band ever . .” I asked her.
“U2 . . .” She said.
“No way!” I laughed.
“Oh yeah? So what say you? Huh?” She said, sipping at her wine.
“Well, Bon Jovi . . of course,” I said, since it always got a rise out of her.
“Oh . . my God, you can’t be serious,” She said.
And then the wine started paying off and then the music started making all the sense in the world. It was as if Freddie was shaking his fist in triumph as two young lovers surrendered themselves to that magical drug called rock and roll, shouting his famous last words from the moon.
“You’re bloody fucking welcome,”