Sometimes the poets got it right. It’s a passage that’s often quoted, but in the case of the two monoliths of rock’n’roll we lost this month, the following lines from Dylan Thomas could not be more appropriate:
‘Do not go gentle into that good night. Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.’
Neither Lemmy Kilmister nor David Bowie could ever be accused of giving up on life. They lived it to the full, raging (in two different ways) right to the very end. Lemmy never let up, continuing his relentless Motörhead album/tour/album/tour work ethic, even though many of us thought he ought to consider slowing down a little. But I think we all realised Lem wanted to end his days on the road. And he damn near got his wish. Only the inevitable Christmas break in touring prevented it.
Bowie made his final years (while primarily out of the spotlight) two of his most productive – two albums in quick succession, an off-Broadway show and the intention to write for a forthcoming musical. Both artists’ impact on rock (and the wider fabric of popular culture as a whole) can never be overestimated. It’s not hyperbole to say that the music we know and love would never sound the way it does without either of these two men. We shall miss them both immeasurably, but we will always have their music…
Siân Llewellyn, Editor