Skip to main content

Godspeed, Donna Summer and Robin Gibb: How Do You Mend a Middle-Aged Broken Heart?

I feel like the remnants of my adolescence are slowly dying away.

You see, I was a teenager during the '70's.  I never thought disco sucked.  I loved disco, so much so that I threw a tantrum in my junior high school orchestra class demanding that we be allowed to play disco instead of Beethoven.  Why not?  Disco was heavy on strings.  We were string players.  Heck, Barry White had an entire freakin' orchestra to himself!  My junior high school orchestra teacher, Mr. Douglas, rolled his eyes at my insouciance and told me I had a lot more of the basics to learn before I'd be prepared to play disco or anything else written for strings for that matter.  He did make sure that I auditioned for all-city orchestra, though. 

So you can imagine that I was saddened by the loss of Donna Summer and Robin Gibb, within a week, no less.  My introduction to Donna Summer was, like most folks, the seventeen minute track, "Love to Love You, Baby."  It was also my first introduction to sex.  Sure, I knew about the birds and the bees, but I didn't know what they sounded like.  All I could think was that whatever Donna had been doing the studio, it must have felt pretty darn good to sound like that.  It would not surprise me if Donna Summer had been responsible for her own little baby boom just because of that song.

My introduction to Robin Gibb and the Bee Gees was, like most folks, the soundtrack to the movie "Saturday Night Fever."  Oh, the angst of Tony Manero, and the joy of the music that lifted him out of it -- "You Should Be Dancing," "Night Fever," "How Deep is Your Love."  Tony Manero was my generation's Holden Caulfield, or at least we thought he was, but without the mental illness.  I was in junior high school when "Saturday Night Fever" came out, and after that, my girlfriends and I were not only hooked on the Bee Gees, but on Andy Gibb as well.  We started backtracking through the Bee Gee's '60's catalog looking for meaning as deep as what we perceived to have been captured in the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack.  To this day, my favorite Bee Gees song isn't anything from the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack; it's "How Do You Mend a Broken Heart."  Deep meaning, indeed.  The Brothers Gibb were gifted songwriters, a gift that I would suppose sustained them long after disco died.

To me, Donna Summer was the queen of disco only because we never allowed her to be more.  My favorite Donna Summer song isn't a disco song at all; it's her performance of "O, Holy Night," that she gave on a television special long ago.  It's my favorite Christmas carol because of her performance of it, and because of her performance alone.  She sang it with so much feeling.  It wasn't until later that I realized why -- she had grown up singing in the church, as many of our Black singing divas have (Whitney Houston, for example.)  She probably really did feel it.  I also loved her song, "State of Independence."  And boy, did I ever feel like a "Bad Girl" when I chanted the chorus, "Toot Toot! . . . Hey ... Beep Beep!"  Even my mom was a fan, identifying with the song, "She Works Hard for The Money," as did most working women at the time.

With the loss of Donna Summer and Robin Gibb goes a part of my adolescence, a part of my life when the music that made me want to dance also made me feel good, something that a lot of today's music doesn't do for me on either count.  I am thankful for having walked the planet at the same time as Donna Summer and Robin Gibb, and for having shared in the experience of their talent.  But I'm still saddened by their loss.

So . . . how do you mend a middle-aged broken heart?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When You Leave The Ghetto, Don't Bring It With You

NBA player Gilbert Arenas brings a gun to an NBA locker room. NBA player Ron Artest lets his pit bulls run wild and free in Loomis, California while playing for the Sacramento Kings. NFL player Michael Vick did time for fighting dogs. And NFL player Plaxico Burress is doing time for shooting his damn self.

What do all these men have in common? BMNB would say an inability to make a profound paradigm shift. I’m less eloquent than BMNB is, so I’ll say it differently: The inability to leave the ghetto behind.

Yes, call me saditty, bourgie, elitist, stuck-up, whatever. I don’t care. Until you’ve had a tweaker ruin your Thanksgiving turkey, you don’t even know (more on that later), and I’m not trying to hear you.

Living in Western Placer County, my husband and I continue to hear stories from folks like us who had to flee “those who can’t leave the ghetto behind.” You know these people, and they come in all races. In our case, we had returned to Sacramento in 2004 and 2005, respective…

Hillary Clinton Can Stop Trump -- If She Releases Her Electors

Hillary Clinton isn't going to be President of the United States.  At least not yet.  And not in 2017.

But she can possibly stop Donald Trump from being President by releasing her pledged electors  in the Electoral College to vote for a compromise Republican candidate.

This is part of the strategy of the Hamilton Electors, members of the Electoral College who see that Donald Trump is not qualified to be President.  They argue that the Electoral College's role is not to rubber-stamp the popular vote -- which, in this case, would belong to Clinton -- but to serve as a check on the popular vote to make sure that no one who is unfit assumes the office of President.

According to the Hamilton Electors, named for Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (Yes, he of the very popular musical for which I can't get tickets) Hamilton stated that the Electoral College's test for fitness to be the President was as follows (and I'm quoting):

Election of a Qualified Person: As Hamilton s…

Malia's Hair is Off Limits! So is Sasha's!

I read a snippet of a New York Times article in which there was criticism of the hairstyle Malia Obama wore to Italy. Twists, to be precise. Said twists were criticized as not befitting someone representing the United States abroad.

Hold up. Slow your roll, America. You don't get a say in this. Neither Malia nor Sasha "chose" to represent the United States in any way, shape, or form. And their hair, and how they wear it, is off limits. Back the eff off.

I was hotter than a hornet reading this. The whole black woman's hair thing? That's personal with me. We black women have more than enough issues and neuroses about our hair and how we wear it. It is not open to debate within wider circles, especially when there's a child involved. The choices we have, other than wearing our hair in its natural state in twists, dreads, braids, cornrows or afros, are painful -- chemical relaxers, also called "creamy crack," and searing hot straightening combs. If Malia …