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No More Heroes. The beginning of 2016 has been a dark one for rock ‘n’ roll. On the 10th, the world lost one of the most creative minds in the industry, as David Bowie lost his battle with cancer.
Less than 10 days later, Glen Frey, a founding member of the Eagles, passed away. Many of us wish for Frey to“Take it Easy” on his long “Road To Eden”, while the rest of us hope that Ziggy Stardust returns as the “Starman” waiting in the sky.
As the world overflows with grief for these two legends, their hits are in near constant rotation. Radio stations are celebrating them with tribute hours dedicated to their entire to their careers, and rare B-sides and singles have found air play again. In case of Bowie, whole cities have come together to mourn the Thin White Duke with memorial vigils and performances. In New Orleans, Arcade Fire led an explosive parade celebrating the artist’s music and costumes. In London, fans flooded the streets of Brixton to celebrate with a huge block party. In Toronto, Choir! Choir! Choir! Gathered over 500 singers to perform“Space Oddity” in the acoustic spaces of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).
Maybe you found a wake in your own hometown to pay homage to Bowie; or perhaps you’re playing all of your Eagles records in respect for Frey. More than likely, if you’ve got a guitar, you’re trying your hand at their greatest hits, celebrating their legacy as best as you can. But you can’t celebrate their huge contribution to music superficially or expect to pay respects by playing their music badly. That’s worse than not paying tribute at all. Don’t be disrespectful – do them right by playing competently and reverently.
For some of us, that’s easy. Blessed with a natural ear for music and coordinated hands, picking out the tune of “Life on Mars” or “Hotel California” is a simple matter of spending an afternoon at the piano or guitar with a keen ear towards the melodies of these legendary tracks. But for the rest of us, isolating individual notes doesn’t come intuitively, nor is it easy to paste them together into the smooth song that we know and love.
Tabs are available online, but these tend to never quite recreate the official sounds of any musician. You end up playing another fan’s attempt at tricky, and often times intricate, songs. Sheet music, on the other hand, has easy to read notations and lyrics that let you sing along as you play your favourite songs the way you’re supposed to. You can easily order a few booklets to get you started from online vendors of sheet music. If you’re from Canada, then the Long & McQuade online music store has the best selection of sheet music, in addition to instruments, musical equipment, and accessories. You’ll find what you need to get your tribute off on the right foot, and you can have it all delivered to your door.
So even if you missed the AGO’s sing-a-long or Vancouver’s memorial glam party, you can still remember the late, great Bowie and Frey on your own. While you wait on your order, pull out your old vinyl or let YouTube cycle through playlists. Though the greats may be gone, their music will never die.
Eagles image by aerokay