Don’t let anybody kid you.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney are two of the most brilliant songwriters to ever grace the art.
But George Harrison was the genius.
…And the time will come / when you see we’re all one…
…And life flows on within you / and without you…
Lennon, McCartney, Dylan and a small host of other prolific songwriting talents, not to mention two thousand years of writers and poets, from Shakespeare to Poe, have, at one time or another expressed poignantly the tenuous and fragile nature of this life.
But nobody has ever summed up, in just one couplet, how precious and expendable we are at the same time, as did Harrison in that song from Pepper.
If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know that I’m doing a lot of personal re-evaluation of the life, as I try to find my way through the ball of confusion that a simultaneous, and uninvited, change of occupation and devotion has brought me.
And in the process, it’s only natural that I would reflect on life, death, happiness, tragedy, fame, obscurity, success, failure, any and many of the threads that are woven into the fabric.
Something happened today that lit up one of those threads like a gray hair on Susan Lucci’s head.
The thread of fame and how fleeting it really is, awareness of the cliché notwithstanding.
Here’s the story as it appeared on CNN.com
LONDON (AP) -- Dave Clark Five lead singer Mike Smith died of pneumonia Thursday, less than two weeks before the band is to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was 64.
Smith died at a hospital outside of London, his agent Margo Lewis said.
He was admitted to the intensive care unit Wednesday morning with a chest infection, a complication from a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed below the ribcage with limited use of his upper body. Lewis said he was injured when he fell from a fence at his home in Spain in September 2003.
Smith had been in the hospital since the accident, and was just released last December when he moved into a specially prepared home near the hospital with his wife.
Smith wrote songs as well as singing and playing keyboards for the Dave Clark Five, one of many British rock acts whose music swept across the United States in the 1960s during the so-called British Invasion.
The Beatles are the best remembered, of course, but at the time the Dave Clark Five posed the strongest threat, commercially and critically, to their pre-eminence.
The Dave Clark Five claimed a string of U.S. hits, including "Because," "Glad All Over," and "I Like it Like That." By 1966, the band had made 12 appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show," then a record for any British group.
While the group -- which broke up in 1970 -- was named after him, Dave Clark himself was the drummer.
Smith is survived by his wife, Arlene (nicknamed Charlie).
Beyond the inherantly tragic tone of the story (great fame in his youth, then the accident, the damage to his quality of life and his untimely death), what I noticed about the online story was an unintentional validation of just how little, in the great scheme of things, “fame” matters.
And although I guess I could be accused of old fartism, I cant help but think that I might be doing the Britneys and Linsdays and Paris’ and Olsen Twins and all of their peers and wanna bes in the quest for five minutes on TMZ a favor by emailing them a link to the story as it appeared today on CNN.com.
Maybe it would give them just enough of a reality check that the quality of their lives might take an upturn and what really matters in the life might start to get the same attention as the fame, adulation and attention they all seem to need like Rachael Ray needs garlic.
Cause you see, kids, in 1964 and 1965, there was no group of celebrities, with the single exception of The Beatles, who were more adored and worshipped than the Dave Clark Five. If you were alive then you know what I’m talking about and if you weren’t, you surely can get a hint of their popularity from the CNN obit.
And just how “famous” were they?
Famous enough that the death of their lead singer is considered headline news thirty eight years AFTER the band broke up.
Take that, Paris.
But, if we needed anything to provide the “celebs” of today and/or the rest of us with a perspective about the whole nature of fame, whoever put the story together for CNN provided an illustration of it that couldn’t have been more effective if it had been planned.
Mike Smith, the lead singer of the world famous Dave Clark Five is dead at 64.
And CNN.com felt it sufficiently newsworthy to headline it forty four years after the band’s first hit.
And they not only related the facts of the band’s rise to fame with Mike in front, as well as paying tribute to the contribution he made as the lead singer of the band, they included a clear, sharp picture from the heyday of the group.
The picture that I have included along with this piece.
A picture of Dave Clark.
Andy Warhol once famously said that, in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.
He was only off by forty years or so.