I had the FM radio on the other day - I don't remember what station - and they were playing Bob Marley's Could You Be Loved from 1980. Now there's a song that has not only aged well, it could have been released in 1990 or 2000 or even today and it would be hailed a a classic. And that is so true of so many of Marley's records; Redemption Song, One Love, No Woman No Cry just to name a few.
That the reggae giant was only 36 years old when he died got me to thinking of all the music he might have made had cancer not taken him and if he was able to avoid assassination.
But is he the #1 musical artist whose potential was barely reached before a life cut short? I started thinking of others who would have to be in contention for the title of biggest musical loss. Here are some my other candidates:
Hank Williams, only 29 when he died. Even non-country music fans know his remarkable contributions to America's permanent songbook; songs like I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, Hey Good Lookin', Your Cheatin' Heart, and dozens more. The Devil and the liquor took Hank.
Buddy Holly, plane crash, 22. Think about that - only 22! Yet 50 years later we still song along with That'll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Everyday and more. Honorable mention on the same plane was Ritchie Valens of La Bamba fame, just 17 years old. Who knows what his future held?
Jimi Hendrix, another drinker so he only made it to 27. An A-level songwriter, A+ guitar player who brought fuzz and fire to his instrument. You can't help but think of Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain among other 27 year-olds who burned out rather than faded away.
Your turn. I want to know who you'd put at Number One on this chart: the musical artist who had the most to still contribute to the world before his death. Michael Hutchence? John Lennon? Selena? Jeff Buckley? Luther Vandross? Ian Curtis? Biggie?