It’s been a bad week for musicians, especially those in their 70s and whose names begin with the letter “M”.
Earlier this week, of course, Ray Manzarek died. Manzarek was arguably the music in The Doors, a gifted performer whose contributions stretched all the way from the swirling organ of Light My Fire (their first hit) to the eerie tinkling electric piano of Riders on the Storm (their last).
But Georges Moustaki also died this week: today, in fact. And that’s a name you probably won’t know unless you’re interested in French popular music of the 60s and 70s. Moustaki was one of the very greatest French singer-songwriters of modern times, pretty much the last of the breed, with the suicide of Allain Leprest last year. His songs were poetic and often melancholy, influenced by his Greek and Jewish heritage, and quite unlike anything else. Go and check them out on Youtube.
But it’s the age of the two musicians that bothers me: Manzarek was 74 and Moustaki was 79, and I discovered them both for the first time as a student, forty years ago. It’s people like that, who have accomplished a lot, that make you feel old. After all, when Mozart was my age, he’d been dead twenty-five years.