Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mr. Everyday People

In recent years, I've observed the 70th birthdays of all sorts of people who were young, rising stars when I was a child, and that truly is an eerie feeling.

Talk about feeling old!

Most of the time, I don't feel particularly old when I hear of such things — but I really did feel old when I heard that Sly Stone was turning 70 today.

The Newport News, Va., Daily Press wryly observes that Stone's milestone is "a concept that seems so improbable because (a.) he will always be locked in our minds at a much younger age, and (b.) nobody ever thought he would live that long."

Rather like Keith Richard, I suspect. About a year ago, I saw a meme on Facebook that observed that Keith Richard had outlived Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Elvis. "Betcha didn't see that coming" was the punchline.

A talented and creative song writer, Stone penned and recorded songs in the late '60s and early '70s that combined a genuine social consciousness with the fun of popular music. He formed a band that was a celebration of diversity long before diversity was a popular buzzword.

But abuse of and addiction to particularly potent drugs like PCP and cocaine hastened the decline of the Family Stone.

And with the roster of deceased performers from that era, it was hard for even the most optimistic of observers to visualize a scenario in which he would live to the age of 70.

But he has. Happy birthday.