Saturday, June 7, 2008


I remember walking down the alleyway while listening to my AM/FM, cassette deck thingamajiggy. My head bopping to whatever was on the radio at the time. Probably LL Cool J or Janet Jackson...something popular in 1987. The sun was beaming on my fresh press and curl and sweat rolled down my back. I waved at the little, caramel old lady sitting on the porch watching her special needs grandson play. They always seemed to be out when I walked to the store. Deciding I'd take the back entrance into the store's parking lot, I heard the deejay on 93.1 (WZAK) solemnly announce that Scott La Rock had been shot and killed.

KRS-ONE, D Nice, & Scott La Rock (BDP)

My eleven year-old mind couldn't wrap itself around the concept of Scott La Rock no longer being a part of B(oogie) D(own) P(roductions), much less no longer living. Even though I had experienced the death of my father only six years prior, I still didn't understand this death thing. Scott was shot. And so was my father.

At this time, I thought everyone died by being shot.

Share with me the first musician's death you remember and how it impacted your thoughts on the world at the time.

Here's a list to prompt your memory...


Sharon said...

I remember quite a few musicians deaths as I was growing up but I guess the one that stuck with me the most was the death of Marvin Gaye. Back then you didn't hear much about a parent killing their child like you do today. I thought what could happen for someoe to hate their child so much that they could kill them and I still ask that question today.

Jennifer C. said...

Aaliyah is the one that rings most true for me. She wasn't that much younger than me and I cried for her. Life was just so unpredictable and short not promised. I hated it I can barely look at her face because she was so beautiful and young.

'Cilla said...

Phyllis Hyman - I paid for a bus trip to see her at the Apollo with the Whispers. Before their last song, the group went back stage and returned. Scott came to the mic and sadly stated that Phyllis had been found dead. That was a very long trip and sad trip home.

Luther Vandross has been my all-time favorite. July 3 will be the 2 yr of his death.


Anonymous said...

Sam Cooke for me. How could such a talented man get himself killed at a motel that catered to inexpensive prostitutes. It just let me know that many people are not careful of what they do, and how they do it.


Dera Williams said...

I think Sam Cooke's death as a young girl had an impact on me.
First of all it was a violent death, stabbed by a woman who was a reported prostitute. Such a waste. I was saddened I wouldn't hear anhy more new songs as he was one of my favorites. There were many deaths in between, Otis Redding taken in an airplane crash. The deaths of Marvin Gaye and Tupac, again due to gun violence were particularly hard. How we marvin silver voice Marvin, I cried for days. I experienced Tupac's death with my daughter who was in high school. I was just beginning to appreciate Tupac's talent and wonderfulness and how it was all so senseless, the violence and to this day, I wonder what really happened. Sadly, we are still seeing this, locally and nationally. It is like an aura of tragedy follows our entertainers.

RomanticBlues said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RomanticBlues said...

Rising up now at 51 years young, I have been touched by a many gassing’s. First let me say reading Book Manaic account of Phyllis Hyman, my all time favorite female singer grabs my souls all over again as it did when I heard the news on the radio that day. At seven years of age, I watched my uncle cry with the news of Sam cooke. He used to sing in a group on the street corners, and he sung all the Sam songs. Now Sam Coke is my Favorite male singer.

Yasmin said...

Both Minnie Riperton's death and Phyllis Hyman's were poignant for well as Marvin Gayes.

Minnie--because I can recall every talent show I attended during my junior/senior year of high school--someone always tried to imitate her. A few folks were actually pretty good. She was one of my favorite when I heard that she had died...I just boohooed because she was the first celebrities death that I had ever been affected by so immensely. She died too soon. Sigh.

Phyllis Hyman--IT WAS JUST SUCH A SHOCK...she committed suicide...strangely I recall understanding why she did...I don't pass judgment on folks who decide to check out...but it stood out then and stands out today that she took her life. sigh.

Marvin Gaye--as Sharon said how could a parent take their child's life...sigh.

Good post sis! Love it...thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Phyllis Hyman, OMG, how her songs stirred me! I was young when they announced on BET that she took her own life. I remember them saying she battled depression. I also remember crying for hours trying to imagine what kind of pain could push the songstress to end it all!

Genesis, this blog touched me deeply. Thank you for creating it, and for bringing back these memories!

E.Payne said...

Marvin Gaye...I was a wee one at the time so I asked, "who's Marvin Gaye and why is everybody crying?" When my mother told me, I didn't get how a man could shoot his son, no matter what the argument was. One of my grown cousins was inconsolable for 2 days and then I really wondered what the big deal was. And then I heard the man's music and have been a fan ever since. Since then, I was devastated by Tupac, and then Biggie. I was driving home from a road trip when I heard about Aliyah and spent days coming to grips with that one.

Poetic Genesis said...

Yeah, for the times that was unheard of. So sad.

I remember Aaliyah's death too. We were living in Fla and my husband went to the store. When he came back home, he dropped the groceries and told me that she had died. I didn't believe him and started channel surfing to catch the news. When I found out it was true, I could barely breathe, I cried so much. That was really heartbreaking. I still have my newspaper clippings.

I know that had to be a sat trip home. I can't even imagine taking a trip to see an artist and finding out they passed away.

Yeah, I loved me some Luther. And it's equally sad that he passed on my anniversary. I'll always remember it. I'll always remember James Brown's death too. I was sitting on my computer Christmas Eve (late,late night) when I saw a brief article on him.

Hey Rosa, thanks for stopping by. I didn't know much about Sam Cooke but his death is sad.

I cried for Tupac too. Biggie too. Tupac is one of my favorite poet/rappers. I often wonder what things would be like if he was still alive. His was the first death that showed me that men and boys cried. There were some emotional men due to his death.

Hey Romantic Blues-

Oh man...I know that hurt your uncle's heart. Thanks for stopping by!

I love Minnie Riperton. She died way to young. I was only 3, but I was hurt when I got older and found out about her untimely passing.

J.P. Simmons-
I'm glad you enjoyed. I recently lost someone dear to me and this is one of the ways I'm coping. It really helps me understand that I'm not unique in my situation. Makes me feel better :) Thanks for stopping by!

E. Payne-
I think Aaliyah's death really drove home the point for me that every moment is worth living... cause you don't know if it'll be your last. When they started showing pictures of the plan, her seat more specifically, I couldn't get the image out of my mind. I just hoped and prayed she hadn't suffered.

Thanks all and look for the next Firsts coming soon!


Niambi Brown Davis said...

I would have to say Sam Cooke. I was so naive - I did not want to believe he was killed in a hotel room...
I was 10 years old and remember being afraid of flying after the "Day the Music Died" with the deaths of Buddy Holly and Richie Valens (and I think the Big Bopper)

Anonymous said...


Yeah, the movie La Bamba made me fearful of flying. Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesdays & Fridays Blog