Slate’s Hit Parade is one of my regular podcasts

Slate's Hit Parade

Slate’s Hit Parade

This week’s edition of Slate’s Hit Parade podcast features posthumous hits. Host Chris Molanphy’s run-down of deaths of chart-topping artists offered a good range.

The Day The Music Died

I’m glad that, when talking about “The Day The Music Died” (February 3, 1959), Molanphy gave more time to Richie Valens than he usually gets. Buddy Holly deserves all the praise. While J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) was a one-hit-wonder, that one hit, “Chantilly Lace” was fantastic. It was good to hear their music pop up in April, rather than February 3rd.

Remembering Death Days

I’m not one for remembering “death days” as much as birthdays. I prefer to remember the happy milestones. A plane crash in February isn’t how these guys ought to be remembered. Same for John Lennon being shot down. So, I get the theme of the pod. I get the business impact of death on songs on the radio and song sales. After that initial grieving period, though, I’m done with that. It’s like some of these old people who post these “remembering <insert actor/musician/celebrity> on the anniversary of their death. I’d much rather remember Lennon on the rooftop of the Apple building than dead on the sidewalk in New York.

The business of musical death

Molanphy’s personal anecdote about Prince amused me. He was in a bar in New York, and the bartenders couldn’t find Prince music to play. That’s because, like way so many of us, they relied on Spotify from a phone for the bar’s sound system. For the most part, that sort of solution, playing a streaming service, makes sense. A bartender can work up a few playlists on their preferred service, plug in the phone, and let it roll. If the crowd/mood changes, switch it up. Low-effort, amateur DJ-ing.

That’s the environment Chris was in when Prince passed. The problem the bartenders had was that Prince didn’t care for digital music and streaming services. His music is not easily available. Chris loaned the bartender his iPod. Yes, his offline device! That got the collective unconscious through the evening.

This validates my continued ownership of an MP3 player, along with hanging on to my old iPod nano and LT Firstborn’s first iPod. Now I want The Trio from Dragon’s Danger and Dragon’s Discovery to have at least one offline device!

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