Saying goodbye to rock stars of yesteryear


Reggie Ponder


By Reggie Ponder

Saturday, September 21, 2019

There’s something about hitting the age where the rock stars you grew up listening to are dying.

I have hit that age.

Just in the past week Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek, the front man for The Cars, have died. Over the past couple of years legends such as Prince and Tom Petty have passed away.

Of course there always have been rock stars who died young, either from drug-related complications such as those that claimed the lives of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Bonham and Jim Morrison, or from transportation accidents such as took Buddy Holly, Duane Allman and Ronnie Van Zant.

But people like Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek are succumbing to what essentially are age-related illnesses. That means the stars many of us have thought of as perpetually young are actually growing older and dying.

Neither The Cars nor Eddie Money were ever my favorite artist but both evoke for a strong sense of place and time.

In the case of The Cars, I grew up mainly liking country music and some mid-1970s R&B, but for about six months in 1979 I was so taken with the “Candy-O” album from The Cars that I thought what then was known as “New Wave” would be my favorite music forever.

Again, forever turned out to be six months — but anytime I hear anything by The Cars I immediately go back in my mind to 10th grade at New Bern High School and a small group of friends who thought we had found the key to all things in this new music called New Wave.

Some eight years later I was newly married and working at a weekly newspaper in Franklin County, just starting to find my way as a reporter, family man and bona fide adult. We hadn’t yet had a child and still were (sort of) carefree for those 18 months or so before we became parents.

A song that always brings that time to mind is Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight.”

All these years later I rarely choose to listen to either The Cars or Eddie Money. But they have remained closely associated in my mind with those particular times in my life and I suppose they always will.

Another interesting thing to think about is how neither of those times in my life seemed all that great at the time. I was on my way to somewhere else and something else — getting on to college, becoming a parent, moving ahead in my career — and my life seemed stuck in slow motion.

Now both of those brief periods seem, in their own ways, to be “the good old days.”

It’s funny the tricks that time can play on a brain.

Reggie Ponder is a staff writer for The Daily Advance.