Remembering Someone I Never Knew
Why had I not heard of her? How does that happen? I’m not sure why the Sunday Seattle Times obituary section always finds me. Maybe it’s because the older I get the more likely I’ll read about someone I once knew or learn of someone I’m meeting too late. So it was this morning. reakfast I started turning the pages old school of my local daily news. There’s something about the feel of actual paper, the sound of pages turning and ritual that make my print edition a welcomed luxury in an era where I could consume its content online the night before.
The Times has a section called “Passages” that follows the local obit section and covers national and international figures. There I learned about Allee Willis, “one of the music industry’s most colorful figures” who died on December 24th at age 72. During her lifetime Willis wrote well over 900 songs and was responsible for hits as diverse as Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” The Pet Shop Boys “What Have I Done to Deserve This?,” tracks for Dusty Springfield, Ray Charles, Cyndi Lauper and co-writing the music for “The Color Purple.” In 2018 she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. I should have known about her. I wish I’d known about her. But I didn’t. In an industry where “performance” is king, too many songwriters don’t know about other songwriters. I can’t change the industry but I can change myself. Willis’s story inspires me to learn. Inspires me to take more steps to discover fellow songwriters...before “Passages.”