May 14, 1936 - December 20, 1973
I really wanted to write an amazing post about Bobby's brilliance and perhaps about his continuing influence. But, I just can't find the words.
He was genius. He conquered music, film, television, and of COURSE live performing. I think the most striking thing about Bobby is that it is impossible to listen or watch him without "feeling" exactly what he's trying to convey. Oftentimes, it's great joy. Many of his songs are crazily upbeat (he can turn ANY song into a "must snap your fingers to"). And his famous comedic skills are on display in many of his films and television performances (and what is available to hear and see of his live stuff).
Other times, he's describing pain and sadness. It's nearly impossible to listen to some of his music without feeling that pain. But, not necessarily in a painful way (if that makes sense?!). And of course, he also was extremely adept at drama in films (Oscar-nominated for Captain Newman M.D.).
Whatever it was that Bobby wanted you to see or understand, it always came through.
Bobby once said, "My goal is to be remembered as a human being and as a great performer."
He is certainly remembered as a great performer and he should be remembered as a great human being, as well.
Bobby expressed his beliefs, what he truly believed, whether it was popular or not. He worked tirelessly for Civil Rights, performing and marching in parades. This was not the "popular" thing to do. And it could have easily damaged his career. But, he didn't care. It was something he believed in. Bobby behaved the same about everything he believed in. He took action.
Bobby knew he was going to have a short life. When he was 8, he overheard the doctor telling his mother that he would not live past the age of 16. He managed to smash a lot of life into the 37 years he had. And this his legacy. What he left behind is still relevant, influential, sometimes "inspirational" and much of the time it's just completely happy (and hilarious)!
"It isn't true you live only once. You only die once. You life lots of times, if you know how."
The title of my post comes from the song "Try to Remember". (Listen to Bobby singing it here.)
Niamhy wrote a lovely tribute to Bobby here. (ALSO, that photo was kinda swiped from her Tumblr. ;-D)