More than a feeling: The Death of Brad Delp

Last weekend, I celebrated my 42nd birthday, and my wife gave me an iTunes gift card as one of my gifts. At first, I played around with the idea of getting a vintage Roches CD, as I really miss some of those songs that got me through some tough days teaching in my first years in southern Maryland. But for some reason, I typed in “BOSTON” and rediscovered two of the more significant LPs that got me through junior high school and my crush on Linda…

I bought their first two albums for what one would have cost me at any record store, and within minutes I was reliving those memories of everything new: love, freedom, and great music. Brad Delp and Tom Scholz had really put together something amazing. Scholz’ brilliance in the orchestration of the music took full advantage of Delp’s high voice and unparalleled ability to overdub….They were humble, and they really enjoyed making some fantastic pieces of music.

On Friday, I told a good writer friend after a cup of coffee that I had picked up these two albums, and I was enjoying the heck out of the lyrics, the notes, and the memories.

A few hours later, I learned that Delp had died within hours (minutes?) of my conversation with my friend at the cafe. It was an eerie thing to feel so close to that music, that voice, those memories after not feeling or hearing them for so long.

But then I remembered an article I read very recently in the latest Shambhala Sun journal, where a writer was more than fascinated with the connection he had with his readers. To paraphrase loosely, he wrote that, even though months or perhaps even years will have passed between his writing these words and me reading them, we have created an inexplicable, yet eternal bond between us that knows not of time. For the moment I picked up his article and read his words, the contract had been completed, and we fulfilled our roles as writer and reader. He was waiting for me to read as long as i was waiting for him to write, and when the time was good for both of us, we met.

Delp’s music reminds me of this bond between the artist and the audience. He has given us all the greatest of gifts with his voice, and we are the lucky ones to be the recipients time and time again, even beyond his time here on Earth.

May we all find a way to make that bond with the ones we love, even if we have not yet met them. It does not matter if it is music, poetry, art, sculpture, architecture, philosophy, or medical discoveries; let us all leave that message to be discovered over and over again, for all generations yet to be born.

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