Duane Allman, lead guitarist of The Allman Brothers Band. Died at the age of 24, he would be 69 years old today.
Jim Morrison- lead singer of The Doors. Died at the age of 27, he would be 72 years old today.
Kurt Cobain- lead singer and lead guitarist of Nirvana. Died at the age of 27, he would be 49 years old today.
A couple of months ago I traveled out west to spend a long weekend with my daughter. The journey required about 15 hours, round-trip, in the air or waiting in one of two connecting airports. To burn through the time, I brought along my old iPod crammed with over 500 songs. Since I bought my new car with satellite radio I don’t use this iPod filled with songs from my overly ambitions CD collection.
One of the wonderful albums I rediscovered is the The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East, an album that I contend is the greatest live concert ever recorded (happy to debate this with you). Life for the band would change dramatically not long after this albums release. Both Duane Allman and bassist Berry Oakley would die in eerily similar motorcycle accidents changing the dynamic and music of the band forever.
At 24, Duane Allman was already a legend playing on songs recorded by the likes of Aretha Franklin to Eric Clapton. It is easy to assume that in 1971 he was considered to be the greatest living guitarist in era crowed with incredible guitarist from Jimi Hendrix to Jeff Beck, not to mention Eric Clapton.
“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” – Steve Jobs
As I sat in the Detroit airport listening to Mountain Jam through my ear-buds, I closed my eyes and imagined I was on the floor of the Fillmore East watching Duane on the left side of the stage trading licks with Dickie Betts on the right. Listening to this effortless melody emitting from their fingertips I wondered what the musical world would be like today if Duane, Jim and even Kurt were still with us. All three, in their very short time on this planet, left a legacy or made their own dents in the universe, dents that still resonate today.
A legacy is a fickle beast, defined differently by each of us and society as a whole. Millions, generations have passed before us. Common people, living common everyday lives, just like me and you. I am not famous, I doubt I have or ever will make a dent in the universe or even a crease or a smudge. But if each of us look at our universes differently, not the Steve Jobs or Duane Allman universe, but our own backyard universes, I think we can make a difference and maybe, just maybe that is more lasting than any dent we could ever make.
If you show compassion, love, care or concern to just one person, without asking for anything in return you have made a difference. If you refrain from being judgmental to people different from you, you have made a difference. If you give until you have nothing left, if you support until your back hurts, if you lift up until your arms are weak, you have made a difference, you have made a dent in your, our universe.
If you are looking for recognition of your legacy, your dent, you will be disappointed. I would guess only 1% get that kind of adulation. That’s not the reason the other 99% of us are here. If you are searching for your reason don’t start with you, start with us, the other 99%. If your eyes and your heart are open you will find your dent, your legacy, your difference, your reason why you get to take up space on this planet.
“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss