Something a little different here. Within the past year we’ve lost both James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti. I was a big fan of both, for different reasons.

James Brown had lots of songs that meant nothing to me except that my parents liked the music until 1968, when he came out with “Say It Loud, I’m Black And I’m Proud”. Lots of us kids started singing this song, but it meant more to us than just a song. You’d think at 9 and 10 we’d be too young to fully embrace the full meaning of the words and the emotions, but we got it, and it’s the reason why I still consider myself as black rather than African-American.

Luciano Pavarotti helped bring me to appreciate opera, and opera singers. There was something human about the guy, something that made him seem like he was a regular guy who just happened to sing opera. Yeah, later on I think I got the sense that, indeed, he did have a bit of male diva in him, but it was many years after I’d already gained an appreciation of the guy. His shows on PBS and as one of the Three Tenors brought me into a realm that not even my dad, who loved classical music, ever joined.

And, of all things, someone sent me this link a couple of days ago where both of them performed together at a live concert, doing “It’s A Man’s World”; how I’d never seen this before is shocking, but now I’ll have it for awhile, and I’m happy to share it with you. Rest in peace, both of you.