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The Freedom of Music: Back from the Dead

January 2nd, 2017

freedom-of-music-header

One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Well, it’s over. 2016 is done, gone, finito, and with it goes the musical death toll like no others:sidebar-4

David Bowie
Glenn Frey
Paul Katner
Jimmy Bain
Sonny James
Sir George Martin
Keith Emerson
Frank Sinatra Jr
Jimmie Van Zant
Prince
Lonnie Mack
Leonard Cohen
Greg Lake
Rick Parfitt
George Michael

That’s a partial, very partial list. If your a fan of Parliament Funkadelic or Mott the Hoople, traditional blues or jazz, then the list gets worse and worse.

But there’s another name on another list, a list of – so far as I can tell – one. Back from the dead.

Frankie Miller is a Scottish singer/songwriter who had a series of good to excellent album with middling success. He could sing soul like Otis Redding, blues like Delbert McClinton and rock like Rod Stewart. Miller released 9 albums between 1972 and 1984, and had a handful of singles, neither of which charted over well. However, while not a huge commercial success, Miller was one of those guys who made a mark amongst his peers, writing songs for people like Bob Seger, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Tyler, Joe Cocker, The Bellamy Brothers, Ray Charles and Rod Stewart to name just a few.

In 1994 Miller was forming a band with Walsh, Nicky Hopkins and King Crimson’s Ian Wallace. One night in a New York hotel he was writing songs for the new band when his wife decided to call it a night. Miller was writing when she went to bed. Through the night she got up and found Miller on the floor in a pool of his own blood. He had a massive brain haemorrhage, spent five months in a coma, and when he woke up he couldn’t walk or speak, let alone sing. His career was over.

Working on a new album, Rod Stewart enquired whether Miller had any unreleased songs. Miller’s wife, through producer David Mackay, sent “two sacks full of demos.” Mackay decided to create an album of duets with the songs, and Stewart, Walsh, Elton John, Huey lewis, Bonnie Tyler, Kid Rock, Kim Carnes, Paul Carrack, Delbert McClinton and a host of others contributed to the album.

Double Take, Frankie Miller’s newest album is more than just one of the best albums of 2016, more than a resurrection of an artist who is far more worthy of fame and success than he has ever attained.

It’s one singer who 2016 didn’t get to take.


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