We all have, at some point or another, read about or watched a film about or met in person - an inspiring individual, who was able to surmount a terrible setback they had faced in their lives. Their story is truly legendary and does rouse many of us up from the lethargic and self-pity slumber that we seem to fall into, every now and then, when something adverse happens to us or if life doesn’t quite go the way we want it to. But without trying to sound reprimanding in any manner, I will add that these dynamic individuals really show us just how lucky we are and that we if we only pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones, we’d be a whole lot happier.
So, with that point in mind, I’d like to highlight four individuals, who I have admired for many years and who have through the course of their lives, battled the odds and established themselves as “Immortal Musicians.”
|Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org - Beethovan|
The first is Ludwig Van Beethoven (17th December 1770 – 26th March 1827), who as many of you would know is the famous German composer and pianist, who created many timeless pieces of music including the masterwork – “The Fifth Symphony”. But the interesting thing about Beethoven is that, though he is known as one of the greatest musicians who has ever lived, a lot of people are unaware that by his late twenties he was completely deaf due to an unknown illness. In fact, the story goes that as Beethoven’s hearing deteriorated, he eventually cut off the legs of his piano and placed his head on the ground next to it, so through the memory of sound and the vibrations he felt, he composed some of his most famous works. Imagine how devastated he must have felt knowing that he would never hear a single note of music ever again. And also, realize that all his major musical pieces were never once heard by his own ears, while being performed by an orchestra, though the rest of the audience was granted that privilege. Beethoven’s passion for music was the flame that burned with greater fervor and thus lifted the darkness from his life, when he kept his focus on his life’s true calling.
|Image Source: http://www.thepianopages.com - Rick Allen|
The second is Richard John Cyril "Rick" Allen (Born 1 November 1963), who quite a few would know is the famous drummer from my favorite group of all time – Def Leppard. Rick Allen is most famous because he is the only one-armed drummer in the world. Rick lost his entire left hand in a car accident way back in late 1984. He had just turned 21 years old at the time. Though Rick had lost all hope, it was the band’s famous producer, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who told Rick while in hospital, that he could still drum if he could get his left leg to do what his left arm did. Mutt Lange in subsequent interviews has stated that it “was like a light began to shine in his eyes.” Rick never looked back and built a customized drum kit and began the slow and painful process of learning how to drum on his own again. Today, he is considered one of the biggest influences for numerous Pop, Rock and Heavy Metal drummers across various age groups.
|Image Source: http://www.guitarlessons.com - Tony Iommi|
The third is Francis Anthony Melby "Tony" Iommi (Born 19 February 1948), the guitar God of the legendary group – Black Sabbath. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the same man that started the whole Heavy Metal movement back in the late 1960’s. Tony, also, in his early twenties suffered a major setback, when while working in a steel factory in England was badly injured while working on a steel cutting machine, where the machine sliced of parts of his fingers from his right hand. All the doctors he visited told him that he’d never be able to play a guitar again. After a spell of depression for 6 months, Tony then decided that giving up just wasn’t the way to go, so he fashioned a set of artificial finger tips and tuned his guitar strings to a lower scale, thus creating the signature heavy metal wall of sound. And the rest as they say is Classic Metal History.
|Image Source: http://www.metalinsider.net - Dave Mustaine|
The fourth is of course, David Scott "Dave" Mustaine (Born 13th September, 1961) the frontman of the iconic heavy metal group called Megadeth, who also suffered an injury, which rendered his left hand virtually dead during a crucial point in his musical career. But Dave, like Tony, wasn’t going to go down without a fight either and worked hard to play guitar once again. Both men are considered pioneers in their own right and if they weren’t around, the Rock ‘N’ Roll world would honestly be a lot less dynamic than it is today.
A part from fighting back and surmounting the obstacles that lay in front of them, what was it that made these people rise up from the ashes? It was simply shifting their focus off their setbacks and on to an area of their lives they were still passionate about. This shift required them to focus all their energies on winning so that they had no time to think of their losses. Once they got that momentum going they sailed through without a hitch.
And the end result was that instead of being people of “Rhythm with a bad case of the Blues” they opted instead to be people of “Rhythm who decided to Choose” their own destiny and reverse the tides of misfortune. Rock On! Next Take please!