Thursday, July 29, 2010
Make Your Own Kind of Music first appeared on Cass Elliot's 1969 solo album Bubblegum, Lemonade and Something for Mama (which appears not to be on CD - boo! hiss!!); inasmuch as every song posted on the Pop Culture Institute can in some way be taken as an anthem of ours, so is this one, only more so. In a world where most creative children have their sparks doused* Elliot's message is not only sympathetic to that plight but defiant in the face of it as well. What a wonderful world this would be if those adults whose dreams had been thwarted as children would not only leave their succeeding generation alone to create and dream in peace but make it their responsibility to see that it never happened again...
Elliot's death (on this day in 1974, at the age of only 32) has often been erroneously attributed to a ham sandwich - a misogynist as well as fattist attribution; the truth is that she died in her sleep of a heart attack, and was found with a partially eaten sandwich in her room, which gave rise to the inaccurate speculation.
Her death came at the height of a career high, following the second of two triumphant shows at the London Palladium; she was survived by her seven year old daughter Owen Vanessa Elliot, who went to live with Cass' sister Leah Kunkel, and later became a singer in her own right. Despite the utter dearth of information about the younger Elliot online, interest in her is obviously high; when I published her name in a post on this blog to mark the occasion of Cass Elliot's birthday in 2008 I recorded several hundred hits over the next three months as a result.
*More prevalent then than now, but still an all-too persistent trend in the culture, sadly.
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