Any therapist will tell you that a necessary step in reducing psychic pain from a traumatic event is to confront it, head on — or at least to acknowledge it happened, by describing it if possible. That principle forms the root of this, the first of a series of posts in which we gather together in a healing circle to group-confront an egregious example of poor Rock behavior that might otherwise leave us scarred.
I am a huge Charlie Rich apologist. Like my fandom for Rory Gallagher, I admit my desire to like his music is almost greater than the amount I actually like it— so I am thrilled when I discover a bit of audio or video that bolsters my opinion that the Silver Fox was a true country music maverick, a magnificent pop songwriter, and a closet Southern soul master of the highest order. On the flip side… well, when I found the video clip you see here, I felt a new level of pit open up in the pit of my stomach. It did more than humanize Rich: it cast him out of the musical heavens at the white-hot burning end of God’s own flaming sword, branding him charlatan.
I have been transfixed by this video since discovering it. I know it captures a performance when Rich was at the pinnacle of his fame — also a time when he was least happy, and most prone to hitting the bottle. (Oh, how I wish there was a clip out there of the CMA awards ceremony when Charlie, presumably stoned out of his gourd, set John Denver’s award for country music male entertainer of the year on fire.) And, Charlie Rich fans, please spare me your explanations about how the Silver Fox was a balladeer, and not an uptempo performer. The plain and simple fact is that this video destroyed a part of my soul. I need your help confronting it. I need your help discovering all the ways I’ve been hurt by this performance of “The Dance of Love” from 1975. So, tell me: what’s hurtful; what’s painful; what’s just downright wrong about this performance?
I look forward to your responses, and I look forward to this opportunity to bond and heal together.