Words from the recently departed

Prince, musician, born 1958: “Music is spirit, it’s therapy. Itmakesme feel a certain way, and if played with conviction and soul, the same thing occurs in other people.”
Prince, musician, born 1958: “Music is spirit, it’s therapy. Itmakesme feel a certain way, and if played with conviction and soul, the same thing occurs in other people.”PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
(Above) Leonard Cohen, musician, born 1934: "Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash."
(Above) Leonard Cohen, musician, born 1934: "Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash."PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
(Above) David Bowie, musician, born 1947, lyrics for Lazarus (2016): "Look up here, I'm in heaven/ I've got scars that can't be seen/I've got drama, can't be stolen/ Everybody knows me now."
(Above) David Bowie, musician, born 1947, lyrics for Lazarus (2016): "Look up here, I'm in heaven/ I've got scars that can't be seen/I've got drama, can't be stolen/ Everybody knows me now."PHOTO: REUTERS
Glenn Frey of the Eagles, musician, born 1948: "This business is like walking through a minefield. That's why people who envy me look foolish. They don't see me at the Record Plant, trying all night to get one vocal."
Glenn Frey of the Eagles, musician, born 1948: "This business is like walking through a minefield. That's why people who envy me look foolish. They don't see me at the Record Plant, trying all night to get one vocal."PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

NEW YORK • Pop superstar George Michael's death on Christmas Day caps one of the most tragic years in memory for the music world, which mourned a steady stream of top names.

The creative talent in arts and entertainment who died this year left behind expansive legacies - some in film or television or music - but all of them in words, whether it is a special verse, lyrics from a song or a spoken perspective on life.

Alan Rickman, actor, born 1946

"I think there should be laughs in everything. Sometimes, it's a slammed door, a pie in the face or just a recognition of our frailties."

Garry Marshall, director and writer, born 1934

"I believe that television was, and still is, the only medium that can truly reach society's lowest common denominator and entertain those people who maybe can't afford a movie or a play. So why not reach them and do it well?"

 

Sharon Jones, soul singer, born 1956

'They said I was too fat, too black, too short and too old. And look at me now."

Leon Russell, musician, born 1942, lyrics for A Song For You (1970)

"You taught me precious secrets/ Of the truth withholding nothing/ You came out in front and I was hiding/But now I'm so much better/And if my words don't come together/Listen to the melody/ Cause my love is in there hiding."

George Martin, record producer, born 1926

"When I first met the Beatles in 1962, I didn't think much of their songs at all. But they learnt so quickly how to write a hit. They were like plants in a hothouse."

Phife Dawg, musician, born 1970, lyrics for We The People (2016)

"The fog and the smog of news media that logs/False narratives of Gods that came up against the odds/We're not just (epithet) rappers with the bars/It's kismet that we're cosmic with the stars."

Umberto Eco, author, born 1932

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth."

Florence Henderson, actress, born 1934

"You have to acknowledge your truth and not let society dictate how you think."

Edward Albee, playwright, born 1928

"A play is fiction - and fiction is fact distorted into truth."

Gene Wilder, actor, born 1933

"As Willy Wonka (into Mr Salt's ear, singing softly): A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."

Zaha Hadid, architect, born 1950

"You learn from what you teach and show people they can achieve beyond what they thought possible for them to do."

Juan Gabriel, musician, born 1950

"I compose songs with a lot of simplicity because my school has been the streets and people have been my books."

Merle Haggard, musician, born 1937

"Faith is the only way we're going to make it. None of us is smart enough to do it on our own."

Garry Shandling, actor, born 1949

"I once made love for an hour and 15 minutes, but it was the night the clocks are set ahead." Harper Lee, author, born 1926 "People generally see what they look for and hear what they listen for."

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2016, with the headline 'Words from the recently departed'. Print Edition | Subscribe