Aishlin & Jerry Harrison - Heaven (for Tom) Print

Contribution by Jerry Harrison

Heaven for Tom

Recently my wife, Carol, and I were in Milwaukee for the Milwaukee film festival. Both 'Stop Making Sense' and 'Take Me to the River' — the wonderful film about Memphis music and the devastating effects that the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King had on both the city and the local music business. A friend, Tom, who had both gone to secondary school with Carol and who’s family had been close to mine.  He was big music fan and had a great time at both screenings.

What he neglected to say was that he was in the last stages of terminal cancer and he passed three weeks later.  When he had gone to hospice at a cottage along Lake Michigan that his parents had generously allowed Carol and I to use, the close friend who accompanied him to the screenings kept me informed of the changes in his condition.

The image that they often referred to was that he was hoping to make Jimi’s first set in heaven. One doesn’t need to be a believer in the after life to not see this as a lovely metaphor for the peace after passing. This image inspired me to ask my daughter, Aishlin, to join me in recording a version of the Talking Heads’ song 'Heaven' for him, as the lyrics include: “the band in Heaven, they play my favorite song, they play once again, they play it all night long.

They played the recording at Tom’s memorial and it touched the heats of all who attended. It is an interesting twist on lyrics that originally seemed to only be ironic.  I invite anyone who thinks this might help a friend or a family who is facing something similar to pass this on.

- Jerry Harrison
Dec 15, 2014

 

Vocals: Aishlin Harrison, Piano: Jerry Harrison