A Tragic Thing Indeed

I’m angrier than a first-grader who can’t go out and play at recess because of what happened to a talented, innocent person.

Anyone who visits this website or anyone who knew me back in high school knows that I formed and ran an internet-based fan club for Beneluxian eurodance group 2 Unlimited.  That was then and this is now: two reliable sources, one of whom is the alleged victim, say that the group’s rapper, Ray Slijngaard, assaulted the group’s original singer, Anita Doth.  So I long ago stopped listening to their music.

So that explains the death of the fan club, but it really has nothing
to do with this post.  I just told you that to set the tone.  Through 2
Unlimited, I’ve met some eurodance and dance music legends.  One of
those legends is Lane McCray, a performer with the US-German group La Bouche.

They are known for numerous hits including Be My Lover, You Won’t Forget Me and Sweet Dreams, just to name a few.  Be My Lover peaked at #6 on the US Hot 100 chart.

When I was 2 Unlimited’s fan club president, I was enraged and jealous that La Bouche made it as far as they did in the USA.  Now, of course, I see exactly why they did; their sound the polar opposite of 2 Unlimited.  At the time, I couldn’t be seen supporting any other dance group than 2 Unlimited, but secretly, I was a fan of La Bouche’s music and it was part of the soundtrack of my life at this time.  

While I was in high school, you could find me playing La Bouche’s music while enjoying my first apartment (long story).  I listened to their music as much as, if not more than, 2 Unlimited.  When the latter’s original performers left, I didn’t care.  My boss at the time said that she’d expected a more emotional response to that, but I shrugged it off and shut down the fan club that very day.  And on the way home?  I blasted La Bouche!

Anyway, the group enjoyed success worldwide, but even so, the original singer, Melanie Thornton, decided to split from the group and embark on a solo career.  

But it was not meant to be.  

On November 24, 2001, on the way to a performance, she was in a plane crash on Crossair Flight 3597.  Other dance music artists were on the plane as well.  Although there were survivors, Thornton was not one of them.

Thornton was well-known to fans as well as fellow performers and others in the music industry.  In 2002, the producers decided to pay tribute to her through song.  She had already laid down tracks for the song In Your Life, so the producers finished the project and then got a bunch of performers and friends to film a music video that, far from being sad, was a remarkable celebration of her life. The song, by the way, makes reference to John 3:16, making it one of the few, if not the only, eurodance groups to make a biblical reference.

 Both the single and the video were, as you can imagine, very well-received.  Although she’d been replaced by the time of her death with vocalist Kayo Shekoni, Thornton’s memory lived on through the song.  In fact, the song was dedicated to her.

As for the music video, McCray was seen flipping through various scenes on a television set, those scenes being prior music videos shot when Thornton was alive and part of the group.  I think the way that they filmed the video was a touching way to honor her memory.  Far from being a sad and depressing video, it featured so many friends saying goodbye.

McCray, by the way is a genuine performer, affable and appreciative of the lifestyle that his career afforded him.  He is also a US Air Force veteran.  That bears mentioning whenever discussing the group.

I never had the honor of meeting Thornton, but by all accounts she was a humble, gifted performer who inspired a whole genre of music that was just starting to be accepted by mainstream US radio.  It was a bad day for 2 Unlimited’s fans; the group only hit #38 with their monster hit Get Ready (f/k/a Get Ready for This), but a good thing for La Bouche and its fans.

Thornton’s death was tragic and unforeseen, but the producers and the music video’s director found a way to make it seem almost joyful with the way they chose to say goodbye to her.  Those who don’t know the story may not understand the connection, but those of us who do remember the good times.  Her life was cut way too short, but her memory lives on every time someone or a radio station plays the original La Bouche’s music.