Remembering My Father — through music

Rick Malone: 08/09/1940-01/18/22

I read this at my father’s memorial service, March 17, 2022. Most people in attendance were from his theater family and many of the shared stories were about theater and shows. I am not involved in the the theater so didn’t have that in common with him, but music was one of the primary interests we shared (in addition to beer, gin, cool sports cars, & good books). I shared this short story about how much he influenced my music tastes. It’s not long, but was one of the hardest things I have ever read/shared in my life.

A few of the items on the memorial table. The table encompassed the pics and awards from my father’s Austin Healey, pics and medals from his military career, awards and certificates from his work with the DOD Entertainment division and USO tours and his work in the theater in San Antonio.

I remember dad took me to buy my very first piece of music at the record store. It was Bach’s Concerto in D Minor for Harpsichord. We had studied this in a unit in school called Music Memory. We also had Tchaikovsky and Beethoven and some other pieces that weren’t classical but this Back piece called to me. I was in 3rd or 4th grade at the time.

Around the same time he took me to my very first concert — Duke Ellington — on base. Ellington was very old but played that piano like it was going out of style.

I recall hearing Tommy by the Who and Blood Sweat and Tears and the Beatles in rotation in our house. I stole all those albums from his collection when I was in high school and still have that vinyl today.

He helped me build my own collection of original Beatles vinyl and we would hunt for them every time we went to a thrift shop. It was always so fun when we would score a rare or original find for a dollar or two.

He turned me onto Al Jarreau and Lou Rawls and when I discovered Shirley Horn and Esperanza Spaulding I shared these with him. (of course he probably already knew about them but that didn’t dampen his excitement in sharing.)

We shared Buena Vista Social Club, Steve Reich, AfroCuban music and I gave him Electric Swing music. We even touched into country with classics by Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline and contemporary artists at the time, Randy Travis and George Strait.

He shared contemporary Elvis Costello and Diana Krall and I sent him alternative music from Calexico and The Decemberists.

And throughout all the years there were the Broadway soundtracks.

Sweeney Todd, Chicago, Les Miserables, Hamilton, Company, Starting Here, Starting Now, Come From Away, Hedwig, Candide, Evita — I had my favorites, none of whom I would know if not for Dad — except for Hamilton, which I found myself.

My musical tastes are as broad and wide, across every genre because of his love of music and growing up in a music filled house. It was always playing and you never knew what would be playing.

If you are interested in this eclectic range of music we shared with each other, a sampling has been gathered in both a public Amazon Music playlist and an identical Spotify playlist.

A playlist on Spotify —

A playlist on Amazon Music —

current: experience matters design :: senior level interaction design and systems strategy consulting former partner, tangible user experience; Yahoo! founder of the public and internal Yahoo! pattern library. design director of ued teams responsible for designing solutions across key yahoo! platforms: social media, personalization, membership and vertical search.