The Love Letters Project #13: Charlie and Chan Parker

Who better to write the world’s greatest love letters than the world’s most famous writer…of music? This week we turn to the virtuosic tones of Charlie Parker, iconic father of up-tempo jazz and one of music’s most influential and tragic figures – and a man with a flair for words as well as musical notes:

To you;

The way I thought was wrong, having not known, it was right. Here is the proof of my feelings, Don’t hate me, love me forever: — — — —

Beautiful is the world, slow is one to take advantage. Wind up the world the other way. And at the start of the turning of the earth, lie my feelings for thou.

To you
Shame on me.
I love you.

Charlie is writing to his girlfriend Beverley Dolores Berg, later better known as Chan Parker (although they never formally married). She would stick by the jazz composer through his darkest years, as his early fascination with morphine turned to an addiction to heroin that would blight his talent and his career. Charlie and Chan were also an interracial couple at a time when America was still overtly segregated.

Charlie Parker died in 1955, at the terribly young age of 34 – but leaving an extraordinary legacy of composition and professional dedication that would far outlive the man himself.

Images: Kids Music Corner; SoulWalking. Letter via FastCoDesign.

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.