Eight years ago, I recorded the folk duo Lowen & Navarro for a “Collectors Edition” double DVD release on AIX Records. I knew Dan Navarro through an entrepreneurs group but it was other mutual friendships that set the ball rolling for the sessions. The project was unique and special in many ways. First, it was recorded a year or so after Eric Lowen was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), a disease which robs you of your ability to control your muscles leaving a perfectly normal functioning brain inside a withering body. It’s a very tough diagnosis to receive.
The project also resulted in an unusually close friendship with both Eric and Dan. This is not the place to go into details of Eric’s slow slide towards his ultimate death in March of last year, but I can say the Eric was always open about his situation, kept a very positive attitude throughout his decline and was his usual smiling self whenever I was around him. Watching him perform, I was so impressed with his spirit and power. He was always the strong one when those around him (including me) were holding back tears…or not.
The record turned out great! I love the style, their ability to harmonize and their ability to say in a song what so many of us feel. I would visit Eric at his home from time to time and had a few phone calls over the years following our project. I recall one particular phone call that he made to me just 6 months before his passing. When I answered the phone, I knew immediately it was Eric. Without a thought, I asked him how he was doing…knowing perfectly well that he was hurting a great deal, living with complicated machinery and heavily dependent on the incredible unmeasured assistance of a few very special neighbors…he answered without hesitation that he was doing great.
We chatted for a few moments when Eric finally got to the main reason for the call. He told me that those special neighbors had put together a surround sound equipped home theater in his living area of the house. He told me that he had finally gotten the chance to hear the project we did in full 5.1 surround. He called to tell me how incredible it sounded. He was so thankful that I taken such a strong interest in their duo and put so much effort into the project. He was only sorry that he hadn’t taken the chance to experience it in a great system before. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that call. It was the last time I spoke to him.
Eric left behind a loving wife and five teenage children (a set of triplets and twins). But he also left behind twenty plus years of making music, writing memorable songs and spreading his positive spirit to thousands of fans and friends. Knowing Eric was a real joy for me. I miss him and still enjoy listening to the record we made together.
I’m thinking of Eric and Dan today because it was 30 years ago this week that they wrote their biggest hit. “We Belong” was composed in about 30 minutes and became a worldwide top 5 hit for Pat Benatar. Dan wrote a blog post about the “We Belong” writing session and posted a rough audio demo of the tune captured that evening all those years ago. He generously consented to let me repost it on this site.
Here’s a couple of links that you might find interesting. The first is a montage I put together over Eric reading his article, “Survival, Success and the End of the Road.”
And the second one is the demo of “We Belong”…
And Pat Benatar’s Hit
Here’s the web page for the “Carry On Together” AIX Records project:
I’ll post Dan’s article tomorrow.