Sade: Smooth Operator
Songs trigger memories and this one takes me back to Felix Mitchell, Jr. In case you aren't aware of him, Mitchell was Oakland, California's first major heroin kingpin - the movies Juice and New Jack City were based on him. He was convicted in 1985 and sentenced to life in prison. Then he was shipped off to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, where he was stabbed to death on August 21st 1986, a few months after his arrival, a few days before his 32nd birthday.
His body was shipped back home for funeral and burial. Television cameras rolled as Felix's body was transported in a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of East Oakland before awestruck local residents, with 17 Rolls Royces following in procession. YouTube has video of the cortege and funeral over here.
The procession began at Mitchell's home and led all the way to Star Bethel Baptist Church in West Oakland. Inside, lavish floral arrangements crowded the altar - one was a five foot dollar sign formed out of silver carnations, another was black and white roses in the shape of a smiling cat. Inside his coffin, he laid on a bed of $1000 bills. After he had been respectfully eulogized and the coffin closed, Sade's Smooth Operator played through the church PA.
Heaven help him, when he falls
Diamond life, lover boy
He move in space with minimum waste and maximum joy
City lights and business nights
When you require streetcar desire for higher heights
No place for beginners or sensitive hearts
When sentiment is left to chance
No place to be ending but somewhere to start
No need to ask
He's a smooth operator