Say What????

When was the last time you really listened to song lyrics from “oldies” songs? No really…truly listened to them? My sister recently had a post on Facebook, referencing the song “Hot Stuff” from Donna Summer, and commented that if our parents had truly listened to those words, well, the high school pep band would NEVER have been allowed to play it. That got me to thinking, what other songs might have lyrics that we never really thought about (maybe because we misheard them, and didn’t have Google at our fingertips to look them up?) So I went in search of lyrics of some of the songs I’ve listened to. Keep in mind I’m a child of the 70’s, I LOVE that music. Oh boy, did I find some online gold!music-notes-clip-art-musical_note_3_clip_art_12287

Jefferson Starship’s “Miracles” always was so innocuous, until I heard a station play the album cut of the song, which was not the general radio play version. I about drove off the road when I heard “I had a taste of the real world, when I went down on you girl”. No wonder stations didn’t play the album cut! Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” isn’t much better either.

“Moonight Feels Right” by Starbuck always sounded like he was singing about having sex, although apparently he wrote the song about a woman he wanted to date. He fell for her photo and registered at the college she attended to meet her. After asking her out for the third time, she accepted and that’s when “the wind blew some luck in my direction” Bruce Blackman, the songwriter says. The little novelty song took off in 1976. Yet, when I hear the end of the second verse, it sounds anything but innocent. Next time you hear it, see what you think. I guess he was successful as he married her. But “Afternoon Delight”? Yeah, no way was that innocent.

On the other hand, the guys in Supertramp sang about not getting anything in “Breakfast in America”, with “Take a look at my girlfriend, She’s the only one I got, Not much of a girlfriend, Never seem to get a lot”. Poor guys. I really feel for you.

Back in high school, we drove 8 miles to be able to go roller skating in the next town over. (I realize there are probably a few of you reading this thinking “roller skates? What’s that?” Well, think Roller Blades, but in a rectangular shape instead of in-line.) I can still remember one of our favorite skating songs was Foghat’s “Slow Ride”. Um yeah, about that? The chorus goes like this: “Slow down, go down”. Heck, it was so popular that years later it made it into the soundtrack of “Dazed and Confused”, which is a hoot of a movie about the last day of school in 1975. Not only is it’s soundtrack incredible, but it has up and coming young stars Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey, but I digress. If our parents knew we were skating to that song, we’d probably never have been let out of the house.

“NIght Moves” by Bob Seger is exactly what it sounds like, but I didn’t always quite catch all of that first verse so I looked it up. For those of you who weren’t exactly sure what he was singing about, here ya go:

I was a little too tall
Could’ve used a few pounds
Tight pants point hardly renowned
She was a black-haired beauty with big dark eyes
And points all her own sitting way up high
Way up firm and high

Journey and Steve Perry (yep, I’m cheating, they’re the 80’s. ) “Anyway You Want It”. Nuff said. But I still love listening to Perry, no matter what.

I know, if you go looking for trouble you surely will find it, right? Kind of like “Lookin’ for Love in all the Wrong Places”.

How about The Partridge Family? I have to admit I had a crush on David Cassidy as a teen, and maybe even a little still as an adult too in spite of his problems as an adult. But completely clean, innocent lyrics that were family friendly? Here’s “Summer Days”:

David_Cassidy

Photo source  Wikimedia Commons 

I feel the sunlight on my face
When I just close my eyes and I trace
The footpath to your daddy’s summer place
Where we spent our early summer days

The hill we climbed that went on forever
We reached the top of the world together

Yeah, you gave your love to me and I remember perfectly
High above all time and space and I remember summer days

Um, yeah. Innocent. Or maybe it’s me. No matter, I’ll still sing this and other Patridge Family songs, or any of the ones I mentioned above out at the top of my lungs, and have fun doing it.

What are your favorite old guilty pleasure songs? Share some of them with me, I’d love to hear some other examples!

 

 

What’s in a Song?

Ah, the classics. Whether it be a book, or a song, we all have our favorites. When we read or listen to them again (and again) they never feel old or tired, but more like a comfortable blanket, cozy and warm. Winter is chock full of songs like that, especially around Christmas time, although I have to admit sometimes for me it’s as much about the style of how the song is being sung as it is about the song itself. I can rediscover a new twist on an old song and find it’s become a brand new favorite.

A few years ago a couple of movies came out that got a bit of buzz. I didn’t see them right away, but when I did I found a whole new genre of music I didn’t realize I would appreciate, a cappella choirs. Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2 were fun, peppy and silly, and if you’ve not seen them, they’re a good time, especially if you think you might like to sing along to something. Since then I found out my nephew joined a mens a cappella choir in college, and I’ve been able to see him sing, and I’ve also discoved a wonderful group called Pentatonix. If you’ve never heard of them, I’d encourage you to check out this video of “Hallelujah”, along with some of their other ones. I thought when I’d heard the version of Hallelujah sung by Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes and Kurt Nilsen, that it was one of the most beautiful versions I’d ever heard and promptly downloaded it. Pentatonix brings an entirely new vision to it, and it’s amazing. I hope that Leonard Cohen would be proud.

Another song that I’ve always liked, and it seems we get a new iteration of this one every few years as well, is “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. Searching for it in iTunes brings up at least 100 different iterations, with a message at the bottom saying “less relevant items are not displayed”. We’ve all heard it hundreds of times…haven’t we? But what do you know about it?

The song was written by Frank Loesser in 1944, near the end of WWII, as a duet with his wife for their Navarro Hotel housewarming party as a way to signify to guests it was time to leave. According to  Wikipedia’s page about the song:

Frank would introduce himself as the “Evil of Two Loessers”, a play on the theme of the song, trying to keep the girl from leaving, and on the phrase “lesser of two evils“. Lynn Garland (his wife) considered it their song and was furious when Loesser told her he was selling the song. Garland wrote, “I felt as betrayed as if I’d caught him in bed with another woman.” He sold it to MGM.

Now, I’ve listened to the song, and heard the words, and never was very much bothered by them. Perhaps I should have been, or perhaps I’m not a deep enough thinker, because I ran across an article this morning where a couple from Minnesota has imagined the lyrics and changed this from a song of creepy coercion to one emphasizing the need for consent and my first thought was “huh?” I actually had to go and read the original lyrics (which you can do here) to fully understand everything they were talking about. I’d never learned all the words, and honestly, my impression of it was more one of gentle teasing between two people, probably because of how it’s always been sung. After reading the new lyrics they’ve come up with, I can see how – viewed through the lens of the world in which we live – the original lyrics are more disturbing than I’d realized.

Having said that, while I’ll use that to educate myself and become more aware, I’m also not going to stop enjoying the song when I hear it, and will probably continue to sing along. The mental movie that I play will be a cheery scene where the woman isn’t pushed or coerced, but is strong and confident and can leave any time she wants to, and the man is confident enough in himself as well to not stop her, as it all should be.

 

Bliss List

While driving out to the family gathering for Thanksgiving today, we were listening to one of our two annual radio programs. The first is a usually a broadcast of “Alice’s Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie, which clocks in at 18:37, and will only occasionally make the list of longest recorded songs, since it wasn’t considered a rock song, and probably not a pop song at the time but was really more of an anti-Viet Nam War song. If you’ve never listened to Alice’s Restaurant, you’re missing out. It’s really only marginally about Alice, and the restaurant, and is more about the absurdity of life, and the uselessness of war. And, of course, the 8 x 10 colored glossy pictures, with the circles and the arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one…  Thank you, Mr. Guthrie.  But I digress, not unlike the song, actually…

The second is listening to Minnesota Public Radio and on today’s “Giving Thanks” program, their guest was Christopher Kimball from America’s Test Kitchens. He was talking about his Bliss List – those moments of perfect happiness that make up his life. That got me to thinking, what are some of mine. It took me a while to come up with them. I mean, you start to remember something, and then blam! And you think, nuh-uh, not including THAT one, or how about…nope. That one won’t work either.Sigh. I have NO truly happy memories? I’m suddenly picturing the characters from  the movie “Inside Out” inside my head…where was Joy when I needed her? Couldn’t she just drive the bus one day without the others? Why did Anger or Sadness have to even show up?  They are such party poopers. (If you haven’t seen that movie, full disclosure, go see it as fast as you can and take tissues!! It’s wonderful). But then the memories started to trickle in.

Sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen when I was about 5, eating cinnamon graham crackers and dunking them in thick, rich ice cold whole milk. There was something special about the ritual of breaking the crackers in half, then in half again to get those narrow rectangles that fit so nicely in glasses, and of course it was before we had any idea that whole milk was bad for you. Now it’s nearly as cringeworthy as drinking heavy cream, but growing up it’s what we knew.  Walking to the barn with grandpa and holding a baby chicken that was so yellow and soft. Going to my other grandparents house, and helping grandpa in his general store. Getting to slice summer sausage (with him doing it and me ‘helping’) in the big electric slicer. Sitting on a sled in the winter and having our dog pull my sisters and I. It was a big sled, and we had a huge St. Bernard named Heidi, because there was a movie by that name, based on the book by Johanna Spyri, that we loved. I try not to dwell on the dog too much, because you know what they say about big dogs… big poo!

The first time I learned how to drive a stick shift. The first time I drove a stick shift and didn’t grind the gears. (No, they weren’t they same day. They weren’t even the same year or city, for heaven’s sake!) But being able to do that gave me a feeling of confidence and independence I’d never felt before. Standing on the deck of a Windjammer, at 2 AM as we neared Grenada on my last night of a weeklong cruise. Sea breeze on my face, looking up at more stars than you can imagine, and seeing the Southern Cross for the first time. As the song goes, “you understand now, why you came this way“. My wedding day.

That rare instance when one of my silky soft cats jumps up on my lap, gracing me with their presence and allowing me to pet them for a few minutes. I close my eyes and am in another place, instantly transported to Bliss, and I’m grateful for the moment.

Even though Thanksgiving is past, or if you’re from a country that doesn’t celebrate the fourth Thursday in November the way we do in the USA, take the time to think of your own Bliss List and be thankful for those moments of pure joy.