Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Do You Hear That?

The morning begins with a concert, of sorts. The streaming service takes a song and winds it into a symphony that could go on for hours.
Sometimes it does.
As I listen to each new tune, I reckon on the story behind the tune. What brought these musicians together and what sounds were in their heads when they wrote the melody? Are the words the same as they were when they came to mind, or have they evolved from the page to the studio?
I tell these stories out loud like they mattered to anyone else but me. Everyone else including me. The line that connects Tom Petty to Van Morrison to The Band. I describe these connections like they were a book in the Bible. My Bible. The one that is filled with the begets: Chuck Berry to The Beach Boys to Bruce Springsteen. How did all those singer-songwriters in California find one another to ad a noise or a lyric? And how did some of them make it while others vanished.
Oblivion is full of pop stars, and the ones with good stories are the ones that live on. The story of the Beatles survives while Johnny Gentle, for whom they were once a backing band, is forgotten. No one sings a Johnny Gentle song at their wedding.
Which is fine, because there are so many really great songs. The ones that rise to the top and become not just singles but singular. A song that defines a moment. Sometimes in history or a relationship. Music that bookmarks lives and gives us a common language. Once there was this thing called radio and it played those songs to us all under the condition that  we might go out and buy the records ourselves and discover the tracks on either side. Or even flip it over to hear what was going on back there.
I love mining these sounds and the stories that go with them. Finding out the reason why it goes that way, like knowing that Frank Sinatra was a trombone player before he became a vocalist, which allows his voice to make so much more sense. That Eric Clapton was invited into George Harrison's life to play a solo and he became smitten with George's wife to the point that  he wrote one of rock's greatest anthems, it fascinates me.
I know there are things that I have forgotten, but once I hear that song, it all comes rushing back to me. And my wife puts up with this. As long as I let her listen to the song too.

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