So the idea behind this post was simple… Collect my favorite lyrics, the words that move and inspire me… Songs that teach me how to be a better man, a better person… Words I should read every day and always keep in my mind. The key is to live a life of kindness and love. That would go a long, long way.
So I reached out to my friends to ask for their most cherished musical poetry. Wow. What a response! If I start listing individual names, I am sure I will forget someone… so let me say a big group thank you and shout out to all of my friends and family who helped with this… especially The Sound Backstagers. Y’all Rock! And if there is something I missed… obviously there are a lot of great lyrics out there I missed… send ’em to me! We’ll keep this thing going forever.
Broken down into a simple formula, music is nothing more than a series of notes strung together…
Sometimes several are played at once, in the form of a chord… and sometimes they are played alone, solo, one by one… or of course, a combination thereof…
But simplicity is deceiving and music is a powerful thing.
The pattern the songwriter or musician creates can very often move us to tears… or get us to dance… and on a rare, wonderful and beautiful occasion, create a song or tune that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. We all have a soundtrack for the movie that is our life.
Lyrics are simply words… simply… sometimes rhyming, often poetic and many times constructed into some kind of story. The best offer insight into the human condition and feel as though they were plucked from our brain, specifically ours… and specifically commenting on a situation we have lived or are living through.
That is the bond, the shared, universal experience that music can create.
I have often described Ben Folds as my musical Doppelganger… and if you want some insight into my current state of mind, give “Still Fighting It” and “Landed” a listen. I swear he has somehow camped out in my brain. In fact, I wanted to use this quote to open the speech to my daughter at her Bat Mitzvah… I went in a different direction, but still… This is simple and really so damn deep…
“And you’re… so much… like me… I’m sorry.” (Ben Folds, “Still Fighting It”)
“Let me tell you what
The years go on
And we’re still fighting it
We’re still fighting it.” (Ben Folds, “Still Fighting It”)
“Till I opened my eyes and walked out the door
And the clouds came tumbling down
And it’s bye-bye, goodbye, I tried
And I twisted it wrong just to make it right
Had to leave myself behind
I’ve been flying high all night
So come pick me up…I’ve landed.” (Ben Folds, “Landed”)
“So often times it happens, that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key.”
“Just remember this, my girl, when you look up in the sky,
You can see the stars and still not see the light.” (Both from The Eagles, “Already Gone”)
So many from Bruce… but given the current state of things, this one just seems right…
“So hold tight to your anger
You hold tight to your anger
Hold tight to your anger
And don’t fall to your fear.” (Bruce Springsteen, “Wrecking Ball”)
Along those lines…
“Surrender. Surrender. But don’t give yourself away.”
And yes… “We’re all, all right. We’re all, all right.” (Cheap Trick, “Surrender”)
We should keep chanting that every day… especially our troubled youth.
Many of you know that I have a very frustrating, love-hate relationship with Roger Waters… LOVE his music… HATE his politics… I mean REALLY HATE his politics… Won’t get into it here… but just quote a line that always kills me…
“Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun. ” (Pink Floyd, “Time”)
“If you smile at me, I will understand
‘Cause that is something everybody everywhere does
In the same language.” (Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Wooden Ships”)
“Take your time… Don’t live too fast.
Troubles will come… and they will pass.
Go find a woman… and you’ll find love.
And don’t forget son, there is someone up above.” (Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Simple Man”)
“And if you feel that you can’t go on
And your will’s sinkin’ low…
Just believe and you can’t go wrong.
In the light you will find the road.” (Led Zeppelin, “In The Light”)
“Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last your whole life long.
Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear.
Just sing, sing a song.” (The Carpenters, “Sing”)
“Do you believe in rock n’ roll…
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?” (Don McLean, “American Pie”)
“Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause ev-ry little thing gonna be all right.” (Bob Marley, “Three Little Birds”)
“Oh very young what will you leave us this time.
You’re only dancing on this earth for a short while.
And though your dreams may toss and turn you now.
They will vanish away like your Daddy’s best jeans,
Denim blue, fading up to the sky.
And though you want them to last forever you know we never will, you know we never will.
And the patches make the good-bye harder still. (Cat Stevens, “Oh Very Young”)
“No, his mind is not for rent to any G-d or government.
Always hopeful, yet discontent, he knows changes aren’t permanent.
But change is.” (Rush, “Tom Sawyer”)
“We go out in the world and take our chances
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
That’s the way that lady luck dances
Roll the bones
Why are we here?
Because we’re here
Roll the bones
Why does it happen?
Because it happens
Roll the bones.” (Rush, “Roll The Bones”)
“Who’s to say where the wind will take you.
Who’s to say what it is will break you…
I don’t know which way the wind will blow.
Who’s to know when the time will come around.
I don’t want to see you cry.
Cause I know now this is not goodbye” (U2, “Kite”)
“Early in the morning factory whistle blows,
Man rises from bed and puts on his clothes,
Man takes his lunch, walks out in the morning light,
It’s the working, the working,
Just the working life.” (Bruce Springsteen, Factory)
“Danger on the rocks has surely passed,
Yet I still remain tied to the mast,
Could it be that I have found my home at last.
Home at last.” (Steely Dan, “Home At Last”)
“The trick is to keep breathing…” (Garbage, “The Trick Is To Keep Breathing”)
“When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” (The Beatles, “Let It Be”)
“When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights.” (James Taylor, “You’ve Got A Friend”)
“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.” (John Lennon, “Imagine”)
“You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you find
You get what you need…” (The Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”)
“If you long enough
And you don’t give up.
If you’re strong enough
And you don’t give up.
And you’ll be no harbor
For the sorrow.
Just let it go.” (Glen Hansard, “This Gift”)
“Behold the gates of mercy
In arbitrary space
And none of us deserving
The cruelty or the grace
O solitude of longing
Where love has been confined
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind.
O see the darkness yielding
That tore the light apart
Come healing of the reason
Come healing of the heart.” (Leonard Cohen, “Come Healing”)
“Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.” (Leonard Cohen, “Hallelujah”)
“You know love is better than a song
Love is where all of us belong
So don’t be shy just let your feelings roll on by
Don’t wear fear or nobody will know you’re there.” (Cat Stevens, “Don’t Be Shy”)
“And if I pass this way again you can rest assured
I’ll always do my best for her on that I give my word
In a world of steel-eyed death and men who are fighting to be warm
“Come in” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”
Now there’s a wall between us something there’s been lost
I took too much for granted, got my signals crossed
Just to think that it all began on a long-forgotten morn
“Come in” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm.” (Bob Dylan, “Shelter From The Storm”)
“And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.” (The Beatles, “The End”)