I Used To Be A Heart Beating For Someone

“I used to be a heart beating for someone.” In case you don’t recognize this line, it’s a lyric from Elton John’s song, Philadelphia Freedom. I must have listened to this song hundreds of times since Elton wrote it in 1975 for his friend Billie Jean King, in honor of her tennis team, the Philadelphia Freedoms. But today was the first time that I really noticed this line and what it might mean.

On the surface, this is a song about the city of Philadelphia. 1975 was the year before the nation’s bicentennial. So, freedom and Philadelphia were on people’s minds, and the song fit right in. But the song is also about relationships.

I used to be a heart beating for someone
But the times have changed

It’s pretty obvious this line is about lost love.

Cause I live and breathe this Philadelphia freedom

How many times have you felt like you were free after the end of a relationship? I know that I’ve been guilty of that multiple times.

Oh Philadelphia freedom, shine on me, I love you
Shine the light, through the eyes of the ones left behind

And if you’re not convinced that the freedom that he loves is the freedom derived from walking away from bad relationships, here are some more lyrics.

If you choose to you can live your life alone
I like living easy without family ties

But the freedom is an illusion. Or freedom doesn’t imply happiness, as Elton so eloquently states later in the song.

I like living easy without family ties (living easy)
Till the whippoorwill* of freedom zapped me
Right between the eyes

Philadelphia Freedom
Songwriters: Bernie Taupin / Elton John
Philadelphia Freedom lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

______
* A whippoorwill is a North American songbird. It is known for its singing and its camouflage.

 

Advertisements

Day 3 of 3 Lyrical Challenge

Thanks again to Paula for nominating me for this challenge.

For day three, I’ve chosen Watching the Wheels, by John Lennon. John wrote this song as a response to the people who complained that he took five years off, between 1975-1980, to raise his son. To me, the meaning of the song is that we need to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Stop and smell the roses. Watch a sunset. Admire nature. Enjoy the company of family and friends.

In today’s hyper-busy multitasking world, people are too busy doing “stuff” to fully enjoy the simple things. I was at a concert last month at the Orange County Fair, where the man two seats over was holding up his phone for the entire two hours, recording the concert, and watching it on his tiny screen. When I was in Paris watching fireworks on Bastille Day at the Eiffel Tower, there was a man seated in front of me doing the same thing as the man at the fair, recording the event and watching it on his tiny phone screen, effectively missing out on the live spectacular show. How insane is that?

Last night, I was at Irvine Spectrum Center, sitting on one of their nifty new color coded chairs, watching the wheels. I saw groups of friends not talking to each other, but holding up their phones in front of them as they walked zombilike from point A to point B. I’ll bet they didn’t even notice the nifty new color chairs!

People say I’m crazy
Doing what I’m doing
Well, they give me all kinds of warnings
To save me from ruin
When I say that I’m okay, well they look at me kinda strange
“Surely, you’re not happy now, you no longer play the game”

People say I’m lazy
Dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice
Designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I’m doing fine watching shadows on the wall
“Don’t you miss the big time boy, you’re no longer on the ball?”

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

Ah, people ask me questions
Lost in confusion
Well, I tell them there’s no problem
Only solutions
Well, they shake their heads and they look at me, as if I’ve lost my mind
I tell them there’s no hurry, I’m just sitting here doing time

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round

I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go

Songwriter: John Lennon
Watching The Wheels © 1980 Lenono Music (BMI)

Day 2 of 3 Lyrical Challenge

Thanks again to Paula for nominating me for this challenge.

For day two, I’ve chosen I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. I think the lyrics to this song capture the “never again” feeling after the end of a failed relationship extraordinarily well. I love the metaphor of the burst bubble, the words about feeling pain and sorrow, the admonishment to friends offering consolation (“Don’t tell me what it’s all about, ’cause I’ve been there and I’m glad I’m out!”), and especially the imagery from this part:

What do you get when you give your heart?
You get it all broken up and battered
That’s what you get a heart that’s shattered

Most of all, I like the optimism at the end of the song, acknowledging that “never” doesn’t really mean “never”.

What do you get when you fall in love?
A girl with a pin to burst your bubble
That’s what you get for all your trouble
I’ll never fall in love again
I’ll never fall in love again

What do you get when you kiss a girl?
You get enough germs to catch pneumonia
After you do she’ll never phone you
I’ll never fall in love again
I’ll never fall in love again

Don’t tell me what it’s all about
‘Cause I’ve been there and I’m glad I’m out
Out of those chains those chains that bind you
That is why I’m here to remind you

What do you get when you give your heart?
You get it all broken up and battered
That’s what you get a heart that’s shattered
I’ll never fall in love again
I’ll never fall in love again

What do you get when you fall in love?
You only get lies and pain and sorrow
So for at least until tomorrow
I’ll never fall in love again
I’ll never fall in love again

Songwriters: Hal David / Burt Bacharach
I’ll Never Fall in Love Again lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Here’s my favorite version of the song.

Personal note:
I played this song on the piano as a young boy. Here is the sheet music from that time, which I still have.

Sheet Music3.jpeg

Desperado

I was listening to the song Desperado this morning, and I realized that the lyrics seem to describe the plight of middle-aged dating. Don’t keep choosing the wrong type of person. Don’t be so selective. “You ain’t gettin’ no younger!” “You better let somebody love you, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!”

The irony is that it seems as people get older, they become more selective, not less selective. People want to learn from their mistakes. At least that’s what I am seeing in the women’s profiles I see online.

“Must love dogs.”
“Must want to travel the world”.
“If you don’t love jazz, then we are not a match.”
“Must be at least 5’11” tall.”
“Must be athletic and toned.”
“Must earn $150,000+.”
“Must play golf.”
“Must love to cook.”
“Must drive a motorcycle.”
“Must want to move to Seattle with me. Next month.”
“Must go ballroom/line/square/folk dancing with me.”
“You have to make me laugh every day.”
“I’m vegan, and you have to be too.”
“My ex loved The Beatles. If you listen to The Beatles, gaah! we are not a match.”
“My ex was named Steven! No more Stevens.”
“My ex was a software engineer! No more engineers.”
“Must wear glasses.” (Hey, found one that I qualify for!)

Ladies, listen to the song. Don’t be so selective that you rule out all the nice guys. Go for the king of hearts, not diamonds. As soon as one of you realizes that your laundry list of requirements is not so important, and you’re ready to let somebody love you, send me a note. Just be sure that you are between 5’0 and 5’8”; are Jewish or possible agnostic, but definitely not atheist; have a least a bachelor’s degree; live within 20 miles; have at most one dog or two cats, but not both; have a most two kids, the youngest of which is at least 18 years old; love to play board games, but not strategy games; like to watch TV, but not too much; and must love Linda Ronstadt’s cover of Desperado!

Let It Be

image1.JPG

What was the first Beatles song you heard on the radio? For me, it was the first and only Beatles song I ever heard while it was on the charts, Let It Be. I wasn’t a Beatles fan. I was only eight years old. I didn’t even listen to the radio, but I heard it when my parents had it on, or when it played in a shopping mall. Even so, I remember that I knew Let It Be was a phenomenon. It was more than just a song. I sort of knew that there was a group called “The Beatles” and this was their last record.

I remember that my sister bought the 45, I assume a few years later. I have it now. I also remember that my grandfather would often say the words, “Let it be”. I don’t know if he was quoting from the Beatles or was even aware of who they were or the name of the song, but he said it quite often.

I remember becoming a fan of pop music around 1973-1974. The first record that I bought was “Seasons in the Sun”, which was number one for quite some time in 1974. After that, the next number one song was Hooked On A Feeling, AKA the ugachaka song. The radio stations that I listened to, WFIL and WIBG in Philadelphia, never never played the Beatles anymore. Once in a while they would play a song like Kodachrome, from 1973, and they would call it an oldie.

From the time I started listening to music in 1973, until 1980, I wasn’t a fan of The Beatles. They were older than oldies. It wasn’t cool to listen to them. I guess those seven years were my Beatles latency period. I did listen to Wings. Because some people want to fill the world with silly love songs. And what’s wrong with that? But Wings were not The Beatles. I don’t even know if I was aware at the time that Paul McCartney was a former Beatle. I remember listening to Elton’s John’s “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”. Someone told me it was originally recorded by The Beatles, but I still considered it to be an Elton song.

I thought of all this tonight on the way home from yoga class. So when I got home, I had to dig through the 45s and look for Let It Be. I found it, snapped in the yellow adapter, put it on the record player, and listened to it. And boy, did it sound bad! Lots of scratches made it continuously pop. Warping made the tempo speed up and slow down. But when it was done, I listened to it again. And then again. And then again. And it made me happy.

Nobody Says It Better

Phone-Vectors-Vintage-Red-388838.png

Who has been in a relationship that you knew was wrong? And your friends knew it was wrong. But you kept going back, because it was so….right.

I started thinking about such past relationships while driving to work, as I was listening to my Carly Simon playlist, and the song “Jesse” came on. Very poignant lyrics to that song.

I have only a few of my own words to contribute to this post, because nobody says it better than Carly Simon. Just a little editing and rearranging Carly’s lyrics. The “he”s could be “she”s, depending on who is telling the story.

Annie, keep reminding me
That he cut out my heart like a paper doll
Sally, tell me once again
How he set me up just to see me fall

Jesse, quick come here
I won’t tell a soul
My friends will all say “She’s gone again”
But how can anyone know what you are to me?
That I’m in heaven again because you’ve come back to me!

My friends….they think I’ve sunk so low
LA LA LA, LA LA!
LA LA LA, LA LA!
LA LA LA, LA LA!!

Jesse, I will put on cologne
And sit by the phone for you
And sit by the phone for you
And sit by the phone for you

Oh mother, say a prayer for me.

Songwriters: Mike Jr Mainieri / Carly Simon
Published By Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Somtimes a Rock

Last night, I was home alone; my daughter spends Monday nights with her mother. And I found myself sitting on the sofa, reading a book of poetry. And actually finishing the book!

Thoughts went through my head about the nature of the activity. I flashed back to my life, pre marriage and child, when I did this kind of thing quite often, practically every night. “This kind of thing” means devoting part of an evening to reading in solitude, sitting in a living area, and feeling content and chill. I didn’t call it “chill” back then, because in the ‘80s, “chill” was a verb. These days, I still read, but it’s mostly in bed before I sleep, and on my Kindle phone app at various times during the day when I can squeeze it in, such as when I’m alone at a restaurant, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, or having arrived early for a yoga class.

Life in the ‘10s is very different from life in the ‘80s, at least for me. It’s so rare these days to do one thing at a time; everything seems to be multitasked. And it’s so rare to be isolated from human interaction. The phone is constantly chiming with text, Messenger, and Skype tones.

This morning, as I was getting dressed and ready for work, I found myself listening to my Simon and Garfunkel station on Pandora. A live version of “I Am a Rock” came on. And for the first time, I listened to the words very carefully. I realized the sadness of this song. It might be their best song, lyrics-wise. It really brings out human emotions that I’m sure we’ve all experienced before.

The first line that caught my attention was this one

It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain

Wow, what a strong sentiment. I wondered how sad a person has to be to realize and state that he disdains laughter and loving. But, then I recalled feelings from my past and started to understand. For example, who hasn’t woken up grumpy in the morning, turned on the radio to one of the morning talk-comedy programs, and at the sound of the guffawing of Mark and Brian just wanted to throw the radio out the window?

That got my attention, and I listened to the next verse.

Don’t talk of love
But I’ve heard the words before
It’s sleeping in my memory
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died
If I never loved I never would have cried

Wow. We’ve all felt this before, yes?

And then the next verse seemed to have been sent to me like magic, making me immediately flash back to last night.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me

Yikes! I was home alone last night reading a poetry book! A coincidence? A sign? Does everything happen for a reason?

My conclusion from all of this, which inspired me to quickly barf out this blog post before starting my day, is the old saying, “Everything in moderation”. Yes, a rock feels no pain, but being a rock can be therapeutic sometimes.

Epilog

When I read the book last night, I couldn’t help myself from multitasking. I wanted to write my first Goodreads book review, and I was thinking about what I would write in the review as I was reading the book. I stopped to bookmark pages, look back on what I’d read previously, and ponder whether I wanted to post my review on Goodreads or Amazon. And I might have picked up my phone once or twice to see if I had missed any messages. I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to the unitasking solitude of the ‘80s. But close can be good enough. Baby steps. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Yada yada.