by Rick Bretz
The digital, broadcast and print media reflect, daily, the worst parts of human nature.
Evil ISIS hate groups commit atrocities in the name of religion. Countries invade neighboring countries killing innocent civilians. In the United States road rage violence continues just because a mother wanted to teach her daughter the proper way to drive. With all of that in the open, I think it is time to focus on an event that has given people joy since it first sent audio waves across a room to the human ear.
On this day, February 19th, 1878, Thomas Edison received his patent for the gramophone or phonograph. Since this invention dropped its first needle on a cylinder and then a disc, musical instruments, arrangements, lyrics and the human voice have made the audience forget their problems for just a few minutes, or for a good hour if you wanted to hear the whole album, LP or song list. Producers, singers and talent have given us songs we’ll never forget.
Here are some of my favorites. These are songs, I think, have a perfect mix of lyrics, vocals and instrumental arrangements. Music and the arts in general are the best parts of civilization. Especially when being civilized is the exception rather than the norm in some parts of the world.
Let the Day Begin-The Call
Everyone should wake up and listen to this song before they do anything else. If everyone did, there would be happier people on the highways during the morning commute.
Night Train-Rickie Lee Jones
Rickie Lee’s voice is an instrument in itself and she uses it to perfection on this song about love and moving down the line.
On the Turning Away-Pink Floyd
This is a song that simply states, stop looking away and start doing something to make the society a little better.
It Was a Very Good Year-Frank Sinatra
This song is about growing up but all you have to do is think about your experiences to connect with this song. Also, reading between the lines for this song is a fun exercise because in Sinatra’s day, a song writer had to be more subtle with words.
I Will Always Love You-Whitney Houston
Wow! Whitney Houston could sing. It’s worth listening to this song just to hear Whitney Houston hit all those notes. The words by Dolly Parton are pretty emotional also.
Interpreting Dylan’s words are always mind-benders. However, this song is perfect union with the music and lyrics. I never get tired of listening to it.
I Blinked Once-Steve Forbert
A song about growing and before you know it time has passed you by. Forbert knows how to put words together.
Games People Play-Alan Parson’s Project
Alan Parson produced a masterpiece for his “Turn of Friendly Card” album. It’s about luck, life and happiness and this song talks about it all.
This is my list of top eight great songs. You may have a list or other considered songs. If so, write a comment and let me know your opinion.
Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Hornsby, Fleetwood Mac Jackson Browne, Stevie Wonder, Eagles and anything by Van Morrison