Observations and Ramblings of a Cranky Old Guy
Written by Jeff Spaulding on June 8, 2020
Welcome back, hope you’ve well, hope everyone is safe.
As I write this (May 13), New York State is nearing the end of New York State On PAUSE, and the initial steps of attempting to get the state back to normal, or rather the new normal, approaches.
Don’t freak, this is not another COVID thing, BUT, the pandemic is the basis of this article.
Throughout America, especially in the 20th Century and onward, tragic events, or momentous events, have created some of the most memorable, if not personal works of art, that represents feelings and emotions deep in the soul.
The pandemic will be no different.
You just KNOW there will be a TV mini-series on this.
WHO will play Governor Cuomo? Dr. Fauci? President Trump?
Rather than looking at the wide range of media to tell the coronavirus story, I want to focus on music, we ARE a music publication remember?
I made a list of “tragic events” from the start of the last century, and searched for a list of songs that reflected said event, interesting what I found.
Not ALL of these songs were hits, but they all had an impact.
Let’s review, shall we?
The Great Depression (1929-1933)
“Brother Can You Spare a Dime”-Bing Crosby
Unfortunately, this song hits TOO close when you compare it to the 2020 situation. The words, the tone, the mood, desperation oozes from this recording.
World War II (1939-1945)
“Der Fuehrer’s Face”-Spike Jones & His City Slickers
This is a wonderful example of how comedy and satire can be used as a cure for unthinkable moments in our lives.
There is always one douchebag among your friends who make fun of unspeakable acts. That douchebag, for example, makes inappropriate jokes about certain celebrities who pass.
For me, when I think of that person, I feel like having a Sausage Sandwich…
To my friends, that person is me.
You may not admit it, but inside you’re peeing your pants when you hear their poor taste joke.
The Vietnam War (1955-1975)
“Give Peace a Chance”-The Plastic Ono Band
In this case, the song is a FEELING against the war as opposed to the words, those four words are so simple but also so powerful. The video of this performance actually brings out the emotion against the violence of Vietnam.
And in truth, there are SO many songs about this war, it’s hard to pick one, but this I feel is the true anti ‘Nam tune.
The Kennedy Assassination (1963)
“Abraham, Martin & John”-Dion
Who would think a street wise doo wop singing heroin addicted Italian could become so contemporary and soul burning?
It took five years after Dallas, but the Wanderer did it.
“Watergate Blues”-Tom T. Hall
I am a big fan of “The Old Storyteller,” and this is no exception. This song came out before the resignation but sets up events to that time perfectly.
September 11 (2001)
Two songs taken from both sides of the horrible events of that Tuesday, one of shock and sadness, one of shock and anger, and both are from Country artists.
“Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?”-Alan Jackson (2001)
While the studio version is just as powerful, this, done live on television shortly after the attacks, takes your breath away, tears come to me today when I hear it.
“America Will Survive”-Hank Williams Jr. (2001)
Bocephus wisely took a signature song and added the anger America and the world were feeling back then.
There are endless other events in history you have lived through that we may not have brought up.
You may have tragic personal moments in your life we know nothing about that are just as powerful and painful.
Some of them may revolve around what we are dealing with right now.
But music, movies, films, books, they can be used to heal, to strengthen, to bond.
Your feelings are our feelings.
Your emotions are our emotions.
Rather than keeping them hidden, use them to create, to sooth yourself, family and friends.
For me, I write, I perform, I act as an asshole.
It’s a buffer but it helps.
Let’s hope next issue, we can move past all this a little bit more.
Keep the faith my friends.
Be hearing you