“There’s something happening here, what it is isn’t exactly clear/There’s a man with a gun over there, telling me I’ve gotta beware…”
Stephen Stills wrote that just as Neil Young was to later write “Ohio” and John Lennon asked us to Imagine and Give Peace A Chance before having the balls to write that “Woman Is The Nigger Of The World.”
Of course, before this, Dylan sang about how “We Shall Be Released”, how “The Times They Are-A-Changing” and that the answer is Blowing In The Wind.
This was when music had a Voice and people listened to what musicians had to say and didn’t just tune in and turn out as some think. They stayed and made a difference and made themselves heard in every way possible.
This was the power of music- to make a difference and to heal. And it happened naturally and because of words like passion and caring and soul and respect and the type of real Change Sam Cooke sang about and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr fought for and marched for and died for. Not this fake reality show-type of change we have been duped into believing.
Today, America has a showbiz President in the White House, there is showbiz and lotsa snowbiz and snorebiz all around while the messages in songs are as vapid as most of his speeches while others passed off as “lyrics” can be boiled down to this: Let’s fuck.
At least, “Fly Me To The Moon” had some real classic romance to it whereas even the great Blues guys wrote about being a Hoochie Coochie Man, a King Bee and A Little Red Rooster.
It was never blatant. It was never like having access to so much free porn as we have today, it almost makes having normal sex passé.
Today, it’s wham bam, thank you, m’am and songs called “Fuck You”- irony, perhaps- marriages built on financial security and “doing the maths” as opposed to love.
Love walked out the door a decade ago along with family values and life’s priorities. It’s similar to the glorification of violence and how it’s allowed into homes and offered by parents to their children as a form of “home entertainment”.
In his speeches after this latest strategy- the fourth since he has become President- the showbiz President has somewhat won me over with his words on these all-too-frequent tragedies and how us adults have not done a good job in teaching our children about priorities. We have also not spent enough quality time with them when we should have like a Graham Nash song. How relevant and even chilling is that song against today’s backdrop of senseless mayhem?
Of course, the President, like all of us, has no answers how to stop any of this. All he can do is ask for unity and praise those who gave up their lives to save the small children. But this, too, is not enough. It’s not nearly enough to comfort people after the fact. We keep doing this with too much regularity.
America and the American lifestyle needs to change before it becomes a worldwide pandemic and fragile minds take it all in without any of us understanding HOW they are assessing all this information at their fingertips and if it’s all information overload.
Yes, there are gun laws to relook and change and for America’s National Rifle Association not to hide behind the trigger of a gun and say nothing, but this is almost the end result after a tragic case like the shooting at Connecticut and yet another case of a random shooting- a senseless killing and with so many unanswered questions:
Why did Adam Lanza’s mother have three guns in her home? What made the 20 year old blast her with three bullets, get in her car dressed in army fatigues, drive to Sandy Hook and set about opening fire on over twenty innocent people, mostly children, before shooting himself in the head. But why?
Why are cases like this happening with such frequency- and where will this all end? And when? And will we have to go through copycat killings before sanity somehow prevails?
Then again, why has this insanity happened- and so quickly- and so frequently and why, mainly in America, and in such a short period of time?
Many will have different answers, but it will always come down to a lack of real heroes and the marketing of bad role models for kids and products also produced for kids gone wrong.
Music, meanwhile, has become more about fashion and the personal lives of quasi celebrities with the art form having no leaders to look up to and give it a voice. Who is there? Lady Gaga? Some X Factorers? Simon Cowell?
What’s weird is watching the Beatles today and though so young in their prime, they always seemed so much older and wiser than their years and which can be heard in their music.
In many ways, them, Dylan, Joni Mitchell and others became our heroes and role models whereas their songs became our Pop and Rock bibles.
We followed them, we listened to them more than we even did our parents and most of us have come out alright- perhaps not perfect, but alright.
Right here and now, however, we are trying to right the wrongs when the wrongs should never happen but keep happening.
Someone wearing a white hat needs to ride in and close Pandora’s Box and which is what the Beatles did at a time when the world was restless.
Often I wonder how many of us and the world then would have been different without them and their music around.