The wonderful thing about music is there’s so much of it that one never stops discovering and re-discovering all that’s out there.
It’s not just an ongoing learning process to those who live and breathe music and is an integral part of their DNA. There’s a power and magic to melodies and words and voices and songs that can inspire us, take us to worlds that don’t exist while also forcing us to remember and embrace the truth with an honesty that remains in our hearts forever.
No matter how many times you’ve heard “Wonderful Tonight”, “Tears From Heaven”, “Something”, “Imagine”, “Stardust”, “Skylark”, “Moon River” and “Hotel California”, they awaken thoughts that might need awakening as they’ve been asleep for too long.
When listening to music- everything from Bach to the Beatles and Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, Mahler to Pink Floyd, Mozart to Stevie Wonder, Pete Seeger to Dylan to Springsteen- leads you to where you’ve never gone to before.
Like love itself, music hurts. But it’s a beautiful hurt. It’s the Big Hurt that takes you through all those “sliding doors” of life where, if not for those simple twists of fate, one wouldn’t be tangled up in blue and seeking redemption, or believing in “Happy Ever After.”
So, while we take this journey through life, not knowing which sliding doors one might take and where they would lead and who we’d meet along the way, the discovery of music comes along for the ride. And then like those U-turns in life where the past is revisited, so it is with music where re-discovering much of what’s come before offers a new perspective on something old. Or how love might have taken you from “Wild Thing” to “Layla” to “Something” to “Baby I’m Amazed” and “Our House”, then “Bitch” and “Paint It Black” before, coming to your senses like a Sting song, but also realising that “Love Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” and “Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone”.
A muso friend and I were at one of those hotel lounges a few days ago trying to drown out the awful caterwauling taking place from the resident trio and it’s over-enthusiastic chanteuse when, somehow- it might have been their weird disco version of Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny”- the conversation turned to “She’s Not There”, a less than three minute Pop classic written by Rod Argent for his group the Zombies and which was later covered by Santana and Rob Thomas.
But it was that original recording that got us talking about other Rod Argent songs the Zombies released, and then what tracks recorded by the songwriter’s second band simply called Argent.
That’s the beauty and magic of music: Once it gets hold of you, it doesn’t let go- nor do you want it to. And so begins a chain reaction of discovery- a magical musical tour-where the “YouTube library” leads you from what you came for- and then has you stay after class.
What I still cannot understand is why so many professional musicians- and all those writing songs- have no interest in MAKING the time to hear all that music that’s out there- those rare gems waiting to be unearthed, dusted listening to them and being the inspirations for new songs. It’s a learning process. It’s about appreciation, respect and passion for one’s craft.
Surely, no one wishes to write song after song only to find out the hard way that they have been “written” before and that too much familiarity breeds irrelevance?
Perhaps it’s way too much hard work to make this time? Perhaps it’s not knowing who and what to find? Perhaps it’s not having a starting point? Perhaps- gawd, I hope not- one believes they already know it all?
Perhaps it’s time for a music streaming site whose content is everything EXCEPT the current Top Forty?
Surely, we’re being swept away by way too much of the same thing, Mr Jay-Z, sir? It’s time to stem the tide before we drown in the sameness of it all.
When one thinks of the existing classic performance footage owned by the BBC from its programmes “Top Of The Pops” and “The Old Grey Whistle”, which would certainly interest an audience of all ages- why the Beeb doesn’t repackage and screen these shows is truly baffling- and everything up there on YouTube, this has to be the time to “A&R” this content, filter out the irrelevant, welcome inter-activity and “video sharing” from subscribers, and create a delivery system for music where it’s Yesterday Once More.
All this came together in the following email sent to a group of friends:
TELL HER NO: ZOMBIES (circa 1966)
Bands like this- the Zombies- were using chords as “strange” as this- well, Rod Argent from the band was- in 1966 and crafting great melodies with simple lyrics that told a story in three minutes- and here, featuring the voice of Colin Blunstone.
The technique was never the idea and a mosh pit of mumbling gibberish over “beatz” were never the songs.
It’s what makes a song like “Tell Her No” timeless- songs that can be re-arranged and played and recorded today with even greater relevance.
There’s SO much music out there waiting to be unearthed.
So much music that will realise what needs to be done to improve their craft and how to be great storytellers.
But how many are doing this?
And then there are the music companies and all those “streaming sites” that keep this wonderful back catalogue under lock and key even when there’s a market for it that they ignore- and a music market that has no idea about any of these songs, but who will listen and go, “Jeez, why am I only listening to Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift when there still is Colin Blunstone- and Nick Drake and Ian Matthews and James Taylor and Bob Dylan and Carole King and Joni Mitchell”…and, and, and…
Hell, give me the seed money and there’ll be an inter-active music streaming site called Unearthed and which will actually bring back the magic of music- and prove why everything old is new again. Or can be. And should be.
Chairman and CEO
We-Enhance Inc and Fast Track Global Ltd