Updated: Aug 1, 2020
You know what is NEVER a bad idea? Turning on some music.
I don’t think I’ve ever put some music on and then thought to myself, ‘that was a stupid idea, I now feel worse from listening to this than I did before.’ That has never happened to me. But the absolute ultimate is being able to turn on some music video clips; I could watch them for hours on end.
Watching video clips is the closest thing that I know of to being able to travel back in time. Not only is music a powerful stimulant of personal memories from your life that may carry with them a lot of meaning, but also they are literally snapshots of the culture of the time. Where else can you see in live action the hairstyles, clothes, cars, sounds, crowds, dance moves, attitudes, slang and swagger of the moment?
(I’m watching Prince and The Revolution perform ‘Raspberry Beret’ as I write this, he’s jumping around in his blue cloud suit made for the special effects… he was brilliant.)
Today I’ve seen The Boss, Bruce Springsteen perform ‘Dancing In The Dark’ in 1984, bringing a young Courtney Cox up on stage to dance with him. He puts on an electrifying performance with such happy energy in that clip that you can’t help but smile!
I’ve seen Free perform ‘All Right Now’ at a festival in the early 70’s, using two microphones taped together, looking out into a crowd of long haired, shirtless, long trouser wearing, long haired teenagers whom all seem to love the colour brown. I loved hearing that bass guitar sound that seems to capture the late 60’s/early 70’s rock music so well.
The gorgeous Diana Ross glimmered across my TV for a few minutes in ‘Chain Reaction’ which was made in the mid 1980’s but starts off portraying the artist in the 1960’s…So you get an 80’s version of the 1960’s before the big hair, big dresses and loud colours of the 80’s take over.
ABBA’s ‘Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!’ with its unmistakable keyboard riff was a fascinating look into a recording studio in 1979, and U2 on the runway at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport with the jumbo jets taking off seemingly inches above the band’s heads… well, just excellent.
(Now it’s Eiffel 65 from Italy with their 1998 Euro-dance hit ‘Blue’ (Da Ba Dee), so a good time to turn the TV off… but it does remind me of a story told to me by a Scottish friend of how she and her friends changed the lyric of Blue when they were younger to ‘I’m Blue, in Aberdeen I will die, in Aberdeen I - will - die…. So at least something came from that song to make some people smile! :D )
Music is magical. The first I-Pod I ever owned I named ‘Dr. Tunes’ because it was a failsafe remedy for any bad mood that I ever fell into. It can help to start the day off right with a bit of Jazz or Blues whilst making breakfast or sipping coffee and reading the news. It can make the chores more fun, or the daily run more bearable, it can turn the shower into a mini recording studio or it can help rock you gently off to sleep with some Eric Clapton Unplugged… for example.
Music is one of those amazing things that can transcend language, race, religion and the other things that usually divide humans in any major way. It’s a unifying force. When you go to a concert or music festival you find yourself surrounded by people that are all happy, (apart from Karen, but there’s always a Karen), people are there to celebrate and be a part of something that is as old as our very existence. From Beethoven to Rammstein, Julie Andrews to Ozzy Ozbourne or Midnight Oil to Yothu Yindi, music has and will continue to endure through the best and worst of human times.
Music gives us hope for the future of the human race, because if we aren’t inherently good creatures, how can something so pure and almost holy be born through us?
As ABBA would say:
Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?