Dubai: There are some beautiful memories in life that stay with us forever. Like a movie, book, poem, incident or song. They are just there in our psyche, because they made such an impact on us.
Being the music fan that I am, there are hundreds of songs that comfortably fit into that category. Songs that made me smile, laugh, think, share and listen to so often.
Beautiful songs, like Don McLean’s ‘Vincent’, his ode to the legendary Dutch post-impressionist painter, Vince Van Gogh, ‘Nights In White Satin’, the most famous song written by the British band, the 'Moody Blues’ or ‘Morning Has Broken’, the saccharin-filled paean by Yousuf Islam (formerly Cat Steven’s), which was inspired by a children’s hymn book..
These are some of the songs that stir so many memories of my life and at times, bring a tear to my eye.
But what about songs that stir the imagination, make you think, make you wonder at the sheers greatness of the singer/s. Two examples, among the millions, pop straight out of the top of my head – Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Sounds of Silence’ and John Lennon’s timeless classic, ‘Imagine”.
Both of these songs are not just musically sublime, but are a lyrical stoke of genius.
Paul Simon wrote ‘Sounds of Silence’ for the duo’s Wednesday Morning, 3AM album in 1966. Initially the song met with little success, but once it did, it blew the roof every studio that wanted to produce it.
Simon said he took about six months to write the lyrics for the song which highlight man’s lack of communication with other men, hence the song opens with the eerie, “Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk to you again.”
In general the song is intelligent, poetic and a masterpiece. Simon uses imagery of light and darkness as a way to portray mankind’s apathy when it comes to communication.
Listen to it again and you will marvel at its inner beauty and imagery. Lines like "people talking without speaking - hearing without listening"; "take my arms that I might reach you, but my words like silent raindrops fell within the wells of silence.”
For men, this has to be the most beautiful song ever written as it does things for me on so many levels = as I’m sure it has done to the millions who bought the record and listened to it.
“Imagine”, John Lennon’s post Beatles gem, also works on the same way. Lennon, who forever campaigned for a world free from hypocrisies, wrong doings, war and the religions divide, felt that the world would be a better place if people ignored all of this and just believed in love.
He also sang about it in ‘All You Need is Love”, on the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, album in 1967.
Lennon makes a strong political statement that he offsets with the most beautiful melody, which helped the song reach out to a larger audience who would, hopefully, respond.
There is an interesting piece of trivia about the Steinway upright piano on which Lennon wrote imagine in 1971. Singer George Michael paid over 1 million for the piano and gifted it to the Beatles museum in Liverpool, where it remains to this day!
That’s the power of music and the beauty of song.