The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #34

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

We live in a place where people are in despair. They suffer in public. Sometimes we see them hurting and we reach out with water, change, advice, or a meal. Other times we just concentrate on getting as far away as possible.

For English singer-songwriter Phil Collins, the thrust of his music is more than painting pictures with words. He describes realistic and stark scenes. Sometimes they have happy but complicated endings with upbeat rhythms. Other times the music is eerie and the lyrics hurt to hear. For Phil the prospect of having an encounter with a homeless man, as described in the 1982 release by his former band, Genesis, was a Top 40 sensation in America.  The song “Man on the Corner” saw a person down on his luck and with no place to go,  It had an “I see him” kind of detached feel.

Unfortunately, just like every other music artist who puts his/ her politics in front of the audience, the critics rightfully invoked the “hypocrisy label” on Phil because his wealth was being used as he called on  everyone else to act. As if singing about homelessnes is supposed to be a socially conscious and caring contribution. It is however quite lucrative for a musician.

Phil understood this formula and altered his lyrics for a song that ended up as the first track on the B-side of his fourth solo album, “. . .But Seriously.” It was a poignant description of a homeless woman’s plight. Phil’s tone and melody bring a an aura of shame and sadness to the radio. While singing along has caused us to convict ourselves of not doing enough. It is easy to feel sympathy for anyone who truthfull lives in the streets. It is hard to spring into action for each person’s need is as unique as their fingerprints.

Number 34
The songAnother Day in Paradiseshot to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was Phil’s seventh top hit of his career. It jumped up the charts after its release in October 1989, through the holiday season, to be the first official number one song of 1990. The album garnerd the #1 spot in 14 coiuntries,

Phil’s decision to depart from dance-pop music of his previous album, “No Jacket Required” was a calculated risk. The lyrics included a kind of prayer in the bridge: “”Oh Lord, is there nothing more anybody can do? Oh Lord, there must be something you can say?”

Every time we choose to help someone in dire need, it is a risk. Most times it is a small act, but for the person in need, it can be a big help.

Lyrics: written by Phil Collins

She calls out to the man on the street
“Sir, can you help me?
It’s cold and I’ve nowhere to sleep
Is there somewhere you can tell me?”

He walks on, doesn’t look back
He pretends he can’t hear her
Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there

Oh think twice, cause it’s another day for
You and me in paradise
Oh think twice, cause it’s another day for you
You and me in paradise

Just think about it

She calls out to the man on the street
He can see she’s been crying
She’s got blisters on the soles of her feet
She can’t walk but she’s trying

Oh think twice, cause it’s another day for
You and me in paradise
Oh think twice, it’s just another day for you
You and me in paradise

Just think about it

Oh lord, is there nothing more anybody can do
Oh lord, there must be something you can say

You can tell from the lines on her face
You can see that she’s been there
Probably been moved on from every place
‘Cause she didn’t fit in there

Oh think twice, because it’s another day for
You and me in paradise
Oh think twice, it’s just another day for you
You and me in paradise

Just think about it
Just think about it

It’s just another day for you and me in paradise
It’s just another day for you and me in paradise
It’s just another day for you and me in paradise

Just think about it

If you are feeling depressed, do something about it. Please find help before making any rash decisions.  Click this resource, the National Institute of Mental Health.

Copyright © 1960-2017 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved.

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