MarsEarth

Old world wisdom, new world insight – poems, poetry, philosophy, dreams, commentary, ideas

The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – # 4

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by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

There is nothing grand or mysterious about being alone and lonely. We make comparisons in our experiences and cite epic metaphors in literature. Loneliness is a condition we can sympathize with when someone or a family suffers the loss of  a loved one. Loneliness is discrete – it is either a heavy psychological weight or it is just a notion in passing. There is no universal description of what it is like to be lonely. On one hand there are as many ways to feel lonely as there are situations of separation.  On the other hand we can say the feeling is a physical emptiness and there is only one solution, that is to get back the companionship we have lost. We want to rid ourselves of this emotion and dealing with it in song sometimes helps us cope with the imposing seclusion.

For the  British progressive musical group Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) expressing deep emotion is achieved by using traditional stringed instruments, as well as opera in their songs. ELO was innovative in highlighting symphony music within the rock and roll power ballad. Their melodies conjured feelings from bright joys to heartbreaking sorrows. Is there a song that everybody can relate to when feeling all alone?

ELO formed in 1970 in Birmingham, a borough in the West Midlands of England, along the Rea River. Songwriters Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood with drummer Bev Bevan became collaborators. The band eventually included Bill Hunt on French horn and Steve Woolam on violin.  They laid the plans for remodeling rock and roll.  Although Roy soon left the band, Jeff stepped in to lead with creative original music scores and lyrics. He also arranged and produced every album ELO released.

Making their way into the band were keyboardist Richard Tandy, bassist Kelly Groucutt, violinist Mik Kaminski, cellists Melvyn Gale and Hugh McDowell. While the band is considered “Beatelesque” and “pop” by some critics, die hard rock and roll fans understand that the essence of their musical works have evolved from pain. Hit songs such as “Sweet talking woman,” “Showdown,” “Can’t get it out of my head,” “Boy Blue” and “Strange magic,” manipulated the mood to give glimpses of betrayal, defeat, anguish, retribution and relationships that end. Yes, with a catchy tune, but the lyrics do paint the picture.  Even the Top Ten track “Livin’ thing” was arguably about suicide. And by some chance if you want an adrenaline rush to awaken all of your emotions, listen to “Fire on high” and soak in all the feelings of your own invincibility when it crescendos.

By 1976 Jeff was producing their sixth album, “A New World Record.” ELO had released one song that took all of us by the hand into the digital world before we realized it. Before there was flash memory or texting or emojis. Okay, there were smiley faces, but you had to draw them on a piece of paper by your own hand.  Anyway, this one song became the iconic masterwork for what music lovers all over the world identify with, the expression of loneliness. Is this what it feels like to be abandoned by a loved one?

Number 4
The songTelephone Line used a Moog synthesizer to mimic a push-button telephone. Jeff’s voice was altered so that it gave us the impression we were listening in to his phone call. The lyrics were delivered with such a tormented quality that we almost feel bad for him just as the excitement of the telephone being answered begins. Theoriginal vinyl recording of the song was the sixth of nine tracks on the album to be released as a single. It reached #4 on the US Cash Box Top 100 Singles.  Because the album was was an international hit, rock music fans in Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and the USA shared the feelings of isolation on this song. It was ELO‘s very first Solid Gold single.

Being alone does not go hand-in-hand with loneliness. We can be alone and be happy in our own skin. It is loneliness that can be difficult to deal with. The best way to deal with it is to be with other people, volunteer our time to help those less fortunate or, gather in a place of worship. The irony is that at any time of the day there are millions of people who are suffering loneliness. It is such a personal feeling that we may not know who they are unless they reach out of that darkness.

Lyrics: written by Jeff Lynne

Hello–how are you?
Have you been alright, through all those
lonely. lonely. lonely, lonely lonely nights?

That’s what I’d say…

I’d tell you everything,
If you’d pick up that telephone. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Hey–how you feelin’?
Are you still the same?
Don’t you realize the things we did we did were all for real not a dream?
I just can’t believe
they’ve all faded out of view.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo.
Do0 w0p. Do be do doo w0p. Do wah Do lang
Blue days. Black nights. Do wah Do lang

I look into the sky
(The love you need ain’t gonna see you through!)
And I wonder why
(The little things are finally coming true.)

Oh ! Oh, telephone line, give me some time.
I’m living in twilight

Oh ! Oh, telephone line, give me some time.
I’m living in twilight

Okay. So no–one’s answering,
Well can’t you just let it ring a little longer, longer, longer? Oh!
I’ll just sit tight, through shadows of the night.
Let it ring for evermore!

Oh, oh oh. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah !

Do0 w0p. Do be do doo w0p. Do wah Do lang
Blue days. Black nights. Do wah Do lang

I look into the sky
(The love you need ain’t gonna see you through!)
And I wonder why
(The little things are finally coming true.)

Oh ! Oh, telephone line, give me some time.
I’m living in twilight

Oh ! Oh, telephone line, give me some time.
I’m living in twilight

Oh ! Oh, telephone line, give me some time.
I’m living in twilight

Oh ! Oh, telephone line, give me some time.
I’m living in twilight

 

Depressed? Do something about it. Please find help before making any rash decisions.  Click here: the National Institute of Mental Health.

Eating disorder (ED)? CLICK HERE to get more information from the NIMH.

Read up on PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder Click Here.

Don’t try suicide. Talk to somebody. Click here for the phone number and information.

Think BEFORE you drink. Click here for AA.

Copyright © 1960-2018 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved.

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Author: SpindoctorUSA

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