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

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – # 2

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

How many times have we felt as if the world was against us? Like we were somehow earmarked for bad things to keep on happening? As if it was not enough to get bad news, but also to have something embarrassing compound and insult? Maybe at least once in life, or maybe once but for a long period of time? When this kind of “overkill” descended upon us, it was uncalled for. Not necessary. No real reason. Like being victim of collision on the open sea. As a lightning strike. We ask G_d, “Why is this happening to me?” and at other times, “Me, again?!” In some circumstances it may feel as if life itself is falling in all around us.

For Irish singer-songwriter, Gilbert O’Sullivan, born Raymond Edward, on December 1, 1946 (and still composing), expressing pain and suffering, separation and anxiety in music made for a successful career. His epic hits in the early 1970s were gateway works which single-handedly expressed the anguish of losing a loved one. They are now iconic in the world of popular music. Gilbert was born in Cork Road, Waterford, Ireland. While still in grade school his family moved to London, and later, Swindon.  As a teenager he played drums in a band named Rick’s Blues. Band members included guitarist  Malcolm Mabbett, bassist Keith Ray and Rick Davies, who later founded the progressive rock band Supertramp. Gilbert’s musical talent as a solo artist was heralded greatly in America.

His personal life did not play out in his songs, surprisingly. Gilbert was exposed to gut-wrenching suffering of death, disease and disappointment which allowed him to craft songs that we relate to. Recently, he told a reporter that, “a good lyricist has to have an understanding of [sad] situations, and this allows me to go into an area and write about it in a genuine way.” He went on to say that he did not know his father well growing up. And he found out that is father did not treat his mother well.  What is the sound of the Human psyche when it reveals the ruin of another person?

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Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #39

by Lawrence J. J, Leonard

No matter if we are famous or the quiet type, we fail ourselves and fail others from time to time. Psychologists say we should forgive ourselves for our faults and try to not repeat the same mistakes. They also insist that when we ask for forgiveness from others it is a sign we are taking responsibility for our actions. Receiving that forgiveness we beg for from a hurt loved one is another topic for a different day.

Claude Russell Bridges (1942-2016) best known as Leon Russell was an American pianist and musician and songwriter whose career spanned 60 years. He wrote pop, rock, blues, country, bluegrass, standards, gospel and surf songs in all that time. He also achieved six gold records for some of his works. Leon had been married and divorced three times during these creative days and had fathered six children. He made his share of mistakes in life and in love.

His first break was playing with The Beach Boys. After that gig he composed a self-titled debut album. Leon was mentored by Elton John on this effort and recruited musicians such as Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Eric Clapton. At the time Leon was romantically involved with Carla McHenry. She may have been the inspiration for his iconic ballad that seeks forgiveness. Sometimes when we hurt the one we love it cuts deep into our souls, too. What we do about reconciling with the one we hurt can leave an impression on many more peoples’ lives than we had planned on. Continue reading

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Moody Blues – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2018

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Ever since 1964 when Ray Thomas, Mike Pinder, Denny Laine,
Graeme Edge and Clint Warwick first performed as the Moody Blues,
the “marriage of classical and rock” has opened creative doors
and inspired musicians and music lovers on every shore.

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