MarsEarth

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


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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – # 7

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Somewhere in our past – and even our present for many of us – we can recall someone who has reached the limits of physical pain. They have hit the wall of emotional strain. Perhaps felt the crushing blow of loss.  Could be the loss of a loved one. Or loss of self worth. We empathize and want to help. We want to ease their suffering. We want to wave a magic wand or call in a favor from G_d, then *poof* the miracle changes everything. We don’t have that kind of power. So our relationship with this person changes. They want out. Or they decide to give up because they are tired of fighting the pain. They let go and leave… forever. They release their grip on this realm, but we refuse let go of their memory.

After seven years of touring and writing songs and studio efforts, the band Breaking Benjamin was able to address the kind of sorrow that humans face when badgered by hopelessness, age, cancer, and worst of all pain in their bodies and minds. The band formed in 1999 with Benjamin Burnley as lead vocalist and guitars, Aaron Fink as lead guitarist, Mark Klepaski as bassist, and Chad Szeliga (originally Jeremy Hummel ) as drummer.

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – # 8

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

For hundreds of years there have been people who for one reason or another needed to avoid a king’s authority. Maybe they were thieves. It could have been that they broke some posted or some obscure rule or order. Of course, they may have been in opposition to the crown because religion or family ties. However, when it comes to the laws of love we have so many reasons to be in it, even when it may be forbidden because of another person who is supposed to be receiving our affections. There are so many complications attached to a new romance when we are in the middle of an established one. This drive is usually what causes the deceptions and fibs associated with an affair. There are only a handful of books and websites that teach us how to spot someone being untruthful. It seems that only a few errant lovers have the ability to hide in plain sight.

For a southern California band that began covering rock standards, writing songs about people with a love agenda was a strength for the band known as the EAGLES.  They had formed in 1971. A year later they debuted their self-titled work which caught the attention of rock, folk and country music fans in America and around the world.  The band is ranked #75 on the Rolling Stone magazine list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. EAGLES band members Glenn FreyDon Henley, Bernie LeadonDon Felder, Randy Meisner and  Jim Ed Norman had relationship problems themselves.

By 1975 Bernie was replaced by Joe Walsh, a  legitimate rock star in his own right. Don and Glenn over the years had developed such a contentious relationship that by the 1990s they were overheard threatening each other on stage between songs. Glenn eventually had Don fired from the band business, Eagles Ltd. Soon after Don sued the corporation for breach of contract. If we had ever seen them in concert, we would have never known they were struggling inside. It seemed like that these two artists rarely saw eye to eye on their business matters the way did with their compositions.

While the band was producing Top 40 hits and touring, they were hiding their betrayals in plain sight. They smiled at the crowds and produced memorable arrangements, then sang the most beautiful of harmonies. The sweet lyrics on their 1974 iconic hit, “Best of my love,” insists that the singer is a devoted lover. But the band members’ issues were not in any lack of effort, rather they were in a lack of forgiveness and compassion from the heart. By 1975 the band finally expressed in music the way to tell how someone who says I love you is not being honest about their feelings. Have we ever been the person who caused heartbreak for another? Is it very easy to hide our feelings from the person who believes in the growth of our relationship when we have virtually given up on that same promise?

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – # 9

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Woulda, shoulda coulda are the words we sometimes say when looking back at a situation that did go our way or work out favorably. We feel worse when a relationship we have problems with quickly comes to an end. Then what makes us more upset is seeing our Ex do well with someone else. This kind of realization can make us long for the way things used to be.

For the Canadian heavy metal band KITTIE, writing songs about busted relationships and bad vibes between lovers seems to be the main theme of their fourth album “Funeral for Yesterday,” The band spent Year 2006 designing the music and writing the lyrics for this work. The album consisted of 14 tracks, an incredible effort for a metal band, which at the time was less than 10 years active and having two brand new memebrs. KITTIE band members on this album were Morgan Lander vocals, Mercedes Lander drummer, Tara McLeod guitar, and Trish Doan on bass. As a metal band their song themes regularly touch on angst, separation, pain and disillusionment.

For KITTIE when things did not go right with their record label, they took matters into their own hands. They decided to release  “Funeral for Yesterday” on their own label ‘X of Infamy Records.’ The album was distributed through EMI Records. It debuted at #101 on the Billboard 200 Album charts in 2007.

We can take a page from their book when dealing with one-sided associations. Despite how comforting it may be to play it safe, and just let life wash over us, we could take matters into our own hands. There is always a risk that if we are not careful, we just might not get what we want when stepping out solo. What should we ignore and what should we hold onto when we know that a relationship is over?

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #16

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

We love through sheer determination. Not all of us can rise to the occasion of a Liam Neeson character who can track down a loved one unto the ends of the earth. However, among those of us with some form of courage, we find that we can walk through fire to find and help the person whom we love. If they leave us and don’t want to be found, it does not matter how hard we look. They just can’t be located.

Elvis Aaron Presley (Jan 8, 1935 – Aug 16, 1977)

That must have been what country singer  Eddie Rabbitt and songwriter Dick Heard were thinking when they wrote a particular song that was meant for Elvis Presley to sing. Elvis received the track early in 1969. It was initially recorded at the American Sound Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.  Almost one year later, the song was released as an A-side single on the RCA Records label.

When Elvis went on tour in 1970, he introduced it as a new song. It quickly became a signature work that was part of the ballads which made him a great singer, and King of Rock and Roll. For Eddie Rabbit, the theme is based on an anxious lover. The person takes on a search to find the one he loves. The song’s imagery is heavy and it effectively paints a picture that no matter where the man goes, there is no one who can help in this particular case. Not even a preacher.

Having strong feelings for someone can make us obsessive or single-minded or blinded. If we feel that strongly, we might chase the dream and try to make our way to our loved one’s front door. How bad can that be?

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #17

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

This is nothing wrong with death. It is a natural process in the life cycle of living things. Unfortunately, there are circumstances where some of us face death all too soon in our journey here on Earth. American TV advertising floods programming with commercials telling us to buy products which will keep us young and reverse or slow the aging process. Why? Manufacturers think that we are afraid of dying and of looking old. So, they assemble products to “boost” naturally fading hormones. Surprisingly, the Botulinum toxin (BTX) a neuro-toxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum is one of those products. BTX is an acutely lethal toxin that “they think” will stop the aging process through paralysis. Who wants a killing toxin injected into the body, much less injected into the face? Ironically . . . people who are afraid of dying and looking old.


More than 23 years ago, (how’s that for aged?) Scott Hull founded the grindcore band Agoraphobic Nosebleed in Springfield, Massachusetts with Carl Schultz and J. R. Hayes.  While many band members have come and gone, Scott is the remaining original. He is a guitarist and drum programmer who can be pointed out as a significant influence on several drum-machine grindcore bands today.   Grindcore is a genre of music that is considered ‘extreme’ because it uses slow, industrial laden beats, abrasive-sounding tones, including heavily distorted and down-tuned guitars and grinding overdriven bass. The beat can flip to a high speed tempo with blasting vocals – growls and rumblings, and even screams.

Today, the group is made up Jay Randall, Kat Katz, formerly of SalomeRichard Johnson of Enemy Soil and Drugs of Faith, and John Jarvis formerly of Pig Destroyer and Fulgora. ANb has perfected the “micro-song” characteristic by releasing four studio albums and 27 short length efforts in their career. This includes the EP entitled “ARC” which has a track that puts the listener in the center of a death scene. The EP features vocalist Kat. “ARC” is supposed to be the inaugural effort of a four-work EP series. The purpose of which allows each individual band member to express themselves through the grindcore experience.

What is it like when we lose a dear loved one? Do we only shed tears? If our feelings could speak, would they not also scream and growl and breakdown in loud and sorrowful desperation? What is that one thing we would petition our dying loved one before their life oozed from this realm of pleasure and pain?

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