Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2112237-A-Musical-Exploration-of-Life
by Angel
Rated: E · Article · Music · #2112237
Six songs that represent my journey through life

I have found that as I've thought about this challenge, that I've chosen many songs that are depressing, 'you will find it does get better'. The songs I've chosen have told the story about how I have felt through my life. They are songs that have stuck with me; they are strong songs because they have related to my emotions in both the lyrics and the music. The first few are picked from when I was a teenager. This was a time in my life, like most teenagers, when I lost myself in music, I would shut myself in my bedroom and disappear into a world that wasn't reality of any kind. As I describe each song, you will understand why I retreated into this place.

1.The Ballad of Lucy Jordan
Marianne Faithfull 1979


The morning sun touched lightly on
The eyes of Lucy Jordan
In a white suburban bedroom
In a white suburban town

And she lay there 'neath the covers
Dreaming of a thousand lovers
'Til the world turned to orange
And the room went spinning round

At the age of 37
She realised she'd never ride
Through Paris in a sports car
With the warm wind in her hair

So she let the phone keep ringing
As she sat there softly singing
Pretty nursery rhymes she'd memorised
In her Daddy's easy chair

Her husband he's off to work
And the kids are off to school
And there were oh so many ways
For her to spend her days

She could clean the house for hours
Or rearrange the flowers
Or run naked through the shady street
Screaming all the way

At the age of 37
She realised she'd never ride
Through Paris in a sports car
With the warm wind in her hair

So she let the phone keep ringing
As she sat there softly singing
Pretty nursery rhymes she'd memorised
In her Daddy's easy chair

The evening sun touched gently on
The eyes of Lucy Jordan
On the rooftop where she climbed
When all the laughter grew too loud

And she bowed and curtsied to the man
Who reached and offered her his hand
And he led her down to the long white car that waited past the crowd

At the age of 37
She knew she'd found forever
As she rode along through Paris
With the warm wind in her hair

In June 2007, when she was interviewed extensively for ITV's The South Bank Show, Marianne Faithfull said that when she heard the song she identified with it immediately. She said too that some people misinterpret the song thinking the story ends in suicide. In fact, although Lucy Jordan climbs onto the roof she doesn't jump but is taken away in an ambulance - to a mental hospital. When she climbs into the ambulance she is so far gone that she imagines she is riding through Paris in a sports car, something she had always dreamed about, as stated in the song.

I was seventeen when this record was released, and yes, I'm talking vinyl. I believe I still have a copy of it in my collection. I am what is perhaps classed as an eclectic music lover. I like a bit of everything, it just has to tell me a story and touch my heart.

At the time this was released I had endured many years of abuse at the hands of my father. I was working in my ideal job, a record/music shop; however, I was struggling with it. I was ill but was unaware of this at the time; this led the people at work to think I was useless and stupid. I hated being at home for obvious reasons and I was terrified to go to work.

This song came around and I just remember losing myself in the words. I felt this woman's hopelessness. To the world, she had everything and yet she felt her life was empty. I related to this, to everyone my family was normal, I had told people within my family what was happening but nothing was done in the end and I felt like a pariah.

It is interesting that I found the article that says that this song was misunderstood, that people assumed that she committed suicide. I was one of those, all these years I thought she jumped, but I have found it refreshing to look at it from a different angle now.

The song itself was almost a mix of pop and country, something that was popular in the Nineteen Seventies. I wasn't aware that it had first been recorded by Dr Hook, another favourite band of mine. I liked the gravelly sound of her voice as I did other artists of the time such as Suzy Quattro and Rod Stewart. It's the first time I've seen the video, I had no idea what Marianne Faithfull looked like. Videos were less commonly watched then. If you watched Top of the Pops then you might see your favourite artist, otherwise, it was records only.

2.The Winner Takes it All 1980

I don't wanna talk
About things we've gone through
Though it's hurting me
Now it's history
I've played all my cards
And that's what you've done too
Nothing more to say
No more ace to play

The winner takes it all
The loser's standing small
Beside the victory
That's her destiny

I was in your arms
Thinking I belonged there
I figured it made sense
Building me a fence
Building me a home
Thinking I'd be strong there
But I was a fool
Playing by the rules

The gods may throw the dice
Their minds as cold as ice
And someone way down here
Loses someone dear
The winner takes it all
The loser has to fall
It's simple and it's plain
Why should I complain?

But tell me does she kiss
Like I used to kiss you?
Does it feel the same
When she calls your name?
Somewhere deep inside
You must know I miss you
But what can I say?
Rules must be obeyed

The judges will decide
The likes of me abide
Spectators of the show
Always staying low
The game is on again
A lover or a friend
A big thing or a small
The winner takes it all

I don't wanna talk
If it makes you feel sad
And I understand
You've come to shake my hand
I apologize
If it makes you feel bad
Seeing me so tense
No self-confidence
But you see
The winner takes it all
The winner takes it all...

'The Winner Takes It All' was a favourite of mine for many reasons. Firstly, ABBA was foremost my favourite band, and always will be. This song, it turned out, was one of those reflecting the 'beginning of the end' of the band. Their songs began to take a dark turn and I knew by their videos, yes they were becoming more popular by now, that something was wrong. I wasn't a follower of bands just because they were popular, as I said before, a song had to capture me, both the story and the music; I just loved the sound and the stories of ABBA's music. An added quality was the accent in their voices, it gave their songs a unique quality that had never been heard before, and they are one of the few bands that I have albums of, both in vinyl and on CD, yes I did move into the 20th Century.

ABBA's music is clever; it is easy to sing, yet complicated to play. I have to say I related more to their darker songs, those like 'Fernando', 'Chiquitita', Knowing me Knowing you, and of course, this one. I mention that these songs are complicated to play, because, as a musician, I've tried playing them. I have fond memories of when my son was a teenager, he learnt about thirteen ABBA songs on the piano and played them without music, from memory at a talent show at his school. I was so proud of him because I knew how difficult these songs were to play. When ABBA broke up, I was devastated, like millions of others like me. However, although perhaps the original song reminds me of struggles in my teenage years and the sadness of the eventual break-up of the band I loved; it also links me to a good memory in later years of my son playing the piano, he still does occasionally, not as often now.

3.The Rose 1979
Bette Midler


Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you its only seed.

It's the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dyin'
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose.

I have to say that it was a while after the film was released that I first saw it. It was an X and I was too young. An X for those who don't know meant that in the Seventies you had to be 18 and over to go and watch it. So it was much later that I watched the film and fell in love with the story and the song. The Rose was the Theme song for the film. I soon understood why it was an X as the language for the seventies was extremely bad. The film was said to be the story of Janis Joplin. Bette Midler plays a singer who was pushed and pushed to breaking point. They called her The Rose, a beautiful name for such a harsh singer. The film has a devastating ending and I think that's what drew me to the song, the sadness, once again. She was a woman being pushed and pushed by people who only cared about money. You could feel the pressure in her building like a pressure cooker and you could see an end that was perhaps inevitable. I understood that pressure, for so many different reasons to the star in the show. I understood her need to escape her situation.

The song itself is about taking a chance in life, that if we don't take the chance that we'll never move forward. This particular part of the song shows this clearly. It encouraged me not to give up, to take the chances that were put in front of me.

It's the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.

Therefore, what is perhaps a song from a sad film turns out to be quite an encouraging one.

4.The Wind Beneath my Wings 1988
Bette Midler


Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.
It must have been cold there in my shadow,
to never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that's your way.
You always walked a step behind.

So I was the one with all the glory,
while you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long.
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.

Did you ever know that you're my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I've got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.

Did you ever know that you're my hero?
You're everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Did I ever tell you you're my hero?
You're everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Oh, the wind beneath my wings.
You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings.
Fly, fly, fly away. You let me fly so high.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.

Fly, fly, fly high against the sky,
so high I almost touch the sky.
Thank you, thank you,
thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.

This was another song by Bette Midler and another song from a film. It was a sad but amazing film. This was a film my daughter and I watched together, we loved it; it is still one of her favourites. Therefore, like The Rose, it is a sad song from a sad film. However, like the ABBA song it has good memories attached to it for me.

The reason why I liked this particular song was that, like the others, it tells a story. It's a story of two friends, very different but nonetheless, their differences didn't prevent them from staying friends for most of their lives. I had found it hard to make friends as a child, especially as a teenager. I'd had a few close friends who I'd lost touch with but when this film was released, I had a good friend, a marriage of about three years, and a baby boy who was about a year old. It was a happier time for me but it was when I first watched it with my daughter that made it special. She would have been in her early teens when we watched it together. This was a good time between the two of us, there are many films and programmes that remind me of the times that we spent together just chilling out. The few close friends I've had in my life I can honestly say have been my heroes, those I've been able to share my darkest times with, and my best times. They have touched my life and have helped bring me to the place I'm in now which is so far from where I was as a teenager, and even perhaps when this film was released.

5.I Will Change Your Name 1987
Originally by DJ Butler

I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid
I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks My face

Now, this is a completely different song and is such an important song in my life. Even though I was married with children, I was a broken woman because of the scars of what had happened to me as a child within my family. I had been through a lot of counselling which had left me worse off than I had been before and with ongoing issues within the family and post-natal depression after my daughter was born, things were hard. I dealt with it all though and locked up the pain as best I could, after all I had a husband and two children to think of.

I met a new friend when my son was about seven. She ran a centre that helped parents who had children with mostly hidden disabilities. We had become aware that my son had some problems, later diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder. This friend was a Christian. Both of my children by this time were in the local Sunday school even though I didn't attend church myself. I wanted them to find out for themselves whether they had a faith or not. I knew I did but with what I'd gone through I was angry with life and with people, I found it hard to trust anyone let alone a God I couldn't see. Eventually, I decided to try the church that my friend attended and I instantly felt at home. I found something there that I'd never found before, a genuine love from God. I still attend there today, twenty-one years later.

So, you're wondering where the song comes in amongst all this, well, I wanted to get baptised, this is an all immersion adult Baptism. As part of the process, you stand and give a testimony as to how you've come to this place. You get to choose the songs you want. Along with my friend who was at the church with me, I met another woman; she led Worship in the church. I was in awe of her she seemed to have it all together, sorted, that is until she gave her testimony at this service. She told everyone how she had been afraid of everything, of everyone, wouldn't talk to people and wouldn't have been able to stand at the front and talk to people. This is what God had done for her, healed her of her fears. I remember thinking that if He can do that for her then He can do that for me.

She chose this song for me that day, she sang it for me and passed on something that I still cherish today, an 'I can do' attitude. We are such good friends today and I am now in charge of the Worship Team. I was her at one point, I couldn't stand in front of people and speak to them, I was terrified, but God has given me a New Name so now I can do the things I was made to do. The song has stayed with me ever since.

This song has been recorded by a variety of people but the version I've included is sung by an Irish singer, I don't know who it is.

6.New Journey live at Slane Castle, Ireland by Celtic Woman
The Sky and the Dawn and the Sun


High is the moon tonight
Hiding its guiding light

Heaven and earth do sleep
Still in the dark so deep
I will the darkness sweep

I will the moon to flight
I will the heavens bright
I will the earth delight

Open your eyes with me
See paradise with me
Awake and arise with me

I am the dawn, I'm the new day begun
I bring you the morning, I bring you the sun
I hold back the night and I open the skies
I give light to the world, I give sight to your eyes

From the first of all time, until time is undone
Forever and ever and ever and ever
And I am the dawn and the sky and the sun
I am one with the One, and I am the dawn

I am the sky and the dawn and the sun
I am the sky and the new day begun
I am the sky and the dawn and the sun

Again, this is a different type of song than my earlier choices. I do have a bit of a passion for Irish music. This song is by an Irish group of Women, hence the name. The video is a whole evening, recorded outside of Slane Castle in Ireland. It's the first song I love most of all. The song itself is beautiful but I'm fascinated by the woman who plays the violin, or perhaps it should be referred to as a fiddle as it's an Irish group?

This woman about halfway through the song plays a solo but it's not just the playing, it's the fact that she dances at the same time. I admire the whole group's talent. I have listened to the whole evening and it's beautiful, each member of the group gets to sing solos and yet they work as a team. I think I love this song because I am a musician and it's with a musician's ear that I've listened to it and with a musician's admiration that I watched it.

From the age of four-and-half, I've played the piano. I stopped playing at eleven for a long time because my parents couldn't find a piano teacher. However, I discovered the Piano Accordion and from eleven until today I've been playing this, including being in two accordion bands. I think that this is where my love of Celtic music has come from; again, the music I play is eclectic. Irish and Scottish music on the accordion has to be a favourite. On the piano, I find I play more music that is Christian now, but I have so much music to choose from that I play what I feel on any given day.

So here, I leave you with a strange mixture of songs from a turbulent life.

© Copyright 2017 Angel (angelglory at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2112237-A-Musical-Exploration-of-Life