Tag Archives: Boston

Lyrically Writing – More Than a Feeling

11 Mar

I usually write about real life stuff, but I have dabbled in fiction a few times with one post about an aging rock star and another post about a man walking into a bar. Fiction hits me at strange times, and those times are rare. However, an idea has come to mind about how to get more fiction out of that same mind. It is simple. Just take lyrics from a song and write a more detailed story out of it.

This is my first attempt. The song is “More Than a Feeling” by Boston.

He laid in bed and stared at the ceiling. There were cracks and a stain from an old leak. He studied them with the help of a streetlight shining through the window. He had no idea how long he had been staring at the ceiling, but he knew that it was time to start the day.

He looked out the window and saw nothing but the streetlight. The sun was not up. Nothing was moving. It was just him, the light and the cracks in the ceiling.

He walked to the bathroom and slapped the button on the radio. It was already set to the oldies station. When did the songs of his youth become oldies? He knew the answer as he looked at himself in the mirror. He was also an oldie. Lines spiderwebbed from his tired eyes.

As he studied the map of life on his face, another song came on the radio. It was a song that brought memories from a lifetime ago. It brought recollection and regret. He closed his eyes and listened to the words. Somewhere in the melody, he slipped away.

What was that feeling? No, it was more than a feeling. It was a dream. It was a nightmare. It was heartache. Standing in that cold bathroom with his eyes closed, he saw it happening all over again.

It was a hot summer day. The sunlight glistened in her blonde hair. Hers eyes were swollen with tears as she told him that this was it. She could not do it anymore. It was a moment that he thought would never come. She was done. He was unable to move as she walked away. At that moment, a car drove by with the windows down and the radio up. The song on the radio drifted over him as she disappeared from his life.

He sat in his cubicle as the song played in the chambers of his mind. To make it stop, he thought of the women who had been part of his life. Some of the memories were clearer than others, but there was one certainty. As the years went by, their faces faded further and further into the back of his mind. At some point, they would not be there at all.

However, there was one face that he would never forget. It was a beautiful face etched into his memory. It was also a face of sadness and regret. It was her face as she turned to walk away. It was her face on that summer day when he knew that his life would never be the same.

The day was at a close, and darkness returned to his apartment. He slapped the button on the radio. It was already set to the oldies station. Usually, the music made him forget another uneventful day. This time, it brought her back into his dreams. This time, it brought back that feeling. Wait, it was more than a feeling.

It took him back to a certain time and a certain place. It took him back to that summer day when he did not close his eyes to sleep. He closed his eyes to her love, and, with those closed eyes, his watched her slip away.

 

 

 

The Soundtrack of My Youth – 1986

12 Apr

The summer of 1986 felt different from those that came before. It was between my junior and senior years of high school, and I sensed that one part of my life was going away and making room for a new one. If other people get that feeling, then I guess it would come the summer after graduation. However, the transition would then be complete.

The summer of 1986 was my last as a high schooler. I did the same things. Only, it felt like I was doing them for the last time under mantle of teenager with no responsibilities.

With all that begin written, what was the soundtrack of 1986?1986

January hit the calendar, and “Say You, Say Me” by Lionel Richie was still at the top. It would be followed by twenty-nine other songs. That, dear readers, is a lot of turnover.

For four weeks, Dionne and Friends dominated with “That’s What Friends Are For”. Obviously, Dionne was Dionne Warwick. Friends included Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder.

Dionne was knocked from the top of the charts by her cousin, Whitney Houston, who sang “How Will I Know”.

Next, “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister claimed Number One and stayed there for a couple of weeks.

Jefferson Airplane, er, Jefferson Starship, er, Starship hit the summit with “Sara”. They did not stay there long. It could be that no one ever figured out who recorded the song.

That opened the door for “These Dreams” by Heart. However, the could not hold off the juggernaut that dominated pop culture in March and April. “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco zoomed the trop and had people asking, “Who is this Amadeus dude?”

Prince and the Revolution were able to conquer the one hit wonder with “Kiss”, a song that is not about Gene Simmons and the gang.

“Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer had an awesome video that was supposedly inspired by Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets”.

The next Number One was supposedly inspired by T.S. Eliot. I must admit that “West End Girls” by Pet Shop Boys was one of my favorites.

“Went End Girls” could not stand up to the vocal force that was Whitney Houston. She had her second Number One of the year with “Greatest Love of All”.

“Greatest Love of All” could not stand up to the all around force that was Madonna. She hit the top with “Live to Tell”.

It would take two people to knock Madonna out of the box. Those two people were Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald with “On My Own”. A couple of years ago, we saw Michael McDonald in concert, and we were able to meet him before the show. You would have thought that my wife had seen the greatest person in the world. She just about freaked out.

“There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry” by Billy Ocean started a string of songs that could only hold on for a week. Next, there was “Holding Back the Years” by Simply Red. Then, there was “Invisible Touch” by Genesis.

Ironically, Genesis lost the top spot to Peter Gabriel, who used to be a member of Genesis. Honestly, I think “Sledgehammer” made it to Number One because of its video.

Peter Cetera, who had also been a member of a famous band, broke the one week chain by having “Glory of Love” stay on top for two weeks. Unfortunately for Peter, Madonna was waiting in the wings with “Papa Don’t Preach”.

Then, there was the teenage prodigy turn grownup genius named Steve Winwood. “Higher Love” took him as high up the charts as he could go.

How in the world could a group called Bananarama replace somebody like Steve Winwood? Well, they did with “Venus”. They did not stay long before being knocked into outer space by “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin.

Berlin fell to Huey Lewis and the News and “Stuck with You”. Of course, they were old news by the time Janet Jackson sang “When I Think of You”.

“True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper was special song. In fact, it was special enough that it became the theme to our Senior Night an entire year after it left the charts. How up to date were our planners?

Boston sang about “Amanda”, and The Human League sang about “Human”. I think Amanda was a human. However, I am certain that Bon Jovi thought “You Give Love a Bad Name”.

Peter Cetera came back with “The Next Time I Fall”. This time he had a partner in Amy Grant. I wonder if she was singing about Vince Gill.

“The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby and the Range hit the top in December but did not stay for long.

The year of 1986 ended with everyone wanting to do like The Bangles and “Walk Like an Egyptian”. I did not want to walk like that, but I wanted to meet The Bangles girl with the big brown eyes.

Those were the top songs of 1986. Did you have any favorites from that year?

 

 

 

What is the Last Song You Would Want to Hear?

8 Nov

I was driving down the interstate as my girlfriend scanned through radio stations. She loves country music, and I tolerate it. I have often theorized that my distaste for country music comes from growing up near the capital of the genre. Whatever the case, I needed to break the scanning pattern, so I asked, “What is your all time favorite song?” She really couldn’t say and asked me the same question. Typically, I couldn’t say either. However, it reminded me of something I did in high school. I would think to myself, “Self, if you were dying what’s the last song you would want to hear?” Morbid I guess, but sometimes teenagers have morbid thoughts. I can’t remember what songs I chose then, but I have some ideas of what I would choose now. In no particular order they are:

1. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan – First, it’s a great song. Second, it plays over one of the great dying scenes in cinema history. In “Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid”, Slim Pickens has been gut shot. As he holds his stomach, he and his wife, played by Katy Jurado, look into each other’s eyes for the last time. She is crying, and he is in shock. This is one of my favorite movies because Sam Peckinpah, the director, shows the destruction of the frontier by killing western character actors throughout the film.

2. “Hotel California” by The Eagles – In junior high, I had one of those tapes that showed devil worshipping in popular music. Sometimes it played songs backwards to show secret messages. “Hotel California” was played forwards because it was obviously the work of Satan.  I was fascinated and fell in love with the song. It was later that I realized the devil worshipping claim was a result of religious ignorance. Despite my disappointment that the devil was not at the hotel, I can still see the story in my mind when it plays.

3. “Across 110th Street” by Bobby Womack – This soul classic comes from the era of Blaxploitation films. The movies are great, but the music is better. I have always loved 70s soul, and this is one of the best. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong place, wrong time and wrong skin color. Maybe I will be reincarnated as a 70s pimp.

4. “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harem – This is another song that I can envision in my mind as it plays. I can’t describe it. I can only quote it.

She said there is no reason.

And the truth is plain to see

That I wandered through my playing cards,

And would not let her be

One of sixteen vestal virgins

Who were leaving for the coast.

And although my eyes were open,

They might just as well been closed.

How psychedelic is that?

5. “More Than a Feeling” by Boston – This is a story of lost love and the memories that follow. It brings to the surface the great regrets of my life. I, like numerous others, allowed a woman to walk away and have looked upon it as a mistake. When I hear this song I always substitute her name for Marianne.

6. “In My Life” by Jose Feliciano – I know. This is a Beatles song, and everybody thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread. I don’t care. Jose Feliciano did it better. His voice and singing style brings the belief that it is coming from his soul. In fact, I like just about everything he’s ever done.

7. “Early Morning Rain” by Elvis Presley – Written by Gordon Lightfoot, this is one of Elvis’ least known songs. It was featured on the “Aloha from Hawaii” broadcast and has been lost in the rest of that performance. I have been fascinated by Elvis since my parents took me to a concert. I was only 7 and only remember pieces. However, we had front row seats and still recall his presence. I’ve been to Graceland numerous times and read the two-part biography by Peter Guralnick. There has to be an Elvis tune on this list, and I choose this one.

8. “Way Down Under” from the “White Lightning” soundtrack – Burt Reynolds was in his prime as a B-movie southern redneck, and his career declined when he began making more “refined” movies. This movie is one of his best, but it’s the song that struck me the most. Played over the funeral procession of the sheriff, the lyrics are great.

At the backdoor of Hell

Is an old rusty bell.

And it rings with the sound of thunder.

Way down under.

9. “Numb/Encore” by Linkin Park and Jay-Z – The only thing I can say is that this is one of the coolest songs ever. The mixture of artists makes an already great song even better. If you are going to go out, then you might as well go out in style.

So, there is my list in November 2011. It has to be completely different from my 80s list and is probably different from my future list.

I realize that very few people have read this blog so far. But, if you read this post and find it interesting, then I would be interested in seeing your list.