We all have playlists where a particular songs have a deep meaning, whether they were playing when something life changing happened, your childhood memories, or were the songs you grew up with at school. Music and their lyrics have the ability to evoke our emotions whether it be happiness, sadness, calmness, or inspirational. These are my classics, and whenever I need a boost, listening to any of these songs can put things back into focus. In a world where a façade is becoming the norm, music allows us, as humans to focus on humanity and reality—to live in the here and now, the present. Sometimes we can’t express ourselves and feel alone, and music bridges that gap so that we know it’s not just you that feels like that. There is a hidden transparency in the lyrics of most classics as they inspire people, and comfort them when there is nowhere else to turn to.
- Wonderful Life by Black, Colin Vearncombe (1986). Even though it was re-released in 1987 and was more successful the second time around, this song accompanied by a thought provoking black and white video was a classic in the 1980s. Sadly the writer of the song (who was the vocalist), Colin Vearncombe, died on 26 January 2016, from injuries sustained in a car accident in Ireland. Hauntingly inspirational, there is honesty and truth in the lyrics, but always hope, and that “There’s magic everywhere…” The refrain always reminds me that things aren’t that bad, and that when things are down, that’s part of life.
“No need to run and hide
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life
No need to laugh and cry.”
- Life for Rent by Dido (2003). When I first heard this song, it was if I could have written the words myself. It was comforting to know I wasn’t alone in my dreams and how my life was turning out. “I haven’t ever really found a place that I call home,” is how I have felt for most of my life. These following words inspired me, and I thought why not?
“I’ve always thought that I would love to live by the sea
To travel the world alone and live more simply
I have no idea what’s happened to that dream
’cause there’s really nothing left here to stop me.”
So I did, I rented a place by the sea, because there was nothing to stop me except finances. The trade off was living and eating simply. That’s how I became the writer by the ocean.
- You’ll Never Walk Alone by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (1945). I doubt Rodgers and Hammerstein ever thought one of their songs would become the anthem for a football club (Liverpool F.C.) and adopted by numerous other clubs. The lyrics show solidarity—a means of keeping the faith, staying loyal, and supporting others whatever the case. I often play this when I feel the world is against me, but the initial lyrics help me to carry on:
“When you walk through the storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark…”
When words can give you strength, not only are they precious, but when your darkest moments cannot be shared with anyone, there is something ethereal in the lyrics:
“Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone…”
Angels watch over and protect us, or another force that supports us as long as we have the courage to continue. It’s an invisible faith, and those words keep me going, and I carry on writing and facing the challenges that land at my feet. Some days are better than others, but we are never alone, even if we feel we are.
- Imagine by John Lennon (1971). The ultimate song to inspire humanity to work together for a better place to live. The lyrics may sound utopic, and maybe one day a generation can look back and see that not everyone was bad, and that people did want peace.
“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one…”
Sometimes I say to myself, we aren’t dreamers but those who know humans have the power and capacity to create a better society, but materialism and greed get in the way. The message is, as humans we should help one another when we can, and not be selfish.
- Heroes by David Bowie and Brian Eno (1977). As a teenager I loved this song, because it gave me hope—that it doesn’t matter what we do, we are all important and “We can be heroes, just for one day” was an anthem for my generation. Faith and love can keep you going, when everything else is against you. RIP David Bowie, 11 January 2016. You are an eternal hero, who still inspires.
- Moon River by (composer) Henry Mancini and (lyrics) Johnny Mercer (1961). A short song, but full of hope and innocence.
“Two drifters, off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see…”
I listen to this song whenever I feel stuck, as it reminds me that we are here for a short time as we drift through life. There is so much to see in the world, and money aside, what is to stop you exploring? I realized I didn’t need much and the money spent on air tickets was worth it. I’ve walked on the slopes of Mount Everest, and island hopped in Thailand. Rather than talk about it, I did it.
- Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel, written by Paul Simon (1964). The original recording with only Paul Simon playing the guitar is the best version. You can hear the honesty as they sing, and the lyrics depict the real world—that we remain silent, and turn a blind eye to what is really happeningaround us. Even though it can sound like a melancholy song, it shows that people are aware, “People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening…”
It reminds me that we should listen to people, and not just hear their words, but to understand what they want to say. Honesty is hard, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the easy way out, because if we all did that, then humanity is doomed.
“Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell…”
We don’t have to be silent, because the truth is there if we choose to see and hear it.
- I Will Survive by (written) Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris, performed by Gloria Gaynor (1978). An iconic song that has given countless people courage to pick themselves up when all seems lost. It inspires courage and bravery when you are at a low ebb, and encourages you dig deep and find strengths you didn’t even know you had.
“But now I hold my head up high
And you see me
- My Way by Paul Anka, performed by Frank Sinatra (1969). I was walking along the promenade in Nice, France (May 14, 1998) when I saw on the newsstands that Frank Sinatra had died. At that point in my life I had quit my job and bought a ticket to Italy, and decided to go to places that I had kept meaning to visit. The song has so much meaning to me—it was a tough thing to do, and I did it alone. There were mistakes, accidents, incidents (I nearly fell off an active volcano), but I survived and learned.
“Regrets, I’ve had a few… I did what I had to do…Yes, there were times…When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way…”
Life isn’t perfect no matter how much we plan it, but as long you do it your own way, you learn from it, and it makes you stronger.
- Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through by Jim Steinman, performed by Meatloaf (1994). Jim Steinman’s lyrics are always deeply philosophical—challenging human emotions and how we deal with them, but this is one of my favorites. I often have this on repeat when I have writer’s block and the first few lyrics say it all:
“You can’t run away forever,
But there’s nothing wrong with getting a good head start…”
Sometimes when I write, I feel as if I’m trying to run away and escape life—most of us have at some point. Yet there are hidden depths within the lyrics:
“There’s always something magic
There’s always something new
And when you really, really need it the most
That’s when rock and roll dreams come through…”
There is something metaphysical about the lyrics, that the hope is there if you believe in it and yourself. Magick does exist, and dreams can and do come true.