Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cheap Journey Down Memory Lane

I sometimes have this habit of spending time browsing Youtube and Wikipedia at the same time. Often listening to the songs from the 80's, when I grew up.
It's a nostalgic journey to my memories. Remembering the first week of March in 1986, when I was in seventh grade in school and we got our first cable/satellite TV with Sky Channel, Music Box and the local cable channel showing a wide range of oldie TV series such as Kojak, TJ Hooker, The Fall Guy...
The music brings back the memories of those moments in pictures, even scents. Sometimes it's even possible to remember the feeling of warm or cold air on the skin as it was back then.
I could easily spend several hours going through this music-information combination. When finding a good song, I might search the lyrics and if there's a story behind it available, I'll read it from Wikipedia or elsewhere. Sometimes I bump into stories I never even understood existed when I was a teenager.
Some of them are part of a dialogue between real people. Not necessarily the person performing the song, but the songwriters. The singer is just a megaphone for all that felt heartache, pain, hatred or other unprocessed feelings.
I never knew that Feargal Sharkey was one of those megaphones with his two consecutive hits A Good Heart and You Little Thief.
The first one was written by then only 19-year old Maria McKee about her relationship with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench. The second one was written as an answer or a payback by Tench about his relationship with McKee.
Sharkey ended up placing the songs next to each other on his debut album. It would be interesting to know how much commercial thinking this all had. Or was it done purely out of opportunity. Natural way, of course.
I don't mind. The songs are memorable. And the story, now after over quarter of a century, is still alive. For me freshly. Even when it doesn't have that mystery in it anymore.
As still has You're So Vain by Carly Simon, released in the end of 1972, my year of birth. According to Wikipedia, the song is a critical profile of a self-absorbed lover saying: "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you." The subject's identity has long been the matter of speculation, suspects including a wide variety of celebrities from Warren Beatty to David Bowie, from James Taylor to David Geffen.
Artists are artists. They get their material from everywhere. It might be nabbed from real events, from own, friends' or neighbours' lives. The content might have been grabbed from imagination, stolen from the bum passing by, or from the vegetable salesman they've known for years. Or the real life events with some small piece of news from the newspaper. Sources of inspiration are endless.
For whatever it is; music, literature, movies, somehow all these speculations might boost the sales, or at least interest towards the song or the person behind it.
I'm just wondering what kind of feelings does it boost in the mind of a person who created that actual piece. Relief of having let it all out by writing or composing? Relief of telling all the world about the reality behind the scenes before? Feeling of vengeance? Feeling of love finally let out in public? Feeling of being an artist and getting attention? Feeling of being able to touch someone's heart? Someone, unknown, out there?
Feargal, Maria, Benmont... I don't care. But you got me. Even over quarter of a century later. Sometimes the pain in heart brings great results.
Feelings. Nothing more than feelings. But also nothing less.

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