♫ Vincent ♫

I last played this in 2019 … it’s one of those that you don’t think about until you see it mentioned or hear it played, and then you say, “Oh yeah … I remember that one!”

Van GoghVincent by Don McLean was released in 1972.  The words and imagery of this song represent the life, work, and death of Vincent Van Gogh. The Starry Night is one of the Dutch impressionist’s most famous paintings.The lyrics, “Paint your palette blue and gray” reflect the prominent colors of the painting, and are probably a reference to Vincent’s habit of sucking on or biting his paintbrushes while he worked. The “ragged men in ragged clothes” and “how you tried to set them free” refer to Van Gogh’s humanitarian activities and love of the socially outcast as also reflected in his paintings and drawings. “They would not listen/They did not know how” refers to Van Gogh’s family and some associates who were critical of his kindness to “the wretched.”

According to McLean …

“It was inspired by a book. And it said that it was written by Vincent’s brother, Theo. And Theo also had this illness, the same one Van Gogh had. So what caused the idea to percolate in my head was, first of all, what a beautiful idea for a piece of music. Secondly, I could set the record straight, basically, he wasn’t crazy. But then I thought, well, how do you do this? Again, I wanted to have each thing be different.

I’m looking through the book and fiddling around and I saw the painting. I said, Wow, just tell the story using the color, the imagery, the movement, everything that’s in the painting. Because that’s him more than he is him.

One thing I want to say is that music is like poetry in so many ways. You have wit and drama and humor and pathos and anger and all of these things create the subtle tools that an artist, a stage artist, a good one, uses. Sadly, this has really gone out of music completely. So it makes someone like me a relic, because I am doing things and people like me are doing things that utilize all the classic means of emotional expression.”

This hit #1 in the UK, #3 in Canada, and #12 in the U.S.

Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)
Don McLean

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and grey
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue
Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night
You took your life, as lovers often do
But I could have told you, Vincent
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget
Like the strangers that you’ve met
The ragged men in the ragged clothes
The silver thorn, a bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will

Songwriters: Don McLean
Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Jolly ‘N Joyful Take Over

Hello fwiends!  Jolly Monday dis week is brought to you by me ‘n Joyful, ’cause Gwammie is in a wabbit hole and Uncle David is workin’ on gettin’ her out, but we couldn’t let you start da week without some laughs, so we did the best we could without her!  Joyful was busy helpin’ me wid da ‘toons ‘n stuff, so we just picked up some donuts for da mornin’ snack … I hope dat’s okay.  So, go get a donut an’ a coffee and come see what fun stuff we found for you!

While Jolly was off finding ‘toons, I went in search of some music puns, and here’s what I found!

And now for some ‘toons to make you laugh!

An’ here’s a few memes, too!

And we found a cute cwitter video wif a bear cub pwayin’ wif some lion cubs … it’s short, but we hope it makes you smile!

Well, fwiends, we hope you enjoyed our limited, gwammie-less Jolly Monday, and we pwomise to get Gwammie out o’ da wabbit hole before next Monday!  Love ‘n hugs from Jolly ‘n Joyful (and Gwammie, aka Filosofa)!

♫ Paint It, Black ♫

I really didn’t intend to go on a Rolling Stones streak this week, but I’ve already played a couple, so I might as well go for an even three, right?

Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in 1966, all five band members contributed to the final arrangement.  In contrast to previous Rolling Stones singles with straightforward rock arrangements, Paint It Black has unconventional instrumentation including a prominent sitar, the Hammond organ, and castanets.  The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2018, and Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song number 213 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

While the lyrics appear to tell the story of a girl who died …

  • “I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black” – The hearse and limos.
  • “With flowers and my love both never to come back” – The flowers from the funeral and her in the hearse. He talks about his heart being black because of his loss.
  • “I could not foresee this thing happening to you” – It was an unexpected and sudden death.
  • “If I look hard enough into the setting sun, my love will laugh with me before the morning comes” – This refers to her in an afterlife.

when asked about the meaning, Mick Jagger replied that “It means, ‘Paint It, Black.’ ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ means ‘I can’t get no satisfaction.’”

Inspired by more Indian and Mid-Eastern sounds, the song was written while the band was in Fiji for three days. Adding to their musical experiments, guitarist Brian Jones first introduces the sitar into the mix—and marked the first time the Stones featured the instrument in their music—and would often play the wooden instrument, sat cross-legged, during television appearances. The sitar was most likely a discovery during the band’s break in the South Pacific around a tour in Australia.  Keith Richards said …

“They make sitars and all sorts of Indian stuff. We had the sitars, we thought we’d try them out in the studio. To get the right sound on Paint It Black we found the sitar fitted perfectly. We tried a guitar but you can’t bend it enough.”

Released in the midst of the Vietnam War, the song was later used on the late 1980s TV series Tour of Duty about the ongoing war and Stanley Kubrick even used the song in closing credits of his 1983 war classic Full Metal Jacket. There were never blatant political references in the song, but nonetheless it quickly became an anthem for a very culturally conscious and dissonant youth during the war.

This hit #1 in Canada, the UK and the U.S., and either #1 or #2 in many other countries.

Paint It, Black

Rolling Stones

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore, I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black
With flowers and my love, both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a newborn baby it just happens ev’ryday

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and I must have it painted black
Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts
It’s not easy facing up when your whole world is black

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you
If I look hard enough into the setting sun
My love will laugh with me before the morning comes

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I want to see your face painted black, black as night, black as coal
Don’t want to see the sun, flying high in the sky
I want to see it painted, painted, painted, painted black, yea

Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind


I’m tired, my friends, and I imagine you are too.

  • I’m tired of being told that more than 3,200 deaths by guns, including 44 mass shootings in less than 28 days is simply the ‘price of freedom’. Freedom to … WHAT?  Get shot to death at the grocery store?  To have our children killed in school?  If that’s the price of freedom, you can keep the damned freedom!
  • I’m tired of the altogether too frequent killing of people by the police … the very people we are supposed to be able to trust to protect life. The relatively few police who take the lives of primarily Black people who have done little or no wrong, have given police officers everywhere a bad name and frankly, if I see a cop in a store, I turn the other way, hoping he doesn’t even notice me.  If I see one behind me at a traffic light, my heart stops and I try so hard to look innocent that I probably look guilty!
  • I’m tired of being called a ‘Marxist’ because I believe in human rights, believe that nobody should amass huge amounts of wealth while others go to bed hungry at night, or live on the streets in cardboard boxes.
  • I’m tired of spending more than half of my monthly Social Security stipend on medications that are essential to keep me from dying, while seeing the profits of the pharma companies that manufacture those drugs skyrocket.
  • I’m tired of listening to Republican politicians threatening to cut that very same Social Security that a) I paid into all my life, and b) is not enough to support me if I lived on my own! This is a threat against the very survival of those of us over a certain age, so apparently those politicians have decided that our lives no longer add value to the world.
  • I’m tired of conspiracy theories, especially those lies told by politicians who know the truth, but find it more expeditious to their own ends to push the lies.  And I’m tired of the ignorance in the general public that allows so many everyday people to believe those lies.
  • I’m tired of companies that raise their prices for one of a variety of excuses – supply chain issues, staffing shortages, increased production costs – and then at the end of the year show a huge increase in their profits.
  • I’m tired of the bigotry that is on the rise in this country. Anti-LGBTQ sentiment, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny … all are increasing at significant levels, thanks in part to religious ‘leaders’ who have zero tolerance for any that don’t fit their pat little images, and in part due to politicians like Ron DeSantis and others who promote the idea that ‘other’ is bad, ‘other’ is to be shunned.
  • I’m tired of a free press that keeps shoving the former guy down our throats. By now, he should have faded into obscurity to the point that if we saw a picture of him, we’d say, “Oh yeah … I remember that fat slob … what was his name again?”  But no, we have to see his picture and read every word that comes out of his lying mouth on a daily basis.
  • I’m tired, most of all, of Republican politicians in Congress who are bastards. Sorry, Keith, but that fits them to a ‘T’.  They take our hard-earned tax dollars to the tune of $174,000 and more every year, and then fail miserably to do the job for which we paid them.  They don’t legislate, they retaliate.  They don’t build, they destroy.  They don’t govern, they campaign.  Before the current 118th Congress was even seated, they were already plotting their next election campaigns.  I’m tired of our government being so divided by party that ‘party’ is the only thing that matters, not people.
  • I’m tired of feeling helpless to change any of the things I’m tired of. I’m tired of being ashamed of this country I’ve lived in for almost 72 years now, tired of wishing I were almost anywhere but here.  My vote is my voice, but it is a very small voice, made even smaller with such tactics as gerrymandering that dilute my voice.

I could probably think of more, but … I’m tired of writing for tonight, so I think I’ll go read for a while now.

A Few Thoughts

Just a few of my thoughts on this Saturday afternoon …

I think the people of District 3 in New York should have the opportunity to recall George Santos and force a special election.  The man they thought they were voting for, after all, does not exist.  Mr. Santos, or whatever his name actually is, built his reputation on a tower of lies … a very high tower, as it were.  And now, that tower is crumbling and should by any logical thought, be brought down before it does significant damage.  However, by the terms set forth in the U.S. Constitution, a member of the House can only be removed by a 2/3 majority vote in the House … or death.  With the current panic by Republicans over losing so much as one seat of their paper-thin majority, that is beyond unlikely.  Remember when the former guy said he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and not suffer any repercussions?  Well, apparently that also applies to George Santos and any other House Republicans.

Apparently, the committee name “House Intelligence Committee” is a misnomer, for Republican House Leader McCarthy has ejected the only two members who actually had any … intelligence, that is.  Yep, the arsehole refused to allow two very intelligent and qualified Democrats, Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, to serve on the ‘Intelligence’ Committee.  Both have previously served on the committee, and Adam Schiff, notably, has led the Intelligence Committee for the past four years!

McCarthy did not diss Schiff and Swalwell because they weren’t qualified – he dissed them in retaliation for the times that some of his choices were not chosen for various committees, such as when Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t allow the two Jims – Jordan and Banks – to serve on the January 6th investigative committee because both had played a role in the insurrection.  Or the time that the Democratic-led House stripped Marge Greene and Paul Gosar, two radical conspiracy theorists, from their committee assignments.  Or perhaps, as Adam Schiff says …

“His objection seems to be that I was the lead impeachment manager in Donald Trump’s first impeachment, and that we held him accountable for withholding hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid from Ukraine. So he is now, I think, carrying the dirty water for the former president in trying to remove me from the intel committee.”

Whatever the reason, he is denying two of the House members with the most experience a seat on an important committee, one that is crucial to the security of the nation, for reasons that make no sense to a rational mind.

Remember, folks, it’s not about good governance, it’s not about what’s best for the nation and its people, it’s not about justice or truth, it’s only about power and wealth for the few.  Full stop.  Let us hope that in November 2024, people will vote more conscientiously, will actually put thought into their vote rather than simply voting along party lines or for the loudest voice.

And now, let’s lighten the mood with a few ‘toons, shall we?

♫ Honky Tonk Women ♫

A few days ago when I played Get Off Of My Cloud by the Rolling Stones, this one was mentioned by a couple of you in comments, and I was rather surprised to find that I hadn’t played it here before, but according to my archives, I haven’t (sometimes those archives lie to me, though).  Funny … I always thought this was “Honky Tonk Woman”, but it’s not … it’s “Women” plural!  Learn something new every day!

This was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  According to Keith Richards, the song had its origins …

“… in Brazil. Mick and I, Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg who was pregnant with my son at the time. Which didn’t stop us going off to the Mato Grasso and living on this ranch. It’s all cowboys. It’s all horses and spurs. And Mick and I were sitting on the porch of this ranch house and I started to play, basically fooling around with an old Hank Williams idea. ‘Cause we really thought we were like real cowboys. Honky tonk women. And we were sitting in the middle of nowhere with all these horses, in a place where if you flush the john all these black frogs would fly out. It was great. The chicks loved it. Anyway, it started out a real country honk put on, a hokey thing. And then couple of months later we were writing songs and recording. And somehow by some metamorphosis it suddenly went into this little swampy, black thing, a Blues thing. Really, I can’t give you a credible reason of how it turned around from that to that. Except there’s not really a lot of difference between white country music and black country music. It’s just a matter of nuance and style. I think it has to do with the fact that we were playing a lot around with open tunings at the time. So we were trying songs out just to see if they could be played in open tuning. And that one just sunk in.”

Lead guitarist Brian Jones was a founding member of the group and was considered their leader in their early years. Unfortunately, drug abuse made him pretty much worthless by 1969, and when The Stones finished recording Honky Tonk Women on June 8, 1969, they drove to his house and fired him. The single was released July 3, 1969, the same day Jones was found dead in his swimming pool.  The single was given away to all the fans who helped clean up after The Stones free concert in Hyde Park on July 5, 1969. This was the first concert Mick Taylor played with the band. A life-size cutout of Brian Jones, who died two days earlier, was kept on stage and the show was dedicated to him.

Mick Taylor had taken over for Brian Jones on lead guitar, and this was his first appearance on a Stones recording. Taylor claims he came up with the famous guitar riff, even though Richards plays it.

This was banned in China. When the group made arrangements to play there for the first time in 2003, they had to agree not to play this, “Brown Sugar,” “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” and “Beast Of Burden.” They ended up not playing because of a respiratory disease that was going around China.

This song hit #1 in both the UK and U.S., and was in the top #5 almost everywhere it played!

Honky Tonk Women

Rolling Stones

I met a gin-soaked, bar-room queen in Memphis
She tried to take me upstairs for a ride
She had to heave me right across her shoulder
‘Cause I just can’t seem to drink you off my mind

It’s the honky tonk women
Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues

I laid a divorcée in New York City
I had to put up some kind of a fight
The lady then she covered me with roses
She blew my nose and then she blew my mind

It’s the honky tonk women
Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues
It’s the honky tonk women
Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues

It’s the honky tonk women
Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues

Writer/s: Keith Richards, Mick Jagger
Publisher: Abkco Music Inc.
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Saturday Surprise — Good People Doing Good Things!

I was pondering what to do for a Saturday Surprise post yesterday evening when I read a story from late December in The Washington Post that warmed my heart.  It’s really a good people story, so I pondered saving it for Wednesday, but … who says we can’t have a second dose of heartwarming at the end of another crazy week, eh?  So … grab your box of tissues and read about a disabled man and the young woman who saved his life …

A disabled man was stuck in a Buffalo snowbank. A stranger heard his cry and saved him.

‘This kind woman came out and heard a human being in deep distress and did something about it,’ said Ray Barker.

By Sydney Page

27 December 2022

At 7:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve, Yvonne White got a call from an unknown number.

“Hi. You don’t know me, but I have your brother,” a shaky voice on the other end of the line said.

It was Sha’Kyra Aughtry, a Buffalo resident, who had rescued White’s brother, Joey, amid the deadly winter storm that began battering Western New York a few days prior.

Joey White, 64, is mentally disabled, his sister said. She called him just before the storm hit, sternly instructing him not to leave the group home where he lives. He promised her he would stay put.

But as Buffalo’s worst blizzard in 50 years pummeled the city, Joey White — who also goes by Joe — ventured outside.

It’s unclear what time Joey White left home or for what purpose, Yvonne White said, but she suspects he walked about nine miles to the North Park Theatre — a single-screen cinema where he has worked as a janitor since 1980. She believes he got scared and spent the night there inside, and eventually decided to walk back home.

Joey White’s employer, Ray Barker — the program director at North Park Theatre — also called him on Dec. 22 before the blizzard began, telling him not to come to work.

“For someone who’s used to being in a pattern, I think it’s hard not to engage that pattern,” said Barker, explaining that during the pandemic, when the theater was closed, Joey White still showed up for work. “Joe is used to his pattern.”

Around 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 24, Joey White ended up in a snowbank, directly outside Aughtry’s home, which is about a seven-minute drive from the theater, in normal conditions. He was wailing and crying out in agony, Aughtry told Yvonne White.

Aughtry — who did not respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post — heard the stranger screaming, and found him outside, completely disoriented. She went into the storm with her boyfriend, and they carried Joey White into their home, Yvonne White said.

Joey White had visible signs of severe frostbite. Aughtry told Yvonne White she used a hairdryer to peel off his clothing, which clung tightly to his shivering body. She also cut off his frozen socks and removed the remnants of a grocery store bag that were cemented to Joey White’s hands. Aughtry sent Yvonne White photos of her brother’s skin, which look severely swollen and covered in multicolored blisters and sores.

After about an hour of trying to warm him up, Aughtry — a mother of three boys, ages 5, 6 and 13 — called Yvonne White. Joey White had memorized his sister’s phone number.

“The simple fact that he remembered my phone number is miracle number one,” said Yvonne White, 60, adding that she and Aughtry stayed in constant communication from then on.

Hearing about her brother’s state was “just heartbreaking,” Yvonne White said, especially because she had no way of getting there to help, as she lived about 20 miles away and roads were glazed in ice and snow.

“Sha’Kyra was telling me that he was literally frozen,” Yvonne White said. “She covered him up, she did everything for this man. She washed his clothes, she bathed him, she fed him.”

Still, despite all Aughtry had done to treat his wounds, he urgently needed medical attention. Getting help, though, was seemingly impossible.

“We called 911 easily 100 times,” Yvonne White said. “We tried everything.”

“With the blizzard, all of the emergency services have been affected,” said Barker, adding that Aughtry also contacted the theater to let staff know about Joey White’s condition. “We’ve been worried sick about him.”

“We were flipping out and crying,” Yvonne White said. “It was just getting worse and worse.”

In a desperate cry for help on Dec. 25 — one full day after Joey White showed up outside her house — Aughtry posted a live video on Facebook, which was widely watched.

“I’ve been very private and sensitive about this situation,” said Aughtry, who explained the crisis, adding that she had exhausted all options for getting medical help. “I have literally called everybody under the sun.”

“I’m asking for help from whoever,” she continued. “This man needs serious help.”

Yvonne White also posted a plea in a local Facebook group, and within half an hour, countless neighbors offered to help, and several showed up to plow around Aughtry’s home. They wrapped Joey White in a warm blanket, and carefully transported him to the Erie County Medical Center. Aughtry accompanied him for the ride.

“I’m so glad that y’all came,” Aughtry said in a video recording.

“I’m right here. You okay?” she reassured Joey White on the way to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with fourth-degree frostbite. “Nothing’s going to happen. Just breathe.”

The story was first shared by Sweet Buffalo, a local news organization, and then took off on social media. North Park Theatre staff set up GoFundMe pages for both Joey White and Aughtry.

He is being treated in the trauma unit, and “the physician who is seeing him won’t know how he’ll come through this until time goes by,” Barker said. “We are very much hoping that they will not have to amputate any of his fingers.”

Above all, though, Barker is grateful that Joey White — who he described as a “gentle soul” with a strong work ethic and a love of sports (especially baseball) — is alive. That is all owed, he said, to Aughtry.

“This kind woman came out and heard a human being in deep distress and did something about it, which most people in this day and age wouldn’t necessarily do,” he said, adding that the theater is planning to do something to honor Aughtry. “She saved his life.”

“Her act was an act of goodness, it was an act of charity, it was an act of empathy, it was an act of care,” Barker continued. “Joe won’t be able to express his gratitude fully, but he will feel it emotionally.”

Yvonne White, too, is overwhelmed with relief and appreciation that her big brother is safe.

“This stranger opened up her heart and opened up her home,” said Yvonne White, who is asking for people to send get-well cards to her brother to comfort him during his hospital stay. “I cannot wait to hug her.”

For more reasons than one, this was far from the holiday she hoped for, but amid the suffering and misfortune, Yvonne White found a silver lining.

“I feel that Joey and I now have a sister and a brother and three nephews,” she said. “This was such a Christmas miracle.”

More Questions Than Answers

This man, Tyre Nichols …

… is dead.  He died at the hands of police officers who used excessive force at a routine traffic stop on January 7th.

All five of the officers were charged on seven counts yesterday:  one count of second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct, one count of official oppression and one count of aggravated assault while acting in concert.

My initial thought was that here we go again, white cops killing an unarmed Black man.  And then … I saw the picture of the five officers and … my jaw dropped.

Clockwise from top left: Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, and Desmond Mills Jr.Credit…Memphis Police Department, via Associated Press

I’m not proud of the fact that I automatically jumped to a conclusion about the colour of the officers’ skin … what does that say about my own prejudices?  A topic I shall need to ponder on in a bit.

Meanwhile, I don’t know much about the incident, but I have questions.  Why were five officers involved in a single traffic stop?  I’ve been stopped before, but never by more than one or two officers.  It is said that they pulled him over in suspicion of reckless driving, there was a skirmish, the police used pepper spray, and Mr. Nichols left the vehicle and ran.  The officers caught up with him and beat him so severely that he died three days later.  What caused five supposedly well-trained police officers to severely beat a man … any man? There is video … presumably body-cam footage … that will be released sometime after 6:00 p.m. tonight.

Why the delay, you ask?  Because of the near certainty that once the public sees what has been said to be horrifying, shocking video, protests are expected, so the timing is critical … Friday night, when most people have left work and are home, safe & sound for the weekend.  Not only Memphis, but the entire nation seems to be braced for a huge public backlash.  Officials are telling people that it’s fine to exercise their right to protest, but to please do so peacefully.  Everyone from Nichols’ own mother to President Biden is calling for peaceful protest …

“As Americans grieve, the Department of Justice conducts its investigation, and state authorities continue their work, I join Tyre’s family in calling for peaceful protest. Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable.  Violence is destructive and against the law.  It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice.”

In the coming weeks, questions will be answered in this most puzzling, tragic case.  Meanwhile, I hope that protests are peaceful, but I won’t be surprised if they are not.  People seem not to have learned that you cannot fight violence with violence.  I hope people will remember what Dr. Martin Luther King said …

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars … Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

♫ People ♫

I didn’t need to look far or long for tonight’s song … it rather fell into my lap.  People … people who need people … people who help people … people who care about people.  Maybe it’s time for this world to stop for a few minutes, to remember what it means to be a human, a ‘people’.  We’re so busy putting down others, finding fault, seeking and finding superficial reasons to hate, that we’ve forgotten our humanity.  We all need people in our lives, but in exchange, we also need to be that ‘people’ in someone else’s life.  Take a deep breath … forget about the hatred, the conflict, the evil and the battles for just a minute and let Barbra’s voice carry you away …

According to SongFacts …

Composer Jule Styne and lyricist Bob Merrill wrote this for the 1964 Broadway musical Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand as real-life entertainer Fanny Brice. While some sources claim “People” was a cast-off from the 1962 animated version of A Christmas Carol (starring the nearsighted Mister Magoo), Styne biographer Theodore Taylor disputed the theory.

The songwriting duo met in Palm Beach, Florida, to hash out songs for Funny Girl. They realized they needed a tender song to reflect the complicated romance between Brice and her gambler/con artist boyfriend Nick Arnstein. Taylor described the scene in his 1979 book Jule: The Story of Composer Jule Styne: “Jule turned to his collaborator Bob Merrill, ‘You told me the other night to work on [the lyric] ‘a very special person.’ I think I’ve got a helluva melody for it.’…’Great,’ Merrill yelled. ‘But now it’s not gonna be just a ‘special person.’ Listen.’ Then he ad-libbed, while Jule played the melody again: ‘People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world.'”

Styne and Merrill knew they had something special when they finished the song, which took just 30 minutes to write – if only they could convince the producers, who cut the tune from early tryouts. Merrill fought to keep the song in the musical, which seemed to be a losing battle until Streisand was permitted to sing it one night and it brought the house down.

This was Streisand’s breakthrough hit and marked several firsts in her career. Not only was it her first single to land in the Top 10, it was her first one to even break the Top 40. It was also her first chart-topper on the Adult Contemporary tally. That same year, she re-recorded it for her first #1 album, People.

Barbra Streisand

People who need people,
Are the luckiest people in the world
We’re children, needing other children
And yet letting a grown-up pride
Hide all the need inside
Acting more like children than children

Lovers, very special people
They’re the luckiest people in the world
With one person (one person)
One very special person (one very special person)

A feeling deep in your soul (in your soul)
Says you were half now you’re whole
No more hunger and thirst
First be a person who needs people
People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world

No more hunger or thirst
First be a person who needs people (people need people)
People who need people
Are the luckiest (luckiest) people in the world

People who need people in the world
People who need people (send them your love)
Who need people
People who need people in the world (people who need people)
Send them your love (oh those people)
People who need people in the world (people who need people)
(Send them your love)
(People who need people in the world) people who need people
(Send them your love) people
People who need people in the world

(Send them your love)

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Carmine Appice / Mark Stein / Tim Bogert / Vincent Martell
People lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Remember …

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  It is a day we should all remember … a day we should hope never EVER happens again.  The lessons of this history have never been more relevant than they are today as we see many nations leaning away from democratic principles and toward authoritarianism, and as we see a rise in hate crimes, rise in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.  Those lessons of history should be the focus of this solemn International Holocaust Remembrance Day—designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, on January 27th, marking the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, in 1945.

The victims of the Holocaust were an estimated 6 million Jewish people, 200,000 Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.  We must … MUST take time to remember these victims and take note of how it all came about, else we risk repeating the mistakes, the horrors, of the past.

History and the lessons we must learn from it tend to seem less relevant to us as the years pass.  Today, 78 years after the end of WWII and 78 years after the liberation, there are few people still living who have direct, personal memories of the Holocaust.  But, we have the recorded history in stories and pictures to remind us.  These were not just “six million Jews” … these were people … REAL PEOPLE.  They were grandchildren, spouses, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters … they were each and every one loved by other people!  We cannot forget them or simply brush them off as another historical fact!  Take the story of 15-year-old Bertha Adler …

1940-44: Bertha was 11 when the Germans occupied Liege. Two years later, the Adlers, along with all the Jews, were ordered to register and Bertha and her sisters were forced out of school. Some Catholic friends helped the Adlers obtain false papers and rented them a house in a nearby village. There, Bertha’s father fell ill one Friday and went to the hospital. Bertha promised to visit him on Sunday to bring him shaving cream. That Sunday, the family was awakened at 5 a.m. by the Gestapo. They had been discovered.  Fifteen-year-old Bertha was deported to Auschwitz on May 19, 1944. She was gassed there two days later.

Or survivor Arye Ephrath …

From the moment he was born, Arye Ephrath was in danger. His mother gave birth to him with the help of a housemaid in spring 1942 while hiding from the first wave of deportations of Jews from their hometown in Slovakia. Later, a shepherd and his wife took in Arye on the condition they could disguise him as a girl so that he would blend in with their daughters.

Or the Margules children …

Pictured above are the Margules children wearing Jewish Star of David badges. Originally from Warsaw, the Margules family settled in Paris in the 1930s. Three of the children were deported and killed in 1942. Only one daughter (pictured at the bottom right) survived the war. Paris, France, 1941. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Mirka Margules

Real people … these were real people like you and me.  It is true that we cannot dwell on nor live in the past, but we can also never afford to forget the past, else we are certain to keep repeating it.  More and more of late I am disgusted by people making comparisons of such things as mask and vaccine mandates to the Holocaust … THERE IS NO COMPARISON!!!  And today there is a push by certain politicos to re-write history, to teach children only happy things that won’t give them any discomfort.  BULLSHIT!  History is often uncomfortable, but it is far less uncomfortable for young people studying it in a well-lit, comfortable classroom than it was for those who lived … or died … through it!  Whitewashing history does not make it simply go away, does not erase what happened, it only makes us more deaf to the voices from the past.

I leave you with a poem by Charlene Schiff, nee Shulamit Perlmutter, the only one in her family to have survived the Holocaust …

I Remember

By Charlene Schiff

I Remember
Blowing bubbles in the air Rainbow colors, all so fair.
Nightingales and jasmine’s scent All that love and beauty meant.

I Remember
Rainbow colors, no, no more Guards with rifles by the door.
Star of David on my coat I can’t swim, I can’t float.

I Remember
A haystack in a farmer’s field Used by seven as a shield.
Then only one of us is left, filled with sorrow and bereft.

I Remember
The bottom of a water well. Did someone see me, will they tell?
I’m slipping, clinging to the rounded wall Dear God, don’t let me fall.

I Remember
Being hungry, snow and frost Cold, alone, and very lost.
Why go on with such a life Stalked by terror’s cutting knife?

I Remember
My heart by now an empty shell From all that pain, from all that hell.
It’s such a long and awful war My wounds forever an open sore.

I Remember
Papa’s hug and Mama’s kiss.
Darling Sister I’ll always miss.

Their loving, sweet and gentle faces.
Gaze at me from empty spaces.
They’re gone forever—all is vanished.
And my soul to torment banished.

Remember, my friends.  Do not let the lives of nearly seven million people be forgotten and do not fall into complacency thinking it cannot happen here or cannot happen again.  Yes, it can.

Note to readers:  My friend, Bee, has written a short but very insightful post about Holocaust Remembrance Day that I urge you to visit.  Thank you, Bee!