♫ Higher Love ♫

The inspiration for tonight’s song comes from Joe Biden & Kamala Harris’ victory speech earlier tonight from Wilmington, Delaware, where they played this after giving their speeches.  It seemed as good as any to celebrate what I see as a chance to restore unity, sanity and compassion to this nation.

Released in 1986 by Steve Winwood, Higher Love was written by Winwood and Will Jennings and produced by Russ Titelman and Winwood. The female vocals on the song were performed by Chaka Khan, who also appeared in the promotional music video.

This was Winwood’s first Billboard Hot 100 number-one song, topping the chart for one week.  The song earned two Grammy Awards, for Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. It also peaked at number 13 in the United Kingdom, Winwood’s highest charting solo entry there, and reached number one in Canada for a week.

Whitney Houston covered the song in 1990, and in June 2019 Norwegian DJ Kygo reworked Houston’s cover into a tropical house track and it was released as a single worldwide.  On August 21, 2019, their version hit number one on Billboard magazine’s Dance Club Songs chart, making it Houston’s highest-charting posthumous release to date, and hit #2 in the Uk, even better than Winwood’s.

I like both the Winwood version and the Whitney Houston/Kygo one, so I thought I’d just play both and let you pick one or listen to both.

Higher Love
Steve Winwood; Whitney Houston, Kygo

Think about it, there must be a higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
Without it, life is wasted time
Look inside your heart, and I’ll look inside mine

Things look so bad everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk the line and try to see
Fallin’ behind in what could be, oh

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love, oh
Bring me a higher love
Where’s that higher love I keep thinking of?

That love, that love
Bring me higher love, love
That love, that love
Bring me higher love, oh
That love, that love
Bring me higher love, love
That love, that love
Bring me a higher love

That love, that love
Bring me higher love, love
That love, that love
Bring me higher love, oh
That love, that love
Bring me higher love, love
That love, that love
Bring me a higher love

Worlds are turnin’, and we’re just hanging on
Facing our fear, and standin’ out there alone
A yearning, yeah, and it’s real to me
There must be someone who’s feeling for me

Things look so bad everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk the line and try to see
Fallin’ behind in what could be, oh

Bring me a higher love (oh my Lord)
Bring me a higher love, oh (oh)
Bring me a higher love (my Lord)
It’s that higher love I keep thinking of

That love, that love
Bring me higher love, love
That love, that love
Bring me higher love, oh
That love, that love
Bring me higher love, love
That love, that love
Bring me a higher love

oh, bring me love
(Bring me a higher love, oh) we need a higher love
(Bring me a higher love) bring me, bring me, yeah
A higher love I keep thinking of, oh

That love, that love (bring me a higher love)
Bring me higher love, love
That love, that love (bring me a higher love)
Bring me higher love, oh
That love, that love (bring me a higher love)
Bring me higher love, love
A higher love I keep thinking of

Bring me a higher love (that love, that love)
(Bring me higher love, love)
Bring me a higher love (that love, that love)
(Bring me higher love) oh

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Steve Winwood / Will Jennings
Higher Love lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

♫ True ♫

Yesterday a friend mentioned the band Spandau Ballet — a group who I haven’t thought of in probably 30 years, but immediately when I saw the name mentioned, this song, True, came pouring into my head.  Until tonight, I didn’t know the lyrics or the backstory, but I always loved the song.

True was composed by group leader Gary Kemp, who wrote the song at his parents’ house while living there. It is a song that in part pays tribute to the Motown artist Marvin Gaye, who is mentioned in the lyrics, and the sound he helped to establish. According to Kemp …

“I think I wanted to write a song that was a bit like a Marvin Gaye, Al Green song, a blue-eyed soul song. It was at a time when it was me concentrating on melody first rather than the sort of riff and the groove. ‘True’ became a song about writing a love song. Why ‘Why do I find it hard to write the next line? I want the truth to be said?’ Because I didn’t want to write it down—because there’s nothing more embarrassing.”

The song was partly about Kemp’s platonic relationship (and unrequited love) with Altered Images singer Clare Grogan …

“I was infatuated with Clare Grogan. I met her on Top of the Pops and, at one point, travelled up to Scotland to have tea with her and her mum and dad. Although my feelings were unrequited and the relationship was platonic, it was enough to trigger a song.”

Some phrases in the lyrics were adapted from the novel Lolita, a copy of which Clare Grogan had given Gary Kemp.

“The lyrics are full of coded messages to Clare.  I’m still berated for the line ‘Take your seaside arms’ but it’s straight out of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, which she had given me as a present – although in the book, it’s ‘seaside limbs.’ The line ‘With a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue’ is also a bastardisation of Nabokov.”

Kemp did an interview with The Guardian back in 2014 that you might find interesting:  Spandau Ballet: We wanted to design the next decade’s pop culture

Released in 1983, this is the only song by the British group to make the top ten in the U.S.  It hit #1 in Canada, Ireland and the UK, and #4 in the U.S.

True
Spandau Ballet

So true, funny how it seems
Always in time, but never in line for dreams
Head over heels when toe to toe
This is the sound of my soul
This is the sound

I bought a ticket to the world
But now I’ve come back again
Why do I find it hard to write the next line?
I want the truth to be said

I, I-I-I, I
I know this much is true
I, I-I-I, I
I know this much is true

With a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue
Dissolve the nerves that have just begun
Listening to Marvin (all night long)
This is the sound of my soul
This is the sound

Always slipping from my hands
Sand’s a time of its own
Take your seaside arms and write the next line
I want the truth to be known

I, I-I-I, I
I know this much is true
I, I-I-I, I
Ooh, I know this much is true, I know this much is true

I bought a ticket to the world
But now I’ve come back again
Why do I find it hard to write the next line?
I want the truth to be, I want the truth to be said

I, I-I-I, I
I know this much is true
I, I-I-I, I
Ooh, I know this much is true, I know this much is true

This much is true

This much is true
This much is true
This much is true
This much is true
This much is true
This much is true

I, I-I-I, I, I
Know this much is true
I, I-I-I, I, I
Know this much is true
This much is true
This much is true
I know, I know, I know this much is true

This much is true
This much is true
This much is true (I, I-I-I, I, I)
This much is true
I know this much is true

This much is true (I, I-I-I, I, I)
This much is true
Know this much is true
This much is true (I, I-I-I, I, I)
This much is true
Know this much is true
I know, I know, I know this much is true

This much is true (I, I-I-I, I, I)
This much is true
I know this much is true
This much is true

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Gary Kemp
True lyrics © Reformation Publishing Co Ltd

♫ I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues ♫

All day long, I’ve had a song in mind to play for my music post … ALL DAY!  Even as recently as about 7:00, that song was playing non-stop, over and over in my head.  And now, at just after midnight … where do you think the song is?  That’s right …

Poof-2

Gone.  I’ve wracked my brain for it, but … I draw a blank.  All I can think of is … guacamole!  Hmmm … I do have two avocados in the fridge … I could make a nice little bowl of guacamole, and there are some extra thin crispy tortilla chips …

back-in-a-minute

Ahhhh … here … I’ll even share …

guacamole

Okay, now back to the business at hand … er … could somebody remind me just what business was at hand?  Oh yeah!  A song.  Well, since the song wouldn’t come back to my head, I closed my eyes, leaned my head back in my chair … and fell asleep!

sleeping-woman

Anyway … I finally came up with a tune for today!  You guys know how I love Elton John, right?  And I haven’t played any Elton for a while now, right?  And, I found one that I’ve never played … not ever on this blog!

As is the case with most of Elton’s songs, the lyrics were written by Bernie Taupin.  Taupin wrote this song as a love letter to his wife at the time, Toni Russo, who is the sister of the actress Rene Russo. In the album credits, Bernie wrote, “Hey Toni, this one’s for you.”  According to Taupin …

“I wrote this in Montserrat, an island that, tragically, no longer exists. Basically, it’s a letter home with a small tip included about making the most of time, not wishing it away just because you can’t be with the one you love. Time is precious; read books, paint a picture, bake a cake. Just don’t wallow, don’t be content.”

This song contains one of the few lyrics that Bernie Taupin regrets. He later said:

“The whole ‘loving you more than I love life itself’ is something I would never say now. It’s kind of a crass sentiment and totally false. It’s quite another thing to love someone deeply with your whole heart without stooping to this kind of lie. I loathe giving songwriting advice, but were I pushed, I’d say, ‘Never say you love someone more than life or that you’d die for someone in a song.’ It’s just such a disservice to your own spirit. I’d like to think that I’d lay down my life for my children, but until you’re faced with the reality, it’s kind of a moot point. Rambling, I know, but relative nonetheless.”

Stevie-Wonder-harmonicaNow here’s something that was news to me … another of my all-time favourites, Stevie Wonder, played harmonica on this track!  Now the song is even more special, knowing that!

The song made it to #4 in the U.S., #5 in the UK, and #1 in both Canada and Zimbabwe!

I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
Elton John

Don’t wish it away
Don’t look at it like it’s forever
Between you and me I could honestly say
That things can only get better

And while I’m away
Dust out the demons inside
And it won’t be long before you and me run
To the place in our hearts where we hide

And I guess that’s why they call it the blues
Time on my hands could be time spent with you
Laughing like children, living like lovers
Rolling like thunder under the covers
And I guess that’s why they call it the blues

Just stare into space
Picture my face in your hands
Live for each second without hesitation
And never forget I’m your man

Wait on me girl
Cry in the night if it helps
But more than ever I simply love you
More than I love life itself

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bernie Taupin / Davey Johnstone / Elton John
I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Bad Moon Rising ♫ (Redux)

As I was catching up on comments late tonight, I noted that blogging friend Mary Plumbago had mentioned a couple of song titles that our current situation brought to her mind, and one of those was this one, Bad Moon Rising, by Creedence Clearwater Revival.  As I sit here, well past the time that most normal people are sawing logs and dreaming of mermaids under the sea, I am pondering … pondering the future of this nation.  When I re-read this post that I first played in 2018, and I read the words of John Fogerty saying that the song is about “the apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us”, I cannot help but relate it to our current situation — a volatile election, an incumbent with the mentality of a 4-year-old child, a global standing teetering on the brink of being annihilated, and a world seemingly gone mad.  Tonight, my friends, I feel a bad moon rising …


John Fogerty explained that the lyrics were inspired by a movie called The Devil And Daniel Webster, in which a hurricane wipes out most of a town. This is where he got the idea for the words “I feel the hurricane blowin’, I hope you’re quite prepared to die.” Overall, he said the song is about the “apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us.”  That is a theme that, I think, is just about as relevant today as it was in 1969 when this song was released by Creedence Clearwater Revival, aka CCR.

The song reached its US chart peak of #2 (one of five CCR songs to place that this position – they never got to #1) on July 28, 1969, eight days after the Apollo 11 moon landing. The song has nothing to do with space travel, but the title was somewhat apropos, especially after the mission succeeded.

Now, you all know that I am the world’s worst at getting song lyrics all wrong, so I took some pleasure in reading that the line, “There’s a bad moon on the rise” has often been mistaken for “There’s a bathroom on the right”!

And now, I give you Creedence Clearwater Revival …

Bad Moon Rising
Creedence Clearwater Revival

I see a bad moon a-rising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin’
I see bad times today

Don’t go ’round tonight
It’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise

I hear hurricanes a-blowing
I know the end is coming soon
I fear rivers over flowing
I hear the voice of rage and ruin

Don’t go ’round tonight
It’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise

I hope you got your things together
I hope you are quit prepared to die
Look’s like we’re in for nasty weather
One eye is taken for an eye

Oh don’t go ’round tonight
It’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise
There’s a bad moon on the rise

Songwriters: John C. Fogerty
Bad Moon Rising lyrics © The Bicycle Music Company

♫ I Only Have Eyes For You ♫

I had a song picked out … two songs, actually.  And then I discovered that I had already played both Chances Are and Everlasting Love.  Back to the drawing board.  I was in the mood for some really old 1950s tunes, and the first one that came to mind was this tune by the Flamingos.  I listened … I liked … I’m playing!  Simple, yes?

This song dates back to even before my time … eons ago!  It was written by Henry Warren and Al Dubin for the Busby Berkeley movie musical Dames in 1934, where it was introduced by Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler.

The Flamingos recorded it in 1959, and it also appeared on the American Graffiti soundtrack from 1973.

Frank Sinatra recorded this in 1962 with the Count Basie Orchestra, and Johnny Mathis named an album after this song in 1976. The Count Basie Orchestra did it again in 1990 with George Benson; Art Garfunkel made a very romantic version on his 1975 Breakaway album, which topped the UK chart, reached #18 on the US Hot 100, and was a #1 Adult Contemporary hit. The Lettermen did a version in 1966, and Jerry Butler covered it in 1972.  WHEW!  You know a song is good when that many artists cover it!

The Flamingos’ version was arranged and co-produced by Terry “Buzzy” Johnson, a Baltimore native who joined the group as a first tenor in 1956. Fellow Flamingo Nate Nelson encouraged him to go crazy with the song, but he couldn’t figure out what to do with it. All he knew was the other versions were way too vanilla for his taste. The answer finally came to him in a dream.  Says Johnson …

“I was laying down in my room with the guitar on my chest, playing around with the chords, but no matter what I tried it just didn’t fit. Finally, it was about 12 or one in the morning, and I was so tired that I fell asleep, and in my dream I heard ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ just the way it came out on our record. I heard the ‘doo-bop sh-bop’ [backing vocals], I heard the way the harmony would sound – I heard the harmony so clear, and I heard the structure of the chords. As soon as I woke up, I grabbed the guitar off my chest and it was like God put my fingers just where they were supposed to be. I played those chords and I heard the harmonies, and so I called the guys. I woke them all up and I said, ‘Come over to my room right now! I’ve got ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’!’

They were like, ‘Are you crazy? It’s almost four o’clock!’ and I said, ‘I need you all now, otherwise I may not be able to remember.’ So they came to my room, all of them grumbling, and when they heard me do it they looked at me like, ‘What the hell is this?’ They laughed at me: ‘What’s ‘doo-bop sh-bop, goo-bop sh-bop, boo-bop sh-bop, loo-bop sh-bop, shoo-bop sh-bop”?’ You see, although in my dream it was ‘doo-bop sh-bop’, I had everybody doing a different thing, changing things around to make sure no one could really pick out what we were saying.”

George Goldner, who produced the track with Johnson, didn’t think it was commercial enough to be a single, so the group kept it as an album track and recorded a cover of Russ Columbo’s Goodnight Sweetheart for the first single. That is, until DJs got wind of I Only Have Eyes For You and changed their mind.

Jake Carey (bass) was the shortest member of the group, which made it difficult when he couldn’t reach the mic at the same level as the other guys during the recording session, where the music and vocals were being recorded simultaneously. To his dismay, they asked him to stand on a stack of phone books.

“He was mad as hell. He said, ‘I’m not a midget!’ but we told him, ‘We’re not going to bend our necks down to suit you. The mic has got to be at a certain level for all of us.’ So, we put Jake on three or four phone books and that’s how we recorded, with the background singers on one mic and the lead guy on another.”

Art Garfunkel performed his rendition on the second episode of Saturday Night Live, which aired on October 18, 1975 and was hosted by Paul Simon.

My own preference is The Flamingos version, but … I also like the Garfunkel version, and since I have so many UK readers,  I shall offer up both versions tonight.

I Only Have Eyes for You
The Flamingos

My love must be a kind of blind love
I can’t see anyone but you
(Sha bop sha bop)
(Sha bop sha bop)
(Sha bop sha bop)
(Sha bop sha bop)
(Sha bop sha bop)

Are the stars out tonight (sha bop sha bop)
I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright (sha bop sha bop)
I only have eyes for you dear
(Sha bop sha bop)

The moon may be high
(Sha bop sha bop)
But I can’t see (sha bop sha bop) a thing in the sky
I only have eyes for you

I don’t know if we’re in a garden
Or on a crowded avenue
(Sha bop sha bop)

You are here
(Sha bop sha bop)
And so am I
(Sha bop sha bop)

Maybe millions of people (sha bop sha bop) go by
But they all disappear from view
And I only have eyes for you

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Al Dubin / Harry Warren
I Only Have Eyes for You lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ The Banana Boat Song ♫ (Redux, Redux)

Okay, so this is a double-replay, having played it in February 2019 and again in April 2020, but bear with me here.  First, I needed a break, having just finished writing a mega-rant and being already in high-stress mode from the anticipation of what this week will bring.  But then, a dear sweet friend, knowing of my mood, sent me a humorous take on this song that actually … gasp … made me laugh!  So, no sappy romance tunes or meaningful revolutionary songs tonight … just this … the Banana Boat Song — both the original version and the humorous one, thanks to our friend David.


This is a traditional Jamaican song that was sung by dock workers who worked throughout the night loading bananas onto ships. It’s daylight, and they look forward to the arrival of the Tallyman (who will take inventory) so they can go home.

Belafonte’s version used lyrics adapted by Irving Burgie and William Attaway.  Burgie, sometimes credited as “Lord Burgess,” is a popular Caribbean composer. Attaway was a novelist and songwriter who was friends with Belafonte. Burgie and Attaway wrote most of the songs on the Calypso album.

This remains the most popular mainstream calypso song, and the song most identified with Belafonte. It was not the first calypso hit in America, however. That honor goes to The Andrews Sisters – three white girls from Minnesota – who had a #1 in 1945 with “Rum and Coca-Cola,” a song written and originally recorded by the Trinidadian musician Lord Invader.

In 1956, folk singer Bob Gibson, who had traveled to Jamaica and heard the song, taught his version to the folk band The Tarriers. They recorded a version of that song that incorporated the chorus of “Hill and Gully Rider”, another Jamaican folk song. This release became their biggest hit, reaching number four on the pop charts, where it outperformed Belafonte’s version. The Tarriers’ version was recorded by Shirley Bassey in 1957 and it became a hit in the United Kingdom. The Tarriers, or some subset of the three members of the group (Erik Darling, Bob Carey and Alan Arkin, later better known as an actor) are sometimes credited as the writers of the song; their version combined elements of another song and was thus newly created.

Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)
Harry Belafonte

Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Work all night on a drink of rum
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Stack banana ’til de mornin’ come
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

A beautiful bunch o’ ripe banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Hide the deadly black tarantula
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Songwriters: Dave Tanner / William Attaway / Harry Belafonte / Lord Burgess
Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) lyrics © Semi, Music Sales Corporation

♫ Don’t Know Much ♫ (Redux)

I have had this bloomin’ song stuck in my head for two whole days now, so you guys know what that means, right?  Yes, it means I simply must share it before it drives me nuts.  Mind you, I love this song … but anything that inhabits your sleeping as well as waking moments really needs to be shared.  I last played this in September 2018, so it’s time to feature it again.


The husband-and-wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote this with Tom Snow, who is known for his work on music for movies such as Footloose.  The song first appeared on Mann’s self-titled album in 1980. Bill Medley recorded it in 1981, and Bette Midler released a version called “All I Need To Know” in 1983. But the version that stands above the crowd is this one, a duet with Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville.

Ronstadt and Neville met at the 1984 World’s Fair when both were performing there and realized their mutual admiration. When they decided to work together, they picked this song, which was brought to their attention by producer Steve Tyrell.  This won a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance by a Pop Group or Duo. Ronstadt and Neville would team up for another Grammy-winning song, “All My Life,” which earned the same prize in 1990.

Neville and Ronstadt portray in the song’s music video a couple still in love in their middle age. Neville told Mojo magazine February 2013 that despite the rumors, he and Ronstadt were no more than friends. He said: “The guy who directed called us in a room and said, ‘Look – if y’all ain’t gonna make this thing believable, there ain’t no sense in doin’ it.’ Linda’s a pretty woman – it wasn’t hard to portray that. But they had all kinda stupid rumors out. None of ’em were true ‘cos we’re friends. We respected each other. But I look at the video and it looks kinda suspect (laughs).”

Don’t Know Much
Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville

Look at this face I know the years are showing
Look at this life I still don’t know where it’s going

I don’t know much but I know I love you
That may be all I need to know

Look at these eyes they never seen what matters
Look at these dreams so beaten and so battered

I don’t know much but I know I love you
That may be all I need to know

So many questions still left unanswered
So much I’ve never broken through
And when I feel you near me, sometimes I see so clearly
That only truth I’ll never know is me and you

Look at this man so blessed with inspiration
Look at this soul still searching for salvation

I don’t know much but I know I love you
That may be all I need to know

I don’t know much but I know I love you
That may be all I need to know

I don’t know much but I know I love you
That may be all there is to know

Songwriters: Tom Snow / Cynthia Weil / Barry Mann
Don’t Know Much lyrics © Karen Schauben Publishing Administration

♫ The Way It Is ♫

I played this song in April 2019 … and tonight as I was seeking a song … a meaningful song for the strife of the moment … I came across this one.  This is one of those songs that speaks of ‘things’ that are wrong in the world, of injustices.  And today, as never before, there are many such ‘things’ wrong in our world.  So, in my angst as I finish my final post for mine and Jeff’s project, as I read the news, as I have a cup (or two) of wine to try to relax enough to sleep, I replay this song.  I know … or at least I believe … that in 50 years this song will still be as relevant as it was when it was first aired in 1986, and as it is today. 

When I posted this last year, my friends in both Canada and the UK were unable to view the video, so I have changed the video in hopes that they, too, will be able to enjoy Bruce Hornsby and the Rain … er, Range!


Sometimes one of you refers to a song when commenting on my music posts, and a 💡comes on … an AHA! moment, as I am reminded of a song I haven’t heard nor thought of in years.  Such was the case yesterday when Roger commented that yesterday’s song reminded him of this one by Bruce Hornsby and the Range.  Well, I remembered the song, always liked the song, but I thought it was ‘Bruce Hornsby and the Rain’.  I went to check and … my bad … Roger was quite right.  Sigh.

The opening verse recounts a story taking place at a line for welfare that illustrates a divide between the rich and poor. The chorus presents several lines insisting that social ills are “just the way it is”, and repeatedly suggests resigning oneself to them as a fact of life—however, the chorus ends with the author rebuking this attitude by insisting “but don’t you believe them.”

The second verse recounts past social issues from the voice of someone supporting racial segregation. The author responds in a narrative voice, insisting his view that if those who make laws took them into careful consideration they would be convinced that laws enforcing principles like racial segregation are morally wrong. The song reminds the listener that it was at one time argued that racial segregation was “just the way it is”, and suggests that legislation and what the author views as progress on current social issues should be pursued without regard to those who insist “some things will never change.”

The third verse recounts the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a victory in the civil rights movement, but insists that more is needed. In particular, the verse highlights individual prejudice and employment discrimination as an enduring form of racism. The third chorus suggests that it only feels like “some things will never change” when we wait for social problems to change themselves rather than taking steps ourselves to actively change them.

The song was released in 1986, and here, 33 years later the song still has relevance, for we are still fighting the same battles.

According to Hornsby, who grew up in Virginia …

“My mother came from the New England area, and she was a little more enlightened about racial subjects than a lot of people in the South. So I had a different attitude to a lot of my friends whose parents were more conservative. When I was brought up, the vibe I got of Martin Luther King in my town was that he was a real evil man – just the vibe in the air, that he was terrible. And if you grow up in that environment you can’t help but be affected by it a little bit. Luckily, I came from a family that guarded us against that conservatism, but sure, I grew up in the thick of all that bad feeling.”

Believe it or not, Sean Hannity used an instrumental portion of this song as his show’s theme for many years. Hornsby, a liberal democrat, had vastly different political views, but there was nothing he could do about Hannity using the song as long as royalties were paid.

The Way It Is
Bruce Hornsby and the Range

Standing in line, marking time
Waiting for the welfare dime
‘Cause they can’t buy a job
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old lady’s eyes
Just for fun he says, “Get a job.”

That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
Ah, but don’t you believe them

Said hey, little boy, you can’t go where the others go
‘Cause you don’t look like they do
Said hey, old man, how can you stand to think that way?
Did you really think about it before you made the rules?
He said, son

That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
Ah, but don’t you believe them

Yeah

That’s just the way it is
That’s just the way it is

Well, they passed a law in ’64
To give those who ain’t got a little more
But it only goes so far
Because the law don’t change another’s mind
When all it sees at the hiring time
Is the line on the color bar, no

That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
That’s just the way it is, it is, it is, it is

Songwriters: Bruce Hornsby
The Way It Is lyrics © Zappo Music, Sony Atv Music Publishing France, SONY/ATV TUNES LLC OBO ZAPPO MUSIC

♫ One Tin Soldier ♫

Last night, I was searching through old emails from my friend Jerry, aka rawgod, for a specific email he asked me to look for from some years ago, when I came across an email from him requesting this song, One Tin Soldier.  I couldn’t remember if I had played it for him or not — turns out that I had, in March 2019.  But, as I listened to the song, read the lyrics, I realized that this is the perfect song for what this nation is dealing with today!  And at that moment, I knew I wanted to play it again, to hopefully remind us to be human, above all else.


Rarely do any of you request a song, and I don’t actively solicit requests, though I always give consideration if someone mentions a song or an artist they particularly like.  Tonight, I had a request and, as I like the song and think the song speaks volumes, has meaning for us all, even today some 50 years after the song was released, I am offering this one tonight.  Most of my readers from across the pond may have never heard this song, for I understand that it never made it big outside of Canada and the U.S., but give it a listen … you might like it!

One Tin Soldier is an anti-war song, released in 1969 by Canadian pop group The Original Caste.  The song charted each year from 1969 to 1974 by various artists and on various charts in the United States and Canada. However, it did not chart outside North America.

Written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, One Tin Soldier tells the story of two neighboring tribes, the warlike Valley People and the peaceful Mountain Kingdom which possesses a great treasure buried under a stone. The Valley People demand the treasure. The Mountain People respond that they will share it with “their brothers”, but the Valley People invade and slaughter the Mountain People. On overturning the stone, they find nothing except the words “Peace On Earth” inscribed beneath it.

The song’s message, that human greed and violence is futile, is as meaningful, as imperative as it was when the song was first written.  Unless I miss my guess, it is a lesson that on the whole we still will not have learned when the human species finally leaves the earth forever.

Thank you, rawgod, for an excellent suggestion!

One Tin Soldier
The Original Caste

One tin soldier
Listen people to a story
That was written long ago,
’bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley folks below.
On the mountain was a treasure
Hidden deep beneath a stone,
And the valley people swore
They’d have it for their very own.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing,
Come the judgment day,
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away.

So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill,
Asking for the buried treasure
Tons of gold for which they’d kill.
Came the answer from the kingdom,
With our brothers we will share,
All the riches of the mountain,
All the treasure buried there.

Now the valley cried with anger,
Mount your horses, draw your swords
And they killed the mountain people,
So they won their just rewards
Now they stood before the treasure
On the mountain dark and red
Turned the stone and looked beneath it
Peace on earth, was all it said.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat and friend,
Do it in the name of heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day,
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away.

Songwriters: Brian Potter / Dennis Earle Lambert
One Tin Soldier lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Everybody Plays The Fool ♫

First released in 1972, this song was written by J.R. Bailey, Rudy Clark and Ken Williams.  It was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best R&B Song at the 1973 ceremony.

The first recording of the song to reach the Top 40 in the United States was by the R&B group The Main Ingredient, a trio consisting at the time of Cuba Gooding Sr., Tony Silvester and Luther Simmons, Jr. Their version of Everybody Plays the Fool rose to #3 in the U.S.

The Main Ingredient was a Harlem group that began as the Poets.  This song was actually written for country singer Charlie Pride, but according to Cuba Gooding …

“He listened to it and decided it wasn’t country enough for him to sing. He said, ‘I’ll never be able to sell this as a country song. It’s more like a pop song.’  So we gave it to our arranger, put an orchestra behind it, and recorded it ourselves. But we never liked it — we never believed it was going to be a hit record. We wanted to be more like the Temptations or the Four Tops, and that’s what the rest our album was about.

They sent us on a European tour for two weeks, and when we came back, ‘Everybody Plays the Fool’ was the hottest record on pop radio.”

The record surprised them by becoming the group’s first big hit. But oddly enough, the group, who until that time had been firmly entrenched as an R&B group, at first couldn’t get airplay for it on soul stations.

“Black stations wouldn’t even play it. They said it wasn’t R&B. RCA signed me to a three-year contract as the lead singer for the group, everybody was rolling in dough because of the song, but the black stations wouldn’t play it.”

Eventually, that would change, of course, and the song sold more than a million copies, was awarded a gold record, and was nominated for a Grammy as R&B song of the year.

Aaron Neville recorded a cover of this song in 1991 which also hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching #8 in the fall of that year, and it spent 20 weeks on the chart. This was Neville’s third Top 10 hit on the pop chart, following Tell It Like It Is and his duet with Linda Ronstadt, Don’t Know Much.

Since I like both versions almost equally well, I offer up both for your listening pleasure!

Everybody Plays The Fool
The Main Ingredient

Okay, so your heart is broken
You sit around mopin’
Cryin’ and cryin’
You say you’re even thinkin’ about dyin’
Well, before you do anything rash, dig this

Everybody plays the fool sometime
There’s no exception to the rule
Listen, baby, it may be factual, may be cruel
I ain’t lyin’, everybody plays the fool
Falling in love is such an easy thing to do
And there’s no guarantee that the one you love
Is gonna love you
Oh-oh-oh, lovin’ eyes they cannot see
A certain person could never be
Love runs deeper than any ocean
You can cloud your mind with emotion
Everybody plays the fool, sometime
There’s no exception to the rule
Listen, baby, it may be factual, may be cruel
I want to tell ya that
Everybody plays the fool

How can you help it when the music starts to play
And your ability to reason is swept away
Oh-oh-oh, heaven on earth is all you see
You’re out of touch with reality
And now you cry but when you do
Next time around someone cries for you

Everybody plays the fool, sometime
They use your heart like a tool
Listen, baby, they never tell you so in school
I want to say it again
Everybody plays the fool
Listen to me, baby

Everybody plays the fool, sometime
(No exception) no exception to the rule
It may be factual, may be cruel, sometime
But everybody plays the fool
Listen, listen, baby
Everybody plays the fool, sometime
They use your heart like a tool

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Kenneth Williams / Ralph Bailey / Rudy Clark
Everybody Plays The Fool (Re-Recorded / Remastered) lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Carlin America Inc