Saturday Surprise — Carousel of Happiness!

Last night I was wracking my poor brain trying to come up with something fun & unique for Saturday Surprise.  My mood wasn’t really well-suited for the task at hand, for the news of the past week had left my angry and more than a little grumpy.  Just as I was about to give up, something drew my attention.  It’s a story of healing, of giving, of … well, just take a look for yourself.  It brought a smile to my tired old face and I think it will do the same for you!

Have a fun and happy weekend, dear friends!

♫ Fortunate Son ♫

Well, it seems I forgot to do a music post last night.  I woke this morning with a vague sense of something not quite right, something I was supposed to do, but it was almost 11:00 before it hit me that what I had forgotten was a music post!  I truly think senility is setting in!  Anyway, I had CCR in my mind, so I went in search of one I hadn’t played for a while that I could get on the schedule in under an hour, and this one jumped up and said, “Me … Me … Pick ME!!!!”  And so, I give youFortunate Son”!


The song was released in 1969, at the height of the war in Vietnam and the stateside protests against our role in it.  It soon became an anti-war movement anthem; an expressive symbol of the counterculture’s opposition to U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War and solidarity with the soldiers fighting it.

The song itself is not explicit in its criticism of that war in particular, rather, it “speaks more to the unfairness of class than war itself,” according to its creator, John Fogerty.

“The thoughts behind this song – it was a lot of anger. So it was the Vietnam War going on… Now I was drafted and they’re making me fight, and no one has actually defined why. So this was all boiling inside of me and I sat down on the edge of my bed and out came “It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son!” You know, it took about 20 minutes to write the song.

Fortunate Son wasn’t really inspired by any one event. Julie Nixon was dating David Eisenhower. You’d hear about the son of this senator or that congressman who was given a deferment from the military or a choice position in the military. They seemed privileged and whether they liked it or not, these people were symbolic in the sense that they weren’t being touched by what their parents were doing. They weren’t being affected like the rest of us.”

This song has been featured in so many movies it makes your head spin, such as Forrest Gump, Black Hawk Down, and The Manchurian Candidate, to name a few.

Fortunate Son
Creedence Clearwater Revival

Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the chief”
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh
But when the taxman comes to the door
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer “More! More! More!” yoh

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no military son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, one

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no no no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate son, no no no

Songwriters: John C Fogerty
Fortunate Son lyrics © The Bicycle Music Company

♫ Eve of Destruction ♫

Somehow, this song has remained relevant for more than 50 years now.  Tonight, I am looking upon the world, and as I do, this song comes to mind.  It very much feels, at least here in the U.S. and I’m sure other places like Ukraine, Somalia and others, like we truly are on the eve of destruction.  Human forces are largely to blame … no, let me recant that … human forces are completely to blame by destroying the environment, building weapons of mass destruction, slashing human rights ’round the globe, even in western democracies like the U.S..  And nobody seems to be doing anything to stop the destruction … hell, half the people see the damages in a positive light!  And so, while I wish I could give you a nice, happy tune tonight, I am deep within the rabbit hole and simply cannot.  Perhaps tomorrow.


According to SongFacts …
A protest song about political issues of the ’60s, many radio stations refused to play “Eve Of Destruction” because of its antigovernment lyrics. There was an upside to this controversy, however, as it piqued interest in the song, sending it to #1 in the US.

The song takes on racism, hypocrisy, and injustice at a volatile time in American history. The assassination of US President John F. Kennedy in 1963 was a big influence on the lyric.

This was written by 19-year-old P.F. Sloan, who was a staff songwriter at McGuire’s label and went on to form The Grass Roots. Sloan wrote on his website: “The song ‘Eve of Destruction’ was written in the early morning hours between midnight and dawn in mid-1964. The most outstanding experience I had in writing this song was hearing an inner voice inside of myself for only the second time. It seemed to have information no one else could’ve had. For example, I was writing down this line in pencil ‘think of all the hate there is in Red Russia.’ This inner voice said ‘No, no it’s Red China!’ I began to argue and wrestle with that until near exhaustion. I thought Red Russia was the most outstanding enemy to freedom in the world, but this inner voice said the Soviet Union will fall before the end of the century and Red China will engage in crimes against humanity well into the new century! This inner voice that is inside of each and every one of us but is drowned out by the roar of our minds! The song contained a number of issues that were unbearable for me at the time. I wrote it as a prayer to God for an answer.

I have felt it was a love song and written as a prayer because, to cure an ill you need to know what is sick. In my youthful zeal I hadn’t realized that this would be taken as an attack on The System! Examples: The media headlined the song as everything that is wrong with the youth culture. First, show the song is just a hack song to make money and therefore no reason to deal with its questions. Prove the 19-year old writer is a communist dupe. Attack the singer as a parrot for the writers word. The media claimed that the song would frighten little children. I had hoped thru this song to open a dialogue with Congress and the people. The media banned me from all national television shows. Oddly enough they didn’t ban Barry. The United States felt under threat. So any positive press on me or Barry was considered un-patriotic. A great deal of madness, as I remember it! I told the press it was a love song. A love song to and for humanity, that’s all. It ruined Barry’s career as an artist and in a year I would be driven out of the music business too.”

One thing I did not know, or if I did I have long since forgotten, is that this was originally recorded by The Turtles, who released it on their first album earlier in 1965. The Turtles did not release it as a single, and McGuire’s version became the hit.

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ Who’ll Stop The Rain ♫ (Redux)

Tonight I am tired and hot because the air-conditioning went south, and I have to be up early to greet the maintenance dude when he shows up to (hopefully) repair the air!  So, I am reduxing one that I played two years ago and hope you’ll enjoy it!


Group leader John Fogerty wrote this song. Released in 1970, the song is often interpreted as a protest of the Vietnam War (like Fortunate Son), but when he performed it at the Arizona state fair in 2012, Fogerty told the crowd that he had been at Woodstock, watching the rain come down. He watched the festival goers dance in the rain, muddy, naked, cold, huddling together, and it just kept raining. So when he got back home after that weekend, he sat down and wrote Who’ll Stop the Rain, making it not a Vietnam protest at all, but a recounting of his Woodstock experience.

The line, “I went down Virginia, seekin’ shelter from the storm” gave Bob Dylan the idea for the title of his 1975 song Shelter From The Storm.

The song was a concert staple for Bruce Springsteen during 1980-81’s River Tour, as well as on the summer 2003 leg of the Rising Tour. Springsteen and the E Street Band opened with Who’ll Stop the Rain whenever it was raining.  When Creedence Clearwater Revival was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, Springsteen performed the song with John Fogerty.

Who’ll Stop the Rain
Creedence Clearwater Revival

Long as I remember the rain been coming down.
Clouds of myst’ry pouring confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages, trying to find the sun;
And I wonder, still I wonder, who’ll stop the rain.

I went down Virginia, seeking shelter from the storm.
Caught up in the fable, I watched the tower grow.
Five year plans and new deals, wrapped in golden chains.
And I wonder, still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.

Heard the singers playing, how we cheered for more.
The crowd had rushed together, trying to keep warm.
Still the rain kept pouring, falling on my ears.
And I wonder, still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John C. Fogerty
Who’ll Stop the Rain lyrics © The Bicycle Music Company

♫ Daniel ♫

I was amazed last night to find two Elton John songs, ones that I like and that other people liked as well, that I had not yet played here!  I tossed a coin and decided that between the two I wanted to play this one instead of Sad Songs (Say So Much).  But never fear, for you’ll likely see that one pop up before long, too.

The lyrics were written by Bernie Taupin, Elton’s writing partner. He explained the inspiration on his web site:

“I’d seen this article in Time magazine on the Tet Offensive. And there was a sidebar next to it with a story about how many of the soldiers that were coming back from ‘Nam were these simple sort of down home country guys who were generally embarrassed by both the adulation and, depending on what part of the country you came from, the animosity that they were greeted by. For the most part, they just wanted to get back to a normal life, but found it hard, what with all the looky loos and the monkeys of war that they carried on their backs.

I just took it from there and wrote it from a younger brother’s perspective; made him disabled and wanting to get away. I made it Spain, basically, because it rhymes with plane.”

(And now I find myself humming “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain” from the musical My Fair Lady!)

When Elton wrote the music for this song, he chopped off the last verse because he thought the song was already too long. The deleted verse explained that “Daniel” was a Vietnam vet who returned home to the farm after the war, couldn’t find peace, and decided to leave America and go to Spain. With the last verse chopped off, it became a fairly vague story of two brothers who part ways, although Bernie Taupin says that losing the verse wasn’t a big deal …

“We had that whole thing about the missing verse that everybody seems to believe explained the true meaning of the song. I think that’s just an urban legend. It didn’t really explain anything. Sure, it was cut out. But that used to happen all the time with our songs. I would often overwrite, and Elton felt it necessary to edit somewhat. But believe me, it didn’t say anything that the rest of the song didn’t say.”

The record company didn’t want to release this as a single because they thought it was too long and somber to be a hit. Elton had other ideas, and insisted they release it as a single before the album came out. The record company did, but with very little promotion. It became a hit anyway.

The song is featured on the 1973 album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player.  According to Elton John: The Definitive Biography, here’s how the album got its title: While in Los Angeles, Elton was introduced to the legendary comedian Groucho Marx. They hit it off, but Groucho was always giving Elton a hard time about his name, insisting that he must have it backwards and really be John Elton. After Groucho refused to lay off the name thing at a party, Elton threw up his hands and said jokingly: “Don’t shoot me, I’m just the piano player.”

Bernie Taupin has told a different story, claiming that he found the phrase on a plaque at an American junk shop.

The song peaked at #1 in Canada, #2 in the U.S., and #4 in the UK … not too shabby, eh?

Daniel
Elton John

Daniel is traveling tonight on a plane
I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain
And I can see Daniel waving goodbye
Oh it looks like Daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes

They say Spain is pretty though I’ve never been
And Daniel says it’s the best place that he’s ever seen
He should know, he’s been there enough
Oh I miss Daniel, oh I miss him so much, oh

Daniel my brother you are older than me
Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won’t heal?
Your eyes have died but you see more than I
Daniel you’re a star in the face of the sky

Oh Daniel my brother you are older than me
Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won’t heal?
Your eyes have died but you see more than I
Daniel you’re a star in the face of the sky

Daniel is traveling tonight on a plane
And I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain
And I can see Daniel waving goodbye
Oh it looks like Daniel, it must be the clouds in my eyes
Oh God it looks like Daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Elton John / Bernie Taupin / Vladimir Cort
Daniel lyrics © Dick James Music Ltd.

♫ Proud Mary ♫

Another redux … my apologies, but … there is only so much of me, and I seem to have depleted the bank already this week.  Exhaustion wins out, and you get … Proud Mary!  This one just came rolling into my head earlier this evening, and despite my dour mood, I found myself stomping my feet and belting out “Proud Mary keep on burnin’ …”, much to the chagrin of both my human and feline family members.  You know you’re in trouble when Tiger Lily saunters into the kitchen, glares for a moment, and then hisses viciously!  Anyway … Proud Mary …


I had a different song picked out for tonight.  My mind, apparently, had other ideas, for as I was folding laundry, writing my ‘Good People’ post and cleaning my messy kitchen, “Big wheel keep on turnin’, Proud Mary keep on burnin'” just kept playing over and over in my head.  When I sat down to find the song I intended to post tonight, Proud Mary somehow ended up on my screen.  Sigh.  No point arguing with a mind as stubborn as mine.

Written by CCR’s John Fogerty, the song was conceived the day he got his discharge papers from the US Army.  According to Fogerty …

“The Army and Creedence overlapped, so I was ‘that hippie with a record on the radio.’ I’d been trying to get out of the Army, and on the steps of my apartment house sat a diploma-sized letter from the government. It sat there for a couple of days, right next to my door. One day, I saw the envelope and bent down to look at it, noticing it said ‘John Fogerty.’ I went into the house, opened the thing up, and saw that it was my honorable discharge from the Army. I was finally out! This was 1968 and people were still dying. I was so happy, I ran out into my little patch of lawn and turned cartwheels. Then I went into my house, picked up my guitar and started strumming. ‘Left a good job in the city’ and then several good lines came out of me immediately. I had the chord changes, the minor chord where it says, ‘Big wheel keep on turnin’/Proud Mary keep on burnin” (or ‘boinin’,’ using my funky pronunciation I got from Howling’ Wolf). By the time I hit ‘Rolling, rolling, rolling on the river,’ I knew I had written my best song. It vibrated inside me. When we rehearsed it, I felt like Cole Porter.”

The song hit #2 in the US, reached #8 in the UK, and #1 in Austria. This was the first of five singles by Creedence that went to #2 on the US chart; they have the most #2 songs without ever having a #1.

Proud Mary
Creedence Clearwater Revival

Left a good job in the city
Workin’ for the man ev’ry night and day
And I never lost one minute of sleepin’
Worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis
Pumped a lot of pane down in New Orleans
But I never saw the good side of the city
‘Til I hitched a ride on a river boat queen

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

If you come down to the river
Bet you gonna find some people who live
You don’t have to worry ’cause you have [if you got] no money
People on the river are happy to give

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

Songwriters: John C. Fogerty
Proud Mary lyrics © The Bicycle Music Company

♫ What the World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin and John ♫

As I peruse the headlines, read the news stories from the U.S. and around the globe, I am discouraged, ashamed to be a member of the human species at times.  In every ‘corner’ of the globe, hatred is raising its ugly voice:  North Korea, Myanmar, Brazil, and others.  Here in the U.S., we are seeing a surge in racism, mass shooting sprees, and lawmakers who seek to overturn the Constitution, to take away our rights as citizens.  I no longer recognize this world … there are days I no longer wish to be a part of it.  I was thinking tonight of a song, Jackie DeShannon’s “What the World Needs Now is Love”, and I recalled this one, a compilation of that song and another.  I think we need to keep this song close to our hearts today, tomorrow, and … until we can learn to live together in peace. 


I started looking for the right song for tonight … for once there was none stuck in my head … and happened across Jackie Deshannon’s 1965 hit, What the World Needs Now is Love.  I thought perhaps, in these times of troubles all over the world, in the Middle-East, the UK, the United States, and many more places, this might be an appropriate song to play.

As I looked for a bit of information, a bit of trivia about the song, I was led to another song and it is this that I play for you tonight.  I don’t intend these music posts to be in the least bit political, and my apologies, for this one is, in a sense.  But it is also … it speaks to us today, I think, just as it did in 1971.  Today, some of the issues are different … Vietnam has ended, but Syria and Yemen have not.  And some of the issues are yet the same … racism, prejudice, bigotry.

This is a remix of two songs, the aforementioned What the World Needs Now is Love combined with Abraham, Martin and John, first recorded by Dion in 1968 as a response to the assassinations of both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy earlier that year.

Tom-Clay.jpgTom Clay was a disc jockey in 1971, working for radio station KGBS in Los Angeles, California when he created this remix.  The narrative includes sound bites from speeches of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr., and makes a heartfelt social/political comment.

Again, I apologize for bringing a socio-political statement into my music posts, but when I heard this song … it just … did something to me and I wanted to share it.  I promise a more uplifting music selection tomorrow, but I do hope you will take just a few minutes to listen to this one.  I have included the lyrics to both of the original songs.

What the World Needs Now
Jackie DeShannon

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, lord, if you want to know.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.
No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.

Songwriters: Burt F. Bacharach / Hal David
What the World Needs Now lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Abraham, Martin And John
Dion DiMucci

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin And John lyrics © Stonehenge Music

♫ Monster ♫

I have a policy for my music posts … I do take requests, and if I like the song, I’ll play it, if I don’t, I just let the request fade into oblivion.  However, there are a few exceptions.  A) If the requester is a long-time reader and old friend, B) if I find some value in the song, and C) if it doesn’t make my head hurt.

Yesterday (Thursday), in a comment on my post titled No Longer The Country We Think We Are, Roger Jacob, one of the first people to stumble across this blog back in 2015 and a dear friend, said that “Next song you put up Jill just has to be ‘Monster’ by Steppenwolf.”

I listened to the song, which I had never heard before — no surprise there, as Steppenwolf is not ordinarily on my list of favourites.  But, when I studied the lyrics, what I found was that while the lyrics were written in 1969 about the Vietnam War, loss of justice, and other issues, they are just as relevant today.

So, without further ado, I give you Steppenwolf!

Monster
Steppenwolf

Once the religious, the hunted and weary
Chasing the promise of freedom and hope
Came to this country to build a new vision
Far from the reaches of Kingdom and pope

Like good Christians some would burn the witches
Later some got slaves to gather riches

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands, to court the wild
But she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

And once the ties with the crown had been broken
Westward in saddle and wagon it went
And till the railroad linked ocean to ocean
Many the lives which had come to an end

While we bullied, stole and bought a homeland
We began the slaughter of the red man

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
But she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

The Blue and Grey they stomped it
They kicked it just like a dog
And when the war was over
They stuffed it just like a hog

And though the past has its share of injustice
Kind was the spirit in many a way
But its protectors and friends have been sleeping
Now it’s a monster and will not obey

The spirit was freedom and justice
And its keepers seemed generous and kind
Its leaders were supposed to serve the country
But now they won’t pay it no mind
Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
Now their vote is a meaningless joke
They babble about law and order
But it’s all just an echo of what they’ve been told

Yeah, there’s a monster on the loose
It’s got our heads into the noose
And it just sits there watchin’

The cities have turned into jungles
And corruption is stranglin’ the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can’t understand

We don’t know how to mind our own business
‘Cause the whole world’s got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who’s the winner we can’t pay the cost

‘Cause there’s a monster on the loose
It’s got our heads into the noose
And it just sits there watchin’

America, where are you now
Don’t you care about your sons and daughters
Don’t you know we need you now
We can’t fight alone against the monster

America, where are you now
Don’t you care about your sons and daughters
Don’t you know we need you now
We can’t fight alone against the monster

America…America…America…America…

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jerry Edmonton / John Kay
Monster lyrics © BMG Rights Management

♫ What the World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin and John ♫

I played this song in December 2018.  It seems this song gains meaning with each passing year, for it is more apropos today than ever.  Listening to the song tonight, in preparation for this post, I had to stop the music and catch my breath, with tears rolling down my cheeks.  Sadly, there are no Abrahams, Martins or Johns today, at least not that I can see.  Oh how we need them!


I started looking for the right song for tonight … for once there was none stuck in my head … and happened across Jackie Deshannon’s 1965 hit, What the World Needs Now is Love.  I thought perhaps, in these times of troubles all over the world, in the Middle-East, the UK, the United States, and many more places, this might be an appropriate song to play.

As I looked for a bit of information, a bit of trivia about the song, I was led to another song and it is this that I play for you tonight.  I don’t intend these music posts to be in the least bit political, and my apologies, for this one is, in a sense.  But it is also … it speaks to us today, I think, just as it did in 1971.  Today, some of the issues are different … Vietnam has ended, but Syria and Yemen have not.  And some of the issues are yet the same … racism, prejudice, bigotry.

This is a remix of two songs, the aforementioned What the World Needs Now is Love combined with Abraham, Martin and John, first recorded by Dion in 1968 as a response to the assassinations of both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy earlier that year.

Tom-Clay.jpgTom Clay was a disc jockey in 1971, working for radio station KGBS in Los Angeles, California when he created this remix.  The narrative includes sound bites from speeches of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr., and makes a heartfelt social/political comment.

Again, I apologize for bringing a socio-political statement into my music posts, but when I heard this song … it just … did something to me and I wanted to share it.  I promise a more uplifting music selection tomorrow, but I do hope you will take just a few minutes to listen to this one.  I have included the lyrics to both of the original songs.

What the World Needs Now
Jackie DeShannon

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, lord, if you want to know.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.
No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.

Songwriters: Burt F. Bacharach / Hal David
What the World Needs Now lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Abraham, Martin And John
Dion DiMucci

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin And John lyrics © Stonehenge Music

♫ What’s Going On ♫ (Redux)

Yes, another redux, but … frankly, in light of our circumstances today, there are few songs that fit the times better than this one by Marvin Gaye.  “For only love can conquer hate.”  Enough said …


There’s a lot of history to this song … more than I can cover in a brief blurb here.  The inspiration for the song came from Renaldo “Obie” Benson, a member of the Four Tops, after he and the group’s tour bus arrived at Berkeley on May 15, 1969. While there, Benson witnessed police brutality and violence in the city’s People’s Park during a protest held by anti-war activists in what was hailed later as “Bloody Thursday”.

Upset by what he had seen, he discussed what he witnessed to friend and songwriter Al Cleveland, who in turn wrote and composed a song to reflect Benson’s concerns. Benson wanted to give the song to his group but the other Four Tops turned down the request, saying it was a protest song.

“I said ‘no man, it’s a love song, about love and understanding. I’m not protesting, I want to know what’s going on.'”

In 1970, Benson presented the untitled song to Marvin Gaye, who added a new melody and revised the song to his liking, adding in his own lyrics. Benson later said Gaye tweaked and enriched the song, “added some things that were more ghetto, more natural, which made it seem like a story than a song… we measured him for the suit and he tailored the hell out of it.”

Motown founder Berry Gordy was against Gaye doing the song, saying …

“Motown was about music for all people—white and black, blue and green, cops and the robbers. I was reluctant to have our music alienate anyone. This was a big risk for his image.”

By some accounts there was a bitter quarrel between Gaye and Gordy over the song, but Gordy denies it.

Two bits of trivia about Marvin Gaye that I did not know until tonight:

  • He was married to Berry Gordy’s sister, Anna, from 1963 until their divorce in 1977
  • Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his own father on 01 April 1984, after breaking up a fight between his parents.  Gaye was one day shy of his 45th birthday.  His father was given a suspended sentence and probation.

And now … What’s Going On …

What’s Going On
Marvin Gaye

Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, eheh

Father, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, oh oh oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on
What’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on
Ah, what’s going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on brother
Right on babe

Mother, mother, everybody thinks we’re wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply ’cause our hair is long
Oh, you know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Oh oh oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
C’mon talk to me
So you can see
What’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on
Tell me what’s going on
I’ll tell you what’s going on, ooh ooo ooo ooo
Right on baby
Right on baby

Songwriters: Alfred W Cleveland / Marvin P Gaye / Renaldo Benson
What’s Going On lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC