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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

August 9, 2011

I am the only one I know who has a song in his head at all times. Does that mean I’m nuts? Or just special? Or especially nuts?

Sometimes it’s a reflection of my mood, or a message (sometimes intuitive) from down below. Once, after a client had poured his heart out to me in a gut-wrenching confession, something must have bothered me, because when he left, I heard Kenny Roger’s “Tell It All, Brother” in my head.

“How much you’re holding back on me

                                    When you say you’re giving all

                             And in the dungeons of your mind

                                       Who you got chained to the wall.”


And it turned out he did have a dungeon, but he couldn’t go there, and soon quit.

There was a bestseller a while back entitled, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum. But so much I’ve needed to know I’ve learned from song lyrics – the soundtrack of my ever-flowing life, as Nelly Furtado put it. They’ve offered me wisdom, solace, humor, encouragement. They’re like good friends I’ve gathered throughout the years, and I’ve always kept ’em close at hand for when the need is there.

Let me share a few of my favorite songs with you, and what they’ve given me.

Early sex education: Hang On Sloopy (the last stanza) by The McCoys

                     Sloopy, let your hair down, girl,

                                      Let it hang down on me

                      Sloopy let your hair down girl,

                                     Let it hang down on me

                      Well come on, Sloopy

                             C’mon, c’mon

                     Well come on, Sloopy

                             C’mon, c’mon

                    Well it feels so good

                              C’mon, c’mon 

                    You know it feels so good

                             C’mon, c’mon

                    Well shake it, shake it, shake it Sloopy!

                             C’mon, c’mon

                    Shake it, shake it, shake it, yeah!

                    (scream of ecstasy)

                    Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy Hang on!


Inspiration and determination: Springsteen’s “Badlands (click and watch this one!)

Workin’ in the field till you get your back burned
Workin’ `neath the wheel till you get your facts learned.
Baby I got my facts learned real good right now.
You better get it straight darling:
Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king,
And a king ain’t satisfied till he rules everything…

Now I believe in the love that you gave me.
I believe in the faith that could save me.
I believe in the hope and I pray that some day it
May raise me above these


You got to live it everyday….

Sex, drugs and relating to humanity: “I’ll Stop The World and Melt With You” by Modern English

                              Dream of better lives

                                   The kind that never hate

                             Suspended in a state of imaginary grace

                                    I made a pilgrimage to save this human race

                             Never comprehending the race had long gone, gone…

Existential Awakening: The Talking Heads’ Once In A Lifetime

And you may ask yourself
       What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
       Where does that highway lead to?
And you may ask yourself
       Am I right?…Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
       My God! What have I done?


Integrity in dealing with yourself and The Man: “Stand”, Sly and the Family Stone

In the end you’ll still be you
One that’s done all the things you set out to do
There’s a cross for you to bear
Things to go through if you’re going anywhere
For the things you know are right
It’s the truth that the truth makes them so uptight
All the things you know are real
You have you to complete and there is no deal


Which leads me to this past week, and the scary gyrations of the global markets. I notice my reactions – initially for me, always panic, fright, and catastrophic expectations. My good friend Russell sent out a dire email a year ago to all the people he cared about, warning us of financial doom and beseeching us to buy gold. His email ended with the stark sentence: I beg you to do this. Reading it then, I just shook my head. After all, my friend Russell’s been predicting – and betting on – financial collapse for 30 years.

Now, his words haunt me. If I’d listened to him then, I could have bought gold $500 or $600 ago, because at the time it went for about $1200 an ounce. Yesterday it closed at $1753.

So I start thinking –- how much money can Shelley and I safely move into gold stocks, like ahora?!  I decide to do it. And then, from somewhere deep inside me, muffled at first, come the opening strains of Arlo Guthrie’s “Stealin’”, right into my mind’s ear:

                             You don’t believe I’m sinking

                                       Look at the hole I’m in.

                             You don’t believe I’m falling,

                                       Look at the fool I’ve been.

                              Stealin’, stealin’,

                                       Pretty momma don’t ya tell on me

                             Cause I’m stealin’ back to my same ole used-to-be.


I’m trying to tell me something: “Charley this fear response is an old place for you. Familiar, strangely safe, compulsive. Are you sure this is the right thing for you right now?” Maybe I need to listen.

The one song that’s been most soothing for me in times of crisis, one that so many of us who grew up in the 60s know, is the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry, Baby”. It’s a song I need now. Especially this stanza,

                             She told me, Baby when you race today

                                       Just take my love along with you

                             And if you knew how much I loved you baby

                                       Nothing could go wrong with you

                             Oh what she does to me

                                       When she makes love to me

                             And she says,

                             Don’t worry Baby

                             Don’t worry Baby

                             Everything will turn out alright.


 I want to know if you have a song, or set of lyrics, you’ve found particularly helpful along the way. What’s helped you through?

 Tell it all, brothers and sisters.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. ernst Mohamed permalink
    August 11, 2011 1:15 pm

    I do a lot of traveling and the song that stays with me all the time is the opening lyrics from CSN If you smile at me I will understand cause that is something that everybody does in the same language.

  2. para permalink
    August 16, 2011 10:54 am

    Lyrics that stuck with me –
    “Be like that” by 3 doors down – I *would* do anything… the problem is finding the things that work :/
    “Angel” sarah mclaughlin – on procrastination, and the pain it brings, and the prayer from release
    “Dear Mama” – 2pac. It was my intro to rap. The first ‘dark’ rap song that grabbed me and spoke to me.
    “Lose yourself” – eminem. Sensing a theme…? Another one about taking action.
    “Hero of the day” – Metallica. Not one of their better known ones. Being a hero despite how others view your actions, standing firm when the world (or at least the village lynch mob) is against you.
    “Indestructible” – Slipknot. As ex-military, I can imagine riding on the back of a tank with this blaring out… it’s the kind of song that makes you feel indestructible too.

  3. August 19, 2011 5:35 pm

    “I won’t back down” by Tom Petty;
    “All You Need Is Love” by John Lennon;
    “Within You and Without You” by George Harrison:
    “when you see beyond yourself
    then you will find peace of mind is waiting there,
    and you’ll see you’re really only very small,
    and life flows on within you and without you…”

    “keep your hand on that plow, hold on”….

    Joan and Arthur

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