“Count what you have now, Don’t count what you don’t have …”
That’s right Mariya! Although my blogging pace has slowed down the past couple of years, I have noticed from my click counter that “Denny Sinnoh’s Akihabara Starlight” is now up to close to a HALF-MILLION reads!!! It should go over 500,000 this weekend. Look to my sidebar to the right under “blog stats”. See if YOUR CLICK is the one that pushes me over 500 K!
Thank you WordPress readers! Of course some bloggers have millions of reads, but I am happy whith what I have counted here, thus I want to share this song. At my “day job” of processing agricultural chemical request orders, I sometimes have to write up technical reports. These tech papers are only read by about maybe five people or so. I have to feel good that my writing has been seen by half-a-million humans and their bot minions. Special Thanks to YT user Artzie Music for sharing this song.
What is the greatest popular music song of all time?
Is it “She Loves You (Yeah,Yeah,Yeah)” by the Beatles? Could it be “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin? Is your choice “YMCA” by the Village People? Well, all of those are valid choices to be sure …
However, please allow me to make a case for “Kawa no Nagare no Yō ni”, which translates from Japanese as “Like the Waters of a River”.
The music was composed by Akrika Mitake with lyrics by Yasushi Akimoto. They composed this ballad for the famous Japanese enka singer Hibari Misora. The song was to be her last single, and she died shortly after it was released in 1989.
From Wikipedia: “… was voted the greatest song of all time during a national poll in 1997 by NHK, with more than 10 million votes. It is often the song of choice for artists performing live tributes to Misora.” According to linguistics blogger Larry Kenny“it is learned routinely by high school students in Japan.” and “The song embodies the very essence of enka, if not the very essence of the Japanese people.” I would be able to agree with that, as it is a very moving song. Mr. Kenny has provided a great English translation, and has written a wonderful article about the song linked here.
Several famous singers have recorded the song. I am including a little YouTube playlist here.
As performed by Hibari Misora:
This recording is by Cantonese singer Teresa Teng.
Here is a version with American “soul” singer Diana Ross and opera singers Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. Dam!
How about this version by Mexican singer Mariachi Vargas?
You can probably find many others through various YuteTube links. If I was not tearing-up so much, I could probably practice the song with this karaoke:
Mr. Kenny also has created this version that [his singer Evan Ross] sings in English. Now the singing is not as “enka” as some others, I will admit, but [they have] created a very respectable, heartwarming rendition. (Much better than I ever could.)
[Evan Ross] sings his beautiful translation of the lyrics in English. [Mr. Kenny] actually provides two English translations of the song in the article. One is a “literal” translation of the words from Japanese, and then he created another “non-literal” descriptive version. Wow. Just wow. Mr. Akimoto’s original lyrics are so meaningful, so filled with eternal truths … that they may transcend language barriers and even create new meanings. The following is Mr. Kenny’s non-literal interpretation.
Like a dream, like a dream, passing day after day down this long, narrow road I’ve been walking If I turn, looking back I can see far away the old town that I loved long ago.
Roads that wind and twist in every way, Bumpy roads that have seen too many days With no map to guide us, every path we cross in our lives,
Ah, just like the waters of a river, countless bygone days, one by one how gently, how slowly they go, Ah, just like the waters of a river, on unendingly, into the sky painted colors of evening flow.
In our journeys and lives, though they start and they end, still the road never stops, on forever, as we reach toward a dream, making memories and friends, we draw near the people who we love.
As the rain beats down upon our heads and the mud covers all the road ahead on we walk because soon a bright new day will come again
Ah, just like the waters of a river, slow and gracefully, lay this body down, let them take me away, Ah, just like the waters of a river, like the seasons flow, as we wait for April sunshine to melt the winter grey.
Ah, just like the waters of a river, slow and gracefully, lay this body down, let them take me away, Ah, just like the waters of a river, on eternally as we hear the rushing current flow out to the bay.
I think the lyrics are especially poignant as Hibari Misora passed on soon after the song was released. The lyrics introduce imagery about the philosophy of life — by analogy — flowing like a river. It is nostalgic in that the singer/listener is looking back over their life, not with regrets but with the appreciation of a life that was lived. I have to wonder if she knew she was near the end of her life when she made those live performances. If she had no regrets, and had nothing but love at the end … well — it shows.
I hope you can find your own fluid meaning there.
Finally, “Kawa no Nagare no Yō ni” was also recorded by my favorite enka singer Iwasa Misaki. There are no [legit] music videos of Misaki-san’s recording on YourTube. There are even a few non-Misaki fakes out there! However, let me share this SoundCloud link to Miss Misaki’s great interpretation of the song.
Are you ready? Sitting down? Clasping the armrests? Tissue box nearby?
Wasamin’s version always turns me into a big, blubbering sack of protoplasm. If you enjoy it even half as much as I do, you can order the CD single from CD-Japan linked here. The song 川の流れのように is the third song (a second B-side?) of her three-track CD-Single of Gomen ne Tokyo. Note: Only the REGULAR edition CD-single has the song!
If you want one, I will buy you a copy!
Why not listen to some Enka music? … What feelings do the lyrics pull out of you, or what pictures from your life can you imagine? … Try to observe nature as if it were a beautiful sound of a song … think of someone you loved … Think of your favorite memories of places you enjoyed …
Find again what you love about your life. Enka.
Starlight: It took 28 lightyears for 川の流れのように to reach my world.
PS: What is your favorite all time song? You can list your choice in the comments below. If there is a YouFlube link for your favorite please provide that too.
… Which is probably another way of being … not very certain?
Those words are a nice lyrical image from the song I would like to share today — “I Want to Vanish”by Elvis Costello. The version provided here by a YouTube user is a clip from his special concert called “The Case for Song”. Indeed it was a great VHS tape from the mid 1990s, however Netflix has the DVD if you are interested. Please let me know if you ever find it in a bargain bin.
The song is from his 1996 album “All This Useless Beauty” — one of my favorite records by him – (cough) — although this particular tune was NOT one of the ones which I liked on the album (The full album is linked here). I usually would skip this particular song. There were others — Distorted Angel, You Bowed Down and the title track which I liked a lot more.
The other day however, I caught the song, thought about it and … well … I finally got it. (Denny slaps head.) My friends know that I can be that oblivious, insensitive lout.
Notable here is how Costello’s (or McManus’) voice breaks at various points during the song. One of the enjoyable attributes about Elvis’ (i.e. Declan’s) many emotional songs is that “his voice always breaks at just the right time.” Unfortunately, in the year’s following the this album, especially in the late 2000’s his voice started to become ALL BREAK. His recent records all sound terrible. His singing has gotten pretty bad, and the songwriting is just not there anymore*. I used to have a lot of respect for this washed-up, overly opinionated, fat bastard, but he has made it rather difficult in recent years.
… oh … Ahem … Yes, I can be an insensitive lout … but from where, and from who — did I learn that? Another coincidence — I actually owned the same polka-dot pattern shirt he wears here. Some amazing toss of the cosmic dice. Wait … I wonder if there is such a thing as a “cosmic” tossed salad? No matter … and yes, I have digressed, as per usual.
The studio version (linked here) is a little clearer, but I prefer the more emotive live performance above, mistakes and all.
If you like puzzling song lyrics, please enjoy “I Want to Vanish”
I want to vanish This is my fondest wish To go where I cannot be captured Laid on a decorated dish Even in splendor this curious fate Is more than I care to surrender Now it’s too late
Whether in wonder or indecent haste You arrange the mirrors and the spools To snare the rare and precious jewels That were only made of paste
If you should stumble upon my last remark I’m crying in the wilderness I’m trying my best to make it dark How can I tell you I’m rarer than most I’m certain as a lost dog Pondering a sign post
I want to vanish This is my last request I’ve given you the awful truth Now give me my rest
To leave on a positive note, here is a non-Costello version of his song sung live by what looks to be a high school band in this 2015 YT video. This is a rather obscure song choice for cute teenage girls to sing.
Really odd. I can verify that in the 1970s and 80s, being an Elvis Costello fan was a very effective girl repelent . Admittedly, not as foul of a girl repellent as being a Star Trek fan however. The girls participating here could not be any more endearing. I have to wonder how they were put up to it. Perhaps their music teacher was a Costello aficionado … or maybe they just lost a bet. At any rate … good work kids! Better you should bring the lyric sheet next time though.
* or perhaps I have just moved on to Hanako Oku to take care of me emotionally. She looks better in the glasses anyway.
Starlight: Giving you “the awful truth” for a thousand days now.
He always does a great job translating Hanako Oku lyrics.
Those who follow my blog know that I am a big fan of Oku Hanako, who I term “The Little Great One”.
Oh, what the little lady has done for me … Please enjoy Edward’s post — and follow him if you are a fan of Japanese music!
I added a few video links on the comments section of his blog. Better watch them quick.
元気でいてね (Genki de Itene) · 要好好的过喔 · Stay Well In: [Album] Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters- – CD 2 track 14 [Album] Utakata – track 13 [Album] Kimi no Egao -Smile Selection- – track 7 English This is wrong! Who decided this? A round object might look rectangular from another point of view It […]
Well I am feeling no pain. Last month I had to replace a body part which was no longer functioning as it should. Oh? … well, just a knee. So yes, I am part robot now. I am happy to report that my surgery was successful and my rehab is way-ahead of schedule. I will finally be able to start that Major League baseball career! I will be able to — not just chase after Sakura Miyawaki — I will be able to catch her as well.
I might need a few more weeks rehab before I can catch Harrupi however!
I owe it all to a certain lady. Am I rambling? It may be because of the medication. I was prescribed Oxicontin for my pain. I told my doctor “Pain pills — no way – I can work through pain.” I never liked taking pain pills. In general I am anti-drug use, and I always thought these things were over-prescribed. Plus, I thought I would be able to work through the pain. Turns out I needed them.
… and Oh, it has been wonderful. One tablet relieves my pain. Two tablets are a party. Lady Oxi as I will call her, provides the relief I need as I am doing my rehab exercises, but there is one other unexpected benefit she provides. She makes me happy. I mean, er… the pills adjust my mood.
She makes me happy — and I was not expecting that. How are you doing today? Have I told you how great you look these day? I think that you are a really cool person. I feel great just being around a friend like you.
I want to share a great song with you today. The song is “There She Goes” by The La’s. The song is about a girl I guess, but it could just as well be about how I feel about Lady Oxi. When she touches me, there is a noticeable difference in sensation … there she is now …welcome back … it has been hours and I have been missing her terribly … no one does it for me like her …
Please enjoy the music video below for this addicting little song. Lyrics are linked here.
There was also a good cover version by the band Sixpence None The Richer. They also do a great version of the song (linked here), but the music video is terrible, and kills my mood.
Would you like to learn how to play it on guitar? Please enjoy this guitar tutorial video Bob (and everyone).
I must feel good, because I don’t mind this exercising. It has been great talking with you. You are a super, super person! You know I love you. Give me a hug before you go.
Good morning class. Today in “Two Centuries of British Song and Poetry” we travel back to the late-twentieth century. We will study the origin and development of “punk rock” theory. (Denny rustles lecture notes on the podium.) We will celebrate and explore the musical and lyrical genius of Mr. Johnny Rotten and Mr. Sid Vicious (now deceased). The song is “Bodies” from the “Never Mind The Bollocks” album by The Sex Pistols, released in October 1977.
Abortion is a serious and controversial topic. There are relatively few pop songs which cover the issue however. Who else to explore this debate than with these preeminent and prototypical late 1970s punk rock icons? (Ahem.) Perhaps it is best if we play the song first. Please hold your discussion points until AFTER the song plays. (Denny senses some distracted students.) The lyrics are here for you to follow along with.
She was a girl from Birmingham She just had an abortion She was a case of insanity Her name was Pauline (she lived in a tree)
She was a no one who killed her baby She sent her letters from the country She was an animal She was a bloody disgrace!
Body! I’m not an animal Body! I’m not an animal
Dragged on a table in factory Illegitimate place to be In a packet in a lavatory Die little baby screaming!!! Body! screaming fucking bloody mess Not an animal It’s an abortion
Body! I’m not animal! Mummy! I’m not an abortion!
[Spoken] Throbbing squirm, gurgling bloody mess I’m not a discharge! I’m not a loss in protein! I’m not a throbbing squirm!
Fuck this and fuck that — Fuck it all and fuck a fucking brat She don’t wanna baby that looks like that I don’t wanna baby that looks like that Body, I’m not an animal Body, an abortion
Body! I’m not an animal Body! I’m not an animal An animal I’m not an animal….. I’m an abortion…..
We should also enjoy this lovely live version from way back in 1978. This really really takes me back to my youth. I’m the guy with glasses in the third row.
The lyrics – which are tame by today’s standards – were quite shocking in 1977, as were the Sex Pistols, as was British punk rock music in general. The protagonist of the song is an unborn fetus. It pleads to its insipid mother that “I am not an animal”. To no avail. It dies a “screaming bloody gurgling mess” during an illegal abortion. If you watch the live version, note that at one point Johnny Rotten twists his microphone cord around his neck to symbolize the abortion procedure against the unborn child. Sid Vicious was cutting himself on stage by that time, so the extra blood further illustrates the poetic complexity. The last lyric line is simply “Ugh” — the death of the would-be human baby.
What would the world have been like if the mother of John Lydon had an abortion?
The music is exemplary punk rock music. When I young musicians, and they sometimes tell me that “the Pistols” are one of their influences. I always say “Do you know what the Sex Pistols were really like?!?” It is true, their album is full of what would now be considered punk clichés. They invented the punk rock standard. (I suggest that readers view the interesting mocumentary “The Great Rock-and-Roll Swindle” for a fuller story.)
The lyrics do open up a number of questions of course …
Now, I know what you are thinking: How right-wing reactionary they must have been … writing an anti-abortion song. Of course, the Sex Pistols were anything but conservative – they were very much the opposite actually .. despite the Pro-Life message of this song.
The 20 week fetus: I’M NOT AN ANIMAL!
I think the reason why they presented this horror show was to shake up the complacency of British society. Abortions by this time were legal, although restricted, in Britain. Middle and upper class British women having abortions would just be another thing for Mr. Rotten to be critical of. He would also be critical of “all the bloody starvation and oppression” in the world as well. The ant-abortion statement here, I believe, is just another way for him to say “Fuck you England – you’re stupid”. Whatever is the norm, he would seek to tear down. Anything against the British majority — which would make him correct only 80% of the time!(Denny looks out at students to see if anyone is challenged by his last statement).
“God save the Queen – because this is a FASCIST regime … there is no future for you …. and England’s dreaming …”.
(cough). Oh, that one is actually another song for perhaps another lesson. It is thematic of the entire record however. (Denny desperately trying to get a student reaction.)
Now would that also be true for …
(Bell rings: Sound of students packing, getting up, leaving, talking.) … As a reminder … (Denny speaking over the clamoring sounds of students packing) … class … please post your comments to the course message board by Monday at 9:00 am. Oh, and I will NOT be in my office on Tuesday … but I will hold an extra hour after my regular office hours on Thursday.
Starlight: 1977 … Hmm … For right or for wrong … the Sex Pistols and punk rock were part of my transitioning to reject drugs, my neighborhood, my school, and my hometown.
I get a lot of (guff) sometimes for the music that I like. Yeah, I liked the Beatles, but then who in my generation didn’t? That might be our only common ground. I can’t say I have ever liked too much of the mainstream — and still don’t. Also, most kids today listen to rap, and as I’ve always said, I have never heard a rap song which I liked.
In the late 70s and early 80s I liked punk rock/new wave long before it became popular. I got a lot of “Get Away From Me Man” or actually “Don’t Touch Me Man” — because I liked Devo and Elvis Costello. When I told Maury down at the Deli that I like the Japanese Idol genre, he replied “Yu dah WHAT …?” with his hands gesturing out like he usually does like that … well, you would have to know Maury.
Ahem … I will try to stay positive today as I will share one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite American groups: She & Him. “I Thought I Saw Your Face Today” is from their great 2008 debut album, titled simply: Volume 1. The song is written by Zooey Deschanel. She & Him are considered an “indie” pop rock group.
Of course, Zooey-chan is mainly known as a TV and movie actress, but I also think that she is a great, but very under-rated songwriter. (Before you say “Get Away From Me Man”, read what I wrote about this subject on another post, some time back, linked here.) The song reminds me a lot of John Lennon’s “Across the Universe”. In fact, I think that Zooey writes and performs well in a retro-1960s Beatles/Beach Boys- type-style. Let us take a listen, then we will discuss it. (Scroll down for lyrics.)
While listening to the song on YourTube, I came across a number of fan cover songs. Most of these were made back when Volume 1 came out. I especially like the 3rd one down. She did a great job of putting a real music video together.
All are lovely young women, with a lot of spirit. They each bring a unique something to the song. If you ever wonder if there is anything good, and positive in this world, look at these dear hearts. There is a glimpse of the best of humanity. Young ladies — singing a personal song they love. (Denny choking up a bit.) These are all beautiful moments captured. Like an old photograph — or better yet — like a dragonfly trapped in amber during the early Cretaceous Period, the talent, beauty, and warmth of these life affirming young women are preserved by YourTube — and are still here for us to enjoy.
… Wait a minute, it has only been eight years — perhaps it is the nostalgic echo of the song which made me drop my cup-of-time … the ladies are still here. They probably all just graduated nursing school.
Music and lyrics – by Zooey Deschanel
I thought I saw your face today But I just Turned my head away Your face Against the trees But I just see The memories As they come As they come And I couldn’t help But fall in love again No I couldn’t help But fall in love again
I saw it glitter As I grew And loved it Boy, I never knew I thought this place Was heaven sent But now It’s just a monument In my mind In my mind And I couldn’t help But fall in love again No I couldn’t help But fall in love again
The cars and freeways That implore me to stay away Out of this place My mother said Just keep your head And play it as it lays
The cars and freeways That implore me To stay away Out of this place My mother said Just keep your head And play it as it lays
I somehow see What’s beautiful in things That are ephemeral I’m my only friend, am I? Love is just A piece of time In your world In the world
And I couldn’t help But fall in love again No I couldn’t help But fall in love again No I couldn’t help But fall in love again No I couldn’t help But fall in love again No I couldn’t help But fall in love again
Discussion: I love the lyrics. They are simple, but straightforward and honest. Maybe a little mystical and paradoxical. One mistake I made — until I looked up the lyrics — was that I misheard the line “And loved it boy — I never knew”. I thought I heard: “I loved a boy I never knew” which to me — sounded all reverse-time moving/paradoxical involving. Sometimes when you fall in love with someone, you instantly “recognize” them as someone you have always known, or should have known, even if you never met them before…if that could make any sense. A good song may transcend reality. I hope you can find your own meaning in this song. Thanks, Z.D.
You can find the guitar chords out there on the InterWebs. A free example is linked here.
PROLOGUE: I am a lot happier now. I was a little bummed that all the AKB48 Family videos — which includes those by the JKT48 sister group — have been banned from being seen or shared America. I wanted to see more Haruka Nakagawa performances, especially leading up to her graduation later this year. Ding-dang it — I am not allowed to view JKT48 Official Channel – even though I subscribed! Fortunately, some YourTube users in Indonesia posted some great LIVE performances from the past couple of years.
There is a great series from this user and others which feature the girls performing in their home theater in Jakarta! It is like you are right there in the front row. Several hour-long shows have been posted — however I wanted to at least share this Yasushi Akimoto song: “Tanjoubi No Yoru”. JKT48 sing it in an Indonesian dialect, which translates the song as “Malam Ulang Tahun”. There is even a little English thrown in as you will hear. Full lyrics are available linked here.
It would be a cute and fun Idol show to watch. Image standing in the from row and seeing Harugon and Melody and all the others so close up.
I have not seen so much tender thigh meat since I was on that tour of the Tyson factory!!!
(Denny imitating Dr. McCoy’s famous “I’m just an old country doctor …” quote):
I’m just a big fat fanboy, but these stage shows are great to watch and listen to at work. I can re-size a window, work around it, then imagine that I am right there in the JKT theater, while I spend several hours processing requests for agricultural fertilizers.
These shows may not be as elaborate as the stage show of a big American rock band, but I love watching them. The girls wear a variety of great Idol outfits. Some songs are cute, some are sweet, and some are pretty sexy. (Well, they are all pretty at something.)
I love the individual beauty of each of the ladies. The JKT48 girls have an amazing array of attractive faces. Each one is more lovely than the next. No, they do not look like supermodels. Arguably, they look like “just your average pretty girl” — if you know what I mean. You know, like that really unique-looking, but also very pretty girl who works the checkout at the supermarket? You know, like that super-stylish pretty girl you always see in the coffee shop? You know, that really pretty friend-of-a-friend’s friend? You know, like that quiet, but very pretty girl you see on the bus all the time? You know, that real girl you would rather have a million times over any Hollywood actress?
These videos show that the JKT48 team are real girls. Sure, each has talent to varying degrees, and it has been fun to watch their talents grow. There is nothing phony about the JKT48 girls. These girls are not just models. Better! — they have natural beauty. All are Indonesian (except Haruka), but there is a great diversity of faces in the group … those magnificent faces .. those uniquely beautiful, … wonderful … life affirming faces. Each one is its own universe …
… Its own lifetime. Really, any one of them would be a dream girlfriend. If I were a young man, I would share my life with any of them. You can see why a guy would be willing to get up and go to work every day. Did you see those faces? Those heavenly thighs? You can see why a guy would dedicate his life to making his dream girl happy. I’d even talk to an insurance salesman.
Have fun re-sizing your windows, but get back to work on those data forms …
Is it just me — or are this world’s women getting more and more beautiful? Maybe I have that perspective, because I am just so old, well past the midpoint of life. I can even see the abyss from my vantage point. We should appreciate and celebrate beauty and fun more often. We are here on this Earth to love each other, not to make trouble, create pain or hurt each other because we buy a different brand of socks. I know now what is truly important now: Find a pretty girl, then get your face between her thighs. Make babies … then love them. This is what I want to be on my tombstone*: Denny’s advice: “Worry less about stupid stuff … and eat more pussy.”
I would rather watch the JKT48 girls sing and dance more than any of the edgy, progressive, supposedly significant singer songwriters I grew up with. I know what you are going to say Bob: “Denny, when you were a young new-wave-arty-punk-rocker you listened to those deep, dark artists, who you thought were so earthshakeingly profound. You used to write about INJUSTICES! … about all the SHIT in society! … art that was about all the PUKE!!! …”.
Well, I don’t want to see the shit and the puke anymore.
I want to see my sweet JKT48 girls wearing pretty dresses – singing about love, being loved and giving love.
Starlight: *Actually, cremate my body, and mix my ashes into the fertile Indonesian soil. The dark, rich, moist, volcanic soil. Mash me deep into Melody’s furrows – er, .. I mean … uh … deep into the agricultural field, that is wet with anticipation.
What Sayaka Yamamoto looks like when I’m out of colorful ideas.
Sorry, Yamamoto-san, you can go home. You are doing everything right as usual, I just can’t get my imagination going now.
What happened to the COLOR options in the WordPress editor!?!? I used to be able to create color text. The button was there now it is gone … My signature “Starlight” sign-off is supposed to be written in RED. Otherwise, how would you know that I’m moving rapidly away from you, and not towards you? Now I am living in the “Black and White World”.
SING IT, Elvis (link here). My heart is not in this drab world, Sayanee. Here are the lyrics. You read them dear girl, while I sort this out.
Written by Elvis Costello: “Black and White World” 1980.
I was looking at the black and white world It seemed so exciting If you’d only put me back to back with that girl When the night’s inviting
With just a little lighting There’ll never be days like that again When I was just a boy and men were men You never go from moment to moment You’re the living double of a single fiction You’re very colourful with your compliments As you feel the finger’s friction
It’s a freeze-frame Still it’s real life You don’t want to look Cause you’ve seen the film and you’ve read the book I was looking at the black and white world Trying to name some pin-up Those days she was just a beautiful girl Now she’s framed and hung up
I thought she was young Up until I saw her last night in close detail Though they all fade away when you’re so pale It’s more than just a physical attraction
It starts with a face and ends up a fixation But you’re never gonna feel a fraction Of the way it used to work on your imagination When you were looking at the black and white world…
Starlight: I guess we can’t work in the 0.4 to 0.7 micrometer range anymore?
Sit back down you! If you are drinking my beer, you are going to have to listen to my “old man” music. Forget that “hippy-hoppy” crap for a few minutes, and learn some music history.
This is “Dogs” by Pink Floyd, from their great 1977 LP “Animals”. The record was a concept album (slight sarcastic inflection in Denny’s voice). Each song title describes a different domestic animal. The central theme is that people often are like the animals. Each describes some of the worst aspects of humanity. People might be greedy pigs, are often docile sheep, and may live in a dog-eat-dog world.
You are going to need the lyric sheet. I am posting the full lyrics at the end of this post, if you want to view them while you listen to this SEVENTEEN-MINUTE PROGRESSIVE ROCK SONG.
Oh, right you use your phone for everything. Try to follow along. The song is about how people act like aggressive dogs. The song is directed at businessmen in particular. My favorite lyrical part captures very clearly how I view the cutthroat world of business.
After a while, you can work on points for style.
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in.
The song then describes one unlucky company man who dedicates his life to pursuing money, but in the end has accumulated nothing of true value. Near the end he faces disillusionment with the corporate world, and how one must act in order to survive in it. The ruthless businessman must face death, realizing that he is unloved, and has wasted his life in the pursuit of financial gain. Someday you will understand the meaning of the line: “it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around.”
I can remember seeing Pink Floyd performing this live on their 1977 tour. During this song, the band had inflated blimps which hovered over the stage. The blimps were of such as objects as a car, a TV set, refrigerator, etc. All of these are objects which the protagonist sacrificed his life for.
Oh, you want to hear more of my “war stories” from rock life in the 1970s do you? Let me tell you a little more about the Pink Floyd 1977 tour. The band would only play five cities in North America. I saw them in Cleveland, Ohio.
It was a hot and humid summer day. Fortunately it was partly cloudy, thus I avoided a lot of sunburn …
“General Admission” – meaning you have to fight drug addicts for a place on the baseball field close to the stage.
80,000 potheads filled the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. I may have been the ONLY CLEAR-HEADED person in the entire stadium.
I hate marijuana. It never made me “high” — just stupid. It was tough growing up in the 1970s when so many of my peers were using weed to attain euphoria. Everyone else would mellow out and feel great. Marijuana turns me into a paranoid psychopath. Lucky you if you can use it as a euphoric … er … I mean, to treat your glaucoma. Luckily I attended this drug fest accompanied only by my stoner friends and a gallon jug of green Gatorade. (My anti-drug stance will have to wait for another post. I know, I’m a hypocrite because I drink like a tree). I don’t like drug culture, but I love the “altered state” which Pink Floyd transported me too. Hypnotic, perhaps ethereal, but with a small sense of underlying dread.
Denny is NOT making this up: To this day I can remember how the show opened. The crowd was waiting for the show, when all of a sudden a 747 jet airliner flies DIRECTLY OVER THE STADIUM. I mean it flew just above the top of the structure. No one had ever seen anything like it. In my minds eye, I can still remember … at least I think I do … maybe I embellish it now … seeing people inside the plane WAVING OUT THE WINDOW. That is HOW CLOSE the band plane flew to the top of the stadium. It was very quick, and as far as I know, there is no photographic evidence of the flight.Today (post- 9/11) of course, you could never get an airplane that close to that big of a crowd. I would find out later that Pink Floyd was cited for the FAA infraction.
The stoned crowd was of course freaked out. While we sat there all agog, no one noticed that the band had already taken the stage and was already playing “Sheep”. This was a great practical joke on a crowd that was already hallucinating. I guess we really were all easily manipulated sheep … good one guys!
Find the young Denny.
Oh, back to “Dogs” … there is that one part right after the “dragged down by the stone” lyric where the word “stone” is repeated, then phased-synthesized so that the word slowly becomes a sound instead of a word. It is a good example of the dreamlike steam-of-consciousness aspect of Pink Floyd music. Also, if you are listening to this — your dog may come running into the room, as the song also has some real dog-barking, and synthesized dog sounds. Legend has it — there are also sounds which only a dog can hear are included. Test it out for yourself.
What do you mean it is depressing? Of course it is dark … it is ART! A lot of Pink Floyd is kind of depressing … and kind of scary. Like a bad dream.
It was a great show. The band played the full “Animals” and “Wish-You-Were-Here” albums. The WYWH set had a big-screen animated movie to accompany it. I once saw a song from it on VH1, but I have been looking forever for the full movie. Like a lot of PF, it will put you into a trance.
Unfortunately, people CAN be animals. I saw a lot of bad behavior. Plenty of mean dogs, sloppy pigs and clueless sheep. One of my friends had his pockets picked and lost his ticket, There was a lot of fighting between the druggies of course. The police were harassing a lot of the stoners, but there is no way that they could arrest all 80,000, so they had to let a lot of drug use slide.
I was very saddened to see that inebriated fuckwads kept trying to take down the animal balloons as they flew over the crowd. Jerks were grabbing the tethers. At one point, the show had to stop so that an announcement could be made to stop pulling down the pig.
See this radio station blog for further description, but it looks like they got it mostly right.
You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need.
You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you’re on the street,
You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed.
And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight,
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking.
And after a while, you can work on points for style.
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in.
You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder.
You know it’s going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you
And in the end you’ll pack up and fly down south,
Hide your head in the sand,
Just another sad old man,
All alone and dying of cancer.
And when you loose control, you’ll reap the harvest you have sown.
And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone.
And it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw
So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone,
Dragged down by the stone… (stone … stone …)
I gotta admit that I’m a little bit confused.
Sometimes it seems to me as if I’m just being used.
Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise.
If I don’t stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this
Deaf, dumb, and blind, you just keep on pretending
That everyone’s expendable and no-one has a real friend.
And it seems to you the thing to do would be to isolate the winner
And everything’s done under the sun,
And you believe at heart, everyone’s a killer.
Who was born in a house full of pain.
Who was trained not to spit in the fan.
Who was told what to do by the man.
Who was broken by trained personnel.
Who was fitted with collar and chain.
Who was given a pat on the back.
Who was breaking away from the pack.
Who was only a stranger at home.
Who was ground down in the end.
Who was found dead on the phone.
Who was dragged down by the stone.
Regarding the “Animals” album: I wondered why there were not more songs about more animals. If people behave like Sheep, Pigs and Dogs, then why not “Monkeys”? People basically are like monkeys, so why not another animal song. Yes, humanity is often ape-like. We are basically “monkeys” … just a bunch of wild monkeys. Just a bunch of masturbating, feces-throwing, infant cannibalizing monkeys.
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