By Hans Ebert
My pint-sized favourite Smurfette Rock Chick friend and singer Kat has written a blog about music and the different vibrations it gives off and how it even had an effect on deaf and blind author, lecturer, political activist and everything in between that was the remarkable and inspirational Helen Keller.
I completely understood all that. But when writing that music can often be a substitute for sex, and mentioning Tiger Woods, Kat lost me at Hello. Perhaps it’s because men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and real men eat quiche etc, but she lost me there. And it was way past having me at Hello. But, then again, men are a wildly different group of Homo sapiens.
One friend, for example, needs romantic songs to get even remotely close to, well, getting his mojo working. That doesn’t work for me. Lying next to whoever she might be with Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, or going back to the future with Marty McFly, James Taylor, Harry Nilsson, Carole King- even her “I Feel The Earth Move”- and Don Henley playing in the background would result in immediate shrinkage with me having to go to my special place and cry like a girlie man, leaving her to lie on her back, inhale a ciggie, stare at the ceiling and wait for that moment to return.
For myself at least, “Whole Lotta Love” and “The Lemon Song” by Led Zeppelin has always brought out the Neanderthal in me. Hearing Robert Plant scream, “Shake for me, girl, I wanna be your back door man”- and I never understood what a “back door man” was until quite late in life- and “Squeeze my lemon until the juice runs down my leg”, has always worked for me. These Rock classics liberate me and make me dive into that mosh pit of sexual adventure with absolutely no inhibitions and where anything goes. Finding the right partner to actually go on this same adventure and add and make some twists and turns of their own is the problem. There are not many around.
There have been those times, especially when with someone from Eastern Europe, where the sounds of Led Zeppelin did nothing for them. No matter what year it is, it’s always been Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” and the greatest hits of Rod Stewart that’s worked the oracle for those Ukraine girls and nearly every other woman from Back In The USSR. And not to be selfish, despite Bonnie Tyler reminding me of Rod Stewart and Rod Stewart prancing around being as amusing as Mick Jagger strutting around like a wrinkled chicken, experience has taught me to block these hideous visuals and focus on the task at hand. It’s hard being Hans.
The music that’s always worked for everyone I have spoken to- and maybe we’re part of the same club- has been the wonder works of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.
The latter’s “Let’s Get It On” and “Sexual Healing” have been on Repeat many many times- in elevators, in cars, in taxis, on planes, and over 5-star dinners suddenly reduced to something as decadent as that chicken eating scene in the movie “Tom Jones”.
It’s difficult to think of walking down the aisle to “Let’s Get It On”, but what are the odds that many babies were conceived with that track playing in the background and helping bring it home for daddy. Did that just make you vomit a little bit? Well, get used to it and hate me on Facebook. Hell, start a campaign. It’s hard being Hans.
As for the music that Kat mentions about sending off different vibrations, this is really down to where your head is at at any particular given time. It might even be up your arse.
Personally speaking, the more achingly beautiful the songs are in almost a depressing way, well, they somehow inspire me. They might have others reaching for the razor blades, but listening to “The End Of The Innocence”, Lennon’s “Isolation”, every song crafted by Jimmy Webb led by “Adios”, “Where’s The Playground, Susie”, “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress” and the very much ignored “If You See Me Getting Smaller I’m Leaving” plus Brian Wilson’s epic Pet Sounds album, all lift me up from the doldrums of being with Hum and Drum.
This is music that has always inspired me to pick up a guitar and try to write a song, which, in turn, makes me realise the importance of romance, and the difference between sex and love, and how, too often, we can get the two confused.
Addicted to love is one thing and a good place to be. Get addicted to sex and it’s back to taking a different set of twelve steps and being in Love Lockdown mode, ironically, a song that was very much the “theme” running through an extremely destructive relationship that should have run its course years before it finally ended in the ugliest of ways.
It’s probably why it took me years to be able to get my head around the antics, theatrics and music of Kanye West again. But then, that song of West’s included Rihanna and McCartney which definitely helped the accessibility of the track. And no, I still cannot listen to the music of Kanye West. It comes with too much bogey woman baggage and a past that has been deleted.
How many of us have tolerated dysfunctional relationships like these and been stuck in the mire with wrong partners for years because of not being able to see and understand the difference between sex and love? The right song can be a great miracle cure to pull you out of being stuck in the middle of nothingness with nowhere to go. Except to bed. And that’s not healthy.
Music that is so lovingly crafted- and I will continue to use this word as, at least to me, very few songs these days are actually crafted-they’re put together, or strung together, but rarely crafted like all those tunesmiths introduced to me during my formative years by my musician father- George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, below, Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer and all those other greats from Tin Pan Alley.
It was these tunesmiths who inspired more contemporary writers like Jimmy Webb, Paul Simon, Leon Russell, McCartney, and Bacharach and David to give us their wonderful gifts to share.
It’s been said many times over, but music is the soundtrack to our lives. It’s our own personal concept album that will always be with us as we go through ups and downs, twists and turns, and, hopefully, get off the train at the right station and with the person that fills you with sunshine and inspiration even in the pouring rain. It’s the best place to be.