Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
Stay at home.
It’s understandable folks aren’t rushing out of the house to recreate this scene.
Might it help?
Sir John Armstrong Muir Gray is a British physician who advises to sing your worries away. That’s our focus this week. Let’s get started.
We open with a tune written in 1971 for a famous children’s TV program that really took off when a sister-brother act recorded it in 1973.
“Sing” was a #3 hit for Karen and Richard Carpenter.
“Give it all you’ve got. Sing in the shower, when cooking a meal or doing chores around the house.”
Sir Muir Gray
EW &F won 7 Grammys Awards and 4 American Music Awards, and are enshrined in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
In May of 2015 millions of Americans were talking about the finale for the hit TV program “Mad Men,” with most praising the closing moments as brilliant.
Emily Nussbaum wrote in the New Yorker:
Don Draper, blissed out at California’s Esalen Institute, his legs crossed in yogic meditation, purring, “Om.” A bell rang—ding!—and filling the TV screen, Don’s grin began to stretch wide, like a rubber band, in seeming mystic revelation. When the screen cut out, we were watching that incredible and iconic Coca-Cola TV ad that became a hit in 1971, a clip flooded with nostalgia on so many levels. On a grassy hilltop, beautiful youths of all races, creeds, and nations swayed, singing, “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony!/I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.” The tagline: “It’s the Real Thing.” Last night, it took a moment for this to sink in, but once it did, that dinging bell seemed to resonate back through the whole series, finding echoes everywhere. What appeared to be Buddhist meditation was an advertising brainstorm. What looked like hippie revelation, punctuated by a yogi saying, “A new day, new ideas, a new you,” was Don tapping into the seventies Zeitgeist, hitting on the genius tagline that he would present to his new bosses, the cretinous advertising conglomerate McCann Erickson (who in real life actually did create the Coke ad, although not under these circumstances). In tension with Don’s supposed personal growth was perhaps the most cynical vision imaginable: our hero had hit on a way to sell sugar water by linking it with global peace.
Bill Backer who came up with the jingle for the famous Coke commercial on a hilltop told the New York Times the inspiration came in an overcrowded airport in Shannon, Ireland.
That ad led to the 1971 hit recording, “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” by the New Seekers that included a young blonde singer, Lyn Paul.
In 2009 she told the Daily Mail:
“We thought it was a silly, soppy song. So it was hilarious when they decided to make it into a single. I suppose it was a nice feel-good song, but seven million records! Even now I think, how did this very ordinary song ever do it?”
“Music can lift our mood — even against our will. It has always had great power to soothe, calm and comfort us. There is something special about making your own music. It doesn’t matter if you never learned how to play an instrument, you have your own: your voice.”
Sir Muir Gray
The New Seekers hit #7 in America, and #1 in Japan, Ireland and the UK.
Before our big close, some thoughts again from Sir Muir Gray:
“What happens when you sing as part of a choir is miraculous. There is amazing anecdotal evidence about the impact of choral singing on all sorts of conditions, from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to stress and depression. A few years ago, researchers from the Royal College of Music were able to show that listening to and performing music has a positive biological effect on mood and stress levels.”
That’s it for this Friday segment.
Have a great weekend.
And for God’s sake do not touch your face!
We end with Chicago and the Gipsy Kings.