September has been an extraordinarily busy month and I have missed almost all of this month’s 4Ms. (So Sorry to our honorary conductor Cathy of Curious As a Cathy blog!) One of Cathy’s themes was Songs on Aging and Getting Older and I really connected with that, especially because I just celebrated my 56th birthday earlier in the month. So I’m using this week’s assigned theme of Autumn and bending it to be more in line with the “September of My Years” where I’ll focus my songs on Aging & Getting Old(er) – because that’s what happens to me each and every Fall!
Like the four seasons, I have compiled four different playlists, each with an Aging/Getting Old(er) sub-theme. The first playlist is a blend of songs in what I call the TIME PASSAGES block. Next are songs in a playlist that focuses on remembering our years gone by with the REMINISCING block. The third playlist is simply titled AGING & GETTING OLD(ER). And we’ll wrap it up with a TIME TRAVEL playlist block.
This will be a 4-Part Series Part 1 today, Part 2 next Monday and Parts 3 and 4 on the subsequent Freebies that we have coming up.
Let’s get started with today’s Part 1:
Reflections of My Life by Marmalade (1969/70) – “Reflections of My Life” is a 1969 song by the Scottish band Marmalade. Often heralded as a Vietnam War anthem as so many soldiers were living the words of this song, it is a song that needs to be interpreted on a personal level. The lyric line “Take me back to my own home” means something different to everyone.
Oh, my crying (Oh, my crying)
Feel I’m dying, dying
Take me back to my own home
Oh, my sorrows
Take me back to my own home
My friends often hear me saying how much I miss home. The place, the people, the era. My youth.
Also doleful (but often true), the lyric “The world is a bad place, a bad place, a terrible place to live, but I don’t want to die” is another line that often packs a punch. I so often find myself saying, “In my next life, I want to be…” followed by whatever expression or dream of what I’m not now, as in: “In my next life I want to be wealthy and thin” or “In my next life I want to be pain-free” or “In my next life, I want to be a bird” (and sometimes I want to be a dog)…
But the other day I said something I don’t think I’ve ever said before and it kinda took me by surprise. I was about to say, for the umpteenth time, “In my next life, I want to be…” but instead I found myself saying (to God, I suppose) “In my next life, I don’t even want to come back.” It stopped me in my tracks for a minute. Whoa. Really? And then I thought, “Yeah, just find something for me to do up there. I don’t want to come back here.”
Marmalade’s “Reflections of My Life”, like so many others of that era, moves me to ache for a time gone by. I imagine many hearing this song are probably moved in a similar way.
Although the song is a little bleak, there is a reference to a bit of hopefulness in the song:
I’m changing, arranging
I’m changing everything
Everything around me…
The song was Marmalade’s only U.S. hit.
Landslide by Fleetwood Mac (1975) – “Landslide” is a song written by Stevie Nicks and performed by British-American music group Fleetwood Mac. It was first featured on the band’s self-titled 1975 album Fleetwood Mac. A live version was released as a single 23 years later from the live reunion album The Dance. It reached number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and 10 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
The lyrics that speak to me about aging:
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?…
Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m gettin’ older, too…
All Things Must Pass by George Harrison (1970) – written by George Harrison in 1968, the song was rejected by the Beatles for inclusion on their Let It Be album. It was then originally released by Billy Preston (1970, Encouraging Words album) before being released when Harrison went solo. The lyrics, inspired by Timothy Leary’s poem “All Things Pass”, is about the transient nature of human existence. The main message comes from these lyrics in the middle of the song:
All things must pass
None of life’s strings can last
So I must be on my way
And face another day.
Time Passages by Al Stewart (1978) – Produced by Alan Parsons, this song is the title track to Al Stewart’s 1978 release of the Time Passages album. The single reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1978, and it also spent ten weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Easy Listening chart, the longest stay at number one on this chart in the 1970s. Billboard magazine also ranked “Time Passages” as the No. 1 Adult Contemporary single of 1979.
The song is also of note of having the highest note ever hit on an alto saxophone by Phil Kenzie on a studio recording as a lead into the sax solo as Peter White’s acoustic guitar solo was ending.
“Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight…” I can relate to that lyric. It’s a yearning to go back home, which I experience on a fairly regular basis.
Time by Pink Floyd (1973) – Written by Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters, the lyrics deal with the passage of time – time can slip by, but many people do not realize it until it is too late. Waters got the idea when he realized he was no longer preparing for anything in life, but yet was right in the middle of it. He realized that life was not about preparing yourself for what happens next, but about grabbing control of your own destiny.
Musically, the song is noted for its long introductory passage of clocks chiming and alarms ringing, recorded as a quadrophonic test by Alan Parsons, not specifically for the album. Per David Gilmour, Pink Floyd’s guitarist and co-lead vocalist: “He (Alan Parsons) had just recently before we did that album gone out with a whole set of equipment and had recorded all these clocks in a clock shop. And we were doing the song Time, and he said “Listen, I just did all these things, I did all these clocks,” and so we wheeled out his tape and listened to it and said “Great! Stick it on!” And that, actually, is Alan Parsons’ idea.”
Time by The Alan Parsons Project (1981) – This was the most popular song from the album The Turn of a Friendly Card, which has many songs from the perspective of a man in middle age contemplating both the content of his past and what is left of his future.
Borrowed Time by John Lennon (written in 1980 but released posthumously in 1984 on John & Yoko’s Milk & Honey album) – The song was inspired during Lennon’s 1980 sailing holiday from Newport Rhode Island to Bermuda. During the journey Lennon’s yacht encountered a prolonged severe storm resulting in most of the crew eventually succumbing to profound fatigue and seasickness, Lennon (free of seasickness) was eventually forced to take the yacht’s wheel alone for many hours. Lennon found this terrifying but invigorating with the effect of both renewing his confidence and making him contemplate the fragility of life (Lennon claimed his recovery from heroin addiction some years earlier had rendered him immune to seasickness). Once he arrived in Bermuda, Lennon heard the line ‘living on borrowed time’ from Bunny Wailer’s “Hallelujah Time” and was inspired by his recent experience to write the lyrics around that theme; Wailer was also the inspiration for the reggae feel of the music. Lennon commented that living on borrowed time was exactly what he was doing but then said, “come to think of it, it’s what we’re all doing, even though most of us don’t like to face it.” (Seaman, 1991, p159).
Old Man by Neil Young (1972) – The song was written for the caretaker of the Northern California Broken Arrow Ranch, which Young purchased for $350,000 in 1970. The song compares a young man’s life to an old man’s and shows that the young man has, to some extent, the same needs as the old one. James Taylor played six-string banjo (tuned like a guitar) and sang on the song, and Linda Ronstadt also contributed vocals.
In the film Heart of Gold, Young introduces the song as follows:
“About that time when I wrote (“Heart of Gold”), and I was touring, I had also—just, you know, being a rich hippie for the first time—I had purchased a ranch, and I still live there today. And there was a couple living on it that were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avila and his wife Clara. And there was this old blue Jeep there, and Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep. He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, “Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?” And I said, “Well, just lucky, Louis, just real lucky.” And he said, “Well, that’s the darnedest thing I ever heard.” And I wrote this song for him.”
He tells a similar story when introducing the song at a February 23, 1971 performance broadcast by the BBC (in which he says that he purchased the ranch from “two lawyers”).
In 2018, a 72-year old Young said during a concert in Chicago: “It’s hard to do ‘Old Man’ now. It’s like, ‘Old man take a look at my life, I’m a lot like I am.”
Days Go By by The Offspring (2012) – “Days Go By” is a pop punk song by the American punk rock band The Offspring. The song was premiered on the Los Angeles, California rock station KROQ on April 27, 2012 and released on May 1, 2012. “Days Go By” was written by frontman and lyricist Dexter Holland.
As for the lyrics, Holland commented,
“It’s me observing that people have been going through a shitty time in the last few years, including myself. I just wanted to put some hope out there and say that no matter how bad it is, nobody’s going to pick you up. You’ve got to do it yourself and there is hope and you’re going to do it.”
“Days Go By” received positive response. Amy Sciarretto of Loudwire described it as “gimmick-free” and “a bit more contemplative, lyrically and comparatively speaking, as Holland ponders the then and the now. Overall, it has the bouncy rock vibe of a Foo Fighters tune with the added sprinkle of the Offspring’s American punk rock flavor.” The song received another positive review from Sylvie Lesas of Evigshed, who called it a “cool song, awesome sonic trip through the sounds of 90s and modern rock that rips and doesn’t disappoint.”
Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen (1984, and is one of seven Top 10 hits from the Born in the U.S.A. album) – In this song, Springsteen sings about a chance encounter with an old friend who was a star baseball player in high school. This fellow is Joe DePugh, and the encounter really did happen.
Springsteen and DePugh were classmates at St. Rose of Lima School in Freehold, New Jersey and played baseball together in the Babe Ruth League (ages 13-15). They were good friends, but drifted apart as Springsteen pursued music while DePugh took a shot at sports (he tried out for the Los Angeles Dodgers). In the summer of 1973, DePugh was walking in to a bar called the Headliner in Neptune, New Jersey while Springsteen was walking out. Bruce went back in, where he and his old friend talked about the good old days until the bar closed. When “Glory Days” was released, DePugh was living in Vermont, where word got out that he was the subject of the song. Springsteen confirmed the story at his 30th high school reunion in 1997, but DePugh wasn’t there; they finally met up again in 2005 when they met for lunch and once again relived their glory days. (Freehold historian Kevin Coyne sleuthed out this story, which was published in the New York Times).
Those Were the Days by Mary Hopkin (1968) – “Those Were the Days” is a song credited to Gene Raskin, who put a new English lyric to the Russian romance song “Dorogoi dlinnoyu” (“Дорогой длинною”, literally “By the long road”), composed by Boris Fomin (1900–1948) with words by the poet Konstantin Podrevsky. It deals with reminiscence upon youth and romantic idealism.
Mary Hopkin’s 1968 version of the song, produced by Paul McCartney, became a number one hit on the UK Singles Chart. The song also reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100, behind McCartney’s own band The Beatles’ hit “Hey Jude”.
I LOVE this song! So in addition to Mary Hopkin’s version I’ve included the Russian version in my playlist as well. Be sure to check it out: the video is quite cool.
That’s it for TIME PASSAGES, Part 1 of my Aging and Getting Old(er) theme. Be sure to come back next Monday for Part 2, REMINISCING.
Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked Two other co-hosts recently joined the fun: Alana of Ramlin’ with AM and Naila Moon of Musings & Merriment with Michelle. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below: