Monday’s Music Moves Me: SONGS ABOUT AGING & GETTING OLD(er) – Part 1 of 4

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:

TIME PASSAGES

 

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
Sad tomorrows
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
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:

 

22 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: SONGS ABOUT AGING & GETTING OLD(er) – Part 1 of 4

  1. Hi, Michele!

    This is a super batch of songs in the category of Time Passages. “Reflections Of My Life” has been a favorite of mine since college. The lyrics “The world is a bad place, a bad place, a terrible place to live, but I don’t want to die” have stuck with me through the years, more relevant today than ever before. I like your idea of wishing for a permanent position in the hereafter rather than a return to this world. Seems man has made a great big mess of things and I don’t see things getting better any time soon. The recent story about elephant poaching sealed the deal. I was not familiar with the Stevie Nicks song “Landslide” and I enjoyed the live performance you posted. I like the lines “But time makes you bolder – Even children get older.” The lyrics immediately bring to mind the huge Dell hit “When I Was Young” by Eric Burdon and the Animals. “When I was young it was more important, pain more painful, the laughter much louder.” How true! Things I considered important in my youth seem much less important today and I am better able to handle disappointments and setbacks. I wonder why George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass’ was rejected by the Beatles for inclusion on their Let It Be album. It might have made the album more memorable for someone like me who owned every other Beatles album but never added that one to my collection. “Time” by The Alan Parsons Project takes me back to my second bachelorhood, a song I heard time and time again on the radio during that period. The John Lennon song “Borrowed Time” is completely new to me. Inspired by Lennon’s harrowing sailing experience and recorded the same year he was assassinated, it surely does remind us that we are all living on borrowed time. Neil Young has one of the best and most distinctive voices in all of music. “Old Man” is a great song and I enjoyed listening to it again. “Days Go By” by The offspring and “Glory Days” by Springsteen offered a refreshing change of pace and style, snapping us out of the wistful, melancholy trance induced by most of these other Time Passages songs. How appropriate to finish the set with Welsh folk artist Mary Hopkin’s classic “Those Were The Days” along with the traditional Russian folk song upon which it is based. Mary’s single was released in the U.S. the same week two school friends were killed in a car crash and is permalinked in my mind to that tragedy.

    Thank you very much for the great music and memories, dear friend Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tom. Happy Friday! Thanks so much for coming by and leaving a fabulous & thoughtful comment. You get the Early-Bird Award for this one! You are an early bird, aren’t you? I notice your posts and comments are usually early mornings. Me? I’ve never been a morning person…Well, unless I’m just coming home in the morning…which was a regular thing “back in the day”… Ah, time passages. 🙂

      Good to know that “Reflections of My Life” is one of your favorites. I could listen to that song over and over. Hey, since neither one of us are planning on coming back here, maybe we could get a job working together up there?? Remember the underground radio stations of yesteryear? (Are any still around?) I kinda like the idea of an “above-ground radio station” up there. We could put together a killer format!

      I’m thrilled to have introduced you to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”! I love that song. You mentioned Eric Burdon’s “When I Was Young”: I totally forgot about that song! It’s a good one. I’ll have to give it a good listen and get into the lyrics later on.

      It was cool to pull up the Alan Parson’s Project song “Time”. That is a really cool band and I need to spend some time with their other songs. I think I’m going to do an artist spotlight on them soon (after Sticks McGhee, of course, which I’ll be featuring in October, after my Aging series 🙂 ).

      Glad you like John Lennon’s “Borrowed Time”. That’s a neat story about that song and his frightening sailing experience. I love the reggae sound… Mark Chapman sure did rob us (the world) of a great artist. I can only imagine what he would’ve produced beyond his already stunning body of work…

      Neil Young is an interesting guy. I like to hear his live performances when he kicks off the songs with personal stories. Apparently he was pretty hard to get along with though, from what I understand anyway.

      How sad that the great Mary Hopkin song “Those Were the Days” has attached itself to a really sad memory of a tragic accident in your mind. That’s music for ya though. It goes where it goes, regardless of what we want it to do. I remember back in the 80s when Prince’s “When Doves Cry” first came out and was getting tons of airplay: It just so happened to coincide with yet another relationship. After we broke up, every time that song came on the radio I had to switch the channel or turn it completely off because of the memories it evoked.
      I do hope that you can enjoy “Those Were the Days” with only good thoughts…

      Thanks for your awesome comment Tom! You’re the best, Have a great weekend.

      Like

  2. These are some good choices. “All Things Must Pass” is a fantastic album. I remember when George released it, everyone was flabberghasted at just how good it was. He had lived for such a long time in the shadows of Lennon and McCartney that no one had any idea that he was a good songwriter, despite his contributions to earlier Fab Four albums. He was just this quiet guy who stood in the middle and played his guitar.

    “Reflections of My Life” is an underrated song, I think. It’s the perfect song for ruminating about life, and almost puts you in a contemplative mood the second you hear those chords at the beginning. Sometimes the moody songs are the best.

    I never knew that Peter White played on “Time Passages.” He’s a fantastic guitarist and a real favorite on Smooth Jazz radio (which now seems to have moved to the Internet). Al did some tasty music, and it’s a shame he never got more popular. He had that spurt of popularity in the ’70’s, then… nothing. He kept recording; I’ll have to look up some of his later stuff.

    I always thought of “Those Were The Days” as a Beatles song, but I guess it wasn’t. Maybe it was me thinkig of Paul McCartney getting Mary Hopkin to sign with Apple and producing her first album. Regardless, great song by a lovely singer.

    The rest of these were really good and this is a dynamite playlist. You say there are three more?

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are three more John. I just finished Part 2 a little while ago. So glad that you liked the Part 1 songs. That’s cool info about Paul McCartney signing Mary Hopkin to Apple. I had no idea he produced.

      Re: Al Stewart: maybe you can do an Al Stewart playlist. I don’t know that much about him, other than what was popular on the radio. Would love to learn more about him and his music.

      “Reflections of My Life” – I could play that song over and over and never tire of it. You’re so right: it was definitely underrated.

      Thanks for checking out Part 1 of my Gettin’ Old series. 🙂

      Like

    • Thanks for checking out Part 1 of my Aging series Lee. Glad you like the songs. Hopefully you’ll also like my Part 2 playlist coming up on Monday.
      Enjoy your Sunday…

      Like

  3. This is a great list with so many songs that i love to listen to. I had to laugh at Neil Young’s at his famous song. I had no idea that John Lennon was getting into sailing and had a run in with bad weather. Thank God he wasn’t sick. I always think of the song, “Stormy Weather”…”Rocking chair is going to get me.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Birgit,
      Thanks for stopping by and checking out Part 1 in my Aging & Getting Old series. And thanks for bringing up Stormy Weather! I’m listening to Lena Horne doing it right now and just heard the “rocking chair” line. Great!

      Like

  4. Dang it girl!

    You’ve outdone yourself again. This month sure has flown by quickly. Of course, it doesn’t help when the alarm goes off in the early morning and next thing you know it 10:30am and you’re still in bed. It’s not as though I have been staying up late, either. Just can’t seem to get a schedule going here.

    I do hope you’ll join me for my Rocktober MusicFest! It’s sure to be a lot of fun!

    ~Mary

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michele,

    You can take a theme and morphing it into a fabulous series! You’re just super amazing. It’s going to be great fun having you onboard as 4M’s honorary co-host next month. We’ll all find ourselves in the aging game if we’re blessed in years. Sadly, some don’t get that chance but for us who do, then let’s enjoy this ride God has given us! Thanks for sharing such wonderful mewsic set. Have tunetasic week, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “…let’s enjoy this ride God has given us!” — Amen to that! Some days are harder than others to enjoy the aging train, but I try… 🙂
      I’m looking forward to being the honorary co-host starting on Monday! Thanks for the warm welcome announcement!
      Enjoy your Sunday. See you Monday…

      Like

  6. This so reflected what I have been feeling lately (at age 65, watching my now terminally ill mother in law, 90, decline). It’s been years since I’ve heard Reflections of my Life and I never realized how deep that song was until now, listening to it as a senior. Time Passages is one of my favorite Al Stewart songs. I love every song on the Dark Side of the Moon album. And, Those were the Days…ah yes, they were. Super job this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Alana,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your Mother in Law. It’s so hard to watch our loved ones age and we can’t do a damn thing about it. Time is cruel, that’s for sure.
      So glad you liked Part 1 of my series. I just finished Part 2 so hopefully you’ll like that as well. See you next week… Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  7. Pingback: Monday’s Music Moves Me: My Songs about Aging & Getting Old(er) Series – Part 2 of 4: REMINISCING | Angels Bark

  8. MICHELE, I’m still “Reminiscing” about my childhood, teens, and early twenties.

    I am decidedly not a Neil Young fan. For a long time I’ve felt he was just a “poor man’s” version of Bob Dylan. However, I DO like a few of his songs a great deal. And the following one – about not wanting to leave one’s childhood and teen years – is undoubtedly my favorite:

    ~ D-FensDogG
    Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends

    Like

  9. Pingback: Monday’s Music Moves Me – SONGS ABOUT AGING & GETTING OLDER – Part 3 of 4: GETTIN’ OLD AIN’T FOR SISSIES! | Angels Bark

  10. Pingback: Monday’s Music Moves Me – Songs About Aging & Getting Old(er) – Part 4 of 4: TIME TRAVEL | Angels Bark

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