Daily Prompt: Always Something There to Remind Me

A song comes on the radio and instantly, you’re transported to a different time and place. Which song(s) bring back memories for you and why? Be sure to mention the song, and describe the memory it evokes. Photographers, artists, poets: show us PAST. dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/prompt-remind-me/

 

Hello all

Picture it. I was 17 years of age and I was walking down Collins Street in Melbourne (Australia) with a girlfriend. I was window shopping and feeling so excited that I was in this big city having my first holiday. Living in the backwater of Brisbane, as it was  at that time, I had longed to grow up, travel and have adventures. Finally, my dream was coming true. I felt I had arrived!

For someone who never had been on a proper holiday because my father was self-employed and did not take time off, this was the height of adventure for me. And all the while when we were at the house we were staying in, we would hear the song “Downtown” by Petula Clark and we would be singing it loudly because we were alone in the house owned by our church youth group.

petulaTherefore, whenever we caught the train downtown’ to Melbourne city – which was almost every day – we would be singing ‘Downtown’ quietly as we walked arm in arm. Now that I look back on it, we had no idea in 1964 that girls didn’t walk arm in arm (or hold hands as we often did) because the wrong connotation might be taken. We were soooo innocent then!

Therefore dear friends, whenever I hear ‘Downtown’ I am immediately 17 years of age and I am walking down Collins Street with my good friend.  The lyrics of the song were so apt that when I look back on it, it was providential that this song was on the Hit Parade at that time.

Amazing really because it captured our excitement of the traffic, the neon lights and the movies showing. Yet, us two young women were lonely as well in that big city on our own. The song said it all. You will see what I mean here in the lyrics:

Lyrics of Downtown ….. by Petula Clark

When you’re alone, and life is making you lonely
You can always go downtown
When you’ve got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know – downtown
Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtown; things’ll be great when you’re
Downtown; no finer place for sure
Downtown everything’s waiting for you

Don’t hang around and let your problems surround you
There are movie shows downtown
Maybe you know some little places to go to
Where they never close, downtown
Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossa nova
You’ll be dancing with him too before the night is over
Happy again

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtown, where all the lights are bright
Downtown – waiting for you tonight
Downtown – you’re gonna be all right now

And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to
Guide them along

So maybe I’ll see you there
We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares
So go downtown; things’ll be great when you’re
Downtown; don’t wait a minute for
Downtown; everything’s waiting for you

View the original song on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx06XNfDvk0

Now as luck would have it, I heard a segment on the radio yesterday and the announcer was asking: “Which Billy Joel song would YOU like to be living in right now?” There was some wonderful discussions about the various Billy Joel songs, but the one that popped into my head was “The Piano Man.”

My memory went back to attending a Billy Joel concert some years ago and watching the Piano Man himself! How I would have loved to be present in that piano bar that Billy Joel sings about in this piece of music. Here is the background of the music:

“Piano Man” is a fictionalized retelling of Joel’s experience as a piano-lounge singer for six months in 1972 at the now defunct Executive Room bar in Los Angeles. Joel has stated that all of the characters depicted in the song were based on real people.” (Wikipedia)

The Piano Man

The Piano Man

Billy was having problems with a record deal and so whilst waiting for it to be fixed, he spent time at this piano bar using a bogus name. Some people recognised that it was really Billy Joel; he wasn’t yet famous but he did have records out and was known by enough people who came especially to hear him.

He said later in an interview, that he never thought this piece, which told of his six months working at the piano bar, would ever be a hit. No one was more amazed than him! Can you imagine Billy Joel without the title of The Piano Man?

Ah yes, I’d love to be in Los Angeles at the piano bar with all those different characters he wrote about especially ‘the real estate novelist’ who was in real estate but had spent years writing a novel which never got finished. Look for the other characters in the words of the song at the end of this post.

Even though I have never heard Billy Joel in the Executive Room bar, every time I hear him sing this song, I feel as if I am actually there. Isn’t that a mark of a very good song writer? To create lyrics that make you feel as if you’re there at that very moment … everything is in slow motion and you are experiencing the sights and the sounds of the bar.

Picture it dear friends … for we all need to escape at times into music, theatre or art or whatever it is that takes us out of the tedium of our lives and into a world of our yearning. I heard on the radio today that schools and universities are gearing young people towards earning a living and neglecting the arts which are the foundation of our society. Let’sdo our bit to keep the music alive and flowing.

What Billy Joel song would YOU like to be living in?

             The Piano Man

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Making love to his tonic and gin

He says, “Son, can you play me a memory?
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger lad’s clothes”

La la la, de de da
La la, de de da da da

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright

Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there’s someplace that he’d rather be
He says, “Bill, I believe this is killing me.”
As a smile ran away from his face
“Well I’m sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place”

Oh, la la la, de de da
La la, de de da da da

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he’s talkin’ with Davy who’s still in the Navy
And probably will be for life

And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes, they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it’s better than drinkin’ alone

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright

It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
‘Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been comin’ to see
To forget about life for awhile
And the piano, it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, “Man, what are you doin’ here?”

Oh, la la la, de de da
La la, de de da da da

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright

Read more: http://artists.letssingit.com/billy-joel-lyrics-piano-man-cjrpxrz#ixzz2vEivXtY4

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