Monday, May 30, 2016

Billy Joel And Me

This morning, I had a nice e-mail waiting for me from Lisa, one of my co-workers. She complimented my devotional several days ago about the Westbury Christian School Class of 2006 and their commencement. It wasn't a long note but I think that particular entry got to her since her daughter, Chloe, graduated from WCS ten days ago. (I'm pleased to announce that the lovely Chloe will be attending my alma mater,  Harding University!) I'm never emotional over graduations but then again, it's part of my job description and undoubtedly, I would feel differently seeing my child walk across the stage. Without that tugging of heartstrings, I can write semi objectively. At least I think I can!

One thing that still confounds me after 10 1/2 years of penning this blog is how others react to something I've written; it's impossible to predict. Sometimes, I really like one of my postings but receive no feedback and sometimes ones I am ambivalent towards get a large response. Sometimes I really like previous efforts and in a modest way, am proud of myself. I once heard an interview with Paul McCartney and he was trying unsuccessfully to quote the words to Eleanor Rigby, one of the classics he composed with John Lennon. Most Beatles fans could quote them effortlessly. I've written devotionals I can't remember writing. Several days ago, I found myself wanting to listen to Billy Joel's A Matter Of Trust so I cued it up on you tube. Of course, on the side panel were other songs of his so I clicked on We Didn't Start The Fire, Joel's history laced anthem of his life. Chronicling American and world events from his birth in 1949 until 1989 when he turned forty, We Didn't Start the Fire was a # 1 Billboard hit for Joel, who has stated he considered becoming a history teacher. In fact, a number of social science instructors used the song to instruct their students about that time period. But what I found fascinating as I read about the song on the Internet was that Billy Joel was not a fan of it, despite it being very good for him financially. He noted that it is very hard lyrically to sing in a concert setting, stating that missing one name would throw him off. Joel was also very critical of the tune, which he created after the words, even comparing it to a 'dentist drill.' My thought is that We Didn't Start The Fire might have sounded drastically different if the melody had been written first but then again, it might not have been a hit.

To me, it's kind of like the chicken or the egg theorem. Almost everything I write comes from an observation or a situation. Most of the time, I am not exactly sure where I'm going with my thoughts- I know when I get to the conclusion. As I've never written either lyrics or music, I have no clue which wold be the first stage in my attempts. I had this old song in my mind- God, Love, And Rock And Roll- the past couple of days. An Internet peek revealed something I should have caught but never did- that God, Love And Rock And Roll is a dead ringer melodically to the old spiritual, Amen. (Think Sidney Poitier in Lilies Of The Field.) But in life, I find myself at times coming to a conclusion first, then lining up with arguments to fit my narrative. The minds the Lord gave us have to be disciplined in so many ways. I want to jump to the end of the story without finding out all the facts and details and plots which make the story make sense. I wish I had Billy Joel's talents- I don't- but I get what he said about the dentist drill. I also don't want to put words in his mouth/thoughts in his head but when I get my logic in reverse order, it is like a dentist drill- abrasive, irritating, painful. The good side is that after the discomfort caused by that drill, the outcome is usually positive, especially in the hands of a good dentist. This entry took me five days to write. Maybe I just proved my own point.

To watch and listen to Billy Joel's A Matter Of Trust, click or copy and paste the link below:

To watch and listen to Billy Joel's We Didn't Start The Fire, click or copy and paste the link below:

To watch and listen to Teegarden And Van Winkle's God, Love, And Rock And Roll, click or copy and paste the link below:

Applicable quote of the day:
I consider myself to be an inept pianist, a bad singer, and a merely competent songwriter. What I do, in my opinion, is by no means extraordinary. 
Billy Joel

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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