Liberal Arts Blog — Adele, “I Set Fire to the Rain,” Jimi Hendrix “Purple Haze,” James Taylor/Carole King, “Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall”
Liberal Arts Blog — Thursday is the Joy of Music Day
Today’s Topic: Adele, “I Set Fire to the Rain,” Jimi Hendrix “Purple Haze,” James Taylor/Carole King, “Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall”
What lines or titles haunt you most? This morning at about 4am, I woke up with “I set fire to the rain” echoing in the hollow chambers of my mind. Why? What is it about that line? If there are power chords, there sure are power lines. And can you top that one? And then I asked myself, what other lines from songs of the last sixty years have had a comparably lingering, mesmerizing effect on my soul? I came up with two more and decided to devote today’s post to these three. If you had to choose three, what would they be? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
I SET FIRE TO THE RAIN — ADELE
1. Imagine a trio of Juno, Athene, and Aphrodite belting their hearts out.
2. Or perhaps Callas, Schwarzkopf, and Price.
3. Other goddesses who set fire to the rain.
NB: The lyrics, the timbre, tone, the size of the voice spell power.
PURPLE HAZE — JIMI HENDRIX
1. I love the fact that “an early, handwritten draft of song was entitled “Purple Haze — Jesus Saves!”
2. “You know the song we had named ‘Purple Haze’? [It] had about a thousand, thousand words … I had it all written out. It was about going through, through this land. This mythical … because that’s what I like to do is write a lot of mythical scenes. You know, like the history of the wars on Neptune.” (Hendrix)
3. “I dream a lot and I put my dreams down as songs. I wrote one called ‘First Look Around the Corner’ and another called ‘The Purple Haze,’ which was about a dream I had that I was walking under the sea.” (Hendrix)
NB: If Adele is Juno, Jimi is Neptune. His guitar his trident.
WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER, OR FALL — JAMES TAYLOR/CAROLE KING
1. “All you’ve got to do is call…”
2. “And you know wherever I am, I’ll come running”
3. “To see you again”
NB: The title of the song is “You’ve Got a Friend.” But the title never did much for me. It’s the line that is made by the tiny word “or.” “The song was as close to pure inspiration as I’ve ever experienced. The song wrote itself. It was written by something outside myself, through me.” (King) King won the Grammy for best song. Taylor won the Grammy for best male vocal performance.
LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Time to share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to music. Or the coolest thing you learned in your life related to music. Say your favorite song or songs. Or your favorite tips for breathing, posture, or relaxation. Or some insight into the history of music….Or just something random about music… like a joke about drummers. jazz, rock….or share an episode or chapter in your musical autobiography.
This is your chance to make some one else’s day. And perhaps to cement in your memory something important you would otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters to you.