Friday, August 10, 2007

somewhere over the rainbow......


"They say that these are not the best of times
But they're the only times I've ever known
And I believe there is a time for meditation
In cathedrals of our own

Now I have seen that sad surrender in my lover's eyes
And I can only stand apart and sympathize
For we are always what our situations hand us
It's either sadness or euphoria"
Billy Joel, Summer Highland Falls


Goosebumps. It starts with the first notes on the piano followed by the familiar tune on his harmonica and automatically I feel a swelling of emotion somewhere in the pit of my stomach which quickly emanates outwardly until my skin feels vibrantly alive with goosebumps. I can't tell you how often I've listened to the song and I can't even tell you why it resonates with me every single time I hear it. No matter what I'm doing, when Mr. Piano Man begins to play his signature song, my actions slow down as I find myself pulled into his angry young man anthem. By the time he reaches the chorus, I'm singing along with him.

I was 16 years old the first time I saw Billy Joel perform live at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The Stranger album had just been released and already I had devoured all of his new songs, like I had his previous ones. It was one of the first concerts I had ever attended and by far the most exhilarating. I'll never forget the moment he stepped onto the stage, sat down at his piano and began to play........without his band yet.......the spotlight just on him as he started the set with another song which to this day makes me feel something reserved for only special songs. Summer Highland Falls.............followed by Piano Man. By the time he started into Honesty..........such a lonely word........... I was putty.

The purity of emotion expressed through music is probably the most universal tie we have to one another. We all have our own timbre, our own preferences. Culturally, we are conditioned to respond and react to different sounding instruments, but we all know what its like to hear a tune or a song that takes your breath away, that leaves you feeling the prickling cold heat of emotionally charged goosebumps. When it happens to me now, they are usually accompanied by a rush welling of tears which seem to come from nowhere but end up sliding down my face.

Why is that? Why do the tears come so much more readily when I'm feeling something deeply?

Tonight as I thought about what i wanted to write for this weeks prompt for Sunday Scribblings (goosebumps), music and Billy Joel were my first thoughts but were quickly followed by thinking about other songs which have tugged at the same spot over the past couple of years. Turns out more than a few of them have. And, I took some time to revisit some of them on YouTube just to see if the goosebumps returned......if my memory was serving me correctly. And it did.

I sat back and listened to Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman sing Con te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye) and felt like it was the first time I had heard it. I felt the goosebumps return when I found Paul Potts sing Nessun Dorma as beautifully as Pavarotti. Harry Chapin's Circle filmed in Hamilton in 1981 just about did me in........I think I may have been at that concert. It has been a goosebump kind of night.

But if I had to pick one song that I happened upon a couple of years ago while listening to Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe on the CBC on Sunday morning was a very familiar song remade by a young man (who has since died) and his ukelele. Pure, hopeful, stunningly beautiful. It stopped me in my tracks that morning and I stood in my kitchen, my elbows on the counter, face to the radio, listening...........and feeling those goosebumpy tears again. I want to share it with you...............here's the link. Expect the goosebumps and enjoy as I did again tonight.



For more stories on "goosebumps" take a walk over to Sunday Scribblings.......

23 comments:

NetChick said...

Thanks for the walk down memory lane with music! Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman sound beautiful in that song. I'm guessing we must be similar in age...

Happy Friday! Michele sent me your way this evening.

BreadBox said...

Honesty. Such a lonely word. But at the time that that song was the key to my sadness, I'm not sure that it was what I wanted. 1984. November. I played it from 1:30 in the morning: play, rewind, play, rewind,.. until the day broke with my heart.
Many years later, LOML and I played Nessun Dorma at our wedding, along with an obscure recording of "What a Wonderful World" (most definitely, at LOML's insistence, not the Louis Armstrong version) and the theme song for Prairie Home Companion (for which we got permission from Garrison Keillor's folks) amongst others...

N.

Awareness said...

welcome netchick.....funny how songs can date us?

Breadbox....was it this wonderful world version at your wedding?
sorry about bringing up honesty memories.....it is a very good song to feel sad to......
Nessun Dorma.....I also listened to Bocelli's version tonight too. Beautiful. I heard Pavarotti's rendition on the radio this week when they announced he had been hospitalized again.....it left me wanting to here more and more.
At my wedding? Irish Heartbeat, Van Morrison.....

flleenie said...

Hey Awarenes,

I found you thru Michele. Don't worry about what other blogers comment. I enjoyed reading your blog

Shaz said...

I have just cried and smiled at this post and reading your previous posts trying to catch up. I really hate missing your posts they are so enlightining. Over the rainbow is the last song I heard at Kaths funeral as they released butterlys, It was totally amazing.
Music touches me as it does you and I have been alone with music a lot lately it truly touches the soul. Hugs Dana XX

BreadBox said...

Awareness --- no need for sorry: I listened out my sorrow with that song and now listen to it with love. And I've listened out the hurt and pain on a *whole* bunch of songs, before and since:-) I have a visceral reaction to music: the last track "Do you hear the people sing" on Les Miserables was a sure trigger for about a week -- I'd bawl, for no apparent reason!

The version of Wonderful World was from a kids cd we have (it may be "for the kids" or something like that: it has well known singers doing popular or other songs for kids): she sings it very straight, very clean, very meaningful in spite of that.

Between you and Carmi, you account for about half of my visits today!

scrappintwinmom said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE Nessun Dorma! Here via Michele!

Kamsin said...

Really enjoyed that link to somewhere over the rainbow. It is an awesome song, which somehow always gets me despite myself. Your post had me searching my memory banks for songs which have touched me over the years. Hooray for youtube and the ability to visit great songs so easily!

Awareness said...

shaz.....glad to see you back. take care

welcome flleenie....all comments are welcome and appreciated. no worries here.


breadbox....we all need songs of sorrow and of joy, don't we? There are a few in my memory bank which trigger certain strong pictures of past times listening over and over.
I went to see Les Mis with my father in law years ago....the whole show left me drained....as it did him. Beautiful music. I was actually thinking of soundtrack music too which has affected me in the past.....the music from the Mission, Chariots of Fire, Oh, Brother Where Art Thou...to name a few....


Scrap....it is a great song.

Kamsin....it's amazing how many songs fit this category once you start thinking about it. I'd like to add about 10 more......

Rob Kistner said...

What a warm and wonderful post! I was carried right into your heart. Thank you for sharing this... ;)

Music is a profound source of goosebumps. Miles Davis cut entitled "Blue In Green", which is on his "Kind Of Blue" album gives me gigantic goosebumps -- it can bring tears to my eyes. It's a magnificent piece of recorded art. A master at his peak.

Regina Clare Jane said...

I love Billy Joel as well- he was such a part of our generation...
I tend to cry more now when something beautiful strikes me, like a song or piece of art... and yes, the goosebumps come up for sure!
As always, Awareness- wonderful joining you at SS!

gautami tripathy said...

Certain music does make me feel this way. So beautiful and evocative..

paris parfait said...

As a fellow Billy Joel fan, I really enjoyed your lovely piece. It evoked a lot of memories. Off to Angleterre; will catch up w/ you at the end of the month. xo

Fledgling Poet said...

We were both on the same page this week with our Sunday Scribblings...I loved your post about the joy of music.

Paul said...

Hey, great minds think alike. I listened to some songs from my past on youtube about two weeks ago. Some of them gave me the goosebumps too. Mine were older though. It was my first time on youtube and it was my daughter who introduced me to it. I've been back once or twice since. I agree music really does bring out so many emotions.

Awareness said...

Rob...thank you. Music like that really reflects our souls.

Hi Regina....It was a great prompt this week and an easy one to write about. I have Mr. Piano Man to thank. One day, I'd like to have him over for dinner.

Gautami....I do believe music is a healing way of connecting with others in our global village

Tara...enjoy your trip to Angleterre.....you'll be missed.

Fledgling...will make a point of stopping by your blog to read your take on the prompt


Paul...Youtube is quite amazing really. you can find just about anything on it.

Thank you for dropping by everyone. I will check your sunday scribbles out too.

Herb Urban said...

Excellent choice of Billy Joel songs! Summer Highland Falls has always been one of my favorites, right up there with New York State of Mind and Goodnight Saigon. His music stands the test of time.

Growing up on the east coast, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen feel like a part of my family. Bruce live is a transcendent goosebump inducing event. Billy is no slouch himself.

Andrea said...

beautiful ....you send me ...several times I have heard SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW - that rendition and have had tears in my eyes. Did not know who the singer was ...loved the song when Judy Garland sang it ...this recording is my favourite. Heard it the other day with Bob in the car and we both were blown away.

Sometimes when I read you amazing musings I think we must be related.

Love the farmers market too ...not crazy about yellow beans.

Awareness said...

Hey Herb....good to know Summer Highland Falls is a fav. I don't know anyone else who can state that. Bruce Springsteen....I was a very latecoming fan...but he bowled me over with Devils and Dust. I know I'll never grow tired of it. NOW? I want to see him live. U2 as well. I've never seen them live before and I think it would be extremely moving.

Andrea...hey Mom! Glad I was able to help you out..... it is an amazing song. You'll love the Paul Potts video too. See you soon.

raymond pert said...

It's funny. Here I am 53 years old, the 80's and those high tenored arena bands have melted into the past, but I get goosebumps whenever I hear "Can't Stop Believin'" and Asia's "Only Time Will Tell" and Toto's "Rosanna". What is it?

Lucy said...

I have goosebumps just reading about all those great songs that I love too. Music will always give me goosebumps, especially songs that bring back powerful memories of the past. thanks so much for the great reminder. ( That stranger album was one of my favs!, I am 47)

Robin said...

Harry Chapin's Taxi does it to me. Music has a way of talking directly to our souls. I've just done my first Sunday Scribbling entry and it's on music as well.

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

I love this post ... music can elicite so many intense emotions, catching deep inside, and you've captured this beautifully ... somewhere over the rainbow. xx, JP