Thursday, January 13, 2011

The world needs love songs

I heard from some enthusiastic singers in response to a recent column suggesting we starting tuning up to prepare to spend February For the Love of Art month breaking into spontaneous song. (In the shower, the supermarket, at the office, in the park, etc.) I’ll keep you posted on community sing ops.
But there are always the naysayers.
This manifesto was e-mailed to me: “The Donnybrook Writing Academy, in partnership with Empty Reviews, decrees the following songs never to be played on the radio ever again. They shall never be played live again. They shall never be sung in the shower again. We’re monitoring the airwaves; we’re going through your iPods; we’re peeking in your bathroom windows. And best believe, we will be handing out citations for any violations.”
I checked things out at and found a lot of my faves on the list, golden oldies from Elvis to the Boss.
We Baby Boomers are ever more prone to getting a random song stuck with peanut butter tenacity to the roof of our palates and the corners of our brains and sometimes the only way to get it unstuck and make room for vital things, like where we put our car keys, is to give up and sing it all day long.
Further investigation revealed that the ban was hatched, not in a think tank, but in a Colorado bar by members of Donnybrook Writing Academy, described as an “elite institution for cultural advancement, founded in 2007. Its writers publish an online magazine devoted to music, culture and the arts.”
I e-mailed a protest and got a prompt reply.
“We love the classics! In fact, we were just watching the ‘Last Waltz’ last night. That’s how songs get on our list — by being so classic, people overplay them so much that we can recite them from memory. At that point, it’s time to discover the new classics — by different artists, or even the same ones, on the B-sides. At any rate, that’s how we feel about it all,” said an academy member who identified herself as Angora.
There was also a picture of what I presume to be seven members of the group, dressed in what could be tennis whites, or maybe their underwear. There are a couple of rackets in the picture, but there’s also a picnic basket and what looks like a champagne bottle and a squash. Maybe it started out to be a tennis (or squash) match. but the champagne diverted the group to a picnic, a pumpkin patch and other pursuits.
They look like nice kids, but I’m not willing to give up “American Pie,” “Bad to the Bone” and “Born in the U.S.A.” to support their cause. And that’s just the top of the list. No one who has done hard time in Florida should be asked to sacrifice “Margaritaville.” And frankly, (here’s that old Boomer thing again), I’ve just recently learned all the words to “Poker Face.”
I’m not sure I’ll ever lose my affection for the Righteous Brothers’ soulful “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” and Elvis’ classic, “I Can’t Help Falling in Love.” If so, it sure won’t be during For the Love of Art Month.
And they’re asking us to ban “Light My Fire,” “In the Air Tonight” and “Born to be Wild” from our hearts, minds, airwaves and corner doo-wop groups forever?
I don’t think so.
In the words of “The Gambler,” which the group also wants to ban, you gotta know when to fold ‘em.
Give it up, dudes.
Abandon this ill-conceived crusade and abort all plans to return to that bar and trash talk about more tunes we all know and love. Why don’t you skip the drunk part, save some brain cells and write some songs of your own that might be worthy of classic status? At worst, it’d keep you off the streets, out of the bars and at best you might slip from destructive/crabby mode into creative hyperspace.
Of course, if “The Little Drummer Boy” had been on your list, I might have been tempted to join your crusade.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at (575) 541-5450

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