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Darren J. Ray

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Reply with quote  #16 

Gold - Imagine (John Lennon - 1971)
John meant everything to me as a teenager. Absolutely loved him. I remember first hearing this on the radio. I was 13. Never had a problem with the lyrics. In fact, John was always straight-to-the-point and never used two words when one would do. He was anti-religion but not necessarily anti-God. My world stood still when he died, although I associate the songs from Double Fantasy more with that tragedy. Not released as a single in Britain until 1975 but spent five weeks at #1 in Australia in 1971. This song was voted Song of the Millennium at the turn of the last century here on a TV panel show, and you won't get an argument from me. Over the years, I have put together a list of my Top 1000 Songs of All Time. I sometimes utilise it when ranking the songs a host puts up each week. This is currently ranked at #1. (The only other time ‘Imagine’ was used in the Battle, it was hampered by one particular voter who voted it last in its week and its play-off, in really close weeks. That person doesn’t vote anymore, so I’m holding out hope for a strong finish this season.)

The rest of these songs I had to really listen to to hold any appeal which, straight away, indicates to me that the melodies are lacking. And I’m big on melody. 

Silver - God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind) (Randy Newman - 1972)
Seems a bit presumptuous of Randy to call it ‘God’s Song’, until you get his slant on things. Worthy of multiple listens and, yes, the bit that Billy Joel ripped off sticks out like the proverbial to me. I respect Randy Newman for his writing and the sheer volume of that work. But his voice doesn’t quite work for me. He’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of FAME as a performer, yet Neil Sedaka, Tom Jones, Cliff Richard, The Monkees, The Turtles, Manfred Mann, The Searchers and Jan & Dean are not. WHO ARE MORE FAMOUS?

Bronze - Almost Like the Blues (Leonard Cohen - 2014)
Almost a decent song. A mate’s mother was a fan, but he’s never struck a chord with me. The lyrics were mildly interesting to this non-fan, plus it wasn’t a long song. 

Participant - He Come Down (The Beach Boys - 1972)
Not exactly ‘Surfin’ USA’, is it? Actually typical of many later Beach Boys songs – great vocals but not a lot of substance to the lyrics. I would’ve been embarrassed to sing these ones. Still, they’re not as bad as what I used to hear when I went along to the Born-Again church when I was chasing Lindy Thompson. Mike, you did better with songs about the beach and cars. This track has been used before. It won the Gold last time. Must have been a scorcher of a week! 

 

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bonnie bella

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Reply with quote  #17 
Tom. This week has been interesting already.

Larry is usually funny, but he did pull one out of the hat this week. Nice one.

Al, believing in angels is wonderful. I wish I could.





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John B

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Reply with quote  #18 
to be fair, it's not Randy's fault that those other acts aren't in the r n r hall. 

also, it could be both Randy and Billy were inspired by Dylan's 'Ballad of a Thin Man'.

I think John Lennon was very intelligent, and Yoko got his sense of humor.  Not as sure about John as man of peace, but John as social critic I'll buy.  I'm thinking of that film after '2 Virgins' with the baggism or whatever, as Derrick Taylor brought in Al (Dogpatch) Capp.  Yoko has a nice laugh when John says accurate things.  Plus she's smarter than people give her credit--as she was receiving the Al Capp random racist remark (Madame Wu or whatever he called her), her critical comments to him in response about his strip's insults to Joan Baez were sort of just left hanging as if unworthy of comment.   But she was right.  There was hardly any women's rights progress yet in 1969.  It's fair to say Yoko noticed and dissented.
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Al Forsyth

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Reply with quote  #19 
To follow up John B., no probably not a Nobel Peace Prize winner but he was a driven person who did let it all out there.  Again, I believe that the Beatles began writing anthems and All You Need Is Love was probably the first.  Paul began to pick up on this.  John had to have known that Imagine was one of those.  

With Yoko, I was trying to find the article that I believe was in Esquire in the late 70's detailing how they lived.  She was the business person selling prized Holstein cows.  They had their own farm in Delaware County, NY. Some of that is here …"imagine no possessions" - and there is negativity galore here:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3258235/A-cruel-greedy-selfish-monster-peace-loving-visionary-No-argues-blistering-book-John-Lennon-nasty-piece-work-epitomised-age-self-obsession.html

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Tom Tobben

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Reply with quote  #20 
Time for my mid-week check in. Thanks to all of you who have voted, added your insightful comments, and have graced us with a whole diverse array of fine songs about man's perceived relationship to God (a god?), angels, and one another.

I have to say, one thing that mystifies me is that if there truly is a God (or god or gods), why is it that each of the world's major religions dating way back into the BC era have defined their god (or gods) in their own distinct ways and with their own sets of attributes and rules. Said another way, is the Christian god the same being as the Jewish god or the Muslim god or the Hindu gods and avatars? And what about the Buddhists, the gods of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, or the gods of the various native races and tribes around the world? And, if so, which one is right? Each of these world religions and smaller ethnic religions attribute all sorts of actions and violence against others as the will of God/Allah/Yaweh/Krishna/Buddha/etc. In some, it's ordained that one man and woman should marry. In others, men may (or should) have multiple wives. In some, certain meats are OK, in others some of the same ones are forbidden, what clothing is to be worn, attitudes about sexuality, faith and forgiveness, free will and predestination, and so on. The mysteries (and sometimes contradictions) of faith, I suppose. 

In that regard, I believe John Lennon addressed the fallible human notions of "God" in his memorable song of the same name:


Here are Lennon's lyrics for anyone not already familiar with them:
https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnlennon/god.html


In the Old Testament, the book of Genesis claims that God made man (male and female) in his own image. Yet, I sometimes wonder whether the more modern claim that "man made god in his own image" is more on point. The notion of "angels and demons" as forces of good and evil is yet another related matter, as Dan Brown has explored at length in multiple novels. 

In the last couple days, thanks to Al and Darren for your votes and related thoughts about each song. Thanks also to both of you and to Larry, John B., John E., and bonnie for all your additional comments, insights, and theme-related songs/videos.

Larry, thanks so much for all those songs/lyrics from other Randy Newman songs. As you illustrate, the notion of a god and his presumed relationship to humans is one of Newman's common themes, often with a heavy dose of irony in his lyrics.

Al, thanks for reminding us of those God-ly musicals that became so big in popular culture by the early 70s, after many of our generation had challenged and rejected traditional notions of religion and God. It also seems that after that time, more and more one-off denominations began to spring up with their own interpretations of what God and religion meant to them.

Al, Darren, and John B., you guys have covered the John/Yoko controversy broadly enough for me, so I'm going to stay out of that one. There is no doubt that John's meeting Yoko changed him for the rest of his life and that she certainly had a significant influence on him, as he also had on her. I'll leave it to you and others to debate whether that was for the better or worse, as with any committed marriage. Good thing Paul McCartney didn't have much to say on the subject of mankind's relationship to God after he married Linda.   

John E. and bonnie, thanks to each of you for those two very nice lesser-known songs from Trembling Bells and Dennis Wilson. 

John B., to your point regarding Tom Waits, from his album Blood Money, here's "God's Away on Business":


And on the subject of God and the devil, here's what George and Ira Gershwin had to say in Porgy & Bess, as interpreted recently by our own Brian Wilson:


And here's a bit of traditional folk gospel music from Alison Krauss, mixed in with a good bit of dramatic irony, from the Coen Brothers' iconic movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?:


Looking forward to everyone's additional comments, songs, and votes during the remainder of this week's battle. 


  
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John B

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Reply with quote  #21 
now that you mention it, this Tom Waits song reminds me of Leonard Cohen:

                "Road to Peace"


...and if God is great and God is good why can't he change the hearts of men?
Well, maybe God himself is lost and needs help.  Maybe God himself he needs all of our help
Maybe God himself is lost and needs help, he's out upon the road to peace

Well, maybe God himself is lost and needs help.  Maybe God himself he needs all of our help
And he's lost upon the road to peace, And he's lost upon the road to peace
Out upon the road to peace


----------------

there's a lot of ones that remind me of Randy, but 'Chocolate Jesus' comes to mind...
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Larry Franz

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Tobben

I have to say, one thing that mystifies me is that if there truly is a God (or god or gods), why is it that each of the world's major religions dating way back into the BC era have defined their god (or gods) in their own distinct ways and with their own sets of attributes and rules. 

The variety of beliefs is enough to make one conclude that religion is the product of imagination, instead of there being some spiritual reality religions refer to. But it's too easy for people to think they got it right and everyone else is confused.

Two old ones:

Woody Guthrie -- "Jesus Christ"
youtube.com/watch?v=EDS00Pnhkqk

Hank Williams -- "Angel of Death"
youtube.com/watch?v=zPTyic_WPxI

A much older one (1779) sung more recently:

Judy Collins -- "Amazing Grace"
youtube.com/watch?v=AtteRD5bBNQ

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Darren J. Ray

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Reply with quote  #23 
Tom, re: the 'God' clip, it's amazing how people were affected by John's death, including some celebrities.

There's a Michael Jackson sighting at 1:07, Elton John at 3:33 and, of course, Martina Navratilova at 3:44. 

Thanks for posting it. 
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Larry Franz

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Reply with quote  #24 
Spring in the northern or southern hemisphere is a good time to consider nature from a religious perspective, as in nature religion, animal worship, pantheism, etc.

And from Lisa's "Nature's Calling" week four years ago in season 6:
Quote:
Spinoza's fundamental insight in Book One [of Ethics] is that Nature is an indivisible, uncaused, substantial whole—in fact, it is the only substantial whole. Outside of Nature, there is nothing, and everything that exists is a part of Nature and is brought into being by Nature with a deterministic necessity. This unified, unique, productive, necessary being just is what is meant by ‘God’. [from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]


A set of nature-oriented music:

Fleetwood Mac -- "Albatross"
youtube.com/watch?v=dAefTj7GXwQ

The Beach Boys -- "Country Air"
youtube.com/watch?v=AlBCGRAn7oA

Harry Nilsson -- "Mother Nature's Son"
youtube.com/watch?v=A5CyqSrOlcg

Van Morrison -- "Into the Mystic"
youtube.com/watch?v=PZ59spYH9mk

Eliza Gilkyson -- "Before the Deluge"
youtube.com/watch?v=UUBeTlwnpv8

The Beach Boys -- "Diamond Head"
youtube.com/watch?v=h8l47emr2U4

Thanks, Tom.
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Al Forsyth

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Reply with quote  #25 
Tom,

Don't forget:
https://www.allmusic.com/album/making-god-smile-mw0000661251

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David W

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Reply with quote  #26 

My votes and an easy vote for gold :

Gold - “Imagine”, John Lennon

Silver - “He Come Down”, Beach Boys

Bronze - “God’s Song”, Randy Newman

Tin- - “Almost Like the Blues”, Leonard Cohen




Don't think this one by The Temps has been digitized .




This features Rose Banks  , Sly Stones sister


 

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Cantina Margarita

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Reply with quote  #27 
I'd like to throw in my favourite religious song these days. Being a bit on Lennon's (and Karl Marx's) side, considering religion a disturber for mankind's reasonable development, I'm still stunned by this woman, making me reflect about what to do with my atheist attitude if the end of everything honours me, approaching during my lifetime (that would mean, at the end of it). Her voice is a prayer in itself. To clarify: I'm not into British action operettes at all.

If you can't imagine what “the end“ might look like, just ask some survivor from Yemen or Srbrenica.
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bonnie bella

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Reply with quote  #28 
A tricky week this week, Tom, I didn't know who to believe.

GOLD - Even though I didn't want to give it away so easily, Lennon stole the show with his dreamy utopia. I've always found the tune rather drifty, but so were the curtains and the fog and Yoko's dress and the whole concept really, so you can't blame it for being what it is. What I don't like: How many times I've heard it. Never gives me the prickles it deserves anymore.

SILVER - Randy Newman. I had no idea he could get this serious minus irony (is this minus irony?) I like the tinkering piano and very cool lyrics. This one probably runs closest to my spiritual beliefs this week. Every time Tom hosts a week he introduces me to something new that appeals, and this week is no exception. And I think I said that last time.

BRONZE - Leonard Cohen. Every time Tom hosts a week ... well, almost. Cohen can run a little too deep for me. But this has such a good laid back sound and Cohen did talky-singing better than anyone else. The lyrics are the kind of dark poetry you would expect from him, but I'm missing that vital connection somehow that makes me want to play it more.

TIN - TBB. Huffs away at the start, too many words squashed in, too nasal, breaks into gospel, clicky fingers, nothing much that really feels genuine. Everybody else touches in on a spiritual level, this feels like Sesame Street.









Thanks, Tom.












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D.A.N

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Reply with quote  #29 
G  John Lennon
S  BBs
B  Leonard Cohen
T  Randy Newman

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Cantina Margarita

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Reply with quote  #30 

There's only one person that's moving to me in a similar way Brian Wilson is. Due to their spiritual songs.


IMMER WIEDER GEHT DIE SONNE AUF (Udo Juergens, 1967)


Wenn ein Traum, irgendein Traum sich nicht erfüllt,
If a dream, just another dream does not come true,

wenn die Liebe zu Ende geht,
if love is at its end,

wenn selbst die Hoffnung nicht mehr besteht,
if even hope ceases to exist,

nur Einsamkeit,
only loneliness

wenn ein Blatt, Irgendein Blatt vom Baume fällt,
if a leaf, just another leaf falls from a tree

weil der Herbstwind es so bestimmt,
because the automn wind wants it to do so

wenn das Schicksal uns etwas nimmt,
if fate will take us away something

vertraue der Zeit.
trust in time.

Denn:
Because

Immer, immer wieder geht die Sonne auf
Always and always again the sun will rise,

und wieder bringt ein Tag für uns ein Licht,
and again a day brings us a light

Ja, immer, immer wieder geht die Sonne auf,
yes, always and always again the sun will rise,

denn Dunkelheit für immer gibt es nicht,
'cause there's no eternal darkness,

die gibt es nicht, die gibt es nicht.
there's no such thing, there's no such thing.

Hör' ich ein Lied, Irgendein Lied, das wir gekannt,
Hearing a song, just another song we used to know

denk' ich noch immer, wie schön es war.
I'm still reflecting about how beautiful it was,

Wir waren glücklich, wird mir dann klar
I'm recognizing we were happy,

denn du warst hier.
'cause you were here.

Und wenn dir irgendein Mensch von mir erzählt,
and if just another person argues about me

ich hätt' vergessen, dann denk' daran,
that I have forgotten, then remember

ich glaub an Morgen, denn irgendwann stehst du vor mir.
I believe in tomorrow, 'cause one day you'll stand in front of me.

Denn:
because

Immer, immer wieder geht die Sonne auf
und wieder bringt ein Tag für uns ein Licht,
Ja, immer, immer wieder geht die Sonne auf,
denn Dunkelheit für immer gibt es nicht,
die gibt es nicht, die gibt es nicht.

Always and always again the sun will rise,
and again a day brings us a light
yes, always and always again the sun will rise,
'cause there's no eternal darkness that exists,
there's no such thing, there's no such thing.

Udo, some weeks before his death, in Nov 2014, at one of his numerous 80th anniversary shows - after 47 years for people to try and understand the song

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