Monday, October 28, 2013

Songs to Remember?

I have always been and still am a big fan of good music of all descriptions, from Johnny Cash to Bach, from Jimi Hendrix to Percy Faith, from The Who to Enya.  I stand in awe of the artistry, creativity, and beauty that these and others bring to the art of music.

I recently watched a "docudrama" on a cable channel about the sad story of Phil Spector, a brilliant but very troubled individual, who was convicted in the killing of a young woman at his home. He was the creator of the "Wall of Sound" music production technique that won great acclaim in the early sixties and made stars of people like Ronnie Spector and The Righteous Brothers.  TRB's "You've Lost That Lovin's Feeling" still reigns as the most played song on the radio in history with over seven million airings.

The film opened with The Righteous Brothers' version of "Unchained Melody."  I was stunned again at the incredible beauty of the melody, and the soaring vocals of Bobby Hatfield, the tenor half of TRB. His range was simply stupendous and his handling of the lyrics and melody were transcendent.  Since I saw the Spector film, that melody has played in my head a thousand times.

I researched it and learned that it was a song written for an obscure prison movie called "Unchained."  It later became known as "Unchained Melody."  As a writer, the title to me seems a clever double entendre, since I always took it to mean that the melody itself was unchained and free to soar like the eagles. Whether or not that double meaning was intended, the song certainly deserves the appellation.  In my opinion it is truly one of the most beautiful and evocative melodies ever written, lending substantial power to its simple lyrics.

Needless to say, I am a big fan of the song, and rank it up there with other great songs.  Here is a list in no particular order or genre that I think are the very best.  What do you think?

O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Author Unknown
Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel
Canon - Pachelbel
Watermark - Enya
Gettysburg (Movie Theme) - Randy Edelman

I am sure I will think of others, or they will simply come into my mind like phantoms in the night and gently guide me back to their unique and colorful world.

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