Random Acts I

19 Sep

As with anyone who has a vast and always growing glut of music, I sometimes spend more time perusing my lists of albums, CD’s, off-line storage and internally stored tracks than I do actually getting around to choosing and playing something.   

I personally want to thank the person who invented the random button – you took away the need to actually make a choice.   

Love Is Only Sleeping
The Monkees were a bit more than ‘Daydream Believer’, ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’, ‘The Dolphin Song’ and ‘I Wanna Be Free’. Thanks to a constant deluge of tracks submitted by not only Boyce and Hart, but by Neil Diamond and Harry Nilsson, to name just a few, they had lush fields to choose from and eventually record.   

This track was written by the great team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil who had their songs covered by everyone from the Animals, the Coasters, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Mama Cass … the list goes on.   

A breezy, pop-fused, stutter guitar offering from their Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. album, it never received any airplay that I’m aware of, but retrospectively it’s one of those cuts that I’m glad to hear from time to time.   

It’s also a hopeful after relationship mint.   

She looked at me
And the emptiness in her eyes was cruel to see
Then she turned away and said,
“Once I loved, but love is dead”
And I whispered, “Sometimes love is only sleeping”

She said, “I cannot cry
And I cannot give or feel or even try”
And her voice was hard and cold
Then her sweet young face looked old
And I whispered, “Sometimes love is only sleeping”
  

Through the endless days and nights
Could not help but wrap herself in sorrow
Through the endless days and nights
She waited for a shiny new tomorrow
Love was sleeping, sleeping  

  

 

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
Never a huge draw here in the States (vastly underrated and barely understood), the Frenchwoman Edith Piaf was a powerhouse of the subtle undertow of love and a peerless interpreter of the heart who extracted every last drop of sentiment from a song. It was simply kismet that her track showed up for me yesterday because I had just watched her autobiographical film at the urging of someone else a few days ago.  

  

Recap: neglected and tossed away by parents, lived as a child in a brothel, literally sang on the streets for her supper, performed regularly in dumps that made your local dive look like the setting for your parents’ 50th anniversary, lost her only child to meningitis at two, lost her greatest love to a plane crash, suffered from crippling arthritis which twisted her tiny body grotesquely, could regularly drink alcoholics under the table and as a side project, enjoyed the needle. She died at the age of 47. But her voice! Her nickname, in English, loosely translates into ‘Little Sparrow’.   

Toward the lonely end she recorded this track, which again, loosely translates into ‘No Regrets’. How fitting, and a loud crowd hushing slap in the face of life for a woman who continually lost everything but never gave in – even at the end. She was so popular that apparently, her cemetery services, attended by over 100,000 mourners, literally stopped traffic in Paris for only the second time – the other being the announcement of the end of WWII. I’m hard pressed to think of anyone else who had as many mourners in modern day.   

Such a shame that I don’t comprehend French because I’m sure that beyond what I can read that’s been decoded, I know that I’m missing quite a lot – ‘lost in translation’ as it were. But, sometimes, you don’t need to understand the lyrics, as any music whore will tell you. As with most great music, it’s the ability to ‘feel’ what someone is trying to say much in the same way you might interpret an instrumental. This is one of those tracks.   

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
All the things
That went wrong
For at last I have learned to be strong

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
For the grief doesn’t last
It is gone
I’ve forgotten the past
  

And the memories I had
I no longer desire
Both the good and the bad
I have flung in a fire
And I feel in my heart
That the seed has been sown
It is something quite new
It’s like nothing I’ve known
  

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
All the things that went wrong
For at last I have learned to be strong
  

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
For the seed that is new
It’s the love that is growing for you
   

The Monkees: Love Is Only Sleeping
From: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. [1967]   

Edith Piaf: Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
From: 30th Anniversarie [1994]

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