Huh? What Did They Say?

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There’s a lot of serious stuff going on these days and, to be honest, I’m in the need for a bit of fun. Plus, it’s the middle of August, and here on my island home that means the height of the summer season with all of its excesses and silliness. So, what should I write about today?

How about one of my great lifelong passions? Rock n roll. More than any other season, summer throws me into a rock n roll mood. Blame it on the Beach Boys. I listen to it more than ever during this time of year, on the radio (so to speak), in the car, on the Victrola (how many of you out there know what that was?). But all this listening inevitably leads to singing which inevitably leads to the favourite pastime of playing the game which we call, ‘Huh? What did they say?’

Misunderstood song lyrics seem to be one of the keystones to the foundation of my life, and I do believe I’m not alone in this:

  1. I can’t tell you how many times I sang along with Sting as we belted out ‘On the Fields of Bali’, all the time wondering just how many fields they really had out there, but always believing that Sting, with all his Eastern leanings, must certainly know for sure.
  2. I must admit to years of confusion during my young coming of age when I kept hearing Roberta Flack beg for her man to ‘just brush my teeth before you leave me, baby.’ Was I missing something?
  3. During those dance-crazed, somewhat inebriated college parties, I always thought it was incredibly considerate of Creedence Clearwater Revival to remind us that ‘there’s a bathroom on the right.’
  4. It was an important lesson in humility and the acceptance of my own limitations when I finally gave up trying to understand what I assumed was Eric Clapton’s deepest wisdom as he sang, ‘going to the cross roads, got my rubber by Ma Sa.’ Who’s Ma Sa? Some ancient mystic dedicated to contraception?
  5. Of course, when Mick Jagger was lamenting how he was ‘trying this and doing that and trying to get some girl ba ba….’ I knew he wasn’t really saying ba ba, but I assumed I was just too young to understand.
  6. And, when listening to Cream’s Tales of Brave Ulysses, the whole thing was a muddle, but hey, who was I to double-guess Cream? I was just a middle-class suburban kid. What did I know? ‘You thought the Latin winter would bring you down forever, but you rode upon the steamer to the violence of the sun.’ Wow. Deep.

Okay. I’m sure the rest of you out there have millions of these. I’d love to hear them. And maybe next time we can talk about band names.

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