Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

17 June 2009

Saying without saying

I stumbled upon John Mayer's fantastic performance of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" from his"Where The Light is" album yesterday. It's just a captivating piece to listen to. Something very pretty. Do yourself a favor...



I did some digging into this tremendously engaging song, wondering what it's motivation was. I obviously can't verify these facts, but this is the story behind the story that I found:

" A roadie bought Tom a keyboard that Tom didn't really want. The roadie told Tom that if he wrote one song with it... it would pay for itself. Tom played the 5 opening chords to Jeff Lynne one night. Jeff told him to sing something while repeating the same chords over and over. "Just to make Jeff smile I sang 'She's a good girl, loves her mama' and from there I wrote the first and second verses completely spontaneously."

Axl Rose once asked Tom how he came up with the line about vampires and Tom replied..."
When I'm driving, sometimes I see these shadowy-looking people just off the sidewalks, around the post office. I always thought of them as vampires for some reason."


As it turns out... in this case, Tom's not trying to tell a story. Instead he's painting us picture... with words and sounds. A mix of the cohesive and abstract. Engaging imagery and sounds providing a framework within which to get lost and imagine. Like the experience you hear people tell of about getting mesmerized by the Mona Lisa's smile.

It says... without saying.


It's quite likely you do feel something when you hear this song. It's likely about SOMETHING to you. Some combination of word and sound likely resonates a picture or emotion in you. Some I read about feel love... some feel lonely... some feel sad... some feel free. But this song has lasted for a reason. It's pretty.

As a writer, advertiser and even as one who wants to share life-truths... saying without saying is important. Because it's about communicating truth... via it's beauty. In 1983, Paul Simon released a lesser known song called "Rene and Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war". While not an enormously popular commercial hit, it has become shining example of how word pictures can communicate a feeling without being forced into the cheap shortcut of bluntness.



He used stanza's like...

"They danced by the light of the moon
To the Penguins, the Moonglows
The Orioles, and The Five Satins
The deep forbidden music
They'd been longing for"


... about which Rolling Stone commented:

There they are, a Belgian surrealist painter, his old lady and their pooch, dancing naked in a hotel room, window-shopping on Christopher Street and getting dolled up to dine with "the power elite." [...] It's a hilarious and magical juxtaposition of images that's also touching, because Paul Simon obviously identifies with the figure of the grown-up, respectable artist irrevocably smitten with those doo-wop groups, "the deep forbidden music" that originally made him fall in love with rock and roll"


I am an expert on neither art nor poetry. But the times when I have enjoyed either... I have realized that the artist or author has tapped into a life-spring of universal truth, and it has helped me to not only FEEL it... but EXPERIENCE it as well. And that is a beautiful bridge to understanding the depths of truth that are just waiting to be discovered in our world.



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