Thursday, February 17, 2011

May Your Song Always Be Sung

I'm not into reading poetry or philosophy but I am pretty sentimental.   To mask the sissy factor, I like my "thinking man"'s writings in the form of bad ass rock n roll.  While Bob Dylan doesn't put fear into parents' eyes quite like Marilyn Manson or the Insane Clown Posse or that no good baddie Justin Bieber, he does have a certain mystique and cool that is oh so intriguing to a young college kid.  And I chose to focus on a song that really reached out to me, Forever Young.  After being subjected to the Rod Stewart version of Forever Young on countless bar mitzvah videos, the namesake title was initially ruined for me.  And I'm not even sure on what album or live bootleg that I first heard the tune, but Bob's FY is a masterpiece to me and if I'm in the right mood, it really touches a nerve.

May you grow up to be righteous 
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth 
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous 
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young 
May you stay forever young.

This is serious stuff when you are only 19.  It's life affirming and uplifting and challenging when you try to grasp it.  It sounds like Bob is singing it almost as a lullaby to a young daughter.  But as I was beginning to make my way in the world, I felt like he was singing to me.  And who wants to grow up?!?  I wanted to be FOREVER YOUNG.  Rod Stewart be damned.  Bob was telling me something here!  I got to see Bob perform it back when I was in college probably a year or so after learning of the song.  He played on my college campus (with Joni Mitchell opening) and I was in one of those concert-lover moments of BEING EXACTLY WHERE I SHOULD HAVE BEEN AT THAT TIME!!  Who hasn't said that at a show?  So anyway, that song has always had a special place for me.

Fast forward, oh about...13 years.  I'm at my parent's house watching "mature TV" fare with them after taking a few days off from my stressful NYC life.  And they mention this show on NBC that they like called 'Parenthood'.  It has a guy from Six Feet Under, Erika Christensen from Swimfan, Dax Shepard from Punk'd and banging Sarah Marshall (lucky mofo), Coach himself...Mr. Craig T Nelson, Bonnie Bedelia who was Bruce Willis's wife in Die Hard (and now amazingly is Craig T.'s wife...nice work Coach! Where is Dauber??), the mom from Gilmore Girls, and most importantly Minka Kelly who is honestly insanely good looking.  Almost not human good looking. Wow.

And what is the theme song?  A sped up version of Forever Young sung by John Doe and Lucy Schwartz.  On an NBC drama.  Bob...why oh why?  And who the hell are John Doe and Lucy Schwartz?  I know you like showing up at weird places at weird times Bob.  Victoria's Secret ad, anyone?  And fronting the Mumford/Brothers?  Ok, I kind of get that.  But an hour long, most likely canceled after two seasons, ensemble dramedy on a major network.  You've ruined my song!!

Well, this was my thought before I watched more than 2 minutes.  Hey, this show ain't half bad!  I may WANT to be Forever Young, but most of my friends have kids, I'm trying to grow up, and the human condition stories they are peddling on this show are pretty fascinating.  The grandparents have drama.  The parents have drama.  The kids have drama.  It's like my life!  Wait, what has happened to me?!? Where is my rebellion at these types of song placements?   I guess if Wilco can do it in a Volkswagen commercial...

Looking back, I loved the song Forever Young when I was still wanting to live out my rock n roll fantasies.  But now I love it again...opening this generation's freakin' thirtysomething. Forever Young, my ass.  Now I'm thinking more along the lines of hoping to have Forever Hair.  Or Forever Slim Waistline.  How is that for a tune, Bob?


Anonymous said...

Great Post. Seriously great song. the sped up version is just as authentic as the great slowed down one. Both appeared on The Band/Dylan album Planet Waves.

since i post anonymously, i have no hesitation to admit that i once caught myself tearing up listening to this song about 5 years ago. there something very ethereal about the recording. teeters on what could be trite and nursery rhyme, but instead rises to something way greater. I'm no English Literature T.A., but "may you build a ladder to the stars, and may you climb on every rung" is brilliant.

Also, Rod Stewart had to pay Dylan a royalty plus writing credit for accidentally copying his song.

also also, the pepsi commercial version is an abomination.

lastly, Jerry Garcia's version that appears on the Postcards from the Hanging tribute album is SICK.
although, all dead covers of dylan are phenomenal. especially knockin on heaven's door, and its all over now baby blue.

Anonymous said...

"It sounds like Bob is singing it almost as a lullaby to a young daughter"

Actually, it was written for his son, Jakob, hence the reference to Jacob's Ladder in the verse, "May you build a ladder to the stars/And climb on every rung." I thought that was fairly obvious...

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