The Saddest Song

So share with me, Loyal Reader. What’s the Saddest Song you know? What song has the tear ducts gushing every time you hear it? Even before you hear it; if you know you’re going to hear it, your eyes start leaking like a cheaply waterproofed basement. If you as much as think about it, you get all choked up. Everybody has one. What’s  yours?

(I should mention that I’m talking about songs that affect you emotionally, not songs that make you cry because they should have never been made, like Ringo Starr’s album of old standards, or anything by Michael Bolton.)

There’s a few that get me going. Just about anything from Les Miserables. I’ve seen this musical four times, and heard several versions of the soundtrack. I usually start tearing up at “I Dreamed A Dream” (I’ve never seen Susan Boyle’s performance, but Ruthie Henshall’s isn’t too shabby):

Is there any more tragic figure in literature than Fantine?

And “On My Own” is the ultimate Unrequited Love Song, particularly as sung by Lea Salonga:

But, even with all that angst, the song that always reduces me to a blubbering fool is from…The Little Mermaid??

Back at the end of the last century, we visited Walt Disney World (my favorite place in the world, by the way. Just sayin’.). This particular trip was my third, and it was the first with my son Cameron, who was 5 at the time. He had a huge crush (as huge as a 5-year-old can have, I guess) on Ariel, so one day I found myself standing in line at Ariel’s Grotto, waiting for an audience with the Mermaid Princess while Cam was jumping around in the play area, getting wet and having a good time running around with the other kids.  In the background, cleverly hidden speakers subliminally played songs from the movie.

At one point, they were playing “Part Of That World”, which is, as you know, a song about Ariel wishing she were a human, so she could have legs and jump and dance and walk around like all humans:

“I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see them dancin’
Walking around on those – what do you call ’em?
Oh – feet!”

I was having a good time, standing in line, watching Cameron cavort.

“Legs are required for jumping, dancing”

I happened to look ahead at the line of waiting people to get an idea of how long the wait would be. I happened to spy an Asian kid, 10, maybe 12 years old, waiting in line, sitting in a wheelchair. The look on his face as he watched the other kids play broke my heart.

“Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin’ free – wish I could be
Part of that world”

Every time I hear that song, even now as I write about it, I think about that kid and kids like him, and, well, you know. They flow freely. Every time.

So what about you? What song never fails to turn on your waterworks?

The Beatles: Rock Band

When the whole Guitar Hero craze started (God, has it only been 4 years?), my then 11-year-old son didn’t pay much attention. His video game preferences tended to run to the more mundane worlds of the Mario Bros. and their various cousins. In fact, he considered himself Sonic the Hedgehog’s number 1 fan.

But, alas, they grow up so quickly. He discovered Guitar Hero through a friend, and was instantly hooked. I must admit, I got a little bit of a kick out of it, too, but what it mostly did for me was rekindle my interest in playing the real thing. Happy to say, eventually the boy caught the bug and these days plays the real thing constantly. while the game hardly gets touched.

But back when we were both playing a lot, we both often commented that it’d be way cool if there were a Beatles version of Guitar Hero. I’ve been an uberfan of the band since they hit the states, and was lucky enough to catch them in concert at Busch Stadium on their last tour in ’66. Cameron, of course, became a fan by osmosis; I’ve  always got a Beatles tune playing in the car or around the house. The first proper concert we attended together was McCartney in Philly back in 2005 (great show!), during which he made me proud by singing along with most of the songs.

So when it was announced that the Rock Band franchise was planning a Beatles version with the help/blessing of the surviving members of the band and the family members of those who couldn’t be with us, we were both giddy with anticipation as to what was to come.

It was officially announced The Beatles: Rock Band would be released on 09.09.09 (very nice, since 9 was Lennon’s favorite number), and at the recent E3 presentation, Paul and Ringo, along with Olivia and Dhani Harrison and Yoko Ono,  made a presentation revealing some of the details of the new game.

If you haven’t seen the game trailer or “cinematic opening” yet:

Yes, I preordered promptly. And man, oh man, oh man. I hate to see summer fly by, but I can’t wait for September 9!

Random Thoughts #2

Ya see, this is why I don’t promote my personal brand and monetize this here blog thing. It’s been over a month since I’ve made any entries. Not that I can’t find anything to write about, it’s making the time to do it that’s my problem.

Anyway, a few random comments to catch things up:

• The computer problem outlined in my last post has been resolved successfully. I did have to install a new hard drive (and, naturally, strip a screw while putting everything back together, which resulted in one of the plastic cosmetic covers sticking up ever so slightly higher than the other). And I did blow $80 on a data recovery program that didn’t work for me (my own damn fault; I didn’t read the program description close enough to notice that it would not work on a striped RAID array). But with a step-back-and-rethink and the help of a wonderful free program called Pandora Recovery, I was able to recover the photos, documents and most of the music I’d lost. And I now have two 500GB external that I back up everything to on a regular basis.

• I loved loved loved the season finale of Lost! I had kept all Season 5 episodes on my TiVo, and went back and rewatched the entire season, and found it quite satisfying (although I’ll miss Elizabeth Mitchell terribly). I have complete confidence in the creative team that the Final Season will cement Lost’s place in TV history as one of the best series ever.

• The 24 season finale, however, seemed oddly disappointing to me. A bit of a let down, really. Don’t get me wrong; bad 24 is shelves above most other dramas, but after 23 rockin’ hours, the ending left me cold. It didn’t rock my world. The Season 7 DVD set was available to buy the next day, though. (Lost? You hear that?)

• Go see Up. After careful reflection, I think it’s my third favorite Pixar film (nothing can replace Buzz and Woody on my list). The story has always been Pixar’s strength, and this one is no exception. It’s a life-affirming message that applies to everyone. Well, everyone except for the young girl sitting a few rows behind me who loudly told her mom that she didn’t want to watch this movie anymore. But I bet by the end of the movie she was glad her mom told her to shut up and watch (or was that just a wishful thought I had?).

• Next gen iPhones are rumored to be available Monday. Still going back and forth as to whether or not I want to take the plunge. OK, you got me. I want to take the plunge.

OK, Loyal Reader. That’s enough for now. I shan’t wait another month to post again. Good bloggers post daily. Let’s see if I can do that.