Happy to feature a post today by BQB author, Jack Tuttle. His book, “It’s a Secret, So Pass It On: a Toolbox For Life” was released in September 2014.
Paul Simon’s Inspired Music
I used to love music so much, I didn’t bother listening to the lyrics. In fact, I often found it difficult to hear all the words correctly. But as I matured, expanded my awareness and found more of a balance between my logical left brain and creative right brain, lyrics became equally important to me. As it turns out, I was drawn to many lyrics on a subconscious level long before I realized it consciously.
Master song writer and performer Paul Simon’s songs are consistently high quality, both for their musical content and lyrics. At first, it was hard for me to understand the subtleties of a poetic approach to lyric writing. But as I began to catch on, I found Simon to be one of the deepest, most enlightened musical artists of this or any other generation.
Perhaps his most inspired song was one of his earliest. “Sounds of Silence” stands the test of time, both musically and lyrically. I hope those who read this blog will check out Simon’s lyrics on one of several authorized websites for them. The concept of “silence” is an important one because humans often hear and respond to a multitude of incorrect thoughts simply because we don’t realize that our truths lie hidden beyond the obvious.
Mahatma Gandhi and numerous others have referred to the “still small voice within.” That is the truth we hear when we are not distracted by outside forces and our own confusion. Simon encourages us to discover the profound and sometimes prophetic information available to us once we let go of ideas that are not correct. He reminds that some of the most inspired people are not the most well known but relatively anonymous. In other words, the opposite of what most of us prefer to believe.
Another Simon song I reference in my book “It’s a Secret, So Pass It On: a Toolbox For Life” is called “Patterns.” It was never made into a single so was not on any best hits list. Only those who purchased Simon’s album “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” heard it, but its lyrics are consistent with one of the major conclusions in my book.
Simon found patterns that repeated themselves in his life and the lives of others. We say we can do and be anything we want, but all of us fall within a fairly limited range of thoughts and behaviors that we’ve experienced since birth. We often fight against these patterns, but all we do is end up spinning in tight circles, with resolution doubtful.
The Simon song “American Tune” includes a dream sequence that doubles as a near-death experience. “Slip Sliding Away” reminds us that we sometimes make things worse rather than better by trying so hard to make something happen the way we want it. “At the Zoo” suggests that human and animal behaviors are not that different after all. I love many of the lyrics in “Hurricane Eye,” especially the part about needing humility to be a writer.
Simon has continued to write and perform songs throughout his life, accumulating a massive portfolio. If anything, he has become more obvious about his feelings over time. For instance, it is clear that “How Can You Live in the Northeast?” recognizes how our personal choices are often the result of copying our elders when we’re young. Yet we often judge others for choices they make even though they may have no more valid reasons for their choices than we have for ours.
“You Can Call Me Al”describes a person who might be in his first lifetime on Earth, implying reincarnation. “I Don’t Believe” claims that giving of ourselves to others unselfishly is better for spiritual growth than repetitive prayers taught to us as children. Other songs I mention in my book include “The Boxer”, “Kodachrome”, “So Beautiful or So What?”, “A Most Peculiar Man”, “Something So Right” and “Wartime Prayers.”
Space restrictions prevent me from sharing titles of all Simon songs with inspired references, so I will simply encourage readers to check out all of his music. One song I must mention is not included in the book but has great personal meaning for me. “Keep the Customer Satisfied” has a strong brass section which I like, and its words fit my personal life well. I used to listen to it over and over again.
We can learn much about ourselves and our world by discovering Paul Simon’s music.