Thursday Inspiration — Get a Job

For this week’s Thursday inspiration, Jim Adams asked us to use the prompt word “job,” or the above picture, or the song “Five O’Clock World,” by the Vogues. I went with above picture and the word “job,” but musically, the song that came to mind for me was “Get a Job” by the Silhouettes. It was released in November 1957 and reached the number one spot on the Billboard pop and R&B singles charts in February 1958.

This song was written by group member Richard Lewis, who, when he returned home to Philadelphia after serving in the U.S. army, didn’t have a job. His my mother said “You need to get a job, Richard,” and basically that’s where the song came from.

Interesting tidbit: the ’50s revivalists group, Sha-Na-Na, took its name from the “Sha na na na, sha na na na na” refrain in “Get a Job.” Sha-Na-Na covered the song and performed it at Woodstock in 1969.

Thursday Inspiration — Peace Train

For his Thursday Inspiration prompt, Jim Adams asked us to respond by either by using the prompt word “train,” going with the above picture, or by means of a song. Jim selected the song “Back on the Chain Gang” by the Pretenders.

When I saw the word “train,” my mind didn’t go to that photo, which looks like a scene from a 1940s Alfred Hitchcock movie, or to a Pretenders’ song. Instead, it went to “Peace Train,” the 1971 song by Yusuf Islam, known at the time he recorded it as Cat Stevens.

Interestingly, when Cat Stevens wrote “Peace Train,” he was on a train thinking about Alfred Hitchcock, reflecting on the fact that many of Hitchcock’s film plots were set on trains.

I’ve always liked “Peace Train.” The U.S. was still mired in the Vietnam War in 1971 and this was a song of peace and hope. It became a hippie anthem, often used by protesters to spread a message of peace.

Also of note, my wife and I saw Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam perform the song live on October 30, 2010 on the National Mall in Washington, DC at the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.

Now I've been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun
Oh, I've been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Someday it's going to come

'Cause I'm on the edge of darkness
There ride the Peace Train
Oh, Peace Train take this country
Come take me home again

Now I've been smiling lately,
Thinkin' about the good things to come
And I believe it could be,
Something good has begun

Oh Peace Train sounding louder
Glide on the Peace Train
Come on now Peace Train
Yes, Peace Train holy roller

Everyone jump upon the Peace Train
Come on now, Peace Train

Get your bags together,
Go bring your good friends, too
'Cause it's getting nearer,
It soon will be with you

Now come and join the living,
It's not so far from you
And it's getting nearer,
Soon it will all be true

Oh Peace Train sounding louder
Glide on the Peace Train
Come on now Peace Train
Peace Train

Now I've been crying lately,
Thinkin' about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating,
Why can't we live in bliss

'Cause out on the edge of darkness,
There rides a Peace Train
Oh Peace Train take this country,
Come take me home again

Oh Peace Train sounding louder
Glide on the Peace Train
Come on now, Peace Train
Yes, Peace Train holy roller

Everyone jump upon the Peace Train
Come on, come on, come on
Yes, come on, peace train
Yes, it's the peace train

Come on now, peace train
Oh, peace train

Thursday Inspiration — Wanted Dead or Alive

I admit it. I shot Sheriff John Brown and now there are Wanted Dead or Alive posters all around in my home town. The signs refer to me as a “notorious outlaw” and the bounty hunters are all trying to track me down.

I swear that when I shot Sheriff Brown, it was in self-defense. He always hated me, but for what I honestly don’t know. He always called me a bad seed and he told everyone that he wanted to “kill it before it grows.”

Freedom came my way one day and I started to head out of town. But all of a sudden I saw the sheriff aiming to shoot me down. So I shot him before he could shoot me. What else could I have done? Reflexes got the better of me.

So, yes, I shot the sheriff, but I swear it was in self-defense.

Written for Jim Adams’ Thursday Inspiration prompt.

Thursday Inspiration — Wine and Roses

You gave me a diamond
And a bottle of fine wine
When what I really wanted
Was a cultured pearl, a rose
And much more of your time

Written for Jim Adams’ Thursday Inspiration prompt, which I’m responding to using the prompt word “pearl,” and the above picture. I’m also featuring the song, “The Days of Wine and Roses,” written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, and performed by Andy Williams.

Thursday Inspiration — Windy

Today’s Thursday Inspiration prompt from Jim Adams has given us the photo above, the word “wind,” and/or a song by Billy Squire. Jim generally focus his Thursday Inspiration prompt on a song by a recording artist, and it inspired me to think of the 1967 song “Windy,” by the Association.

When this song came out, I was dating a girl named Wendy. The song was a mega hit and was playing on the radio all the time. I loved the song, and I loved Wendy, and because of the name of the song and the lyrics, I started calling Wendy “Windy.” She didn’t appreciate that and it may have precipitated our break up.

“Windy” was written by Ruthann Friedman, a singer/songwriter entrenched in the San Francisco and Los Angeles music scene in the ’60s. She became friends with Beach Boys lyricist Van Dyke Parks, who introduced her to The Association, the first to record the song. Although Friedman had written the song about a boy, The Association turned “Windy” into a girl.

Although Ruthann Friedman won’t reveal the identity of “Windy,” she said that she was sitting on her bed in the apartment on the first floor of David Crosby’s house in Beverly Glenn. There was a fellow who came to visit and was sitting there staring at her. She felt that he was going to suck the life out of her, so she started to fantasize about what kind of a guy she would like to be with, and that was Windy, a fantasy guy. The song took her about 20 minutes to write. She was 25 at the time.

In a 2014 Ruthann Friedman said that she later came to understand the true meaning of the song. She said, “These days, looking back at myself in my mid to late 20s, I finally realized I was talking about me in that song, and how I wanted to be.”