Rise Up! : Sign Language Version

My step-daughter Emma works here in Norfolk in a school for children with special educational needs. Because of Coronavirus, she is currently working from home on teaching projects. She decided to use her sign language skills to help and inspire the kids at the school, many of whom have great problems with communication. She worked hard to create a sign language version of the popular and inspiring song, ‘Rise Up!’

I don’t normally make such requests, but on this occasion I am asking all of you, wherever you live, to share this blog post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on any other social media platform you are a member of.

Sign language is international. and so many people trapped at home during the current lockdown may be thrilled and inspired by Emma’s video. Let them know it will all be over soon, and that one day they will ‘Rise Up’ once again.

Pandemic Parodies ~ Jamiroquai

David Bowie, Jamiroquai, and ‘Let’s Dance’ reworked for Covid-19. I just had to reblog. (And Jay references that line ‘put on your red shoes’ too!)

By Hook Or By Book

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I have to admit I never heard of Jason Kay and Jamiroquai, until I became friends with Pete at https://beetleypete.com. He’s written several entertaining posts about this British band starting with this one: https://beetleypete.com/2016/09/04/whatever-happened-to-jamiroquai 

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I’ve shared a few creative song parodies over the last 2-3 weeks, but when I saw that Jamiroquai had reworked David Bowie’s classic Let’s Dance into a coronavirus anthem called Lockdown, well I knew I had to share it. This is for you Pete!

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Significant Songs (208)

Hey Mickey

There is nothing at all musically significant about this song. But when it was released by Toni Basil in 1981, it became part of the ‘pop video’ craze, started by MTV.

In England, we didn’t have cheerleaders, and hardly anyone had heard of the choreographer who had decided to release her own record. As well as that, she was 38 years old, rather late to make an entry into the mainstream music market at that time.

But it was a massive hit all over the world, including the UK, where it reached number two in 1982. The song was written by Chapman and Chinn, Australian and British songwriters known for coming up with massive chart hits. Toni’s version was a cover of an original 1979 release under the title ‘Hey Kitty’. She changed the name to ‘Mickey’, and choreographed a dance accompaniment that included ‘normal’ women backing her, unlike the usual sex kittens that featured in most pop videos then.

The result was a forgettable pop song that turned out to be unforgettable, because of the accompanying video.

It was played to death on every radio station, and featured heavily on TV music shows.

Toni jumped on the video bandwagon, and brainwashed us all into the bargain.

Here is the official release of that video.

Lyrically Evocative (29)

Sometimes, song lyrics can make you think about something that you have never experienced. When I heard the first few lines of this song back in 1977, I found myself in total agreement with the sentiments expressed. But I had no children. I still don’t have any, but I still believe the song says it all.

Written by Linda Creed and Michael Massa, it is probably best known as a huge hit for Whitney Huston, in 1985. She undeniably nailed the song, with her famous power-ballad voice.
But ‘my’ version will always be the George Benson original, which sounds as good today as it did to me when I was 25 years old.

It was intended for the soundtrack of the Muhammad Ali biopic, ‘The Greatest’, and included in that film in 1976. George later went on to release it as a record, and had a substantial worldwide hit. His voice suits the song perfectly, and gets right to the heart of the meaningful lyrics.

Here are those lyrics. Words that made me think seriously about having children at the time.

Read them as poetry, they are that good.

The Greatest Love Of All.

I believe that children are our future;
Teach them well and let them lead the way.
Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
Give them a sense of pride, to make it easier;
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we use to be.
Everybody’s searching for a hero;
People need someone to look up to.
I never found anyone who fulfilled my need.
A lonely place to be, and so I learned to depend on me.
I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow.
If I fail, if I succeed.
At least I lived as I believe.
No matter what they take from me,
They can’t take away my dignity.
Because the greatest love of all is happening to me.
I found the greatest love of all inside of me.
The greatest love of all is easy to achieve.
Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.
I believe that children are our future;
Teach them well and let them lead the way.
Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
Give them a sense of pride, to make it easier;
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we use to be.
I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow.
If I fail, if I succeed, at least I lived as I believe.
No matter what they take from me,
They can’t take away my dignity.
Because the greatest love of all is happening to me.
I found the greatest love of all inside of me.
The greatest love of all is easy to achieve.
Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.
And if by chance that special place that you’ve been dreaming of
Lead you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

And in case you have never heard that original, here is George singing them.

Lyrically Evocative (28)

I wasn’t born until 1952, so a song written in 1935 might be considered to be an unusual inclusion in this series.

But I knew various versions of this song in my early teens, and by the time I was in my mid-thirties, I was certainly relating to every line.

Originally performed on the BBC Radio in 1936, the song was later recorded by the wonderful Billie Holiday, who had a huge hit with it. Although a 1936 recording by the famous ‘Hutch’ also got some attention.

Over the following decades, it was recorded by almost every famous singer you could think of. Including Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Sam Cooke.
Even now, at the age of 67, it sends shivers up my spine when I hear it.
I have chosen the much later recording by Brian Ferry, from 1973.

His rather melancholy tone, and deliberately stylised rendition, seems to suit the song perfectly.

Here are the lyrics.

Oh! Will you never let me be?
Oh! Will you never set me free?
The ties that bound us
Are still around us
There’s no escape that I can see
And still those little things remain
That bring me happiness or pain
A cigarette that bears a lipstick’s traces
An airline ticket to romantic places
And still my heart has wings
These foolish things remind me of you
A tinkling piano in the next apartment
Those stumbling words that told you what my heart meant
A fair ground’s painted swings
These foolish things remind me of you
You came you saw you conquer’d me
When you did that to me
I knew somehow this had to be
The winds of March that make my heart a dancer
A telephone that rings but who’s to answer?
Oh, how the ghost of you clings!
These foolish things remind me of you
First daffodils and long excited cables
And candle lights on little corner tables
And still my heart has wings
These foolish things remind me of you
The park at evening when the bell has sounded
The “Ile de France” with all the gulls around it
The beauty that is Spring’s
These foolish things remind me of you
How strange how sweet to find you still
These things are dear to me
They seem to bring you near to me
The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations
Silk stockings thrown aside dance invitations
Oh, how the ghost of you clings!
These foolish things remind me of you
Gardenia perfume ling’ring on a pillow
Wild strawb’ries only seven francs a kilo
And still my heart has wings
These foolish things remind me of you
The smile of Garbo and the scent of roses
The waiters whistling as the last bar closes
The song that Crosby sings
These foolish things remind me of you
How strange how sweet to find you still
These things are dear to me
They seem to bring you near to me
The scent of smould’ring leaves, the wail of steamers
Two lovers on the street who walk like dreamers
Oh, how the ghost of you clings!
These foolish things remind me of you

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Stanley / Peter Stewart Wiggs / Sarah Cracknell

And here is Bryan, performing the song.

Still heartbreaking.

Lyrically Evocative (27)

I had a brief flirtation with Folk Music in my teens. Bob Dylan, Donovan, and some British Folk Groups like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span.

Few of those songs stayed with me, and I rarely listen to any now.

But this song by Buffy Sainte-Marie (Covered by Donovan in the UK) is one that still has meaning to this day, and probably always will,

Here are the lyrics.

The Universal Soldier
Buffy Sainte-Marie

He’s five-foot-two and he’s six-feet-four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He’s all of thirty-one and he’s only seventeen
He’s been a soldier for a thousand years
He’s a catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jane
A Buddhist and a Baptist and Jew
And he knows he shouldn’t kill
And he knows he always will kill
You’ll for me my friend and me for you
And he’s fighting for Canada, he’s fighting for France
He’s fighting for the USA
And he’s fighting for the Russians and he’s fighting for Japan
And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way
And he’s fighting for democracy, he’s fighting for the reds
He says it’s for the peace of all
He’s the one who must decide who’s to live and who’s to die
And he never sees the writing on the wall
But without him how would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau
Without him Caesar would’ve stood alone
He’s the one who gives his body as the weapon of the war
And without him, all this killing can’t go on
He’s the universal soldier and he really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him and you and me
And brothers, can’t you see
This is not the way we put an end to war?

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Buffy Sainte-Marie
The Universal Soldier lyrics © Peermusic Publishing

Here is Buffy singing the song in concert.
(There is a very short interview first)

Lyrically Evocative (25)

In 2015, I heard a song on my car radio. I liked the voice well enough, but it was the lyrics that really grabbed me.

Perhaps you have to be a certain age, certainly older than the singer, to fully be engaged with such words. But he was young, and he seemed to get it, so that was good enough for me.

I later found out the the song was by a Danish pop group, with the name of Lukas Graham. The singer is called Lukas Forchhammer. I had never heard of the band before, and I confess that I have never heard of them since. However, some easy online research tells me that they are still performing in 2019, all around the world. Of course, they are still mostly known for this song, and trading on its reputation.

That doesn’t take away from the fact that it is indeed a powerful song, with particularly relevant lyrics to certain people.

And I am one of those people.

Here are the lyrics.

7 Years Old

Once I was seven years old my momma told me
Go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely
Once I was seven years old
It was a big big world, but we thought we were bigger
Pushing each other to the limits, we were learning quicker
By eleven smoking herb and drinking burning liquor
Never rich so we were out to make that steady figure
Once I was eleven years old my daddy told me
Go get yourself a wife or you’ll be lonely
Once I was eleven years old
I always had that dream like my daddy before me
So I started writing songs, I started writing stories
Something about that glory just always seemed to bore me
‘Cause only those I really love will ever really know me
Once I was twenty years old, my story got told
Before the morning sun, when life was lonely
Once I was twenty years old
I only see my goals, I don’t believe in failure
‘Cause I know the smallest voices, they can make it major
I got my boys with me at least those in favor
And if we don’t meet before I leave, I hope I’ll see you later
Once I was twenty years old, my story got told
I was writing about everything, I saw before me
Once I was twenty years old
Soon we’ll be thirty years old, our songs have been sold
We’ve traveled around the world and we’re still roaming
Soon we’ll be thirty years old
I’m still learning about life
My woman brought children for me
So I can sing them all my songs
And I can tell them stories
Most of my boys are with me
Some are still out seeking glory
And some I had to leave behind
My brother I’m still sorry
Soon I’ll be sixty years old, my daddy got sixty-one
Remember life and then your life becomes a better one
I made a man so happy when I wrote a letter once
I hope my children come and visit, once or twice a month
Soon I’ll be sixty years old, will I think the world is cold
Or will I have a lot of children who can warm me
Soon I’ll be sixty years old
Soon I’ll be sixty years old, will I think the world is cold
Or will I have a lot of children who can warm me
Soon I’ll be sixty years old
Once I was seven years old, momma told me
Go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely
Once I was seven years old
Once I was seven years old
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Christopher Brown / David Labrel / Lukas Forchhammer / Morten Pilegaard / Morten Ristorp Jensen / Stefan Forrest
7 Years lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Songtrust Ave

And here is the band, performing the song.