Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dusty Springfield – "Wishin' and Hopin'" (1964)

Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’
Plannin’ and dreamin’

In the sixth century BC, the Greek poet Hesiod wrote of a “Golden Age” – a primordial period of peace and prosperity.  (Not to mention alliteration).

Here’s how Hesiod described the Golden Age:  

[Men] lived like gods without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief: miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all devils.  When they died, it was as though they were overcome with sleep, and they had all good things; for the fruitful earth unforced bare them fruit abundantly and without stint.  They dwelt in ease and peace.

That sounds pretty sweet, boys and girls – where do I go to get me a big ol’ slice of Golden Age pie?

Lucas Cranach the Elder's
"The Golden Age" (c. 1530)
According to Hesiod, things went slowly downhill after the Golden Age.  The “Silver Age” came next, followed by the “Bronze Age.”  Things got better briefly during the “Heroic Age,” but turned south again during the “Iron Age,” which was the name Hesiod gave to the era in which he lived.  

Assuming we are still living in the Iron Age, what comes next?  Some of the more pessimistic ancients predicted that a “Leaden Age” would follow.  A more up-to-date name for the Leaden Age might be the  “Age of Global Warming.”

Or perhaps the “Crap Age.”  Personally, I think the Crap Age is what we have to look forward to.

Just ask Palm Apodaca:

I think the Golden Age of 2 or 3 lines took place relatively early in the life of my wildly popular blog – say, 2010.

Why do I feel that way?  Take at a look at the four posts I did about Leon Russell in 2010.  To begin with, all four of them featured really good songs.  In those days, I started with a great song and constructed compelling content around it.  Nowadays, I too often begin with some ridiculous concept or theme and search out a song that fits the bill – regardless of whether it’s a good song or a piece of crap.

Those Leon Russell covered these topics: the bizarre “Mazeppa” television show (starring Gaylord Sartain and Gary Busey) that aired late on Saturday nights on a Tulsa station in the 1970s, Lord Byron's poem about the Ukrainian gentleman who that show was named after, the last month of the life of a beloved family dog, Lt. William Calley and the My Lai massacre, the many famous musicians that Leon Russell played with during his long and glorious musical career, an early-day Doonesbury strip I taunted my college girlfriend with, Keith Richards’ dogs (a golden Lab named Pumpkin and a wolfhound named Syphilis), and Kathi McDonald (a fabulous female backup singer you’ve never heard of).

Leon Russell
My late grandmother used to warn me not to break my arm patting myself on the back, but those were four great posts if I do say so myself.  And there were plenty other good ones back then – and in 2011 and 2012 as well.

Things started to go downhill in 2013, I think.  Since then there have been flashes of brilliance, but they’re getting to be fewer and farther between.

I may be flattering myself to say that 2 or 3 lines is currently in its Silver Age.  I fear it’s skipped the Bronze and Iron Ages and gone straight to its Crap Age.

I’m sure you’re eager to hear what I’m planning to do to shake off the decadence that has befallen 2 or 3 lines and restore it to its former glory.  So here’s what I have planned for the new year:  MORE OF THE SAME.

That’s right, boys and girls.  I’d be kidding myself if I thought that anything was going to change from 2015.  I’m starting off 2016 up to my ankles in quicksand, and I may sink deeper into that quicksand  before getting free and clear of it.

We can hope I’m wrong.  We can hope that 2 or 3 lines will soon return to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when every post (like the schoolchildren of Lake Wobegon) was above-average.  

We can also hope that if we dig down to the bottom of a big pile of horse manure, we’ll eventually find a pony.   

Here’s “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” a Burt Bacharach–Hal David song that was a top ten hit for Dusty Springfield in 1964:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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